The record on avowed socialist senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (shown) continues to demonstrate that he has been a longtime vocal supporter and fellow-traveler with communists and Marxists.
The Washington Examiner recalled that during the 1980s Sanders — at the time the socialist mayor of Burlington, Vermont — was investigated by the FBI for his ties to Marxist groups. While Sanders “has always played down the extent of his involvement with the [Socialist Workers Party, SWP], which included radicals who praised the Soviet Union and Cuban communists, and has denied ever being a member,” reported the Examiner, Sanders’ personal files from the 1980s, archived at the University of Vermont, “show that he supported and campaigned for the communist SWP and maintained a close relationship with its senior members.”
And while the Democrat Party worked hard to get Jimmy Carter elected in 1980, and unsuccessfully campaigned for his vice president, Walter Mondale, in 1984, throughout the Reagan years Sanders was busy campaigning for Marxist SWP candidates who touted radical platforms destructive to American interests.
In 1980 Sanders “proudly endorsed and supported” SWP candidate Andrew Pulley, who encouraged U.S. soldiers to shoot their commanding officers. At the time Sanders also confirmed that “I fully support the SWP’s continued defense of the Cuban revolution.”
In April Fox News reported on a recently discovered 1986 video of a speech during which Sanders recalls “being very excited when [former Cuban dictator] Fidel Castro made the revolution in Cuba.” Sanders said that “it just seemed right and appropriate that poor people were rising up against rather ugly rich people.”
During his 1980 presidential campaign Pulley “called for the abolition of the U.S. military and the nationalization of ‘virtually all private industry,’ as well as the abolition of the military budget and the establishment of ‘solidarity’ with the revolutionary regimes in Iran, Nicaragua, Grenada and Cuba,” reported the Examiner, citing a report by the New York Times from that era. Additionally, according to the Examiner, “Pulley hailed the Cuban revolution as a model for the United States and claimed that ‘racism [had] been abolished’ on the island. His running mate, Matilde Zimmermann, described the contention that Cubans lived under a dictatorship as American ‘propaganda.’”
Four years later, Sanders “backed and campaigned for the SWP presidential nominee Mel Mason, a former Black Panther, saying it was important for there to be ‘fundamental alternatives to capitalist ideology,’” reported the Examiner.
The Examiner article recalled that the same Socialist Workers Party that Sanders so ardently endorsed “has a long history of radicalism, starting at its beginning in 1938 when it was founded by devotees of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary and communist thinker who was assassinated by the Soviet government over his criticisms of the regime. Yet Trotsky's legacy lived on, not only in the Soviet Union and the developing nations, but in the United States, where it attracted trade unionists, academics, bohemians, and an ambitious Vermont mayor.”
In his 1984 endorsement of SWP presidential candidate Mel Mason, Sanders wrote: “At a time when the Democratic and Republican parties are intellectually and spiritually bankrupt, it is imperative for radical voices to be heard which offer fundamental alternatives to capitalist ideology.”
Writing in the New York Post in 2016, columnist Paul Sperry suggested that some of Sanders’ past ties actually qualified him to be called a communist. For example, wrote Sperry, in 1964 while a student at the University of Chicago, “Sanders joined the Young People’s Socialist League, the youth wing of the Socialist Party USA. He also organized for a communist front, the United Packinghouse Workers Union, which at the time was under investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.”
After graduating with a degree in political science and moving to Vermont, wrote Sperry, Sanders “headed the American People’s History Society, an organ for Marxist propaganda. There, he produced a glowing documentary on the life of socialist revolutionary Eugene Debs, who was jailed for espionage during the Red Scare and hailed by the Bolsheviks as “America’s greatest Marxist.”
Elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981, Sanders “restricted property rights for landlords, set price controls and raised property taxes to pay for communal land trusts,” recalled Sperry. And in 1985 Sanders “traveled to Managua to celebrate the rise to power of the Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government. He called it a ‘heroic revolution.’”
Continued Sperry: “Sanders also adopted a Soviet sister city outside Moscow and honeymooned with his second wife in the USSR. He put up a Soviet flag in his office, shocking even the Birkenstock-wearing local liberals. At the time, the Evil Empire was on the march around the world, and threatening the U.S. with nuclear annihilation.”
Nineteen-eighty-eight appears to be the year that Sanders decided to begin subtly distancing himself from his Marxist roots, as he publicly endorsed Jesse Jackson in the Democrat Party’s presidential primary.
Two years later Sanders was elected the the U.S. Senate as an Independent, and since then he has been hard at work publicly massaging his radical socialist-Marxist record into a presidential platform palatable to gullible, uninformed millennial voters.
Photo of Sen. Bernie Sanders: AP Images