We were not at the exciting Second Annual People’s Summit this past weekend in Chicago. No, our bodies were not there, but our souls and spirits were there and gladly cheered on speakers such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, Van Jones, Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman. They were among the thousands who assembled for a three-day conversation about which way forward. How to harness the burgeoning political revolution?
Resistance and rebuilding were the dominant themes hammered home by the speakers, who declared repeatedly that they would not be intimidated or silenced. “We are the future of this country, and only our people’s movement toward justice will achieve victory at the ballot box,” was among the chants.
Led by Sanders, there was a veritable echo chamber to his mantra insisting that the Democratic Party change its style and message, and open “its doors to all people,” especially the poor, the elderly and the next generation.
The leaders of the event drew inspiration from the recent election victory of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party in the United Kingdom. But that’s a lesson from across the ocean. Our situation in America is vastly different, although we can certainly hope to marshal a similar energy and solidarity.
Unity and solidarity are the keywords as we look down the road to the midterm elections, which, in many respects, are there for the taking if we can get more boots on the ground, more people alarmed by the current administration, more folks ready to turn this nation around.
We need the kind of progressive political candidates like many of those gathered at the People’s Summit. “All change seems impossible until it is done,” said activist Nina Turner, quoting Nelson Mandela. Although she has been a major supporter of Sanders, she and Sanders let it be known that it wasn’t about him, but about change.
The nation just witnessed the charade at the Senate Intelligence Committee, with the testimonies of former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jess Sessions, neither of which will bring about the desired change.
Rather than lying and testifying on Capitol Hill we need more summits, more activists, students and workers committed to delivering a blow to the Republican Party and its thoughtless leader. Summits like the one recently convened in Chicago is what we need to Make America Great Again, and we can hear their voices shouting, “Trump Must Go!