Bruce Dixon is not happy with Berniecrats or the People’s Summit.
How did Berniecrats claim the Jackson Mississippi Movement?
When Chokwe Antar Lumumba stepped to the podium at the Peoples Summit in early June this year it was no small matter. The young mayor-elect of Jackson Mississippi carried with him the moral and political heft of almost half a century’s organizing work in that state and around the country.
Like his father, Lumumba ran as a Democrat. He was endorsed by Our Revolution. Our Revolution sent out email asking people not merely to send money, but to phone bank for Lumumba, complete with link to automatic dialer, so they could log in and phone bank for him. So it is natural that the People’s Summit should celebrate their contribution to his victory by inviting him to speak at their event.
Bruce Dixon ends the piece with a bunch of unsupported allegations that somehow the price of his endorsement by Our Revolution and appearance at the People’s Summit will be silence on foreign policy issues. But there is no evidence to suggest that this is so.
What is regrettable is the unwillingness of Dixon and other Green Party activists to learn from the Bernie phenomenon. Lefties should welcome Bernie’s success. He has provided us an opening, if we will but seize it. Millions of Americans are re-evaluating what is possible in our political system. People are receptive to ideas that previously they would have dismissed out of hand. The ranks of the Green party have swelled by the thousands in the aftermath of Bernie’s campaign. What happens next depends very much on whether the existing Green Party welcomes these new members and gives them something to do.
When you labor in the thankless task that is lefty activism in the US it is easy to slip into never ending sniping at Democratic activists for failing to embrace the systematic changes that is necessary to build a just society. Specifically, it is frustrating to see Bernie and so many of his supporters fail to comprehend the way the Empire, Military Industrial Complex, and finance capitalism are so intertwined. But rather than snipe at Bernie, Nina Turner, or any other Our Revolution luminary for failing to grasp the role of militarism in perpetuating injustice, it might be better to celebrate that people are finally waking up and suggesting how the happy development of Bernie and Our Revolution could be pushed forward.
The greatest test for the Green Party is whether they have learned anything from Bernie’s example and what use they put the opening he has made for them. What Bernie teaches us is start small, win at the local level, and make people happy that they voted for you. The current example of that is Richmond, California, where the Green Party has taken control of the city, beaten back Chevron, passed anti-fracking legislation, rent control, and a host of other great policies to protect its working class citizens. Instead of sniping about the shortcomings of the People’s Summit, it would make more sense to celebrate Lumumba’s victory, the progress in Richmond, California, and the recent growth of the Green Party and discuss where we go now.
That is why I wrote my book, The precinct captain’s guide to political victory. I wrote it for volunteers in emergent party committees that lacked the resources for training and where there is no tradition of precinct operations. If even a fraction of the Green Party were to embrace the methods described in my book, either because they read my book, or learned these methods from another source, we will see a stream of Green Victories in 2018. We don’t have to keep sniping from the sides. We can win.