I am a Socialist

I am a socialist. I believe in socialism because I believe in equality for all. I am a socialist because I believe it should be common sense that we have democracy in the workplace and in schools. I am a socialist because I believe in basic needs, including housing, food, healthcare, education and energy and I believe they should be affordable to all and not the means for profit.  I am a socialist because I believe in full federal equality for LGBTQIA individuals, including amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” I am a socialist because I believe that gender is a social construct and the government should remove gender/sex from government forms, state IDs/licenses, and voter registration. I am a socialist because I believe in universal access to child care, family leave, paid sick and vacation. I am a socialist because I believe in a universal basic income and a living wage of at least $20 per hour.

We need socialism because capitalism is failing. The U.S. is failing its citizens when it comes to healthcare. Even with the ACA, many Americans cannot afford the copayment, deductibles, payroll deductions and denial. Many people skip their prescription medications and avoid going to the doctor because they do not have the money to cover the deductibles. Further, of the 1.4 million Americans who file for medical bankruptcy each year, 75 percent have health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), did help and did increase the number of insured Americans. Unfortunately, according to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2023 31 million people will still lack coverage. However, having insurance does not solve all the problems because having insurance does not guarantee access to care or protection from financial ruin due to health care costs.

Just look at this example, one of my medications, Procysbi, costs over $72,000 for a 30-day supply. This is a 3,000% increase compared to the original drug, Cystagon.

Not everyone is failing with capitalism. Corporate American is doing great with capitalism, they are even providing slave labor to foreign workers all over the world. Furthermore, wages are stagnant or falling, costs of child care and college continue to rise exponentially, and full-time jobs are hard to come by.

Yet, political pundits are surprised when they learn that the American people do not support capitalism. According to an April 2016 Harvard University poll, 51 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 reject capitalism and 33 percent support socialism.

We need socialism because there should be no profit in health care. We need a health care system that works for all. We need a system where all people can get the care they need to maintain and improve their health when they need it regardless of age, color, creed, economic status, ethnic identity, familial status, gender identity/expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

That system to solve all of these problems associated with health care is single payer health care and because the federal government appears unable to act, the State of Iowa must take a stand and protect their people.

We need socialism because no one should go into debt while trying to get an education. We need tuition free and debt free college. We need an education system that is a right to every citizen.

Go here to fight for single payer health care: IASinglePayer

Red and Black!

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Who are you really?

Do you really know what you stand for and will fight for? Are you really what you say you are?

I believe that we do not really know who we are until we are faced with a serious even and our realities are challenged, when our lives are thrown upside down. These are the times that define us all.

Personally, I believe that the majority of us do not know who they are. I think this is because of society and how it teaches us to fit into the perfect model of a consumer and where we live to work. To the point that we do not challenge the way things are in the world.

Many people similarly situated to myself, who are and have faced death, have had their eyes forced open, they realize that having the newest Iphone or best dress is not important. That what is important is enjoying life and getting the most experiences out of it.

Unfortunately, or fortunately (depends on how you look at it), this may have made many of us a bit blunter or “lacking social cues” because we don’t quite see the need for unnecessary pleasantries in social situations or politics because life just maybe too sort.

Maybe we have also seen how that fighting over the little things like voting for a third party candidate over a so called “major party” candidate and the person that they are thworing their vote away is just not necessary. Even how there is this huge fight over making sure that Hillary Clinton is elected when she cannot do much if we do not have a progressive House and Senate.

Just the grossness in politics and society is a problem and at least for me it is sometimes very hard to deal with people because fo the experiences I have had that has given me a different perspective on life when I just don’t see the logic in even worrying about stuff like that. Such as getting the latest car, a great house, or the fancy clothes.

This is who I am.

I am a fighter, a transgender woman, a Democrat, a sexual assualt surivior, a feminist, and a student.

Let’s fight on and change this world! Let’s challenge the social norms!

The Revolution continues!

Is Sen. Bernie Sanders a Marxist?

In my opinion, Senator Bernie Sanders uses Marxist sociological theory in his political activism. Does this make him a Marxist? I don’t believe it does. While Bernie uses Marxist theory in his political activism, I don’t think he is a Marxist. Instead, he uses the theory to better understand the world and the conflict between the rich and poor. Therefore, what is Marxism? It is a sociological analysis of class relations and social conflict.

History of Bernie Sanders

bernie_2Bernie’s story began in Brooklyn, New York where he attended high school and later college before he transferred to the University of Chicago. Within Bernie’s first year at the University of Chicago, a scandal erupted when an interracial group of students uncovered the systematic housing discrimination at the university-owned apartment buildings. At the time, Bernie was a chapter leader of the Congress of Racial Equality (which organized the Freedom Rides) and launched sit-ins at the office of the university’s president to end the policy. After 15 days, a compromise with the administration was reached.

This was Bernie’s first experience with class conflict. In this case, socially constructed classes were forced against each other. the classes included white students with the privilege of being able to live in the apartments, the people of color who were not, and the property owner (the University, with the most power). In this situation, Bernie chooses to be a participant and take direct action or revolt against the property owners (bourgeoisie).

Additionally, Bernie has been politically active since college. He witnessed racial and economic inequality which pushed him to find answers. Bernie used his passion for justice and equality to become Mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He did this while even self-describing himself as a “socialist.” He also was elected to the U.S. House and then U.S. Senate in 2007. Bernie has become the longest-serving independent politician in Congress.

Inequality and Exploitation

Bernie has proved that throughout his life, he has been fighting for the working class and against the exploitation of the workers. He has done this through his work as Mayor of Burlington, Congressperson, and Senator. He has been talking about income inequality and injustice, and his message hasn’t wavered. He understands the struggles of the poor and the working class, including the origins of injustice and inequality. Therefore, I believe that Bernie uses Marxist theory to help him understand these complex inequalities.

Thus, during Bernie’s political life and campaigns he has shown that he does indeed see the problems of capitalism. This is evident in his work and his messaging during his campaigns. More on this later.

Bernie’s Understanding of Marxist Theory

During the Democratic primary for president, Bernie called out the bourgeoisie for their growing power over the government. “We are living in an increasingly undemocratic society in which decisions are made by people who have huge sums of money,” said Sen. Sanders (Kruse). I believe that what Bernie is saying here is similar to the same idea that Marx had about capitalism and its control over the government. And this is what both Sanders and Marx were getting at. “It has agglomerated population, centralized means of production, and concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralization” (Marx in Calhoun 2012, p. 159).

Furthermore, Bernie calls for a political revolution. “I am talking about bringing in the voices of millions who have given up on the political process,” said sen. Sanders (Johnson). He works for this because he understands that the only way for the proletariat to gain equality in all forms of life is to acquire political supremacy. This is an idea that many revolutionaries get from Marx. “Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of word” (Marx in Calhoun 2012, p.169).

He also calls out the exploitation of the work who works longer hours for low wages even though technology has made productivity increase. “Do you think it’s right that despite an explosion of technology and an increase in worker productivity, the average worker is working longer hours for low wage?” said Sen. Sanders (Kruse). This is another point that shows his influences by Marx where he believes that as productivity increases so should pay.

“Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of monetary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilization, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce” (Marx in Calhoun 2012, p. 160). This quote from Marx is talking about where we are at today. It is talking about why we have so many poor. It is because of the phenomenon in capitalism where people must work to live, and their lives revolve around work, where prices continue to go up, and profits for the wealthy continue to rise, but wages are stagnating.

Marx saw this then and Bernie sees it now. “Is it right that the middle class continues to disappear while there has been a massive transfer of wealth from working families to the top one-tenth of 1 percent? Trillions of dollars in the last 30 years have flowed from the middle class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent, ” said Sen. Sanders (Kruse).

Summary

Is Bernie Sanders a Marxist? No, he is not. However, he is influenced by Marxist theory in a way that helps him understand the world and the exploitive effects of capitalism. He uses class conflict in his campaigns where he explains how the working class’s interests are inherently different from that of the top 1 percent to mobilize millions of people to stand up and get involved in the political process to create the change that they seek.

Works Cited

Kruse, Michael. “14 things Bernie Sanders has said about socialism” politico.com. POLITICO, 17 Aug. 2015 Web. 9 Oct. 2016.

Johnson, Dav. “Sanders’ Socialism Speech: America is For All of Us, Not just Wealthy” ourfuture.org. Campaign for Ameria’s Future, 19 Nov. 2015 Web. 9 Oct 2016.

Voting for Hillary

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the Des Moines Youth Summit, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, at Creative Visions in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the Des Moines Youth Summit, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, at Creative Visions in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

After nearly 29 million Americans voted in the Democratic primaries and the 13 million who voted for Senator Bernie Sanders we have a presumptive nominee for President, Hillary Clinton.

Senator Sanders won primaries and caucuses in 22 states with almost 1,900 delegates. Hillary Clinton will go into the convention with 389 more pledged delegates and many more superdelegates.

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As a Bernie Sanders volunteer and former staffer it was an honor to work for the Senator, and the political revolution. Together, we began a revolution to transform American politics and that revolution continues into the Democratic National Convention and beyond.

Untitl36edWe fought and continue to fight for a government that works and represents us all, not just the one percent. We fought and are fighting to change our Party to make it more progressive, inclusive, and welcoming.

Yes, Bernie Sanders did not win the Democratic Party’s nomination for President, nonetheless, we made progress in working with Hillary Clinton’s campaign to produce the most progressive platform in the history of the Party.

hillary-clinton-01-800Now, our job is to ensure the platform is implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, and a Hillary Clinton president.

We have an opportunity to come together as a Party and work toward victory over hate and divisiveness. I cannot stress enough that this election is one of the most important elections of our and perhaps my lifetime. There is so much at stake with a Donald Trump president.

The time to come together is now.

As Democrats, we believe that we are stronger together, when we work together to get things done, and fight together to win elections.

As Bernie Sanders said during his endorsement of Hillary Clinton,

This election must be about bringing our people together, not dividing us up. While Donald Trump is busy insulting Mexicans, Muslims, woman, African Americans, and veterans, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths.

If you think that this election is not important just take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump will nominate, what that will mean to our civil liberties, equal rights, and health care access.

This election has been about the issues and it continues to be about them. Bernie campaigned for universal health care. Now, as Bernie said,

Hillary Clinton wants to see that all Americans have the right to choose a public option in their health care exchange, which will lower the cost of health care.

But what is Donald Trump’s position? Well, he wants to do the same thing that every other Republican in Congress wants, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and throw 20 million people off their health insurance. He also wants to cut Medicaid.

The last thing we need today in America is a president who doesn’t care about whether millions will lose access to the health care coverage that they desperately need. We need more people with access to quality health care, not fewer – Bernie Sanders

I have many disagreements with Hillary Clinton and now I disagree with her choice for Vice-President. Nevertheless, I am supporting Hillary Clinton for president. I hope that you will too because we cannot let there be a chance of a Donald Trump president.

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Source: The Hill

July 3 & Bernie Sanders in Council Bluffs, Iowa

11695825_10204817824588262_1182260142788144659_nOn July 3rd, I had the awesome opportunity to meet and introduce Senator Bernie Sanders at his campaign event in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

I had a blast, it was amazing. This also just happened to have been my official coming out in support of Senator Bernie Sanders for President.

Bernie Sanders is serving his 2nd term in the U.S. Senate and he won his last election with 71%. Bernie has served 16 years in the U.S. House, and he is longest serving independent in our nation’s history.

Bernie Sanders served 4 terms as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont and he was first elected in 1981.

In the 60s, as a student and activist, Bernie was a frontline champion for equality. He was even arrested while protesting the segregation of schools, he organized against segregated housing in Chicago, and he marched on Washington, D.C. with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bernie Sanders is one of our nation’s most persistent voices defending the interests of the working class and standing up to the excesses of corporate America. He is also widely considered the most progressive member of the U.S. Senate.

I first became involved in politics in 2012, when I volunteered with the Iowa Democratic Party. Last year, I was elected Affirmative Action Chair for the Pottawattamie County Democrats.

As you all may be aware, I live with a very rare genetic disease called cystinosis. The disease causes the continuous cellular accumulation of the amino acid cystine to rise to toxic levels, resulting in irreversible tissue and organ damage if left untreated even for a short time. The disease damages all of my organs, especially my kidneys, eyes, muscles, thyroid, and brain.

Health insurance in the U.S. is confusing for most people, however it is especially difficult (even with the ACA) for people living with cystinosis, or any serious illness. Individuals like myself must be sure that our health insurance will answer all of these questions:

  • Does the plan cover ALL your prescriptions (anti-rejection, Cystagon, Procysbi, Cystaran)?
  • Are your medications (anti-rejection, Cystagon, Procysbi, Cystaran) on the “formulary” or must they be ordered through as specialty pharmacy? Will you have to pay out-of-pocket for specialty pharmacy orders?
  • Is there a mail-order option?
  • Does the plan permit you to see the providers you already have established relationships with and allow you to be hospitalized at the medical center of your choice?11695876_863892750332397_2033260714184318579_n
  • What does it cost to go “out-of-network”?
  • For medications that may not be FDA approved, what will be the cost to you?

Living with cystinosis and dealing with doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and insurance has led me to be a supporter of the single-payer healthcare system, which Bernie stands for.

As you may be aware, I am a student at Iowa Western Community College, studying Psychology.

11059383_860752873979718_241580374969825418_nNavigating how to pay for my education, while dealing with cystinosis can be daunting. I already have over $8,000 in student loan debt.

However, I have hope because Bernie will work towards college affordability. He believes that everyone regardless of their family’s income should be able to get a high quality education.

As a transgender woman, I know Bernie has my back because he has been out there fighting for LGBTQIA+ equality since the 70s. As U.S. Representative in 1996, he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned all federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and Bernie has always voted for non-discrimination bills that include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protections.

*My support for Senator Bernie Sanders will not interfere with my position as Affirmative Action Chair for the Pottawattamie County Democrats.*