The huge crowds greeting socialist Bernie Sanders in his run for the Democratic presidential nomination cannot just be attributed to large numbers of left-wingers. There is a hard-core left-wing element to the Sanders candidacy, of course. But Sanders has tapped into what used to be one of Hillary Clinton’s key constituencies, the New Age Movement. A top Sanders adviser is the influential “spiritual teacher” Marianne Williamson, whose self-help books have been heavily promoted by Oprah Winfrey and sold millions.
The New Age Movement is a growing group of people in America who have broken with the Judeo-Christian tradition to instead endorse the notion of God as a mystical force inhabiting humans, the earth, or spiritual “masters.” Oprah’s website describes it somewhat differently: “For 20 years, Marianne Williamson has been a pioneer on the front lines of a worldwide spiritual movement aimed at creating a global shift in collective consciousness.”
Taking this perspective into the political realm, Williamson has advocated a Department of Peacebuilding and has created a group called the Peace Alliance to bring this about.
Constance Cumbey has written two books on the New Age Movement and says its “toolbox is mysticism,” or “altered states of consciousness,” which are said to draw people into a relationship with spiritual forces in the world that are part of a “New World Order” and global religion to be headed by an anticipated “messianic figure” of some kind.
Whatever this mean for the world as a whole, it appears that Williamson sees Sanders as the savior of the American political system.
Williamson, who writes on the Sanders-for-president website about the need for “revolutionary power,” has used her vast influence to mobilize her followers on behalf of the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party. She says the Marxist presidency of Barack Obama hasn’t been radical enough. “Having invested so much hope in 2008 in a candidate who turned out in many ways to disappoint, it’s not easy to summon our internal forces for another big wave of revolutionary fervor,” she says. But Sanders, the “independent” socialist senator from Vermont, is a true revolutionary, she says. “If we all show up and exercise our power as citizens, Senator Sanders can win the presidency in 2016,” she adds.
Analyst Trevor Loudon has documented that Sanders, the only Senate member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is actually a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), an organization that backed Obama’s political career and works with openly communist groups. “DSA works very closely with three of America’s leading communist groups—the Maoist leaning Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the ‘old guard’ Communist Party USA, and the CPUSA spin-off Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism,” notes Loudon. “The four groups have even seriously considered merging in recent years.”
We have noted Sanders’ history of involvement with Communist Party-controlled groups such as the U.S. Peace Council. In the 1980s, he was part of the Soviets’ “nuclear freeze” campaign to undercut President Ronald Reagan’s military build-up.
A former nightclub singer, Williamson herself ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2014 on a platform that included abortion rights, gay rights, socialized medicine, and the need to combat what she perceives as man-made global warming, nowadays called climate change. “While a lifelong Democrat herself, Marianne ran the congressional race as an Independent, making the statement that she was not beholden to either party,” noted writer Tabby Biddle.
“While America has some serious enemies—and it’s certainly our responsibility to protect our country and our children—I believe our country’s way of dealing with security issues is increasingly obsolete,” Williamson declared. “We cannot simply rely on brute force to rid ourselves of enemies. In so doing, we overburden our military by asking them to compensate for the work that we ourselves are not doing. The only way to make peace with your neighbors is to make peace with your neighbors.”
She added that, if she won, she would co-sponsor the bill to establish a U.S. Department of Peacebuilding that would examine “non-violent problem-solving options” to global conflict. The department was to be paid for out of the defense budget.
Labeled by The Hollywood Reporter as “Hollywood’s favorite New Age Guru” because of her influence with movie producers, directors, and actors, Williamson hosted Sanders at her own feminist-oriented “Sister Giant” conference earlier this year. Described personally as a “radical feminist mother,” Williamson has a daughter whose father is not known and whom she refuses to name.
While some of the New Age rhetoric and books can be dismissed as expensive but harmless fun, it’s when these “spiritual teachers” exert political influence and address global issues that we can see a tendency that seems even more radical than the usual Marxist drivel emanating from Democratic Party politicians such as Obama.
However, there is overlap. Williamson’s proposed Department of Peacebuilding, which was to be headed by a Secretary of Peacebuilding, was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), one of Fidel Castro’s closest friends in the U.S. Congress.
Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who also works with Williamson, had introduced a similar bill. “The intention is to develop an organized approach, tapping the intellectual and spiritual power of America to develop programs that would include teaching children the principles of peace: teaching them peace giving, peace sharing, mutuality, seeing the other person as an aspect of oneself, of teaching the inner equality of all people,” Kucinich said in a post on Williamson’s Peace Alliance website.
Like Sanders, Williamson is considered by some to be pro-Israel. But in her book, The Healing of America, she discussed how Egypt’s highest Muslim cleric had once approached her “to make sure you understand that Islam is a religion of peace.” She didn’t say whether the Muslim leader condemned and rejected the passages in the Koran that call for killing the “Infidels” who resist Islam.
She also wrote, “The creative challenge of spiritual life is to know enough about God to be hopeful. From Jesus to Buddha to Moses to Mohammed, wayshowers have risen out of the timeline of history to draw maps and pave roads to a more perfect world.” The comparison of Jesus—who led a perfect life and preached love—to the Muslim Prophet Mohammad, is offensive on its face. Islam began in violence and Mohammad himself was a violent warrior.
The term “wayshowers” is common in New Age circles and refers to spiritual beings supposedly leading us into a new world of community and harmony.
When Keith Ellison became the first Congressman to take the oath of office with his hand on the Koran, Williamson commented, “Fantastic story.” Ellison, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, endorsed Williamson in her run for Congress.
For a time, Williamson and her associate Jean Houston of the Foundation for Mind Research were considered to be in Hillary Clinton’s political camp. Houston had tried to help Mrs. Clinton, when she was First Lady, “communicate” with Eleanor Roosevelt during a mystical “channeling” session. Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward wrote about these sessions in a book on the 1996 presidential election.
At some point, however, Cumbey says Houston and Williamson abandoned Hillary. Williamson said in 2008 that she was supporting Barack Obama and not Hillary because “I am not going to vote with my vagina.”
This was a dramatic turnaround, since Mrs. Clinton in her memoir Living History had discussed hosting Williamson and Houston and other New Agers at Camp David. “You were wonderful to me back in 1994 when you invited me to the White House. It’s a memory I will treasure always, and you gave it to me,” Williamson wrote back to Hillary in a Huffington Post article.
But the 2014 Williamson article, “An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton,” was actually prompted by Williamson’s revelation that the former First Lady was getting too close to powerful interests in society. Williamson pleaded with Clinton to, “Stop cozying up to the banks, to the chemical companies, to the military-industrial complex, to the party machine, and to all the various financiers who make up the plutocracy now ruining this country.”
The pleas apparently went unheeded, since Williamson eventually broke completely with Hillary and now promotes Sanders for president and writes for his website. Through Sanders and other such candidates, she insists, America can experience a revolution “of light, of consciousness, and love” and “break out of this ridiculous corporate straightjacket that imperils us the way it does now.”
Whatever this means, it has occurred to some on the far-left that while Sanders is taking on “corporate power and oligarchy” and calling for vast federal spending increases for social welfare programs, the “issues” section of his presidential website says absolutely nothing about foreign policy. The group called RootsAction complains that his stump speech hardly mentions the “huge military budget” and says he must challenge “militarism and ongoing war.”
Perhaps Williamson’s proposed Department of Peacebuilding will be the focus of one of Sanders’ next speeches, a development that will make the socialist senator not only look like a pawn of Williamson and the New Age Movement, but the true leader of the Loony Left.