Bernie Sanders presents book on capitalism in Brussels
American Democratic senator Bernie Sanders presented his new book, It's OK to be Angry About Capitalism, on Tuesday evening at Bozar arts centre in Brussels. Karl Van den Broeck, the editor-in-chief of independent news service Apache, moderated the event.
Sanders began his talk with an ominous message about the future of the US and, by extension, Europe. "The world is evolving towards an increasingly oligarian society," he said, referring to "a small economic elite that has never had as much power as it does today. These people at the top are not nice guys. Today, they already have so much money, and tomorrow, it will only increase."
According to Sanders, billionaires are a cause for concern. "They pretend to be good people and donate to universities or charities. Some advocate for women's and LGBTQIA+ rights or fight against racial inequality. But at the end of the day, these billionaires are, above all, extremely greedy." He added: “There is one problem that dominates all other problems: whoever has the money has the power.”
Meanwhile, in the US, 16 per cent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and 18 million American families spend more than half of their income on housing, Sanders reports. "And that is no different in Europe."
While Sanders outlines the problems the US is facing, he also offers positive news, such as the significant increase of unions in large American companies like the Amazon Labour Union and Starbucks Workers United.
“Millions of Americans no longer believe in the political system"
In his book, Sanders calls into question the Democratic Party's inability to support the American working class. "As a Democratic party, we must embrace these people and fight for them,” he said. He believes the only way to avoid a second presidency by former Republican president Donald Trump is to form a new progressive and left-wing coalition to re-elect Joe Biden as president in the next legislature.
“Millions of Americans no longer believe in the political system," Sanders said. "They no longer believe in parties, in the media, or even in science." He warns against authoritarianism and fascism and believes the only way to avoid that and instil true, democratic change is to "really do something for the working class".
Sanders' book was published in English in February, and a Dutch version was recently released.
© PHOTO MATTHEW HATCHER AFP