Why I support Bernie Sanders
by Richard Macias, Chicanos for Bernie
I want to tell you why I support Sen. Bernie Sanders and why this election will be the most important election in our lives.
Every four years we’re given the opportunity to select a President for the ruling class! To choose one of a handful of Representatives that have been handpicked by a handful of even more powerful people known as Plutocrats! These powerful people have handpicked another batch for us to choose from! All except for one… This time their boat has been rocked, and their grip is being loosened! One candidate has entered the fray without their help and consent and has shaken the establishment to its core! He’s sweeping the country by storm calling for a Political Revolution! Can you feel it?
Bernie Sanders has been blazing his own trail for 50 years! As the son of Polish immigrants who fled for their lives from the Nazi war machine, came to this country without a nickel in their pocket, and made a new life out of little opportunity. When Bernie was born his parents didn’t have much but gave him what money can’t buy, love for your brothers and respect for your sisters! As a young man he got a college education at Brooklyn College and eventually furthered his education at the University of Chicago. While a student he became involved with and eventually was a leader of SNCC, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. He and other members began to peacefully protest the segregated housing policy that had been the norm for as long as the University existed. They held a sit in front of the Chancellor’s office until the university finally relented and reversed their segregated housing policy!
This was the first peaceful civil rights protest in Chicago, it was successful, and it was led by Bernie Sanders. His early activism empowered him to stand up to a corrupt political system! In 1964 he followed Dr. Martin Luther King on his March on Washington.
I won’t give you his autobiography, you can do a search and read all about him, but I wanted you to know about his early years because Sen. Sanders has always been on the right side of history! As Mayor of Burlington he was ranked as one of the top mayors! When he was reelected he won dramatically, drawing support from Democrats and Republicans as well as Independents!
As an Independent Congressman he campaigned for Jesse Jackson in 1988. During that campaign he visited Israel and Palestine and although he supports Israel’s right to defend itself, he saw the plight of the Palestinian people and declared that they deserve to be recognized and called for a Palestinian State!
He was a fierce opponent of NAFTA, and correctly predicted that US manufacturing would suffer and jobs would be lost! He was against DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, and Mandatory Minimum prison terms which were controversial issues during Bill Clinton’s presidency. He opposed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and opposed the repeal of Glass-Steagall which he correctly predicted would allow the biggest financial institutions to gamble with the savings of working people and threaten the economy! In 2008 we saw that prediction come true as we were brought to the brink of depression and the collapse of our economic system!
In 2008 immigrant farm workers in Immokalee, FL who were forced to live in squalor and work long hours picking tomatoes for meager wages, had the audacity to stand up to demand better wages and working conditions and began to strike against a corporation who contracted with the grower, Taco Bell! These workers tried everything they could to get media attention and support for their fight. Then Bernie decided to go meet these hard-working immigrants. He invited them to DC to speak to a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to tell of the conditions that they were forced to endure! Sanders made a poignant statement during those hearings: “In America today we are seeing a race to the bottom. The middle class is collapsing, poverty is increasing. What I saw in Immokalee is the bottom in the race to the bottom.”
Shortly thereafter Taco Bell agreed to raise the price they paid for those tomatoes by a penny per pound! Within months other corporate establishments followed suit and these workers finally got what they worked so hard for! And Bernie was there!
Bernie has fought the establishment. He hasn’t always been successful but he has never backed down because he knows that the people who hired him expect nothing less! He fought against the Keystone XL pipeline. His biggest concern in fact is Climate Change, as it is mine. The politicians in Washington that are bought out by the petroleum industry get paid well to deny it which is why we need to reverse Citizens United so our elected representatives aren’t beholden to corporations, and we need to stop the TPP! Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who understands the gravity of this situation!
There are many other reasons to support Bernie. Because he wants to strengthen Social Security, or for the chance to get a public college education tuition free! It might be because he’s trying to make it easier to join a Union and to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions! Or it could be his idea that we need to have Single Payer healthcare. Or that he wants to end Citizens United, break up the Too Big To Fail financial institutions and bring back Glass-Steagall! The list goes on… Like ending the for-profit Private Prison Industry, or Comprehensive Immigration reform! The reasons are many.
We have only one opportunity to take back our government from the oligarchs, we have little time left to save our planet, and there’s only one person who’s capable of these great challenges! Stand up, be counted, let your voices be heard, join this political Revolution, and let’s all FEEL THE BERN!
Bernie Sanders’ Phantom Movement
by Chris Hedges (Excerpts)
Bernie Sanders says he is creating a movement and a political revolution. This is an updated version of the “change” promised by Barack Obama and by Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. Such Democratic electoral campaigns, at best, raise political consciousness. They don’t become movements or engender revolutions. They exist as election campaigns and then vanish. Sanders’ campaign will be no different. No movement will be built within the confines of the Democratic Party. The repeated failure of the U.S. left to grasp the duplicitous game played by the political elites have neutered it as a political force.
The Democrats, like the Republicans, have no interest in genuine reform. They’re wedded to corporate power. They speak of democracy, liberal reform and populism, but block campaign finance reform and promote policies, including trade agreements, that disempower workers. They rig the elections, with so-called super-delegates, more than 700 at the Democratic convention. Sanders received 60% in New Hampshire, but came away with fewer of the state’s delegates than Clinton.
If Sanders is denied the nomination—the Clinton machine and the Party establishment, along with their corporate puppet masters, will use every dirty trick to ensure he loses—his movement and political revolution will evaporate. His mobilized base will be fossilized into donor and volunteer lists. The curtain will come down until the next election carnival.
The Democratic Party is a full partner in the corporate state. Sanders, while critical of Clinton’s exorbitant speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, refuses to call out the party as handmaidens of Wall Street. It makes the senator complicit in the con game being played on the electorate by the Party establishment.
Do Sanders’ supporters believe they can wrest power from the Democratic establishment and transform the party? In Europe, the Democratic Party would be [considered] far-right. The growth of protofascists will be halted only when a left movement embraces unequivocal militancy to defend the rights of workers and move toward the destruction of corporate power. As long as the left keeps surrendering to a Democratic Party that mouths liberal values while serving corporate interests, it will destroy itself. It will stoke the rage of the underclass, especially the white underclass, and empower racist, retrograde political forces. Fascism thrives on despair, betrayal and a bankrupt liberalism. The Democrats, like the Republicans, have no intention of halting the assault on our civil liberties, the expansion of imperial wars, the coddling of Wall Street, the destruction of the ecosystem and the impoverishment of workers. The only effective resistance will be achieved through acts of sustained, mass civil disobedience.
The Democratic establishment’s response to any internal insurgency is to crush it, coopt it and rewrite the rules to make a future insurgency impossible. This was true in 1948 with Henry Wallace and in 1972 with George McGovern—two politicians who, unlike Sanders, took on the war industry— and in the 1984 and 1988 insurgencies led by Jackson.
Sanders said that if he doesn’t receive the nomination he’ll support the party nominee; he won’t be a “spoiler.” If that happens, Sanders will become part of the Democratic establishment’s campaign to neutralize the left.
Sanders, I suspect, is aware that the left is broken and disorganized. The two parties have created innumerable obstacles to third parties, locking them out of the debates and keeping them off the ballot. I am all for a revolution, a word Sanders likes to throw around, but one that is truly socialist and destroys the corporate establishment, including the Democratic Party. I am for a revolution that demands the return of the rule of law, and not just for Wall Street, but those who wage preemptive war, order the assassination of U.S. citizens, allow the military to carry out domestic policing and then hold citizens without due process, who empower surveillance of the citizenry by the government.
I am for a revolution that brings under strict civilian control the military, and the security apparatus including the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security and police and drastically reduces their budgets and power. I am for a revolution that abandons imperial expansion, especially in the Middle East, and makes it impossible to profit from war. I am for a revolution that nationalizes banks, the arms industry, energy companies and utilities, breaks up monopolies, destroys the fossil fuel industry, funds the arts and public broadcasting, provides full employment and free education, forgives student debt, blocks repossessions and foreclosures, guarantees universal free health care and provides a living wage to those unable to work, especially single parents, the disabled and the elderly.
This will be a long desperate struggle. It will require open confrontation. The billionaire class and corporate oligarchs cannot be tamed. They must be overthrown. They will be overthrown in the streets, not in a convention hall. Convention halls are where the left goes to die.