BERNIE AND ME by Michael Parenti
People have asked me what I think of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Bernie and I used to be close political friends up in Vermont in the early 1970s. We ran together on a third party ticket (the Liberty Union Party). I ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and Bernie ran for the U.S. Senate. (I got 7% of the vote; he got 3 or 4%-but who's counting.)
Bernie stayed in Vermont. I wanted to write rather than run for office in one-sided campaigns. So I spent the years writing books, articles, teaching courses, giving interviews, doing guest lectures all over the country, and marching in demonstrations. But I remained good friends with Bernie. I gave him moral and monetary support in his successful campaigns for Mayor of Burlington, then U.S. House of Representatives.
But I eventually broke with him because of his position on the Yugoslavia war, the "humanitarian war" as Bill Clinton and his national security state people called it. As did many liberals and some Trotskyites and anarchists, Bernie stood shoulder to shoulder with NATO and the CIA and the Clinton White House in the destruction of Yugoslavia, the 78 days of bombing, drenching Serbia in depleted uranium, leaving Serbia with the highest cancer rate in Europe and breaking up Yugoslavia, one of the best social democracies in Europe, though not without its serious blemishes.
Today, I wish Bernie the best. He is a Democrat although he calls himself a socialist and an independent. But he takes very good stands on Social Security, human services, and curbing the banksters. However, he has voiced not a word about what his foreign policy might be. I suspect it has not improved. I will most likely not be voting for him. Probably I will support some third-party candidate who will run a hard hopeless campaign—of the kind we used to do in Vermont years ago. —-MICHAEL PARENTI