The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Libertarians not ‘Feelin’ the Bern’

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben S
Protestors from College Republicans, Young Americans for Liberty, and Turning Point stand on the side of Park Road on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. The group, under the platform of “Socialism Sucks,” was protesting Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., visit to Hancher Auditorium. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

“Socialism Sucks Rally” rally hosted by Iowa libertarians protests Bernie Sanders’ visit to Hancher to talk about his new book.

By Sarah Watson

[email protected]

Libertarians from throughout Iowa took a stand against democratic socialism Thursday at a “Socialism Sucks” Rally. Approximately 40 people rallied across the street from Hancher as former Democratic Party nominee candidate and self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke in Hancher about his new book, Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution.

“I think it’s especially important on college campuses to spread both sides of the story,” UI student Ben Van Poucke said while balancing on a pair of Rollerblades. “I was like I need to get down there and support the cause so I came down in my Rollerblades and made sure I got here.”

Lined up along the curb, protesters held up signs such as “Honk if you Hate Bernie” and “Google Argentina.”

The rally was held at the City Park because the group’s permit did not allow them to gather outside Hancher. Even though the group couldn’t rally on Hancher property, they still managed to catch the attention of cars turning in to go to Sanders’ talk.

His new book outlines his vision for reform for the U.S. economy, environmental policy, health care, and social issues, and it aims to teach young people how to enact change.

RELATED: Sanders: Break out of comfort zone

Many of Sanders’ economic ideas, which revolve around more government services and higher taxes for the wealthy, often contradict directly with libertarian platforms, which favor little to no government involvement in both economic and social issues.

During the 2016 presidential primaries, Sanders campaigned for a number government-funded programs — universal health care, tuition- and debt-free college education, and a higher minimum wage, to name a few.

The Iowa libertarians and other people at the rally do not agree with Sander’s idea of big government.

“I think as libertarians, we believe that socialism is dangerous. We think that free market is the best tool we can use to get people out of poverty,” said Joshua Wold, a libertarian candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives District 94. “Socialism harms more people than it helps.”

After about an hour into the rally, organizer P.J. Rashed spoke to the crowd with a megaphone, punctuated by cheers from the group and supportive honking from passing cars.

“Since I can only speak for myself, libertarianism to me is synonymous with freedom,” Rashed said, “How can one truly be free without the government intervening where it is not wanted?”

Rashed, who is of mixed Arab, African, and European descent, told the crowd about how his experiences have shaped who he is today.

“I have immediate family members deported for coming here illegally and I still support the United States’ rights to protect its border,” Rashed said. “I have been poor most my life, and I still loathe the welfare state.”

Libertarians were not the only people protesting against Sanders – Republicans and independents joined the ranks as well.

“We’re all uniting under the message that socialism sucks,” said Patrick Wronkiewicz, the chair of the University of Iowa College Republicans. “We’re creating a narrative that there are other ways to achieve higher wages and other ways to getting people health care, and we think our ways are more effective than the economic policies that Bernie Sanders is promoting.”

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