With the Democratic National Convention over and with Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee, those of us who were and are adamant about Bernie Sanders as our candidate must make hard choices. What are our goals? And how shall we achieve them? After talking to many different Bernieites, I firmly believe this is the path we must take.
First and foremost, we must keep the People's Revolution moving forward. We must respect the opinions of all Bernieites, and we must do everything possible to cement the various factions of our Revolution together, so that we maintain and evolve our movement.
We must decide whether there is a way that we can defeat Donald Trump without having our movement slide into the maw of the Democratic Party. Like Bernie Sanders, I believe that we can.
Second, we must decide whether there is a way that we can defeat Donald Trump without having our movement slide into the maw of the Democratic Party. Like Bernie Sanders, I believe that we can. Bernie does not believe that we should sink within the fabric of the Democratic Party, but at the same time he has stated correctly that defeating Donald Trump is essential. I believe that this can be done by forming a coherent and separate People's Revolution with two specific and vital goals:
- defeating Donald Trump and
- enacting into law the platform the Bernie got Hillary Clinton to agree to.
When members of the Bernie People's Revolution hand out flyers, knock on doors, and talk with voters, they should carefully identify themselves as being separate and apart from the Democratic Party. When they ask for contributions, the request should be for the People's Revolution. In other words, they should specifically state that they are not working for Hillary Clinton. They are working to defeat Donald Trump and enact into law Bernie's platform. While we all understand that electing Hillary President will be a bi-product of our efforts, electing her is not a goal.
If Donald Trump should happen to win the election, then the People's Revolution will be trained and organized to oppose everything he tries to do that opposes the platform of the Revolution. On the other hand, if Hillary Clint should win the election, then the People's Revolution should be the watchdog that assures that she carries out her promise to enact that platform.
In participating in the fight to defeat Trump, the People's Revolution should train itself on how to deal with the fight to enact the platform. I would like to make a few suggestions here on tactics.
Barack Obama instituted a program allowing individuals to propose White House petitions. If 100,000 or more people signed a petition, the Obama administration promised to respond to it. This promise was not always carried out, but at times petitions were filed and completed in record time, and in such cases the petitions were hard to ignore.
The People's Revolution should institute a practice of having a central group assemble petition ideas from members of the Revolution. That central group should then write an official petition for the Revolution, file it, and then publicize it through social media. Members of the Revolution should respond promptly by signing the petition themselves and then telling their friends through social media to sign it, too.
If this plan were followed in a disciplined fashion, I'm sure that the petition avenue would provide strong support for legislation. For example, if in January 2017, Bernie Sanders were to file a new bill to break up the five biggest banks, the Revolution could respond by preparing a petition to support that bill. One might hope that within a week or two, several hundred thousand people would sign the petition, and copies of petitions would be made available to Bernie. The Revolution could deliver documentation to him in a ceremony. If Congress chose to ignore him, then the Revolution could begin marches in cities throughout the United States, picketing of banks, and the like to raise awareness.
What we found during the election season was that it is necessary to draw attention to issues that are important to the Revolution. If Bernie's Revolution is to continue, it should be organized to publicize those important issues. Where necessary, it should have marches and sit-ins. It should operate so that the general public is always aware of the Revolution's position on important issues.
The Revolution should build on the experience of the Bernie campaign in raising money. The Revolution should always have an ample war chest so that in times of crisis it will have the funds needed to advance its position. The Revolution should also have groups clearly organized to deal with specific platform issues.
Finally, the Revolution should work closely with the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Socialist Party, and other third parties to form a meaningful coalition of progressives. Progressives in the United States should look to Canada and understand how important coalition thinking is. For years the Conservative Party controlled the federal government there, even though it had only about 40% of the vote. Collectively, the Liberal Party, New Democratic Party and Green Party had more votes, but they couldn't manage to work together to oust the Conservatives.
If the Revolution can work with the third parties and also with the non-Bernie progressives in the major parties, it should be possible to enact the Bernie platform and then move towards a more progressive government. It's very possible that one or both of the major parties will wind up on the rocks very shortly. We need to be ready if that happens.
Michael T. Hertz