Bernie Sanders likes to call himself a democratic socialist, perhaps because it’s a bit more palatable than plain ol’ “socialist.” Doesn’t really matter what he calls himself, his track record indicates that at the very least, he’s sympathetic to full blown communism.

Most recently, the Washington Examiner reported that during both the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections, Sanders campaigned for the communist Socialist Workers Party.

Bernie Sanders campaigned for the Socialist Workers Party in the 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns and was investigated by the FBI for his ties to the Marxist group.

Sanders has always played down the extent of his involvement with the party, which included radicals who praised the Soviet Union and Cuban communists, and has denied ever being a member. Asked in 1988 about his role as an SWP elector in 1980, he said: “I was asked to put my name on the ballot and I did, that’s true.” In fact, his ties to the party are deep and enduring.

…But his personal files from his time as mayor of Burlington, from 1981 to 1989, archived at the University of Vermont, show that he supported and campaigned for the communist SWP and maintained a close relationship with its senior members. While 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.

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 involvement with the SWP resulted in an FBI investigation. WaEx ctd:

“I would agree with the judge,” Sanders said at the time, referring to a civil case arising from the incident, “who is quite correct in pointing out that when FBI agents come into a secretary of state’s office attempting to ‘investigate’ the political background of a mayor of the largest city in the state, there’s no question but that this opens up the potential for exploitation by the media and could be a source of embarrassment.”

The SWP has a long history of radicalism, starting at its beginning in 1938 when it was founded by devotees of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary and communist thinker who was assassinated by the Soviet government over his criticisms of the regime. Yet Trotsky’s legacy lived on, not only in the Soviet Union and the developing nations, but in the United States, where it attracted trade unionists, academics, bohemians, and an ambitious Vermont mayor.


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