Sunday, February 14, 2016

Revisiting 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders' Pre-2000 Political Career--Part 6

In his 1991 book, The Socialist Mayor: Bernard Sanders in Burlington, Vermont, Steven Soifer indicated how 2016 Democratic party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders apparently governed Burlington, Vermont during the 1980's, when Sanders was the mayor of that small city of around 39,000 people: 

"....There appears to be little difference between Sanders, a socialist mayor, and any non-socialist mayor regarding the issues of who has access to the mayor's office, decision-making processes within the administration, and the centralization of power....

"....Many women inside the Sanders administration raised concern about the mayor's style and his decision-making process. One administration insider, speaking from personal experience, said that women sometimes were `overlooked' or `cut out of the decision-making process'....

"One progressive activist criticized Sanders's style on other grounds....He....spoke of what he labeled `authoritarian' tendencies: `I don't think he has a real commitment to internal democracy....'

"Progressive critics of the administration leveled similar criticisms. One said: `He just meets with two or three people and that's who decides what's going to happen, and he just really doesn't care what anybody else thinks....'

"Still another charged that Sanders's style works against democracy: `The most fundamental thing that's wrong with the administration is that we have personal paternalism here--we don't have municipal democracy....

"`....Sanders....often makes decisions with little or no input from the people around him....It certainly is an impediment to developing a non-reformist strategy toward a democratic socialist society. As many people as possible must be included in both internal and external decision-making processes if we are to move away from the hierarchical, authoritarian, and centralized models of society....'

"....Women and the peace movement did not have such an easy time gaining access to the Sanders administration....His frequent retreat to an old-boy style of making decisions indicates that he has incorporated few of the principles that guide the women's movement today, all the more disappointing to socialist feminists that see his administration as more of the same old patriarchy.

"....There can be little doubt that Sanders bears the responsibility for running the city [of Burlington, Vermont] like a hierarchically run business instead of creating a democratic socialist polity, where all people have a voice and are truly empowered...."

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