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In the Steps of Granny D

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A quiet country road from Dublin to Hancock, New Hampshire was the site of the New Hampshire Rebellion’s latest “Granny D Walk” to end the influence of money in American politics.P8230046 (2)

Granny D was the public moniker for Doris Haddock, a long-time Dublin resident who set out from California a few days short of her 89th birthday to walk across the USA and publicize the need for campaign finance reform.  She had just turned 90 when she reached the nation’s capital on February 29, 2000. 

The path of today’s walk was one she used to train for her historic pilgrimage, which ended at the US Capitol on February 29, 2000, a month after she turned 90.

Few people reflect the strength of conviction demonstrated by Granny D, observed Larry Lessig, the writer and Harvard Law School professor who launched the Rebellion last year.  The group conducted a winter march from Dixville Notch to Nashua in P8230054

January and another along the New Hampshire seacoast in July. 

Today forty people, aiming to make breaking the money-politics link a central issue of the 2016 presidential nominating contest, continued Granny D’s quest.  Walking through a wooded area with no pedestrians and barely any cars, there weren’t many people to educate and convince.  But perhaps that wasn’t the point.  P8230045

There’s a long history of walks, marches, and pilgrimages intended to bolster movements for social change.  Gandhi’s march to the sea, the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, the United Farm Workers Union’s 300-mile march from Delano to Sacramento, and the regular peace walks led by the Nipponzan Myohoji monks come to mind as examples.  Yes, they are expressions of political views, but they also embody spiritual power. 

When we sing “we won’t let nobody turn us around,” we aim to capture that same spirit.  When musicians Leslie Vogel and Fred Simmons treated us to “Just a P8230063 Walk with Granny D” before the march, I felt the spirit in motion. 

Part of the point was also to get to know new people, Dan Weeks said at the walk’s outset.  Dan, who was recently appointed as Executive Director for the NH Coalition for Open Democracy (NH COD), says his own activist inclinations began when Granny D visited his high school.  At that time the impressionable 15-year old learned from his elderly neighbor that companies which profited from selling tobacco had a heavy hand in writing the nation’s laws through their political involvement.  Children were dying because of the nation’s twisted approach to campaign finance, Granny D explained.  Dan was hooked, not on cigarettes, but on money & politics activism.  “The systemP8230109 excludes so many of our people,” he says. 

To put it another way, if money is speech, then those with the most money get the most speech.  And as the distribution of wealth becomes increasingly skewed, inequality of speech becomes a profound political problem for a country where government of the people, by the people, and for the people is supposed to be imperishable.

From Dan’s perspective, a walk in the steps of Granny D is a statement that we have not given up hope.

Two hours after setting out, clusters of walkers arrived in the center of Hancock, a town with a population of fewer than 2000 people.  There we were greeted by volunteers and treated to ice cream donated by Ben & Jerry’s.  The crowd had grown to about P8230117 60 people, now including Jim Rubens, a Republican candidate for the US Senate who has made campaign finance reform a plank in his platform (and who says he’s the only Republican in the race who is speaking out against the third Iraq war).  

When the ice cream had been eaten, Dan Weeks introduced Professor Lessig for a short speech by the gazebo on the Hancock Common.  Lessig apparently didn’t feel a need to educate the assembled dozens about the corruption caused by the billions of dollars in the political system, nor did he choose to restate the strategy of the NH Rebellion.  He chose instead to exhort the small crowd about the importance of action, something he says our country has become unaccustomed to taking. 

“We’ve just gotten through a century of very passive politics, where we were told to shut up and listen to the commercials and just show up to vote,” Lessig said.

“That’s the only thing we were to do. We weren’t to organize or to get people out in P8230104

the streets.  We weren’t about ordinary citizens trying to lead.  We weren’t practiced in that kind of politics.”

“But that’s the kind of politics this will take,” he continued.  “Neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party leadership like this issue.  Neither of them are going to make this transition happen on their own.  It will only happen if we force them.”

Plans are already being hatched for another walk next January, timed to coincide not only with Granny D’s birthday but also with the fifth anniversary of the Citizens United court decision. 

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Peace on the Corner

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Ken Mayers’ little red Honda hybrid was loaded up with banners and signs when I hopped in on Friday morning, headed for a peace protest at the corner of St. Francis Drive and Cerillos Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  There, Ken and other local activists give the community’s peace movement dependable visibility.  Friday was the 12th anniversary of their first weekly protest during the build-up to the Iraq war.P8080503

Back then the protest might attract upwards of a hundred people.  Now they are down to a few stalwarts, but someone is there every week.

Ken takes out a large Veterans for Peace banner but since the weather is calm, he assembles another using sections of plastic pipe.  The vinyl banner on one side says “Stop the War on Mother Earth.”  The banner on the other says “Close Guantanamo.”  Both are attached to the pipe framework with bungee cords.  I admire the design, and tell Ken about Don Booth, who held peace vigils for years in Concord and who never ceased fussing with banner designs and slogans.  Ken is able to hold the flag and the banner rig at the same time.

Ken started the Santa Fe Veterans for Peace chapter in 2002, but he’s been an activist longer than than.  He still runs a business out of his home, but peace is high on his agenda.  Ken has made several trips to Israel and occupied Palestine and participated in the 2011 “Audacity of Hope” flotilla to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. [Click here to read more about Ken.]  We share the distinct honor of having been arrested with Will Thomas in acts of civil disobedience.

I grab an FCNL “War is Not the Answer” road sign from the back of the car and join Ken on the sidewalk by the busy intersection.

The corner is on the road from Albuquerque to Los Alamos, which still functions as a lynchpin facility in US nuclear weapons development, but the location was chosen, Ken said, because it gets so much traffic.  Sometimes demonstrations are held in the center of town, near the state capital building P8080492 (“The Roundhouse”), but the weekly Friday protest is always at the corner.

Soon after we arrive, Ray rides up on his bike with his service dog, Dawson, and unfurls his own peace banner.  Ray tells me he and Ken were both active in Vietnam Veterans Against the War back in the day.  Now Ray supports programs that provide shelter to people who are homeless. 

Ken points across the intersection to another man having his own peace protest. 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d2/Peace_sign.svg/220px-Peace_sign.svg.pngHis name is pronounced “Mo,” but he says he spells it with an “M,” an “h,” and a  – a peace sign.  He’d like the peace sign to be recognized as the 27thP8080470 letter and says his own vigil was inspired by former Beatle Ringo Starr, who asks people to stand out for peace and love at noon on his birthday.  Tibetan peace flags dangle from a pole that also sports Buddhist symbols, feathers, and peace buttons. “It’s a hippie thing, too,” he says.  A button that reads “stop the next war now” is pinned to his shirt.  He used to be joined by a World War 2 vet named Bob, but Bob is 90 years old and can’t stand out by the road for an hour.  So Mho stands by himself, waving peace signs to the cars driving by, just like Ringo suggested.

When I head back toward Ray and Ken’s corner I find another spot occupied by Mark and Bud with another set of signs.  Mark’s says “One Nation Under Surveillance” on one side and P8080482 “War is a Racket” on the other.  Bud holds a poster with lots of photos and the words “violence begets violence begets violence … ”  Later he gives me a copy of his film, “The Forgotten Bomb: Everything Depends on Remembering.”

Dave arrives and joins Ken and Ray.  His sign says “honk for peace” and it works pretty well.  But by then the allotted hour is up.

I help Ken take apart his banner display and stash it in the back of the car.  Ray and Dawson ride off on their bike.  The protest will resume next Friday.

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It’s kind of like summer camp but maybe more like a family reunion.  It’s like a retreat center or perhaps a mini-micro version of the World Social Forum.  It’s a vacation resort, except without most of the amenities you might associate with that word.  It’s a place where you can play badminton, have intense conversations about conflict minerals in Africa, hone your activist skills, take aP7210095 nap on the lawn with a novel on our lap, or commune with loons.  You can even debut your new play at Fun Night (more on that later).

It’s the World Fellowship Center on the edge of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and it’s a great place to visit for a day or a week or the whole summer from early July until Labor Day. 

Where else would you find 30 people sitting around on a rainy Sunday morning talking about the importance of divesting from the fossil fuel industry, the final session of a 3-day program on “Living the Transition to a New Economy?” 

“Their business model isn’t going to change,” said long-time organizer Chuck P7200036 Collins about the companies that mine coal, drill for oil and natural gas, and process them for sale.  “Young people are driving a movement to address the climate crisis,” he emphasized. 

One of them is Collins’ daughter, Nora, who called climate “the ultimate social issue,” with a disproportionate impact on already marginalized people throughout the world.  

“We are revoking the license of the fossil fuel industry to wreck our future,” Chuck said.  He recommends divestinvest.org as a source of information for individuals and institutions interested in this strategy.

Molly Messenger and Bruce Mallory led three discussions about the work of New Hampshire Listens, a project based at UNH that fosters community dialogues on P7210057 controversial issues.  This might include something local like whether to install a traffic light or build a roundabout at a dangerous intersection, a statewide issue like whether to permit gambling casinos, or a campus matter like divestment from the fossil fuel industry.  The process of promoting real dialogue is “an antidote to the highly polarized political discourse” that dominates talk radio, P7210056 the US Congress, and a lot of local forums, Mallory said. 

The public engagement they advocate and teach is distinct from public relations, public input, and public education because it is aimed at engaging community members in shared problem solving, not just one-way communication.  To work well it needs a commitment to a community organizing process, not simply the hosting of public gatherings for people to meet up and air their views.   

World Fellowship also hosted the Kimba Vitu Institute, a 5-day program for young adults from the Democratic Republic of Congo dedicated to developing leaders inP7210065 the struggle to free their country from dictatorship, war, and foreign domination.  They kept busy with their own programs most of the time, but Institute participants gave two presentations and offered an introduction to Congolese dance to wrap up the Friday Fun Night program.

Paul Pumphrey and Kambalae Musavuli of Friends of the Congo, a US-based organization that helps organize the Kimba Vitu Institute, outlined some of the intense challenges facing the Congolese people at this time, including aggression sponsored by the government of Rwanda, a corrupt national elite, and foreign corporations that exploit minerals such as copper, cobalt, and coltan,  (It’s not only our government that is unduly influenced by corporate interests.)  If you’ve never heard of “coltan,” check out this link to learn about a rare mineral that has become an essential  component for many of our modern  electronic gadgets, including mobile phones.  Sixty percent of the world’s coltan reserves are in the DRC. As they outlined, it is not uncommon for corporations to move into communities that have been abandoned following militia attacks and mass rape. 

In addition to educating the public, Friends of the Congo has a campaign to pressure the US government to enforce the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006, sponsored by then-Senator Barack Obama.  In particular, Section 105 of that law calls on the US government “to withhold assistance made available under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), other than humanitarian, peacekeeping, and counter terrorism assistance, for a foreign country if the Secretary [of State] determines that the government of the foreign country is taking actions to destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” This provision would apply to Rwanda, which according to Pumphrey and Kambalae is a US ally.  Visit their website for more information and to get involved, for example by organizing educational programs during Congo P7230156 Week in October””.

Every evening at World Fellowship there is some type of educational or cultural program.  One evening John Uniack Davis gave an update on Syria.  Saturday evening we were treated to a concert with Hudson Valley Sally (none of whose members appear to be named “Sally.”)  You can find all the details of what you missed and what’s coming up in the summer program.

World Fellowshippers also find plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors, especially Whitton Pond and hikes in nearby mountains.  Howie Fain offers two (sometimesP7240163 three) recreational outings a day, usually a hike or bike ride, always with his rating of how easy or challenging the trip will be.  There’s also the daily “art on the porch” sessions, morning body movement programs, and Children’s Fellowship for the 3 to 9-year-old set.  In the evening you are likely to find people playing scrabble or other games, doing jigsaw puzzles, or sitting around the porch with guitars and copies of Rise Up Singing.  

Every Friday evening is Fun Night, the all-World Fellowship talent show featuring stand-up comedy, stories, music, and more.  This year I recruited volunteer actors, singers, and musicians to stage the premier performance of my play, “Metamorphosis Two: The Corporation Strikes Back,” the story of a person who discovers she has been transformed into a corporation.  (More on this project soon.)

Our week wrapped up with the annual Clamshell Alliance Reunion, which this year featured talks by Roy Morrison on how to make large-scale shifts from nukes and fossil fuels to renewable alternatives and Joanne Sheehan on the historic roots of the Clamshell’s application of nonviolent action.  

Morrison believes an ecological transition is compatible with economic growth through “a market system that would send money signals for sustainability,” for example by means of “a comprehensive system of ecological taxation.” P7270403

A tax on carbon won’t do the trick, he said, for reasons of basic economics.  If taxes on fossil fuels effectively reduce demand for coal, oil, and natural gas, the prices will drop, Morrison suggested.  That’s why he favors a broader “ecological value added tax.”

Joanne Sheehan found the roots of the Clamshell Alliance’s approach to nonviolence training in the application of Gandhian approaches by World War Two war resisters, first to desegregate prisons and subsequently in the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, the first “freedom ride.”  The use of nonviolence training for P7270408 participants and acceptance of a set of guidelines for participants would be among the methods adopted by the Clams in 1976. 

The three decades before Clamshell’s birth, though, saw plenty of applications for nonviolence training, notably the workshops led by the Rev. James Lawson prior to the Nashville sit-ins and the sessions for participants in Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964.  There were also clear lines from the civil rights movement to pacifist groups like Peacemakers and the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA), which applied Gandhian tactics in the movement for nuclear disarmament. 

Marge Swan was a CNVA activist in the early 1960s and directed the AmericanP7230117 (2) Friends Service Committee’s New England office in the mid-1970s when the No  Nukes movement sprouted from environmentalist, anti-war, civil rights, and feminist seeds.  Sukie Rice, an AFSC staff member in Cambridge, took her anti-war experience to the Clamshell and with Elizabeth Boardman, another Quaker active with AFSC, led the Clamshell’s first nonviolence training workshops in the summer of 1976.

[For more details on early Clamshell see “Clam Magic: The Birth of a National Anti-Nuclear Movement, A Chapter from the Oral History of How the No Nukes Movement (1973-1982) Saved the United States and Maybe the World,” by Al Giordano at http://www.narconews.com/Issue67/article4739.html.]

As Joanne Sheehan outlined it, the Clamshell model included six components:

1. Required nonviolent action training;

2. The use of guidelines, essentially a code of discipline that all participants agreed to uphold;

3. The use of Affinity Groups, small groups of participants who worked together for preparation, mutual support, and decision-making;

4. Consensus decision-making;

5. A non-hierarchical structure; and

6. Bail solidarity, i.e. refusal to pay bail until everyone is released.P7270413

One piece of history Sheehan learned from Giordano’s interviews is that Sukie Rice first experienced the use of affinity groups at the 1971 May Day anti-war protests in Washington and adapted materials from the May Day action manual to use with Clamshell.  Clamshell produced its own action manuals for major actions.  These led eventually to the Handbook for Nonviolent  Action, or the “generic manual,” published by Kate Donnelly and the War Resisters League.  

If the roots of Clamshell’s nonviolence can be traced back a few decades, it’s also possible to identify the fruits of the Clamshell model in the mid-80s Pledge of Resistance to US aggression against Nicaragua, the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, Occupy Wall Street, and plenty of other campaigns that used nonviolent civil disobedience.  However, in many cases elements of the model have been dropped.  As an example cited by Sheehan, groups using civil disobedience to protest the climate disruption caused by fossil fuel consumption often spend as much time raising bail money as they do planning the actions that will get them arrested.  In many cases, tactics are determined through hierarchical structures, not through horizontal ones. 

But lessons learned in the past can be re-learned.  The Clamshell Weekend ended with discussions about making deliberate plans for next year’s gathering to be inter-generational.  If so, we shouldn’t see this just as way for the elder generation (of which I am now a member) to pass our wisdom on to the youngers.  The youngers no doubt have much to teach the elders, too. 

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A strike by Fairpoint workers is still possible but negotiations have not ended, a union spokesperson announced an hour short of the strike deadline this evening.  “Make no mistake, this fight is not over,” Glenn Brackett of the IBEWP8020501 told a hundred or so union members and allies outside Fairpoint’s downtown Manchester office at 11 pm. “We will continue to mobilize until we get a contract that’s fair.”

Brackett said workers should return to work but that a strike could be called at any time.  Terms and conditions of the expired contract will remain in effect while negotiations continue.

“The company has been very unresponsive to many of the major proposals we have made,” Bracket said, P8020489 adding that the company’s attitude has been dismissive and antagonistic.  

He explained that the company had turned down a union proposal that would have saved the company millions of dollars.  

Fairpoint workers are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America.

I have to cheer when workers take collective action to defend dignified working conditions.  So I was happy to stop by the pickP7300456et line outside the Demoulas Market Basket Supermarket in Concord for a chat with some of the workers this afternoon.

Three workers were out on the road, waving signs and collecting honks from motorists.   Others were by the doorways, hanging out with fellow workers who were on the job.  Workers are even making picket signs inside the store. They don’t have a union and the workers I talked to don’t want one.  This is the strangest strike I’ve ever observed.

Strangest of all:  their demand is to win reinstatement of the company’s paternalistic CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, who workers say has treated them well.

The chain’s 71 stores have been open since the labor conflict erupted two weeks ago.  The issue is a conflict within the Demoulas family, which has been squabbling for years.  When Arthur T. was deposed by the company’s board, workers revolted, from management to entry-level.  The stores are open but the shelves are getting bare, especially since the regional distribution center is mostly shut down.

The Boston Globe has provided a useful chronology.

Austin, who was waving a sign on Fort Eddy Road in Concord this afternoon, said the struggle has “a lot P7300461 of union aspects,” but said the workers have no interest in forming an actual union.  Apparently they believe their interests are being adequately represented by others who are at the negotiating table with the Demoulas family and the Board of Directors. 

I told him my own activist career started, in a sense, as a participant in supermarket picket lines during the United Farm Workers boycotts of the 1970s.  He has heard of Cesar Chavez and says the Demoulas workers have had supportive visits from union reps.  

Demoulas workers say that under Arthur T. they have been treated well, prices have been kept lower than in other chains, and customers have been happy.  Their fear is that the Board will discard profit-sharing and other policies that make Demoulas a good place to work. 

Brianna, who has been working as a cashier for a year, has been happy with her wages and says there’s been no talk of unionizing.  She just wants everything to go back to the way it was. 

What I wonder is whether workers who have gotten a taste of their power will go back to what she called “normal.”  “Normal” has a way of changing.  

 

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Today’s rebellion started slowly in a parking lot off Route 1A on the south side of Portsmouth.  With 3 days of rain finally over and the sky brightening up, the spirits of the few dozen people who met there were pretty good, and a bunch of them were old friends I wasn’t expecting to see.  It was a good start to a day of marching to get big money out of politics.P7050023

That’s the purpose of the NH Rebellion, a year-old organization inspired by Doris “Granny D” Haddock, the New Hampshire woman who at age 90 walked across the entire country to call for reform of the nation’s campaign finance laws.  Her relentless pavement pounding helped pave the way for passage of the McCain-Feingold law in 2002.  That law, in turn, opened the doors to new paths for moneyed interests to worm their ways into the political system and then was undermined by the US Supreme Court. 

With money spent on political campaigns deemed a form of speech protected by the P7050040 First Amendment, and corporations deemed persons with just about all rights – so far – save the right to cast ballots, Granny D’s spirit is more important than ever.   

“96% of Americans think that big money in politics is a problem,” the NH Rebellion says, “but 91% think we can’t do anything about it.  It’s time to prove them wrong.” 

“Systemic corruption blocks progress on ALL issues, regardless of one’s political viewpoint,” insists the Rebellion.  “Our goal is to make money in politics the central issue of the 2016 presidential primaries by asking every candidate to answer one question:  ‘How are you going to end theP7050044 system of corruption in DC?’”

From now until the NH Primary, the Rebellion aims to mobilize citizens to ask that question.  They are also planning house meetings, circulating petitions, and organizing more marches.

Our busload of rebels emptied out at Hampton Beach and without fanfare hit the sidewalk for several hours of walking north to New Castle, where a mid-afternoon rally was scheduled.  With everyone walking at their own pace we were soon spread out along Route 1-A, a bit hard to distinguish from vacationers who were just as glad the sun P7050090 was shining.

NH Rebellion volunteers met us now and then with offers of water, leaflets, encouragement to walk faster, and reminders that the bus would come by to sweep up stragglers.  We were among those “swept up” by the bus to leapfrog ahead a few miles and re-join the march for the last few miles through Rye and New Castle.

Only when we reached the New Castle Library could we see that there was a pretty good crowd.  Finally, inside the walls of Fort Constitution we were able to join a crowd several hundred strong.  No surprise: Portsmouth’s Leftist Marching Band was performing.  

Jeff McLean, the Rebellion’s Executive Director, welcomed the marchers with a P7050054 brief statement noting that Fort Constitution was the site of the first victory of the American Revolution.  “Today we come here as citizens who recognize a fundamental flaw” in the political system.

McLean, who led organizing of turnout and logistics for the march, introduced Professor Lawrence Lessig, founder of the initiative and the event’s only other speaker.  Conventional wisdom in the nation’s capital is that the money system is entrenched and impossible to change, Lessig said.  “But look around.  This looks like the first victory of the American Revolution Version Two.”

Lessig also proudly announced that his May Day Super PAC had raised $5 million to support candidates who want to rid politics of the influence of money.   P7050059

By the time of the NH Primary, Lessig said, every candidate will have to answer the Rebellion’s one question about ending the system of corruption.  That remains to be seen. 

One thing was obvious today.  Unlike the Rebellion’s first march last January, this one was peopled mostly by New Hampshire residents.  These are the people who, if they get jazzed up over the next 16 months, can turn money in politics, the unwarranted influence of big business, and the notion that corporations are vested with constitutional rights into key issues in the Primary campaign.   

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“The views that most of us hold are not minority views”

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in Warner, New Hampshire, and Bernie Sanders didn’t need much time to warm up the sympathetic crowd outside Bookends.

“I think that old fashioned politics, I think the politics of big money dominating what goes on in Washington, the old status quo is not good enough,” began the Vermont Senator.  “In my view, and I say this very seriously, we need a political revolution in this country.”  The audience of perhaps one hundred people applauded enthusiastically.

Senator Sanders would sign copies of his book, The Speech, afterwards, but this is no more a standard book tour than are the recent appearances of Hillary Clinton.  Bernie, as he is commonly known, is considering a run for President, and this was his second campaign-style trip to the state that hold the nation’s first primary election.

Sanders’ speech, like one he delivered at the NH Institute of Politics a couple months ago, ran through a menu of issues he referred to as the “progressive agenda.”  The growth of economic inequality and its pernicious effects, the threat of global warning, the need to end wasteful military spending, the need for universal health care, and the importance of free, public education each received a couple paragraphs of stump speech, as did the importance of political reforms to take the government back from the 1 percent and the corporations they own. 

“Last year alone the Koch brothers saw a $12 billion increase in their wealth struggling under the despotic Obama administration,” he said with more than a touch of sarcasm.  Going on about the Kochs, he said, “When you have an extreme P6280041 ideology and you are prepared to spend as much as it takes you can buy the political system. And that is what this disastrous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United has enabled them to do.”

“Here’s what I think,” Sanders continued in his characteristic conversational style.  “Number One we have to overturn Citizens United,” the Supreme Court decision that solidified Court precedents behind the notions of corporate personhood and protection for corporate rights to spend money to influence elections. 

“Second issue, equally important, we need to move toward public funding of P6280020 American elections,” Sanders said.

A week before the NH Rebellion’s next gathering, in which hundreds of local residents are expected to walk from Hampton Beach to New Castle to protest the corrupting influence of big money on our political system, Sanders’ comments were affirmed by the audience.

“We are part of the vast majority.”

As a positive example, Sanders described how efforts to cut Medicare benefits and weaken or privatize Social Security have been rebuffed by organized citizens, despite the propaganda of the deficit hawks.  “The reason we have a deficit today is two huge wars were not paid for and tax breaks for the rich,” he said, again getting approval from the audience.   

The job of progressives, according to Bernie Sanders, is to educate people about what is really going on in the economic and political systems.  And that means going outside of our comfort zones to talk to people with whom we don’t always agree.  The right-wing specializes in division, he said.  Progressive need to bring people together.

“One point I want to reiterate today — the views that most of us hold are not minority views,” Sanders said.  “They are not strange views. Our views are what the vast majority of the American people believe in. It is the Koch brothers and right-wing Republicans who have the fringe ideology.”

“Our job politically is to rally the American people around an agenda which speaks to the needs of the vast majority. And we are part of the vast majority.”

A veteran of who knows how many dozen town hall meetings in Vermont, Bernie Sanders is clearly comfortable with the type of give and take that can animate a New Hampshire Primary campaign.  Of course, he would have to join the Democratic Party in order to compete in that arena.   But he’s already been to Iowa once, and when he left Warner yesterday he was headed for a fundraising dinner for the Hillsborough County Democrats   

#FITN

 

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