When will Bernie make this speech?
The United States is at a crossroads. We have elected a regime that claims to improve life for ordinary Americans but has embarked upon on a piecemeal program of measures that will do exactly the opposite. Measures like excluding millions from healthcare, slashing services for the most vulnerable and waging wars. We cannot stand by and let this happen, we must act now for the benefit of our families, our nation and the world, not just for today but for tomorrow. We now have to decide the direction we will take.
While we cannot accept many of the actions currently being taken by our government, we have to do more than resist and protest. We have to present a political program that will work for all the people, not just the privileged few. And we have to reach out to voters, all voters to explain a new program and show how it is practical, is positive and will benefit them. This is a very wealthy country, the fundamental problem is that the wealth we all helped create is not shared equitably and this causes extreme economic inequality, which means severe financial hardship is suffered, by millions of Americans every day.
It is a disgrace that
43 million people still live in poverty [Source: US Census Bureau]
52 million earn below what is considered a living wage of $15 per hour [42% of workforce of 124 million, Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016]
33 million do not have health insurance [Source: US Census Bureau)
I want to change this, I have campaigned tirelessly to bring change and greater social justice all my life and I do not intend to stop now.
As you know, I have stood as an independent senator but came together with the Democratic Party in the presidential election to offer a progressive program, a real alternative to the status quo. In the primary campaign we gathered yuge support for the policies I proposed, yuge attendance at rallies and yuge enthusiasm amongst voters especially the young. There was an opportunity that this country could, in fact, see change, that could lead to a better life for all, a program that could bring prosperity for all our people. Though sadly this will be delayed, that opportunity is still there.
I have not given up and since the election I have travelled the country talking with voters, hearing real stories of despair but also of hope, hope that sometime soon life will get better. The views of all voters must be respected, but it is tragic when you see that many people thought they voted for change, without the knowledge of what that change might be! If you have nothing, you are not going to vote for things to remain the same! In many cases good people have often voted against their own best interests for a program that includes healthcare to be dismantled, tax cuts for the rich, services to be cut and military spending to be increased.
There are many good people in the Democratic Party working hard for democracy and social justice. However I have come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party is not showing signs of reform and positioning itself for electoral victory in 2018 and beyond, which would be a change of direction that I and I believe millions of others would like to see. So it is time to take a new course, it is time to take up the challenge, to bring together disillusioned democrats, despondent republicans, disenfranchised independent voters as well as the interest groups and campaigning organisations that want to see a strong future for this nation and its people. A future that is built on compassion, on consensus and character. There have been false starts on this path in the past, we have had hope, we have asked for change and it did not come.
So today I announce a new political party for America, a party of the people, all the people, a peoples party. I believe this is the most likely course to bring real change that will benefit all and not just the few. I have been so impressed by the number of people who signed the petition to draft me into the new peoples party. I have listened carefully. It is something I have considered for a long time, you have persuaded me that the time is right and am pleased to take up the challenge. I am greatly encouraged by your efforts and I look forward to working with you all to build a future we can truly believe in.
I am grateful to my friends and colleagues who have been laying the groundwork for our new party and to all the other individuals and groups that have kept the flame alive since the election of November 2016. I am pleased that we can now light that fire that will warm the nation and move us to a new era in our history, a new future for all our people, where democracy will be restored, where those that are prepared to work hard will succeed, where wages will be enough to support a family and those who are fortunate enough to accumulate great wealth will reinvest that back into the nation for the benefit of all.
At this time we can look that those who have gone before us for inspiration, for it was Abraham Lincoln who told us “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
And 54 years ago when Martin Luther King stood below the statue of Lincoln in the our capital, outline his dream, but reminded us that “
“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
So I hope that this new party will adopt some very clear fundamental policies, a platform that is practical, positive and brings prosperity for all. It can be done and we are going to do it. We reject the constraints of the past, the big money that buys influence and power and we ask the very wealthy and the big corporations to join us in investing in the common good. Work together to bring a program that is for all the people. And here are some of the things we are going to fix:
A minimum wage of at least $15 per hour
Healthcare for all
Reduce income taxes on those that cannot afford to pay for the basic needs of their families
Share the wealth we all help create more equitably by increased contribution from those who have accumulated significant affluence and use these funds for infrastructure and education
Encourage socially responsible capitalism so that companies look after all their stakeholders, their people, not just their shareholders
Ensure that we take good care of our planet
Restore our democracy by keeping the influence of big money out of politics
A great national and local team has been put together in recent months and resources will now be expanded thanks to the tremendous support from you. We will be asking you for donations to make it happen. In the coming days we will be announcing more details and also the dates for our founding convention
This new Peoples program will work because millions of you have shown that your are prepared to join together to bring change, to stand up and fight for what is right
I will not let you down. We have risen to the challenge and we will overcome. Thank you for your encouragement, thank you for your great work, together we will bring prosperity for all our people. We have work to do, lets get on with the job for the good of you, your families, our nation and indeed the world.