Earlier today, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders presented his vision of Democratic Socialism for America at Georgetown University. The theme: “True freedom does not occur without economic security.” Here is the full speech:
Bernie Sanders at Georgetown University describes what Democratic Socialism means to him and explains why he is running for President of the United States, and what he wants to do, and how he plans to do it.
— Separation of Corporation and State
Bernie Sanders delivered one of the great political speeches of the year with an address that if listened to and heeded has the power to change America.
Sen. Sanders said:
People are not truly free when they are unable to feed their family. People are not truly free when they are unable to retire with dignity. People are not truly free when they are unemployed or underpaid or when they are exhausted by working long hours. People are not truly free when they have no health care.
So let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what democratic socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans. And it builds on what Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1968 when he stated that; “This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.” It builds on the success of many other countries around the world that have done a far better job than we have in protecting the needs of their working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.
Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.
— Jason Easley, PoliticusUSA
In explaining his views, Sanders chose in Roosevelt an icon of the Democratic party and sought to present himself as a vessel for some of the late president’s unfinished business. The speech cited Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” from his 1944 State of the Union address which asserted Americans should have the right to a job with a living wage, health care, education and economic protections for the elderly.
Sanders was not the first to seek a symbolic connection to FDR: Clinton formally kicked off her campaign at New York’s Roosevelt Island last spring in a speech that touched on her “four fights,” a reference to the “four freedoms” Roosevelt laid out in 1941.
Sanders said Roosevelt was responsible for much of the social safety net enjoyed by millions of Americans today, from Social Security, the federal minimum wage, unemployment insurance, the abolition of child labor, the 40 hour work week, collective bargaining and strong banking regulations.
He said at the time, “almost everything he proposed, almost every program, every idea he introduced was called ‘socialist.'” But he said the federal government’s role in providing economic security for Americans had become “the fabric of our nation and the foundation of the middle class.”
Without mentioning Clinton by name, Sanders said his candidacy was based on creating a political revolution of supporters to demand a better deal for the middle class.
He added: “So the next time that you hear me attacked as a socialist — like tomorrow — remember this: I don’t believe government should take over the grocery store down the street or own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families of this country who produce the wealth of this country deserve a decent standard of living.”
During a question-and-answer session, Sanders said he identifies as a democratic socialist because “that, in fact, is my vision. My vision is not just making modest changes around the edge. It is transforming American society.”
— Ken Thomas, AP – The Big Story