For those of us who worked for over a year to get Bernie Sanders the Democratic Presidential nomination, the result at the Democratic National Convention was a crushing blow. Yet we need to pick ourselves up and get back in the race. We have to decide what we are going to do. Are we going to join a third party, like the Green Party? Are we going to remain with the Democratic Party? Are we going to continue to follow Bernie Sanders?
Sanders plans to support at least 100 candidates running for a wide range of public offices—from local school boards to Congress—at least through the 2016 elections. And he'll continue to raise funds for candidates while campaigning for them all over the country. He said he probably will campaign for Tim Canova, a progressive primary challenger to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who until recently chaired the Democratic National Committee.
These efforts will be organized under the new Sanders Institute; the Our Revolution political group; and a third organization that . . . "may play a more direct role in campaign advertising."
Sanders plans to support at least 100 candidates running for a wide range of public offices—from local school boards to Congress—at least through the 2016 elections.
The Sanders Institute will focus on elevating issues and ideas—through media and documentaries—that Sanders said the "corporate media" fails to focus on, including the disappearing middle class, "massive" income inequality, horrific levels of poverty and problems affecting seniors and children.
Though Sanders has now endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party candidate and said that defeating Republican nominee Donald Trump should be a top priority for all engaged progressives, . . . Sanders will begin activating his grassroots supporters—and the campaign's on-line and off-line organizing capacity—for enacting a longer-term vision.
Calling it the "most important thing you can do today to move the political revolution forward," in an email he has called on backers to host house parties on August 24 as a way to begin fueling the organization which will be called 'Our Revolution' – a tagline Sanders began using with effect towards the end of the primary season. The kick-off evening, according to the message, will include "a major live stream address where Bernie will talk about the specifics of what we can do as organizers going forward to fight for every single issue that drove this campaign. In order to get as many people watching as possible, we need to set up grassroots watch parties all over the country."
Sanders' announcement is great news for the supporters of his platform and for those of us who believe that the best road towards the future is for Bernie supporters to continue to stay together. Yet it is important for us to be conscious of the failures of the efforts during the primary season just past so that the coming efforts will succeed. We have drafted the following statement to move the effort forward.
Call for Bernie Politicos to Stay Together
Since the rigged primaries, Bernie supporters have become somewhat bereft and fractured into splinter groups. Some see Jill Stein and the Greens as the next step; other are moving forward into one of Bernie's two new organizations: "Our Revolution" and/or "The Sanders Institute."
This is a call for continuing Bernie's revolution, but a continuation with necessary improvements. Those of us in the trenches during the Bernie campaign directly experienced flaws in our organization. Those flaws must be corrected in order for our revolution to be effective.
1. We want to take leadership from Bernie. We applaud the establishment or conversion of existing Bernie groups into “Our Revolution” (OR) pods throughout the country. Those separate organizations must be coordinated through a centralized, multiracially represented OR group directly connected to Bernie's leadership circle.
2. We implore Bernie to establish an overall communication coordination center under his leadership to provide coherence and give and take communication among the national OR pods and organizations that strive to further Bernie's revolution.
During the campaign, we felt there was sorely lacking coordinated, coherent timely direction, culturally and language appropriate outreach materials, well written, effective phone banking scripts, give and take feedback and the ability to implement changes quickly on what wasn't working. There were thousands of volunteers who were ready, willing and able to provide manpower and ideas to the campaign, but they had no real way of communicating with campaign headquarters.
Going forward, the overall communication center would provide direction under Bernie's leadership but also would receive feedback from groups and individuals on the ground, select the best ideas and be able to quickly and cohesively execute them.
3. We want a Bernie branded centralized, unified website established that hosts and blasts authorized Bernie petitions in various languages collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures, promotes national and local targeted demos and direct actions, tweets, memes, etc. and raises money for progressive initiatives and candidates.
We believe it is even more imperative that we stay together to continue the fight for Bernie's platform, cultivate new progressive candidates, strike back against devastating neoliberal war, domestic inequality and disastrous climate initiatives and advance our movement.
We invite feedback and development of this concept and will send it around for comments before sending it on to Bernie.
How would a centralized communication center work? Let's assume that immediately after the Presidential inauguration and the start of the new Congress, Bernie Sanders were to file a new bill to break up the Big Banks. He introduced similar legislation on April 9, 2015 but it wasn't enacted. If he files the same bill in early 2017, he would couple the legislation with a call to Our Revolution to support it. Our Revolution would use the centralized communication center to publicize the effort to enact the Big Banks bill.
Our Revolution would create a petition (either a White House petition or one with a private group such as Causes or MoveOn) in support of the legislation. Our Revolution would then send out emails to all Bernieites, plus tweets and Facebook notices, so that all members of Our Revolution would know what to do: support the petition, and publicize the petition to all supporters of Our Revolution efforts. The goal would be to obtain at least 300,000 supporters for the petition within a week.
Our Revolution would also work to having phonebanks, in which supporters would telephone members of Congress to support the Big Banks legislation. It would also work to have coordinated rallies throughout the United States. In other words, the Bernie Revolution would continue on, but with a far better communication system, coordinating the Our Revolution message on a constant basis.
This is our dream. We can make it a reality if we continue the efforts which we made during the primary season. It does not matter whether Clinton or Trump win—the Revolution must continue.
Michael T. Hertz