I’m not American so there’s no way that I can vote for Bernie Sanders, Democratic Senator for Vermont, but I would if I could. And for the same reason that I’d vote for Jeremy Corben if he became leader of the UK Labour Party. If only the Democratic Party or the Labour Party were genuinely left-wing or at least not a kind of soft-centred alternative for the insanely right wing alternatives of the US Republican Party and the UK Conservative Party.
In many ways, Bernie and Jeremy are actually very moderate candidates and not merely because as people they have moderate and reasonable characters. They are both principled and unflashy, sticking to a compassionate and rational view of the world which would once have seemed slightly left-of-centre but now in a world gone mad thanks to the rightward swing in the Anglo-Saxon world since the 1970s, both now seem very much to the left. But they are only left-wing by comparison and neither could be considered radical firebrands. Their policies are eminently reasonable in a world where sea-levels are rising, millions continue to starve, the economic powers have learnt nothing from the Great Recession and are set on course for an even worse crash in the future and where the issue of equality is no longer an issue of envy but one of unsustainable instability.
These are dangerous times which the leading politicians and pundits of the right are intent on worsening. Austerity hasn’t worked, isn’t working and could never work. Instead huge volumes of government largesse in the form of Quantitative Easing has, rather than being used for the very real need for infrastructure development and to combat climate change has been channelled towards the wealthy and thence onto the Cayman Isles and Swiss Bank Accounts (and then re-invested into high rise apartments in Manhattan, impressionist paintings and luxury yachts which add no value to the greater economy whatsoever).
What do the rallies supporting Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corben represent? What does the rise of Syriza in Greece represent? In my mind, it is actually a sane and rational response to the way the poor are being punished by the rich, the young by the old, and any one who’s been displaced by the very nations that pretend to be the most compassionate.
After all, if you can’t achieve meaningful and constructive change via the ballot box to the major issues that are steadily leading us towards crises many times worse than those which caused the meltdown of the banking sector and moribund economic activity in the West, where else do you turn?
The answer is obvious. The rise of Islamic State, the relative popularity of buffoons like Donald Trump and the increasing isolation of the gated rich from the rest are all inevitable responses to the growing distrust and the appeal of superficially attractive solutions. And it is in this way that chaos lies, not by voting for those brave enough to articulate what is so evidently true and willing to risk the wrath of the right-wing media to make their case.