WASHINGTON – A petition to Sen. Bernie Sanders – urging him to tackle foreign policy issues in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination – gained 8,000 signers on Sunday (Aug. 2).
While praising the Sanders campaign’s “strong challenge to corporate power and oligarchy,” the petition urges him “to speak out about how they are intertwined with militarism and ongoing war.”
The nationwide petition adds: “Martin Luther King Jr. denounced what he called ‘the madness of militarism,’ and you should do the same. As you said in your speech to the SCLC, ‘Now is not the time for thinking small.’ Unwillingness to challenge the madness of militarism is thinking small.”
In a lengthy speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on July 25, Sanders lauded King as a visionary leader – but made no mention of King’s antiwar leadership. From the speech, “you wouldn’t have a clue that King explicitly and emphatically linked the issues of economic injustice at home with war abroad,” says RootsAction.org, the group that launched the petition.
“So far,” RootsAction says, “Bernie’s stump speech hardly mentions the huge military budget – and does not talk about how it is a massive roadblock for the scale of public investment in education, infrastructure and jobs that he is advocating.”
The petition is headlined, “Bernie Sanders, Speak Up: Militarism and Corporate Power Are Fueling Each Other.”
When it launched the petition yesterday, RootsAction pointed out that “on his campaign’s official website, the page headlined ‘Bernie Sanders: On the Issues’ says nothing at all about foreign policy, war or any other such topics.”
Available for interviews:
NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com, @roots_action
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org. He is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.
RootsAction said in a statement when launching the petition yesterday: “With a strong grassroots campaign, Bernie is eloquent as he denounces corporate power, economic inequality and ‘oligarchy.’ But he’s saying very little about crucial issues of war, militarism and foreign policy….
“Ongoing war and huge military spending continue to be deeply enmeshed with basic economic ills from upside-down priorities. As the National Priorities Project has documented, 54 percent of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending now goes to military purposes.”