Mar 19, 2020

Dear Bernie

By Saib Bilaval /
Dear Bernie

Dear Bernie, I am a 28-year-old History PhD from India. Since you announced your run in 2015, I’ve put in hundreds of hours into your campaign efforts: into texting, online activism, watching every CSPAN speech, rally, town hall and interview - in writing academic and journalistic articles on you and the movement your brave candidacy has sparked.

Dear Bernie, I even convinced my father, a publisher, to buy the India rights to your autobiography “Outsider in the White House” because we could not contribute to your campaign, being foreign citizens.

Dear Bernie, what drives me is the fact that no politician in human history, short of Martin Luther King Jr or Eugene Victor Debs had the sort of unending compassion for and rock solid integrity and commitment to the people that you possess.

If the left leadership in India had a third of your commitment to the masses, my country would have been a much better place. Even Gandhi famously took massive amounts of contributions from billionaires and corporations — you have not.

Dear Bernie, you are also the only major US politician calling out the fascism of Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP in India, and are standing up for the minorities. We need you as President more than ever now.

Dear Bernie, you are the only candidate the masses are willing to support. You are well aware that the people will suffer dearly if establishment politics is allowed to continue.

We believe, that with the vast majority of Independents and with close to half the Democrats supporting you, your coalition is in fact larger than the FDR coalition — historic for the general election. Independents, young people, Latino voters, and the LGBTQ+ community.

The DNC and the RNC are not just gangs of politicians anymore. They are often the kinds of politicians that are called ‘superpredators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.

We urge you to go to the Democratic convention with the full intention of clinching the nomination.

Dear Bernie, if progressive Democrats really cared about the issues, they’d be behind you, rather than obstructing the way of a person with more integrity and whose 40 year record destroys theirs.

Last time, Hillary was poised to be the inevitable Democratic nominee and NOT ONE of them had a problem with what that meant for working families and the poor? What is the point of being a progressive Democrat if they end up standing with the centre-right party establishment?

Only you with your record and integrity and political independence can stand for real change. Young people, Independents, cynics, libertarians and even some Republicans trust you and only you on your platform because you have stayed consistent throughout your career, while the Democratic Party has repeatedly betrayed the people in recent decades.

The grip of Wall Street, the Pharma lobby, the military-industrial complex and the fossil fuel lobby have not been challenged for far too long and only one major politician has taken them on at every turn and bend.

Dear Bernie, the establishment progressives are strong on LGBT rights, climate change, Social Security, voting rights among other issues….and blaming Republicans solely for everything. Anything past that is where their usefulness lapses. They have never taken on their own party strongly enough, whether it was NAFTA, Welfare Reform, the Crime Bill, the Defense of Marriage Act, the Telecommunications Act, the bailouts, or the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

American history has shown us that real change and real progress only come from the bottom-up: whether we’re talking about women’s right’s, civil rights, LGBT rights, economic rights or workers’ rights.

And Citizen’s United, which shattered limits on campaign finance, has shown us two things:


  1. People’s struggles are no longer enough to enact progress: Occupy Wall Street, Democracy Spring and Black Lives Matter did not achieve most of their demands, while they barely influenced the worries of politicians during election-time.
  2. Since progress is no longer a viable legislative option, only a Political Revolution can achieve even ordinary progressive demands that a vast majority of the American population support.


Since there is no progress without a Political Revolution, it no longer suffices to simply be a progressive — that is not enough — one must accept the dire need for a political revolution right here right now to win back democracy for ordinary people. One has to be a political revolutionary as much as a progressive.

As Nina Turner says, “The cause is right and the time is now.”

And the millions of young, old, middle-aged, poor, queer, straight, white, minority, old, working-class, middle-class, moderate, liberal, progressive, libertarian, socialist, idealistic, deprived and disenfranchised people will not be pacified by yet another establishment Democrat. They have dined on disappointment for eight years of Obama and three of Trump. They have been there, and they have done that.

Dear Bernie, you have called Trump an “establishment billionaire”, exposed his “outsider” politics as a cheap posturing. Biden or Warren can’t call Trump an insider because they’re more “insider” than he is. Keep in mind the fact that Trump’s “outsiderness”, not his bigotry, is making him win. As long as it is you on the Democratic side, Independents pick you over Trump. Anyone else, and Independents walk over to the Republican side.

People adore and trust you the most because they knew from the beginning that without them, and without fighting for them, you would never have stood a chance. This is something no other Democrat has to offer. And this is what has made you the most powerful Senator in the country, not just the most popular. This is the strongest challenge the left has ever mounted in the US. Democrats, PLEASE don’t miss this opportunity. It’s the chance of a lifetime.

It would take any progressive politician 40 years to have HALF the record you have. This is the first and the last time a true champion of the people will come from within the system. Everyone else would just sell us out.

Dear Bernie, this election is not about Republicans vs Democrats, or Hillary vs Trump. The real battle is Goldman Sachs vs Bernie Sanders, and the real war is the plutocracy vs the people. This is not about having some other progressive Democrat as President in some years who will pass a couple of welfare measures with the consent of the powers-that-be.

Dear Bernie, this is about snatching democracy back from the bloodstained claws of the financial oligarchy, who have total say over what policy is permissible or not. There is no mistaking the roar of the political revolution. Do NOT let them rig the system and election.

Dear Bernie, there is so much that you have taught us. That it IS possible to rally the people for progressive causes. How to have a shot at bringing about real change without selling out.

How to successfully challenge the stranglehold that the billionaires and corporations have over our politics and economy. How to expand economic rights on a limited Federal budget. How to make a message really resonate with the masses — and the popular language to use. 

Eugene Debs would never back down. We need you.

Dear Bernie, thanks to you, I was able to run twice for elected office in my university students union and make a difference in campaigns against the local establishment.

Dear Bernie, you have changed my life forever. I could never un-feel the Bern.

Dear Bernie, please don’t drop out.


The author is a PhD research scholar in Modern and Contemporary History at Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru Universityand an independent journalist and contributor.

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