Over 3,000 Bernie Sanders supporters met last weekend, June 17-19, in Chicago, according to The Rolling Stone. The group met to determine how best to proceed after the primaries. These young activists were not filled with sorrow or complaining about the loss, they are looking for a way forward for their ultimate goals. This movement is not over. These young people are just getting started.
Occupy organizers, The People’s Lobby, and Bernie supporters have no reason to regret. Their organizational performance has been exemplary. Among the volunteers and activists, there was no lack of action, nor was there any loss of momentum or motivation. In fact, there is still no loss of momentum and no faltering in their drive for change. Volunteers in record numbers continue to work hard to accomplish their objectives.
Bernie Sanders’ candidacy is certainly no cause for disappointment. He is, as always, an exemplary man taking on impossible odds, and overall he has not come out too badly. Sanders received a tremendous number of votes in an election with record turnouts, and he came very close to a win. Plus, his story is not over; new chapters lay ahead for the man who inspired a young and courageous generation.
The Occupy-style organization model has flourished among young political activists since its inception at Occupy Wall Street. Among young and young at heart political activists this is the new template for organizing people and the pattern has proven quite effective.
As Bernie Sanders supporters gathered, Tobita Chow founder of the People’s Lobby in Chicago stood before them unfazed by recent events. He and other speakers and activists at the People’s Summit set a positive tone full of planning sessions and workshops. Tobita spoke of the struggles the movement will face in this political revolution.
“There’s been a big movement toward understanding that electoral campaigns have to be part of a strategy of the left. The Democratic primary system needs to be a field of struggle for us. We need to do what the right has been doing much more effectively than us, which is to run movement candidates at all levels of governments. We need to do the same thing… take out establishment Democrats, but also start to make the rest of the party scared about the threat that we pose to the establishment.”
Bernie Sanders supporters, after agreeing to fervently support Bernie throughout the Philadelphia convention, discussed strategies for plans encompassing years, not days. They selected policies and agendas worth fighting for. Rolling Stone reports that 800 conference attendees volunteered to run for public office in local positions. Over half of the attendees agreed to volunteer in various political campaigns. Nationwide, however, 6,799 Sanders supporters and still counting have vowed to run for public office, according to Common Dreams.
Shaun King, a panelist at the conference and employee of the New York Daily News, predicted that Bernie Sanders supporters would not disperse after the campaign.
“Never before, after a victory or a loss, have people said: ‘I’m not finished, we’re not finished.'”
Bernie Sander’s story is not over, not even close, and certainly the stories of the 3000 delegates at the Chicago People’s Summit are yet to be told. The Millions of young followers inspired by Sanders and by the courage of Occupy protesters will write the new history they seek to forge.
The People’s Summit closed with the remarks of Jim Hightower, a populist from Texas.
“We didn’t win the White House, not yet, but we won something bigger: We won the future.”
Bernie Sanders Supporters are in a movement that began with Occupy, agreed to a new plan at the People’s Summit and will continue to seek change.
[Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images]