The Candidate of the People

Stewart Acuff

Stewart Acuff

"I do not say, elect Bernie Sanders. I'm going to solve all of these problems. We need millions of people to stand up and fight back, to demand that government represents all of us, not just the one percent. I'm trying to create a movement. That is what my whole campaign is about," says Sen. Bernie Sanders in an outstanding interview he did with Rolling Stone magazine.

Bernie is right on target. Average Americans have only made major advances in living standards and justice when people have mobilized into social or political movements that developed their own momentum, creativity, organic, spontaneous action.

Workers taking over factories in the 1930's led to passage of the National Labor Relations Act and the eight hour day, Social Security, and other major New Deal reforms. African Americans marching over and over, confronting the cruelest of racist public officials, sheriffs and police chiefs, sacrificing their bodies and personal freedom led to the end of legal segregation and the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

The history of America has been written by those who struggled often alone to build movements to "create a more perfect union."

Bernie is absolutely right! We must have a massive movement of average Americans to battle yawning inequality, growing poverty, and an economy that oppresses workers instead of lifting us up.

While Bernie is determined to win the presidential election, perhaps history will remember him most for creating the political and social movement to end 40 years of stagnant wages, to restore collective bargaining and workers rights, to put America in the leadership of the global fight to limit then end climate change.

Two of Bernie's most important qualities are his determination to act on his values and his optimism about the future: Speaking of young people like my Sam and Syd, Bernie said: "I'll tell you what gives me the most hope for our country. These kids give me enormous confidence in the future. To see the faces on these kids who are adamant in their opposition to racism, to homophobia, to sexism, who want a world of peace, not of war. And I see that all over the country. I just see a lot of beauty out there, and a lot of good people who want to transform this country in a way that makes it a very different nation than we have right now."