Lady Liberty arrested on day 1 of Democracy Spring.
What's wrong with this picture?
Democracy Spring marched and held sit-ins on the Capitol steps every day this past week and garnered little mainstream media attention. But alternative media was there. Watch the raw protest footage on Bernie2016TV and Political Revolution TV. You will be enthralled at the courage and stamina of the protesters. Records for the most arrests in one demonstration were made (400 arrests on the first day alone), protest songs and chants were sung, signs were held high, and hopefully the hearts of some in Congress were touched. Watch the video and listen to the voices:
"Money ain't speech! Corporations aren't people!"
"One person! One vote!"
"Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!"
"What do want? Climate Justice! When do want it? Now!"
"I believe that we will win!"
"Whose House? Our House! Whose Capitol? Our Capitol!"
"Free and fair elections!"
To quote former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner, surrogate for Bernie Sanders: "The cause is right and the time is now!" It's time, Berners, to get out of our desk chairs and get out into the streets. It's time to share the political revolution with our neighbors. It's time for everyone to hear about Bernie Sanders. The revolution begins today.
I was one of the ragtag bunch you saw sleeping in your city parks a few years ago, marching around your city bearing signs objecting to the world being raped by the oligarchs. “Capitalism ate democracy? We’ll be the Heimlich Maneuver!”
My candidate of choice was Elizabeth Warren. When she declined and Bernie stepped up, he became my fallback, but he’s not that anymore. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by him again and again, and by the temerity he and his movement show. Bernie is the real deal -- he’s the closest thing to an Occupier we have in this race. This is a peaceful insurrection, and it’s way overdue.
One of things I admire is the man’s stalwart support for organized labor. Unions built this society and gave us the highest standard of living we’ve ever seen.
Government workers’ unions are the main backbone of labor today, but they’re getting hit, too. Republican governors across the country from Maine to Wisconsin rode a wave of faux-populist anger to election, then fell over themselves to reward their rich masters by beheading teachers’ unions.
But most of the people doing the work of government are not even allowed to unionize. Ever since union hypocrite Reagan rewarded his corporate masters by opening the government for looting, contractors have overrun Washington, making CEOs rich on taxpayer money. But the poor schlubs doing the actual work? They’re second-class citizens, prohibited from joining unions, denied the rights their coworkers in the civil service enjoy. And every few years when the contracts move from one favored corporation to another, the workers have to grovel for the new boss to keep their jobs, often taking a pay cut, an echo of last-century’s railroad workers.
Tell me again about how great this high-tech economy is? In 1992, I fell for the "New Democrat" swindle, and supported the Clintons. Anyone who lived through that knows what a cynical and sordid thing that was. We were so tired of being in the wilderness that we bought into the moral surrender that the Clintons were selling. We should be ashamed to have been duped, and I am.
This time, we’re backing someone who knows winning is pointless if it means giving up your principles and joining the exploiters. Bernie’s character draws the young, but he’s also the best hope for those of us who remember Richard Nixon. We need their energy, and I hope they need us wised-up geezers for our experience.
Fellow Occupiers, it needs to be a broad-based revolution. The Vietnam War protest and Civil Rights movements, both slightly before my time, were the biggest successful paradigm shifts that have happened in this country’s political history. And they both hit critical mass only when their movements had broadened enough to include not only hippies, students, and African-Americans but white mothers and school teachers from Missouri and truck drivers from Pennsylvania. I hope Elizabeth Warren joins us because we need her, but this isn’t about any one person no matter how decent.
I may not agree with Bernie on every issue, but his clear commitment to a fair and just society is enough. It’s the first time in forty years I’ve seen a chance for those values to prevail in a presidential race, and it feels good.
Bio: "I’m a former print journalist who’s worked for various publications in DC and Baltimore and the surrounding areas, and I camped out at Occupy DC for two months (Dec. 2011-Feb. 2012 when they raided us.)
I support Bernie because I’ve watched the country lurch to the right, to everyone’s detriment, in my lifetime, and I think it’s past time for a radical course correction. We desperately needed a leader with the honesty and courage to step up and say that without apology, and Bernie has stepped up. Like so many, I’m tired of settling for the lesser of two evils. I want to cast my vote for someone of conscience."
a weekly commentary by a female Bernie supporter
Human Rights and Compassion
by Katrina Lynn
I'm in a not-so-good mood today. I cannot figure out why human rights are considered a privilege in what's supposed to be "the greatest country in the world." I understand it's complicated and difficult to change a system, but too many people have put too much time and effort into keeping the status quo. And not only that, but millions of Americans seem to want to move backward into another time solely because they hate having to be "politically correct."
My political beliefs have changed a lot over the years. I was told as a teenager that my intelligence would be "seriously in question" if I ever voted for a Democrat, and here I am, finally admitting that I've actually spent the past twenty years becoming increasingly interested in socialism. While I value your free speech and mine and believe you can have some things socialized without losing that right, it's become clearer to me that socializing is the direction of progression in the world as well as the direction of compassion.
What we need to do is stop blaming people with no power for wanting dignity and basic rights. In America, our idea of human rights is "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", but we distill those basically into "let's not kill people most of the time", "let people say whatever they want," and "let companies make as much as they want." That's not the UN definition, by the way. Oh yes, the UN isn't perfect by far, but they expect human rights to encompass fair wages, food security, dignified housing, health care, education, and even paid vacation.
Yes, that's actually written into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Not everyone in every country in the world gets all of these things, but we are not even trying. We are railing against it. We are going out there into the world and saying, "People who work 40 hours a week making my hamburgers/stocking my shelves/entering my data do not deserve to be able to have health insurance and a used car and a modest house and their children in an accredited elementary school."
Maybe I'm not intelligent anymore. Maybe I've "opened my mind so much my brain fell out," but you know what? I'd rather be compassionate than intelligent if intelligence is about blaming people who have been hurt for being hurt. Saying that we can't raise the minimum wage to something that allows people to have basics and maybe a bit more at 40 hours a week because we have to "keep big companies here" is just a bit of disgusting victim-blaming. It's the same as all the times I've been told women in the workplace caused wages to go down. No. No one without power causes these things. The people who own the companies, the people in the government who said "freedom" and did nothing to stop it. They are the ones to blame. Everything else is just an excuse.
I don't have a solution, but I do think more and more compassion on the part of the government leaders, the business leaders, and everyone in the US in general will help immensely because being united in wanting to lift others up will get us far closer to figuring out how we can solve these problems.
I Was Born Here On This Planet
a poem by Kara Swanson
I was born here. On this planet.
I am a citizen of the internet age.
I can't see the color of your skin through your avatar. I can't see your yearly income on your profile. I thank the internet for allowing me to hangout with people all across the globe.
We come together, we unite together understanding the reality of the struggle of the people ....of this world.
When you take the money out of the equation.
The chess game of the rich and the powerful is a losing game.
The play is obvious.
The move is predetermined.
I have found love in a world I once thought to be hopeless.
I found love in the people.
Borders are a figment of your imagination.
Wake up, I beg of you.
Open your eyes.
-kara swanson 4/14/16
***Bio: "I am a tech nerd and bookworm from Massachusetts. Married with two cats, I get creative when I am inspired." (And she's a great supporter of Bernie Sanders, too.)