Anyone paying attention can see that portions of the Bernie grassroots are shifting their attention to the post-primary season and post-election landscape. That’s why we’re seeing conference calls about protests at the DNC, petitions asking Bernie to launch a post-campaign organization, and even a public letter asking Bernie to affirm that a future organization be founded on small-d democratic principles.
It wouldn’t surprise us to discover that large well-established organizations are lobbying Bernie Sanders in hopes of benefitting from his now massive email list in the future, or that conversations have started about who gets to staff a post election entity. And of course, the usual suspects are clamoring for a third party or suggesting that they be Plan B if Bernie somehow didn’t win the nomination.
People for Bernie is an online crew that has been active since April 2015. Many of were active in Occupy Wall Street and Ready for Warren. This is our take:
Nothing in Bernie Sanders’ history suggests that he cares deeply about organizations or parties, or that he would subject himself to organizational discipline — not even one he is leading.
There is no great big new idea out there for organizing on the left. It’s just all of us, the ones newly politicized and those active for decades, temporarily united under the banner of a candidate. There are no shortcuts in American politics. Don’t be fooled. But we can always do better if we build stronger relationships, learn more skills, and move with the movement.
The most important and influential voices are currently silent about the post election landscape. If they openly pronounce on the topic, it would divert attention away from the campaign’s priorities. So no official surrogates or brand name organizations are going to say very much, even though their thoughts and actions matter a great deal.
The vast majority of Bernie supporters aren’t in the market to be ‘recruited’. People for Bernie is invested in supporting the whole rainbow of local, creative, and constituency based organizing efforts that sprouted around the campaign. Don’t support us; we support you.
Efforts made up of early adopters and ‘whoever shows up’ are likely to fail the great test of prioritizing racial justice and coalition work. In so much of politics, it’s not your policy positions that matter most, but who you are accountable to and in relationship with.
Based on these ideas, our plan is to focus on an event that will bring the Bernie grassroots together, from across all 50 states, for face to face conversation. Instead of telling the movement what to do, we need to gather the movement and listen to it’s collective voice — especially those who struggle to be heard, aren’t online, and/or need our support most.
With our allies, we’ll be part of convening The People’s Summit in Chicago, June 17–19. Full details and registration links aren’t available yet, but we’ve started the process of reaching out to local and constituency based Bernie groups across the country. As we proceed, we’ll be thinking about how to include and incorporate all of your voices, including those who can’t be present.
If anyone is interested in how they can make this event as powerful and meaningful as possible, let us know. Our table is set — for you.
The People’s Summit registration will launch on April 12th. Anyone can join the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/772454342884561/
Thoughts? Comments? We’d love to hear them.