Senator Bernie Sanders has accomplished something long in the making, the great awakening of a disillusioned and despondent United States. Since the Vietnam War and before the illusion of the American Dream has been melting away as the powers behind the veneer of US freedom and democracy have been exposed as a clique of élite establishment ideologues bent on global corporatist domination, with their acquisitive tentacles reaching into every sphere of life and policy – foreign and domestic. Sanders’ refusal to be bought by this beast and his promise to win a fairer deal for all by taking his fight right to the heart of Wall Street has stirred a hope of a better dream and has gathered a social and political movement for change never before seen in the United States.

What strikes this author at least as the greatest threat to the success of Sanders’ democratic socialist revolution is that it might just work. God, if any people in the world need change it’s the American people. Wealth inequality in the States is ranked at the number one slot globally, making the US very rich but with levels of poverty and destitution on a par with almost anywhere in the developing world. American neoliberalism, with its vanguard multinational corporations, has rent asunder the fabric of American society and has created the most despicable suffering in every corner of the world. The American people need change for themselves and for the rest of the world.

Even if this snow-headed charismatic character from Vermont wins the presidential nomination – if he is allowed to win it that is – we have our doubts he will be allowed to win the White House, and this isn’t ‘crazy talk’ either. These forces he has aligned himself and this astounding movement against, these powers behind the veil, are not going to take this Berning threat lying down. At this level of American political life, in the most powerful superpower on the face of the earth, we’re in the territory of wheels turning within wheels. It’s at this stage of the game that people get hurt, and this is where Bernie Sanders and his supporters should take some lessons from a very American history.

The United States of America, at home and abroad, allows democracy to work only insofar as the will of the people does not upset the free market apple cart. The events of 11 September 1973 are uncannily similar to the story Sanders is unfolding right now. Chile happened to vote the wrong way. Instead of voting for economic austerity and the opening of the floodgates to the market economy the people democratically elected Salvador Allende into government. For his Keynesian approach he was branded ‘a Socialist,’ ‘a Marxist,’ and ‘a Communist.’ Nixon demanded that Chile should be made scream, and scream it did when Pinochet’s CIA backed military junta launched a coup d’état, killing the president, and leading to the arrest, torture, and murder of thousands around the country. In the end the free market trumped democracy with a little help from Washington.

Of course, 1973 was a very long time ago. The architects of the US’ grand strategy wouldn’t behave like that now. Au contraire, this has been uniform US foreign policy dogma since then until now – Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent – very recent – victims of this free market doctrine. All that is different in the Sanders threat is that this shock and awe offensive has never been employed inside the United States (or has it?). America, the United States of America, in all its political and legislative structures, is the free market, and anything standing in the way of the progress of the market is by definition an enemy of the state. And the state, this state in particular, will defend itself against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

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