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Sanders’ ideological jihad

In a recent interview to ‘The New Yorker’, Joe Biden revealed he feared an “ideological jihad” from Bernie Sanders, after beating him for the Democratic presidential nomination in a primary fiercely contested by centrists and progressives.

Former president of the US Barack Obama told the same reporter that the policies of his former vice president and Bernie Sanders are not that different, asserting that both of them want healthcare and employment for all besides ensuring that every child gets a good education.

Many supporters of Sanders think this ideological jihad must continue haunting the Democratic candidate for the top office of the country. They seem to be of the view that the firebrand socialist senator should not be content with these assurances about education, healthcare and employment but go beyond these mundane things. They argue that Sanders talked about transforming American society, besides creating a world that is free from wars, conflicts, militarization, corporate rapaciousness, plutocratic dictatorships and environmental degradation.

He vowed to work for the oppressed, the marginalized and the vulnerable. He promised to wage an unrelenting struggle against the voracious greed of capitalists and their gargantuan appetite for power and wealth. His dream was to put an end to gun violence and brutalities of American state against the black and coloured people. This is all possible through the ideological jihad that he waged during the campaign seeking the nomination.

American presidential elections do not affect just American citizens but millions of the people across the world. Even the game of political point-scoring could have serious ramifications for developing states and poor countries. The change of government in Washington and overhauling of policies in the Oval Office leave impacts not only on the global economy but politics as well. Therefore, Sanders must ensure that Joe Biden does not follow the same militaristic policies that forced America to militarily intervene in various parts of the world more than 223 times since its independence.

The wars and conflicts that were imposed on the developing world inflicted deep wounds on the psyche of its people. Wars and invasions seem to be a fun game for American chief executives. Sitting in the Oval Office, thousands of miles away from the poor states of the world, American supreme commanders with plenipotentiary powers play havoc with the lives of millions.

It is these executives who bankrolled the military juntas in Latin America, despotic Arab monarchs in the Middle East and oppressive regimes in other parts of the world. It is they who authorized covert operations of the CIA that toppled elected governments across the globe besides pampering throat-slitting jihadists, criminal gangs and drug barons. Even the intellectual Obama authorized drone assassination campaigns that fly in the face of international laws. Such authorization speaks volumes about the sanctimoniousness of the first black president who repeated the mantra of international law and a rule-based world. Sanders must make Biden hold out a solemn assurance to the American people that he will put an end to these illegal operations of the American CIA and would never invade any country or threaten to use force against other states.

One of the most important problems of the US is the thriving gun culture that claims 36,383 lives every year besides wounding 100,000. Over 1.2 million Americans have been shot in the past decade, millions more have witnessed gun violence firsthand. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of around 53,000 American soldiers, which is the highest in any war after World War Two but the toll of a decade in gun-related violence is over 360,000. This number is much higher than the number of soldiers who were killed in the Operation Desert Storm, the Operation Enduring Freedom and Afghanistan war.

It has been noticed that the American states with the weakest gun laws have the highest number of fatalities. All American presidents have buckled under the pressure of the strong gun lobby that has prevented the most powerful chief executive of the world from putting his own house in order. Sanders and like-minded people should pile pressure on Biden to make a solemn promise in front of Americans that he will take on this powerful lobby and save precious American lives.

The socialist leader has highlighted corporate rapaciousness while campaigning to gain the nomination of the Democratic Party for the presidential election. He should wage an untiring jihad against this corporate greed that has enriched a few Americans even during the worst pandemic in its history. Packages worth trillions of dollars were lavished on these powerful companies but the Democrats-led house failed to discuss the federal supplemental unemployment benefits, which have been slashed by the Trump administration. Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to act on the appeal by nearly 100 members of her own caucus, who sent a letter asking that the reconvened House take up legislation to restore federal extended benefits for tens of millions of workers. This indifference of the Democratic Party has pushed around 20 million workers towards a life of hunger and destitution.

This attitude of the Democratic Party should prompt the socialist senator to spring into action, lobbying for these 20 million hapless souls that have been stabbed in the back by his party. Sanders and his comrades should make hectic efforts, waging an in-party fight for the rights of these people from the bottom layer of social stratification. He should launch a robust ideological jihad that haunts Biden, asking him to only expect his support after looking into this crucial issue on an urgent basis. There is no obstacle in the way of the Democratic Party for allowing these federal supplemental unemployment benefits. If the Republicans oppose it in the Senate, they would face the repercussions during the up-coming polls.

American administrations have pumped more than three trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan wars only. The war on terror has cost the people of America and those in other parts of the world more than five trillion dollars. If the US cannot account for all money, it can at least interrogate its own officials and public office holders about the more than three trillion dollars that was squandered in the two devastated countries.

Despite this huge amount spent from the American public’s pocket, the two states stand in total ruins. Iraq lost more than 2.5 million people while tens of thousands perished in the unending conflict of Afghanistan. Sanders and his comrades must make Biden announce a commission to investigate this greatest plundering of American public’s wealth at the hands of war machines and corporate entities that benefited from the conflict in the two countries.

Finally, can Sanders force the Democratic nominee for the presidential slot to ensure that the right to education, health, housing, employment and clean environment is turned into a fundamental human right for every American citizen? What a shame that the richest country on the earth lost more than 160,000 of its citizens in a pandemic that could have easily been contained. What a disgrace that over 567,715 people are homeless in the most opulent state of the world that also houses 38 to 50 million souls living in poverty and millions without health insurance. This is a country where college and university fee is unaffordable for millions of working class families.

If the socialist senator wants to prove his revolutionary credentials, he will have to mobilise people for the rights that they should have as American citizens. He should use every platform before the presidential election to ensure that the future leadership of America does not work for war mongers, military industrial complexes, big businesses and unscrupulous opulent classes but instead for the ordinary citizens of the mighty state.

Abdul Sattar, "Sanders’ ideological jihad," The News. 2020-08-27.
Keywords: Political science , Elected governments , Socialist leader , Trump administration , Presidential election , Revolutionary credentials , Human right , Democratic nominee , American administrations , Unemployment