Interview: Victor Tiffany, Founder Of Bernie Or Bust And Author Of New Book On The Subject

Link to SoundCloud

Interview conducted on May 23rd, 2018, by Jeff Epstein

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My second interview with Victor Tiffany, the founder of the Bernie or Bust movement, now called Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP). Victor is also the author of the new book, Bernie or Bust: Pioneers of Electoral Revolt (the first chapter of which is based on this article). Our first conversation (see about two-thirds down the linked post) was after the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where we spoke about the origins of the Bernie or Bust movement and relived some the difficulties of the Democratic primaries.

The major goal of RAP is to encourage an “electoral revolution” or revolt, where progressives wrest control of the party from neoliberals. Victor believes (and I agree) that our government is quickly becoming a corporatacracy, and that the most sinister element in hastening this transition away from representative democracy are trade policies such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. During his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders railed against the TPP because of its potential to take away jobs from the American people. Sanders may have chosen this tack because it’s what the average American can identify with. But its true intent, the “corporatization“ of our government, is a much deeper and all encompassing problem. Victor considers Sanders’ focus on jobs myopic: “It’s like complaining about not enough walnuts in brownies laced with arsenic.”

RAP believes in an aggressive (Victor says, “almost militant”) candidate endorsement, called “leverage.” Instead of a candidate declaring their own platform and presenting it to voters, RAP turns this relationship on its head: the politician is told what the people’s platform is; they can take it and leave it.

That’s where the C-FAR pledge comes in. The C-FAR pledge is a series of eleven, poll-tested, populist policies. An example is paper ballots counted in public. A candidate will sign the C-FAR pledge if they want RAP to recommend that candidate to those who have taken the Bernie or Bust pledge. Candidates may commit to one or more of these pledges, which will determine their standing with RAP members. Their standing depends only on the C-FAR pledge taken or not taken by their competitors. It is up to the voter to distinguish between a candidate who pledges to all eleven items or to only a single item. (Victor says that there’s no pledge related to forsaking corporate or PAC money. “But there should be,“ he told me. He said that this is version one of the pledge and it will improve over time.)

For comparison, here are the other major progressive candidate-endorsing organizations, from the least to most restrictive:

Although the C-FAR organization is not directly associated to RAP, RAP requires candidates to take the pledge.


From the RAP Twitter page

The goal of RAP’s “electoral revolt“ is a peaceful revolution. Towards the end of our interview, I asked Victor if he felt the peaceful revolution is actually going to happen. His response was sobering. After a very long pause he said:

No.

To be honest. All right, I could lie and give you some wishful thinking. But I have a social science background and just looking at it objectively, I think these creeps are going to cling to power. I think the system is going to collapse. Somehow we may rise out of the ashes. It won’t be me or you, we’ll be long gone. But somehow humans may rise out of the ashes and create something a little more just….

Unless there’s some sort of, I don’t want to say divine intervention, but some sort of mass awakening, I don’t think we’re going to have the peaceful revolution that we desperately need.

After our interview, Victor wrote me the following:

There needs to be a new, revolutionary consciousness from the proverbial 99%; or the human race is facing complete climate collapse. Reading, for example, the last three chapters of Bernie or Bust, One Party Planet and the essays of Chris Hedges and Australian Caitlin Johnstone are not enough. People need to share this book just as I shared (recommended reading) One Party Planet in Philly and again in Chapter 11 and recommended more people read Hedges and Johnstone as a means to expand humanity as a whole to a new awareness required if the left-populists are going to have enough support in elections to defeat the candidates of the plutocratic establishment.

An innovative read-and-share this book strategy was designed to enlighten not just the people who pay it forward and buy this book to read, but ten times that many as the book circulates in society when readers follow the one, single instruction given to people in possession of a copy of Bernie or Bust. Patrick and I are trying to foment revolution. Now it’s up to the people to either make that happen (share this book) or we face literal and near certain extinction of our own causing.

We can make the world over again, and it starts with a new consciousness, a revolutionary consciousness outlined in the last three chapters of this ambitious book with an assist from the free, online One Party Planet which covers a topic we build on in the conclusion of Bernie or Bust.

Other topics discussed in our interview:

  • How Modern Money Theory (MMT) could change the world if only the powerless would come to understand it. MMT demonstrates how many truly works and confirms how dramatically misled the American people have been for decades – all to the benefit of the powerful.
  • The progressive movement sparked by Bernie Sanders and his 2016 presidential campaign. Victor and I also discuss his flaws, his prospects for 2020, and the dementer/demexit strategy.
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