Thursday, October 22, 2015

Let "Bernie" feel our BURN: The People's Agenda for 2016

Sekou OSEI
Bernie Sanders must support the agendas of People of Color,
the working class and progressives before he can count our votes.
Let us assume that the self-described socialist candidate Bernie is something other than a pantomime leftist shill for Hilary Clinton in the upcoming 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries. Let us take on faith that he pursues a radical reorganization of US society that will truly benefit working and poor people, a new political awakening that will promote international peace and human rights, a revolutionary social dawn that will bring the current racist legal and extra-legal onslaught against Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Indigenous Peoples to an end. If these assumptions are correct, then Sanders is worthy of the support of all progressive people, particularly people of color.

At this time, Bernie Sanders’ stated program and public performance do not support the above assumptions. We are treated with his eat-the-rich, populist platform that fails to even remotely address the concerns and aspirations of the very people who are critical to his success at the polls.

There is no basis for People of Color, feminists, anti-imperialists, civil libertarians, environmentalists and SOCIALISTS to cast their votes for Bernie Sanders, except as an impotent gesture of revulsion against Hillary Clinton.

As long as we fail to make Democrats accountable to our demands,
they laugh their way to elected office on our backs.

In 2008 and 2012, the US progressive and non-white communities were seduced by Barack Obama to support the slogan “HOPE and CHANGE.” They stampeded to the polls for the first “Black” president with the assumption that Obama would revolutionize US political culture. Obama actually made no promises to anybody and, in two terms, he has delivered nothing to his most passionate core constituencies. The charge that Obama “sold out” is utterly false. The fact of the matter is that he was never “bought in” to a pro-working class, pro-Black or progressive agenda. Bernie Sanders declares that he is committed to an anti-racist and socialism-driven society. We have an obligation to hold him accountable to his erstwhile radical sophistry .

But does Bernie Sanders’ current political offerings address a progressive or pro-People of Color agenda? No!

Frederick Douglass
Grazed silly on identity politics and operatively disarmed by the US Left’s inability to forge a mass party with anything approaching ideological and practical clarity, America’s needy are doomed to exchange their electoral support for the Democratic Party for social crumbs or less. As it stands now, there is no power in supporting Bernie Sanders for the sake of supporting a dubious anti-Hillary Clinton or Sanders’ milky notion of “democratic socialism.” We must support our agenda and give our funds and votes to candidates who pledge to support our agenda, nothing less is acceptable at this historical juncture. 

As the firebrand abolitionist crusader Frederick Douglass remarked, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

As such, Bernie Sanders’ program must be amended to include our Political Demands. He may choose to ignore our demands or obscure them in his campaign, but we must be willing to equally ignore his plea for our support at the polls. The age of feel-good politics is over. It died in the neo-liberal, imperialistic disaster of the Obama regime.

So that there is no confusion over what we aim to attain by supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Party primary election process, our fundamental policy demands are stated below.


·         A race-targeted jobs program for African Americans and other deprived adults and youths of color.

·         Reverse the Hyde Amendment. Free or low-cost abortion on demand. Federal prosecution for anyone attempting to interfere with a patient’s access to ANY clinic and medical procedure. Mandatory public School contraceptive and parenting training.

·         Strengthen unions--overturn laws that ban workers' right to strike. Make it easier for workers to organize via a card check system.

  • Single payer national health insurance. Promote Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) in urban areas as alternatives to nursing home confinement. Keep the elderly and the infirmed in their homes! End psychiatric patient de-institutionalization schemes. Replace drug-driven behavior control regimens with actual, holistic psychiatric therapy. Decriminalize narcotic use. Provide a national system of federal drug rehab centers.

  • End homelessness by converting fallow commercial spaces into temporary dormitory facilities. Provide permanent housing through the rehabilitation of abandoned houses. Give homeless veterans first priority.
Workers need a living wage but they also require political power.
That means they must have an alternative to the white,
male-dominated twin parties of monopoly capitalism.

·         Strengthen voting rights. Automatic voter registration at the age of 18. No felony disenfranchisement. Criminalize gerrymandering as conspiracy to violate the Voting Rights Act. Pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling.

·         Re-submit the Equal Rights Amendment for states’ ratification.

·         Reverse the 5-year limitation on public assistance cases.

·         Increase the federal minimum wage to $20 per hour and index it to inflation. Introduce a constitutional amendment establishing a nation-wide minimum income.

·         Strict and robust federal enforcement of the Civil Rights Acts (1866, 1871, 1875, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1987) and the re-introduction of the anti-job discrimination Kennedy-Hawkins 1990 Civil Rights Act, with the extension of protections to Lesbian, Gay, Queer and transgender populations.

·         Financially sanction state governments that incarcerate non-white peoples in excess of 5.0% more than their representation in the overall state population.

·         Federal investigation and prosecution of all charges of police brutality and corruption. Establish a federal prosecutor and standing grand jury in each congressional district dedicated to pursuing charges of official misconduct under the color of law. Provide federal funding incentives to municipalities and counties that establish civilian-only law enforcement oversight commissions. 

·         Free all political prisoners, especially those incarcerated during the liberation struggles of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s—FREE MUMIA ABDUL JAMAL and LEONARD PELTIER!

Mumia Abu Jamal, framed by the US government 
like 100s of other activists and radical intellectuals.

·         Stop the persecution of whistleblowers. Free Chelsea Manning and all imprisoned whistleblowers. Drop all charges against Edward Snowden.

Reopen the investigation of the 2001 9-11 Massacre. Make ALL findings public. Indict and prosecute US elected officials and assorted personnel who may have acted as conspirator in the atrocities.

·         Permanent Resident status for any undocumented migrant who has paid federal wage tax for 12 consecutive months. Place a moratorium on ALL deportations where parents may be separated from minor children. Cease incarceration of all non-criminal undocumented migrants, especially minors, facing the deportation process. Strict and robust enforcement of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. Cease immigration discrimination against Chinese females and others based upon country of origin.

Thousands of undocumented migrants, including minor children,
languish in filthy and disease-ridden prisons-for-profit.

·         Financially sanction states that deny IN-STATE post-secondary education tuitions to resident undocumented migrants.

·         Promote a comprehensive program to modernize, rebuild, and strengthen the nation's infrastructure, paid for through a federal stocks and bonds transaction fee and taxes on commercial banking transactions.

·         Establish a federal WPA-style fine arts and performance program in each congressional district to provide stable employment to cultural workers and enhance the cultural sophistication of the residents.

·         Reverse Race to the Top, high stakes testing educational policies. Allocate federal educational funding based on the needs of the students in public school districts. Establish a minimum federal school subsidy based on the average national cost per student per school district statistics. End federal support for charter schools and vouchers that undermine public schools. Federally mandate fine arts training in all public schools.

·         Robust enforcement of the CLEAN AIR and CLEAN WATER Acts. End fracking. Provide income tax incentives to private and commercial property owners who utilize renewable energy sources.

·         Ban GMO livestock and vegetable products.

·         Promote family farming cooperatives through income tax incentives.

·         Create a bullet train and super highway system that links Chicago, Illinois to Santiago, Chile.


·         Reduce the US military budget by 50% in the next five years.

·         End all US applications of mercenaries and other armed proxies in neo-conservative schemes of “regime change.”

ISIS, al-Nusra, al-Queda, Free Syrian Army  and other assorted barbarians 
are really trained and paid  mercenary tools of US imperialism.

·         Complete military non-intervention in the domestic conflicts of any nation unless endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

·         Strict adherence to the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions with special emphasis on the (1949) 4th Geneva Convention statutes pertaining to the treatment of civilians during armed conflict.

·         Strict and robust enforcement of the Neutrality Acts (1794, 1935, 1937), prohibiting the participation of US citizens in foreign armed conflicts as political partisans or mercenaries, and likewise outlawing arms sales and bank loans to foreign belligerent parties. End the practice of granting dual citizenships, except through an explicit act of Congress and on a case-by-case basis.
Israeli soldiers and squatter lynch mobs indulge in 
atrocities against the Palestinian people with impunity solely thanks to 
US political corruption and $10 million-plus per day in direct US funding.
·         Strict and robust enforcement of the Leahy Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act which prohibits the U.S. from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity--including the repression of girls and women. The Leahy Amendment must be expanded to cut military assistance to ALL military programs of human rights offending regimes. Moreover, non-signatory nations to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) must be likewise barred from receiving any US financial aid, as currently demanded by existing US law. This calls for the immediate removal of all US military and police force financial aid to:
  • ·         India
  • ·         Pakistan
  • ·         Israel
  • ·         South Sudan
  • ·         Indonesia
  • ·         Burma

·         Immediate recognition of Palestinian statehood.

·         Commercial and political sanctions against Israel until the illegal siege of Gaza is lifted. Declare the  American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) an agent of a foreign nation (Israel) and rescind its tax-exempt status.

·        Establish US membership in the International Criminal Court system. Ratify the Treaty of Rome.

·         Cash and in-kind reparations to the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.

·         Indictment and prosecution of Bush regime operatives who engaged in war crimes, including torture.

·         Close Guantanamo Bay Prison. Release all detainees. Abandon the Guantanamo navy base. Give the land back to Cuba.

·         Promote potable water, electrification, swamp drainage and internet access projects throughout Africa, Latin America and under-served regions of Asia.

·         Rescind the TPP and other trade regimens that harm the interests of workers, loosen environmental and health laws and promote neo-liberal monopoly agendas.

These few demands should be publicly adopted by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign if Sanders expects the support of progressives and People of Color. The ball is in Sanders' court and the clock is ticking.


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