Socialists Denounce Sanders for Promoting American 'Imperialism'

Bernie Sanders / Getty
May 23, 2018

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), the only self-described Democratic socialist in Congress who has helped normalize a political philosophy once labeled "radical," doesn't always inspire the feelings one might expect from his fellow socialists.

The world socialist website published a fiery rebuke of Sanders Tuesday for promoting a "pro-imperialist and pro-Zionist outlook" in regards to the Iran nuclear deal. The website is operated by the International Committee of the Fourth International, a political group founded by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

The article from Tom Hall comes on the heels of a panel Sanders hosted in his Washington, D.C. office earlier this month on the impact President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Iran nuclear framework would have on U.S. foreign policy.

The senator is on record as being opposed to the Trump administration's decision and had previously called the agreement "the best way forward ... [to] making certain that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon."

Hall, a regular contributor to the site and a member of the Socialist Equality Party, castigated Sanders and the panel for showcasing a "pro-imperialist critique" of the decision to exit the deal.

"The discussion brought together a number of former State Department officials and think tank academics who, along with Sanders, presented an entirely conventional, pro-imperialist critique of the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the 2015 agreement," Hall wrote.

Hall dismissed the senator's claim that leaving the deal would make it more difficult to "address" Iran's "bad behavior," saying the claim boiled down to Sanders wanting America to assert "hegemony in the Middle East."

"Sanders, along with the majority of the foreign policy establishment, views the scuttling of the Iran nuclear deal as counterproductive to the goal of subordinating Iran to Washington’s drive for hegemony in the Middle East," he wrote. "There was nothing in Sanders’ panel discussion last week that contradicted the general policy line of this faction of American imperialism."

The piece also admonished Sanders for failing to mention the violence that erupted on the border of Israel and Palestinian-controlled Gaza on the day of the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. The violence between demonstrators and Israeli Defense Forces as sparked when Hamas, the terrorist group governing the Gaza Strip, encouraged Palestinian demonstrators to attack Israeli soldiers with Molotov cocktails and other weapons in an effort to breach the barrier fence.

Hall did not want Sanders to speak up in defense of the IDF, however.

"The pro-imperialist and pro-Zionist outlook of Sanders and his panelists was demonstrated by their reluctance to address the mass murder of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza just one day before," Hall wrote.

The Vermont senator wasn't the only target for criticism, as the author also had some choice words for the Democratic Party, whose nomination for president Sanders sought during the 2016 election.

"The Democratic Party, while criticizing Trump for being insufficiently aggressive against Syria and Russia, is generally aligned with this faction of the military/intelligence/corporate establishment," Hall wrote.

This is not the first time Hall has criticized Sanders and the hallmark policies the senator advocated for in his presidential campaign. In July 2015, Hall claimed Sanders' "socialism" is nothing more than "a ruse to prevent the emergence of the real thing."

The major political function of Sanders’ campaign is to divert the growing social discontent and hostility toward the existing system behind the Democratic Party, in order to contain and dissipate it. His supposedly "socialist" campaign is an attempt to preempt and block the emergence of an independent movement of the working class. This is underscored by his decision to conduct his campaign within the framework of the Democratic Party. Indeed, Sanders announced at the start of his campaign that he would throw his support behind the eventual Democratic presidential nominee, whomever that might be.