Sanders isn’t among the most popular politicians in America despite his socialist past and identity – but because of it.
By Bhaskar Sunkara
The Guardian (6/13/19)
In a speech yesterday at George Washington University [6/12] in Washington DC, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders brilliantly articulated what he means when he calls himself a democratic socialist.
With characteristic concision, he decried the rule of “a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires”, and argued that the future belongs to either rightwing nationalism or democratic socialism, which he defined as a bedrock set of economic and social rights.
Even for many sympathizers, Sanders’ decision to call himself a socialist has always been controversial. The label strikes some as an anachronism – or even a liability, distracting from a broadly popular progressive vision. Americans, we are told, still fear the S-word and imagine breadlines and gulags when it’s invoked.
We’re used to politicians that vacillate, triangulate, “evolve”. Sanders has done none of these things – he has maintained astounding message discipline for half a century.
Sanders first found his ideology and political voice in the Young People’s Socialist League, the youth section of the ailing Socialist Party of America. When Sanders joined in the 1960s, the party was a shell of what it was in the early 20th century, when Eugene V Debs got almost a million votes for president and the party had hundreds of elected officials.
Civil rights and labor struggle
Even in its weakened state, however, American socialism was able to nurture and train Sanders. Through the movement, he came to an understanding of the world from which he has never departed: the rich aren’t misguided; they have a vested interest in protecting their wealth and power and keeping millions of others at their mercy. We can’t just design better policy – to build a more just world, we need to take power from the control of the rich and democratize it. With this awareness, Sanders, then a University of Chicago student, committed himself to the civil rights and labor struggles of the era.
Sanders’ first forays into electoral politics were still on the fringes of American political life – as a 1972 Senate candidate for Vermont’s leftwing Liberty Union party, he won just 2.2% of the vote. But his simple message reflected the moral clarity and vision of the old Socialist party …
Bernie Sanders vs The Corporate Dem Establishment: What The Struggle Is Really About
Sanders is sparking a debate within the Democratic party about whether courting big dollars is the only way to stay competitive.
By Zaid Jalani
The Guardian (4/28/19)
In a crowded Democratic presidential primary field, there is one candidate who has drawn sustained opposition from party elites: Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders. The New York Times reports that major donors, party operatives, senior lawmakers and rival candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg have been attending private meetings where they discuss, among other things, how to prevent a Sanders nomination.
One explanation for why a party would try to stop the ascendancy of a certain candidate is electability. But that explanation is weak: Sanders has maintained high national favorability ratings, and is outperforming the incumbent Republican, Donald Trump, in polling. …
- FOX News Poll: Bernie Sanders Would Wallup Trump By 9 Points — A nationwide Fox News poll released Sunday shows President Donald Trump trailing Senator Bernie Sanders, 49 percent to 40 percent among all registered voters nationwide. The Fox poll also showed Biden leading Trump by 49 percent to 39 percent. Also beating Trump in the poll were Senators Elizabeth Warren (43%-41%) and Kamala Harris (42%-41%), and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (41%-40%) of South Bend, Indiana. Also, support for impeachment is up five points among Democrats since June 2018 (69 percent vs. 74 percent now) and up 15 among independents (25 percent to 40 percent today). About 9 in 10 Republicans have consistently opposed impeachment. … Read the Rest
Bernie Flipped The Script! Let’s Capture This Energy To Organize
Democratic Socialists Of America (6/14/19)
Wow! Bernie’s speech this week flipped the script. Socialism isn’t on trial here — capitalism is.
Refusing to cave to Trump’s fear mongering, refusing to fall for the Wall Street Democrats’ concern trolling, Bernie framed the fight for democratic socialism as the fight for democracy and freedom against rising authoritarianism — and the only way we can beat it.
What can you do next? The first round of Democratic Party debates will be Wednesday 6/26 and Thursday 6/27. Bernie will be on the stage on Thursday the 27th. RSVP here to organize a DSA for Bernie event that week! When you RSVP, we’ll send you resources to help with your event.
Why? Because we, the people who stand with Bernie and the movement he is building, understand that he’ll push back against the interest of big corporations, millionaires, and billionaires, and fight for the programs that will make all of our lives better — Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, free college for all, and more!
The debates will show the world what’s at stake with this election. Bernie will debate Biden and others on Thursday, June 27th at 9pm ET/8pm CT/7pm MT/6pm PT. The contradictions within the Democratic Party will be live on stage. Millions of people will see who’s here to make the lives of working people better, and who’s here to shill for big donors and capitalism.
This is a great opportunity for DSAers to organize a DSA for Bernie event! Here are some suggested activities for that week:
- Host a watch party: great and easy way to get people excited about Bernie — all you need to do is find a location, do some turn out, and print a few materials.
- Host a voter registration event: talk with people in your community in a busy public location! You could do it right before or after the debate, to either invite people to your watch party or follow up with them after seeing Bernie talk about socialism.
- Host a canvass: similar to a voter registration event, but you can target it in a certain area to talk to people at home in an area that best works for your chapter.
We’ll send you resources and compliance guidelines for your event when you RSVP HERE.
Finally, make sure to amplify our message beyond your local community — share pictures and stories from your watch parties, voter registration events, or canvasses! Every picture you share helps motivate others and helps give a face to the movement we’re building. Use hashtags #dsa4bernie and #NoMiddleGround to help share far and wide!
Let’s get organizing!
DSA National Director