By Blake Neff
PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Bernie Sanders may have thrown his support behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, but socialist die-hards aren’t ready to give up the ghost.
Several people attending a “socialist convergence” in downtown Philadelphia Wednesday night declared Sanders a reviled traitor to the socialist cause, which would press on without them.
Chris Hedges is a minister, left-wing activist, and author who wrote the book “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” Wednesday, he was in Philadelphia addressing a packed room at the Friends Center. Most attendees were there to see Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speak, and many of them were Sanders supporters.
But Hedges told attendees to leave their Sanders support behind. Whatever their past feelings, he said, Sanders was now a class enemy. (RELATED: Man’s Dress Catches Fire While Stomping Flag At DNC Protest)
“The parade of useful idiots, the bankrupt liberal class that long ago sold its soul to corporate power, is now led by Sen. Bernie Sanders,” Hedges said. “His pathetic motion to suspend the roll call, giving Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination by acclamation, is an abject betrayal of millions of workers and his call for a political revolution.”
Hedges predicted that henceforth, Sanders would be turned into a trinket of the Democratic party, given a platform so that he could “shill for Clinton and the corporate regime.”
“Sanders squandered his voters’ hope for a historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger, and momentum, and walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third party movement,” Hedges said to tremendous applause. (RELATED: Protesters At The DNC Are Really, Really Weird)
“Sanders not only sold out his base, he mocked it, and this was a spiritual move, not a political one, and for this he must ask for forgiveness,” he continued. “Whatever political revolution happens now, will happen without him.
This statement started to go too far for some Sanders-loving attendees, who heckled and booed. Others, though, continued to applaud and shout support for Hedges, who went on to warn that by backing Clinton Sanders was deliberately letting his supporters be “enslaved by the neoliberal assault.”
It isn’t surprising that Hedges’ aggressive denunciation resonated with many. Various socialist groups have gathered at the Friends Center each night of the Democratic convention, and their hatred for Clinton is tremendous, with many viewing her as equal to or even worse than Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“Hillary Clinton is the most dangerous single person on the planet today,” one speaker said Tuesday night to a roar of approval. “If you want to know what fascism looks like, that’s what it looks like … everything she says is a lie.” Another speaker went further, claiming the U.S. under President Barack Obama is already a fascist state that Clinton was merely working to perpetuate.
Attendees affiliated with the Party for Socialism and Liberation carried signs denouncing Clinton as the “Warmongers’ Candidate.” When one member of the audience opined that he would hold his nose and “vote for the capitalists” and back Clinton, he was met with a tremendous wave of boos. At one point, a cry of “Indict her, lock her up!” drew applause that wouldn’t be out of place at a Trump rally.
Hating on Clinton wasn’t the only topic the socialists talked about. The police and their alleged evil was a recurring thread as well. Hedges described the prison system as a form of “neo-slavery.” One speaker called for kicking police unions out of the wider labor movement, because “police and workers do not share interests.” Another made the intriguing claim that the police are systematically “disappearing” Black Lives Matter protesters.
“I’m sure a lot of people went to the action throughout the country when Alton [Sterling] was murdered, Philando [Castile] was murdered … and saw your comrades get beat down by the pigs and then ‘disappeared,’” he said. “You call central booking and say ‘Where’s [my friend]?’ and they say they’ve never heard of him.”