Sanders: Trump has betrayed his voters; “The political revolution is on!”
People's Summit 2017, Chicago. National Nurses United, used with permission.

CHICAGO—Sen. Bernie Sanders told thousands gathered here June 10 for the People’s Summit, that President Trump poses an unprecedented threat to democracy and to the very lives of 99 percent of the U.S. population. To a standing ovation, he declared a political revolution is underway to replace right wing Republicans across the nation with progressives who represent the people rather than a handful of oligarchs.

“Trump campaigned as a supporter of the working class, but within hours of assuming office he put the president of Goldman Sachs in as his chief economic adviser,” Sanders said. “Do not tell us, Mr. Trump, that you are a friend of the working class while you try to throw 23 million people off of healthcare,” he declared.

“Do not tell us you are a friend of the working class while you cut $800 million out of Medicare and kick two and a half million people out of Planned Parenthood.

“Do not tell us you are a friend of the working class when you give the Waltons (owners of Walmart) who have 130 billion dollars, a tax break of 52 billion. That is morally obscene.”

The senator and former presidential candidate warned that, in addition, Trump has “nothing but disrespect for democracy.” Sanders said that the president’s attacks on the judiciary, on separation of powers, on a free and independent media, his lies about 5 million voters supposedly having voted illegally, his “palling around with Saudi Arabian royalty and Vladimir Putin,” his support for oligarchs abroad and at home, and his support for right-wing political parties in Europe are “just a few” indicators of what the president thinks about democracy.

Sanders struck a hopeful note, however, by recalling movements throughout American history that were able to turn things around.

“Just 150 years ago, workers in this country were essentially beasts of burden,” he said, “and by starting the long struggle to form trade unions, the fight to get the vote for women, to end Jim Crow, to win health care for more people, we are positioned today for succeeding in our political revolution.”

He noted that legislation to raise the minimum wage nationally to $15 an hour already has been cosigned by 31 U.S. senators and 155 representatives in the House.

He listed numerous electoral victories that have already thrown a wrench in the works of the Trump agenda. Sanders polled the crowd of thousands from the stage, asking how many of them were either running for office or working on campaigns to unseat right-wing Republicans in special elections and in the coming 2018 elections. More than half the audience stood up and applauded.

He shouted out to progressives who were in the crowd including Chokwe Antar Lumumba, newly elected mayor of Jackson, Miss., Larry Krasner, Democratic candidate for District Attorney in Philadelphia, and from New York, newly-elected-to-the-House, Christine Pellegrino. “She was elected in a district that went overwhelmingly to Trump,” Sanders told the cheering crowd.

Many in the audience had attended workshops and training sessions held here this weekend for people intending to run for office.

Sanders noted, however, that a lot of work remains if the Democratic Party is going to be able to rebuild itself. He pointed to Republican control of two-thirds of the governorships, the House, the Senate, the presidency and the loss by Democrats of 1,000 state legislative seats across the country. “We can’t be absent from half the country,” he declared, calling for a grassroots strategy of rebuilding the party from the ground up in all 50 states. “And just as important,” he said, “the Democratic Party has to be the party of the people, supporting the people’s agenda, not corporate lobbyists who back some of them.” He said that parties committed to workers do best when they put forward progressive programs, “not when they forget which side they should be on.” He said the strong fight on the issues by the Labour Party in Britain was the reason it gained so many votes in the recent election there.

Sanders called for elimination of corporate money in elections and an end to control of the government by what he described as a “dangerous” oligarchy.

John Wojcik will be speaking aboue his takeaways from The People’s Summit, the continuing disasters in the Trump administration, and the state of the resistance tonight (June 12) at 8:00pm Eastern/7:00pm Central. Click here to register and participate.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is editor in chief at Peoplesworld.org. He started as labor editor of the People's World in May, 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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