This week, Bernie Sanders announced that he would be running for President a second time in 2020. This campaign will focus on many of the same policies including a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for all and free college.

Sanders' Democratic primary campaign in 2016 saw over 13 million people turn out to vote for him, and changed the global discussion surrounding US politics. But how did a complete unknown and a democratic socialist make such waves?

In Our Revolution, Sanders provides a unique insight into the campaign that galvanized a movement, sharing experiences from the campaign trail and the ideas and strategies that shaped it. Sanders' message resonated with millions. His supporters are young and old, dissatisfied with expanding social inequality, struggling with economic instability and fighting against a political elite which has long ignored them.

Drawing on decades of experience as an activist and public servant, Sanders outlines his ideas for continuing this revolution. He shows how we can fight for a progressive economic, environmental, racial and social justice agenda that creates jobs, raises wages and protects the planet. Searing in its assessment of the current political and economic situation, but hopeful and inspiring in its vision of the future, this book is essential for anyone tired of 'same as usual' politics and looking for a way to change the game.

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Read Bernie's introduction to Our Revolution below.

 

Bernie Sanders

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE PAPERBACK EDITION

This book was written before Donald Trump became president. I didn’t expect Trump to win, but I wasn’t completely surprised. While the economy improved significantly under President Obama, too many people continued to hurt economically, while almost all new wealth and income went to the top 1 percent.

During his campaign for president, Trump told the American people that he was going to stand with the working class of this country, and take on the establishment. It turned out not to be true, but it worked politically. A lot of people believed him and voted for him.

There is a lot of anger and disappointment in this country, and Trump tapped into it. The global economy has changed this world profoundly, and too many people have been left behind. Not so many years ago you could provide a decent living for your family and be a proud member of your community by working in a factory. But over the years, tens of thousands of factories have shut down and millions of those decent-paying jobs have disappeared. Some left because of corporate greed and disastrous trade agreements. Others left because of automation. But whatever the cause, towns and cities have been decimated. The young people have fled. Bustling communities became lifeless. People were left behind.

In my state of Vermont and throughout rural America, hundreds of thousands of family farms have disappeared, replaced by corporate agriculture. Living on a farm has always been hard work, but it’s important and meaningful work. And farmers understood that. People need to eat. A farmer produces something very real. Many kids growing up on farms had great and happy childhoods. Today, communities throughout rural America are experiencing high unemployment and low wages. People were left behind.

The corporately owned media and most politicians ignored the reality that was taking place all across the country, especially in middle America. While successful young business people sipped their fine wine at $200 a bottle in some fancy restaurant in San Francisco, poor children in Flint, Michigan, were drinking lead-poisoned water, which caused brain damage. While Wall Street executives received millions in bonuses, minimum wage workers in West Virginia were struggling with opioid addiction or dying of heroin overdoses. While CEOs of large corporations retired in gated communities in Arizona, half of older workers in our country had nothing in the bank as they faced retirement.

Meanwhile, as the very rich got much richer while almost everybody else became poorer, the political system became more and more corrupt. The Supreme Court decided, by a 5–4 decision in the Citizens United case, that billionaires had the “freedom” to buy elections and undermine American democracy. The result was that the Koch brothers and other billionaires have been pouring hundreds of millions into the political process and have helped to elect candidates who represent the rich and the powerful.

Despite all his campaign rhetoric, Trump’s tune changed radically after he became president. He was no longer taking on the establishment. His administration became the establishment. He had more billionaires in his administration than any president in history, including many from Wall Street. He was no longer going to provide “health care for everybody.” He supported legislation that would’ve thrown 24 million people off of the health insurance they had and cut Medicaid by over $800 billion. His budget proposal provided hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the very richest people in the country, while he made major cuts in education, nutrition, after-school programs, affordable housing, Head Start, and the Meals on Wheels program.

Our job, now and in the coming years, is not just to fight back against Trump’s reactionary agenda. It is also to bring forth a progressive agenda that represents the needs of the working people of this country, and not just the 1 percent. It is to talk about all of the extraordinary things we can accomplish in the richest country in the history of the world. That’s what this book is all about.

Yes. We can join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care for all as a right. Yes. We can rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of good-paying jobs. Yes. We can raise the minimum wage to a living wage—$15 an hour. Yes. We can establish pay equity for women, guarantee paid family and medical leave, and protect a woman’s right to choose. Yes. We can have a progressive tax system in which the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share. Yes. We can make public colleges and universities tuition free. Yes. We can fix our broken criminal justice system, end the embarrassment of having more people in jail than any other country, and overcome institutional racism. Yes. We can pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Yes. We can create a political system that is based on one person, one vote, and not have billionaires buy elections or governors work overtime to suppress voter turnout.

No. We will not accomplish any of that unless there is a political revolution. We will not be able to take on the billionaire class unless millions of Americans stand up, fight back, and get involved in the political process. This is your country. Take it back. 66900_