John Halle responds to Bernie Sanders

by John Halle on May 13, 2015

John Halle

John Halle

(John Halle was elected to the New Haven board of aldermen as a Green Party candidate in 2001. Currently he teaches music composition at Bard College and blogs at where this article first appeared.)


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The above is Bernie Sanders writing to the participants of last weekend’s  Future of Left/Independent Politics conference claiming that his campaign is “very much complementary” to “(our) efforts in Chicago”.

Mark A. Lause, Louis N. Proyect, Fred Murphy, Matt Hoke and myself (among others at the conference) think he’s wrong.

Here’s why.

If you’d like to sign on, please leave a comment.

Senator Sanders:

As participants in the Future of Left and Independent Politics conference held in Chicago May 2-3, we sincerely appreciate your declaration of support for our efforts. Nonetheless, we must express our regret that you have chosen to forgo independent political action and instead enter the primaries of the Democratic Party, which is entirely beholden to Wall Street and the corporate interests you have fought throughout your career. And while we do appreciate the support you have offered to a few independent campaigns in Richmond, Madison and Chicago, we cannot condone your indirect funding of corporate Democrats such as Sens. Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich and Kay Hagan, or your failure to criticize Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin’s recent betrayal of the campaign for single-payer health care in your home state of Vermont.

Nevertheless, we look forward to welcoming you and your supporters back into the movement for independent political action after the Democratic primaries are over and Hillary Clinton or another corporate Democrat is nominated. Such a return to your green, socialist and anti-war roots will be the most principled resolution of the false and contradictory situation into which you have placed yourself and your supporters by joining the Democratic Party and – as one of our conference speakers noted – serving as the “sheepdog” to herd progressives and activists back into the two-party system.


Mark Lause, Fred Murphy, John Halle, Louis Proyect, Matt Hoke, Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese, Howie Hawkins, Paul Street, Linda Thompson, Joanne Landy, Dan La Botz, Thomas Harrison, Bruce Dixon, Robert Caldwell, Rick Kissell, Chelsey Sprengeler

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Dennis Brasky May 13, 2015 at 6:16 pm

The 1% has TWO parties – the 99% needs its own!


Mark May 17, 2015 at 11:32 am

The 1% has one party and the 50% needs it’s own.


Three Queens and a pair of Dueces May 18, 2015 at 12:52 pm

I do not understand the 50% needs it own party part of your comment.
Why did you choose 50%?


Annie Young May 13, 2015 at 11:06 pm

Add my name:

Annie Young
Elected Green Party
Minneapolis Park Board Citywide Commissioner


Steve_I_Am May 14, 2015 at 10:18 am

I feel caught between the Corporatists who think Bernie can’t win because he is too extreme and the Greens who think Bernie is a “sheepdog” for the Democratic Party.

I think both groups are going to be suprised by the amount of support Bernie gets from mainstream Americans who are still hoping for REAL change!

Thank you for not vilifying the Progressives, like me, who are pinning our last hopes for the Democratic Party on Bernie. And thank you for leaving the door open for our return. I, for one, am never voting corporatist again, so I will be back.


Mark May 17, 2015 at 11:33 am

Hahaha. Hope springs eternal.


Three Queens and a pair of Dueces May 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm

The only vote that I will take in the future is what calibre of ammunition to use…..on the spirit of Major Otto Ernst Remer.


TroubleCominEveryday May 14, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Add my name:

Shannon Grow-Garrett
Stuck in Hell aka Texas


David McDonald May 15, 2015 at 1:33 am

I’m in.


Liane Gale September 8, 2015 at 10:52 am

As a former Green Party activist, who identified as Green for more than three decades, and broke with the Green Party over this issue, I am very saddened by the negative response to Bernie Sanders attempt to work together with third party activists. The signatories are people I very much respect, but I am in complete disagreement with their decision to not support Bernie Sanders. As Sanders so often states, this is not about him, this is about getting a movement started that challenges the status quo, and there is no question that he, more than anybody else in the recent past, is able to bring revolutionary language to people, most of whom had checked out from politics. What will happen when the elections are over (independent of the outcome), where should all the people go? Not towards the groups you represent, as you continue to Bernie-bash and insult Bernie Sanders supporters! I do hope that you reconsider your decision, and come up with a more thought-out strategy on how to participate in this potential movement, but in the meantime, I have formed the FB group “Radicals for Bernie Sanders”, for those, who are less dogmatic and can see the enormous potential of his race.


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