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Monday, January 18, 2016

 

Bernie Sanders’ radical past: How the Vermont firebrand started wearing a suit and gave up on taking over big companies

Via Yahoo Politics:  (The Empire Strikes Back)
In July 1985, Bernie Sanders traveled to Nicaragua, where he attended an event that one wire report dubbed an “anti-U.S. rally.”
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Sanders was being hosted by the Sandinistas as part of a delegation of American “solidarity groups.” He told reporters their decision to show “support” for the Nicaraguan government was “patriotic.”

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Among other things, during the 1970s and ’80s, Sanders regularly called for public takeovers of various businesses, including utilities and the oil industry. Sanders advocated seizing money from corporations and from one of America’s richest families. And, as a mayor, Sanders made forays into foreign policy that included meetings with representatives of hostile nations, rebel groups and Canadian separatists.

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In 1979, he penned an opinion column for the Vermont Vanguard Press about another industry he felt was ripe for a public takeover — television.

The editorial, titled “Social Control and the Tube,” called for people to “address the control of television as a political issue, and organize to win.” Sanders argued the owners of commercial television stations sought to “intentionally brainwash people into submission and helplessness” through “constant advertising interruptions” and “the well-tested Hitlerian principle that people should be treated as morons and bombarded over and over again with the same simple phrases and ideas.” He said the television industry was designed to “create a nation of morons who will faithfully go out and buy this or that product, vote for this or that candidate, and faithfully work for their employers for as low a wage as possible.” Sanders suggested a public takeover of the airwaves could remedy the problem.

“The potential of television democratically owned and controlled by the people is literally beyond comprehension because it is such a relatively new medium and we have no experience with it under democratic control. At the least, with the present state of technology, we could have a choice of dozens of channels of commercial-free TV,” he wrote, adding, “At the moment serious writers are, by and large, not allowed to write for commercial television for fear they might produce something that is true and hence, upsetting to the owners of the media. Under democratic control, people with all kinds of views could make their presentations, and serious artists would be encouraged to produce work for the tube.”

It appears that this part of Sanders' program has been successful even if the airwaves are still nominally in private hands.  

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