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Feel the Bern 1

BS“A Good Day to Start a Revolution” I am outside Union station Washington and meet this young man and young women who are for Bernie. I said, “so am I”, and he said “it is good to have you older people supporting Bernie Sanders”!

I was in Chicago for Labor Notes and now in Washington for USLAW US Labor against the War,
On TV and in the papers it’s Trump, Trump, Trump, and more, T.Rump and Cruz and worse.
Hilary Clinton has been working to be President for a long time. (see below)
First watch Bernie Sanders ad on TV and on social media – viral!

Feel the Bern is a political revolution US style. Bernie Sanders, if he beats Hilary Clinton, has a good movement to win the Presidential Election and be President, an avowed socialist. If he does not beat Clinton at the Democratic Convention (that I think is more likely) the Feel the Bern campaign continues. This is most invigorating.

Here is the FB link
Big Organising with social media
I post a range of articles on Bernie Sanders, ending with debates from left perspectives (go to the end).
Later I may do a more detailed account as I was able to sit in and listen to workshops at Labor Notes Labor for Bernie.
Over 4 hours these were practical organising sessions, how to continue to build the momentum inside the unions, let’s work on turning this union now for Hilary Clinton to Bernie Sanders, organising unionists in the upcoming primaries, preparing for the Democrats Convention, on organisational tasks for the Presidential election such as getting activists to get out the vote, work with the huge youth activism, and a discussion of the issues and longer term strategy amongst the various shades of the left and union activists.
Bernie Sander’s on message political programme on opposition to Wall street and the 1% and that they pay taxes, end the corruption of wealth buying elections, breaking up the banks, anti-TPP, single-payer health scheme, education – public college and universities free, $15 per hour minimum wage, union rights for bargaining, commits $1 trillion to new investments in infrastructure and renewable energy and fighting climate change and more, expressed at rallies and on TV and social media is building momentum. A multitude of programmes are being presented. Debates on the political revolution and socialism and with a unity of purpose. All agree with Bernie Sanders that if he is President to keep mobilising on the issues – see below.

‘Labor for Bernie’ Activists Take the Political Revolution Into Their Unions
The all-volunteer Labor for Bernie operation has come a long way, growing to include tens of thousands of union members.
By Rand Wilson who lead the sessions in Labor Notes discussion
Last June a small group of volunteers kicked off a network called “Labor for Bernie.” Their goal was to build support inside their unions for Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Since then, Sanders has come a long way—racking up primary wins in nine states, including a major upset in Michigan. The all-volunteer Labor for Bernie operation has come a long way too, growing to include tens of thousands of union members.

So far they’ve helped Sanders win the endorsements of more than 80 local unions and four national or international unions, including the Postal Workers (APWU), Communications Workers (CWA), and National Nurses United.

CWA made its endorsement after polling its members online—and after Sanders rallied with Verizon workers who are battling for a contract. The candidate is a longtime advocate for postal services, which impressed the Postal Workers. He’s also a lifelong proponent of single-payer health care, NNU’s signature issue. Nurses have crisscrossed the country on their union’s “Bernie Bus,” talking to voters.

…Meanwhile, Labor for Bernie organizers are also trying to chart their next steps. This is the first time in decades that a national movement of this scale has come together around a candidate with an unapologetic allegiance to working class concerns and aspirations.

Labor for Bernie
It’s evident that there’s broad support in unions for Bernie’s platform—and that many members, fed up with their unions’ legacy of “blank check” support for corporate Democrats, want a more inclusive, democratic process for deciding endorsements.

BS1Bernie Sanders in New York Update: Hilary Clinton wins New York Labor Back Bernie?

The movement for labor to endorse Bernie Sanders is part of an effort to bring political decision-making back to the rank-and-file.
by Elizabeth Mahony & Rand Wilson

Sanders anti-war
Hillary Clinton rakes in Verizon cash while Bernie Sanders supports company’s striking workers.
Verizon paid Hillary $225,000 for speech and poured money into Clinton Foundation. Executives give to her campaign. Hillary Clinton, a Wall Street-backed multimillionaire, served for six years on the board of directors of Walmart, the world’s largest company based on sales. She remained silent at a time when the mega-corporation was viciously cracking down on workers’ attempts to unionise. …
For a May 2013 speech, the corporation paid Clinton a whopping $225,000 honorarium, according to her tax records.

Verizon has also given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, which investigative journalist Ken Silverstein has referred to as a “so-called charitable enterprise [that] has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.”

Moreover, the Clinton Foundation has partnered directly with Verizon, which is notorious for its vehement opposition to unions. The corporation is a partner in the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, and said it is “proud to partner with the Clinton Foundation.” read here
Striking Verizon
Why almost 40,000 Verizon workers are on strike today — and need your solidarity. by Danny Katch
Nearly forty thousand Verizon workers walked off the job this morning, in one of the largest strikes to hit the US in recent years. The workers, members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), are fighting aggressive attacks on their compensation, job security, and more — carried out by a corporation that is raking in the profits, but won’t be satisfied until it breaks the power of their unions.
Labor for Bernie

Most of the 3,000 protesters at the Washington Democracy Spring rally I attended had Bernie for President signs and buttons in a lengthy number of rousing speeches supporting berniw Sanders and many organisations challenging the corrupt corporate funding of elections.
Against money ruling

“Free Trade” Exists to Benefit Extreme Wealth. Bernie Sanders commits to not implementing the TPP.


An Australian in search of Bernie Sanders
Self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the US presidential nomination continues, following his decisive win in the Wisconsin Democratic Party primary on 5 April followed by another victory in Wyoming on 9 April. Socialist Alternative industrial organiser Jerome Small is visiting the US and attended a Sanders rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the night before the primary.
Jerome Small is interviewed by Stick Together Radio 3CR on Saturday 23rd April. He covers as well the 23,000 strong Chicago Teachers Union strike (that I will write about as well). This will be soon put onto a podcast.

Unions are my family

One of Labor for Bernie’s top achievements has been to block an AFL-CIO endorsement, once presumed to be in the bag for Hillary Clinton. President Richard Trumka announced in February that there would be no endorsement at the federation’s winter executive council meeting. read here
Happy Earth Day
Now is the time to unite in a new force for a democratic economy. by Peter Olney Labor for Bernie.
The Sanders’ campaign has been a roaring success in igniting the passion of the American people for a progressive, anti-corporate agenda. It has resonated deeply with the working class because Bernie “walks the talk” that union members hear between elections. While many primaries still remain and the July Democratic convention looms, it is not too soon to start planning beyond Bernie, win or lose.

The cardinal question remains: Can the progressive left in the United States coalesce around a strategy that develops a permanent and ongoing presence in the political arena at the national, state and local level. Yes we can!
Unions, political organizations, community groups, worker centers, immigrant rights groups and organizations advocating for people of color, women and LGBT rights that consider the following statements to be true have an opportunity to come together around a common strategic vision:

1. America suffers from too great a concentration of wealth and power that is corrupting our democracy.

2. As a nation we must proactively address the historical and pressing problems of
discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation.

3. Our permanent war economy and militarized foreign policy is not bringing us closer to genuine “national security.” Our national priorities must shift to new investments in education and infrastructure, the expansion of Social Security, and Medicare for all. See as well USLAW US Labor against War

4. Global climate change requires a massive shift in energy and employment policies. We are currently frittering away our opportunities to develop energy sources and new jobs that won’t further degrade the planet.

5. Unions and other worker organizations are crucial bastions in the fight against inequality and essential to any viable political initiative.

Therefore the defense of the right to organize and of labor’s right to promote working class interests in the political sphere must be central to any progressive project.

read more here

How Not to “Bern Out”: Ten Steps Toward a Future We Can Believe In

But an election is not a revolution: A revolution is a long haul, a life’s work of sacrifice and struggle.
This is a 10-point program for the movement: how not to Bern out.
1. Don’t Trust the Mainstream Media read the details in the article

2. Don’t trust the Democratic Party
There’s a reason that the Democratic Party is known as the graveyard of social movements.

From the Rainbow Coalition to President Obama, this is hardly the first time that aspirations for democracy and justice have been channeled into the Democratic Party.

3. Don’t trust the numbers The most important numbers aren’t denominated in dollars. Remember, the super-rich are only 1%. “Ye are many, they are few.”

4. “It’s the Empire, Stupid!” Bernie knows about imperialism…“Foreign policy” is code for world domination, to the tune of the Trans-Pacific Partnership etc…

5. Don’t Let Anyone Steal Our Hope

6. Study the Shadow State

US labor against war

US labor against war

7. Study Socialism :Capitalism is the ideology of the 1%.
What’s ours? To defeat the 1%, we need an alternative vision. For generations we have been taught that “there is no alternative.” Luckily, there’s a long and fertile tradition of anti-capitalist political revolutions. For the first time in US history, the word “socialism” is on the lips of millions, and we aren’t afraid. Anti-communism is no longer hegemonic.
In fact, the majority of young people say they prefer socialism to capitalism.

9.Don’t Concentrate on What You Can’t Control
“What we’re saying is, enough is enough!” Sanders said in the South Bronx. This sounded a lot like “Ya Basta,” and it brought to mind a model from which I think we can learn. Launched in 2006 in Mexico by the Zapatistas, it was called “the other campaign.” Leaders of the Zapatista movement toured the country during a presidential election, and instead of asking for votes or money or making promises, they listened to the people. It empowered communities to organize themselves to solve their own problems.

10. Make Sure Your Vote Counts… read the whole article

Reports from Portside

Update: Tough questions as Clinton takes New York
Sanders NewYork

Bernie Sanders and the History of American Socialism
Bernie Sanders has deep roots in an American socialist tradition that once captivated millions.
by Tony Michels


Sanders, for better or for worse, genuinely believes that the institutions of American democracy can be used to bring about deep, structural political changes that will improve the lives of millions of people in real ways. And this belief leads him to attempt things that most of us on the Left think impossible – such as running for President as a socialist….

Unlike most Democratic Party politicians, who will only support trade union and social movement struggles when asked or pressured to, and only after making political calculations, Sanders takes an active interest in the organizational health of the trade union movement and other popular organisations. see the details
…Sanders is not a Ralph Nader or a Jill Stein (Greens). He is not so much interested in expanding the political imagination as in winning actual changes in the way society is governed.


We also need to be thinking about the question of what happens – politically but more importantly organizationally – to the millions of people excited by the Sanders campaign after the Democratic Party convention this summer when, in all likelihood, Clinton will be nominated.
and so we shall see…

Bernie and beyond by Peter Olney

Organizing for a Sanders endorsement from an SEIU Local This story is one of many I heard about at Labor Nites.

Bernie:Breaking up the Big Banks
The recent kerfluffle about Bernie Sanders purportedly not knowing how to bust up the big banks says far more about the threat Sanders poses to the Democratic establishment and its Wall Street wing than it does about the candidate himself.
Of course Sanders knows how to bust up the big banks. He’s already introduced legislation to do just that. And even without new legislation a president has the power under the Dodd-Frank reform act to initiate such a breakup. The assets of just four giant banks – JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo – amount to 97 percent of our the nation’s entire gross domestic product in 2012.Which means they’re now way too big to fail. The danger to the economy isn’t just their indebtedness. It’s their dominance over the entire financial and economic system.


Fundraising is positive for Bernie Sanders and so it is for building more enduring left organisations

Bernie anti-TPP

Democracy Spring. Now is the time to take mass nonviolent action on a historic scale to save our democracy. Following a ten-day, 140-mile march from Philadelphia to Washington DC, thousands are gathering this week in our nation’s Capital to demand Congress take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice.The demand is simple: Congress must take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections.

Interrupting the business-as-usual election cycle, the dramatic action will catapult the issue of political equality onto center stage and make 2016 a referendum on whether our democracy should belong to the People or the billionaire class alone — a referendum we know that we can win.

I attended a four hour rally on the Sunday with the USLAW activists from the conference. The US left certainly is strong on inspiring speeches.Then we march around washington with more speeches – see photos on Facebook.
People for Bernie
Check out the issues

Sanders, Socialism and the Shafted Generation

Sanders, Trump and the US working class 4th April 2016
Megan Trudell

“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”.
So Bernie Sanders told his audience at a meeting in New Hampshire in June 2015.1
Whatever the outcome of the nomination process later this year, Sanders’s “political revolution” represents something significant in electoral politics in the United States—the intrusion into the mainstream of the ideas and demands of the political movements that have emerged over the past five years.

The Sanders campaign has focused on the chasm between rich and poor in the US—“There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent”. Sanders has attacked Wall Street and called for the break-up of the largest banks and financial institutions, the creation of decent paying jobs, an end to crippling college tuition fees, for the expansion of Medicare and social security, for racial justice, action on climate change, an end to the domination of the electoral process by big money and the “restoration” of democracy in politics.

Irrespective of his ability to deliver such a programme, this is a serious recognition of the concerns of millions of ordinary Americans and a recognition of the way the wind is blowing in US society—a novelty in US electoral politics.
Describing himself as a democratic socialist, Sanders has tapped into fundamental social democratic desires and aspirations that have been voiced through political movements such as Occupy and Black Lives Matter (BLM). He has gained enthusiastic support from younger voters in particular, winning 81 percent of the votes of 18-29 year olds in Michigan’s Democratic primary, for example, and—as his victory over Hillary Clinton in Michigan shows—pulling important sections of the US working class.

In a country where vast sums of money are key to political election, and in a campaign in which the 100 top billionaire spenders have donated a combined $195 million to support other presidential candidates, Sanders’s average campaign contribution is $27. He has received a stunning 3.5 million individual donations, adding a further $5 million from 175,000 contributors after his surprise win in Michigan.
The most striking element of his campaign so far is his insistence that his candidature is part of a movement.

But whether or not Sanders really is a democratic socialist (he isn’t. In US terms, he is a New Deal social liberal who approves of the social democratic model in parts of Europe) is simply not the interesting or important point. He is expressing the hopes and aspirations of a radicalised generation, is articulating and legitimising discussion of collective political action to achieve social change, has helped to rehabilitate the word “socialism” in the US—no small thing in a country with a long anti-Communist tradition and one in which 30 years ago Michael Dukakis was very effectively denounced by George Bush Senior as a “liberal”—and has moved the debate about wealth inequality, social insecurity and class into the mainstream. This development provides an opportunity for the left to insert itself into the debate about socialism in the US in a way that has not been seen in decades. Canadian socialist David McNally has quite rightly posed the questions that really matter about the lessons of the Sanders phenomenon:

What is going on when we see a surge of mass support for someone who identifies himself (however inaccurately) with socialism? What is the social process driving this unexpected shift in political goals and ideas toward the left? What lies behind the re-entry of socialism into the mass vocabulary of political life? What openings might this signal for radical socialism in the age of austerity?… Real truth, Hegel argued, grasps the process of becoming of things, rather than resorting to trivial statements of fact. Truth is concerned not with static statements (Sanders does not equal socialism), but with “the coming to be” of dynamic processes—with their “dialectical movement”.4 read more

Hilary Clinton is the candidate of the war machine
Sanders and the struggles to come
Lichi D’Amelio describes the conversation at a Sanders campaign-sponsored event in Harlem that took up questions which will be with us long after the election is over.April 5, 2016
Red-Baiting Bernie
There’s no evidence that anticommunism is driving opposition to Bernie Sanders. But that doesn’t stop liberal media narratives.
by Carl Beijer

Sanders campaign and the Left


Bernie and Ice-cream

We need new priorities by Michael Albert
What the left needs right now are efforts that seek to arrive at shared program, vision, organizational wisdom and commitments, and tactical insights….

Conceive and collectively adopt multi-issue programs demanding both short- and long-term policy and institutional changes.

Create sustainable organizations to pursue our aims collectively without succumbing to sectarianism, without succumbing to the habits of hierarchy, and without becoming insular and narrow.

Develop tactical clarity about how to arrive at our agendas, how to reach out and attract participation from people who aren’t already seeking change, and how to effectively pressure existing structures for change.

One attempt to help move toward movement sustainability and coherence is an initiative titled “Some Possible Ideas for Going Forward” recently offered by 86 well-seasoned leftists from around the world. Read the statement signed by prominent left activists from the US and other countries.SEE Roar.

US labor against war

US labor against war

capitalist crisis severe

capitalist crisis severe


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