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Billy Bragg sings for Bernie at Oxford rally

Singer-songwriter and left-wing activist Billy Bragg visited Oxford last week to campaign for Bernie Sanders in time for the Democrats Abroad Primary.

Bragg sang at the rally outside the Clarendon Building for a crowd of more than 100 people with the aim of encouraging US nationals living in Oxford to vote for Bernie Sanders.

Bragg touched upon a number of current issues, including climate change, the #MeToo movement and fake news, while also commenting on UK politics by bringing up Jeremy Corbyn.

Billy Bragg is known for lyrics that span political themes, as his music is heavily centred on bringing about change and involving people in activist causes.

The 2020 Democrats Abroad primary is a global vote allowing American citizens living outside the United States to participate in the nomination process.

The rally on Sunday was officially organised by Bernie2020UK and by Oxford4Bernie.

Co-organizer of the event, Aisha Ahmad, stressed the need to “let Americans living in the United Kingdom know that they could vote and have a voice in this historic election”.

Speaking of her own past experience of the 2016 primaries, Ahmad said that she “only found out a day before polls opened” that she could vote. As a result, she wanted to “ensure that as many Americans and friends and family of Americans knew that they could make their vote count”.

She also told Cherwell that Billy Bragg was contacted by the organisers of the event, and he “responded promptly and enthusiastically, as the left can always count on him to do. He was extremely professional, brought a fantastic energy to the protest and wants to keep working with us in the future”.

Ahmad was enthusiastic to talk about a prospective Sanders presidency, emphasizing the need for a “robust public sector” as “welfarism that is cherished as a non-negotiable part of political and social life”, and claiming that “Bernie has the most global outlook of any major presidential candidate, not just in this race but in American electoral history. Whether it is climate change or war or arms deals or free trade, his is a platform geared not only towards the American working class but the world’s workers and the world’s poor.”

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