Sanders and a Movement

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If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress

Frederick Douglas

Jun 9, 2016 (San Diego) The past year has been nothing short than historic. Bernie Sanders achieved something that is nothing short of amazing. He made mainstream many of the ideas many progressives argued over at places like Occupy San Diego. He did bring to the fore issues that no Neoliberal Democrat will discuss. It is time to place his historic race in the past.

It is part of a movement that started with the activists in Seattle, fighting the police. The year was 1999 and most Americans have yet to hear of the World Trade Organization, but have indeed heard of the North American Free Trade Agreement and suffered the effects of globalization. Still, those words were not coalescing except for activists. Sanders gave voice to the consequences of globalization and a lack of fair trade. That was important.

This movement spiked again in a very loud way in 2009. This is when students at UC Berkeley finally had it, and revolted. The cost of education, which in California used to be free until Ronald Reagan came along, has escalated to the point that only the well to do will be able to afford it. returning us to an era when college was only for the well heeled. Sanders also spoke of our re-segregated public school system, and how terrible it has become. Of course, he also spoke of our falling apart infrastructure.

Health care is still breaking the backs of many American families and making them destitute. For many the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, is still unaffordable and out of reach. Single payer is truly the way to go, and Americans want that, by large majorities, but not the elites.

He even went there, and spoke about structural racism and  a broken justice system. He worked with the Civil Rights Movement, so that does not surprise me. It should not surprise you.

Many of the issues raised by Sanders came to the fore clearly during the Occupy movement, which has not gone away. In particular the matter with income inequality. The issue is deep and a concern to economists. The American people are thirsty to a reversal of this trend, that started in the mid 1970s. This could be socially destabilizing in years to come.

Climate change, a critical matter that could very well determine species survival, was raised by the Senator as well.

Sanders is another marker in time. To maximize the concessions that he will get from a neoliberal right wing party, he needs to strike now. He has a donor list that is well over 10 million in individual donors. The way establishment politics works, there are behind the scenes negotiations. Perhaps the Senator is looking for a juicy committee assignment, where he can continue to press his advantage. We are positive he is also going to get positions in the partly platform that will mostly pay lip service to what progressives want.

This is how it works.

You want change, you need to not give way to despair and cynicism. This battle did not start last spring. This should not stop now. The women who started the fight for the franchise did not get to vote themselves. Many a labor leader died before labor was able to legally organize, and get a 40 hour week, and a weekend. The people who dreamt first of the United States independent from the Crown, were not the people you usually think off. It was rather their parents. Those who fought to free the slaves took real risks and some were hung by the State. Perhaps you might remember John Brown.

The battle for civil rights did not start at Selma, but rather it started two generations before.

This is a generational fight. It is time for Sanders to stand down, and for progressives to continue to fight.

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