Like Michael Moore and Ralph Nader, Bernie Sanders Abused Staff
“a screamer and a table-banger”
This is absolutely unsurprising. There’s a strong correlation between social justice advocacy and abusive tendencies. The more someone shouts about inequality, the more they relish stepping on people.
Bernie Sanders rants about inequality and billionaires abusing people. But this is what it’s like to work for him in real life…
He’s “a prick” and “an asshole” to his staff, known as “a screamer and a table-banger.”
For these reasons, Jaffe said the word some people used to describe Sanders’ attitude toward his employees was “abusive.” (The senator’s field director Phil Fiermonte saw it differently, telling the author that Sanders just has high expectations.)
Despite the millions of dollars he commands, he historically paid his professional staff less than minimum wage. Nader, who told Business Week during the last campaign that he offers staff “unlimited sick leave,” ordered staffer George Riley to take a two-week leave of absence to work on a political campaign, refusing him to pay for the time. When I worked for Ralph Nader in 1980-81, he paid us $8,000 a year, hardly enough to get by on even then. We could scarcely afford the time to spend money, though, because Nader expected staff to work around the clock.
Staff turned over rapidly. Few people could stand the hours, pay and abuse for more than a year or two.
“How can we go out and try to save the world from people when we’re grinding people to death all the time?”– John Esposito, original staffer at Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law
“Nader strikes me as conforming to the stereotype people have of sociologists and politicians: they bleed for the poor and downtrodden but mistreat their maids.” – David Sanford
But, as the staff of Mother Jones had discovered, Moore wasn’t the ideal boss. Little by little, he began to alienate people. He disliked sharing credit with his writers. He would often come in late. He didn’t yell at people: if someone said something he didn’t like, he wouldn’t argue; he would simply not invite that person to the next meeting, or the person would be fired.
One by one, his employees stopped believing in the Cause. The job became just a job, and Moore became just another boss in a business that had an almost limitless tolerance for bad behavior. But, because they had once believed in him, their disappointment was painful. “I have let go of Michael,” the former “TV Nation” employee says, in the shakily resolute tone of a reforming alcoholic.
“He wanted to let us know that this would hurt us if it continued,” Zicklin says. “We were scared out of our minds. It was like a theme from ‘Roger & Me.’ ”
one senior staffer regularly responded to Moore’s abuse by presenting the boss with a big box of doughnuts. He assured co-workers he was not trying to placate Moore. Rather, he figured Mike’s intemperate scarfing would hasten the fat man’s death.
But this type of abusive hypocritical behavior goes back all the way to Karl Marx, the champion of the working class who impregnated an unpaid household maid, then together with his co-author Engels, sent his illegitimate son off to be raised by a poor foster family. It’s very poignantly Dickensian.
Marx could not afford any support. Engels, on whom Marx depended financially, sent small, infrequent remittances. Both Marx and Engels distanced themselves from Freddy. Marx never saw the boy. Freddy Demuth was poorly educated. For most of his life, he worked as a laborer and toolmaker. After Marx’s death, he established closer contact with his mother, who had then become Engels’s housekeeper. Freddy visited her weekly but was allowed only into the kitchen and servants’ rooms through the back door. Engels, like Marx, shunned him.
If you want someone to treat you like garbage, stick close to a warrior against income inequality. The more they yell about unfairness, the worse they will abuse you. From Marx to Engels to Nader to Moore to Sanders, it never changes.