Monday, August 8, 2016

How to Build a Political Revolution

Read more about the walk-out at the DNC: What you see on TV is not what really happened.

We're on the air again, Berners! Bernie Sanders will give a live stream address on August 24 at 9 PM ET. Can you host a gathering in your home, local union hall, church hall, library auditorium or restaurant? It'll be great meeting and commiserating with our fellow progressive revolutionaries and hear what Bernie has to say. Here's the sign up page:

We're feelin' the Bern! (And it's not due to the heatwave, either.)

How to Build a Political Revolution
by Cindy A. Matthews

The last time I checked  there weren't many how-to guides on how to build a political revolution. I've never seen a DIY kit at Lowes or Home Depot with the words "Political Revolution" on it, either. I guess that means we get to make it up as we go along? 

Where to start? Well, we are a diverse lot, our conglomeration of Progressives, Berners, Greens, Democrats, Democratic Socialists, Berniecrats and Socialists who follow the ideals of Bernie Sanders. But there's one thing we can all agree on: We need to make some serious changes in America if it's going to survive and if we ourselves are going to survive on this rapidly warming planet.

Lucky for us, there are some very creative and talented people out there giving us ideas and insights to get us goingLearn from the At Home Activist (video above). Gain inspiration from two great progressive women, Nina Turner and Jill Stein, who spoke at The People's Convention in Philadelphia (video below). (And if you really need a feel good moment, check out the very last video at the end of this week's blog.) Join groups like Brand New Congress and campaign for progressive candidates. Attend a local Bernie livestream meet-up on August 24 and find out more what our next steps in Our Revolution will take. Check out Democracy for America's Political Revolution Night School and take any and all of their online classes.

We are not alone, and we're not without support. We are building our revolution and transforming our world into a better place for all, one step at a time. No one said it was going to be easy or quick. A lasting creation doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen in a vacuum. Reach out and make some new friends by joining a Bernie meet-up, taking an online class and by helping progressive candidates and causes.  Remember, there's no such thing as a lone revolutionary.

We can do it ourselves, and be proud of what we're building. Our Revolution will be built to last.

Now some insights from a Bernie delegate recently returned from Philly, ready to get Our Revolution going in Ohio. Dennis tells us how we should be wary of those who say they're promoting democracy and free speech, only to yank it away like so many signs taken away from Bernie delegates at the convention. 

Convention photos by Dennis Slotnick

Democracy Lost
(to the DNC propaganda machine)
Dennis Slotnick

I understand that politics in American democracy is persuasive by definition. I understand that, but the formal convention has become manipulative forgone conclusion with only a shadow of democratic process. I feel it undermines democracy in its unfairness (to say the least). Here are some examples. 

Not one speaker said much about Bernie not even credit or recognition for the ideas in new platform, expect the guy who introduced him. Most speeches used the kind of propaganda of steal, list, build and hook. Steal ideas from Bernie without giving him credit, listing them as if they are Hillary's and then praising Hillary as the champion of the idea. There was only one speech favoring Bernie and that was the one that introduced him. This is all before a single convention vote was cast, and yet he got 45% of the public vote. I say equal delegates, equal time on the floor.

Queued banners using pre-canned lines from speeches on the floor and quick distribution for the show. World of difference between inside the Hillary propaganda frame and the streets of Philly and the US. Bernie totally dominated the streets. Hillary's show was inside the formal convention. In the sponsored convention, there was surprisingly little discussion about the presidential campaign except when Bernie spoke.

The timing of lights and videos was all about maximizing the coronation process as a media-based promo--like one long commercial with no chance for a protest chant. Ballots for roll call were handed out without any discussion on candidates and before Bernie even addressed the convention. I would like to have heard Hillary speak, too. Equal time? All the five hours of praising Hillary and not much reference to Bernie the whole time, and Bernie delegates are 45% percent of delegates. Where is the fairness in democracy? Not there in the least. 

Did Bernie people have the right to rebel? You bet. Did they get impatient? To say the least. Did they show great resolve and respect? Utterly. Were they submissive and placated and convinced that HRC is best? Not at all! Just quietly waiting--then they exploded with deep appreciation for Bernie when he took stage and was finally honored by having the last word before the Rabbi closed the convention Monday night.

I thought democracy means open discussion of issues and qualifications for candidates. Of course we knew it would be jaded, but not like this. Upon walking into the registration, each delegate receives a bag of materials. One is this convention official program, essentially a glossy photo album promoting Hillary. Not a single mention of Bernie at all. A full 65 pages. One book written by (former Republican, now Clinton supporter) David Brock called Killing the Messenger, a book clearly pro-Hillary. Why not offer Bernie's book, too? Maybe you know why.

These buttons were passed around to everyone at breakfast promoting Ohio. I thought it was cool. Take a look at this free Ohio button. Look again carefully. See it? The corporate-like icon H-> One of my fellow Bernie delegates was wearing one. I went up to her and commented about it, complimenting  the importance of Ohio. When I showed her the H-> she was shocked to realize how subtly we've been corrupted. She took off the button. We knew we were up against a very dangerous kind of corruption.

Two hours before we were going to have a voice we were given a 135 page book with 70 pages of technical, legal speak on the credentials, rules and platform. It is the first time anyone other than the committees could see what was generated. Who can study, critique and evaluate and discuss this document with his or her state delegation with so little time? Many delegates weren't even in the room until the gavel fell, just an hour before voting. (This could be nothing more than a stamping of approval of the committee work. No dissension  possible.)

Voice vote in a stadium is like a cheering match between high school juniors and seniors for determining school spirit. Only the chair is to determine which has more votes. Think on that. In an indoor arena it becomes a matter of who shouts loudest, not how many yeas and how many nays. (Democracy fails again.)

No signs were allowed through security. Content-free signs were distributed before and during speeches. Stronger together, do more good, democracy rising, I'm with Her... The signs handed out were pro-Hillary for unity as if Bernie people would join the HRC vote. The signs we were given for use before we voted. Six signs were for her, one for Bernie. Fair time, fair visibility? (Think of it as a TV ad.) They must have had the whole thing planned, even the loudness and lighting so that the mic pickup can cut out the loud Bernie cheering and shut down sign demonstrations.

These are just a few of the examples of how the DNC is not democratic. 

Bio: Dennis was an Ohio Bernie delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Read his story about the DNC walk-out protesting the silencing of Berners in What You See On TV Is Not What Really Happened.


We start a new feature this week called, "Thank You, Bernie." Tell us what you think about Bernie Sanders' leadership, inspiration, and ideas. Email us your thank you to and thank you! 

Our first grateful Berner is Marianne Kelly. She gives a moving testimonial as to why she's thankful to be a Bernie supporter.

I covered Bernie for our local paper when he was a congressman and visited my town.
He is a truly kind, decent, intelligent, and an intensely compassionate man. He ate lunch with us, said hello to people he knew, and introduced himself to those who were new to him. I was shocked that he remembered my name and the paper I worked for. He answered our questions and gently corrected us so we could give an accurate account to our readers.

I used to all him the "John the Baptist" of politics, for at that time he was a voice crying in the wilderness. Bernie has awakened a sleeping giant called We the People who will never return to the collective coma that brought us to this place in our history.

 I am so proud to call him my senator, and if by some incredible long shot miracle he makes it to the White House, I will be prouder to call him Mr. President. I fear we shall never see his like again--at least not in my life time.  

May the God of the Universe be ever gracious to you Bernie, Jane and those you call yours. You will always be Mr. President to me.

Finally, some inspiration from the man himself from earlier in the campaign season. It should encourage you to vote your conscience and feel better about the political revolution. Yes, Bernie actually said we shouldn't listen to him or anyone else who tells us how to vote. How could we ever forget his words? #FeeltheBern and support the candidate you want to support--not a candidate others are trying to force on you. 


And now that you have that worry off your mind, get off your backside and get out into the streets. We have a revolution to build! 


  1. I love Bernie for showing us how powerful we could be and that when we all come together we could change the whole political system.He showed us that you could be honest and not take money from superpacs and still win elections. How you could love your fellow man and fight for a fairer Government who works for all of us not just the wealthy.How honesty and integrity really matters more than the lip service usually given to the citizens of this country.Bernie taught us so well,that rather than surrender,we are more determined than ever, to keep our revolution going as long as we need to.#AlwaysBernie.

    1. That's the spirit, Nannajan! We've been taught by a master, and it's up to us now to continue teaching others and spreading the word. We're not going away. Our Revolution is here to stay!

  2. Someone said Bernie makes me want to be a better person, and I agree. Without fail all the Berners I've met are friendly and polite.

    I'm looking forward to hearing what Bernie has to say in his speech on the 24th. The Revolution will continue for sure, because he awakened in all of us the need to create a better world.

  3. Thanks for defending democracy!
    My latest tweet:
    #ExitPollGate shows #ElectionFraud; #DNCleak makes it credible #FBImWithHer killed #SethRich. Please UNENDORSE! @BernieSanders @janeosanders

    1. You're welcome. All defenders of democracy, honesty and integrity welcomed here! #FeeltheBern always.

    2. Excellent article, Cindy. This should be mandatory reading for local groups who want to contribute to the revolution. I am one of those hosting a Bernie party on August 24 and your article will help advance our discussion.

    3. Thanks for kind words, Tom. Yes, keep sharing the blog, keep talking to folks in your area to get the word out that Our Revolution is ongoing and it needs more revolutionaries. Many lost heart after Philadelphia, so we need to help them realize it's not over and the best is yet to come. #FeeltheBern always!


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