Bernie Sanders outlines his vision of ‘democratic socialism’ | FULL



[Applause] thank you thank you thank you all very much for being here and let me begin by saying my friends we are in the midst of a defining and pivotal moment for our country in the planet and with so many crises converging upon us simultaneously it is easy for us to become overwhelmed or depressed or even to throw up our hands in resignation but my message to you today is that if there was ever a moment in the history of our country where despair was not an option this is that time if there was ever a moment where we had to effectively analyze the competing political and social forces which define this historical period this is that time if there was ever a moment when we needed to stand up and fight against the forces of oligarchy and authoritarianism this is that time and if there was ever a moment when we needed a new vision to bring our people together in the fight for justice decency and human dignity this is that time in the year 2019 the United States and the rest of the world face two very different political paths on one hand there is a growing movement toward oligarchy and authoritarianism in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a significant part of the economy and exert enormous influence over the political life of our country on the other hand in opposition to oligarchy there is a movement of working people and young people who in ever-increasing numbers are fighting for justice they are the teachers taking to the streets to make certain that schools are adequately funded and that their students get a quality education they are workers they are workers at Disney Amazon Walmart and the fast food industry standing up standing up and fighting for a living wage of at least $15 an hour and the right to have a union they are the young people taking on the fossil fuel industry and demanding policies that transform our energy system and protect our planet from the ravages of climate change they are women who refuse to give control of their bodies to local state or federal politicians they are people of color and their allies demanding an end to systemic racism and massive racial inequities that exist throughout our society they are immigrants and their allies fighting to end the demonization of undocumented people and for comprehensive immigration reform now when we talk about allegory let us be clear about what we mean right now in the United States of America three families control more wealth than the bottom half of our country some 160 million Americans the top 1% on more wealth than the bottom ninety two percent and forty nine percent of all new income generated today goes to the top one percent in fact income and wealth inequality today is greater in the United States than at any time since the 1920s and when we talk about allegory it is not just that the very rich are getting much richer it is that tens of millions of working-class people in the wealthiest country on earth are suffering under incredible economic hardship desperately trying to survive today nearly 40 million Americans live in poverty and tonight some 500,000 Americans including many veterans will be sleeping out on the streets about half of our country lives paycheck to paycheck as tens of millions of our people are an accident a divorce a sickness or a layoff away from economic devastation while many public schools throughout the country lack the resources to adequately educate our young people we are the most heavily incarcerated nation on earth after decades of policies that have encouraged and subsidized a bridled corporate greed we now have an economy that is fundamentally broken and grotesquely unfair even while even while macroeconomic numbers like GDP the stock market and the unemployment rate are strong millions of middle-class and working-class people struggle to keep their heads above water while at the same time the billionaire class consumes the lion's share of the wealth that we are collectively creating as a nation in the midst of a so-called booming economy real wages for the average worker have barely risen at all and despite an explosion in technology and worker productivity the average wage of the American worker in real dollars is no higher than it was 46 years ago and millions of people in our country today are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive and here is something quite incredible that tells you all that you need to know about the results of unfettered capitalism all of us want to live long happy and productive lives but in America today the very rich lives on average 15 years longer than the poorest Americans in 2014 for example in McDowell County West Virginia one of the poorest counties in the nation life expectancy for men was 64 years in Fairfax County Virginia a wealthy County just 350 miles away life expectancy for men was nearly 82 years and 18-year differential the life expectancy gap for women in the two counties was 12 years in other words the issue of unfettered capitalism is not just an academic debate poverty economic distress and dispel a life-threatening issues for millions of working people in this country while the rich get richer they live longer lives while poor and working families struggle economically and often lack adequate health care their life expectancy is declining for the first time in modern American history taken together the American dream of upward mobility is in peril in fact if we don't turn things around how a younger generation will for the first time in living memory have a lower standard of living than their parents and that is not acceptable globally the situation is even more shocking with most of the world's wealth concentrated among a very few while billions of people have almost nothing today the world's richest 26 billionaire's 26 now own as much wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet half of the world's population but the struggle we are facing today is not just economic across the globe the movement what oligarchy runs parallel to the growth of authoritarian regimes like Putin in Russia Qi and China Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines hairball serrano in Brazil and Viktor Orban in Hungary among others these leaders meld corporates corporatists economics with xenophobia and authoritarianism they redirect popular anger about inequality and declining economic conditions into violent rage against minorities whether they are immigrants racial minorities religious minorities or the LGBT community and to suppress the set they are cracking down on democracy and human rights in the United States of course we have our own version of this movement which is being led by President Trump and many of his Republican allies who are attempting to divide our country up and attack these very same communities how sad it is that President Trump sees these authoritarian leaders as friends and allies the authoritarian playbook by the way is not new the challenge we confront today as a nation and as a world is in many ways not different from the one we faced a little less than a century ago during and after the Great Depression of the 1930s then as now deeply rooted and seemingly intractable economic and social disparities led to the rise of right-wing nationalist forces all over the world in Europe the anger and despair was ultimately harnessed by authoritarian demagogues who fused corporatism nationalism racism and xenophobia into a political movement that a masked totalitarian power destroyed democracy and ultimately murdered millions of people including members of my own family what we must remember that those were not the only places where dark forces tried to rise up and capture power today we are all rightly repulsed by the sight of neo-nazis and Klansmen openly marching in Charlottesville Virginia and we are horrified by houses of worship being shot up by right-wing terrorists but on February 20 19:39 over 20,000 Nazis held a mass rally not in Berlin not in Rome but in Madison Square Garden in front of a 30-foot banner of George Washington bordered with swastikas in New York City New York City but back then those American extremists could not replicate the success of their authoritarian brethren across the ocean because we in the United States thank God made a different choice than Europe did in responding to the errors social and economic crises we rejected the ideology of Mussolini and Hitler and we instead embrace the bold and visionary leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt then the leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party together with organized labor leaders in the african-american community and progressives inside and outside the Democratic Party Roosevelt led a transformation of the American government and the American economy like today the quest for transformative change was opposed by big business by Wall Street by the political establishment by the Republican Party and by the conservative wing of FDR's own Democratic Party and he faced the same scare tactics then that we experience today red-baiting xenophobia racism and anti-semitism and I quote we had to struggle with the old enemies of people business and financial monopolies speculation reckless banking class antagonism sectionalism war profiteering they had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs we know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob and Roosevelt concluded and I quote never before in all our history have these forces been so United against one candidate as they stand today they are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred [Applause] that was that was FDR in 1936 now despite although it does sound I must say it does sound a little contemporary doesn't it despite that opposition by rallying the American people FDR and his progressive coalition created the New Deal one four terms and created an economy that worked for all and not just the few today New Deal initiatives like Social Security unemployment compensation the right to form a union the minimum wage protection for farmers regulation of Wall Street and massive infrastructure improvements are considered pillars of American society but while he stood up for the working families of our country we can never forget that President Roosevelt was reviled by the oligarchs of his time who berated these extremely popular programs as socialism similarly in the 1960s when President Lyndon Johnson brought about Medicare Medicaid and other extremely popular and important programs he was also viciously attacked by the ruling class of this country and here is the point it is no exaggeration to state that not only that FDR's agenda improved the lives of millions of Americans but the New Deal was enormous sleek popular politically and helped defeat far-right extremism for a time today America in the world a once again moving toward authoritarianism and the same right-wing forces of oligarchy corporatism nationalism racism and xenophobia are on the march pushing us to make the apocalyptically wrong choice that Europe made in the last century today we now see a handful of billionaires with unprecedented wealth and power we see huge private monopolies operating outside of any real democratic oversight and often subsidized by taxpayers with the power to control almost every aspect of our lives they are the profit-taking gatekeepers of our healthcare our technology our finance system our food supply and almost all of the other basic necessities of life and let us name them they are Wall Street the insurance companies the drug companies the fossil fuel industry the military-industrial complex the prison industrial complex enjoys activism they are the entities with unlimited wealth who surround our nation's capital with thousands of well pelo be astir a very significant degree right the laws that we live under today we have a demagogue in the White House who for cheap political gain is attempting to deflect the attention of the American people away from the real crises that we face and it said is doing what demagogues always do and that is to divide people up and legislate hatred this is a president who supports brutal family separations water walls Muslim bans anti LGBT policies deportations and voter suppression it is my very strong belief that the United States must reject that path of hatred and divisiveness and instead fiying the moral conviction to choose a different path a higher path a path of compassion justice and love and that is the path that I call democratic socialism [Applause] over 80 years ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped create a government that made transformative progress in protecting the needs of working families today in the second decade of the 21st century we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion this is the unfinished business of the Democratic Party and the vision we together must accomplish in order to accomplish that goal it means committing ourselves to protecting political rights to protecting civil rights and to protect economic rights for all of the people in our country as FDR stated in his 1944 State of the Union address and I quote we have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without Economic Security and independence and today our Bill of Rights guarantees the American people a number of important constitutionally protected political rights and while we understand that these rights have not always been respected and we have so much work to do in order to protect those rights we are proud that our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion freedom of expression freedom of assembly of Free Press and other rights because we understand that we can never have true American freedom unless we are free from authoritarian tyranny but now but now we must take the next step forward and guarantee every man woman and child in our country basic economic rights the right to quality health care the right to as much education as one needs to succeed in our society the right to a good job that pays a living wage the right to affordable housing the right to eight secure retirements and the right to live in a clean environment we must recognize that in the 21st century in the wealthiest country in the history of the world economic rights are human rights and that is what I mean by democratic socialism as one of the great leaders in American history dr. montly the King jr. said and I quote call it democracy or call it democratic socialism but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God's children in class to realize this vision we must not view America only as a population of disconnected individuals we must also view ourselves as part of and I quote an eminent escapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny end quote as dr. King put it in other words we are in this together we must see ourselves as part of one nation one community and one society regardless of race gender religion sexual orientation or country of origin this quintessentially American idea is literally emblazoned on our coins e pluribus unum from the many one and I should tell you it is enshrined in the motto of our campaign for the presidency not me us let me be clear I do understand that I and other progressives will face massive attacks from those who attempt to use the word socialism as a slur but I should also tell you that I have faced and overcome these attacks for decades and I am not the only one let us remember that in 1932 Republican President Herbert Hoover claimed that Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was quote a disguise for the totalitarian state end quote in 1936 former Democratic New York Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith said in a speech about FDR's New Deal policies quote just get the platform of the Democratic Party and get the platform of the Socialist Party and lay them down on your dining room table side by side unquote when President Harry Truman proposed a national health care program the American Medical Association hired Ronald Reagan as their pitchman the AMA the AMA called the legislation that stemmed from Truman's proposal quote socialized medicine claiming that White House staff were quote followers of the Moscow party line and quote in 1960 Ronald Reagan and a letter to Richard Nixon wrote the following about John F Kennedy quote under the tousled Warriors haircut is still old call box and quote in the 1990s in the 1990s then congressman Newt Gingrich claimed President Bill Clinton's health care plan was quote centralized bureaucratic socialism the conservative Heritage Foundation has claimed that the children's health insurance program the chip program was quote a step toward socialism former Speaker of the House John Boehner claimed the stimulus package the Omnibus spending bill and the proposed in the budget proposed by President Obama were all one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment in this regard President Harry Truman was right and listen to what he said Truman said and I quote socialism is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last twenty years and this is true this is a quote from Harry Truman socialism is what they called Social Security socialism is what they called farm price supports socialism is what they call bank deposit insurance socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all of the people in quote Harry Truman now let us be very clear while President Trump and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism they don't really oppose all forms of socialism they may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaire's let us never forget the unbelievable hypocrisy of Wall Street the high priests of unfettered capitalism in 2008 after their greed recklessness and illegal behavior created the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression with millions of Americans losing their jobs losing their homes looting losing their life savings Wall Street's religious adherence to unfettered capitalism suddenly came to an end overnight Wall Street became big government socialists and begged for the largest federal bailout in American history some seven hundred billion dollars from the Treasury and trillions in support from the Federal Reserve but it's not just Wall Street that loves socialism when it works for them it is the norm across the entire corporate world the truth is corporate America receives hundreds of billions of dollars in federal support every single year while these very same people are trying to cut programs that benefit ordinary Americans if you are a fossil fuel company whose carbon emissions are destroying the planet you get billions in government subsidies including special tax breaks royalty relief funding for research and development and numerous tax loopholes if you are a pharmaceutical company you make huge profits on patent rights for medicines that were developed with taxpayer-funded research if you are a monopoly like Amazon owned by the wealthiest person in America you get hundreds of millions of dollars in economic incentives from taxpayers to build warehouses and you end up paying not one in federal income taxes if you are the walton family the wealthiest family in America you get massive government subsidies because you're low wage workers are forced to rely on food stamps Medicaid in public housing in order to survive all paid for by taxpayers if you are the Trump family if you are the Trump family you got 885 million worth of tax breaks and subsidies for your families housing empire that is built was built on racial discrimination when Trump screams socialism all of his hypocrisy will not be lost on the American people Americans know will know that he is attacking all that we take for granted from Social Security to Medicare to veteran's health care to roads and bridges to public schools to national parks to clean water and clean air when Trump attacks socialism I am reminded again of what dr. Martin Luther King jr. said and I quote this country has socialism for the rich rugged individualism for the poor end quote and that is the difference between Donald Trump and me he believes in corporate socialism for the rich and powerful I believe in a democratic socialism that works for the working families of this country but I believe is that the American people deserve freedom true freedom freedom is an often used word but it is time that we took a hard look at what that word actually means ask yourself what does it really mean to be free are you truly free if you are unable to go to a doctor when you were sick or faced financial bankruptcy when you leave the hospital are you truly free if you cannot afford the prescription drugs you need in order to stay alive are you truly free when you spend half of your limited income on housing and are forced to borrow money from a payday lender at 200% interest rates are you truly free if you are 70 years old and forced to work because you lack a pension or enough money to retire are you truly free if you are unable to go to a college or a trade school because your family lacks the income are you truly free if you are forced to work 60 or 80 hours a week because you cannot find a job that pays a living wage truly born baby to go back to work immediately after the birth of that child because you lacked paid family leave are you truly free if you are a small business owner or a family farmer who is driven out of business by the monopolistic practices of big business are you truly free if you are a veteran who has put his or her life on the line to defend this country and tonight we'll be sleeping out on the streets to me the answer to those questions in the wealthiest nation on earth is no under those conditions you are not truly free while the Bill of Rights protects us from the tyranny of an oppressive government many in the establishment would like the American people to submit to the tyranny of oligarchs multinational corporations Wall Street banks and billionaires and in fact time long overdue for the American people to stand up and fight for their right to freedom human dignity [Applause] and that is the core of what my politics and what this campaign is all about in 1944 FDR proposed an economic Bill of Rights but he died a year later and was never able to fulfill that vision our job 75 years later is to complete what Roosevelt started and that is why today I am proposing a 21st century economic Bill of Rights [Applause] a bill of rights that establishes once and for all that every American regardless of his or her income is entitled to the right to a decent job that pays a living wage the right to quality health care the right to a complete it the rightful affordable housing the right to a clean environment and the right to a secure retirement over the course of this election my campaign has been releasing and will continue to release detailed proposals addressing each of these yet to be realized economic rights we will also address the attacks that are being launched every day against the civil rights and civil liberties of our people and let me be absolutely clear democratic socialism means to me requiring and achieving political and economic freedom in every community in this country and let me be let me be very very clear as well when I state that the only way we achieve these goals is through a political revolution a revolution in which millions of people get involved in the political process and reclaim our democracy by having the courage to take on the powerful corporate interests whose greed is destroying the social and economic fabric of our country at the end of the day the 1% may have enormous wealth and enormous power but they are just 1 percent when the 99% stand together we can transform society my friends these are my values and that is why I call myself a democratic socialist and its core is a deep and abiding faith in the American people to peacefully and democratically in that formative change that will create shared prosperity social equality and freedom for all thank you very much [Applause] you