View Full Version : Questions to Bernie Sanders

10-31-2015, 02:19 AM
Questions to Bernie Sanders

I like Charlie Rose's program very much; I watch it and learn from it, nearly every weekday.
On October 26, during an interview with Charlie Rose, Bernie Sanders agitated for tuition-free public universities, for raising minimum wage, etc. How can a moral person disagree with such proposals? But his agitation for social justice via a progressive socialist revolution against the top one percent of American private property owners scared me. It reminded me of Lenin's agitation agains injustice in Russia, and of a Polish revolutionary song "Burzhujow do pracy zagnamy." My father, a Polish communist, also believed that the only way to eliminate social injustice was to destroy capitalism. But he was arrested in Moscow, and sent to a Gulag camp, where he died, two years later, at the age of 36.

My questions to Sanders, if I had a chance of interviewing him, would be different from those asked by Charlie. I want to know what Sanders thinks about proletarian dictatorship, and and how he plans to avoid Gulag-like camps in America.

Ludwik Kowalski, Ph.D,

See "Diary of a Former Communist," at:

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kow...ife/intro.html and at:


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11-19-2015, 01:53 PM
You assume Bernie Sanders DOESN'T want gulag style camps for the 1%.

He either does, or he is the most convincing liar in a very adept group of liars.

11-26-2015, 03:54 PM
This can be an interesting conversation.

Democracy is inherently socialist in construction. Democracy is the public ownership of political power. Democracy and capitalism are not 'natural' cousins - in fact, there are many contradictions between the two; namely that capitalism concentrates wealth and the means of production in private hands. Thus, there exists a tense relationship between public political power and private economic power.

In the U.S. we have the added layer of constitutionalism which provides an inflexible and rigid political process. It goes some way in resolving the contradictions between democracy and capitalism - for example, it provides for a lesser form of democracy we call republicanism and it also reserves for the state some central economic activities such as the control of the money supply. This constitutional regulation of public political power and private economic power is always changing because of new laws, social expectations, court rulings, etc. This process is maintained, at least in theory, by the loyalty of the judicial system, the military, and law enforcement to the constitutional regulations and this is supposed to keep us from killing each other.

There are a number of dangers here, but the chief one for this conversation is to what extent the constitutional regulations are just. For example, the constitution at one point provided for the slavery (and then segregation) of African-Americans, the disenfranchisement of women, the prohibition of alcohol, etc. These were eventually found to be affronts to the public political power or private economic power, or both.

So now enter Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. One represents public political power and the other private economic power. As I said, democracy and capitalism are not natural brothers, so one in the extreme requires the other's subordination. The methods of repression are remarkably similar across the ideological spectrum and is really a question of practicality, not intention. What is at stake is the constitutional weapon (the state, its laws, et al) that can be used to target the interests of the other. Yes, the capture of the state by public political power means the diffusion of private economic power, and in extreme, its total dismantlement. The reverse is also true - private economic power in control of the state means the destruction of democracy. And you can read these very real fears in the narratives of liberals and conservatives.

This is fundamentally different from the Russian experience which wiped away the monarchist state and replaced it with a closed network of cadre informed by their upbringing in violent revolution, civil war, and terrorism. In that instance, political power changed hands from one closed network (the aristocracy) to another (the Communist Party). And once in power, the Communists worked diligently to destroy the other power centers: the aristocracy, yes, but also the peasants, the military, the religious, and ethnic minorities. The Communists were not shy about the central importance of violence in their campaign, even before they seized power.

But violence is not an acceptable feature of American constitutional process - at least on the surface, and so I doubt that Sanders would endorse a 'proletarian dictatorship' or concentration camps which violently repress class enemies. The Constitution as written today still maintains sufficient credibility among both the Left and Right as to not warrant its violent overthrow.