In just three days some concerned supporters of the Sanders Campaign and of “Our Revolution” prepared a petition and assembled an impressive list of initial signers including, for example, Noam Chomsky, Karen Bernal, Bill Fletcher, Frances Fox Piven, Kathy Kelly, and Norman Solomon. You can see the full petition and a list of its the initial signers here.
My own reasons for working on and signing the petition, and for ZNet providing prominent support for it with a top page overlay, are quite simple.
The Sanders Campaign revealed deep and broad desires for progressive policy and “political revolution.” However, an almost continuous criticism of the Campaign has been that electoral campaigns for Democratic Party candidates never generate lasting, effective, radical organizational gains. Indeed, the Sanders campaign and Sanders himself agreed that to be worthy campaigns must produce lasting effective radical organization. Then the Campaign set up an organization called “Our Revolution.” Will it last? Will it be effective? Will it be radical?
That “Our Revolution” exists doesn’t guarantee it will be effective, much less that it will sustain and multiply the radical momentum the Sanders campaign revealed. And then “Our Revolution” got off to a rocky start. It raised concerns. It elicited silence, doubt, and even dismissal from many potential participants.
So now what? Should we who favor progressive and radical change and who know the importance of sustainable new radical organization watch from the sidelines, rooting for a good outcome, but fearing a bad one? Or should we try to constructively help attain the good and avoid the bad?
But how can one constructively help? Those involved with the petition to “Support and Improve ‘Our Revolution’” felt one way to help would be to seek a productive public exploration of possibilities around three troubling issues. We want “Our Revolution’s” program to prominently address international relations, U.S. foreign policy, pentagon spending, and war making. We want “Our Revolution’s” structure to reflect and facilitate democratic values and progressive aims. And we want “Our Revolution’s” electoral strategy to inspire, train, advocate and aid candidates who will pursue progressive agendas whatever their party affiliation may be. And so we developed the petition “Support and Improve ‘Our Revolution’.”
If 10,000 people sign the petition and alternative media raises the same issues in venue after venue and we all respect what has been accomplished but make known our desires for what ought to be refined, will “Our Revolution” successfully address the concerns the petition raises? Will it require 20,000 signers plus lots of debate and organizing? The point is, the potential of “Our Revolution” is far too great for those who want to sustain and expand the Sanders momentum to watch from the side. One first modest step to provoking change is this petition. Another step could be joining “Our Revolution” and making known and pursuing one’s desires for it.