In a packed-out Brixton venue, Sanders showed why his progressive vision remains so popular—not least with Jeremy Corbyn's young supportersby David McGowan / June 5, 2017 / Leave a comment
He came into the packed hall to a rock star’s reception. The speech at the O2 Academy in Brixton on Friday evening was the latest stop on a European swing which has included speeches in Germany before three engagements in the UK. Bernie Sanders’ trip has been part book tour, part political rally, and part mop-up campaign after the US President’s dust-up with Angela Merkel during the recent G7 conference—and the latest Trumpian travesty on climate change.
“Unbelievably, and stupidly, and destructively, Trump just announced yesterday that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement,” Sanders said, to loud boos from the hall. “My sentiments exactly,” he quipped—one of the few laugh lines of the evening.
If Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist senator from the small state of Vermont (population: 626,000—about the same as Oxfordshire) and failed Democratic Party candidate seems an unlikely standard bearer for the Americans who voted against Trump, it is worth considering whether there is anyone who might better fulfil that role. With Obama all but publicly silent on matters relating to his successor, and Hillary Clinton still nursing her wounds, there are only a handful of US leaders with the stature and national following to lead the charge (Elizabeth Warren? Chuck Schumer?). And Bernie, despite his seventy-five years and considerable mileage, sure seems up for the fight: “What kind of President is Trump showing himself to be in terms of the needs of working families in the United States of America?”, he asked.
“One of the reasons Trump won is because he said ‘I Donald Trump am going to defend the working class of the United States of America. That’s what he said, but like many other things, it turns out, sadly, that he lied.”
“In Donald Trump, we have someone who has proven himself to be a pathological liar. This gives me no joy, and it is not a blanket criticism of conservatives. Many conservatives are as honest as the day is long. But Trump lies a whole lot.”
The Brixton crowd, young and hungry for more, ate it all up with roaring approval, embracing Sanders not only as an anti-Trump messenger, but also as a perceived brother-in-arms to their own improbable…