Socialist Worker

Feeling the Bern in Brixton

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2557

Sanders said the ruling class internationally are steeped in greed

Sanders said the "ruling class internationally are steeped in greed" (Pic: Lewis Nielsen)


US senator Bernie Sanders, whose campaign lit up the US elections last year, came to south London yesterday, Friday, to talk to a sold out Brixton Academy.

In a rousing speech he tapped into the mood which has seen Labour under Jeremy Corbyn rise sharply in the polls. He slammed the “ruling class internationally that are steeped in greed. They want it all.”

He also said that social change isn’t simply passed down from on high. “You have to figure out how you work together with your brothers and sisters to exert the power to transform society,” he said.

“I’m working on radically transforming the Democratic Party to make it the party of the working class. I understand there may be a similar process going on here too,” said Sanders to rapturous applause.

Some 5,000 people came to hear what the self-described socialist had to say.

One of them was Labour Party member and activist Bee. “I’m out on the campaign trail and you have people saying they’ve never voted before but they’ll vote for Corbyn,” she said.

She told Socialist Worker that the campaign behind Bernie Sanders in the primary stages of the presidential elections could give the campaign behind Jeremy Corbyn hope.

Pitched

That campaign saw Sanders take 22 states and 46 percent of the vote. And some polls indicated that Sanders would have won if he had been pitched against Trump in the presidential election rather than Hillary Clinton.

“There’s a lot of similarities between Sanders and Corbyn,” said James McKinley. “Both politicians are social democrats, not the extreme left wingers they’re portrayed as by the media.”

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However, the US Democratic Party is not the same as the Labour Party. It is a bosses’ party with no structural links to working class organisation.

Sanders called for more people to get involved in the struggle. Unfortunately he didn't take his own advice when he lost to Clinton in the Democratic primary election and ended up endorsing her.

Tom told Socialist Worker, “We need a mixture of voting and local activism, bottom-up rather than top-down.”

During questions from the audience, compere David Lammy, Labour candidate for Tottenham, read out a text message from Corbyn.

"Can you wish Bernie solidarity and thanks and a huge welcome to Britain and after Thursday can he come back when I form a new government?" the message read.

Sanders replied, "Please text back Mr Corbyn and say that I would be more than delighted."

After the event Bee said Sanders’s message and campaign gave hope to activists in Britain. “Now we have our own chance to make it happen here,” she said.

 

 


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