The Socialist Mayor: Bernard Sanders in Burlington, Vermont

By Steven Soifer | Go to book overview

Preface

Over the past several decades, as the U.S. political climate has increasingly swung to the right, my socialist convictions have grown stronger. My interest in socialism goes back to a junior high school social studies class in which we read Michael Harrington The Other America. The fact that hunger existed in this country, despite its great wealth, made a profound impression on me. I remember concluding that an economic and political system that actually met the basic needs of all its people was preferable to the current U.S. economic and political order.

Like many others of my generation, I was exposed to a Marxist analysis of the United States while in college. In examining what was wrong in this country, I tried to figure out for myself how best to transform our society. The vision of a just and equitable social order-- one in which everyone would maximize his or her full potential--always guided me. I wanted to see a society in which the economic, political, and social rewards were fairly distributed among all. In the new social order, no one would be exploited in any way and oppression would be nonexistent. Those who were able to work would do so to their full capacity in a meaningful job, while those who were unable to work, for whatever reason, would be taken care of by society. And people would have not only the rights mentioned above but also various responsibilities to society. Marx's dictum, "From each according to his [and her] ability, to each according to his [and her] need," would be the way of life.

After graduation, I decided to put my political beliefs and convictions into practice. I went to work as a community organizer for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)

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