Bernie Sanders ‘political revolution’

 
BY:Joelle Fishman| June 25, 2015
Bernie Sanders ‘political revolution’

The presentation below was presented to the CPUSA National Board on June 10, 2015.

The context of the amazing outpouring and response to Bernie Sanders campaign is the uprising underway for a more just society. Across the country, pressure is mounting and social movements are building for a livable wage, to end racist attacks and police brutality, to stop fast track for TPP in the interest of jobs, the environment and democratic rights over corporate rule, to expand Scoial Security and end student debt.

Bernie Sanders is attracting thousands at each event because he presents a specific program squarely on the side of the 99%, challenging income inequality and financial domination of the country and of politics.

His campaign is shaking up the political landscape, “a political revolution,”as he says.

Bernie Sanders is getting a big response from people who are sick and tired of elections being bought by Wall St, people who have become angry and alienated from the political process, people who have been looking for a voice. His appeal is wide. Reports from grassroots house meetings and rallies in the south and mid west reveal that some Democratic leaders are on board, and some independents and Republicans are changing affiliation to support Bernie.

While all the points in his program have long had majority support in the polls, Bernie himself has said that he is stunned by the huge turnouts as he campaigns around the country.  Days after he announced, the Wisconsin Democratic convention held a straw poll. Hillary Clinton was chosen by 49% and Bernie Sanders was chosen by 41% of delegates.

Soon after, the South Carolina AFL-CIO passed a resolution calling upon the national AFL CIO to endorse Bernie Sanders as the “strongest candidate articulating labor’s values.” The resolution says, “Labor must step up to fundamentally change the direction of American politics by refocusing on the issues of our time: growing inequality and pervasive racism; the power of concentrated wealth and its corruption of our democracy; an escalating pension and retirement security crisis, runaway military spending and a militarized foreign policy, Medicare for All, and the need for new, bold solutions to our shared problems.”

In other early labor support, the UE General Executive Board endorsed Bernie Sanders. The campaign has been well received by steel worker retirees. An open letter of support from union leaders and members is being circulated on-line.

The latest endorsement comes from Neil Young, after Donald Trump had the audacity to play “Rockin in the Free World” at his campaign announcement yesterday. Neil Young’s manager says use of the song was not authorized and that Young is a long-time supporter of Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders has a life-long record and relationship with labor. To create the kind of unity that can move our country forward, such a specific outreach based in his strong record is critical as well with the African American, Latino, Native American, Asian Pacific communities, women and youth.

A national campaign to popularize and build support for the Employ Young Americans Now Act introduced by Bernie Sanders (S 1506) and John Conyers (HR 2714) is a powerful link to both the Fight for 15 and Black Lives Matter. This legislation would provide $5.5 billion for states and local governments to employ 1 million youth from ages 16 to 24 years old.

“The answer to unemployment and poverty is not and cannot be the mass incarceration of young African Americans,” Sanders said.  “It’s time to bring hope and economic opportunity to communities across the country.”

The Sanders campaign is a wonderful development for 2016 and beyond in many ways.  

  • 1) The Sanders campaign can shift the dialog from the right wing and objectively boost the various initiatives underway around the country for a progressive agenda.

 

  • 2) The campaign has the potential to inspire people to engage in the political process and increase voter turnout. It has the potential to help create progressive structures, campaigns and coalitions at the local level to shift the political climate.

 

  • 3) It is already changing the political debate within the Democratic primary and the Democratic Party.

 

  • 4) Sanders identifying as a democratic socialist opens up long-term discussion about what socialism is and could be in our country, and makes socialism respectable. It offers the possibility to deepen the discussion about socialism, third parties and political independence in and outside the Democratic Party.

 

All of this is a huge contribution toward the strategic electoral goal of defeating the extreme right wing. Sanders himself has been careful to emphasize he is not campaigning against Hillary Clinton (or Lincoln Chaffee or Martin O’Malley), he is campaigning to take on the corporate agenda of the Republicans and offer positive solutions.

In Vermont, where he was first elected Mayor of Burlington, Sanders always ran independent with the broadest kind of approach and coalition building and with an emphasis on issues that improve people’s lives. He is elected to the U.S. Senate as an independent (last election with 72% of the vote) but caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate. He made the decision to run in the Democratic primary because he determined that he could never raise enough money to get heard otherwise in a presidential campaign given current electoral structures.

A winning approach for 2016 starts with the issues and by connecting with emerging social movements Black Lives Matter and the Fight for $15 and local campaigns and coalitions. This is a unifying approach that keeps the focus against the extreme right-wing with a positive agenda.

The Sanders campaign offers a unique opportunity to initiate committees and community conversations on the issues. The doors are wide open to organize as broadly as possible with activists and coalitions.

Campaign house parties and local events can be promoted on-line to spread the word about what Bernie Sanders stands for.

At the grass roots across the country, Bernie Sanders is not necessarily a household name. As well, the corporate media does not want this name and program to be known. Introducing who Bernie Sanders is, what positions he is running on, and the bigger significance of his campaign cam be brought to every community in a way that is inclusive of those in progressive circles who support Hillary Clinton or others.

The South Carolina AFL CIO Resolution is an example of what other organizations could also consider. and share via social media.

Building for the long-term, beyond the election, in local election districts, is an essential ingredient in the strategy to defeat the extreme right wing and go onto the offensive for people’s needs.

As peoplesworld.org and cpusa.org launch new websites the ability to share these ideas increases. Combining on-line communications with building door to door in key working class communities can be instrumental in getting out the vote and organizing year round.

Writing up local experiences and analysis for the People’s World will attract more new readers and can contribute to bigger coalition building and inspiring the disengaged to get involved.

There are times in history when things move fast. This may be one of those times.

 

 

 

Author

    Joelle Fishman chairs the Connecticut Communist Party USA. She is a Commissioner on the City of New Haven Peace Commission, serves on the executive board of the Alliance of Retired Americans in Connecticut and is an active member of many economic rights and social justice organizations. She was a candidate for Congress from 1973 to 1982, maintaining minor-party ballot status for the Communist Party in Connecticut's Third Congressional District. As chair of the CPUSA Political Action Commission, she has played an active role in the broad labor and people's alliance that defeated the ultra-right in the 2008 elections and continues to mobilize for health care, worker rights and peace.

     

     

Comments (26)

Arbitrary Design | March 01, 2016 at 10:11 AM

What Bernie Sanders offers is clearly identified in “The Communist Manifesto”. See the section titled “CONSERVATIVE, OR BOURGEOIS, SOCIALISM”. Marx/Engels: “A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances, in order to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society. To this section belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of the condition of the working class, organisers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind.”

Bernie Sanders => “hole-and-corner reformer”!

At no point does Bernie Sanders advocate reducing hours of labour.

    Andalusian | May 13, 2016 at 7:03 AM

    You’ve hit the nail on the head

DennyOR | February 29, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Bernie thanks you for the coveted endorsement!

Matthew | February 22, 2016 at 4:58 PM

Communism killed 100 Million+ people and therefore it is the most murderous ideology in the world. It has failed everywhere it has been tried. Don’t think you can succeed this time. Bernie sanders will be doomed to fail if elected. Shame on you.

Fractal Math-Math | February 18, 2016 at 12:26 AM

I think it’s worth it if CPUSA outlined the differences between communism and what Bernie’s policies are, for the benefit of Bernie. Unfortunately, communism still has extreme stigma attached to it from the Cold War era, and people are calling Bernie a communist. If the CPUSA released an official statement detailing the differences between what Bernie wants to do and what CPUSA would do (i.e. outlining the differences between dem. socialism and communism), I think it would boost Bernie’s popularity if the communist party themselves point out that Bernie is not a communist.

Because I’m sick and tired of having to explain to people how Bernie is not a communist. It’d be easier to link them to an official communist page that details the differences between communism and what Bernie wants to do.

I don’t know if I’m being clear on my reasoning or not. I’m awfully tired and want to mention this before I forget it.

freedixie | February 11, 2016 at 2:34 PM

Bernie, you are an idiot. You said that putting young blacks in jail was not the way to eliminate poverty. No, but it sure helps cut down on the crime, since they commit about 85% of it. Socialism doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked any place else, so why do you think it will work here? You Marxists nutjobs have been shoving our country down the toilet for decades, and we are on about the last swirl in the bowl before we are completely flushed into oblivion. You communists in the District of Corruption don’t get it; YOU work for US, not the other way around. There is this great document called the Constitution. You should all read it sometime. It was written by some really smart men who said the government has LIMITED powers, NOT UNlimited, which is what we have today. It is way past time to put the government back into the box it is supposed to be in, but that will not happen by continuing to do what we have been doing, and that is putting a regular Demoncrap or RepubliCON into office because you are all the same. This country is run by traitorous communists, and you are no different.

Arthur Yagudayev | February 09, 2016 at 7:35 PM

It is time for America to wake up! Bernie Sanders is the right path not just for America, but for the world. The last thing we need Clinton who is extremely corrupt and Trump that racist rich pig. We need Bernie and Warren.

We need “democratic” socialism and we need it now!

Larry | February 06, 2016 at 11:44 PM

Lets not Forget Hitler was a socialist too

Larry | February 06, 2016 at 11:43 PM

Lets not forget Hitler was a socialist too…

Joe | January 28, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Commie fux should be lined up and shot.

AntiFOX | January 10, 2016 at 7:13 PM

Thank for that article!
As Jill Stein is totally chanceless, let’s support Bernie! He might not be a ‘real’ socialist, but his agenda is the only sane alternative for America’s future.

Bob Brucker | December 26, 2015 at 1:09 AM

“Sanders himself has been careful to emphasize he is not campaigning against Hillary Clinton (or Lincoln Chaffee or Martin O’Malley), he is campaigning to take on the corporate agenda of the Republicans and offer positive solutions.”

By far the biggest corporate shill of this campaign is Democrat Hillary Clinton and she is #1 in corporate campaign contributions over any of the Republicans. Seems like the author is at a minimum, twisting the truth on this issue. Occupy Wall street has shown itself to be a fraud by endorsing Democrats who kissed Wall street butt and bailed them all out. The only consistant group opposed to outright corporate ass-kissing is the Tea Party.

Victor | October 11, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Communism aka Socialism or Liberalism is a failed system which is nothing else but a huge Ponzi scheme that ends when other people’s money ends.

Kaetlyn | October 01, 2015 at 11:19 AM

Sounds like a fascinating world…utopia. Government-run EVERYTHING…no need for anything outside that which government provides for you. Forget competition…everyone will receive what they need to survive…no need to excel so you can have extras one does not need. No need to own anything…that’s good because the Government owns everything. Hand over half your income for taxes…to pay for all that’s provided to you by the Government…you have no choices. Government shuts off the outside world…moves the country back a hundred years. Move from corporations that hire people…to farming for food and forget clothing and food selections at the stores…very limited. Healthcare free…if you want to wait weeks and months to get in for treatments. Oh yeah…a great life…power and corruption moved from Corporations to Government.

Kaetlyn | October 01, 2015 at 11:17 AM

Sounds like a fascinating world…utopia. Government-run EVERYTHING…no need for anything outside that which government provides for you. Forget competition…everyone will receive what they need to survive…no need to excel so you can have extras one does not need. No need to own anything…that’s good because the Government owns everything. Hand over half your income for taxes…to pay for all that’s provided to you by the Government…you have no choices. Government shuts off the outside world…moves the country back a hundred years. Move from corporations that hire people…to farming for food and forget clothing and food selections at the stores…very limited. Healthcare free…if you want to wait weeks and months to get in for treatments. Oh yeah…a great life…power and corruption moved from Corporations to Government.

Kaetlyn | October 01, 2015 at 11:15 AM

Sound like a fascinating world…utopia. Government-run EVERYTHING…no need for anything outside that which government provides for you. Forget competition…everyone will receive what they need to survive…no need to excel so you can have extras one does not need. No need to own anything…that’s good because the Government owns everything. Hand over half your income for taxes…to pay for all that’s provided to you by the Government…you have no choices. Government shuts off the outside world…moves the country back a hundred years. Move from corporations that hire people…to farming for food and forget clothing and food selections at the stores…very limited. Healthcare free…if you want to wait weeks and months to get in for treatments. Oh yeah…a great life…power and corruption moved from Corporations to Government.

Doc Greene | September 10, 2015 at 6:38 PM

Communism or its little brother socialism have much to offer the American public. Lowered standards of living, less food, limited choices shared misery . What’s not to like

commies suck | August 13, 2015 at 4:07 AM

you guys suck. Bernie is an idiot

Rev. Paul Clark | August 11, 2015 at 6:26 PM

Thanks so much for this thoughtful analysis of the Sanders’ campaign and how it fits beautifully into the many struggles for Justice that the nation faces. The ending is absolutely accurate. As I tell my students, there are times when History opens a door…and it is essential that we push right through to the other side.

Al M. | July 13, 2015 at 8:17 AM

As the commentary in the newest issue of the Blue Collar Review states, “We are witnessing the long overdue growth of populist resistance to corporate tyranny and to the corruption of government by big money influence. With this comes the vital discovery of common ground and the spread of working class consciousness. This is exemplified by the significant and growing support for Bernie Sanders. We are also seeing more awareness of and resistance to institutional racism and to racist police misconduct with some action being taken to demilitarize abusive police and to hold them accountable.

We still have a long way to go, but that we have made any progress at all on this and other issues is due in no small part to massive citizen activism.

Real sustained progress requires an organized ongoing mass movement. Ensuring the vigor, popular support and duration of that movement requires a cultural paradigm shift. We must see a rejection of the alienated, divisive, violent egoism promoted by corporate media, reclaiming and strengthening a culture of class-conscious solidarity.”

Bernie Sanders, like Occupy, is touching a sensitive nerve of progressive class consciousness that exists in this country and that has been exacerbated by the real and painful reality of neo-liberal economics. This presents the greatest opportunity for us since the great depression.

It’s time for the CPUSA to turn away from compromising opportunism and help build the movement necessary to defeat capitalism once and for all. As Sanders demonstrates, the popular support is there.

Kaden Moeller | July 03, 2015 at 9:07 PM

I love how Bernie is trying to reverse Paul Wyrick the election. Instead of focusing on negative adds, he’s trying to inspire people to what America could be, this will increase voter turnout, the people want to shoot for the moon again, not wallow in the drudgery of the ‘can’t do’ spirit that seems so pervasive in the here and now of American politics. This really will be a grassroots movement, the elites really hate that they can’t drown out Bernie with the shadow of silence, so now they continue to say “He’s unelectable” trying to make a self fulfilling prophesy, keep repeating the lie and it becomes reality. Well, I think Gandhi said it perfectly.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Ron McMullen | July 03, 2015 at 12:13 AM

Islamophobia is not a right wing attempt to divide the people. Islam itself is very conservative on women’s rights, gay rights, and separation of church and state.
The Kurdish Communists are fighting a brave battle against the Islamic State, which they consider to be an
abomination because it commits horrible crimes against
humanity – all in the name of heaven.

David Wilder | June 30, 2015 at 12:40 PM

“Sanders himself has been careful to emphasize he is not campaigning against Hillary Clinton (or Lincoln Chaffee or Martin O’Malley), he is campaigning to take on the corporate agenda of the Republicans and offer positive solutions.”

So he is not campaigning against the corporate agenda of Democrats. He is running as a Democrat, representing a capitalist/war party.

E.E.W. Clay | June 30, 2015 at 11:46 AM

The economic and political life, which in turn, makes the consciousness of groups and individuals, is always changing-always new.
What we can do as activists, to tap this awesome newness, this change, is what is in the balance for the workers and communists in the 2016 elections.
Too many leftist “activists” are too early on, summarizing, editorializing, memorializing or condemning the Bernie Sanders campaign, naming Sanders a “Democrat”, failing to report the factual events of Sander’s political evolution-and especially the consistent working class support that has brought his campaign, his victorious U. S. Senate station, knocking at the door of the U. S. presidency. The vast possibilities from that station, to further tap this broad working class and community support, are truly yet to be seen-especially when infused with the spirit, work and song of that class.
This fighting article by sister Joelle Fishman is full of the community’s inclusiveness, not to mention people’s well-being, progress, coalition building, and especially socialism and communism(not by name)-a discussion the working class in the United States sorely needs.
To make this discussion, it is Yes to local fights to stop genocide against all peoples of color, it is Yes to bettering the wages and conditions of work, education, and retirement of younger and older workers, Yes to local, state, regional, national and international coalitions to enhance the working class vote, and to have us determine our own political and economic future.
No to the multi-national and transnational corporate billionaires, the military, penal, intelligence, repression complex(es) which diminish the international working class.

| June 29, 2015 at 8:27 AM
Lorenzo Canizares | June 26, 2015 at 5:34 PM

Excellent article! It clearly delineates Sanders political wisdom.

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