Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Striking up the Band for Bernie

There are many ways to protest injustice and to showcase unfairness. Some do it with words and actions--and others through  music. Our Bernie supporters this week share their ideas of how you can make a difference in bringing about Bernie Sanders' political revolution.

Let's Strike!
by Sam Franklin

Bernie wants a political revolution but how do we revolt?  We can’t take up arms or just throw the bums out. 

We can protest, but protests rarely seem to produce positive change. Egyptians protested, and their government is no better. Syrians protested and got killed or became refugees. Remember Occupy Wall Street?  People get tired of protesting, and they can turn violent.

How about voting the bad guys out of office? The Republicans have gerrymandered districts so successfully the crazies in the Congress are supported by crazies at home. They are not likely to be voted out of office,  and if they stay in office, they will continue to block any progress toward justice and equality. 

Petitions are popular nowadays. However, do you think our Congress members pay attention to our signatures?  Like Bernie says they rather listen to the lobbyists and the wealthy, not to us.  

I remember many years ago when Lech Walesa, a dock worker, founded Poland’s first trade union--Solidarity. Walesa won a Nobel Peace Prize and eventually became the President of Poland. He did it with a strike.

Bernie is turning out thousands at rallies all over the country, and they will continue to turn out, at least for a while.  Suppose, just suppose, these well meaning people picked one day in December or January to stay home from work. That’s all--just stay home. You don’t have to carry a sign or go to Washington or even go out of the house. It’s not inconvenient; it’s not dangerous.  Some may even want to take to the streets peacefully to call attention to the strike. 

If millions participated in a peaceful workers' strike, it might stir the pot. It just might lead to negotiations and meaningful change.  If teachers didn’t go to school and grocers didn’t stock the shelves and gas stations didn’t open up and mail carriers "got sick"’ and airplanes didn’t fly... Congress might listen.  And if they didn’t, then on the first of the next month the strike would reoccur.  And if that didn’t work, then in two weeks another strike might go down and then another two weeks after that... Eventually the people might be heard, like they were so many years ago in Poland. 
Bio: Sam Franklin describes himself as "an old retired professor, grandpa, author, and friend of fairness."

A Socially Relevant EP
by Tim Nordstrom, LCSW, CCM

The purpose of this album is to support Bernie Sanders by encouraging the questioning of authority and helping to engage citizens in critical thinking about changing our society so that it benefits all individuals.   

I have been a social worker for 20 years.  The majority of the people that I have worked with cannot compete in this economy, and so they live in some form of poverty.  The vast majority of these people suffer from PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Psychotic Disorder, Alcohol and drug dependency, etc.  Sexual abuse as a child can change one's life forever, and it happens much more often in these environments.  Witnessing domestic violence and being tormented by verbal/emotional abuse can stop positive growth in it’s tracks, and it happens much more often in impoverished environments than in middle and upper class environments.  Now, not only do they fight the battle of their living environment, they fight the battle of mental illness.  The unstable and volatile environment of poverty can leave a person struggling with a mental illness, rendering them incapable of moving forward in a positive direction. These are the things that create our domestic wounded warriors.  I use the term “wounded warriors” because it is a constant battle, a struggle every-single-day, and they don’t get the same empathetic messages that our soldiers get.  

Continuing our laissez-faire mentality with respect to capitalism will only perpetuate victim blaming and further decrease the amount of empathy we as a nation have for these men, women and children.  These are the people most adversely effected by greed.  The middle class is shrinking. Where is it going? What is happening to them?  PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, Psychotic Disorder, Alcohol and Drug dependency….

I have never lived in poverty, but I try to imagine what it would be like.  I have had the opportunity to work in shelters, day treatment facilities, and extremely low socioeconomic communities, and I will never fully understand.  I do know this: judging others and electing our leaders based purely on our own past experiences and current perspectives is wrong.  We have to become more empathetic as a nation.  We have to bleed the greed.

Free up the money!  I would like to make this music free to all who want to let it motivate their passion for this movement. Proceeds from the sale of the full CD will go to the Bernie Sanders campaign: timnordstrom.com

Bio: Tim Nordstrom is a native Montanan, who has lived in Denver Colorado and Nashville Tennessee working in the field of social work, all the while writing and performing his music.  Tim has worked with Grammy-winning producers, instrumentalists and is often heard on NPR.

Here's an insight into recent events concerning the recent Democratic Debate.

It Doesn't Matter
by George Oeser 

I am afraid that what I am about to write will upset a lot of people, but I think it needs to be said.

It doesn't matter if Bernie won the debate or not. The pundits said he didn't, but pundits aren't terribly reliable. The online polls said he did, but they are terribly unreliable. The people who answer the questions in online polls tend to be the people that are most passionate about the questions being asked. Guess what? Sanders supporters are more passionate than Clinton supporters, and so we participated in the polls in larger numbers. This shows that the online polls are meaningless.

Of course complaining about what the pundits said is also meaningless, at best. It could actually be harmful to Bernie as many will see the onslaught of complaints peppering social media as an indication that Bernie supporters are sore losers or conspiracy nuts. This doesn't just make us look bad, it makes Bernie look bad as well.

Bernie's support is growing, but he is still an underdog, and so we need to help him keep gaining supporters. There are tons of democrats out there who like his ideas and policies but who won't for him because they think he isn't electable. Instead of telling them that he won the debate, tell them about all of the elections he has won while facing extremely tough opponents. Some say they won't vote for him because they don't think he will be able to accomplish much as president. They don't need to hear how the media isn't giving Bernie enough coverage, they need to hear about the times he has worked with political opponents to get things done. 

Bernie is currently lacking in support from African-Americans. Maybe instead of seeing us post over and over about a plot against Bernie we should tell them about Bernie's civil rights work, or how Dr. Cornel West is a Sanders supporter, or maybe we should mention that Bernie was the only candidate in the debate who said that black lives do matter and who promised to fight institutional racism.

The Sanders campaign is positive and talks about the issues facing America. Even though we may not have signed up as official volunteers, every time we post about Bernie on Facebook or tweet about him we are acting as the face of Bernie Sanders' campaign for the presidency. Bernie's positive, issue-oriented campaign is undercut when we stray from the real issues or go negative and so we have to try and remember to not let our emotions get the best of us in public. This isn't just a campaign, it is a movement, and we are all part of it, almost as much as Senator Sanders himself. Let's stay on track and help make Bernie Sanders the next president of the United States!

Bio: George Oeser is a photographer, born and raised in Tennessee but currently living in the Netherlands. He spends much of his time thinking about how much he misses good Southern food.


  1. Strikes are an effective weapon to use against the powers that be, but should be used carefully. I well remember the miners' strike that hit Britain in the early 80's. Although the miners had a legitimate grievance the strike became an all-out political war between their leader, the Communist Arthur Scargill and the Tory government of Margaret Thatcher. Violence on the picket lines became endemic, with police and strikers hurt. Thatcher succeeded in using the media to demonize ordinary working people until the majority of the UK population turned against the miners, forcing them to back down. Result; the mass closure of mines and a mass loss of jobs. Having said that, the British General Strikes of the 1920's succeeded in creating much-needed social changes in the UK.

    1. Good points, AJ. The Reaganauts have demonized union workers and strikers over the years, so nowadays it's hard to know how the public will react to a general strike. But peaceful protest marches and events I think are effective since they give the media "sound bites" that tend to be positive. Such is the reality of our current society!

      Rock on, Bernie supporters! Keep it positive and keep spreading the word that we do have a public servant who's on our side--Sen. Bernie Sanders! #FeeltheBern


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