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READ IT: Sanders’ Sexual Revolution Manifesto: ‘The Revolution Is Life Versus Death’

With democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) now increasingly poised to take the Democratic presidential nomination, his past statements, policy positions, and personal life are coming under even more scrutiny than in the 2016 election cycle, when he was a long-shot candidate against a presumptive nominee with the Democratic Party apparatus securely in her pocket.
Some of what has come to light about Sanders in recent weeks demonstrates how little the left-leaning media bothered to vet him in the past. Among the details from Sanders’ past that have garnered more attention as of late are his past radical writings, some of which were brought up by Hillary Clinton’s camp four years ago but failed to gain much traction among mainstream outlets.
Along with a controversial piece that referenced rape fantasies and gender roles, one of Sanders’ past writings as a young revolutionary that has resurfaced is a sexual revolution-themed manifesto published by The Vermont Freeman in November 1969, when Sanders was 28-years-old. The essay has gained a little more attention as of late, in part due to fellow Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s campaign.
Though it was referenced vaguely by The New York Times in July 2015, the piece, titled “The Revolution Is Life Versus Death,” has largely gone under the collective radar. In it, Sanders paints a dystopian picture of life in capitalist America, mocks rhetoric about fighting communism, and presents what he suggests are some of the reasons for a supposedly prevailing “sexual deadness” in the country that is leading to “DEATH.”
Throughout the piece, Sanders repeatedly bemoans traditional notes of sexual “decency” and morality, including when it comes to children:
In Vermont, at a state beach, a mother is reprimanded by Authority for allowing her 6-month-old daughter to go about without her diapers on. Now, if children go around naked, they are liable to see each other’s sexual organs, and maybe even touch them. Terrible thing! If we bring children up like this it will probably ruin the whole pornography business, not to mention the large segment of the general economy which makes its money by playing on people’s sexual frustrations.
The revolution comes, Sanders declares later, “when a father refuses to send his child to school because schools destroy children, when a commune is started and people begin to trust each other, when a young man refuses to go to war, and when a girl pushes aside all that her mother has ‘taught’ her and accepts her boyfriend’s love.”
Below is the full text of Sanders’ sexual revolution-themed essay published by The Vermont Freeman on Nov. 14, 1969 (minor typos amended for readability):
The Revolution Is Life Versus Death
By Bernard Sanders
Mr. Sanders, who has written several other thoughtful pieces for The Freeman, lives in Greensboro Bend, from which vantage pint he takes a penetrating look at the world around him.
The train pulls out of 14th street in Manhattan at 8:30 in the morning. Sleepy people, miserable people, hold on to the overhead straps and each other. (The seats have been filled up since way back in Brooklyn). It’s another mass of hot dazed humanity heading uptown for the 9-5. Moron work, monotonous work, coffee breaks, office gossip, and 5 o’clock comes and the same train, the same mob of faceless people, turns around and heads the other way.
The train stops somewhere in Brooklyn, a crowd gets out, someone walks a few blocks into a 3-room apartment, family, dinner, arguments, TV and sleep. Eight-thirty the next morning the train is back on 14th street.
The years come and go, suicide, nervous breakdown, cancer, sexual deadness, heart attack, alcoholism, senility at 50. Slow, death, fast death. DEATH.
And some people actually wonder why young people rebel, why there is a revolution taking place.
Lies, lies, lies, invasion, napalm, torture, bombings, annihilation of whole villages, body counts, and more lies.
“In defense of liberty,” “against communist aggression,” “to protect American interests,” empty phrases, dead words spoken by dead people, lies. “Democracy” is a United States congress composed of millionaires and state legislatures controlled by lobbyists. (Does one American in a thousand know who represents him in his state legislature?). “Freedom” is an arm broken by Mayor Daley’s cops, while nobody’s choice for president kisses the television set as he is nominated in Chicago.
Somewhere in California, in Vermont, in New Mexico, in Colorado, and in everyplace, new things are happening. A revolution is taking place, Life is fighting against strangulation and death, and Life will win.
Life is young (at any age), alive, open, and nonfearing. Life can take his clothes off and be naked with friends. He or she has nothing to hide. There is nothing prettier than the unclothed human body.
In Miami, the American Legion sponsors a “rally for decency.” Even Jackie Gleason attends. [Jim] Morrison of the Doors is arrested for giving a lewd performance. He is “immoral.” The President of the American Legion calls for more bombing of Vietnam. “Bomb them into the stone age”, the general says, after [coming] out of church. This is the morality that civilization is made of. The general is “moral”, Morrison is “immoral.”
Because they have been good little children, and because the judge this year is liberal, daddy is going to allow everyone who is over 18 to see “I Am Curious Yellow” [a 1967 Swedish erotic film]. Yes, you can see naked people and even sexual intercourse right in your local movie theatre. And 300,000 people (over 18) lined up, like good little girls and boys, and saw it. Yes, son (age 90), that’s how other people do it.
In Vermont, at a state beach, a mother is reprimanded by Authority for allowing her 6-month-old daughter to go about without her diapers on. Now, if children go around naked, they are liable to see each other’s sexual organs, and maybe even touch them. Terrible thing! If we bring children up like this it will probably ruin the whole pornography business, not to mention the large segment of the general economy which makes its money by playing on people’s sexual frustrations.
The Revolution is coming and it is a very beautiful revolution. It is beautiful because, in its deepest sense, it is quiet, gentle, and all- pervasive. It KNOWS. What is most important is this revolution will require no guns, no commandants, no screaming “leaders,” and no vicious publications accusing everyone else of being counter-revolutionary. The revolutionary. The revolution comes when two strangers smile at each other, when a father refuses to send his child to school because schools destroy children, when a commune is started and people begin to trust each other, when a young man refuses to go to war, and when a girl pushes aside all that her mother has “taught” her and accepts her boyfriend’s love.
The revolution comes when young people throughout the world take control of their own lives, and when people everywhere begin to look each other in the eye and say hello, without fear. This is the revolution, this is the strength, and with this behind us no politician or general will ever stop us. We shall win!

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