Sanders Campaigned for the Socialist Workers Party During the Height of the Cold War | NTK Network Sanders Campaigned for the Socialist Workers Party During the Height of the Cold War

Sanders Campaigned for the Socialist Workers Party During the Height of the Cold War

Sanders' archived records showed "an affinity for other radical organizations far to the left of the Democratic Socialists of America."

By NTK Staff | 05.30.2019 @11:42am
Sanders Campaigned for the Socialist Workers Party During the Height of the Cold War

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) campaigned for the Socialist Workers Party’s (SWP) presidential candidates in the 1980 and 1984 elections and had close ties to the extreme left-wing party, according to files reviewed by the Washington Examiner.

The Washington Examiner reviewed files from Sanders time as mayor of Burlington, archived at the University of Vermont, and found that “[w]hile Democrats campaigned for President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale in 1984, Sanders spent the Reagan era supporting fringe Marxists with no chance of reaching the White House.”

Sanders has attempted to downplay his close ties to the extreme left-wing party in recent years, but the Washington Examiner’s reporting shows Sanders was very involved with the SWP.

In 1980, Sanders “proudly endorsed and supported” Andrew Pulley, the party’s presidential candidate, who once said that American soldiers should “take up their guns and shoot their officers.” Sanders was one of three electors for Pulley on the Vermont ballot, stating in a press release: “I fully support the SWP’s continued defense of the Cuban revolution.”

Four years later, he 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.” During the campaign, Mason praised the Russian and Chinese revolutions and said: “The greatest example of a socialist government is Cuba, and Nicaragua is right behind, but it’s still developing.”

Sanders was a featured speaker at the 1982 SWP “Campaign Kick-Off Rally” in Boston for the SWP’s candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and Congress, according to a flier.

“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. I wish Mel Mason good luck on his campaign,” Sanders wrote in the SWP’s official paper, The Militant, in January 1984.

According to the Washington Examiner, “Sanders’ involvement with the SWP led to his being investigated by the FBI.”

Despite Sanders close ties to the SWP, there is no evidence of ever being a member of the radical party.

But Sanders’ archived records showed “an affinity for other radical organizations far to the left of the Democratic Socialists of America, the party that has backed Sanders’ presidential campaigns.”

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