Surprise, surprise. Workers in Britain, many of whom have seen a decline in their standard of living while the very rich in their country have become much richer, have turned their backs on the European Union and a globalized economy that is failing them and their children.
And it’s not just the British who are suffering. That increasingly globalized economy, established and maintained by the world’s economic elite, is failing people everywhere. Incredibly, the wealthiest 62 people on this planet own as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population — around 3.6 billion people. The top 1 percent now owns more wealth than the whole of the bottom 99 percent. The very, very rich enjoy unimaginable luxury while billions of people endure abject poverty, unemployment, and inadequate health care, education, housing and drinking water.
Could this rejection of the current form of the global economy happen in the United States? You bet it could.
During my campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, I’ve visited 46 states. What I saw and heard on too many occasions were painful realities that the political and media establishment fail even to recognize.
In the last 15 years, nearly 60,000 factories in this country have closed, and more than 4.8 million well-paid manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Much of this is related to disastrous trade agreements that encourage corporations to move to low-wage countries.
Despite major increases in productivity, the median male worker in America today is making $726 dollars less than he did in 1973, while the median female worker is making $1,154 less than she did in 2007, after adjusting for inflation.
Nearly 47 million Americans live in poverty. An estimated 28 million have no health insurance, while many others are underinsured. Millions of people are struggling with outrageous levels of student debt. For perhaps the first time in modern history, our younger generation will probably have a lower standard of living than their parents.
— Jordan (@JordanChariton) June 29, 2016
Sen. Bernie Sanders told USA TODAY on Tuesday he is prepared for a floor fight at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia if the party doesn’t take more progressive stances on trade, the minimum wage, climate change and other issues in its platform.
The Vermont senator said there are “a lot of very good and progressive” provisions in the document approved Saturday in St. Louis by the 15-member Platform Drafting Committee, which includes supporters of Sanders and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
But Sanders and his supporters will be working with labor, environmental and human rights groups to call for amendments when the draft goes to the full 187-member Platform Committee for final approval in Orlando July 8 and 9. If he doesn’t succeed there, Sanders said he will have the votes to bring amendments to the convention floor in Philadelphia and “we are certainly intending to do that.”
Sanders acknowledged it would be easier if his changes were adopted in Orlando. A floor fight at the convention could prolong it by requiring debates and votes. Asked whether that bothered him, Sanders didn’t seem to mind.
“The middle class of this country has been in decline for 40 years and we need to make it clear that we stand with working families in this country and we are prepared to take on powerful special interests,” he said. “That is what the Democratic Party has got to stand for.”
Straight,humane talk from Bernie Sanders/ "The global economy is not working for majority of people" in US or world https://t.co/8SgllesYY4
— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) June 29, 2016
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 28, 2016
As a concession to Bernie Sanders and his large electoral following in the Democratic primaries, the Clinton campaign got the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to let him appoint five delegates to the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee. Hillary Clinton got to name six representatives to the committee. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the DNC, named four. Considering that the prestigious and vocal progressives of the Sanders camp were outnumbered, you might think that the Clinton campaign had offered nothing more than a symbolic gesture — and you would be partially correct.
The delegates appointed by Clinton and Wasserman-Schultz rejected many of the proposals put forth by Sanders’ appointees. As Common Dreams reported on June 25:
During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC’s platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded.
In a statement, Sanders said he was “disappointed and dismayed” that representatives of Hillary Clinton and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz rejected the proposal on trade put forth by Sanders appointee Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), despite the fact that the presumed nominee has herself come out against the 12-nation deal.
“Inexplicable” was how Sanders described the move, adding: “It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform.”
The last point is especially striking because as Common Dreams noted, during the primary campaign, Clinton claimed that she had earnestly become an opponent of the TPP — under pressure from the appeal Sanders’ opposition to it was generating — after being an adamant supporter of the mega-trade deal as secretary of state.
The Platform Drafting Committee is, in essence, enabling Clinton to run against certain provisions within the TPP up through the election. Then if she wins, President Obama can attempt to pass the trade agreement through a lame duck Congress without Clinton ever having to go back on her current politically necessitated position.
The United States of America should not treat Puerto Rico like a colony. That's not a radical idea.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 28, 2016
At 3:34 p.m., as Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) was just getting going with his speech against the House-passed Puerto Rico emergency bill, presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont walked to his desk and asked for a question.
“It’s a long question, but I certainly want my friend from New Jersey to respond,” said Sanders. “Is this legislation smacking of the worst form of colonialism, in the sense that it takes away all of the important democratic rights of the American citizens of Puerto Rico? That basically, four Republicans who likely believe in strong austerity programs will essentially be running that island for the indefinite future?”
“Absolutely,” said Menendez.
With that, Sanders had given his first remarks from the floor of the Senate in months — and from a familiar, embattled position. Even after losing Puerto Rico’s presidential primary, Sanders has opposed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, usually referred to as PROMESA, calling it a shockingly undemocratic attempt to impose austerity measures on the debt-laden island. The bill would create an emergency board, dominated by Republicans, able to govern without accountability — and to immediately lower the island’s minimum wage.
As he straddles between his duties in the Senate and his ambitions as a presidential candidate, Sanders has repeatedly warned that PROMESA is unacceptable. “I’m going to vote against it, and I’m going to do everything I can to defeat a horrific bill,” Sanders told reporters on the way into Tuesday’s Democratic luncheon. Inside, according to several senators, Sanders made a case against PROMESA similar to the one he made on the floor.
— Medicare For All 🌹 (@NCForBernie) June 28, 2016
Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’ll try to block Senate consideration of a bill that would require nationwide labeling of food with genetically modified products, but with a less stringent labeling requirement than the one included in Vermont’s law.
Individual senators can put a hold on legislation, blocking it from coming up for debate unless backers can muster 60 votes. The Vermont independent says he prepared to resort to that tactic.
Sanders’ comments come just days before Vermont is slated to become the first state to require labeling of genetically modified food.
Let's not slow Down
Let's not fall for their tactics
— i_AM_theChange (@i_AM_theChange) June 29, 2016
An important step, but we must aggressively transition from ALL fossil fuels and nuclear to sustainable energy. https://t.co/X8IwO8Hkmk
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 28, 2016
A progressive congressional candidate backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) defeated her opponent in New York’s primaries Tuesday night, although another Sanders-supported candidate — a Social Security expert in central New York — lost his election.
Zephyr Teachout soundly bested organic farmer Will Yandik in New York’s 19th Congressional District on Tuesday. Although she received a boost from Sanders’ endorsement, Teachout has long been a progressive favorite and was already known statewide after running against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in the 2014 Democratic primary.
Although Cuomo won — 62 percent to 34 percent — the fact that Teachout pulled so much support away from a sitting governor was impressive. She had no previous electoral experience, spent nearly no money and had a bare-bones campaign operation. In that election, Teachout did particularly well in the Hudson Valley, where the moderate 19th District is located.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not endorse in the race, but many Democrats were excited about Yandik because of his ties to the district and his appeal to independents. He said he was in regular touch with the DCCC. Teachout will face Republican John Faso in November to replace outgoing Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.).
Sanders’ candidate didn’t fare as well in New York’s 24th District. There, Eric Kingson lost to Colleen Deacon, who had the backing of the DCCC and both the state’s U.S. senators. Deacon worked for the mayor of Syracuse and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and often stressed her experience as a single mother living on food stamps. She will face incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) in the fall.
Kingson co-founded the national organization Social Security Works and started the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, which comprises more than 300 organizations focused on strengthening and expanding Social Security. He has also called for a single-payer health care system, which has been a signature issue for Sanders.
— Yarnie 🌹 (@TweetingYarnie) June 29, 2016
While Bernie Sanders may have conceded defeat in the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, his legacy lives on creating a shift in the ideologies of the Democratic party and forever changing its views on cannabis.
“We are trying to do nothing less than transform the Democratic party,” Sanders said during a recent C-SPAN interview. And with over 12 million supporters in his pocket, he’s forcing the party to embrace more progressive positions, specifically with cannabis.
Sanders, an unexpected and formidable opponent in the race to become president, was the only major presidential candidate to publicly call for an end to federal marijuana prohibition. He even introduced legislation in the Senate to do so.
This move enthralled a generation of young, liberal voters, who will soon represent the largest generation in the electorate. In turn, it’s forced Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to reverse her stance on marijuana.
Under pressure from Sanders and his supporters to embrace a “political revolution” Clinton has been forced to pull the party in a more liberal direction in an attempt to gain the support of the youth vote.
Marijuana activists feel this could be a real tipping point for their movement as candidates fight over millennials. With a majority of young voters favoring an end to marijuana prohibition, Sanders’ call for legalization is forcing the candidates to take a more liberal approach to cannabis.
Clinton has gone on record saying that she now supports the use of medicinal marijuana for people with “extreme conditions.” A stark change from her stance in 2008. In addition, she recently sided with Sanders on proposed marijuana policy stating, “I agree completely with the idea that we have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana. Therefore, we need more states, cities, and the federal government to begin to address this so that we don’t have this terrible result that Senator Sanders was talking about where we have a huge population in our prisons for nonviolent, low-level offenses that are primarily due to marijuana.”
Today, thousands of undocumented workers face horrific working conditions and they can't fight back because they have no legal rights.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 29, 2016
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) June 29, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders‘s campaign is raising money to help send his delegates to Philadelphia next month for the Democratic National Convention.
In an email Tuesday, the Vermont senator’s campaign encouraged supporters to donate $2.70 before Thursday’s midnight Federal Election Commission deadline to help get the campaign’s nearly 1,900 delegates to the convention. It can cost more than $4,000 per delegate, the campaign said.
“Our delegates are not wealthy campaign contributors. They’re not party insiders or establishment elites. They’re working folks, and it’s not easy for many of them to fly to Philly and stay in hotels for a week,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in the email.
“We really need to have all of our delegates at the Democratic convention because we expect there could be critical votes for the party platform and electoral process. We’d hate to fall short on these votes because some of our delegates couldn’t afford to go to the convention.”
Weaver said hotels are booked months in advance and then sold at higher prices, adding that lobbyists plan “all sorts of fancy parties.” The political establishment can easily navigate it, he said.
“Our political revolution is not made up of people like that,” he continued. “Our folks need help to get to the convention and stay there.”
— The People's Summit (@pplsummit) June 28, 2016