This was originally published on Leftist Critic on Apr 7, 2016.
This post was analyzed for mistakes and other content in January 2019, as part of an effort to engage in self-criticism. At times, this is a bit over the top, but it also tells another side of Bernie often ignored by his supporters.
Editor’s note: This is a speech Bernie Sanders would give if he was honest about his record and his run for president. I wrote this to set the record straight, not to expand on my articles about mass surveillance and a criticism of Ta-Nehisi Coates. Some may cry that Sanders is a social democrat and that he should be supported for U.S. President even though he is within the capitalist Democratic Party but I refuse to acquiesce to that position whatsoever. This is not intended to be pro-Killary piece either, for those Sanders supporters trolling the net. This is not a manifestation of my personal view, by my interpretation of what Sanders would say, hypothetically at times. There may be some aspects that I would say otherwise, but all in all, it is my interpretation of Sanders.
Hello fellow capitalists,
The one-man political revolution has reached its end. I am glad that the group, Capitalists for Bernie hosted this event. I won’t let you down one bit. I will do everything in my power to listen to the concerns of the well-to-do, the ruling capitalist class of the United States! (wild cheers from audience). Hillary Clinton may have been funded by all of you, but I intend to work with you as much as I can in my capacity as President.
You may remember in my campaign I had that promise of free college tuition. I must remind you that my argument was that it would create strong economy, the best educated work force in the world, rebuild our middle class and allow the US to be “competitive in the global economy.” I also promised to expand programs like Pell Grants. As you may remember, my idea only applies to public colleges and universities, not to private ones. Additionally, even with a financial transaction tax, the cost of room and board and the cost of textbooks won’t be covered under my plan. All you will still be able to exploit students with high textbook prices and keep them in debt servitude. (wild cheers from audience). I announce today that my plan to make public colleges tuition-free will be paid not through a financial transaction tax as I claimed in my campaign but by seizing some of those frozen assets of the Russian government and keep those sanctions in place because the entire world has got to stand up to Putin! (cheers from audience).
As all of you know, we have to beat those Chinese. Otherwise, we will be left in the dust, like a second-rate imperialist power. WE CANNOT LET THAT HAPPEN! (cheers from audience). My wife, Jane Sanders who was ousted from Burlington College, for unknown reasons, leaving the college in a state of near financial collapse. Even we sink deep into debt, just like that college, I can assure you that like my wife, any college presidents fired will receive a $200,000 severance package from the federal government. We’ll just steal some of Russia’s oil and sell it on the world market. Otherwise we are nothing better than television ad buyers who get $30,000 in commissions each year. Regardless, we will make sure that the status quo in the education system remains in place, stopping people with force who try to confront presidents of their colleges or demand policy reforms. All of you can get your money from private security contracts to defend the colleges of this country from these pesky types, you know who they are. (cheers from audience).
On the campaign trail I said that I was a democratic socialist. But anyone who knows, I’m a social democrat, not a socialist. All of you know that the talk of socialism was just a facade. It might have punctured a few times, like when I called the late Hugo Chavez, a man who loved the poor with all of his heart, a “dead communist dictator” but the Sandersnistas or Bernie Bros believed it without question. How dumb they were, that they bought into that lie. Weren’t they so naive? (laughs from the audience).
As you all know, I have supported neoliberal policies more than my loyal supporters would admit. I voted to deregulate derivatives two times, once in October 2000 and another time in December of that year. I’m glad to have served all of you and voted to create an unregulated derivatives market despite the threats to the overall U.S. economy. I also voted not that long ago for an extension of the harsh neoliberal African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which really does, as the International Trade Administration put it, offer tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. I’m glad to play my part to open the U.S. market to African products and continue in the NAFTA tradition, to strengthen the hand of transnational corporations, while simultaneously restricting the ability of host countries to tax them. I may have voted against a number of free trade agreements in the past, like the one with South Korea, and even the Export-Import Bank, but I’m definitely not going to pass off an initiative that was pushed by a coalition of U.S.-based multinational corporations, including oil companies. People might think I’m pretty progressive, but I’m willing to serve the capitalist class if it is in the national interest of the United States, especially if it benefits US-based companies! (cheers from audience).
I said earlier about supporting free tuition for public colleges. As a reminder, private colleges can continue to exploit people all they want and even expand. I’m not going to mess with their affairs. You can do what you want. (cheers from CEOs of private colleges). The media vetted me so horribly that they missed my support for neoliberal education reform, or neoliberal capture to be more accurate. It was great that the corporate media didn’t focus on this so the general public and my supporters don’t realize my stance. So thank you. (corporate media CEOs stand and clap). I’ve supported the neoliberal No Child Left Behind initiative. In fact I voted for its first iteration back in 2001 (later I changed my mind). How my supporters could miss this is beyond me. (laughs from the audience).
In 2012 I declared to your friend, Arne Duncan, that I supported the Race to the Top Program (RTTT), pushed by the previous administration, and the next year I again asserted my approval, saying that it would significantly improve early-childhood education in our state and better prepare our kids for school and the challenges and opportunities in life. I even called for NCLB “reform” which you all know was a joke, since while I claimed it would allow schools to move away from standardized testing, but it actually kept in place the RTTT program. I am aware that this program is the direct cause of our national wave of school closings and mass teacher firings from Philadelphia to Atlanta and Los Angeles to Rhode Island. But that’s the price you have to pay for neoliberalism. I know that my deluded supporters are too naive to see the reality that is staring them in the face. I hope this makes you happy, because I’m glad to be serving the capitalist class. (cheers from the audience).
I’m glad to play my part. My supporters probably will never investigate into my non-objections to Mickey Mouse Protection Act, which passed by voice vote or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which also passed by voice vote, both parts of the modern US copyright regime. My social democracy includes, of course, protecting the intellectual property of multinational corporations from those nasty digital pirates. (cheers from audience). I’ve even voted for that American Taxpayer Relief Act which increased payroll taxes, extended numerous corporate tax breaks, and so on. I even voted to open up the Gulf of Mexico to more oil drilling when I voted FOR the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement. But hey, my supporters won’t remember this, right? (laughs from audience).
I’m glad to do my part to protect the gun industry here in America. I know I get all of crap from those liberals for shielding gun manufacturers from lawsuits by gun violence victims, but I really do oppose federal firearms laws since this isn’t one of my major issues, after all. You may remember that I was the one to vote against the Brady Act. What good days those were. Some people said that the statement I made about difference between guns in Vermont and shootings in Chicago was a “dog whistle” that parroted points from the NRA. But let me make clear as I told Playboy, background checks won’t solve the problems we have with guns in America. Protecting gun manufacturers is as right as protecting those who make hammers. I refuse to apologize for that vote in 2005 to protect to the gun industry and I stand by it. I will support gun manufacturers from legal consequences for as long as I am in office! You’ll get your money’s worth! (cheers from audience)
And then we get to issues of race. Oh that’s been a big topic since those black women interrupted me in Seattle all those months ago. Gosh they were so rude. Their action was completely uncalled for. But hey I remedied it by meeting with that neoliberal activist, your friend, Deray, and I supported the confirmation of Loretta Lynch for an Attorney General. I know she made some harsh statements opposing marijuana legalization and so on, but hey, that’s politics. I might support decriminalizing marijuana, unless one of you has a better idea, but I definitely think that people who do hard drugs should be punished to the full extent of the law. You can count on me for that! The drug war will continue in a new form. It will not end! (cheers from audience).
Oh my record on race is so helpful to all of you, but my supporters have never recognized the reality. I did vote for the Clinton Crime Bill in 1994 and said that I regretted it. I am aware that it increased the size of the carceral state in the United States and has been broadly criticized, even giving money to states to incarcerate undocumented immigrants. While I oppose private prisons, and have talked about incarceration currently existing, I just want it to be a nicer form of imprisonment. In fact, I will replace those private prisons with public ones. All of you will be handsomely paid. (cheers from audience).
During the campaign I said that white people don’t know what its like to be poor and face police brutality. I basically said, in summary, that white people don’t know what its like to be in poor communities, experience police brutality, that the criminal justice system should be reformed, and that institutionalized racism must end. But that was all just for show. I was trying to appease the Black Lives Matter people, like the woman who challenged me. The truth is, regardless of those comments, I plan strengthen the police forces across this country with that supposed reform of body cameras so they keep in place the necessary status quo. We don’t want any riots like what happened in Baltimore or Ferguson. That would be bad for business, bad for all of you, bad for me. So help me by giving me the tools to expand their powers! (cheers from audience).
Oh and then there’s Sierra Blanca. My wife is still a Commissioner on the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission, which dealt with this matter. I worked with George W. Bush, your friend, to send nuclear waste to a poor Latino community in Texas. I knew they wouldn’t fight back. When those pesky people of the Vermont chapter of the Sierra Club, a group that helps all of you from time to time, I rightly dismissed their concerns. I was aware that it was already a toxic waste dump and I told some activists that my position was unchanged. Ultimately it didn’t matter because it wasn’t even built there because of resident opposition and was put somewhere else instead. Some people even called my actions environmental racism, saying that I couldn’t be trusted because of it and that I made a cold political calculation that affected the lives of hundreds of poor people of color. The latter is preposterous. Still, I lied in saying that I was not personally responsible for sending nuclear waste to Sierra Blanca. Of course I was. I also knew the opposition in that area of the country existed and that there was an environmental justice aspect to the Sierra Blanca site. I’m glad my campaign said what I did because it was clearly threatening my progressive political brand. Any marketing executives that are here know that’s threats to a brand are a horrible thing. To be absolutely clear, I did support environmental racism in Sierra Blanca and I regret none of it. It was completely the right decision. (WE SUPPORT YOU, BERNIE bellow the capitalists).
Then we get to imperial foreign policy. I am glad that few recognized that I would leave in place the American empire. We all have to acknowledge it exists now. I’m still leaving Guantanamo Bay Prison (Gitmo) open, which is only a part of the total base there. I even voted against closing it in 2009 but my loyal supporters will never bring that up. How deluded they are. (audience laughs). Before I get to my support for militarism and how I want to maintain this imperial presence, I must outline my support for the Zionist cause. US imperialism has to bolster settler colonialism in Israel, otherwise it isn’t worth anything. Then all of you can get your money from what’s going on there and I can support you in that effort. Sound good to all of you? (A resounding YES! from the audience).
Before going on, I must make it clear that I’m as pro-Israel as they come. I believe in a modified form of Zionism, Labor Zionism to be exact. Anyway, there was some petition going around from those pesky pro-Palestinian activists, who aren’t too radical, which greatly helps our cause. Anyway, some news outlets reported on that speech I didn’t “give” to AIPAC and said that I wasn’t there in person because I was campaigning in western states. That’s true. I’ll never turn my back on AIPAC. No way in the world. I respect them as an organization, fully and truly. I never was really against Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, I just opposed it on procedural grounds. As a reminder I didn’t object to the support for Israel missile “defense” program, tested in an assault on Palestinians in 2014 and later sold to India, the Iron Dome. I also helped the cause of Zionists by shouting down pro-Palestinian voices in a summer 2014 town hall as videos far and wide across YouTube stand to show. I also supported Israel in a resolution in summer 2014 and didn’t object to the United States-Israel Partnership Act of 2014.
Most importantly was the speech I would have given to AIPAC. I may have said some things that shook the current status quo, but I am clearly a friend of Israel. I think there should be a nicer form of settler colonialism in place that takes away the right of armed self-defense by Palestinians, keeps that never-ending “peace process” going and ending some of the more brutal assaults by Israel but doing it in a nicer fashion. Additionally, I firmly oppose Hamas, think that hideous monster called ISIS must be destroyed by any means necessary, especially by helping US imperial proxies, Muslim authoritarian states like Jordan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, to fight for the soul of Islam. In that speech let me remind you that I claimed, for public relations purposes that the US is not the policeman of the world when we all know what it is. I also touted the success of US interventionism citing the success in 1990 Gulf War, said that Assad should be removed from power, and opposed Iran’s power grabs in the region. I even said that war against Iran would be on the table, along with sanctions if they don’t comply with what the empire wants. We can’t let them threaten our interests either when they intersect with Israel or with our imperial hegemony. Otherwise our imperial position in the Middle East would be compromised and that would be disastrous. We must maintain imperialism in the Middle East by all necessary means, even it means more debt! (cheers from audience).
Before I get to my endorsement of imperial destabilization of those pesky rogue states that threaten our honored empire, I must remind all of you of my militaristic credibility. While I called out repeatedly Pentagon waste, all of you know full well that I support a strong military. What that means in real terms is that I think a huge war machine is a good thing, a thing which can defend the world since the empire is already tied to so many countries economically and legally obligated to protect 25% of the world as even the Washington Post noted. First and foremost I must say that I do not oppose the wonderful global assassination program, the drone program. I just want selective and effective strikes. More exact killings for a more dangerous age. I think the US should defend itself from terrorism but not get those Constitution-loving freaks mad about us violating their civil liberties. That would not be good. I may not support ground troops to fight ISIS, but I think that there should be Saudi forces fighting as US proxies, along with other countries. I will continue the efforts of the previous administration to bomb ISIS, which I have called in the past, a fanatical and brutal organization, which is a danger to the region and the world. We need more airstrikes like the ones I supported in the past to continue this new war. I also must remind all of you that I fully and completely support the imperial occupation of Afghanistan. There is no need to withdraw from a country we are currently exploiting. I think all of you will agree with that. I will do everything in my power to stop China gaining influence in that country. I can assure you of that. (wild cheers from audience).
As a reminder, let me go through my pro-war record. I said in the campaign that I voted against the Iraq war in 2002. That is true and I think it was a mistake and a dumb war just like a young Obama said at the time. Let’s start with Bosnia. At the time I voted in favor of “peacekeeping operations” in Kosovo and in favor of missile strikes against Yugoslavia. I even said on the House floor point-blank the following: “I have supported the NATO bombings of military targets” in Bosnia. I stand by that decision. I know I lost some supporters from endorsing the destruction of Yugoslavia in a 78 day bombing campaign which drenched Serbia in depleted uranium. But who cares. This war was important in setting a precedent for the wonderful humanitarian imperialists like your good friend, Samantha Power, as used in the Libyan war of 2011 to rid the country of the that brutal socialist dictator, Gaddafi. If he had just been neoliberal then I would have been fine with him. But, no, he had to be a socialist. How despicable. Anyway, I know there was the creation of a humanitarian pretext for intervention in Bosnia, that it was just part of a way to create favorable conditions for corporate profit-making. I’m also aware that calling this war humanitarian is a big joke since it was really, as we all know, about maintaining its imperial dominance, with the humanitarian guise part of a broader propaganda offensive, with a similar approach used in the Libyan war, since the US basically oversaw the most massive acts of ethnic cleansing to occur during the Bosnian war. But can you blame me? I had the war fever. Supporting imperialism is my lifeblood and it will stay that way as long as I hold this office of the presidency! (cheers from audience).
To close out this section I must remind my audience here today at this event, hosted by my wonderful friends, Capitalists for Bernie, about my support for the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. I voted for this law, which was about liberating Iraqis from a brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein. Perhaps we had supported that dictator when it was convenient and perhaps he had made progress in some some domains. Still, Clinton was right to sign the legislation into law, pushed by the Republican Congress at the time. Not Hillary Clinton, but your friend Bill. (laughs from audience). There is no doubt that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction back then. We are sure of it. We can’t forget how Senator Sam Brownback used it to advocate for bringing capitalism to Iran, and how it was used to argue for the Iraq War in 2003, even by George W. Bush himself that year. Even in the preamble to the 2002 bill for the war’s authorization, the law was cited. While the Iraq Liberation Act was the prelude to a war I voted against, I can’t regret giving Iraqi opposition groups millions of dollars so they could make the Middle East that much better for our existing empire.
Finally let me mention two things. For one, I voted in favor of the imperial Afghan war in 2001. I don’t regret that one bit. Let me also remind you that in 2011 I said that we couldn’t withdraw all of our troops immediately and that our men and women fighting overseas for empire, fighting for all of you, are doing a tremendous job under very difficult circumstances, since we need a victory over the Taliban, those horrid monsters. Many years later, I voted to expand the intelligence apparatus. This was a law that created the position of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center, and many other anti-terror institutions, while expanding punishment for those accused of terrorism. I even defended the Department of Homeland Security when it was at its weakest from those who wanted to deny it funding and voted to give it funding. Hey, I even told Yahoo! News said that surveillance of “potential terrorists” is ok. I’m glad all of you heard this because you can know for certain that I support these efforts because I think social control for the capitalist class by the federal government is important in these trying times of need. (wild applause, standing ovation by audience)
Let me move onto a vital subject of importance. I am in favor of imperial destabilization of rogue nations across the world that threaten not only the national cohesiveness of our grand empire but your financial assets. I have said before that we are an oligarchy. But let me be even more specific. As a capitalist government, we will protect you, the capitalist class, even if we claim to be a democracy, since we are really just a constitutional oligarchy, just no one really says it. (loud applause from audience).
Let me start with Cuba. In the past, I positively treated Cuba’s government. But that was when I was really a socialist, not like now when I head a government geared to protect your interests. As the available evidence shows, I support the democratic opposition to Cuba’s socialist government, headed currently by President Raul Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba. I know that the imperial machinations of empire such as USAID and NED, and other organs of empire, along with the allies in corporate publications ranging from the Washington Post to the New York Times call them democratic. But we all know, as USAID documents of the Cuban Transition Project have shown, the ultimate goal is to get in power a US-friendly government and privatize all the publicly-owned parts of Cuba’s economy, then destroy its socialist system. That way we can create a calm Caribbean that reflects a positive image of our empire, rather than a failing one that allows Cuba to withstand sustained assault from imperialists of the American empire since 1959. That is unacceptable. (wild applause from the audience).
I can also say that when this new government takes control we will find Assata Shakur and snatch her. We can’t let noble black liberationists make us look bad. This is why I voted to extradite her all these years ago. But few ever bring it up because it would ruin my public image. I thank my supporters for that.
There are other rogue states I want to eliminate as well. Let me make a comment first. The wonderful David Graeber, who is now my Secretary of State, once declared that he wasn’t pro-Assad and that Assad is the most murderous dictator on earth. After I found out about this statement I applauded him and realized he would make a great fit for the empire after reading his other statements, including his tweets. Some may say he is radical for his role in the Occupy movement or his book on debt, but all in all, that movement was no communist or socialist uprising, it was just a progressive sputtering. The capitalist federal government can easily handle such puny efforts. It was crushed within a number of months and then there was a level of infighting, partially instigated by agents of this government to protect, all of you, the capitalist class. (applause from audience).
The Occupy movement is so discredited now, that even publications like Adbusters, that started this supposed revolution, are a joke in and of themselves. It is good to see this outcome. In order to complement this, I appointed all the major players in those circles, ranging from a moderately successful writer, Charles Davis, a white female artist, Molly Crabapple, and Gary, the Human Rights Watcher, to high levels in my administration. They will all be vital in maintaining the glorious empire we have created. They did their part before in promoting our initiatives, serving as imperial agents whether they wanted to or not, but now they can directly serve the empire in all of their capacities. (standing ovation and applause from audience).
I fully support the imperial destabilization of Syria’s socially democratic government. As I said earlier, I am a social democrat, but I am also a fully-blooded imperialist. All of you know that, but my supporters have often forgot this, living in the land of delusion so long that they’ll just become mindless zombies for my cause, which is exactly what I want. Anyway, I think that Assad is a terrible dictator at war with his own people and that we need to provide arms to the Kurds while making sure they support our imperial cause in the future, without having perpetual war of a bad kind. Just like my combative attitude toward Russia, the record shows time and time again that I support the Syrian opposition. I know that it is hard to tell who is in the opposition at times, but I think it is clear that Assad must be eliminated at all costs and that the socially democratic elements of the Syrian constitution must be removed. That way all of you here today and many others will get a chance to exploit Syrians and create a whole new market. When this new government takes power I will make sure, in all of my efforts as President, that this comes to fruition. I will not fail you. (thunderous applause from the audience).
The methods of imperial destabilization have worked in Venezuela. If a socialist government takes power in Venezuela again then it will be time to, as I have said in the past, cut ourselves loose of oil from that country. As the record shows, I have time, time, and time again not objected to bills to destabilize the then-socialist government. Now that the former socialist government is in the opposition and former right-wing opposition is now in power, the capitalist federal government of the United States can help Venezuela. We will use every means possible to push Maduro out of power. If this means violent means, then all be it. The Venezuelan government can and should be a plaything of empire. That way Venezuela, like Syria, can become another market for wonderful capitalists like yourselves. I would have it no other way. (loud applause from audience).
There is one more rogue state that must be taken care of: North Korea or the DPRK. This anti-imperialist haven and socialist state has stopped US imperialism for too long. The sanctions on this country, which I support, must remain. However, this country, which I classify as a belligerent totalitarian state of hideous proportions must be dealt with first through diplomatic means coupled with efforts by the CIA, USAID, and NED to fund opposition in the country in order to undermine the regime. After all of those diplomatic means have been exhausted or when they threaten a vital imperial interest of the United States or its corporate partners, we will launch a full-scale invasion of North Korea by the US military. If we are ultimately successful then a US-friendly government will take power in North Korea, helping capitalists like those here today. I can tell you that destabilizing this rogue state and installing a US-friendly, pro-market regime will be one of our top foreign policy priorities. I can assure you of that 100%. (loud applause by audience).
There is one last country I wish to touch on: China. I have said in the past that we should avoid a cold war with China like that with the Soviet Union but that the US should support those elements in China fighting for a democratic society. What I mean by this is that the capitalist US government must support the opposition to the regime in place. (applause by audience). In the past, as I have used China either as a foil to promote protectionism, we must beat them at their own game, called them out on their unfair trade policies.
The voting record on bills of interest, noted in Table A-2 on the site of the State Department, shows my record. In 1999, I ultimately voted for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2000, even though I originally voted against it, a bill which gave millions of dollars to support Tibetan anti-communist resistance, support NED initiatives to foster democracy in China, and for more intelligence on their dealings. In 2000, I voted against normal trade with China since I didn’t want trade with a communist country. In 2001, in a number of different roll calls, throughout the year, I voted for a law which gave millions upon millions of dollars to support democracy, human rights, and much more within China’s borders. I must regret my vote in 2003 on one occasion and another to vote against a bill that provided more money for NED to destabilize China. But that bill was crap and I didn’t like it one bit. However, I recovered lost ground the next year by voting twice in favor, in one roll call then another, for a law that gave money for a Political Prisoner Database and at least $19 million to support democracy and human rights in China. In 2005 I voted in one roll call after another for a law to fund Tibetan anti-communist development and resistance, consisting of hundreds of thousands of dollars in human rights and democracy programs by NED. In 2007, I continued this trend voting twice, at one time and then another for a bill that gave millions upon millions to fund democracy and rule of law programs, along with other support for the Chinese opposition. In 2009, I again voted to fund Tibetan anti-communist resistance as a consolidated bill showed. Also that year I had no objection to a law that gave millions to distribute propaganda concerning the environment, governance, transparency, and corruption within the borders of the communist Chinese beast.
I am hopeful that this record convinces you that I am supportive of imperial destabilization of China. I am glad to report that the Chinese government has fulfilled our imperial aims by siding with our efforts to sanction North Korea to death in an effort of destabilization. Still, I will commit here and now to putting in place a friendlier government in China. That way all of you wonderful capitalists can have a share of the wealth and exploit a whole new market of consumers even more effectively. (wild cheers from audience).
To close out this speech, I must thank the Capitalists for Bernie group for hosting this event. If you had not secretly funneled money to my campaign disguised as numerous individual contributions to make me seem like a grassroots candidate, then I would not be President today. I’d also like to thank my undying supporters, people who rarely ever questioned me or my brand of politicking. I’d also like to thank the corporate media for helping the general public not know that I am an imperialist who willingly support the capitalist class, and instead painting me as some populist who will save the day. With that God Bless America and God Bless this Glorious American Empire.