Did you receive separate fund appeals from “Our Revolution” and from “Brand New Congress” today? I did.
The Bernie Sanders presidential campaign was a wonderful, mighty force and pulled millions of people together. If it stayed together, it had the potential to make significant changes in our democracy.
But the chances of its staying together began to diminish as soon as the formal campaign ended. Some of the Bernie-ites split because they didn’t want to pull for Hillary Clinton. Others, including most of the working people, agreed with Senator Sanders that the Clinton campaign was the best we could do in 2016. The split didn’t seem too bad.
Then “Brand New Congress” appeared and claimed to be the heirs of the Bernie movement. A short time later, Bernie himself announced “Our Revolution” to carry on the proud banners of the progressive Bernie movement. On his live-stream presentation, he didn’t mention “Brand New Congress” nor any other organization that might come forward and claim the Bernie mantle. Today, they each hit me up for money. Practically simultaneously. That’s not cooperation, it’s competition between fund raising organizations.
I had heard rumors that some Bernie-ite leaders had split immediately before the live-stream presentation. If the rumors are true, I don’t know why they left. But if they did, it’s fragmentation that the progressive movement can ill-afford.
A movement is more than fund raising
I was very pleased to hear Bernie Sanders mention forms of struggle beyond electoral work. So far, I haven’t seen any of it, but I think a national march or a series of regional marches might help pull people together. Activists aren’t going to participate forever with organizations that only raise money for electoral campaigns.
Unity doesn’t come easy
Even a great reform program like Bernie’s isn’t magnetic enough to hold a large, diverse political group together. Even a great charismatic leader like Bernie isn’t enough. People need understanding and theory that can lead us to victory, not just terrific slogans and terrific leaders.
How do you think the change you want can come about? Think it through and let your conclusions be your guide.