Heroes Don’t Wear Masks

(WRITER’S NOTE: After writing this I thought more about the title and decided that it was important to remind everyone to be careful taking things at face value (face value…masks…get it?) For example, this title, while catchy, is not 100% accurate. Surgeons wear masks. Nurses wear masks. Fire-fighters wear masks. And Batman, the most bad-ass of all superheroes, wears a mask. So be skeptical of everything you read. Now onward.)

“The extreme always seems to make an impression.” – J.D., from the movie Heathers

We live in an extreme world. Even though great leaders have long espoused the power of moderation, over the long term, as a path towards permanent change, Americans often lack patience and prefer extreme measures to rational ones. The word extreme has been reduced to little more than a marketing tool. Your deodorant offers EXTREME protection. Your toothpaste offers EXTREME whitening. Even your snack foods are EXTREME. Why would anyone waste their time on normal when you can have an extreme? Americans love extremes. They want the immediate outcome promised from extreme actions.

It is interesting to note that when we look at things that are at opposite extremes, we often see that they have more in common than they have differences. For example, a devout atheist and a Christian fundamentalist may seem to be at extreme opposites, but often times share much in common. Both sides are often intolerant of differing views to the point of feeling compelled to constantly lecture those naive enough to believe differently than they do. Both sides often believe that the world would be a better place if everyone shared their views. Both sides believe that they know something that is scientifically unknowable. The list of similarities between opposing extremes is usually greater than the differences. Thus is the nature of extremism.

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One extremist group that has been working overtime in the United States since the election of Donald Trump, are the White Nationalists/White Supremecists/Nazi fringe hate groups. While these groups may differentiate themselves in degrees and goals, they still represent roughly the same agenda, which is the exaltation of white people and their culture above other races. Some of these groups are particularly problematic, because they are well-armed and believe in using any means necessary to achieve their agenda.

Seemingly, at the opposite extreme is Antifa (ANTI-FAscist). Like the KKK these extremists hide behind masks and believe in using “any means necessary” to further their agenda.

While I am in absolute agreement with Antifa that fascism must be battled wherever it is found, I also believe that there is a blueprint for fighting White Supremacy that has been employed with great success by people such as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. That path, of course, is not extreme and therefore does not necessarily appeal to people who desire the instant ego-gratification achieved through violence. It is a path that exalts strength of character above physical strength. It is the path chosen by Rosa Parks, Gautama Buddha, Bob Marley and John Lennon. I am speaking, of course, of non-violent resistance.

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Using violence against White Nationalists elevates their cause. White Nationalist rallies like the one in Virginia last week occur on a regular basis. You don’t hear about them, because there is nothing newsworthy about morons yelling and holding Tiki-torches. The Nazis show up, hoping to elicit a reaction from counter-protesters. When they fail at their goal, they go home feeling further marginalized. The only reason why you are hearing so much about what happened in Charlottesville is because, in this case, the Nazis were able to achieve their goal of finding a counter-force that was willing to use violence. This offers them free media exposure which helps them to recruit others to their cause. It is for this reason that some have speculated that Antifa is actually an alt-right organization designed to help White Nationalists with recruiting.

Antifa members use their own form of hate-speech against those who do not believe in using violence to elevate the White Nationalist movement. They call those who disagree with their tactics “Nazi sympathizers”, a term designed to put peaceful Progressives in the same group as the fascists Antifa claim to be fighting. These tactics weaken non-violent resistance and allow Antifa members to attack peaceful leftists. Similar tactics have been used throughout history to divide movements.

An extreme type of black and white thinking pervades Antifa. Their very name is set up to divide with black and white thinking. If you are against Antifa’s tactics, then you must be pro-fascist, right? Extremist groups often seek to divide by eliminating the gray area of an issue. Extreme black and white thinking is a cornerstone of nearly every personality disorder in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychologists to evaluate mental disorders). One could make the case that Antifa is a cult that preys on people with violent personality disorders. Like any cult they believe that they are doing righteous work. Attempting to debate someone who suffers from extreme black and white thinking is difficult at best and usually resembles the following conversation.

Progressive: I hate Nazis, but I’m not sure that using violence is the best way to go about it?

Antifa: So you are a Nazi-sympathizer?!

Progressive: No. Like I said I hate Nazis but..

Antifa: Pick a side!! You are either FOR Nazis or you are AGAINST them!! Which is it?!

Progressive: I’m against Nazi-ism, but like I was saying..

Antifa: What?! What are you saying?! You’re going to make excuses for Nazis?! Then YOU’RE a Nazi!!

Now you find yourself one step away from being attacked by a violent extremist who believes that they are righteous in attacking you, because they have now labeled you as a fascist. In the Antifa extremist worldview, a fascist is anyone who does not agree 100% with their violent ideology. In their extreme black and white thinking you are either part of their myopic solution or you are part of the problem and Antifa believes fully in solving any and all problems with violence and destruction.

It is easy enough to pick an unpopular stance and name your group after the opposite of that stance. For example we could start a group against hate and call it Antiha (ANTI-HAte). This catchy name would allow us to use “any and all means necessary” to counteract hate. We could even use hate to counteract hate. If anyone opposed our hateful measures we could accuse them of being pro-hate and marginalize their voice. If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it absolutely is.

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Life is not black and white. There’s more than one way to fight Nazi-ism. Breaking windows of local businesses like Antifa did in Seattle or destroying University property as they did at Berkeley does nothing to stop White Nationalism and unfortunately moves us closer to the right-wing police state that the elites have been trying to thrust on us since the Orwellian days of Richard Nixon. Simply put, Antifa’s tactics are counterproductive to our movement. If you are a Republican governor trying to get anti-protest laws passed in your state, having Antifa smashing in the windows of local businesses and starting fires in the streets is a quick and dirty way to scare the locals into agreeing with your Draconian law.

I certainly identify with the anger felt by Antifa and even admit to feeling schadenfreude at the sight of seeing Richard Spencer getting punched in his stupid, racist face. But this punch did nothing to change Spencer’s ideology. In fact, getting punched while expressing his views, however unpopular, made him into a sympathetic character in the eyes of those not particularly schooled on the finer details of Spencer’s creed. Most people had never heard of Spencer before the infamous sucker-punch. Antifa’s attack expanded Spencer’s base greatly and as Spencer is a deceptive and articulate speaker, this new broader base has allowed him to recruit new members to his disgusting cause.

White Nationalists are always seeking to recruit from the millions of white Americans who use the phrase “I’m not racist, but…” Many white Americans do not call themselves racist and would be appalled to be part of a group that openly and blatantly hated any minority group. White Nationalists like Richard Spencer and David Duke know this, so instead they seek to paint themselves as patriotic Americans who are simply trying to preserve American heritage. When a group that is dressed like Isis shows up and engages in violence against these “patriotic” Americans, it allows them to use their sympathetic position to recruit the “I’m not racist, but…” white Americans, who now begin to see themselves as fellow patriots who are simply trying to defend white heritage against an extremist group. In this way, “Antifa is a major gift to the right.” as Noam Chomsky has been pointing out recently.

I cannot stress enough that Antifa is the absolute best recruiting tool that alt-right White Nationalists have at their disposal. Without Antifa, these clowns are exposed for exactly what they are, or they are ignored, which is the very thing they fear the most. The Nazi movement in America is small and fringe. You can equate it roughly to a toddler who has been put in timeout. It will kick and scream and throw anything it can get its hands on in order to try to gain your attention. Antifa is the equivalent of smacking the toddler in the face. Their extreme actions give these Nazis EXACTLY what they are seeking. Listen to the disgraceful words of their White Supremacist President, Donald Trump. Over and over again he says “What about the actions of the alt-left?!” in his attempts to normalize the behavior of these Nazis while simultaneously marginalizing our powerful leftist voice.  Antifa pushes us closer to the second civil war the White Nationalists has been courting for decades. Antifa makes the White Nationalist movement sympathetic to those who otherwise would not have aligned themselves with it.

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Antifa says that they believe in the use of physical violence as to “make racism so unpalatable as to discourage anyone from practicing it.” If only humans were actually wired this way, then I would fully support this use of force. But we know intuitively that violence only causes those on the receiving end to double-down on their belief, while simultaneously recruiting others to feel sympathy for the victim and their cause.

Imagine that you were exercising your First Amendment Right to free speech on the subject of pro-choice, for example. You believe very strongly in a woman’s right to choose and you are peacefully demonstrating, using your voice, when suddenly someone in a black mask comes up and punches you in the face. How hard would the person have to punch you to turn you pro-life? Of course the question is ludicrous. Violence will never change your mind on that subject or any other. All it will do is to cause you to be more locked into your belief than ever. Now you have been assaulted for your belief. Before you were simply a single voice. Now you are a martyr. It will be much easier to recruit people to your side for future rallies. People who normally could not care less about your politics will suddenly want to be by your side. Violence against you has made you more effective at spreading your ideology. It has had the opposite effect of its intention. Enduring a punch is a small price to pay for the ability to effectively spread one’s philosophy. If I were Richard Spencer, I would pay someone to dress up in all black and punch me. My jaw would feel better with a few aspirin, but my message would be heard by millions of people I couldn’t have reached previously.

Let us not dismiss violent resistance entirely. For example, during World War II violence against Nazis was absolutely necessary. But let’s not make ourselves look foolish by comparing hate-mongering idiot, Milo Yiannopoulos, to Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich. To do so would be to give him entirely too much credit. Milo Yiannopoulos was a virtual unknown before Antifa burned the Berkeley campus. Overnight he became a household name. Once again Antifa had the effect of elevating the alt-right cause. Their antics canceled one speech that would have only been heard by a handful of people. But as a result of their violence, millions who had never heard of Milo Yiannopoulos before, became interested in what he had to say and as Milo is a deceptive and persuasive speaker, surely he was able to sway some of this newfound audience over to his garbage ideology. If I were Milo Yiannopoulos, I might even consider hiring people to dress up like Isis and burn down the place where I was suppose to be speaking as a publicity stunt.

As much as I would like personally to slap Milo Yiannopoulos in his little bitch mouth, I simply cannot reward him by turning him into a martyr. Nor can I make the claim that his rhetoric is somehow violent, simply because it leads others to inaccurate viewpoints that can lead to violence. The most proactive thing I could do to counteract hate-speech is to educate others as to their methods, so they will not fall victim to them. If I really want to silence Nazis I can use The First Amendment and apply a variety of different political pressures to the venues that allow them a place to speak, reminding venue operators of the peril they are putting themselves in as hate-speech is not protected under The First Amendment. I can threaten to publicize their position and this will undoubtedly cost them future revenue. This is the strength that the left has long been known for, the strength of creativity and relentless political pressure.

We have these Nazis outnumbered 10,000 to 1. Let’s not help them grow their numbers. If a Nazi puts his hands on you, then knock his stupid-ass back into the dark ages he crawled out of. But don’t allow yourself to be provoked to violence with words.

Because that is EXACTLY the reaction they are looking for.

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Michael E Sparks fights hate through political means and by educating people with articles such as this one. If you believe in his message, consider donating by clicking HERE. All donations go towards furthering the mission of Resist/Revolt Activist Media.
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Michael E Sparks – Nazi Sympathizer

Just some rambling thoughts to whomever might follow my exploits. We are currently in the middle of dealing with a family tragedy. I am not going to get deep into my personal life in this forum, but I wanted to tell anyone worried about us that no one is dead. I am pretty much in a state of shock right now, so do not expect good grammar, punctuation or stellar prose. I do however consider my extended family, you, the ones who are reading this, to be of the utmost importance, so I wanted to keep you abreast of what’s been going on.

The last few weeks have been pretty insane. As some of you may know, out of complete frustration with the corporate media, I decided to start my own media company, Activist Media. I did this by, well, I’m not sure. We didn’t have any money except the money we had for bills. We spent that money on film equipment, borrowed a car (both ours broke down in July) and hit the road, recording interviews with Progressive activists in 24 cities. It was magical and it turns out I have a knack for it. And when I say “I”, I am completely discounting Carrie, my partner, and now First-Assistant Director of our rag-tag film team. I literally could not do anything without her. But with her, we turned out to be okay as a film team, learning a lot as we went, with a better idea of what we need to learn before we go back on the road again in December. We’d love to have just staid on the road doing interviews, but we ran out of money and also we had to get home to our parental duties as a new school year was starting.

Why did we go out on the road like that, two non-filmmakers suddenly dubbing themselves as filmmakers and then just going out and interviewing people?

Mental illness is the obvious answer. I say that only half-joking. Someone could make the claim that I often choose passionate choices over logical ones, but what are you going to do? Work in a fucking cubicle until you die? I’d rather do my best to make the world a better place and be broke, than to be rich and unfulfilled. Thankfully these are not the only two choices we have and I imagine that at some point, money will not be as big of an issue as it currently is, once I get Activist Media off the ground. I have big plans for it and I am highly motivated to have it become an important part of the Progressive movement. I’m sure if I create enough value in enough people’s lives then I will not have to worry about where my next meal is coming from. I’ve been well below the poverty line my entire life and I’ve been just fine. I’m done judging myself for not working some empty corporate job. My kids work hard and understand the value of money, yet aren’t greedy and love to help others. Perhaps if they had been raised with lots of money they would have turned out differently. I can’t really know how things would have been, but I’m incredibly proud of my children, so I can’t feel too bad about raising them poor. We never acted poor and we never thought or felt poor. When an added expense came up, we’d always find a way. That’s what people do. I know you can relate.

One thing that I am really proud of in my life is that for 12 years I was a single dad. I never received any child support from the mother. I have no anger towards her for that. She had her own challenges. I was always just super-happy that she left me with these two incredible people. They made me who I am today. I go to play both roles, which was kind of perfect for me, because I’m nurturing in ways that might surprise some people who look at me and see some big crazy looking guy. I liked being both Mom and Dad. It was challenging, but a lot of fun. I didn’t really have any extended family so I asked my friends if they would help. We made them honorary Aunts and Uncles and we built a tiny little family. It’s been pretty great. I’d love to do it all again.

The Virginia Nazi rally has been kind of rough on everyone. Carrie and I were actually fairly close geographically when it happened and I kept the news from her until we got home, because I knew it would scare her. When we arrived home I sat down and wrote out a transcript of a conversation I had with one of my teenagers. Basically it was just a conversation where I talked to him about passive resistance and how the majority of the time it is the best path to long-term change. I didn’t really think it was that important of an article and it certainly didn’t think it was hard-hitting or controversial. But I guess I was wrong, because I got a ton of hate-mail from people identifying themselves as Alt-Left Nazi Hunters, Marxist and Antifa members. I find it odd that people on the political left hate me, because most of the time when people hate me they are centrist who think I am too far to the left. Oh well, a bunch of angry violent people hate me. That’s nothing new. I try not to let shit like that bother me. I figure doing what I do, that if I do it long enough and well enough, then one of these crazy people will shoot me dead in the street some day. My last words will be “Which of my pieces inspired you to kill me?” and then “Oh yeah. I really enjoyed making that.”

I say these things only joking a little bit, because the political landscape has become extremely toxic. The constant knee-jerk reactions of people are embarrassing. I think about the billions of years of evolution that got us to this point where we have highly-advanced monkeys with handheld devices that have access to the entire history of human knowledge and all these monkeys want to do is jerk-off and insult people’s character pseudo-anonymously. It makes me pretty sad if I let it.

Oh so, anyway, Virginia really shook me up. Coming off such an inspirational road-trip to return home to the anger and sadness surrounding that event, where everyone has a strongly-held opinion, but none of us really know the facts or nuances of the event. It has been incredibly polarizing. Militant members of The Left have began using the term “Nazi-sympathizer” to degrade anyone who believes that meeting violence with violence is not the answer. That makes me incredibly sad. By this definition Martin Luther King, Buddha, Gandhi and pretty much every great person who ever believed in peace would be a Nazi-sympathizer. For every thing there is a season and yes there absolutely is a time when war is the answer, but I am not so cavalier with human life to declare war without exhausting all potentially peaceful options.

I asked myself if it were possible to take a compassionate act that was directly related to what had happened in Virginia. I didn’t have to look too far. There is a man in my city who displays Nazi flags and Confederate flags side-by-side on his property. It has caused quite a stir in our community. Corporate media outlets have come out to interview him and photograph his property, but I notice that none of the outlets ever really posted anything that he said or when they did, it looked like maybe they had twisted it to fit their narrative. As a Progressive who always seems to have a microphone in my face, I know how frustrating it is talking to corporate media outlets. So I approached him for an interview. He accepted. And the hate from The Left intensified. I really don’t know what people are so afraid of. I’m just going to listen to the dude and record it. Do people think that he is going to be so radically convincing that soon Nazi flags will be popping up even more frequently than they currently are? It just doesn’t make any sense to me that people who are supposed to stand for love and peace hide behind the same tactics as those whom they oppose. Human being’s capacity for self-deception never ceases to amaze me.

So anyway, Virginia + Hate From the Left + Personal Tragedy = Challenging Week.

But I won’t stop working.

This book is almost finished and I’m editing footage and recording new interviews.

Soon we will have a documentary and a new Progressive YouTube Show and Podcast.

I’m working 18 hour days for this.

We are building something here.

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Michael E Sparks, is not a Nazi-sympathizer, but he IS an Independent columnist, author and wannabe filmmaker. If you feel that what Michael does creates then you can contribute by clicking HERE. Donations go to pay for equipment for projects, hotel rooms, travel expenses and occasionally, if there’s anything left over, he buys pizza with it.

 

That’s How We Win (Talking With My Son About Nazis in Virginia)

This morning my teenage son came into the kitchen fuming. As I was pouring my first cup of coffee he was talking about throwing Molotov cocktails at White Supremacists.

Me: That doesn’t work.

My Son: They are running our people down!! It’s time to fight back!!

Me: It’s natural to feel that way. I think we all feel that way, right now. But it doesn’t work. That’s all I’m saying.

For a while he played with his phone and looked annoyed. I sipped my coffee. Then suddenly my son looked up, righteous anger in his eyes.

My Son: So what works?

Me: The same thing that always works, compassion.

My Son: So just love hatemongers?!! So just hug away the problems?!! Are you serious?!! I thought you loved Bernie Sanders!! Now’s the time for revolution!!

Me: This, as painful as it is, is part of our Revolution. There are very real battles happening in America. People died in this one. We can’t disgrace what they stood for by murdering people, as much as we may want to.

My Son: How does love beat hate? I mean how, actually, using this situation, can you imagine that happening. They will just kill us. They have no souls.

Me: They think the same about us. And if you go throwing Molotov cocktails into their “pride” celebration then they will return home to their communities and some will see them as martyrs. Some as patriots and heroes. And this will make them sympathetic to some. And they will meet in the shadows and whisper to each other about how “it’s illegal to be white in this country.” And they will feel empowered to attack innocent people, because they will be doing exactly what you’re doing. Through your desire to protect the innocent, you are allowing your anger to distort your viewpoint. You keep saying us and them. I used to think this was all just hippie bullshit, but the truth of the matter is that those men are not as different from us as you might think. They are just misguided. They are the victims of Fox News and Breitbart. They believe a lie and that lie makes them afraid. It’s like Yoda in Star Wars, when he says that “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering.” That’s what you’re feeling now. It’s the same thing those guys in Virginia feel, because they believe a lie. That’s not fun to hear, because you are hurting and your ego wants gratification, but if someone uses violence against these people, it will embolden their cause. If you don’t react, it exposes them for exactly what they are. And people who normally don’t even care about politics will wake up and be angry. And we can invite them in and they will become brothers and sisters in our cause.

My Son: Our cause? Back to Bernie Sanders? What does Bernie Sanders have to do with White Supremacists murdering innocent people?

Me: Not Bernie Sanders, but his message. We could just as soon say Martin Luther King or John Lennon or Siddhartha Gautama. But yeah, Bernie has a message and it’s to love one another. And it’s a message of Revolution through peaceful means. And I know that seems weak when all you want to do is load up your gun and go exact revenge, but history has shown us that we win through love and peace. These guys, these dudes holding their stupid Tiki-torches, looking like they just walked off the sex-offender registry website already make themselves look bad to almost everyone who observes them. Many of these guys have little kids and they try to train them to be hateful just like they are. If Daddy comes home with third degree burns because “some libtard threw a Molotov cocktail” at him then those children will be indoctrinated into that thinking. Their Daddy will be a victim, a hero, a patriot. Not reacting is the hardest thing to do in times like these. It is literally the one thing that has furthered our cause throughout history. When you are being attacked you have the right to defend yourself. But long-term change has always come from peaceful protest. It’s Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. It’s Gandhi refusing to eat. And sometimes it’s dying. It takes a type of courage that these wannabe patriots cannot even comprehend. They act out of fear. We act out of love. That’s how we win.

My Son: Okay, well I’m going over to that Nazi’s house on the next block and I’m going to steal his fucking Nazi flags right off his front porch.

Me: And what will that solve?

My Son: I don’t know.

Me: It will make you feel better for a minute, right? Let’s not talk about all the shit that can go wrong, like you getting shot or arrested or both. Let’s assume you get away with it. What does it accomplish?

My Son: So you think it’s okay that that dude just sits out there with his symbols of hatred?! You think it’s okay that people have to walk by and see that shit?!

Me: I think it’s more than okay. I think it’s necessary and helpful.

My Son: Helpful HOW!!??

Me: Does he look like he’s happy sitting out there? Does he look powerful? Do you think little kids walking down the street see him sitting there with that Nazi flag and want to grow up to be like him?

My Son: No.

Me: He’s a fucking monument dude. He’s a warning to everyone of what will happen to them if they don’t open up their hearts. They will end up old and alone and bitter and watching their world slip away. And the sad thing is that the world isn’t slipping by. It’s getting better. And that man with the Nazi flag is scared and that fear is keeping him from taking part in this beautiful new world we are creating. Besides I like my racists labeled, so I can see them coming.

My Son: I never thought of it like that.

Me: And that symbol of hatred causes little kids to ask their parents what it means and parents can explain to their babies and teach them the importance of love from an early age.

My Son: I didn’t think about that either.

Me: Can I tell you one more reason why we would never steal his flag? Because all it would do would be to prove his point about how evil the world is and make him feel more justified in his hate. You can knock down a building, but they will just build it stronger the next time. You can steal his flag and he’ll go on eBay and buy two. Because, in his mind, he will be fighting the oppressor. The way you eliminate an enemy is by making them your friend.

My Son: Okay, I feel better.

Me: I love your anger. You will need it. Just direct it properly is all. If we go around silencing those we disagree with, then we violate The First Amendment and if The First Amendment goes, the whole thing goes and that document is very wise. It was basically an exact copy of The French Constitution. They saw that it was working there and knew that these principles were universal and would work here. And they do. It’s not pretty, but they end up working out in spite of the inherent foolishness of man.

My Son: Yeah, but the French also had to go and chop off a bunch of heads to get shit done, too.

Me: Yeah, well it may yet come to that. But we’re not there yet. And as long as we have means to exercise peace than we do that. We win this war through peace and love. Civil war isn’t as glamorous as you think it is.

My Son: I know it’s not. You said that you would make the Nazi guy into your friend. How do you do that?

Me: Well, I noticed that in the paper he said that he flies his Nazi flag “because the liberals are trying to take away his First Amendment rights.” And that was literally the only line that the newspaper gave him. An entire article written about the dude and they only quoted him one time. Kind of ironic. I want to give him an opportunity to speak. I’m going to listen to him. And I’m going to film it so others can hear him too. And I’m not going to be mean. And I’m not going to attack him. I’m going to compassionately listen. My goal isn’t to make him look foolish.

My Son: No, he’ll do that all by himself.

Me: I suspect he might. Or maybe while he is talking he might notice some inconsistencies in his thinking. We all tend to do that when we find someone who actually cares enough to listen. But that’s not for me to decide or to attempt to manipulate the situation in that manner. I sincerely want to listen to him and I sincerely want to hear him. And when you do those things, you would be surprised at how small the distances between humans actually are.

My Son: And everybody sees the interview and they see how foolish those antiquated views are.

Me: That’s how we win.

My Son: Yeah. That’s how we win.

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Hello revolutionaries. I just got back from filming interviews with Progressive activists in 24 cities. We have an upcoming show and podcast that will be debuting in September, based around these amazing interviews. We will then go back on the road to collect more (after I finish the My Bernie Journey book). We are in the process of building a Progressive media outlet and it takes ALL of our time and ALL of our money. If you believe in what we are doing please help us get this media out by donating HERE. Even $1 means a lot. We are absolutely dedicated to representing our movement without corporate donors. Thank you in advance for supporting these important projects.

 

 

Notes from the Road (My Bernie Journey)

(Note: Michael E Sparks is currently on the road interviewing Progressives while finishing up a self-published book entitle My Bernie Journey – A Behind the Scenes Look at the 2016 “Democratic” Primary and Beyond. He is also in the pre-production phase of filming a documentary on the subject.)

I am sitting somewhere in the hills of Asheville, North Carolina, having just met MJ Taylor. Even though we had never met before, I feel like I have known this amazing person my entire life.

Perhaps we became friends so quickly because we were able to skip the usual checks that humans subconsciously do upon meeting to insure that the new being before them is actually someone whom is safe and worthy of further exploration. Such scans are unneccessary, for my new friend is an avid Bernie Sanders supporter. And with this one distinction I know that I can rest assured that this is someone who I have many amazing things in common with. For merely by their love of Bernie Sanders, I can conclude that my new friend believes that all human beings are entitled to healthcare when they are sick and compassion at all times. I can safely assume that my new friend believes that it is better to pay extra to educate a child now than to incarcerate that child later. I know that my friend believes that there is hope for this damaged country and fragile world. And I know that my friend is hopeful, full of fight and has no intention of ever giving up.

By making the usual butt-sniffing obsolete, we hit the ground running and it feels like we have been friends for years. It feels like we haven’t seen each other for a while and that we are just catching up. This is a phenomenon I have experienced so often over the past couple of years that I have come to take it completely for granted. Even though I cannot tell you where I am exactly, having relied on GPS to guide me to my latest oasis in between long meditations of seemingly endless highways, I know exactly where I am.

I am home.

I was home two days ago when I pulled into Sam Ronan’s driveway outside Dayton and found that the man who created Our Voice and challenged the establishment to compete for the chair position of the DNC, was also a fellow nerd who shared many of my interests in geek-culture including PC gaming and hand painted Warhammer 40K figurines.

I was home on the streets of Columbus, Ohio where I got to speak with Maria Ferrara about our shared love of virtuoso guitar playing, before she outlined her well-educated views on the steps we need to take to reclaim our country from the corporations that control it. And yet again, I felt at home when Steve Steinmetz shared with me his observations regarding how the United States military commonly violates the very Constitution it is sworn to protect and then at the end of the interview casually mentioned that it happened to be his birthday.

The following morning, in Newark, Ohio, I found home in the words of Jen Kanagy who informed me that Bernie Sanders had inspired her to run for city council, because she recognized this as the best way to serve those in her community. And then again I was at home in the mountains of West Virginia as I listened to Erica Rusmisell tell me how Bernie Sanders had inspired her to overcome her anxiety and set up a support group for people in her community with mood-disorders.

And I was at home when a Facebook message popped up from Mia Irizarry that simply said “Gas money” and when I clicked the link $20 appeared on my debit card (I didn’t even know that was possible!!) and I choked back tears when Jim Cook, a man I’ve never met before, sent me $27 and said “This is to help you on your trip.” Those two messages literally paid for our journey from Ohio to North Carolina.

I have never known such kindness.

Everywhere we go the stories are the same, yet different. There is so much beauty and inspiration in the words and deeds of these heroic people that I find my own desire to make the world a better place refreshed and renewed.

One might ask what I hope to accomplish by driving from town to town and listening to people’s stories. On the surface it is to insure that when I finish my book, My Bernie Journey, that no viewpoints are left unspoken. Also, when I return home, I plan to practice some basic film-editing techniques on the footage that I have and I’ll make a couple of short films in preparation to make a full-length documentary later in the year.

But the deeper reasons I decided to pursue this project are gradually revealing themselves to me. I know that our movement suffered a terrible setback around this time last year and I have been watching some aspects of it push against the seams that were holding it together. The powers that be, in their subtle and pervasive ways, have been successful in getting us to take our eyes off the prize. The sideshow of our current “representation” in Washington produces enough tabloid garbage on a daily basis to provide a convenient distraction for disgruntled activists, while the corporate media bombards us with news that isn’t news in an attempt to convince us that what we experienced just a year ago was merely an anomaly and that we have no real power.

All they do is lie.

Back in Indiana, my heart raged against the dissolution of a movement that we put our literal blood, sweat and tears into, while my body sat still, feeling helpless, not knowing what to do next. So we decided to go speak with the people, not knowing what would be revealed in the process.

And we were scared.

We were scared of not having enough money to make the trip. We were scared of being stranded on the road. We were scared of people who were not sympathetic to our political ideology. And most of all we were scared to speak with people who are quite honestly heroes to us.

We were overwhelmed with fear.

Carrie and I took turns leaning on each other, reminding the other that there was something out there, something greater than what we could envision and telling each other that we need only to take the first step and things would fall in line.

And they have.

I do not know all that we will find on this journey, but I know that there is a brilliant and amazing story here. Upon returning home I will finish my book and listen carefully as to know what the next step is. Goals are in concrete. Plans are in sand. But I have a script. And it’s really good. I also have some crude drawings that I will have animated to fit into at least one documentary that begins at Occupy Wall Street and continues on into the current day Progressive movement. I believe that this is possibly the path that this will take, but every documentary film-maker I have had the pleasure of speaking with tells me that the story will write itself as long as you listen and pursue the journey.

So I’m out here.

Listening to the voice of The People.

You all have such beautiful voices.

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My name is Michael E Sparks. If you believe that my work is important, I ask that you donate to help fund it. You donations go towards gas, food, lodging and equipment to film, edit and promote our cause. These projects are entirely funded by what little money Carrie and I can scrape together so your donations literally make this work possible. Thank you in advance for your incredible kindness. You can click HERE to donate.

Why Donald Trump’s Boy Scout Speech Should Terrify You

I know of no other response but abject horror to describe my feelings towards the chants of “USA!! USA!!” emitting from The Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this past week. My thoughts panned to Hitler youth rallies as I watched young white males chanting with something considerably more dangerous than simple anger in their pubescent crackling voices.

The Scouts were moved to spontaneous incantation by a racist white billionaire saying that he was going to crush the black man’s legacy. The billionaire had a better way of doing things. Even though, by most accounts, he had no plan at all or a plan that was much worse, this was of no consequence. The black man’s legacy had to be erased and the emperor’s complete lack of clothing was of no consequence.

There were many layers in that impassioned mantra of “USA!! USA!!” There was something greater than anger in the voices of the young men as they chanted the indoctrination. There was something in those young men’s voices long forgotten by most of us. There was patriotism, loyalty and pride. And it chilled me to my bones.

Implicit in this impromptu chant is Manifest Destiny. Hidden beneath the smiles of future lawyers, Senators and CEOs, covered in shiny merit badges, proving that they are prepared for the fight ahead, there is a doctrine of white nationalism that is as old as the country itself, but has been growing in strength and numbers radically since the dawn of the Internet. Not your grandfather’s KKK, the doctrine of white supremacy is all polished up and ready for public consumption. The idea that America is somehow destined to be a white Christian nation is very much alive and well. When the billionaire white man stands up in front of a group of 12-16 year old young men in uniforms and says that he is going to stop the black man’s healthcare bill and by extension punish our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, and those same young men raise their fists, without prompting and begin proudly chanting the name of their country, then you have more than a rally, you have a movement and in this particular case, a very dangerous one.

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We have seen this movie before.

There is a white nationalist movement in every backyard in America. It’s in your neighborhood. It’s in your police force. It’s in your White House. It may even be in your home. It’s organized, heavily armed and ready to fight and die for it’s country. The most daunting aspect of this movement is that it’s members see themselves as patriots. They believe that they are defending the doctrines of our country’s founding fathers. While the rest of us are running around, working our asses off to build a world of science, technology and equality, there’s a growing contingency of Americans who believe that we should be focused on God, guns and government.

We cannot pretend this rift does not exist. There is a fundamental difference in values at work here. While we are all in agreement on fundamental truths that all Americans are entitled the basic freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we all know that these freedoms cease once they begin stepping on the freedoms of others. Therein lies the problem. Decades of irresponsible rhetoric spewed forth by politicians and their cohorts in the corporate media have resulted in millions of Americans actually believing the lie that their poverty and struggle is the result of the brown man. A friend of mine recently said “Michael, when you are used to privilege, equality seems like oppression.” And this is exactly what is going on. Add in the fact that the wealth siphoning to the 1% is destroying the middle-class, while automation combined with sending American jobs overseas has made it incredibly difficult for hard working Americans to make ends meet. And when people are poor, desperate and angry, they look for someone to blame. So when the billionaire, “self made”, American dream in a suit stands up and says that he’s going to kill the black man’s health bill and the young white men start chanting “USA!! USA!!”, well, we just might have a problem.

And the problem compounds upon itself, because there IS a fundamental value difference. We want to push things forward and they want things to be the way they used to be. We want Star Trek and they want Leave it to Fucking Beaver. We want equality for all and they want a world where the white man is special. The left knows that they are right and they don’t have time to bother with explaining the real truth as to why our country is falling apart at the seams. The left’s superior ideology causes them to look down their noses and become exasperated with anyone who sees things differently. Hardworking Conservatives have grown tired of being treated

The left may have the moral high-ground, but the right has all the guns. If those on the left are planning to continue in their roles as judge and jury to the lesser enlightened, then perhaps they should begin making frequent trips to the shooting range, because the they are exacerbating a very dangerous rift with a growing portion of our society.  There is a not-so-civil war of ideologies happening in America right now. And as always, where blood is boiling, there are those who seek to profit off the strife caused by such misunderstanding.

The solution, is as it always is, compassion and communication. For the smug liberal this means putting away our sense of superiority to realize that those who seek comfort in old ways are not our enemies, but in fact want the same basic freedoms that you and I desire. In the common ground between us is the once-fertile soil of a now fledgling nation where we all want to plant seeds so that our children will be able to thrive in a new world that is scary to all of us. The antiquated notions that gender, skin-tone and sexual preference somehow make one greater or lesser is fueled by the corporate fear machine that seeks only to keep us divided so they can profit from our strife.

If our ideas are based in truth, if indeed it is better to move forward into a world where science reigns over superstition and equality wins out over division and hatred, then we must stop looking at those whom believe differently as mere obstacles to progress and start actively engaging these people in compassionate communication. We must come down from our ivory towers and become curious as to why those young men at the Boy Scout Jamboree felt moved to horrifying patriotism by the rich white man promising to destroy the black man’s legacy. Because pushing this mentality into the corner, shaming it and hoping that it goes away has proven to be a completely ineffective strategy.

We’ve seen this movie before.

The ending sucks.

And the middle’s even worse.

berniehamilton
Michael E Sparks is an Independent writer. His writing is free for anyone who wants it. If his words add value to your life you can donate to him HERE. Your contributions allow him to continue writing and pursue Progressive projects which he believes make the world a better place.

The Time When Republicans Threatened to Shoot Us

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book,

My Bernie Journey – A Behind the Scenes Look at the 2016 “Democratic” Primary

The book will be released on August 28.

I have been working on it for over a year and I really believe that it is an accurate portrayal of the disenfranchisement that Sanders and his supporters faced at the hands of the Democratic Party.

It’s a good read, full of the anger, sadness and euphoria that we all experienced as part of Sanders’ historic campaign.

This chapter was a lot of fun to write and I feel strongly that I must use my ability with language to not just deliver the facts, but also to paint elaborate pictures that inspire my readers to continue to take action.

I sincerely hope you find something that you can relate to in my ramblings.

After you finish reading the chapter, scroll down and there will be instructions on how you can obtain a copy of the book at no charge.

There is also an opportunity to be part of the team that gets the book to press.

Lastly, we are about to embark on a 22 city tour, where we will be meeting with amazing revolutionaries whose lives have been forever changed by this movement.

While we are on the road we will be shooting footage that we will be using in a companion documentary.

We feel strongly that these stories must be told so that we can continue our Progressive movement and be all the wiser as we go forward.

You can be part of this road-trip by clicking HERE and then clicking the follow button.

I sincerely promise to do everything in my power to promote this book to anyone and everyone who may help further the truth about the travesty that occurred against our movement during the 2016 “Democratic” Primary as well as to help inspire our path forward.

Please feel free to share this post with anyone whom you think may be interested in this project.

Without further ado, here’s the chapter.

Thank you for taking the time to read and participate.

ballots

Chapter 11 – District 5

Our hero and his merry band of misfits go deep into rural Indiana to practice the psychology of paradigm shifting on unsuspecting red-staters who really “love the Second Amendment”

The Bernie Sanders volunteer group I joined in Indiana was small but active. Our number one goal was just to get Bernie’s name out there and to familiarize people with his policies. We’d meet up for planning about every two weeks. It sounds crazy, but a lot of what we would do is just make up signs, put on colorful clothing and go to a busy intersection and smile and wave at people.

These tactics actually worked. People had no idea who Bernie Sanders was and seeing a bunch of people smiling and waving got people to stop and ask. Sanders’ policy position were far superior than any other candidate and his volunteers were incredibly enthused about his candidacy, so once people stopped to talk with us, they were sold on voting for him. I often forget that the average American doesn’t even know what a primary is and they certainly don’t know that they have to vote twice in a Presidential election. Most people don’t even start paying attention until a few weeks before the general election so getting people to show up and vote in a primary that was still six months away was kind of daunting, but we must have done a good job, because Bernie won Indiana, despite the Democratic establishment here pretending like we didn’t even exist.

We were rogue agents, operating in coffee houses, planning strategies to take the state from Hillary Clinton. We knew we had our work cut out for us, so we started working months in advance of our primary. Our team was small, but mighty. The people I worked with on the Indiana campaign are some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. I am still friends with many of them as I write this. Aaron, Greg, Julie and Phil always wore huge smiles and did amazing work organizing our group. None of them ever sought personal credit. They were completely selfless and inspiring. I never quite knew what I would be doing from one moment to the next, but I trusted them to always give me a job that used my abilities. We hosted phone-banking sessions and debate parties. We opened our home for Sanders’ volunteers from all over the state to come celebrate and learn new campaigning techniques. Soon I was teaching impromptu canvassing classes in our living room. I would tell people techniques that I had picked up at canvassing centers around the country (we didn’t have a campaign office in Indiana yet) and they would use these techniques to talk with friends and neighbors.

Pitching a Democratic Socialist in Indiana was not for the feint of heart. This is a state where Donald Trump received three times as many votes as did Bernie and Hillary during the primaries. But by far the greatest challenge we faced was simply getting Bernie Sanders name on the ballot so people could actually vote for him.

One Wednesday I received a text from my friend, Philip Sanders, telling me that there was a meeting that evening. I had a mountain of Bernie work on my desk (I had become a Bernie Sanders blogger and social media promoter in my off hours and this gradually began to eat away most of my time) and the last thing I wanted to do was stop my Bernie-work to go to ANOTHER Bernie meeting, but Philip informed me that someone from the national campaign would be there and that they needed all hands on deck.

At first I thought that our Indy4Bernie group had grown tremendously, but soon came to realize that I was sitting in a room will all of the Bernie groups from the entire state. The national guy began to speak and I kept dozing off. It was completely involuntary. I just could not keep my eyes open. The subject of the meeting was to alert us that there was a major problem with one of the districts that we had to collect signatures in. Apparently in order for Bernie to even appear on the primary ballot and be eligible for voting we had to collect 500 registered voter signatures per district. I had never worked on a Presidential campaign before so this was all new to me.

The reason why there were so many people at our meeting was because the signature collectors from all over the state had come to turn in their signatures. But there was a major problem. District 5 didn’t have their signatures and the deadline for turning them in was fast approaching. Not only did they not have the signatures, but the people who were in charge of collecting them had quit in exasperation, saying that they had been harassed and threatened. They had collected less than 10 signatures.

I snapped from my sleep and raised my hand. “So if we don’t get these 500 signatures in the next few weeks, Bernie’s name won’t even be on the Indiana ballot?” I asked.

“That’s correct.” the national guy informed me.

A man in a suit stood up and said “This district is particularly problematic. It’s a wealthy, all rural Republican area. There is lots of space between the houses and they don’t take kindly to Democrats and they like Socialists even less. Unfortunately they have been informed of our presence and have made a concerted effort to keep us out. We are not allowed on any business properties. In fact some of the local police have threatened to arrest us if we trespass on business property and many of the houses have put up No Trespassing signs. This area is extremely difficult and no one wants to be harassed. Everyone we have put on it has quit.”

“Does Hillary have her signatures from District 5?” I asked.

“Hillary has hundreds of paid workers. Plus she also has the help of the local Democratic Party. So, yes. She is already on the ballot.”

“Oh and there’s something else you should probably know.” the man in the suit said “The county clerk there doesn’t want a Democratic Socialist on the ballot so they will disqualify any signature that isn’t legible and they will disqualify anyone who has moved their residence in the last year and they will look for reasons to disqualify Bernie’s name, so our solution to this is to get three signatures for every one we need, so we need 1500 signatures, so who wants to be in charge of District 5?”

With this he held the clipboard high above his head.

The room went still. As I sat there, hoping, waiting for someone to take charge, I looked at District 5 on the map. It was far away from my home and I had been through there before and on several occasions had been harassed by the police there. The Hamilton County police are legendary in Indiana. They will pretty much harass you just for being from out of town. I could tell you stories about my experiences with them that I probably wouldn’t believe myself if I hadn’t been through them. There was no part of me that wanted to go to District 5 and be harassed and more than likely arrested.

No one raised their hand.

The national guy said “Look, if we don’t get these signatures then Bernie doesn’t win Indiana and it will be really difficult to compete against Clinton if we concede a state before the primaries even begin.”

I raised my hand.

Oh my god!! What had I done?!

I felt sick to my stomach as they explained to me what I would be doing. Honestly this whole campaign was stretching me way past my comfort zone. I was already inundated with so much volunteer work that my business had taken a back seat and I was having a hard time paying my bills. Now I was going back to a place where police had harassed me on multiple occasions. I was absolutely horrified. This would become the central theme in my life over the next year thanks to Bernie Sanders and his amazing campaign.

My fear was quickly cut in half when Cherish Foreman-Davis approached me. We had never met, but she informed me that she lived in that district and would love to help with signature collection. She told me that there was an election coming up that Tuesday in district 5 and that it would be illegal to kick us off the property as it was state owned. The only rule that they could enforce is that we had to stay 50 feet from the entrance.

We put out a call on social media in hopes of finding others to help us with this urgent and pressing matter. One lady, Holly Davis, agreed to meet with us and I also brought my daughter, Chloe, along to help.

We started in, smiling and asking for signatures, but we were met with avoidance and hostility.

“I vote Republican.” a man said to Chloe.

“I don’t vote for communists.” a lady told me.

Several people told us that we shouldn’t be there and that we were violating people’s rights by harassing them when they were trying to vote.

One man who held a high public office came up to me with a group of men and introduced himself directly to me, ignoring the female volunteers. He said

“I love The Constitution and my FAVORITE part of The Constitution is the Second Amendment. Do you get my drift?”

I am pretty sure that he was threatening me, but I simply replied

“I love The Constitution as well and The Constitution says that ALL people have the right to participate in Democracy, so I’m sure you want to sign our ballot initiative.”

He replied “Hell no, I’m not signing that and no one else is going to either. I’ll make sure of that.” and then he and his entourage started greeting voters and pointing at us. People just stormed by us and as we started to speak they would either ignore us completely or say something hateful and continue walking. One man started screaming at us and then one of the “Second Amendment lovers” said that he was going to call the police because we were causing a disturbance.

This was not working out. It was easy to see why the other District 5 volunteers had quit. This was more than frustrating. This was bordering on dangerous.

I wanted the men to believe that we were giving up so I huddled our group off to the side and waited for the men to leave. I told our group that we needed to change up our plan.

“I think I know something that these people hate more than Socialism.” I said “Here’s our new line. ‘Hi! Do you have 30 seconds to help keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?’”

This changed everything!!

“Hi!! Do you have 30 seconds to help keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?” was met almost every time with a hardy laugh and the reply “Well I’ve got all day for that.”

I taught the group that the follow up line was “I know we might differ on some issues, but one of the things I respect most about Republicans is that they believe in Democracy. By signing here you guarantee that Hillary has competition and doesn’t just have the White House handed to her. Let’s work together to make Hillary’s life as difficult as possible.”

Most people would say “I don’t like Socialism, but I agree with you that everyone deserves a chance to run for office and anything that hurts Hillary Clinton is okay by me.”

And they signed…

And they signed..

And they signed.

One thing that really helped us was when the county chair, a young Republican girl, came up to me and said “I don’t agree with your politics, but I admire you for standing out here. I can’t imagine that people have been very welcoming.”

I liked talking with her. We came at everything from opposite viewpoints, which usually makes for interesting conversation, but I also had an ulterior motive. I knew that as long as she was speaking with me, voters would see this and this would give us more credibility. She really liked me as well and kept introducing me to voters as her “Bernie friend”. People looked at her like she should blink twice if she was being held hostage, but they signed, simply because she endorsed us.

Hundreds of people signed!!

Our team stood out there all day and we gathered signatures, but Cherish did not stop there. She continued to push day after day to get the 1500 signatures required. I helped, but Cherish was the real powerhouse. One day I was going from business to business and each time I would go in the shop owner would say “We already kicked the one girl out of here and told her we would call the police if she came back.” Cherish had already been kicked out of every business in District 5. This was inspiring. This was revolutionary. We were not simply signature collectors. We were insurgents, behind enemy lines, facing arrest and bodily harm. The more they resisted the more we persisted.

I remember one signature very clearly. I had been standing out on the street, during an intense snowstorm holding a sign that said

“IF YOU CARE ABOUT DEMOCRACY PLEASE SIGN!!”

No one was stopping their cars. I was cold and feeling ridiculous. Honestly I began to doubt that we were ever going to get the signatures. It felt like the whole town was against us (because in fact they WERE against us). As I lost feeling in my hands, I went inside one of the businesses to order coffee. I sat there drinking coffee with my sign and my clipboard on the table.

A police officer walked up to me.

“What are you wanting me to sign?”

I saw his badge clipped to his belt and replied

“Believe me, you don’t want to sign this. It’s a petition to allow Bernie Sanders to be on the ballot against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries.”

At this point a teenage boy came around the corner and said

“Bernie Sanders is awesome, Dad! You should sign it!”

I said nothing. The man and his son sat down at the table with me and ate their food and talked about Socialism. The kid kept saying “But that’s not what Bernie stands for…” and then would go on to straighten his father out on Bernie’s platform. To Dad’s credit, he listened and then he said to me

“Is it okay if I sign it?”

I only got one signature that day, but I needed it so badly. It inspired me to continue to work and it reminded me that you can’t prejudge people. And thanks to the work of Cherish and Holly, we got the signatures required to get Bernie on the ballot here in Indiana.

The county clerk begrudgingly signed off on the signatures and Bernie went on to win Indiana along with 21 other states. Being part of that was one of the greatest accomplishments of my entire life.

I will forever be grateful that I got to be part of such a determined team. The entire town tried to stop us, but in the end our commitment to Bernie was stronger than their will to stop us.

Bernie Sanders made it onto the ballot.

And Bernie Sanders won Indiana.

THAT’S THE CHAPTER – I REALLY HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT!! THERE ARE MANY MORE EXCITING CHAPTERS IN THE FULL VERSION OF THE BOOK. 

berniebook

HERE ARE ALL THE DETAILS YOU NEED IN ONE EASY TO UNDERSTAND VIDEO (<—-CLICK HERE)

The video is kind of long.

 There was a lot I wanted to fit in.

Here are the bullet points.

If you want an electronic copy of the book, I’ll send you one out absolutely free

Just send an email to

 GoBernieGoBernieGo@gmail.com

 And I’ll get an electronic copy sent out to you as soon as it goes to press on August 28.

 If anyone wants to contribute to the publishing costs, they can do so by clicking the link below.

 DONATIONS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO RECEIVE THE BOOK!!

 There is also an exciting bonus program for founding members.

 Anyone who donates $27 or more will be part of The 27 Buck Club.

 Those people receive a physical copy of the book, shipped to their home, along with a second book, The Independent Thinker Chronicles.

 The Independent Thinker Chronicles is a compilation of articles I wrote while on the road with the campaign.

 In addition, anyone in The 27 Buck Club gets their name credited inside the book for being an integral part of getting the book to press.

 If joining The 27 Buck Club, please be sure to include the address of where your books are to be shipped.

 If no one donates I’ll foot the entire bill for the publishing and I’LL STILL SEND OUT THE FREE COPIES!!

If the crowdfunding is successful and there is any money left over after paying the publishing costs, these proceeds go to pay Ari’s schooling (see video for details).

 I wanted to structure this where everyone could get the book without paying for it.

But I also wanted to structure it where there was freedom to participate for those who wanted to and I wanted to reward those people with something exciting.

 This is my first time doing crowdfunding and also my first time self-publishing so I hope I did a good job with the structure.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this chapter and I really look forward to getting the book to you.

I’ve spent so much time trying to make it amazing.

I sincerely believe that it is a book that needed to be written and I’m honored to be able to be part of such an incredible movement.

Your friend in Revolution,

Michael E Sparks

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You Bernie People Are Being Ridiculous

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book,

My Bernie Journey – A Behind the Scenes Look at the 2016 Democratic Primary

The book will be released on August 28.

I have been working on it for over a year and I really believe that it is an accurate portrayal of the disenfranchisement that Sanders and his supporters faced at the hands of the Democratic Party.

It’s a good read, full of the anger, sadness and euphoria that we all experienced as part of Sanders’ historic campaign.

This particular chapter is less fact-based than some of the other chapters and is more about the emotions that fueled the campaign and why the movement has continued on at a grassroots level, despite the chicanery that undemocratically halted Sanders’ presidential run.

This chapter was a lot of fun to write and I feel strongly that I must use my ability with language to not just deliver the facts, but also to paint elaborate pictures that inspire my readers to continue to take action.

I sincerely hope you find something that you can relate to in my ramblings.

After you finish reading the chapter, scroll down and there will be instructions on how you can obtain a copy of the book at no charge.

There is also an opportunity to be part of the team that gets the book to press.

Lastly, we are about to embark on a 22 city tour, where we will be meeting with amazing revolutionaries whose lives have been forever changed by this movement.

While we are on the road we will be shooting footage that we will be using in a companion documentary.

We feel strongly that these stories must be told so that we can continue our Progressive movement and be all the wiser as we go forward.

You can be part of this road-trip by clicking HERE and then clicking the follow button.

I sincerely promise to do everything in my power to promote this book to anyone and everyone who may help further the truth about the travesty that occurred against our movement during the 2016 “Democratic” Primary as well as to help inspire our path forward.

Please feel free to share this post with anyone whom you think may be interested in this project.

Without further ado, here’s the chapter.

Thank you for taking the time to read and participate.

berniegirl

Chapter 17 – You Bernie People Are Being Ridiculous

Because of my love for Bernie Sanders and the movement he stands for, I lost a lot of friends.

I could see what my friends were seeing. I totally got it. Michael, their friend who was always kind of right there on the verge of insanity, had finally slipped over the edge. They always thought it would be drugs or alcohol that would finally drag me out past the frayed ends of madness and dump me into the great abyss, where my heroes all hung their hats. Instead it ended up being Bernie Freaking Sanders that had pushed their compadre past the brink.

I know my friends resented Bernie. They resented him for stealing away my time and energy. They resented him for being the only thing I ever talked about. In short, they resented him for stealing their friend.

My friends talked with one another. Interventions were planned, but ultimately quashed due to the fact that no one thought it would do any good whatsoever.

Michael had lost his mind and there was nothing they could do about it.

Truthfully, I had never been sane, not by their definition anyway. I had always been hanging around in the shadows, trying to figure out how to throw a wrench into the machine.

When I was 11, I used my Commodore 64 to hack into my school computer, just so I could change my grades, even though I knew I already had straight A’s. When I was 15 I formed a punk band with plans to inform the world that the system was broken and that anarchy was the only solution. Before Sanders, I had been reduced to finding legal ways to rip off corporations in order to feel like I was doing something to stem the tide of corporate injustice. I was small-time, but my sedition kept me sane.

I was Tyler Durden selling cellulite back to suburban women in the form of boutique soap. I was a dejected rebel, a down and out subversive, a wannabe revolutionary. Had Sanders not come along, I would have probably fallen into extreme couponing in my desperate attempt to bring corporations to their knees. I was a flea on a flea on a flea on the back of global commerce.

Some live off scraps. I lived off the scraps that fell from scraps.

As far as my government and the corporations that own it were concerned, I was a nobody.

The crown jewel in my anti-authoritarianism, I found a flaw in Blockbuster’s video game trade in policy and exploited it so severely that I was banned from their stores. I did nothing wrong. They did their math incorrectly. I made $8500 in three weeks and when they banned me, I wrote a blog explaining to tens of thousands of others how to exploit their system. When I saw their stores going out of business, I smiled, thinking that I had been a microscopic part of this event.

Damn the man.

Fuck the police.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

I’ve always loathed this wicked machine. I was always crazy. I just needed a vehicle for my mayhem.

Some dude from Vermont wants to destroy the system and rebuild it in his image?

Sign me up!

Let’s break shit!

Crazy isn’t really the problem. Crazy is the solution. When born into a country where one’s value is measured by the amount of capital that one can create for themselves by coming up with ways to take assets from the vulnerable, then the only sane path is to be crazy.

So when people tell me that Bernie Sanders supporters are crazy, I know they are just buying into the corporate media narrative designed to discredit our incredibly powerful movement. I am encouraged by this insult, for it would not be necessary to create such lies if we weren’t a threat to the establishment.

And to be fair, Sanders supporters are crazy.

We are crazy enough to believe that compassion is more important than Capitalism. We are crazy enough to believe that people are more important than profits. And we are crazy enough to believe that “when millions of people stand together” they can take control of their government from greedy billionaires who literally seek to enslave humanity.

Bernie Sanders was speaking my language. When Bernie stood up and said “We need a political revolution in this country.” I was like “Dude, you had me at ‘we’.”

My friends thought I was crazy and I thought they were asleep. These friendships were destined to end. I simply do not have time to wake people up when they are willfully participating in their own slumber. Why waste the time when there are others who want to be awakened and will wake up swinging? Me and my new friends were ringing our bells from town to town. We were waking people up. We were finding all the crazy people. We were building an army.

So when you make comments about how crazy Bernie Sanders people are, what you are really doing is revealing something about yourself. What you are really saying is that things are “just fine” and I’m sorry, my dear friend, but things are not “just fine” and they haven’t been, well, ever really.

Me and my crazy friends want to make sure that every single person on this planet has food, shelter and medicine. Me and my crazy friends believe that we can use technology in ways that can bring about a genuine world peace. Me and my crazy friends look at the evil in the world, push through our sadness and anger and reload our ambition to fight for things both great and small. We take in the abandoned and destitute. We hang rainbow flags in our windows to let the lost know that they will be safe with us. We make sack lunches and take them to those who seek shelter in bridges, benches and alleys. We keep trying when every single person around us has given up.

Indeed, we are crazy.

And there are MILLIONS OF US!!

And we are just crazy enough to believe that we can change the world.

THAT’S THE CHAPTER – I REALLY HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT!! THERE ARE MANY MORE EXCITING CHAPTERS IN THE FULL VERSION OF THE BOOK. 

berniebook

HERE ARE ALL THE DETAILS YOU NEED IN ONE EASY TO UNDERSTAND VIDEO (<—-CLICK HERE)

The video is kind of long.

 There was a lot I wanted to fit in.

Here are the bullet points.

If you want an electronic copy of the book, I’ll send you one out absolutely free

Just send an email to

 GoBernieGoBernieGo@gmail.com

 And I’ll get an electronic copy sent out to you as soon as it goes to press on August 28.

 If anyone wants to contribute to the publishing costs, they can do so by clicking the link below.

 DONATIONS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO RECEIVE THE BOOK!!

 There is also an exciting bonus program for founding members.

 Anyone who donates $27 or more will be part of The 27 Buck Club.

 Those people receive a physical copy of the book, shipped to their home, along with a second book, The Independent Thinker Chronicles.

 The Independent Thinker Chronicles is a compilation of articles I wrote while on the road with the campaign.

 In addition, anyone in The 27 Buck Club gets their name credited inside the book for being an integral part of getting the book to press.

 If joining The 27 Buck Club, please be sure to include the address of where your books are to be shipped.

 If no one donates I’ll foot the entire bill for the publishing and I’LL STILL SEND OUT THE FREE COPIES!!

If the crowdfunding is successful and there is any money left over after paying the publishing costs, these proceeds go to pay Ari’s schooling (see video for details).

 I wanted to structure this where everyone could get the book without paying for it.

But I also wanted to structure it where there was freedom to participate for those who wanted to and I wanted to reward those people with something exciting.

 This is my first time doing crowdfunding and also my first time self-publishing so I hope I did a good job with the structure.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this chapter and I really look forward to getting the book to you.

I’ve spent so much time trying to make it amazing.

I sincerely believe that it is a book that needed to be written and I’m honored to be able to be part of such an incredible movement.

Your friend in Revolution,

Michael E Sparks

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