* Co-director of the Marxist-Leninist-aligned Progress Unity Fund
* Has written for the Workers World Party newspaper Workers World
Brenda Sandburg is the president of the Progress Unity Fund (PUF), a nonprofit organization closely affiliated with the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party (WWP). Her PUF co-directors are Keith Pavlik and Rosa Penate. At one time, Sandburg was a journalist for WWP’s weekly newspaper, Workers World, an honor normally reserved for Party members. A longtime, avid supporter of Fidel Castro‘s Communist regime, Sandburg views American policy in Cuba as interventionist, exploitative, and oppressive. Indeed, a number of Sandburg’s Workers World articles admonished the U.S. for imposing trade sanctions on Cuba.
Sandburg supports the movement to free the so-called “Cuban Five,” a Miami-based, KGB-trained, Castro spy ring whose activities were uncovered by the FBI in September 1998. After a seven-month trial in 2000-01, all five were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 years to life. Referring to the five as “Cuban heroes,” Sandburg maintains that “the U.S. government’s persecution of them is connected to its imperialist wars abroad and attacks on immigrants at home.”
Sandburg believes that the United States, as a historically capitalist society, is rife with all manner of injustice and discrimination against nonwhite minorities, immigrants, poor people, and women. With regard to the latter, for instance, Sandburg once accused American prison authorities of “deliberately denying medical care” to ailing female inmates, “a form of punishment that has resulted in dozens of deaths.”
On the occasion of Ronald Reagan’s death in June 2004, Sandburg wrote that “Reagan’s true legacy was brutal.” Lauding a contingent of left-wing activists who gathered in San Francisco to participate in an anti-Reagan rally sponsored by Global Exchange, Sandburg charged that the former president had: “slashed the safety net of domestic social programs”; “ignored the AIDS epidemic, which grew exponentially through his silence along with refusal to provide federal funding to battle the disease”; “supported the apartheid government in South Africa”; and “propped up brutal military regimes in Latin America,” where his policies were responsible for the deaths of “more than 200,000 people killed in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras … from 1981 to 1990.”
In 2009 Sandburg derided the G-20—a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from twenty countries whose economies accounted for approximately 85% of the Gross World Product—as an entity whose goal was “to protect bank profits” rather than defend “the right of all [people] to a job.” She approvingly quoted an auto-industry striker’s assertion that the massive financial crisis afflicting the U.S. had been caused chiefly by the unrestrained greed of “corporations that generate billions of dollars a year,” and that the only way to set the economy back on firm footing would be for workers “to appropriate the means of production and be the actors of our own history.”
In October 2009 Sandburg reminisced about Paul Robeson Sr. (1898-1976), the late Stalinist and Communist Party USA member, describing him as “one of the most extraordinary people in the 20th century.” “Beloved by progressives for his fierce commitment to civil rights and support of socialism,” said Sandburg, Robeson had been “viciously persecuted by the FBI and State Department” as a “target of the McCarthyite anti-communist witch-hunt.”