Tag Archives: Bernie Sanders

BERNIE’S in style!

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Feel the Bern!!!!!

From the Worcester for Bernie Sanders (for President) crew!

Democratic Presidential Debate tonight (Sun) at 9 pm

The last debate before the Iowa Caucuses!

The debate is being held in South Carolina and hosted by NBC and YouTube.  Don’t miss it!  Make sure your family friends and neighbors don’t miss it!

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Debate Watching Party tonight

8 pm – 12 pm

… at the Sahara Restaurant, 143 Highland St. (at West St.)  

Come join We Want Bernie Worcester and a jolly crowd of Bernie supporters to cheer on our guy! Bring a friend!

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Phone Banking Every Day, 7 days a week from 10 am to 9 pm

from our new Worcester Campaign Office at 256 Park Ave.  

This is critical work.  We have only 6 1/2 weeks left until the Massachusetts Primary, and we need to reach and identify hundreds of thousands of Bernie voters in that time, so we can get them out to the polls!  People, once they get going, seem to be having a good time making these calls!  Please consider signing up for a regular weekly shift, or come in once to get trained up and get your feet wet!  

Call Lisa Mosczynski at 508-341-4876to discuss this and set up a time!

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Ward, Town and Precinct Captains needed to lead the door to door work, talking to our neighbors, getting their commitments to vote for Bernie on March 1.  

The canvassing in Mass starts very soon. 

Can you step up to lead a team in your town or neighborhood?

We still need the loan of computers and phones.  Contact Chris Horton or Lisa with your offer.

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Grand Opening/Open House at the Worcester Bernie Campaign Office

The Open House yesterday was a great success.  Peak attendance, despite a raw morning, was over 60, with a total of 85 sign-ins, including many new volunteers! 

See photos at https://www.facebook.com/bostonforbernie/photos/a.1141249135916047.1073741835.976503942390568/1141249459249348/?type=3&theater

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From Peter Reilly’s blog in Forbes – Capitalist Tool (!):
 
Paul Feeney. the campaign’s Massachusetts State Director, led off.  He told us that his organizing experience came from the labor movement, which accounts for him calling us brothers and sisters. I see from his linked-in profile that he was a legislative director for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers before signing on with the campaign.  He told us that Bernie’s campaign was a departure from traditional transactional politics.  He went through the litany of goals finishing with universal single payer health care, which got a rousing cheer.  The bus from the nurses union parked out front might have helped with that.

Next up was Mary Keefe, a Worcester State Rrep.  She said that Bernie was somebody that you might not agree with on everything, but you could trust him.  She reminisced about being able to go to the Mass College of Arts for $250 per semester.  Back in the day, you could tell your mechanic father and stay at home mom that you wanted to be an artist and they would tell you that was great, work hard in the summer to earn your tuition.  There is this odd thing that stories like that sometimes make me think that Bernie is actually the most conservative candidate.

Lisa Mosczynski, the Regional Field Director, was up next.  She said she was going to be very demanding of people bugging them to go out canvassing and work the phone banks.  She said, quoting Ed Markey, that “We don’t agonize.  We organize”.  

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2016/01/17/disparate-tax-views-at-opening-of-bernie-sanders-worcester-office/2/#2715e4857a0b1175274553a0

Chris is parked in Yum Yums!

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If Jett could vote, he’d vote for Bernie!!!

FEEL THE BERN, WORCESTER!

By Chris Horton

The news came on Wednesday night:  Bernie’s coming to Worcester!  Within hours it was all over social media! For eight months people have been asking me “When is Bernie going to come to Worcester?” and I had to say I didn’t know. 

Now suddenly here he was, on his way, no one could say why, or how we ended up at North High. There were people to call, reporters who I didn’t think knew we existed started calling, other events had to be called off, everyone had to be alerted to suddenly shift gears. 

The actual event was organized by a national Sanders Campaign advance team who descended on Worcester and recruited volunteers with lightning speed, with the help of our new Central Mass Field Organizer Lisa Mosczynski who came on board just last week. Turns out they chose North High after trying everywhere else – but surprisingly it worked out very well, with over 100 volunteers organized on the spot to handle a complex event like clockwork.

The event was scheduled for 5 pm, doors open at 4. It was a cold but bright and sunny at 3pm when we arrived to report for volunteering.  Several hundred people were aready lined up waiting to get in and a dozen volunteers were already at work.

Prominent among the volunteers were a group of red-shirted nurses from the Mass Nurses Association, who arrived with well-known activist Sandy Ellis. They spoke at the pre-meeting about how their union and profession have been hammered over the years and how only Bernie is offering hope of winning a national health insurance plan like Single-Payer/Medicare for All that we desperately need.

I took on working the line, getting people registered and giving them stickers to get in.  And letting them know about the We Want Bernie Worcester event afterwards: “Beers for Bernie” at the Compass Tavern! 

By the time the first people were allowed in a little after 4, the line snaked out all the way to the street, easily several thousand people.  In sharp contrast to the lines at the DCU for Trump last month, there was a good scattering of people of color and Spanish speakers.  The mood was upbeat and festive – while many of us are angry, we didn’t bring our anger to the event.  It was about creating a future we could believe in.

Way out by the street some cars stopped at the entrance and people started shouting “He’s Here!  Bernie’s here!”  I kept working along the line, talking to people, getting the ones the first wave had missed signed up, for maybe 15 minutes, but kept hearing “Bernie’s here!” Finally he came into view, not 10 feet tall, not even 6 feet tall, no Secret Service crew, but this curly-haired slightly-stooped old man working his way along the line with a few staff, shaking everyone’s hand and exchanging a few words with everyone on that line!  Getting old myself as I am, I wondered at how he can find the strength to carry on like this, his second rally of the day, plus by all reports keep up with his many committee assignments in the Senate in Washington.

My own words to him were “Good job, brother!”  I hope the warm glow in my heart as I shook this heroic leader’s hand resonated with him and gave him another ounce of strength.

As it turned out, more than 3,500 people were able to crowd into the building, 1,700 into the gym, and maybe another 300 outside, on little over two days’ notice, at a time when the college students were still away!  The spirit was incredible! 

It was a love-fest; we love this old man who has spent a lifetime speaking and working for us, who is expressing and interpreting our anger, our hopes and dreams, who has declared that we can and will take our country back from the billionaire class and their corrupt servants and agents.  Who declared with passion that we will win in the March 1 Primary and sweep to victory this November, we build a great movement to transform America and put Bernie in the White House to be our voice in Washington!  And how we took courage from him and from each other in that room!

One piece of the story that was not much commented on: Worcester’s State Rep. Mary Keefe, in her first appearance as a Sanders supporter, introduced Bernie (excuse me, Mr. Sanders!) in a rousing and inspiring speech, where she also called on the audience to volunteer for the campaign!

Mary’s own campaigns have been inspiring models of grass-roots activism. This campaign will take the model one step further. Volunteers will be assigned to call and knock on the doors of their own neighbors, and invited to take on the role of Turf Captain in their own town or village, ward, precinct or even micro-neighborood. This is really exciting news! This is a new kind of campaign, laying the foundation of a new – but really very old – kind of politics!  The politics of a “political revolution!”

Berine’s speech touched on so many issues.  This is not a one-issue campaign.  This is a multi-issue campaign.  Job creation. Get big money out of politics. Bring our work home and stop the trade deals that are shipping it overseas. Stop Global Warming.  Racial justice.  Free college education and make the Wall Street speculators pay for it. Criminal justice reform and legalizing marijuana.  Economic equality and the right to join a union. A path to citizenship for the undocumented. Equal pay for women. Raise the minimum wage and guaranteed paid family leave. And many more! Most campaigns hire focus groups to pick one or two key issues to keep hammering on; not this one!  This is the Everything Campaign! 

And it’s working!  Because we are all, whatever our issues, whatever movements we’ve supported, profoundly stuck, unable to gather together the power to win our key demands, faced with a Congress, with state and city governments and programs, that say there is no money, we have to cut, make do with less. 

We’ve all been driven to despair, and we are all in one way or another up against the same ultimate obstacle, the same group of a few thousand billionaires and multi-millionaires who have hijacked our political system, accumulated vast sums of money taken from our work and our taxes, purchased our newspapers, radio and TV networks to use like their private mouthpieces, and are now strangling our economy and driving us to ruin.

And Bernie is calling us all together into one great movement to challenge that “billionaire class” for power and take back the resources we need to make this country work for all of us again!

The spirit of that crowd was so different from Trump’s crowd!  There was anger there, including anger at Trump and the thinly disguised racist lynch mob spirit of his campaign, but there was love too, and no room for hatred! Yes, a Trump heckler would have been booed, but he would not have been in danger.  I sensed that we will stand together when the time comes unafraid.

Near the end of the rally, Bernie shouted out to us:

“Congratulations!  Now you are part of the Political Revolution!”  The crowd shouted out our assent!

I wonder, do the people in that room really understand that there’s a whole world of people out there who have not been seeing Bernie on the nightly news, who don’t know anything about him, who incredibly may not even know his name?  People many of whom are angry, afraid and living lives of desperation, who don’t know where to turn?  People who haven’t voted in years because they don’t see the point and don’t trust that their vote will make a difference?

Do the people shouting agreement to being part of a political revolution get it that we are not going to get those folks’ support, not going to get them to the polls, unless we, each of us, actually step outside of our comfort zone, put aside all the pressing demands of our lives, to organize, go out and find them? Unless we actualy go out and talk to them?

Will they answer the Campaign’s calls to get involved, now, and show up at meetings, phone banks, canvassing events?

“Do you feel the Bern” they were asking each other like it was a chant, and the reply came back “I feel the Bern!”  I am so glad they feel it, so glad we all feel it.  But what does it mean? I don’t know what has been holding most of us back, but now is the moment to get over it and get out there and “Share the Bern” with their neighbors, with people they would normally pass on the street without ever really talking to. 

Now is the time to turn that Bern feeling into a mighty flame that will transform our neighborhoods, towns and cities, transform America, and win us back the future we know is possible but which many of us had come to despair of ever seeing!

March 1 is less than two months away!  If we can win the primaries we can beat Trump in November.  We can do it,  but there ain’t no one gonna do it for us!
 

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders = hope and change

By Chris Horton

They’ve been given a bad name, but we keep coming back because we can’t go on without them.

Everywhere around us folks are stopped, hoping against hope that somehow the economy will finally start recovering for us, but not really believing it, not really believing there’s anything we can do.

We’re in a depression, and it’s depressing.  Wages, unemployment, housing, climate disaster, food safety,  student debt, police repression and human rights, corporate power, the list goes on –  we win little fights, but on the big scale the odds seem hopeless and the tide’s always against us.  It seems like the forces we’re up against are too big, too powerful, too far beyond our reach.

Unless … unless we can all come together to confront them. Because it’s really just the same group of a few thousand wealthy families and their corporations and minions that we’re all up against.

Hence, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders!

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If you ask 100 Bernie supporters “Why are you supporting Bernie?” you’ll get 100 answers, but somehow they all fit together. 

I put the question to Nate, a lanky, laconic, cheerful but usually homeless veteran.

“It’s about inequality”, he said. “It’s about – why should we be struggling so hard to find and hold onto jobs that don’t pay enough to live on, while all the billionaires keep getting richer?  How come our Veterans Benefits and the VA’s funding keep getting cut?  I just can’t go on supporting all those candidates who are taking the billionaire’s money and don’t come through for us.  I’m sick of it!”

Yes, I ask, but why Bernie?  Why now?

“Because, it’s about the revolution.”  He stopped, seemed taken aback by what he’d just said, but then went on.  “It’s about all of us getting together to take on the billionaires and take our country back from them.”

So, I ask, it’s not about Bernie?

“Yes and no,” he said.  “Don’t get me wrong, I trust Bernie.  I really like Bernie. He makes the most sense of any of them, but it’s really about us.”

Which is exactly what Bernie’s saying.

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“I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from WPI”, explains Emily Cavanaugh, a slim outgoing young woman from Shrewsbury, “I graduated into a recession and couldn’t get a professional job, and now I’m struggling along with whatever contract work I can find.  I did everything right, but I don’t think I’ll ever do as well as my parents.”

We found Emily after she created an event on her own initiative and posted it on berniesanders.com – as many Sanders volunteers are doing.  When I asked what moved her to do that, she said

“Bernie’s very much concerned with the issues that actually effect people on a day-to-day basis, and his programs would create opportunities for young people.  He’s been taking the same positions and saying many of the same things forever, so I know he’s not just pandering to us to get our votes.”

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Rena Grasso, a retired teacher, said “Bernie’s platform is the only one capable of making significant change. He takes on the institutional issues, like breaking up the banks, single payer health care.  These are not just reforms; they go to the core problems.  The need for this is urgent because we’re in a state of crisis, and things will definitely get worse until we take control.”  [Watch for her event at the Worcester Library.]

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Bill Kilmer of Worcester, a big man with a commanding voice, makes his living raising money for other candidates, but on his own time he’s been leading teams of Bernie supporters, manning tables, holding signs, handing out flyers and signing up volunteers at events like the Sterling Fair, Worcester’s Start in the Street and the Spirit of Shrewsbury Fall Festival.  When I asked him why he would spend his precious free time on Bernie he answered:

“I see other Democratic candidates who have some good ideas, but none of them shows signs of being the “transformational President” that we need now.  Sanders is the only one I see who could make us see ourselves as a people in a different way.”

When I asked him if I could use his name, given what he does for a living, he said “why not? It’s no longer a secret from anyone where I stand and what I’m up to!”

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Kevin Kelly, a union plumber and pipefitter from Worcester, a straight shooter with an irresistible smile and hands that could squeeze water from a rock, spoke as though he’d already thought out his answer: 

“Bernie’s a fresh voice, a voice for change in a sea of mediocrity. They call him a socialist but his ideas are very concrete and pragmatic, things that will help make our lives better.  If you do your research on them they make sense.”

Kevin stopped, thought for a moment, then added:  “The things Pope Francis talks about, like income inequality, corporate greed and the evils of unbridled capitalism, you can draw a strong correlation between his ideas and Bernie’s.”

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Elizabeth St. John, a founder of Worcester’s Bernie movement and founder and past Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, answered: “Bernie has always been about Life, Liberty and Justice.  He’s level-headed, doesn’t believe in resorting to violence, and he has the values and character to stand his ground.” 

She talked for a while about the ways Black people are kept out of politics and power, the programs for the working class that mostly benefit a few white men, the many times she’s been disappointed and felt betrayed.  Then, coming back to my question, speaking with passion, she concluded:

“Bernie’s the real deal, and he always has been. If you’re going to be in bed with the corporations you’re not going to be on the side of the regular people.  He hasn’t changed his values, his positions, his perceptions since I first heard of him in the 1970’s.”

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Dennis Coughlin’s impish grin, tousled white hair and Irish complexion fits with his place as co-founder of the Bernie Bucket Brigade and Marching Band, but he describes himself as just “John Q. Public.”  His answer, with no hesitation, was “Corporations are Not People, and Citizen’s United – money is not speech.  Those are my big issues. We cannot give up our franchise to the billionaires.  If we don’t rein them in now, it will be much worse in 2020 and by 2024 it will be too late.  There will be no democracy, it will be written in stone that the wealthy rule and the people have no voice.”

 “That’s what happened to ancient Rome when Caesar crossed the Rubicon,” he went on, “that’s what happened when Charlemagne made himself Emperor and crushed the ancient tribal councils, or when Napoleon made himself Emperor.  Here in America we’ve never actually seen this, but it’s never very far away if we let the oligarchs have their way.”

So why Bernie?

“Bernie has the populist appeal, and it’s only through the populist appeal that we can stop this from happening here.”

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Edith Morgan of Morgan’s Moves fame had this to say:

“I support Bernie because I agree with most of his issues and he has so many years of standing for the same things.  He and I have fought all our lives on the same side for the same issues.  That’s a rarity in American politics.

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Joe Dyer, a retired bricklayer and Unemployment Group activist, has been with We Want Bernie Worcester since the beginning.  When I reached him he was late for the Patriots game, but he fired off a quick answer:

“Bernie Sanders is grass roots, down to earth.  He’s trying to help the little people, to get programs that the people at the bottom need and can’t afford, and trying to make the rich people pay for them which of course they don’t like very much.”

He paused a bit, then finished off with “Hillary has a lot of strength here, but if Bernie can get the people behind him then perhaps he could win Massachusetts.”

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Bernie’s ahead in the polls Iowa and New Hampshire where he’s meeting folks face to face and getting local coverage. When folks meet him, hear him, see him, they fall in love. But half the folks I meet in the streets of Worcester don’t know anything about him or even know his name.  The Networks have been giving him the silent treatment, so he’s going to have to win through a grass roots door to door campaign, the old fashioned way, people talking to people.  And he will.  We’ve been waiting for him for a long time.  But it’s really not about him, and once the American people get started, there’ll be no stopping us, with or without him.

To learn more, go to BernieSanders.com or email WorcesterWantsBernie@gmail.com.

Worcester City Council candidates: Bernie Sanders could be the ticket to your success election day!

By Chris Horton

Voter turnout in the Worcester preliminaries was a disaster, especially east of Park Avenue.  I would maintain that if someone had been running for Worcester City Council as a Bernie Sanders supporter, Bernie as in the presidential candidate, the voter turnout might have been much higher in Worcester.

This may seem like an unbelievable statement, but please  allow me explain:

Despite the appearance of apathy, people, including non-voters, are politically highly charged, but many can’t see how a Worcester City Council vote matters. We campaigners all see many folks who enthusiastically promise to vote but don’t show up. I am convinced that most, consciously or not, are *choosing* to not vote. Some even see it as a boycott, and fantasize that if even more voters would stay home, finally the politicians would get the message and change their ways. One even bragged that his family hadn’t voted in three generations!

Many are clearly paying attention to Worcester issues and politics and may give a well reasoned argument that Worcester City Council voting doesn’t matter, for example because 1) the City doesn’t have power over the things that matter, 2) the Council doesn’t even run the City Government, 3) once we vote them into office they become politicians, get involved with the “money boys” and forget about us, and 4) the whole political system is rigged. Which – let’s admit it – all has some truth to it, although the organized power of the Community Labor Coalition is starting to shift that. (Far more turn out for Federal elections because that’s where the money we need is, even though they may see it as hopeless.)

So far this year, the Worcester City election campaigns have focused heavily on crime and safety. Some candidates have been raising jobs issues, but at best the Worcester City Council has the resources to nibble around the edge of a huge problem.

These are good fights, worth waging, but in a city where more than 1,000 are homeless and tens of thousands are barely surviving on crummy, part-time, temporary and off-the-books jobs or public assistance, these efforts to get 25 construction jobs and 20 jobs making beds here, 50 summer jobs there, can seem too small to matter.

Once you get them started, most regular folks feel very strongly and have a lot to say about jobs and job creation, wages, benefits and work conditions, unfair firings and out-of-control bosses, high rents, foreclosures and evictions, the right to health care, out of control college costs, bringing our jobs back and reopening the old mills. These are all Bernie Sander’s issues.

Regarding the out of control greed-crazed bankers who crashed the system and are about to do it again, most agree with Bernie they need to be prosecuted and jailed and their banks broken up. And most people agree that something radical needs to be done to remove big money from politics.

Quite regularly, when a conversation I’m having with a person goes deep enough, there comes a moment when he or she suddenly gets serious and quiet, looks me in the eyes and says some version of “You know what? We need a revolution!”

Which is what Bernie’s calling for, a “political revolution”!

When I tell people that Bernie Sanders is warning us that this will require organizing a great mass movement of millions to confront the “billionaire class,” when I repeat his warning that it will take a fight, almost everyone nods. 

And then when I look them in the eyes the way Bernie looked into mine and repeat his question to them: “Are you ready for a fight?” responses range from “Hell yes!” to a timid thoughtful little nod, but not one yet has shaken their head or said no.

Some Worcester City Council candidates told me privately they support Bernie, but they all “played it safe” and kept a firewall between their campaigns and his presidential campaign. Some of them are gone now. None placed in the top six.

If any candidate now were to commit to building a Worcester progressive populist movement, openly declared for Bernie Sanders and committed to work to implement his programs in Worcester, they could tap into a huge pool of potential energy and enthusiasm which could carry them to victory and dramatically increase voter turnout across the City on Nov. 3. 

My questions to them all: What do you have to gain by continuing to play it safe?  What do you have to lose by coming out swinging as an unabashed Bernie for President supporter?