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The People's Summit: "Together We Can Win!"

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Reprinted from Reader Supported News


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There was one question I kept hearing from the corporate media at the People's Summit. All they wanted to hear from the People's Summit organizers was how they would get the Bernie Sanders supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton. For them, the election is a horse race that ends with a fight between the two candidates who survive the flawed nominating process. What they fail to understand is that Bernie Sanders has always believed that building a long-term movement to transform our country is more important than one election.

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This past weekend in Chicago, National Nurses United convened a summit of many sectors of the movement that rallied behind Bernie. They understand that Bernie didn't create the progressive movement, he exposed it. He united groups that have been organizing for decades. Bernie's campaign also attracted young people and breathed new life into what is now a political revolution.

It was a great networking experience for all involved. I attended with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI). I plan to get further involved in their work as one way that I will continue to support the Political Revolution.

The combination of younger and older activists at this conference was inspiring. The enthusiastic energy of the youth combined with the wisdom of long-time activists created a powerful dynamic.

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Day 1

The summit began with a panel called "Visions of Justice." The segment was moderated by Democracy Now! host Juan Gonzalez. Gonzalez opened with a story from 1968, in Chicago. Juan was a member of SDS at Columbia and came to Chicago to protest the DNC. He talked about how they had unseated the sitting president and how Eugene McCarthy was their candidate. We all know what happened. There was violence in the streets, and the DNC establishment nominated Hubert Humphrey even though he didn't compete in a single primary. Juan explained that they were in the streets fighting for a better world. The problem was that the rest of America saw the protests and clashes with the police in a negative light. The movement then decided to vote in the streets, and not for Humphrey or Nixon. Gonzalez said it was the right slogan -- "vote with your feet" -- but the wrong tactic. We got Nixon.

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Also on the panel was author and activist Naomi Klein. Klein talked about how we won a battle against neoliberalism. A democratic socialist was successful in capturing the hearts and minds of the American people. She cautioned however that we have not won the war, and that neoliberalism is alive and well in our country.

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Klein also offered lessons from the past, telling a story about her time in Argentina prior to an election. "Our Dreams Don't Fit on Your Ballot" was the slogan of Argentina's workers. She explained that it didn't mean not to vote. It meant don't expect to get everything you want from an election.

John Nichols of The Nation echoed that sentiment and told the summit that we are making progress but shouldn't let elections swallow up our movement.

Actress Rosario Dawson was also on the opening panel. She has been out there campaigning for Bernie Sanders for months. Dawson called the campaign and the Summit a "call to encourage courage." Rosario stressed that we all have to support each other no matter what tactics we use. She said that some will be in the street, some will vote, some won't, some will engage in civil disobedience, but no matter what, we must support each other.

Calling the political revolution a movement of movements, Dawson called on the activists gathered to discover their power. She told the crowd we didn't lose and we must continue the fight.

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Scott Galindez is a graduate of Syracuse University, a US Army veteran, and currently the Political Director of ReaderSupportedNews.org. Scott's activism began at an anti-nuclear vigil in Lafayette "Peace Park" across from the White House. Scott (more...)
 

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