Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Personal Note on BLM and Bernie Sanders

I've been quiet, quiet for a reason. I have been trying to listen to this commentary on Bernie and BLM. So, I thought I would at least check in. 

I'm a Bernie supporter, and have been to see him in person at Madison and Dubuque. And, yes, the crowds are predominately white, despite the notable exception of a white woman in Dubuque who sported a "Black Lives Matter" t-shirt and introduced herself as a member of the Dubuque NAACP.  At those two rallies, the demographics and the season could explain the crowd's whiteness.

The black population in Madison is 7.3%  The Madison rally, which drew 10,000, happened before school started, so many students would not have attended the rally. That said, the number of African-American students at UW-Madison is only 2.9%, or 1,235 students.

Dubuque is a much smaller community than Madison, roughly only 25% as large, and its black population is only 4.0%. The rally itself was much smaller, too, with less than 2,000 people attending.

Income and wealth inequality is an important part of Bernie's proposals, and he notes that it is an important aspect of racial justice, too. He breaks his racial justice proposals into four violence categories: physical, political, legal, and economic, and as he writes about them, you can see how closely linked he recognizes them to be.

As more people learn about Bernie, an aspect that will be raised is: "How is he going to pay for all this?" Fortunately, his senatorial committee memberships on Budget, Joint Economic, Environment and Public Works, Energy and Natural Resources, Veterans Affairs, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions position him well to make informed decisions about changes that will have huge, dynamic impacts on our economy and nation.

Bernie knows where to cut and where to tax to pay for his visionary changes, like free public college tuition, by imposing a small tax on Wall Street transactions.

Here's another example of the far-reaching change that Sanders envisions: worker co-ops.

"We need to develop new economic models to increase job creation and productivity. Instead of giving huge tax breaks to corporations which ship our jobs to China and other low-wage countries, we need to provide assistance to workers who want to purchase their own businesses by establishing worker-owned cooperatives. Studay after study shows that when workers have an ownership stake in the businesses they work for, productivity goes up, absenteeism goes down and employees are much more satisfied with their jobs."

And as banking and corporate systems have failed to meet the needs of the American economy and its workers, this one change could have a huge impact in bettering the lives of working Americans. It is literally people joining together to take control of their working lives and incomes.

One of Bernie's themes is "We Stand Together" (perhaps drawn from Nickelback) and indeed it is around that theme that he delivered these lines in Portland.

13. "If a bank is too big to fail, I think it's too big to exist."

12. "We must end the embarrassment of this country being the only country on earth that does not guarantee workers paid medical and family leave."

11. "We see kids getting criminal records for having marijuana, but the CEOs of these large institutions get away with theft."

10. On the Koch brothers: "When you have one family spending more than either political party, that is not democracy, that is oligarchy, and that has got to end."

9. On Republicans: "What they mean by family values is that our gay brothers and sisters should not be able to marry and enjoy all the benefits of citizenship. I disagree."

8. "Men, stand with the women and demand pay equity. There is no defensible reason why women are making 78 cents on the dollar. That has got to change."

7. On attendance: "Portland, you have done it better than anyone else."

6. "A minimum wage of $7 an hour is a starvation wage. I applaud those cities - Seattle, Los Angeles and others - that have raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And that is exactly what we will do at the federal level."

5. On the very rich: "The have unlimited sums of money. But we have something they do not have. We have a united people."

4. "Every public college and university in America will be tuition-free."

3.  "The cost of war is real, and it is terrible. I believe that war should be the last resort, not the first resort."

2. On his Supreme Court nominees: "They will have to tell the American people that their first order of business will be to overturn Citizens United."

1. "This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: Yes, we have the guts to take you on."

"Dream big!" Sanders bellows in rallies (though he was hoarse in Dubuque), and that is part of his rallying cry as he kick starts our peaceful political revolution.


Redeye said...

This young lady says it all for me:
""Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the breakout star of the left, is most aligned with my political value system, but his recent fumbles with Black Lives Matter have caused me great pause. Senator Sanders seems ambiguous in his commitment to black lives, and his hesitancy in making racial justice the centerpiece of his campaign is a strategic error that may account for an electoral loss. His colorblind appeal to “economic reform” is significant, but police do not ask for our net worth when they shoot us dead.

Another stumbling block are his supporters, who are embedded in a white savior ethos that discounts black thought leadership as unintelligent and unworthy. I question his candidacy if these are the people he attracts."

~Chip :) said...

Hi RedEYE, Of course, I agree that police don't ask for a person's net worth before shooting them dead. And I agree that not only is the problem inter-personal, but very much, or primarily, systemic as well. And that fact reflects back on inter-personal relations as well. It's a mirror effect, in a way.

We both know how the disparate educational system, as you have fought against so long and hard, leads to the criminal incarceration system, where prison workers are exploited for corporate profit, and then they are disenfranchised as felons. And that is just one aspect of the economic injustice that has been systematized to target and disadvantage people of color, as the corporate banking system devastated the homeowners of Detroit and other cities with corrupt mortgage papers, then foreclosed.

But you know all that, and you know I'm talking about economic issues, and you are talking about life and death issues, literally.

Sanders was a "soft target" for a couple of women jumping up on stage and yelling at him. After 40 or so years of advocating for all people, regardless of color, I'm not at all surprised that he responded the way he did, and I don't see his record as being ambiguous to his commitment to black lives.

Bernie's message is that we must stand together to defeat the fascist oligarchy that threatens our democratic political structure, and our nation. But, he can't do it alone. He needs more help in Congress.

I am repelled by by what I perceive as the writer's slam that as a Bernie supporter I am "embedded in a white savior ethos that discount black thought leadership as unintelligent and unworthy."

Bernie is most certainly NOT my savior, and I do not think for a moment that he discounts black thought or leadership.

In his voting record, he often supported President Barack Hussein Obama.

But, Bernie is also quoted as saying:

"The only way that any president in this day and age taking on the billionaire class can succeed -- the only possible way -- is to mobilize tens of millions of people to save the Congress," he said....

"If we continue to have elections in which 63 percent of the people don't vote, 80 percent of young people don't vote, then the rich will only get richer and will continue to dominate what goes on here in Washington," Sanders said. "Any serious president that wants to represent working families has to mobilize people all over this country to make the Congress an offer they can't refuse."

Upset Resident said...

If people become millionaire or billionaires by hard work why should they be punished or penalized? NO ONE should have their wealth taken from them to be given to someone else!!!

Redeye said...

"I am repelled by by what I perceive as the writer's slam that as a Bernie supporter I am "embedded in a white savior ethos that discount black thought leadership as unintelligent and unworthy."

Seeing has how you took the writers slam personally I am going to assume they struck a nerve. Look, no democrat, I repeat, no democrat is going to be elected without the black vote, and Bernie and Hillary both realize that. What some (not to be confused with all) Bernie supporters don't realize is they come off as condescending at best, marginalizing at worst. It's like they are trying to force us to support Sanders because we don't have the intellect to decide for ourselves who will best serve our interest. It's the paternalism, which is another form of racism that bothers me. And if the paternalism doesn't work some Bernie supporters resort to bullying, name calling, personal attacks, and insults. Either way,it's a turn off.

~Chip :) said...

Hi RedEYE, No, I didn't take the writer's slam personally, but I did refute that as a Bernie supporter I am "embedded in a white savior ethos that discount black thought leadership as unintelligent and unworthy."

I don't think of Bernie as a "white savior." Generally, I agree with many of his positions, and disagree with a few others, but I don't expect to agree with all of any politician's positions. That's just unrealistic.

Nor do I think that Bernie discounts black thought leadership as unintelligent and unworthy. The writer doesn't provide any evidence of that; she just states it as if it is a fact.

Bernie does emphasize that there is a need to "stand together" against corruption and injustice.

Some supporters of any politician are ill-mannered. No candidate can be held accountable for the actions or inactions of their followers.

It's really very simple. If you don't support Bernie's positions, don't vote for him. No one is, or can, force you to do anything. I expect that some voters will prefer Hillary, some will prefer Bernie, and some will prefer other candidates. That's just politics.