By Justin Akers
Jun 6, 2015
The American Spring has begun.
The American Spring is a widespread, multi-faceted movement against inequality. The goal of the American Spring is political and economic revolution. Our methods are as varied as the victims of inequality.
The Bernie Sanders campaign. Fight for $15. Black Lives Matter. Our Wal-Mart. People will respond to injustice and inequality in different ways. We don’t have to choose one movement to be involved in. We can march with Fight for $15 and volunteer for the Sanders Campaign. Someone might vote for Hillary Clinton and be involved in the movement against police brutality. Any movement, any candidate that courageously confronts inequality is valuable.
Inequality affects us all, but it affects us in different ways. One thing that will unite all of us involved in The American Spring is the use of social media to get our message across.
Social media will allow the Bernie Sanders campaign and other movements to flourish on a small budget.
Those of us who support Bernie Sanders believe that his campaign, and his Presidency, will give an enormous boost to the fight against inequality. We may not agree with him on everything, but his views on inequality are so consistent and so strong that we feel compelled to give him our support and our vote. We need an outspoken opponent of inequality in the White House. A victory for Bernie would give us an extraordinary opportunity to powerfully and persistently confront inequality for at least four years, with the President as a trustworthy ally in the fight. Sanders may not be a magic bullet, but if he makes it to The White House we might just have a shot at creating a more equitable society, peacefully, through the political process.
There are critics of Bernie Sanders who feel that his stance on Israel is a deal-breaker. Sanders believes the Palestinians should have their own state. He is opposed to the Israeli settlements. He boycotted Netanyahu’s speech to congress. Still, some of his critics believe Sanders has not gone far enough to condemn Israeli actions. I respect their opinion. Those who refuse to vote for Sanders because of his views on Israel will continue to fight against inequality in their own manner, according to the dictates of their own conscience. The American Spring is large enough to include millions of different voices.
There are also critics of Sanders who believe that his statements on Baltimore and police brutality were inadequate at best. I hope Sanders will raise his voice against aggressive, militarized policing and police brutality. Militarized, aggressive policing, and the massive police-state this has created, is perhaps the single most hideous expression of inequality in America, and confronting this problem should be our number one priority. If someone feels that Sanders’ failure to adequately address this issue is a deal-breaker, the movement against inequality will not suffer for it. Black Lives Matter is just as important, perhaps more important, than the Sanders campaign.
Some Sanders critics would even refuse to vote for him because of his stance on the F-35 fighter jet being stationed in Vermont. Those critics will undoubtedly continue to take part in the movement against inequality.
Some critics of Sanders say we need to spend our time and energy building alternative parties and movements outside of the corporate-backed two-party system. I agree. We desperately need a Democratic Socialist Party in America and I hope we build one someday. But until we have a Democratic Socialist Party, or some other viable third-party route to the White House, Sanders is the closest thing to a Democratic Socialist candidate that we’ve got.
Some of us feel that voting for anyone but Sanders or a third-party candidate in a general election would be a violation of the dictates of our conscience. We just can’t stomach the idea of voting for the lesser of two evils. In my opinion, this is a valid viewpoint. Even if we can’t bring ourselves to vote for a Corporate Democrat to prevent a Republican victory, we are still a legitimate voice in the movement against inequality.
Unlike the Tea Party, The American Spring is an organic movement that genuinely originates at the grassroots level. That’s why it is such a diverse movement with so many different perspectives. The movement against inequality isn’t funded and orchestrated by billionaires. It begins in the diverse daily lives of millions of people. The American Spring is a reaction to the millions of ways that inequality affects us every day. The millions of people involved in the movement against inequality are not primarily motivated by ideology, we are motivated by a desire for justice in our daily lives.
We are motivated by our desire to live without aggressive, brutal policing in our neighborhoods. We are motivated by a desire to enjoy the benefits of an education without being cursed by a lifetime of student loan debt. We are motivated by the desire to have access to health care without having to pay huge, unaffordable monthly premiums. We are motivated by the desire to have a decent job with a fair wage, not a job that consigns our family to poverty.
We don’t have to pick sides in this movement. We are all on the same side. We are all on the side of justice.