How Not to Resign from Our Revolution

Thanks to a report by NBC News, we can now reconstruct the sequence of events that led to the resignation of 8 out of 13 staffers from Our Revolution:

  1. Bernie Sanders personally promised them presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver would not be running Our Revolution.
  2. Legal and ethical concerns arose about Bernie’s wife Jane Sanders serving as president of Our Revolution and so she stepped down. Jeff Weaver was brought in to replace her on August 15.
  3. Many staffers objected to Weaver’s appointment and Bernie tried to convince them to stay on.
  4. Staffers resigned on August 20 and 21.
  5. The first news stories about the turmoil behind the scenes at Our Revolution were published by Buzzfeed and Politico on August 23, 24 hours before the livestreamed launch event.

What made the stories about these staff resignations so explosive was the allegation made by the former organizing director of Sanders’ presidential campaign, Claire Sandberg, that Jeff Weaver was going to betray Our Revolution’s core mission by soliciting donations from the billionaire class to pay for television ads. Thanks to Jane Sanders’ clarification below (and boardmember Larry Cohen’s denial), we can now conclude that Sandberg’s claim was a slander aimed at smearing Weaver and damaging Our Revolution’s launch.

Having set the record straight, a few things need to be said about the way this whole incident was mishandled by both sides:

  • It was clearly a mistake for Bernie Sanders to make a personal promise to staffers about personnel decisions. The political revolution is not about one person — not Bernie Sanders, not Jane Sanders, and certainly not Jeff Weaver (sorry Jeff). Making this promise arguably planted the seeds for trouble later on once unforeseen circumstances compelled Sanders to backtrack on his promise and bring Weaver in.
  • Weaver was brought in only as a last resort and only because Jane Sanders had to step down as president. Why did she step down? Because no one wants Our Revolution to look like the Clinton Foundation where one spouse exploits the political office they hold to generate millions of dollars in donations that the other spouse, in turn, financially benefits from.
  • Even if every claim made by the aggrieved staffers about Jeff Weaver’s personal failings is 100% true, that still would not excuse their conduct. Resigning just days before Our Revolution’s launch, blabbing to the corporate media, and deliberately misrepresenting Weaver (and by extension, Jane and Bernie) as shills for the billionaire class was inexcusably selfish and scab-like behavior. These staffers should have had the decency and common sense to give Our Revolution two weeks of lead time before their resignations would go into effect and should not have gossiped with Beltway journalists upon exiting. They took the low road while Jane, Bernie, and Weaver dealt with this storm in a teacup in a disciplined, professional, no-drama manner.

Bogus criticisms of Our Revolution are a ‘yooj’ distraction from the real and serious issues facing working people in this country. Our Revolution’s launch was smooth, successful, and the group has a promising future. The website already has a guide listing which way to vote statewide ballot initiatives, a list of endorsed progressive candidates, and way for people to get plugged in to local organizing, canvassing, and phonebanking. Get involved in a political revolution near you!