Confessions of a (Real) Socialist by Cindy Sheehan


As retrieved from Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox:

After all these years, I am surprised that I can still be surprised.

What am I surprised about? I am surprised that anyone who really knows me and knows my dozen years of public activism would expect me to support an imperialist politician and be themselves surprised that I don’t.

What does being a socialist have to do with this?

First of all, I call myself an “organic socialist.” I was not a “red diaper baby” and I don’t come from a radical family or community. In fact, I grew up in the height of the Cold War and very negative views about socialism were inculcated in me. I was indoctrinated with the Pledge and intimidated by regular nuclear drills that had us Budding Patriots diving under our desks just in case the Red Menace decided to drop an a-bomb on Bellflower.

Secondly, as an organic socialist, even though I have now done study on scientific socialism, I see socialism as just pure common sense and caring for society (see how similar the words are?). What is best for 100% of humans, not just 1%? When I am accused of “envying the wealthy,” my response is, “I don’t want to be like the rich, I want them to be like us.”

I was harshly ridiculed and reviled in 2008 when I didn’t support the imperialist Obama. Now, while many of Obama’s 2008 rabid fan club can now see that his regime has been a complement to the Bush regime and can readily recognize the same flaws in Hillary Clinton, they refuse to acknowledge factual arguments in my opposition to the Sanders’ candidacy.

As far as I can see, he had one good vote among many that were right up the imperialist’s alley. I am not going to make a laundry list here, but this is an excellent summary from the facetiously named Facebook page, Bernie Barry Bush.

What disheartens me about all of the Sanders mania is the chauvinistic character of it. Sure, Sanders is promoting some solid reforms on the domestic side, but still promoting imperialism on the global side. As you can see in the above link, he is consistently for a bloated Pentagon budget which shows how little regard he has for the people of the planet that are being repressed, oppressed, murdered, tortured, imprisoned, and/or displaced, etc, by The Empire™, or its “friends” (especially Israel).

True socialism is not imperialist and stands against invasions of sovereignty and stands in solidarity with people resisting oppression and occupation. True socialism cares for 100% of the people on this planet, not just the small minority of the seemingly entitled humans here in the USA.

True socialism cares about the planet and is against the destruction of it and of its life. The Empire™ is the largest exploiter of its resources and polluter of its essential life-support systems.

True socialism strives to not only create healthy communities, work-places and environments, but to also look outside of our own communities and work-places and desire healthy human rights and peace for everyone. E.g, Sanders has said that he would be comfortable using drone bombing to “combat terror” and when I first came out strongly against Obama’s favorite weapon of terror three days after he was inaugurated in 2009, many “liberals” wrote me saying, “what are you crazy? If Bush had used drones in Iraq, your son would still be alive.” This argument angers me, because A). No one knows what could have happened; and B). Although, as his mother, Casey was my primary concern, I also mourn each innocent’s death.

True socialism knows that every person on this planet has the same existential right—not just selfish USAians.

I believe that the biggest disappointment to me around the Sanders campaign is that its success is evidence that there is little anti-imperial sentiment in the US and that during the Obama regime, “Humanitarian war,” which is the most blatant oxymoron ever, has become acceptable.

It’s my opinion that if people were truly antiwar, or anti-Empire, there are many other candidates to support if one thinks that is effective.

Look, I am not campaigning against Sanders (for the record, I am also not a Clinton or any Republican supporter–I wish I didn’t have to say that, but I will be accused of it), I am campaigning against what the USA stands for and is about, but it’s time for the supporters of Sanders to acknowledge his aggressive stances and votes and stop trying to run away from, or soft-pedal his record. It speaks for itself. It’s hunky-dory to support Sanders, but support of Sanders means one also by extension supports imperialism.

In this capitalist-imperialist, rotten Empire, there is no such thing as “holding his feet to the fire” and if the Obama-mania and resultant expansion of Empire didn’t convince people, what will?

What will?

[1991] Supported genocidal sanctions against the people of Iraq

[1993] Voted for the invasion of Somalia

[1996] Voted for sanctions against Iran and Libya in order to prevent the two countries from developing ‘petroleum resources’

[1997] Voted to urge the president to illegally recognize Jerusalem as the ‘undivided capital of Israel’

[1998] Voted to endorse regime change operations against Iraq

[1999] Voted for the NATO assault on Yugoslavia:

[2001] Voted for the so-called ‘War on Terror’

[2001] Voted to extend and toughen sanctions against Iran and Libya

[2003] Voted for a resolution ‘Expressing the Support and Appreciation of the Nation for the President and the Members of the Armed Forces Who are Participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom’

[2003] Cosponsored a bill authorizing sanctions against Syria for supporting Hezbollah and the PFLP

[2006] Cosponsored a bill authorizing regime change operations and sanctions against Iran

[2006] Voted for the so-called ‘Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act’

[2006] Voted to endorse Israel’s brutal onslaught against Lebanon

[2008] Cosponsored a resolution “reaffirming the bonds of close friendship and cooperation between the United States and Israel”

[2009] Cosponsored a resolution for the purpose of strengthening USAID, a CIA front organization

[2011] Cosponsored a resolution authorizing NATO’s decimation of Libya

[2012] Voted for the ‘United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act’

[2014] Did not object to the passage of a bill by unanimous consent to wage a massive propaganda campaign in support of the fascist regime in Ukraine

[2014] ] Did not object to the passage of a resolution by unanimous consent in support of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza


10 thoughts on “Confessions of a (Real) Socialist by Cindy Sheehan

    • Do you suppose Cindy Sheehan’s “unpopularity” or the unpopularity of her views on September 11th (it was my impression that many Americans are “truthers”?) change the fact that Bernie Sanders is not an anti-imperialist, and that the lack of a robust anti-imperialist movement in your country is indeed a problem?

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, it does not change either of those things. I am simply pointing out why the masses are not open to Sheehan’s point of view. Truthers are (rightly) regarded as lunatics akin to people who rail about chem trails, oppose mandatory immunization vaccines for infants, and say the Sandy Hook school shooting was faked to promote gun control.


      • That is an extremely vulgar conception of the relative roles of those stances in US politics, and also an inaccurate conception of what the masses are open to (given that you must know that “truthers” are a much larger group than people discussing “chemtrails”).

        Regardless, this has nothing to do with the matter at hand. We must all be open to criticism, but there is no connection between your criticism of Cindy Sheehan and her criticism of Sanders.


      • Truthers are a much larger group, yes, but it’s the difference between hundreds of people and thousands of people in nation of 320 million.

        Criticism of Sanders is fine but the critics are going to be scrutinized.


      • I raised Sheehan’s 9/11 Trutherism to point out that she — as a cypher — represents an extreme fringe view or ultra-left political tendency that is completely and hopelessly isolated from and at odds with the standpoint and experience of the masses, both the masses in general and the masses that are rallying around the Sanders campaign.

        Her criticism of Sanders on the question of imperialism is just another form of shouting his politics down as fake socialism or as insufficiently socialist in character — hence the title, “Confessions of a (Real) Socialist.” Sanders is generating mass support not in spite of his foreign policy positions but because of them. Why? Because these positions correspond with the masses’ views of contemporary U.S. wars based on their own political experience. Sheehan’s criticism offers no way for forward for communists to lead these masses or to even engage them in comradely discussion about Sanders’ shortcomings and deficiencies.

        What is ironic about this blog tagging Sanders as pro-imperialist is that this blog also appears to support the Syrian Kurdish YPG which literally selects targets for imperialist bombers to wipe out in Syria. For the bulk of the Western ‘left’ (or as I like to call them, the pseudoleft) they would describe this as supporting and collaborating in the “bombing of Syria.”

        To be clear, I think the YPG’s war on ISIS is entirely progressive and its alliance with U.S. imperialism is very necessary (World War 2 provides a solid historical precedent for left-wing forces allying with imperialism to fight fascism and I believe ISIS is undeniably fascist in character), but if Sanders is pro-imperialist because he gave critical support to certain U.S. military actions in the past and the current U.S. war on ISIS, what does that make the YPG?

        Sanders supports the U.S. war on ISIS as does the YPG and that support, in my view, does not make either one of them ‘pro imperialist,’ it makes them internationalist. If anything, we should criticize Sanders for being insufficiently pro-YPG (he’s never spoken about Rojava or the YPG so it is impossible to know what, if any, views he has on these questions) and I’m sure engaging Sanders supporters on the question of Rojava would be far more fruitful than shouting down Sanders for being a fake/insufficient anti-imperialist.


      • Thank you for a much more substantial critique.

        You claim that Cindy Sheehan is “shouting down” Sanders in an “ultra-left” fashion. This is entirely possible, as it is clear she is not at all fond of him, whereas I can be called a “critical supporter”. However, the CRITICISM component of my “critical support” indeed includes the problem of imperialism. So we need to raise this issue, the question is how.

        “Sheehan’s criticism offers no way for forward for communists to lead these masses or to even engage them in comradely discussion about Sanders’ shortcomings and deficiencies.” This is likely correct, and if you had phrased it this way initially, I would view this as comradely criticism. But you also need to engage the question of imperialism yourself, as Sanders has failed to do.

        You are quite correct that this blog supports the Kurdish PYD. As a proletarian internationalist, I support the national right to self-determination and view the PYD as progressive in this respect. Its armed wings, the YPG and YPJ, indeed have tactically allied with US and Russian imperialism, depending on conditions (while remaining independent in decision-making). You are correct in mentioning WWII as a parallel case: Stalin was absolutely correct in allying with UK and US imperialism against Nazi fascism for tactical reasons. Like Stalin, conditions reveal that the PYD, unlike most Arab “rebel groups”, are clearly motivated on a theoretical and practical level principally by the needs of the people, independent of imperial influence. But not all US bombing is directed by such a source. Indeed, very little of it is. When the US bombed ISIS targets under the direction of the PYD, the latter were able to move in and establish a progressive force on the ground. In general, US bombs merely cause chaos over which the US can preside as the chief decision maker. The same for other imperialist wars: Russia does not have in its mind the interests of the local people, if it seeks to topple “rebel groups”, it is only so that its imperialist interests can be served. Of course the US seeks to do the same with the PYD, but the PYD’s role on the ground is indisputeably progressive.

        Your final suggestion is quite correct: If we could pressure Sanders to champion the Kurdish people’s liberation in Syria, rather than some abstract notion of “democracy in Syria” with no practical reflection on the ground, we would be much better off. But we should want to steer this discussion, and not assume that Sanders can hand us a prefabricated “good US foreign policy”, as (and this was my point in sharing Ms. Sheehan’s piece), his track record leaves MUCH to be desired.

        However, as we have seen, due to the objective conditions in which Sanders operates now, he has more friends on the radical left than in the Democratic mainstream, and perhaps can be steered away from his oppurtunist past on foreign policy.

        Thank you again for writing the lengthy comment which you wrote. It was much more productive than your initial comment, and I hope that through “struggle” of this type we move closer to a higher unity.

        Liked by 2 people

      • This is a very minor point but I think it can have significant practical implications — the term “critical support” is a Trotskyist invention that has distorted Marxist debates and practice (similar to their notion of “military but not political support” — if war is politics by other means and a political act, then military support of one side of a war is a form of political support!). One of the things that the term “critical support” implies is that there is such a thing as “uncritical support” and Marxists have nowhere ever engaged in brainless cheerleading of any struggle or political leadership. The phrase “critical support” also implies or can be taken to mean that there is some sort of ‘correct’ mathematical formula of how much of each component we should apply — i.e. 90% support versus 10% criticism, 50% support versus 50% criticism. I think this is especially true for propaganda groups and sects which are where most organized Marxists reside because they spend an inordinate amount of time getting ‘the line’ in a publication ‘just right’.

        Anyway, I’ve enjoyed our engagements and look forward to more from this blog in the future. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I guess we’ve all adopted the term “critical support” in the English-speaking world now, though. Many “Stalinists” use it too. But you’re right that it is misleading.

        However, no amount of time getting the line right is too much, the important thing is that at the end the correct line be grasped: The correct line is to be exactly one step ahead of the masses, pushing them forwards towards socialist revolution.

        Liked by 1 person

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