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Bernie Sanders

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks to striking Kellogg's workers in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan, on December 17, 2021. (Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders Has New Year's Resolution for Progressives: Fight Like Hell in 2022

"Despair is not an option," the senator said. "We must stand up and fight back."

Brett Wilkins

Amid a disheartening array of crises and challenges facing the United States in 2022, Sen. Bernie Sanders expressed optimism Tuesday that working people can muster the courage, solidarity, and, ultimately, the power to build on the progressive victories of 2021 to win new ones in the year ahead.

"The challenges we face are enormous and it is easy to understand why many may fall into depression and cynicism. This is a state of mind, however, that we must resist."

In a Guardian editorial, Sanders (I-Vt.), who is set to host a virtual town hall with striking workers Wednesday evening, acknowledged some of the many reasons for Americans may be temped to "give in to despair," but emphasized the need to "stand up and fight back."

"We are facing a raging pandemic with seemingly no end in sight. We are rapidly moving toward oligarchy and while income and wealth inequality grows, millions struggle to obtain the basic necessities of life," he wrote. "We have a dysfunctional healthcare system with more than 84 million uninsured or underinsured and nearly one out of four unable to afford prescription drugs."

"Climate change is ravaging the planet and systemic racism and other forms of bigotry continue to eat away at the fabric of our society," the senator continues. "We have a corrupt political system in which corporate money buys elections and a mainstream media that largely ignores the pain that ordinary people experience."

"And, in the midst of all this, Republicans across the country are working overtime trying to undermine democracy by making it harder for people of color, young people, and those who oppose them to vote in our next elections," the two-time Democratic presidential candidate noted.

"The challenges we face are enormous and it is easy to understand why many may fall into depression and cynicism," Sanders acknowledged. "This is a state of mind, however, that we must resist—not only for ourselves but for our kids and future generations."

"The stakes are just too high," he wrote. "Despair is not an option. We must stand up and fight back."

The democratic socialist hailed the "working people all over the country," who "with extraordinary courage and determination are taking on corporate greed, and they are winning."

Sanders then ticked off some of those victories, including the John Deere, Kaiser Permanente, Kellogg's, Nabisco, Starbucks, and other workers who went on strike for—and won—better pay and working conditions, or who formed unions for the first time. He also saluted employees of companies including Special Metals, Rich Products, and Warrior Met Coal, who are still fighting to improve pay and conditions through strikes and other actions. Throughout 2021, Sanders stood with or advocated for workers at these and other companies.

"There are millions of other Americans in exactly the same position—people who have to fight tooth-and-nail against wealthy and powerful corporate interests for decent wages, healthcare, pensions, and safe working conditions," he wrote. "And let's be clear. Class warfare in this country is intensifying. Greed is on the rise."

"What history has always taught us is that real change never takes place from the top on down. It always occurs from the bottom on up."

"What history has always taught us is that real change never takes place from the top on down. It always occurs from the bottom on up," Sanders continued. "That is the history of the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the environmental movement, and the gay rights movement. That is the history of every effort that has brought about transformational change in our society."

Sanders asserted that "the greatest weapon our opponents have is not just their unlimited wealth and power. It is their ability to create a culture that makes us feel weak and hopeless and diminishes the strength of human solidarity."

"Here is our New Year's resolution," he added. "Like the thousands of workers who stood up and fought courageously in 2021, we will do the same. No one individual is going to save us. We must rise up together."

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