Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont talks to supporters during a rally at the University of Washington, in Seattle. (photo: Joshua Trujillo/Seattlepi.com)
28 June 16
"It is our responsibility to continue the mission of this movement, beyond this election cycle."
- Nina Turner
ernie Sanders is back on the campaign trail, despite having no illusions about becoming the party nominee. Absent an event beyond his control, he knows he will not be the Democratic Party’s nominee. Sanders has even said he will vote for Hillary Clinton. He does plan, however, to force open the door of the Democratic Party and lead his movement from the inside to transform the party.
The Democratic Party establishment will have a choice: welcome them and change, or ignore them and watch them leave to form or join another political party. If the Democratic Party wants Bernie Sanders' 13 million voters, they will need to show them that they are prepared to represent their interests.
The party establishment has already shown some resistance to the movement. In St. Louis, there were plenty of 7-6 votes against proposals from the Sanders camp. What they are setting up is a floor fight at the convention on the platform. It can be avoided, when the full platform committee meets in Orlando, if the full committee adopts some of the proposals rejected in St. Louis.
Bernie gave the first of a series of speeches entitled: "Where Do We Go From Here" on Thursday at the Town Hall in New York City. Nina Turner opened with a fiery introduction: "In 1910 President Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech that was titled 'Citizen in a Republic.' In that speech he referred to the man in the arena. He said, 'It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly, who errs and falls short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, but who he actually strives to be, the doer of the deeds.' I’m here tonight to tell you that we have our very own doer of the deeds.
Senator Bernie Sanders is a doer of the deeds. And as he has said, elections come and go but political and social revolutions that attempt to transform society never end."
Nina is right, Bernie is the spark, but it is up to us to continue this movement.
The political revolution launched by Bernie Sanders will continue long past November. Revolutions are not won overnight and they take a lot of work by a lot of people. Over 20,000 people have answered Bernie’s call to run for political office.
To that end, Sanders is already hitting the campaign trail. This time for down-ticket candidates that he hopes his support — and the support of the movement he launched — will put over the top.
Sanders reminded his supporters that since day one his campaign has been about transforming our country and that transformation will continue. He reminded the crowd of the historic struggles for progressive victories. Sanders said: “Think about 100 years ago right here in New York City, the Triangle [Shirtwaist Factory] fire killed 100 workers, but workers stood up and they fought back all over the country ... workers formed unions. The struggle for a strong trade union movement continues today. Think about the civil rights movement ... they fought they fought and they fought. So if anyone tells you, "Hey, I was out on a demonstration, I’m burned out, we didn’t change the world overnight, I’m giving up," think about the people that decade after decade gave their lives in the struggle, think about the women's movement. Think about the fact that this is what revolution is about."
Bernie talked about the LGBTQ struggles, "the Fight for 15" and other recent struggles. Then he told the audience, "What the system is designed to do, what corporate media is designed to do, is to tell you that we cannot achieve real change — that the only thing we can achieve is incremental change. What our campaign has been about and is about is saying, 'Sorry, we are thinking big. We want real change.'"
Sanders also declared that a well-organized grassroots movement can take on the establishment and defeat it.
I know many of you are shouting "third party" right now. Think about it this way: As long as the system is rigged in favor of the two major political parties, why not use them to advance our cause? They have the ballot line, they have the media coverage. Bernie's plan, similar to the way the Tea Party rose to power within the Republican Party, can accomplish things much faster than trying to build a third party that will be ignored by the media. It will take time and a lot of hard work. Real change comes with struggle and a commitment to justice.
After a similar speech in Albany, NY, Bernie took questions. One young man asked Bernie for advice for someone with a passion for politics. Bernie gave an answer that gave me chills.
Bernie said, "It's not about a passion for politics; it is about a passion for justice."
That is why I continue to trust Bernie and trust this movement. There will be some tactical decisions that I disagree with, but I know deep down that people like Bernie Sanders and Nina Turner are motivated by a passion for justice, not a passion for politics. They will lead us on a path that furthers the progressive cause, not their political careers.
Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.