Bernie Sanders and his Chicago supporters speak

This 3 March 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Bernie Returns to Chicago to Launch 2020 Campaign

BERNIE 2020 LAUNCH IN CHICAGO: At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the time I spent in Chicago changed my life and helped shape me into the person I am today. Tonight we are back in Chicago to launch our campaign for president and say: we are going to transform this country. We are going to build a nation based on justice, with a government and economy that works for all and not just those on top.

By George Marlowe and Marcus Day in Chicago, USA:

“Socialism appeals to me”

Sanders rally attendees speak on socialism, Democratic Party

5 March 2019

On Sunday, US Senator Bernie Sanders continued his initial series of campaign rallies at Chicago’s Navy Pier, following Saturday’s event in Brooklyn, as he again seeks the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Sanders unsuccessfully sought the party’s nomination in 2016, subsequently endorsing Hillary Clinton, the arch-candidate of Wall Street and big business.

The Chicago Tribune estimated that over 12,000 attended. The rally attracted diverse social layers, including many young people who have been increasingly radicalized in recent years: large numbers of high school and college students, along with young workers. Significant numbers of professionals and other sections of both the lower- and upper-middle class attended as well.

Reporters for the World Socialist Web Site spoke with attendees, encountering wide interest in a socialist perspective. Many of those we spoke with were attracted to Sanders’ criticisms of social inequality, “the billionaire class” and other social ills. A number were either skeptical of or openly hostile to capitalism and the Democratic Party


Jesus is 22 and from the Chicago suburbs. He said he had gone to college for two years, studying to become a teacher, before having to quit and work full time at a factory in order to support his family.

He said he had been following the wave of teachers’ strikes in the US over the past year. “With all the effort they put into teaching students, you’d think they’d get paid more.”

He said that he hadn’t given socialism much thought until recently, which he described as Sanders’ proposals to “use taxes for the people not for the corporations, which makes a lot of sense. I think socialism but with capitalism together is the perfect idea for this country. A complete full market and no regulations is really bad. I feel like the Democratic Party has to change, otherwise they’re going to lose a whole generation, again.”

The WSWS reporter explained, however, that genuine socialism and structuring society to meet the needs of the majority of the population are incompatible with the extreme levels of social inequality under capitalism and the monopolization of wealth and political power by the rich. Jesus agreed. …

Asked his thoughts on the previous administration of Democratic President Barack Obama, Jesus responded angrily, “The first two years of his presidency, they had control of both houses [of Congress]. He could have done way more, but they didn’t. And Obama deported way more people than Trump. And then he made the whole DACA thing at the end [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the tenuous legal status for young immigrants], which he knew would get vetoed by a Republican president.

“It’s kind of infuriating, you know? He wasn’t really hope and change.”

Jesus added that he was strongly opposed to the attacks on immigrants. “These people don’t do anything but give to this country”, he said, “and they always live in fear because they might get deported. I think it’s pretty disgusting.”

Alexis and Oliver

Alexis is a 21-year-old student from Chicago who studies political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He spoke of his left-wing views and the need for young people to fight for a better world. “I’m pretty leftist”, he said. “This is as close to the collapse of capitalism I’m going to get. I’m doing everything in my power to make the world a better place. The younger generation needs to be mobilized against a system they deem unfair. I definitely want this president out of office.”

Alexis came to the rally with Oliver, who is 19, from Quincy, Illinois, and also studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The most important issue to me is the environment,” Oliver said. “A close second is healthcare, education and inequality. The system should never have allowed this level of inequality.” Oliver added, “I’m not a fan of the Democratic Party, but it may be a better of the two options.” …

Alexis agreed and also spoke out on his differences with the Democratic Party, noting, “I generally disagree with the Democratic Party.” He added, “Socialism appeals to me. A lot of left politics becomes coopted by the Democratic Party and because of the cooption we are never able to realize the ultimate goals that we seek. I think that’s very dangerous because it prevents any progress. I think we need to radically depart from capitalism.”

Young people also came from the economically depressed city of Rockford, Illinois. The city had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country after the financial crisis of 2008. Thousands of good-paying industrial jobs have been destroyed in the Rockford area, only to be replaced with low-wage jobs, including at the Rockford United Parcel Service (UPS) air hub, where workers make as little as $13 an hour.

Simon is an 18-year-old high school student from Rockford. He spoke of the economic devastation the city has faced. “I’ve grown up here my entire life,” he said. “It is the epitome of the ‘Rust-Belt’ city. It’s really depressing. There’s a drug issue there. There’s a lot that needs to be fixed. A lot of industrial jobs have left. At the Belvidere Assembly Plant they started laying off 1,400 workers.”

Recently Fiat Chrysler announced that it would eliminate an entire shift at its Belvidere plant near Rockford and lay off nearly 1,400 workers …

Simon and Andrew

Andrew, a 20-year-old worker and friend of Simon’s from Rockford, spoke of the impact of the layoffs. “Rockford is a community that had its roots in industry. There’s a lot of small manufacturing and a lot of workers are struggling,” he said.

“My cousin works at Belvidere Assembly,” he added. “The majority of people employed in the last six years are going to get laid off. It’s a horrible situation. There’s families that get their entire income from the Belvidere Assembly Plant. There’s fathers and mothers that work there together. What are they going to do come May? They’re going to get laid off and have no income. I guess they will get unemployment, but unemployment will only do so much.”

Simon spoke about his desire for free college education. “When Bernie started to run and started talking about free college education for everyone, that is one thing that really struck me,” he said. “Student loan debt is horrible. I’m a senior at Rockford East, and it’s really stressful and so complicated. It’s such a terrible system. If education was free and universal, it would provide equal opportunity for all.”

Andrew noted that he could not afford college. He said, “I’m not actually in college right now. Financial issues for college is a big thing. If college was free, I would definitely take advantage of it and further my knowledge.”


Louis is also 22 and is a college student studying communications in Chicago. “I’ve heard a lot about Sanders, but just wanted to come out and hear what he had to say. I thought he made a lot of good points in his first run.”

Louis listed a number of issues he was concerned about, including “inequality financially, our presence in the political realm, violence in our neighborhood. Police brutality definitely needs to be addressed. But I think if we address those things head on they can change.”

He said that he did not consider himself a Democrat. “I personally don’t put myself in a political party.”

Louis said that he had not given much thought to socialism previously, and said he thought that there were ways to address social problems within “each belief system, whether capitalism or socialism.”

However, when a reporter explained that there was an objective conflict within society, between a reactionary financial oligarchy and the working class which produces all of society’s wealth, he agreed, adding, “I agree with everything you just said. I strongly believe the working class is the whole heart of America, and the world.”

Jake is a 23-year-old, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. “I’m a sales manager in Chicago. Universal healthcare is a big issue for me. Social issues have been quite relevant to me as well. I know Bernie doesn’t go as far on a lot of issues, as far as socialism, that I want though.

“Healthcare matters to me because living should be a human right,” he noted. “We should care about other human rights. The rise of insulin costs is abhorrent. I have four people in my family that have diabetes. Luckily, they are all fortunate enough to be able to afford it. But I’ve heard the horror stories. Nobody should die from a treatable disease. It’s disgusting that a black market for insulin has to even exist. I am young enough and fortunate enough to get insurance from my father. I haven’t gotten any major health issues at this point—and I don’t have to in the near future. But what if my dad lost this job?”

Danny and Jake

Danny is a friend of Jake and a worker in Chicago as well. He contrasted the spending on war with spending on social programs in the United States.

The Pentagon misplaced $7 billion and they don’t know where it went,” he said. “And they can’t afford healthcare? I think saving people’s lives affordably is more important than invading other countries and destroying lives.”

Both Jake and Danny also spoke about … the Trump administration’s efforts to oust the Maduro government in Venezuela, which could create a violent civil war. “We should not be involved in that,” Jake said. “That’s nonsense,” Danny added.

Jake also spoke about other issues that were important to him, including education and the recent strikes of teachers. “The other big issues that matter to me are education—public vs. private. I’ve been following the teacher strikes and I have friends who are teachers in California. My friends were in the Los Angeles teacher strike. Teachers need to be paid a lot more. Education solves a lot of root problems. I’m also really concerned about income inequality.”

This video from the USA says about itself:

I shot some quick video clips at Bernie Sanders campaign rally in Chicago, March 3, 2019.

By George Gallanis in Chicago, USA:

On Sunday night, over 12,000 people gathered at Navy Pier in downtown Chicago to hear Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speak, the second of two weekend rallies to kick off his presidential campaign. The first was held at Brooklyn College in New York City Saturday afternoon, also attended by many thousands.

In the Chicago speech, while similar in many ways to his address in Brooklyn, which focused on a “left” appeal for economic equality, Sanders made a shift in emphasis. He appealed directly to racial minorities, referring to his experiences in organizing housing and school desegregation efforts as a student at the University of Chicago, and to police violence, segregation, racial inequality and “institutional racism”, which, he declared, permeates Chicago and the rest of the United States.

Earlier on Sunday, Sanders attended a breakfast in Selma, Alabama, commemorating the 1965 civil rights march that ended in a violent police assault. …

As the choir [the Thompson Community Singers] wound down, six campaign co-hairs spoke on different issues before Sanders made his appearance.

Destiny Harris, from the organization #NoCopAcademy, spoke first, highlighting her experiences leading to her becoming an activist, including the closure of her elementary school in 2013, one of 50 schools closed by Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff. She was followed by the photographer and Sanders’ former roommate, Danny Lyon, who recounted his experiences of Sanders’ involvement opposing housing segregation at the University of Chicago. Following him, Ashley Galvan Ramos from Logan Square Neighborhood association spoke out against gentrification in Chicago.

Ro Khanna, … Representative from California’s 17th Congressional District, … excitedly told the crowd that Sanders would not start another war that was not approved by the United States Congress, although he avoided the term “antiwar”, as did every other speaker. …

Sanders’ speech was very similar to that given in Brooklyn the day before, in which he outlined a series of limited reforms without explaining how any of these could actually be implemented given the hostility of the US ruling elite, including the leaders of the Democratic Party whose presidential nomination he is seeking. …

Save for mentioning a recent vote taken to stop funding for the US-Saudi war on Yemen, Sanders did not mention any country outside of the United States or the mounting danger of war with nuclear-armed powers like Russia and China.

In highlighting his time in Chicago in the early 1960s, where he came as a transfer student to the University of Chicago, Sanders spoke of his experiences in organizing housing and school desegregation efforts. He said, “Have we made progress in civil rights in this country since the early 1960s? No question about it. Do we still have a very long way to go to end the institutional racism which permeates almost every aspect of our society? Absolutely.”

5 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders and his Chicago supporters speak

  1. As we launch this campaign for president, you deserve to know where I come from – because family history heavily influences the values that we adopt as adults.

    I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, in a three-and-a-half room rent-controlled apartment. My father was a paint salesman who worked hard his entire life, but never made much money. My mother raised my brother and me.

    I learned a great deal about immigration as a child because my father came to this country from Poland at the age of 17, without a nickel in his pocket. He came to escape the crushing poverty that existed in his community, and to escape widespread anti-Semitism. It was a good thing that he left Poland when he did because virtually his entire family there was wiped out by Nazi barbarism.

    I am not going to tell you that I grew up in a home of desperate poverty. That would not be true. But what I will tell you is that coming from a lower middle class family I will never forget how money – or really lack of money – was always a point of stress in our home.

    My mother’s dream was that someday our family would move out of that rent-controlled apartment to a home of our own. That dream was never fulfilled. She died young while we were still living in that rent-controlled apartment.

    My experience as a kid, living in a family that struggled economically, powerfully influenced my life and my values. Unlike Donald Trump, who shut down the government and left 800,000 federal employees without income to pay the bills, I know what it’s like to be in a family that lives paycheck to paycheck.

    I did not have a father who gave me millions of dollars to build luxury skyscrapers, casinos and country clubs. I did not come from a family that gave me a $200,000 allowance every year beginning at the age of 3. As I recall, my allowance was 25 cents a week.

    But I had something more valuable: I had the role model of a father who had unbelievable courage in journeying across an ocean, with no money in his pocket, to start a new and better life.
    I did not come from a family of privilege that prepared me to entertain people on television by telling workers: “You’re fired.” I came from a family who knew all too well the frightening power employers can have over everyday workers.

    I did not come from a politically connected family whose multinational corporation got special tax breaks and subsidies. I came from a family where my parents paid their taxes and understood the important role that government plays in a democracy.

    I did not come from a family that could afford to send my brother and me to an elite boarding school. In fact, I was educated in high quality public schools in Brooklyn and began the first year of my college life at Brooklyn College.

    Having attended an excellent public college that was then virtually tuition free while living in a rent-controlled apartment, I can assure you that my family believed that government in a democratic society had a very important role to play in protecting working families.

    I did not come from a family that taught me to build a corporate empire through housing discrimination. I protested housing discrimination, was arrested for protesting school segregation, and attended Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington for jobs and freedom.

    I know where I came from, and that is something I will never forget.

    Over the last few years, you and I and millions of Americans have stood up and fought for justice in every part of our society. And we’ve had some successes.

    Together, as billionaires and large corporations have attacked unions, destroyed pensions, deregulated the banks, and slashed wages, we have succeeded in raising the minimum wage to $15 in states and cities across the country. We have also forced large corporations like Amazon and Disney to do the same. And we have supported teachers who successfully stood up for their kids in strike after strike after strike.

    Together, as the forces of militarism have kept us engaged in unending wars, we have stood arm-in-arm to fight back. For the first time in 45 years, we have utilized the War Powers Act to move us forward in ending the horrific Saudi-led war in Yemen.

    Together, as so many of our young people have received criminal records for nonviolent offenses, we have fought to end the war on drugs, and have seen state after state decriminalize marijuana, and have seen communities expunge the criminal records of those arrested on these charges.

    Let’s be honest: while we have won some victories, our struggles have not always been successful. But I am here to tell you, that because of all the work we have done, we are now on the brink of winning not just an election, but transforming our country.

    When we are in the White House, we will enact a federal jobs guarantee, to ensure that everyone is guaranteed a stable job. There is more than enough work to be done in this country. Let’s do it.

    When we are in the White House we will attack the problem of urban gentrification and build the affordable housing our nation desperately needs.

    When we are in the White House we will end the decline of rural America, reopen those rural hospitals that have been closed, and make sure that our young people have decent jobs so they do not have to leave the towns they grew up in and love.

    When we are in the White House, we will move aggressively to end the epidemic of gun violence in this country and pass the common sense gun safety legislation that the overwhelming majority of Americans want. People who should not have guns will not have guns.

    When we are in the White House, we are going to address not only the disparities of wealth and income that exist in our country, but we will address the racial disparities of wealth and income. We are going to root out institutional racism wherever it exists. Not only will we end voter suppression, we are going to make it easier for people to vote – not harder.

    When we are in the White House, we are going to protect a woman’s right to control her own body. That is her decision, not the government’s.

    Make no mistake about it, this struggle is not just about defeating Donald Trump. This struggle is about taking on the incredibly powerful institutions that control the economic and political life of this country. I’m talking about Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry and a corrupt campaign finance system that enables billionaires to buy elections.

    Brothers and sisters, we have an enormous amount of work ahead of us. But I believe if we stand together, if we don’t allow Trump and his friends to divide us up, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders

    Add your name if you agree: it’s time to transform our country and create a government that works for all of us, not just the billionaire class.

    Bernie cannot do it alone. We will only succeed if we are in this fight together. Not me. Us.


    Paid for by Bernie 2020

    (not the billionaires)

    PO BOX 391, Burlington, VT 05402


  2. Pingback: Puerto Rico video by Bernie Sanders | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. There is a dangerous new policy designed to keep progressives out of Congress. The worst part? It’s coming from within the Democratic Party.

    Cheri Bustos, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s chair for the 2020 election, just enacted a policy to blacklist anyone who works with candidates like me who will challenge an incumbent Democratic to win a seat in Congress. This new plan will strongarm progressive primary challengers out of running for office.

    Tell DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos that this anti-democratic policy sends the wrong message to voters across the country. It’s designed to protect the Washington establishment and runs contrary to everything the Democratic Party should be fighting for – representing working people.

    If the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had its way, I wouldn’t be in Congress today. Neither would members like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Talib, Ilhan Omar or any other Democrat who had the guts to take on the party establishment and fight for the working people of their district. If we’re being honest, this is the kind of policy protecting the Washington establishment that plays directly into Trump’s hands – which is why we need you to speak up and strongly reject it.

    Voters are sick of the status quo, and this slap in the face to grassroots candidates needs to be met by all of us raising our voices and demanding the DCCC reverse this tone-deaf policy. The good news is that we have a strong Congressional Progressive Caucus that is fighting to open up the Democratic Party, but change isn’t going to happen if it’s just us working from the inside. The DCCC needs to hear your voice too.

    Sign the petition telling Cheri Bustos to stop protecting the Washington establishment and let grassroots candidates fight for working people without the fear of backlash. Anything less is a betrayal of our democratic values.

    We cannot allow these divisive tactics when we need to be building a unified progressive movement that can bring the political revolution our country so desperately needs. Thank you for taking action.

    In solidarity,

    Ro Khanna
    Member of Congress (CA-17)


  4. Pingback: United States young people on socialism, capitalism | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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