At the People’s Summit
Five MADSA members were among some 3,000 activists from more than 40 organizations that support Bernie Sanders’ campaign who came together in Chicago June 17-19 for the People’s Summit – a weekend of networking, workshops and inspiring speakers, with a view to taking the “people’s revolution” to the next level. One hundred DSA members attended, and a report will be posted soon on dsausa.org.
See the MADSA Facebook page for videos, photos and summaries of many of the presentations (thanks, Daniel!). Here are some highlights. Photo: Daniel Hanley, Lord Megan Harrison, Barbara Joye, Cecily McMillan, Adam Cardo. Not shown: David Littman.
National Nurses United (NNU) chair RoseAnn DeMoro told us that our struggles are connected, and we must not work in isolation, but turn out — not just online, but in communities and in the streets — for one another’s causes. NNU, a major Bernie supporter from the labor movement, was the leading organizer and funder of the Summit.
At a regional break-out session, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi activists discussed our strategies for carrying the political revolution forward and supporting each other’s struggles. Here, Yvette Carnell, Atlantan and founder of http://www.breakingbrown.com, offers her insightful perspective and requests support for her media work.
Understanding Our Movement Moment: DSA honorary chair Frances Fox Piven urged, “We need to threaten not to cooperate.” Movements “breathe fire” and “threaten ungovernability.” Political parties and their patronage networks will try to extinguish our spark by absorbing the movement, but we must resist this tendency. Piven drew parallels between strategies required by the abolitionist movements and labor movements with those required today to demand a living wage and debt-free education. She expressed concern that our movement’s energy will be subsumed by electoral politics.
On Sunday, June 19, the People’s Summit celebrated “Juneteenth,” an African American tradition remembering the day when slaves in Texas learned that they were free. One of the strong speakers that morning was Heather McGhee, president of the progressive nonprofit Demos. She argued that white people must come to understand that white supremacist ideology is oppressive to all working and marginalized people, to varying degrees — even to white workers who have a relative, unjust advantage — and we all must overcome it if we are to rise together as a demos (people). She cites Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and American Captivism, compelling research that shows the entire capitalist system, from the development of automation to sophisticated financial systems, was largely dependent on slave labor production. See her talk at https://vimeo.com/171331397.