When we surveyed RootsAction supporters nineteen months ago, more than 80 percent said they wanted Senator Bernie Sanders to run for president.
That wish has come true. With a strong grassroots campaign, Bernie is eloquent as he denounces corporate power, economic inequality and “oligarchy.”
But he’s saying very little about crucial issues of war, militarism and foreign policy.
As of now, on his campaign’s official website, the page headlined “Bernie Sanders: On the Issues” says nothing at all about foreign policy, war or any other such topics.
So far, Bernie’s stump speech hardly mentions the huge military budget — and does not talk about how it is a massive roadblock for the scale of public investment in education, infrastructure and jobs that he is advocating.
While invoking the name and spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., so far in this campaign Bernie has detoured around Dr. King’s essential antiwar message.
Just days ago, Bernie addressed the organization that King led, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The long speech was eloquent, but you’d never know from it that the United States is now in its fourteenth year of continuous warfare. In fact, the only time Bernie’s speech used the word “war” was in the phrase “war on drugs.” The only mention of the war industry was a two-second reference to the “military-industrial complex.”
Bernie’s speech to the SCLC paid resounding tribute to Dr. King but made no mention of his antiwar leadership. From Bernie’s speech, you wouldn’t have a clue that King explicitly and emphatically linked the issues of economic injustice at home with war abroad.
Bernie Sanders is one of only two sitting U.S. senators who joined the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King spoke about his dream. King’s life was cut short five years later as he campaigned for expanded federal programs and a “poor people’s bill of rights” — not only organizing for economic uplift but also an end to what he called “the madness of militarism.”
Click here to urge Bernie Sanders not to bypass this pivotal truth: Adequate funds for programs of economic equity and social justice will require an end to the “madness of militarism” that persists today.
Ongoing war and huge military spending continue to be deeply enmeshed with basic economic ills from upside-down priorities. As the National Priorities Project has documented, 54 percent of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending now goes to military purposes.
Overcoming militarism is just as vital as overcoming oligarchy. We won’t be able to do one without the other.
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— The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
> Bernie Sanders campaign website: “On the Issues”
> National Priorities Project: “Military Spending in the United States”
> Bernie Sanders: Speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference