BERNIE SANDERS = UNBELIEVABLY STRONG FOREIGN POLICIES AS MAYOR OF BURLINGTON VERMONT
“Inside the mind of Bernie Sanders: unbowed, unchanged, and unafraid of a good fight” by Paul Lewis June 24, 2015
SANDERS = Sent letters he sent to the Soviet Union, China, the UK and France, urging military disarmament in conjunction with the UN’s international disarmament week.
SANDERS = Broad embrace of international politics during his mayoral years stands apart from local elected officials elsewhere in the country.
Sanders memoir = “…how many cities of 10,000 have foreign policy? Well, we did.”
1981 LETTER TO: Chairman of the Chinese Communist party + General secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union + UK Downing Street + French Elysee + White House = “Like an unconscious and uncontrollable force, our planet appears to be drifting toward self-destruction,” the newly installed socialist leader of somewhere called Burlington wrote. He urged them “in the strongest possible way” to disarm militarily and begin immediate negotiations with other world leaders…Burlingtonians cannot calmly sit back and watch our planet be destroyed – with hundreds of millions of people incinerated.”
Sanders = Dozens of diplomatic initiatives = Influenced issues as diverse as apartheid in South Africa and the US invasion of Grenada.
July 1981, the UK’s prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, was informed that Burlington was “deeply disturbed” by what Sanders said was her government’s abuse, humiliation and mistreatment of prisoners in northern Ireland.
SANDERS = Wrote to the wife of François Mitterrand who was to visit the US and invited the French president’s wife, Danielle, to his “struggling socialist municipal government” in Vermont to speak on any topic of her choosing.
SANDERS = Wrote several letters to President Ronald Reagan relating to international affairs, most of which concerned Nicaragua, where the US was covertly funding a guerrilla war against the leftwing Sandinista government. In 1985, Sanders actually travelled to Nicaragua, for the sixth anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, and met the country’s president, Daniel Ortega. = Burlington’s mayor assured the Nicaraguan people that Americans “are fair minded people” who had more to offer “than the bombs and economic sabotage”. + “In the long run, I am certain that you will win and that your heroic revolution against the Somoza dictatorship will be maintained and strengthened.” = Sanders was the highest-ranking American official to visit Nicaragua at that time, and returned to the US intent, it seems, on acting as emissary between the two countries.
SANDERS = Letter to Reagan relayed that Ortega was willing to meet with Reagan to resolve the conflict. He also sought to enlist the help of the Democratic former president Jimmy Carter, telling him in a letter that he was highly thought of in Nicaragua. Sanders even invited Ortega to Burlington; the Nicaraguan leader politely declined.
SANDERS = Letter to then president Carter regarding US support of the contras in Nicaragua — Denounced the activities of the Reagan administration, which he said was under the influence of large corporations.
SANDERS = International expedition was hailed by the left across America and cemented Burlington’s reputation as a magnet for anti-establishment types. Chomsky was one of a long line of liberal thinkers, musicians and artists who flocked to the mountain city Including Allen Ginsberg (1986)
Sanders = Mantra “think globally, act locally” + “What you want to do is use your capabilities, whether you’re a mayor, governor, senator or president – whatever it is – to make this world a better place. During my time as mayor, the United States was involved in the support of the contras in Nicaragua, something that I thought was part of the long-term Latin America policy in support of rightwing oligarchies and against the needs of the poor people of the continent.”
Burlington’s solidarity with the Sandinistas = Cemented by a sister city relationship with the Nicaraguan coastal town of Puerto Cabezas. + Formed an alliance with another city in the Soviet Union, Yaroslavl, 160 miles north-east of Moscow, in 1988. = Trip doubled as a honeymoon with his new wife, Jane + A tape recorded Sanders interview with Yaroslavl’s mayor on a boat somewhere on the Volga river.
SANDERS = Visited Cuba and the Havana’s Mayor and he’d hoped to meet with Fidel Castro but did not.
SANDERS = In USSR with Mayor of Yaroslavl = Learned of their central planning and Sanders noted how the quality of both housing and healthcare in America was “significantly better” than in the communist state but added, “the cost of both services is much, much, higher in the United States.”
FACT: America’s longest-serving independent member of Congress, Bernie Sanders is unafraid of punching above his weight. = Ahead or close in the polls to ROTHSCHILDS MAFIA PUPPET Hillary Clinton for Democratic ticket for the White House.
FACT: SANDERS attracts the LARGEST CROWDS of any other candidate
Sanders’ closest friends, family, confidants and operatives say Sanders has spent a lifetime obsessed with the same issues that still drive him today.
FACT: “I am a United States senator, I did win my last election with 71% of the vote. So it’s not just like someone just walked in off the street and suddenly they’re Hillary Clinton’s main challenger. We’ve been doing this for a few years.”
Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1941, into a family struggling to get by on the low wage of his father, a Polish immigrant and paint salesman. “That created tensions for our parents, and that was an important part of our life,” said the senator’s 80-year-old brother, Larry, who now lives in Oxford, England, where he recently stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Green party.
Noam Chomsky = “I am glad that he’s doing it. But…our system…is not a democracy but a plutocracy.”
Sanders = Noam’s “right, we live in an increasingly oligarchic form of society, where billionaires are able to buy elections and candidates, and it is very difficult, not just for Bernie Sanders but for any candidate who represents working families…I think we do have a shot to win this thing.”
1974 solution to rising energy prices. “Bernard Sanders, the Liberty Union candidate for the United States Senate, today called for the public takeover of all privately owned electric companies in Vermont.” = A “dollar and cents” proposal rather than a forced appropriation of the means of producing energy.
1976 Spent a couple of years as a film-maker, selling educational film strips to schools across New England. His main project was a short documentary about his hero, Eugene Debs, an early 20th-century union leader who was a six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist party. + He still spends hours on YouTube watching political documentaries and biopics.
Sanders discounts academics who failed to ground their ideas in the real world.
Sanders = Against growing economic inequality, the corporate media, millionaires and billionaires, global warming, Obama’s Pacific trade deal and the Iraq and possible Syrian/Iran wars.
Sanders = PASSIONATELY Advocates for equal pay for women, tuition-free colleges and universities, an equitable tax system, the right to healthcare for all, an expansion of social security for the elderly, and tough action against + taxation of Wall Street banks.
SANDERS = “The best president in the history of the world – somebody courageous, smart, bold – that person will not be able to address the major crises that we face unless there is a mass political movement, unless there’s a political revolution in this country.”
FACT: SANDERS funding mostly comes from small-money donors, but he still raised more than any other presidential candidate who has disclosed their first-day tally.
Sanders campaign hired Revolution Messaging, the digital and social media firm that provided groundbreaking support to Barack Obama presidential campaign in 2008.
SANDERS BASE CAMPAIGN STAFF = Vermont old-timers who have been at the senator’s side for most of his career. + Refuses to hire the many Washington-based political consultancies that knock on his door. = “He has concerns that as you run for president, everybody who is president wants business from you and dollars from you…he should depend on his own good sense.”
SANDERS = Moral incentive for a “50-state strategy”, spreading resources more equitably across the country. = “self-organise, organically”.
SANDERS = Transition from the Affordable Care Act, toward the universal, single-payer system for healthcare = “kind of modelled on what the Canadians are doing”.
SANDERS = Make the income tax system more progressive and close tax loopholes for corporations and tax Wall Street stock transfers.
Sanders = Only mayor in the entire country who was neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and one of the few self-described socialists to gain public office. = Re-elected mayor three times, laying the foundations for the statewide election that made him Vermont’s only congressman in 1990.
Sanders = Mayor attuned to the needs of everyday people = Solved garbage problem + Built a bike path + Secured a minor league baseball team + Leverage his modest power base to affect change in places far away from Vermont.
Sanders = NOW Rarely talks about the plight of people overseas! because their is so much PLIGHT in AMERICA! = Focused on the needs of everyday Americans and more aligned with the bread-and-butter interests of voters = Economic inequality and the corruption of political power – SANDERS has never really changed. = Trace back in time to speechs or articles that is decades old but adopts the very same language. = Comparing soaring corporate profits and the accumulation of wealth at the top with a decline in real terms wages of average workers in 1974. + Attacked “giant banks and multimillion-dollar corporations” in 1981. + Sanders in 1996 spoke about the richest “one percent” + 1988 Sanders Said the ideal candidate for president would “recognise that we have an extreme disparity between rich and poor, that elections are bought and sold” = Same issues are the pillars of his bid for the White House in 2016.
Sanders = COMMITTED to solving economic injustice
Sanders = Never contemplated following Ralph Nader’s example and running for president as an independent. = NOT a “spoiler” = Sapping votes from Democratic candidate
SANDERS = If Warren had run she would have saved the Vermont senator “a lot of anguish” = “People needed to feel as though they had a choice. He felt these issues had to come to the fore.” – Close Sander’s friend and advisor + Sanders “didn’t want to be Chris Dodd” = Last in the 2008 Democratic primary contest = His concern was the damage such a defeat could inflict on the cause of economic justice in America. = “What he was saying over and over again was that he had a responsibility to the ideas that he represents. If he went in and he was badly beaten and humiliated, he could take it. But it would be a setback to those ideas, and the people who need those ideas.” = A fear unfounded as SANDERS MATCHES OR EXCEEDS CLINTON IN POLLS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. = A stunning endorsement of Sanders.
SANDERS = “People are now saying, wait a minute, this is absurd, this is unsustainable, this is a rigged economy. And people are now demanding change.”