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Bernie Sanders to speak at UVa on upcoming book tour

While other stops on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ upcoming book tour will cost attendees as much as $95, his appearance in Charlottesville next month will be free.

The former presidential candidate and independent Vermont senator, who identifies as a socialist, has taken flack for charging for tickets at stops where he is promoting his forthcoming book “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism.”

The book has been described by its publisher Penguin Random House as “a progressive takedown of the uber-capitalist status quo that has enriched millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the working class, and a blueprint for what transformational change would actually look like.”

Sanders is slated to discuss the book, and likely more, on March 2 with CBS News’ chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa, who is a resident scholar at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Admission for the event at Old Cabell Hall on Grounds is free, though tickets are required for entry.

At other stops on his tour, such as at the Anthem theater in Washington, D.C., ticket prices range from $55 to $95 on Ticketmaster, the online marketplace that has been in the crosshairs of President Biden and other lawmakers of late.

Biden as recently as Wednesday called for new restrictions on the fees that platforms such as Ticketmaster can charge.

At a meeting of the president’s so-called competition council on Wednesday, Biden called on Congress to “lower the huge service fees that companies like Ticketmaster slap onto tickets for concerts or sporting events that can easily add hundreds of bucks to a family’s night out.”

The competition council, established in 2021, is meant to “coordinate the federal government’s response to the rising power of large corporations in the economy,” according to a White House statement.

“These unfair fees add up,” the president said at the council meeting. “It’s a basic question of fairness.”

Sanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Progress on Friday.

Sanders has visited Charlottesville before, including a visit in 2015 while he was on the presidential campaign trail.

He spoke at the UVa Miller Center during a taping of “American Forum,” a weekly public affairs program hosted by journalist Douglas Blackmon, whose book “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II,” won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. The book explored the system of peonage and convict lease labor in the South.

The visit attracted a full-house audience of about 125 people, although the number of those who gathered outside to catch a glimpse of Sanders was much larger.

Speaking with Blackmon and the crowd outside, Sanders touched on a number of issues that were platforms of his campaign at the time and remain a part of his policy agenda today, including tuition-free public higher education, an increase in the national minimum wage to $15 and student debt relief.

Tickets for Sanders’ March event at UVa will be available starting Feb. 7 on the UVa Arts Box Office website.

His book “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism” goes on sale Feb. 21. A preordered hardcover costs $28; paperback costs $30.


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