Hard Core Radicals Take Key Sanders Campaign Spots

By: Trevor Loudon | The Epoch Times

The Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign team is filling key spots with battle-hardened socialist organizers. These campaign hires re-affirm Sanders’ commitment to a grassroots campaign rather than the traditional Democratic route of big donors and multi-million-dollar ad buys.

These new “Sandernistas” have socialist street-cred and strong movement connections—including to enemies of the Constitution: foreign and domestic.

Winnie Wong and Claire Sandberg are campaign senior adviser and national organizing director, respectively. Both are veterans of the 2011 “Occupy” movement and Sanders 2016 campaign.

A “veteran anarcho-syndicalist,” Wong joined the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in mid-2017. Before Sanders ran in 2016, Wong was part of the “draft Elizabeth Warren” movement. She was active in “Ready for Warren” and “Artists for Warren,” but when Warren declined to run, she became a New York leader of “People for Bernie.”

In 2018, Sandberg was deputy campaign manager for Abdul El-Sayed, a DSA ally and far-left Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan.

In June 2017, Wong and Sandberg were in Norway to build bridges between the Sanders organization and the “Red Party”—formerly known as the Workers’ Communist Party. The Red Party is rooted in 1970’s Maoism and Pol Pot hero worship but is now largely an electoral group that models itself on the Bernie Sanders movement.

In September 2018, Wong and Sandberg were in Berlin as guests of Die Linke, a re-incarnation of the Socialist Unity Party—more commonly known as the East German Communist Party.

Somewhat embarrassed about their Stalinist past, the Berlin Wall, barbed wire, guard dogs, Stasi informants, labor camps, and the like, Die Linke now claims to be a “democratic socialist” party and is all in for Bernie Sanders. Some members of Die Linke have, however, been under German security service surveillance, and continue to support Russia—including Putin’s annexation of parts of Ukraine.

Becca Rast and Nick Martin are Sanders campaign national field director and deputy national field director, respectively. Both are also “Occupy” movement veterans and hail from the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area, where both have been active in leftist politics since the early 2000s.

Rast co-founded “Lancaster Stands Up,” a group affiliated with Sanders’ Our Revolution and Liberation Road, the United States’ main pro-China communist group. Rast also managed Democrat Jess King’s unsuccessful 2018 congressional campaign against Republican Rep. Lloyd Smucker. She was also a top organizer for 350.org in the campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline in South Dakota.

At high school in Lancaster in the mid-2000s, Rast and Martin founded a local branch of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Modeled on the 1970s Maoist-leaning anti-Vietnam War organization, the new SDS was largely a front for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization—part of which is now Liberation Road.

According to The Intercept, after years of “social justice” work, including organizing against mountaintop removal in West Virginia, Martin returned to Pennsylvania to become a leading organizer with Lancaster Against Pipelines. He then started as the regional field director for the local Sanders campaign and also served under Rast in the Jess King for Congress campaign.

Melissa Byrne, also an ex-“Occupy” activist, is now California grassroots director for Bernie Sanders 2020. Byrne is a leader of the movement to abolish student loans. She helped Sanders win the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 2016 as his digital director and then served as MoveOn’s state director the same year when Hillary Clinton and Sen. Maggie Hassan both won by less than 1,000 votes. Byrne ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic National Committee vice-chair in 2016.

Tomas Kennedy is an Argentine immigrant who now serves as national events program organizer for the Sanders campaign.

Kennedy was, until recently, co-chair of Miami DSA and a chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party Progressive Caucus.

He has also been a deputy political director of Florida Immigrant Coalition Votes and a former “community organizer” at The New Florida Majority—a Liberation Road-connected group that recently endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president.

Kennedy was also a leader of the 2018 Andrew Gillum for Governor campaign.

New Democratic Party

A new generation of young socialists who cut their teeth in the Occupy Wall Street movement and the 2016 Sanders presidential campaign are now on the verge of becoming the dominant force in the Democratic Party.

Sanders, in a surprise to many, including me, has laid the groundwork for a new hard-left Democratic Party. It’s very similar to what the DSA-friendly “Momentum” faction did to make far-leftist Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the British Labour Party.

The DSA, Communist Party USA, and Our Revolution, and some elements of Liberation Road are backing Sanders.

Some Liberation Road front groups and the Working Families Party have thrown in with Warren. If Warren continues to sink, much of her support will likely flip to Sanders. Unless former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick breaks out to claim the Obama mantle that should have gone to Kamala Harris or Cory Booker, it will likely come down to Bernie versus Biden.

Given Sanders’ superior organizational base and more consistent messaging, Biden would then be in deep trouble.

If the Republican Senate doesn’t betray President Donald Trump with a vote to impeach, he will go on to beat Sanders as badly as Boris Johnson beat Jeremy Corbyn.

If it comes down to President Pence with no Trump base versus candidate Sanders with an energized communist base, the whole country will be in for grief.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.

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