There's a "buzz" in the Occupy community, and it's all about Bernie. And the word is that... an endorsement is in the works.
In an article titled "Why Bernie Sanders is the Only Populist Candidate for President," Carl provided a laundry list of items on which Occupy cannot but agree. Minimum wage? Check. Money out of politics? Check. Anti-TPP? Check. Anti-Wall Street Corruption? Check. Extending social security? Check. Free college tuition? Check.
The Occupy.com author Carl Gibson makes a strong case for Occupy to support the renegade. (Renegade? - he has been in Congress for 20 years and will be turning 74 on September 8!) Whatever, Gibson's pronouncement is that the independent Senator from Vermont is Occupy's choice for president.
Even Republicans are in the 99 percent now
As newscaster Thom Hartmann blogged recently, even Republicans vote for Bernie. He points out that a recent poll by the Progressive Change Institute shows that Americans overwhelmingly agree with Bernie on key issues. Such as:
*75% support fair trade that "protects workers, the environment, and jobs.
*71% support giving all students access to a debt-free college education.
*71% support a massive infrastructure spending program aimed at rebuiloding our broken roads and bridges and prutting people back to work.
*70% support expanding Social Security.
*59% support raising taxes on the wealth so that millionaires pay the same amount in taxes as they did during the Reagan administration.
*58% support breaking up the big banks.
*55% support a financial transaction or Robin Hood tax.
*51% support single payer healthcare.
What's not to love?
And yet, there are rumbles of discontent. Hardly surprising, as Occupy has always been leery of being "co-opted." Secondly, Occupiers - those remaining and still vocal - have never been able to agree as to whether anyone should ever assume the mantle of "leader."
Ah, the strictures of ideology
At least one OWS veteran, Sumumba Sobukwe, is rooting for Bernie Sanders, going so far as to invite the Senator this coming September 17 to Federal Hall and Zuccotti Park to campaign and to help celebrate Occupy's fourth birthday.
Sobukwe's FB site declares "This rally and open invitation to Bernie Sanders on September 17th is in support of Sanders stated position on Wall Street and the many issues connected and affected by it. As we await word back from his camp we are extending a open invitation to all of his supporters and others who are curious as to his position on Wall Street to attend as well."
Sumumba, an early leader in #ICantBreathe and #BlackLivesMatter, is firm in his invite, in spite of the recent dust-up at a Sanders' rally in Seattle in which "Black Lives Matter" activists muscled their way on the stage to question his stand on today's hottest black issue.
Supporters were split in their reaction, but Sanders seemed to take it in stride. Bruce Wright of the National Committee at the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign had this to say.
"Wow. Ruined the event? How else can they get clear equal access to the corporate owned media? I think Bernie should be gracious. They deserve equal time in addressing the agendas that white America still seems to want to turn deaf ears and eyes to."
On the other side, long-time activist and Occupier Joanne Farrell feels this way. "I am asking my friends from OWS to please read (my thoughts). I am hoping to open a dialog of communication about our future. I disagree with the attacks on Bernie."
To Sanders' credit, unlike the other slate of candidates for either party, he met the criticism head on and agreed that his position had to be re-thought on how black-oriented issues might better be incorporated as planks in his platform.
In response to a tweet from civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson to discuss his racial justice platform, he responded. "@deray Let's do it. We will PM you this week to arrange."
I want to move forward
Sumumba replied on his FB page with a video in which he asserts that Black Lives Matter is not a threat to white people, that he does not agree with everything Bernie Sanders may stand for, but "I want to move forward. The struggle is real for me. I can support black power and Bernie Sanders."
"If there will be any OWS resistance," Sobukwe says, "it will come from the far left. More and more, they resemble the Republicans - they are the 'Party of No.' They need to understand, as does the large body of Occupiers still active, that you don't need to feel you must endorse everything about Sanders the man. You need to get behind the Platform on which he is running."
He smiles. "If that platform wins, we win."