Much of Bernie Sanders’s new book, Where We Go From Here, will not come as a surprise. There are the denunciations of poverty and inequality. There are the broadsides against the billionaire class. There are the calls for a political revolution.
But the book — which is structured like a diary and runs from June 2016 to August 2018 — is a remarkable read when you remind yourself that the author is among the country’s most popular politicians. Here are a few highlights.
The Original Fake News
The truth is that it is very difficult for people to understand what’s going on in our country economically or politically, or to imagine an alternative vision, if the corporate media is their major source of information. Let’s be very clear. Corporate media is not ‘objective’; they are not the ‘referees’ trying to provide ‘all sides of the story.’ Corporate media are profit-making entities owned and controlled by the ruling class and some of the wealthiest people in the country. And, like all private corporations, they have an agenda.
Capitalism Killed Baseball
When the [Brooklyn Dodgers] moved to Los Angeles [in 1957], I experienced one of the first moments of recognition of the power of corporations and wealthy individuals. Up to then, it had never occurred to me and my friends that an institution like the Brooklyn Dodgers could leave Brooklyn, any more than the Brooklyn Bridge or Prospect Park could leave Brooklyn. It turned out that for the owners of the Dodgers, there was something that mattered more than community: money. It was a lesson I never forgot.
Don’t Write off the South
Let me go out on a limb here. I believe that within a decade, Mississippi not only may go from red to blue but could become one of the most progressive states in the country. It will take work. It will take money. But it can be done.
Teachers Are the Vanguard
Across this country, teachers are on the march. They are fighting for their students and they are fighting for their rights as workers. We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to the public school teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado who had the courage to go on strike and demand that education be adequately funded in their respective states. These teachers are a model for all of us who want to get our national priorities right.
The Saudi War on Democracy
For decades now, in the extremely volatile Gulf region, the United States has determined that our major ‘ally’ in the region is Saudi Arabia, a despotic autocracy controlled by an extremely wealthy family that treats women as third-class citizens, jails dissidents, ruthlessly exploits the foreign labor that keeps its economy going, and has exported the extremist Islamic doctrine of Wahhabism around the world. Why have we continued to give them unconditional support while they and their Gulf allies work diligently to suppress democracy across the region? Why have we continued to sell them billions of dollars’ worth of sophisticated weapons while they wage a ruthless war in Yemen?
MLK and the Political Revolution
At a time when the United States spends more on the military … than the next ten nations combined, and when we are engaged in never-ending wars, King’s opposition to militarism should be something that we learn from. Unfortunately, however, the extent of our huge military budget and our participation in foreign military adventurism remains an issue that few politicians today, Democrats or Republicans, are prepared to discuss … It is my strong view that Dr. King’s vision and organizing tactics should continue to guide those of us who want to transform our economic and political systems. Dr. King understood that the only time we bring about real change in this country is when we mobilize people at the grassroots level. Thirty-second ads may help win some elections, but they are not going to bring about the fundamental change our country needs.