Elections

Sanders Took Heat From The Anti-War Left Over Gulf War, Yugoslavia Intervention

In a 2005 tribute to Miller for the independent Socialist magazine Monthly Review, author Ron Jacobs wrote, “Given that all of Vermont’s Congressional delegation supported the killing, we decided to stage protests at each of their offices and stage a sit-in at the last one on our tour. That office happened to be the office of Bernie Sanders. After making it clear to the folks working in Bernie’s office that we fully intended to stay until they threw us out, Will fumbled with his wife’s cell phone (something new to us older folks back then) and called the local media. They showed up soon afterwards and recorded our thoughts and the arrests that followed the office’s closing. There were those on the Left who didn’t understand why we chose Bernie’s office. However, our job wasn’t to support Bernie no matter what — although we agreed with much of what he was doing; it was to point out the imperialist nature of the war.”

In a testimonial, attorney Mike Cassidy — who once “attended Will’s courses in Marxism and then Philosophy of Education at” the University of Vermont (UVM) — stated that he “helped represent Will and other folks arrested in 1999 at Bernie Sanders’ office, over Bernie’s support for the U.S./NATO war and bombing in the Balkans.”

Another former student, Sarah Snider wrote, “I remember a day when I was in college after class coming home and turning on the news and seeing Will and several others, including my roommate in Congressman Sanders office protesting the bombing of Serbia. I remember how affected my roommate was by her experience being arrested for trespassing and how this forever changed the way she talked about the State.”

Last July, Patrick Howley reported for The Daily Caller, “Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders ‘shunned’ some of his closest personal friends as he moved away from Vermont socialist circles and into big-time Democratic Party politics, and the resentment still lingers today.”

“Peter Diamondstone, socialist co-founder of the Vermont-based Liberty Union Party that gave Bernie Sanders his first exposure to politics in the 1970s, said that he is now persona non grata in Sanders-world,” Howley wrote. Diamondstone told Howley, “In Liberty Union there are revolutionary socialists and I don’t know one who supports him.”

The alleged Bernie Sanders quote about not letting “some damn war cost him the elections” doesn’t appear to have a source, other than Miller’s essay.

“Don’t be bamboozled by ‘Bernie the Bomber’ bombast,” warned a blogger in January. It “appears to be a muckracking exposé but a closer inspection reveals that it is riddled with embarrassing contradictions and is written with as much respect for the facts as the average Fox News story on President Barack Obama.”

The blog blasted “Miller’s gripe about being arrested at Sanders’ office.”

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“Isn’t the whole point of civil disobedience to get arrested and thereby draw attention to a cause?” the blog wrote. “Miller himself even admitted the arrests took place ‘at 6:30 PM, one half hour after closing time’ of the office. So the proof that Sanders ‘lurched to the right,’ joined the political establishment, and betrayed the peace movement is that his staff wanted to go home instead of camping out at their workplace all night long to serve as unpaid babysitters for protesters too unreasonable to come back the next day?”

But Miller didn’t use the “Bernie for Bomber” headline when he issued his press release in 1999, nor did he use that term at all. One line — “The response to our occupation of Bernie’s office was, unfortunately, consistent with his lurch to the mainstream” — also wasn’t in Miller’s piece, who actually wrote, “Bernie got where he is now by a lurch to the right.”