Was Bernie Buggin’? Sanders Reportedly Compared White Vermont Marble Workers to Black Slaves

Illustration for article titled Was Bernie Buggin’? Sanders Reportedly Compared White Vermont Marble Workers to Black Slaves
Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty Images)

The longer I look at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the more he goes from being the radical old white guy with the alternative ideas to the white guy who’s way too comfortable around black people. You know, the white guy who was in the all-black church choir, the one who went against the grain in high school and admitted that he found a black cheerleader pretty. The guy who in the 1970s “repeatedly compared Vermont workers to enslaved black people.”


From the Daily Beast:

In one 1976 conversation, Sanders told a local newspaper that the sale of a privately held mining company by its founders harkened back to “the days of slavery, when black people were sold to different owners without their consent,” and compared the service economy to chattel slavery.

“Basically, today, Vermont workers remain slaves in many, many ways,” Sanders said in another interview in 1977, in which he compared the burgeoning service industry in the nearly all-white state to the enslavement of black Americans at the nation’s founding. “The problem comes when we end up with an entire state of people trained to wait on other people.”

The Daily Beast exclusive notes that Sanders was serving as the chairman of the Liberty Union Party, a faction of the socialist People’s Party in Vermont, where Sanders ran for statewide office as the party’s nominee some four times when he made the comment.

The Daily Beast notes, and this can’t be overlooked, that at the time Sanders made this comment, Vermont was 99.999999999999999999 percent white. It was white AF. It was Colgate-smile white. It was cut cocaine white. It was blindingly white. The only reason that we can’t report that Vermont was 100 percent white is we have to leave open the 0.00000001 percent chance that someone in Vermont was passing. (Fine, according to the Daily Beast, “the population of Vermont was, at the time, more than 99 percent white and roughly 0.2 percent black.” But, I wasn’t that far off.)

Sanders’ previously unreported comments comparing marble workers to black slaves lends itself to those critics of Sanders who believe that the Democratic hopeful has a tendency to conflate economic hardships of whites with...well...black struggle, which we all know was built into America’s fabric.

“We believe ultimately that companies like Vermont Marble should be owned by the workers themselves and that workers—not a handful of owners—should be determining policy,” Sanders said in article published in October 1976, according to the Daily Beast. “If a worker at Vermont Marble has no say about who owns the company he works for and that major changes can take place without his knowledge and consent, how far have we really advanced from the days of slavery, when black people were sold to different owners without their consent?”


Later in the same article, “Sanders called for ‘the working people of this country, who constitute the vast majority of the population,’ to seize control of the economy to thwart poor labor conditions, ‘if we are free people and not slaves.’”

Sanders has taken quite a beating in the past month over statements he’s made in the past. Sanders had a lot of explaining to do after it was reported that he’d told longtime friend Elizabeth Warren during a private meeting in 2018 that he didn’t believe a woman could win the White House.


It also isn’t helping Sanders any that former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton called him a “career politician” whom nobody likes.


“He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done,” Clinton said in the four-part series Hillary, which is set to debut in March, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

“He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it,” Clinton added of Sanders.


I’m sure America’s favorite used car salesman will have an answer for this. Either that or the Bernie Bros will come for the Daily Beast for finding a quote Sanders made in 1976 that isn’t helping him win the party’s nomination.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.


Raineyb1013, Misfit Black Girl Island Denizen

And of course the first comment is from the resident asshat who has to bring Bernie up in every goddamn article whether it be about him or not but will talk about others being obsessed.

I’m sure that’s not at all telling. /s