Bernie Sanders Too

America’s prominent “socialist” Senator joins the hysterical-chauvinist campaign against China

By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 17 February 2023,


One of the most spectacular issues in world politics in the last three weeks was the hysteria of the U.S. ruling class about a Chinese balloon. After shooting it down, the U.S Air Force destroyed three additional “unidentified flying objects” – an unprecedent incident in peacetime.

We wrote at that time that “[i]t is most likely that such objects are harmless things like weather balloons or Wi-Fi balloons.” [1] This has been confirmed now as U.S. President Biden had to admit: “The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.[2]

This is an embarrassing statement after the Pentagon claimed that these objects would endanger national security, could be surveillance balloons of China or even extraterrestrials! Of course, such a fiasco does not stop the U.S. President to put on a strongman act. “Make no mistake, if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people I will take it down.[3]

As we explained in our article, this incident represents another escalation of the rivalry between the two strongest imperialist powers – the U.S. and China. [4] Such a militaristic dynamic is inevitable in the current historic period of capitalist decay.

A far more explosive result of such militarist tendencies is the Ukraine War – a conflict where the Ukrainian people defend themselves against Putin’s attempt to colonialise the country and which, at the same time, the U.S. and Western Europe try to utilise for their own interests. [5]

One week ago, we reported that the nine members of the so-called “Squad” – a group of “socialists” in the U.S. House of Representatives – had supported a bill with the telling title “Condemning the Chinese Communist Party's use of a high-altitude surveillance balloon over United States territory as a brazen violation of United States sovereignty”. Basically, this was a chauvinist resolution calling for support of the imperialist “fatherland” against the arch-enemy in East Asia. [6]

On 15 February, the Senate – the other chamber of the U.S. Congress – adopted two similar-worded resolutions. They stated, among others, that “the Senate condemns the Chinese Communist Party’s invasion of United States airspace to conduct surveillance”. They also determined “that it should be the policy of the United States to act promptly, responsibly, and decisively to deter and stop foreign aerial surveillance platforms violating United States sovereignty, including those directed by or connected to the CCP.” [7]

The two bills were adopted unanimously – like the previous statement of the House of Representatives. [8] This means that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders joined his colleagues in condemning the “Chinese Communist Party’s invasion” which would threaten the “United States sovereignty”.

Sanders is not only America’s most prominent “socialist” but also a leading figure of the so-called “Progressive International” – an alliance of bourgeois populists and reformists like Lula, Varoufakis and Corbyn. [9] Basically, the “Progressive International” is an advocate of a “multi-polar order”, an illusionary concept of a global imperialist order where Great Powers like the U.S., China, Western Europe, Russia and Japan would peacefully coexist. [10]

Sanders’ support for the Senate’s patriotic bills – like the “Squad’s” vote for a similar House of Representatives’ resolution – are shameful acts which demasks once more the true colours of these “socialists”! [11] They show that these “left-wing” figureheads might talk a lot about “international solidarity” and “workers’ rights” … but in the hour of truth – when the “fatherland” is threatened by a Chinese balloon – they close ranks with their colleagues of the Democratic and Republican Party and rally to the defence of U.S. imperialism!

One can easily differentiate an authentic socialist from a social-patriot in times of chauvinist hysteria like the recent weeks in the U.S. Clearly, Sanders and the “Squad” certainly did not pass the test! The same is true, we note in passing, with Russia’s Stalinist main parties – Zyuganov’s KPRF, Tyulkin’s RKRP and the OKP – which all support Putin’s war against the Ukraine.

Finally, it shall not go unnoticed that “Socialist Alternative” in the U.S. – which is the leading section of the pseudo-Trotskyist ISA and whose most prominent figurehead is Kshama Sawant – has not published a single article or statement about the “balloon crisis” until now. [12] Could this have been motivated by their close political relationship with Sanders and the “Squad”?

We close this article by reiterating that socialists must oppose all Great Powers (U.S., China, Russia, Western Europe and Japan). They need to stand up against all forms of chauvinism, militarism, sanctions policy, “defence of the imperialist fatherland”, etc. They have to fight for the principles of international working-class solidarity and in defence of oppressed peoples (from Afghanistan and Iraq to Ukraine, Chechnya and East Turkmenistan).

[1] Michael Pröbsting: U.S.-China Rivalry: Air Cowboys. The U.S. Air Force shot down four flying objects in eight days as China announced a similar move, 13 February 2023,

[2] Quoted in Al Jazeera: Biden says flying objects likely tied to private sector, research, 16 February 2023,;

[4] On the inter-imperialist rivalry between the U.S. and China see our latest statement: RCIT: Chip Sanctions: Another Step towards War between U.S. and China. Neither Washington nor Beijing! Revolutionary defeatism against all imperialist Great Powers!, 25 October 2022,, see on this also our book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019,

[5] We refer readers to a special page on our website where more than 150 RCIT documents on the Ukraine War and the current NATO-Russia conflict are compiled: In particular we refer to two Manifestos of the RCIT: Ukraine War: A Turning Point of World Historic Significance. Socialists must combine the revolutionary defense of the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion with the internationalist struggle against Russian as well as NATO and EU imperialism, 1 March 2022,; Manifesto on the First Anniversary of the Ukraine War. Victory to the heroic Ukrainian people! Defeat Russian imperialism! No support whatsoever for NATO imperialism! 10 February 2023,

[6] Michael Pröbsting: The Chinese Balloon and America’s “Socialists”. The so-called “Squad” joins the hysterical campaign of U.S. imperialism, 10 February 2023,

[7] See 118th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Resolution 66: Condemning the use by the People’s Republic of China of a high-altitude surveillance balloon over the territory of the United States as a brazen violation of United States sovereignty; Senate Resolution 49: Expressing the sense of the Senate that the Chinese Communist Party’s espionage mission to send a surveillance balloon across the United States, in violation of international law, is unacceptable and should be condemned.

[8] See United States of America: Congressional Record. Proceedings and Debates of the 118th Congress, First Session, Washington, Wednesday, 15 February 2023, Vol. 169, No. 31; see also Karoun Demirjian: Senate Unanimously Condemns China for Spy Balloon, Joining the House, New York Times, 15 February 2023,

[9] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: “Athens Declaration” on Ukraine War: A Disorientation Smoke Grenade. Critique of a statement issued by the “Progressive International” of Sanders, Lula, Varoufakis and Corbyn, 17 May 2022,

[10] See on this, among others, our pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: Servants of Two Masters. Stalinism and the New Cold War between Imperialist Great Powers in East and West, 10 July 2021,

[11] See e.g. Michael Pröbsting: I Don't Want to Wage War, But If I Have to ... On Bernie Sanders and the liberal left in the U.S. in the current NATO-Russia conflict, 11 February 2022,; by the same author: The Next Round of Escalation in the Global Trade War. After negotiations ended without results, the U.S. imposes new tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing retaliates, 13 May 2019,; see also Yossi Schwartz: Once Again: Opportunism of US Left Exposed. An Analysis of the US 2016 Elections Campaign, 14 August 2016,