What Happens Next? People's Summit to Fortify Sanders' Political Revolution

Speakers at the Summit, taking place June 17-19 in Chicago, comprise a roster of progressive luminaries
By Deirdre Fulton / commondreams.org
Jun 6, 2016
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What Happens Next? People's Summit to Fortify Sanders' Political Revolution
Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose supporters speak of a "political revolution," has been invited to speak at the People's Summit. (Photo: Michelle Prevost/flickr/cc)

No matter what happens in the remaining seven Democratic presidential primaries, progressives—many of them Bernie Sanders supporters—will gather in Chicago later this month to discuss how to build and fortify the political revolution that's been sparked during the 2016 campaign season.

"At a time of tremendous turmoil and progressive opportunity, we invite you to participate in a historic convening of organizations and individuals committed to social, racial and economic justice," reads the call-to-action for the event, known as the People's Summit. "We envision this Summit as further deepening the relationship between participating organizations rooted in principled anti-corporate politics, development of community leaders, direct action not based on partisan identification, and strategic organizing to build power."

As National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro told McClatchy, the Summit is a "declaration of independence from establishment politics" that'll address the current "rupture in the political fabric of this country."

Speakers at the Summit, taking place June 17-19 in Chicago, include author and activistNaomi Klein; congresswoman and former Democratic National Committee vice-chair Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii); and journalist Shaun King. The event has the backing of groups including 350.org, Physicians for a National Health Program, Friends of the Earth, and RootsAction. 

"There's a vibrant conversation going on about what happens to the movement after the primaries are over," Charles Lenchner, who co-founded the group People for Bernie, which is helping to organize the summit, told MSNBC this spring. "This is a collection of groups that share a lot in common and want to work together in the future and who represent a significant portion of the coalition that has come together around Bernie Sanders."

Workshops and speakers will address topics such as:

  • the Fight for $15;
  • mass incarceration and criminal justice reform;
  • voting rights and expanding democratic participation;
  • a tax on Wall Street speculation to fund human needs and jobs;
  • climate justice toward a sustainable economy;
  • improved Medicare for All;
  • the fight for free and debt-free higher education;
  • secure retirement through expanding social security;
  • ending HIV/AIDS;
  • achieving Constitutional pay equity for women; and
  • ending deportations and support for DREAMers, among others.

As such, the Summit's agenda has much in common with Sanders' presidential campaign platform.

And in turn, the three-day event will be a launchpad for activists who want to ensure that those key issues stay front-and-center at the Democratic National Convention in July and beyond.

"Activists around the country have been electrified by Bernie's call to action," said People for Bernie's Winnie Wong. "And now we're going to expand on the movement's momentum to empower a new generation of young people to engage in the political process."

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