By, Jessica Colarossi 1/23/2016
“Who do we want?”
“When do we want him?”
Voices echoed through the Boston Common Saturday afternoon during a nationwide movement in support of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The snow was starting to fall and the temperatures were dropping as snowstorm Jonas was rolling up the East Coast. But that didn’t stop the political activists, students, mothers, children, and every age in between to join the march.
“There’s certainly a changing tide in this country that is pretty apparent, “said Elan Axelbank, a college student at Northeastern University who spoke at the rally and helped organize the event with Socialist Alternative.
#MovementforBernie arose out of Socialist Alternative shortly after the Democratic National Committee tried to take away access to voter registration information, according to Axelbank.
“I think we need a grassroots political revolution and a social revolution in this country, and we need to change the way our economic system works, how our political system works and we have to build a movement for Bernie,” said Axelbank.
The March’s Facebook event page had more than a thousand sign-ups and more than 35 other marches took place across of the country in cities including Los Angeles, CA., Des Moines, IA., Washington, D.C. and New York, NY. Despite the large turnout, main-stream and corporate owned media stations have been receiving criticism for their lack of coverage.
Axelbank said in his speech, “the 20 wealthiest people today own as much wealth as the poorest 152 million people… change will happen when the 99 percent has their own political voice, political party that is of by and for the 99 percent.”
“I want a nation where all people have equal rights,” said Dil Lewis, a Sanders supporter who held a button-making campaign event after the march. He lived in Sweden for many years, and said, “In Sweden taxes pay for universal health care and college tuition and a reasonable living minimum wage. We already pay for these things and we’re not getting them and the reason we’re not getting them is because we are giving all of our money to giant corporations.”
Sanders has explained that he looks toward Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway as governmental systems to implement in the U.S. These countries are considered to have social democratic governments, almost all of which have universal health care, low-cost college education, offer better retirement benefits, and often have higher wages.
“Normally when I come out here to do marches it’s for the Black Lives Matter movement, so when I see a march like this I immediately think ‘okay so we’re all marching for a white guy, that’s kinda weird,’” said Suffolk University student Tiffany Martinez. She is a junior sociology major and a Bernie supporter because of his involvement in the civil rights movement. “The fact that he’s the only one that wasn’t said anything extremely negative about brown or black people is really inspiring. He still fights for what he spoke about 50 years ago,” said Martinez. However, she feels that his stance on foreign policy is unclear, which he has recently been attacked for by opponent Hillary Clinton.
Chelsea City Councilor Damali Vidot, from just outside the Boston border, also gave a speech to the demonstrators in front of the Massachusetts State House and spoke of her support for his candidacy.
”He talks about issues that affect my community in particular, about immigration and income inequality and race.” Vidot was sworn in to office January 2016 and has been an activist in her community for over a year.
“I want more people to get involved, I wish I saw more people of color and I wish that they knew more about what he represents,” said Vidot. “I think that if people knew more about what he represents they would be more inclines to show up. I think it’s time that we take our streets back.”
Later that same day, Sanders gave a national livestream address to his supporters which touched on his views about America’s corrupt finance system, unjust criminal justice system, climate action, and his campaigns growing success
“If the polls are an indicator we are already running way, way ahead of Donald Trump in national polls. We can beat him, and not only can we can beat him, we can beat him big, because the American people are not in that kind of racism and bigotry.”
There are only 5 days until the first primary caucus for the Democratic and Republican Parties, marking the official beginning to the presidential election race, with many more important dates ahead.