Bernie Sanders was asked to leave a hippie commune in the 1970s because he sat around talking about politics instead of working.
A new book chronicles the rise and fall of the “Myrtle Hill Farm” in Vermont. Called We Are As Gods, author Kate Daloz was raised near the commune in the 70s in a geodesic dome. Her parents were friends with the commune residents.
According to the book, the commune was visited in the summer of 1971 by a 30-year-old Bernie Sanders, the Washington Free Beacon is reporting.
He was researching an article for his Socialist Liberty Unity Party’s propaganda paper. He wanted to learn more about natural childbirth. Interest in alternative medicine was strong among members of the counterculture as part of their wider suspicion of modern science, which was associated with the sterility of hospitals and the destruction of war. “Many elements of Western medicine came under suspicion during this period, but none more so than modern obstetrics,” Deloz writes.
Sanders was particularly interested in a commune resident who had recently given birth.
According to the forthcoming book, Sanders “gently peppered [the mother] with questions in his thick Brooklyn accent” about her experience with natural childbirth.
During labor, Loraine said she was surrounded by a circle of hippies chanting “a meditation mancha” that “seemed to really bring in good energy.” This group included “the couple of men who were potentially the baby’s father,” according to Deloz. When Rahula was delivered at dawn, “someone ran out into the field and blew a long blast on a hunting horn.” Loraine then ate her afterbirth, a detail that does not appear in the book, but that appeared in the second part of Sanders’ essay.
When he wasn’t researching for his story, he spent most of his time at the commune in “endless political discussion.”
Sanders’ idle chatter did not endear him with some of the commune’s residents, who did the backbreaking labor of running the place. Daloz writes that one resident, Craig, “resented feeling like he had to pull others out of Bernie’s orbit if any work was going to get accomplished that day.”
Sanders was eventually asked to leave. “When Bernie had stayed for Myrtle’s allotted three days, Craig politely requested that he move on,” Daloz writes.