Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has seen growing support as the self-described socialist and underdog to Hillary Clinton campaigns for president. From raising taxes for the rich, to a single payer universal health care system, to a $15 dollar minimum wage, Sanders is pretty radical. So, it kind of makes sense that he could be the presidential candidate that Anonymous might support.
Anonymous is a the loose group of world-wide "hacktivists" — a term best described as people who hack computers in the name of activism. Most recently, according to the Huffington Post, they've attacked the Ku Klux Klan. The "anons," members of Anonymous, took down their websites and hacked their Twitter account in retaliation for the white supremacist's group's threat to use "lethal force" on those protesting unarmed black teen Michael Brown's death. That's just one example of their hacktivism. Anons have called for justice in a rape case, spoke out against Scientology, and hacked social media accounts affiliated with ISIS.
Anonymous is a seriously powerful hacktivist group. Who would they support in the 2016 presidential election? Although the group members haven't publicly declared their support, given its radical past, Anonymous should support Sanders, because both overlap in overwhelmingly progressive interests. Here are three examples of a common agenda between Anonymous and Sanders.
Anonymous has a history of attacking homophobia. When Uganda proposed the Anti-Homosexuality Act — a piece of legislation that would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death — Anonymous hacked two Ugandan government websites. According to Think Progress, the anons wrote a cryptic message on the Ugandan Prime Minister's page including, "You have been warned, repeatedly to expect us ... Your violations of the rights of LGBT people have disgusted us. ALL people have the right to live in dignity free from the repression of someone else’s political and religious beliefs." Similarly, they have fought against the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church on multiple occasions.
Sanders has a history of supporting LGBT rights — he voted against DOMA in 1996 — and on his website he writes, "Of course all citizens deserve equal rights. It's time for the Supreme Court to catch up to the American people and legalize gay marriage."
Occupy Wall Street & Income Inequality
Anonymous was involved in Occupy Wall Street, a series of protests in NYC part of the greater occupy movement — global activism for social and economic equality. Anonymous publicly supported Occupy Wall Street in 2011, according to Business Insider. The Nation reported in 2011 that Anonymous helped the movement by generating social media attention. Sanders talked about the importance of these protests in a video interview with The Guardian.
As a self-described socialist, its not surprising that a huge part of Sanders' platform is income inequality. On his website Sanders calls out the unequal distribution of wealth: "As the rich become much richer, the level of income and wealth inequality has reached obscene and astronomical levels. In the United States, we have one of the most unequal wealth and income distributions of any major country on earth. Our inequality is worse now than at any other time in American history since the 1920s." Sounds like both are dissatisfied with income inequality in the U.S.
When unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was killed by police, Anonymous stepped in and advocated for justice. According to TIME, the hacktivists shut down the Ferguson City Hall website and phone lines in August. They released a chill-inducing video asking not just for justice for Michael Brown, but for a more systematic legislative change. In the video the group promises to hack the Ferguson Police Department website if officers harm protesters.
Bernie's stance? Sanders wrote in a New York Times article that's now featured on his webpage:
If there is anything that we can learn from the Ferguson tragedy, it should be a recognition that we need to address the extraordinary crises facing black youths. That means, among other things, a major jobs program, job training and vastly improved educational opportunities.
In an interview with CNN, he addressed police brutality and said that the poor treatment of black people by police is "unacceptable." Both Anonymous and Sanders are angered by the Ferguson shooting, and call for a change in police brutality, making them even more aligned with each other.
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