Bernie Sanders: ‘Oligarchs run Russia. But guess what? They run the US as well’

Read an extract from It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism

by Tim Adams

fter the State of the Union address at the beginning of this month, the Wall Street Journal ran an opinion piece that argued: “Joe Biden is Bernie Sanders.” By this it meant that, somehow, by stealth, under the cover of darkness, a “democratic socialist” – both words apparently terms of abuse in the WSJ commentator’s lexicon – had invaded the White House and was now making policy for ordinary Americans, interfering in the unjust struggle of their lives, trying to help them get decent jobs and provide them with affordable healthcare. The implication was clear: offshore your assets and offer unhinged prayers to Marjorie Taylor Greene!

Speaking to Sanders last week, I wondered if that was how it felt to him. The 81-year-old senator for Vermont gave one of his brief, gravelly guffaws, his concession to small talk. “Not quite,” he said. “I do go to the White House every now and then and chat with the president but no, I’m not in the White House. But that’s the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch’s paper – you know Rupert Murdoch in the UK, right?” I confirm a passing acquaintance.

“Well, the fact is the Wall Street Journal is shocked – flabbergasted! – that an American president would have the courage to mention in his speech, say, that the oil industry made $200bn in profit, while jacking up prices for everyone; they are shocked to hear that a president wants to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry; shocked to hear a president talk about the need to raise teacher salaries. Joe Biden is far more conservative than I am. But to his credit, I think he has seen what the progressive movement is doing in this country. And he feels comfortable with some of our ideas – and I appreciate that.”…