Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
The great crisis facing our country is not going to be cured by any single piece of legislation. The great cause of this crisis is the incredible greed and selfishness that exist in the ruling elite of America. These people have no shame. For years, the CEOs on Wall Street were only making $10 million, $20 million, $50 million a year, at a time when America had the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrial world, but that was not enough for them. They needed $1 billion a year running hedge funds. They needed to come up with exotic, nonunderstandable financial instruments so that Wall Street became a casino.
And after their slicing and dicing, after their greed, after their recklessness, after their illegal behavior, they plunged this country into a terrible recession. Have you heard one of these people come before the American people and say, “I’m sorry”? Not only have they not apologized after they’ve taken hundreds of billions of your dollars. They’re back to doing today what they were doing before the collapse of Wall Street.
That is unacceptable. That has got to change. . . .
Brothers and sisters, the only way we ever win is when working class people, middle class people, and lower income people come together to fight for justice, to fight for the rights of all our people. On the other side, there are folks who are spending unbelievable sums of money in Washington. And they own much of the media. It’s not going to be easy.
But at the end of the day, if we stand together around a progressive agenda, if we make sure that every working person in this country votes for their own interests, not for the interests of Wall Street or the insurance companies, there is no limit to what we can accomplish as a nation.
If we are prepared to fight, there is not a doubt in my mind that the world we will leave to our kids and grandchildren will be a better world than we have today.
Bernie Sanders's whole article appears in the December/January 2010 issue. Subscribe to The Progressive for just $14.97 by clicking here for immediate access.