After being introduced at Georgetown University on Thursday afternoon, students greeted him by chanting,
“Feel the Bern!”
Bernie explained the meaning of democratic socialism, using President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an example. Roosevelt redefined the relationship of the people to the federal government. He created Social Security and job programs by increasing taxes on the rich, in turn increasing the power of the people, in the form of the federal government.
Bernie has similar goals, and wants to expand federal power (the power of the people) by rebuilding the U.S. infrastructure, by offering free college education, by raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and by combating climate change.
In his speech, Bernie said,
“If we are serious about transforming our country, if we are serious about rebuilding the middle class, if we are serious about reinvigorating our democracy, we need to develop a political movement which, once again, is prepared to take on and defeat a ruling class whose greed is destroying our nation. The billionaire class cannot have it all. Our government belongs to all of us, and not just the one percent.”
“Today, in America, millions of our people are working two or three jobs just to survive. In fact, Americans work longer hours than do the people of any industrialized country. Despite the incredibly hard work and long hours of the American middle class, 58 percent of all new income generated today is going to the top one percent.”
What Roosevelt was stating in 1944, what Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in similar terms 20 years later and what I believe today, is that true freedom does not occur without economic security.
Consider that last part. In the 1960s and 70s, feeling a sense of economic security was normal. Casual firings were unusual, and people made more per hour. Today, not so much. Today, far more wealth is funneled to the ruling class and normal people make less. Think of economic security as part of our cultural evolution.
“Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy. Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system in America today, which is not only grossly unfair but, in many respects, corrupt.”
“In my view, it’s time we had democratic socialism for working families, not just Wall Street, billionaires and large corporations. It means that we should not be providing welfare for corporations, huge tax breaks for the very rich, or trade policies which boost corporate profits as workers lose their jobs. It means that we create a government that works for all of us, not just powerful special interests. It means that economic rights must be an essential part of what America stands for.”
Bringing up ISIS, Bernie said,
“We must create an organization like NATO to confront the security threats of the 21st century – an organization that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration to defeat the rise of violent extremism and importantly to address the root causes underlying these brutal acts. We must work with our NATO partners, and expand our coalition to include Russia and members of the Arab League.”
After his speech, Bernie stated Republicans only care about billionaires:
“The Republican agenda is, among other things, to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and give huge tax breaks to billionaires and to ignore the planetary crisis of climate change.”
Here is his entire speech: