Bernie Sanders

Slave Taxes, Race and Class

Wanted to share a fascinating article on the lasting imprint of slavery on Alabama’s revenue system and structural fiscal problems.

Key takeaways for me:

First, obviously slavery was a huge part of the Southern economy — indeed the US economy — and as such it played a huge role in state taxation. As the article notes, in the mid-1800s slave taxes accounted for more than half of state revenue in Georgia and nearly half in Alabama. You’d be hard pressed to find a closer tie between race and tax policy. (more…)

#IdentityPolitics, What @BernieSanders Should Have Said…

I want to be the second Latina senator in US history, any tips?

Rebecca, first let me respond to the question in a way that you may not be happy with… I actually hope you’re not the second Latina senator, I hope you’re the 14th or 15th Latina woman to enter the Senate. I hope that Hispanic and Latino Americans — Latina women in particular — continue to assert themselves politically, continue to make demands of power and continue to influence the future course of this country. So while I do hope you get there eventually, I hope in the meantime many more open that door as well.

And then, let me say, that if the Senate looks anything like it does now, when you get there, you’ll be surrounded by colleagues that reflect very little of this country. They’ll have come from more privileged backgrounds, they’ll be predominantly men, and they’ll be predominantly white. And with that, they’ll likely not have had any of the experiences that you’ve had — even your colleagues from your own political party — their view of this country, and indeed the world, will have been shaped by vastly different experiences.

And because of that, my advice to you, is that time after time, vote after vote, hearing after hearing it will be critical for you to pair your identity and your experiences and your voice and your passion with the all-important principles of standing up to the oligarchy, of pushing back against the moneyed interests, of looking out for those who have never been given a voice.

I think we can all agree that diversity of race and ethnicity, of religion, of gender, of sexual orientation, and of economic class in government and in the halls of power is critical in creating a legitimate and inclusive democracy — but it must be paired with the progressive ideals of making this country more fair and more prosperous for more people and not only the wealthy.

And that’s the struggle, Rebecca, the struggle for this party to not only lift up more diverse voices, to push more voices from the margins to the center, but to ensure that those voices — all voices —  are speaking up for the things we know are important.

The Civil Tube: Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?

In a new book titled, “Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?” author Thomas Frank takes aim at the Democratic party and the discord between its rhetoric as a party of the marginalized and working class and its leadership — a wealthy, wall-street oriented, elite class of individuals — who are in no way connected to, or interested in, the struggles of its base supporters.

Recently, Thomas Frank sat down for an interview on PBS Newshour. Watch below.

Jay Smooth on #BlackLivesMatter and Bernie Sanders

Vermont Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has a black love problem. As in, black people want to love him and he’s just not sure how to reciprocate. Better than (almost) anyone, Jay Smooth explains why Bernie Sanders and his supporters should be OK with – and even excited about – the messy and awkward moments that #BlackLivesMatter protests bring to the Sanders campaign.