Bernie Sanders will address progressive convention in Chicago
Organizers will train attendees in civil disobedience, protest tactics
Nearly a year after the final contest in the Democratic primaries kicked off his “political revolution,” Sen. Bernie Sanders will headline the second annual People’s Summit, a three-day gathering of progressive activists and organizations beginning on June 9 in Chicago.
“This comes from a time when the momentum in social movements are all in high gear,” National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro told CNN. “It comes off the incredible momentum of the Sanders campaign and the greater hunger for people in our country for change.”
DeMoro and the nurses union, the first national labor group to back Sanders’ insurgent bid, have worked closely with the senator and his political organization, Our Revolution, to channel the energies of a resurgent left.
The same meeting last year brought together the threads of a coalition that, in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s defeat in November, has led massive anti-Trump protests while pressuring elected Democrats to take on the White House with a more progressive agenda.
That includes a serious push for single-payer health care in California and, in a more symbolic gesture, Sanders’ plan to again introduce a similar “Medicare-for-all” bill on Capitol Hill. The influence of the “Berniecrat” wing has also been felt in more substantial ways, as an activist swell stiffened Democrats’ resistance to President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks and his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
“The momentum is with the movements of the left and so is the most popular politician in America: Bernie Sanders,” said People for Bernie co-founder Winnie Wong. “The Democrats will be forced to move left. Whether they will be effective in augmenting the strategic political work we do moving into 2018 remains to be seen. People will leave the summit with a sense of purpose. This is a promise.”
Sanders did not attend the first gathering but he loomed large over the proceedings, as his allies and surrogates gave speeches and hosted workshops and plenary sessions. Linda Sarsour, a Sanders delegate at the Democratic National Convention last July, addressed the meeting last year and has emerged in 2017 as a movement leader and co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington.
She is expected to take part again in June, along with filmmaker and activist Michael Moore, former Ohio state senator and fiery Sanders campaign surrogate Nina Turner and representatives from an array of progressive political organizations, including the Democratic Socialists of America.
Speakers and other convening groups will offer instruction in organizing tactics, educational workshops and, like 2016, tactical civil disobedience training.
“The gathering will be more intense, more exciting and far more strategic (than in 2016),” DeMoro said. “We will identify campaigns that unite us or demand our mutual focus. We will provide tools for activism and networks of continued participation.”