Thousands gather at Prospect Park for largest Bernie Sanders rally

Campaign Video: Walk with Bernie Sanders in Brooklyn. Brooklyn headquarters: Gowanus office is ‘heart and soul’ of New York operations

Elections: Bernie Sanders’ Brooklyn headquarters: Gowanus office is ‘heart and soul’ of New York operations

By Jamie Reysen jamie.reysen@amny.com April 9, 2016

Bernie Sanders is “campaigning like a Brooklynite” right here in New York City.

Last month, the Sanders campaign opened its New York state headquarters on Eighth Street in Gowanus. amNewYork stopped by on Saturday for a tour of the office, where we spoke with national press secretary Symone Sanders (no relation) about the campaign, the presidential hopeful and the way his Brooklyn upbringing has shaped his politics.

The unassuming headquarters are marked by a few “Bernie 2016” posters and banners on the gate and building’s exterior.

Inside, more than a dozen people worked on laptops, surrounded by campaign art and newspaper clippings – including two amNewYork covers – that are posted on the walls. Bagels aplenty, Temp Tee cream cheese, Skittles and Twizzlers were among the snacks up for grabs for hungry volunteers, many of whom spend most of their time canvassing in New York’s streets, Symone Sanders said.

Bernie Sanders, Mark Ruffalo talk Democratic candidate’s Brooklyn roots in campaign video

By Nicole Brown nicole.brown@amny.com April 18, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Monday released a campaign video that highlights his childhood in Brooklyn.

Sanders is interviewed by actor Mark Ruffalo as they walk through the Brooklyn College campus, where Sanders attended for a year before going to the University of Chicago.

“How much did it cost you to go to school here,” Ruffalo asks Sanders. “Much cheaper than it is today?”

“I would say that is an understatement,” Sanders says. “It is not a radical idea” to have free tuition at public colleges and universities he adds, speaking about one of his main policy proposals.

The video shows old photos of Sanders and his parents, shots of the apartment building he lived in on East 26th Street in Midwood, Brooklyn, as well as shots of Sanders’ high school, James Madison High School.

Sanders says when he was growing up, his life revolved around “playing ball” outside with other kids without any adult supervision.

“We made up our own games and we worked these things out ourselves,” he says in the video. “I learned a lot about democracy in the school yards of Brooklyn, New York.”

Ruffalo, who spoke at Sanders’ rally on April 8 outside his childhood home, speaks highly of the senator’s participation in the Civil Rights movement and about his time as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

“Because of your legacy, Burlington is now the first American city to run 100 percent on renewable energy,” he says. “People — they just — they don’t know this.”

The video had been viewed more than 8,500 times as of Monday afternoon.

Live from Damascus: The Syrian Election Results

By Ken Stone
Global Research, April 18, 2016
21st Century Wire
Region: Middle East & North Africa
Theme: Media Disinformation, US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: SYRIA: NATO’S NEXT WAR?

160px-Logo_of_the_Baath_Party“Syria’s ruling Ba’ath Party and its allies have won the majority of the votes in the recent parliamentary elections in the country, official results show.

The Syrian electoral commission announced late Saturday that the National Unity coalition, comprising the ruling party and its allies, had won 200 of the 250 seats at the People’s Assembly (Majlis al-Sha’ab).” ~ Press TV

Tuesday’s Syrian election was a vote of confidence by the Syrian people in their government. 5,085,444 voters cast their ballots out of a possible 8,834,994 eligible voters.

The overall participation rate of 58% (virtually identical to Canada’s last federal election) exceeded the government’s expectations in most places but was low in others.

For example, it was over 80% in Homs but only 52% in Tartous. What might explain the uneven results is the history of the war. People who suffered the most from the war, for example in Homs, were probably more grateful for their liberation and more motivated to exercise their political rights than people in Tartous who saw no fighting at all (though they lost thousands upon thousands of sons and grandsons in the war).

Also significant was the fact that over 140,000 refugees returned across the Lebanese border in just one day in order to vote.

hall-vote Damascus

And the polling hours in Damascus, which suffered a lot from the fighting, had to be extended until 11 pm to accommodate all the voters.

There were even polling stations set up by the government in recently liberated Palmyra and Al-Qaryaten, though those polls were largely symbolic because the inhabitants of those towns have not yet been able to return to their homes due to widespread destruction, prior to liberation by the Syrian Arab Army.

The voter participation rate is key to this election, more important than the individual candidates who were elected.

Here’s why: you need to understand elections in a constitutionally-created state, in which one party dominates, in terms of a strike vote in a trade union.

It demonstrates continuing confidence in the leadership at a turning point in the struggle. A union would not be satisfied with a strike vote of 58%, going into a strike. And probably the Syrian government would have wished for a higher rate going into the negotiations at Geneva. But it knew from the start that holding the elections under the conditions of war and occupation was a gamble, because there are a lot of eligible voters living outside of Syria right now, living in places besieged by the terrorists, and who have died but not yet been accounted for.

Taking into account these factors, the participation rate would probably have been much higher.

Among our solidarity delegation, we have been pleased that the Syrian authorities did not try to inflate the figures to make the election results appear better than they actually were:

It reinforces our contention that the Syrian government is a credible force in the serious negotiations ahead.

As mentioned, the turning point for Syria is the current round of negotiations taking place right now in Geneva to find a lasting political solution to the crisis.

Today, the Syrian delegation took their seats with a mandate from the Syrian people, whereas the opposition delegation of head-choppers cobbled together at the last minute by the USA and Saudi Arabia have no mandate at all from the unfortunate Syrians who suffer under military occupation in “rebel-held” areas.

No elections were held there. Western governments, such as the USA, have dismissed the Syrian election out of hand, though the participation rate in the last US election was only 48%.

But that’s not to say there weren’t any interesting candidates elected. The sister of a Syrian soldier, Noor Al-Shogri, stood for election as an independent in parliament. Her brother, Yahya Al-Shoghri, was filmed as he was being executed by ISIS terrorists in 2014 in Raqqa. (If you can stomach the summary execution in cold blood of a prisoner of war, you will find the video brazenly posted by the terrorists on Youtube.)

The barbarians demanded that he say, as his dying words, “Long live the caliphate!” He famously refused and declared instead that “It will be erased!”

His last words then became a rallying cry in the national resistance against the foreign aggression. Noor Al-Shogri easily won her seat.

I met an independent candidate in the Old City of Damascus, Nora Arissian, a small Armenian woman with flaming red hair. She came up to me in the Greek Melkite Patriarch’s procession to the polling station and thanked me for Canada taking in 25000 Syrian refugees and then she pointedly added, “We want them all eventually to come home!”

She too won her seat.

The election results were delayed by a couple of days because the Syrian election commission was unsatisfied with the preparedness of eight polling stations in partially-occupied Aleppo. As I understand it, the elections in Aleppo had to be continued on the day following election day.

Some people have asked what is the role of Palestinian refugees in this election. The answer is that Palestinians, ethnically-cleansed in 1948 and after, do not vote in Syrian elections.

The political and social status of Palestinians in Syria is the highest of any Arab country but the Syrian government doesn’t grant them citizenship or let them vote because it doesn’t want to dilute their right under international law, reaffirmed by numerous resolutions of the United Nations, to return to their homes and farms in Palestine.

The fact that the Syrian government has been so adamant about this principle, is one of the main causes of the foreign aggression against the country (and in support of the State of Israel.) So the Syrian government pays a heavy price for its strong support of the Palestinian people.

In turn, the vast majority of Palestinian refugees in Syria strongly support their government, even though many have been made refugees a second time by the invasion into their neighbourhoods of the terrorist mercenaries from over 80 countries.

For example, a fierce struggle is taking place in Yarmouk right now just a few kilometres from where I write, among Isis, Al Nusra, and other terrorist gangs, over control of this former Palestinian neighbourhood/camp, which used to hold a quarter of a million people but is now a devastated ghost town with only a few thousand souls.

ISIS-Yarmouk

It bears repeating that these parliamentary elections were defiantly called by the Syrian government as “an exercise in national sovereignty.”

The point was to show the world, especially those western and Gulf states, who have waged the five-year long war of aggression against Syria, that Syrians are united in the belief that Syrians, and only Syrians, will decide the fate of Syria.

It appears that the gamble paid off.

Ken Stone is a veteran anti-war and peace activist.
The original source of this article is 21st Century Wire
Copyright © Ken Stone, 21st Century Wire, 2016

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal — Unruly Hearts editor