The next phase of the Bernie Sanders campaign

Having played a role in instigating the proposed Bernie Sanders Enough is Enough rally in the Bay Area for some time this fall, I’m having second thoughts. It sure was fun watching our numbers climb to 10,000 and beyond on facebook. Even though we are nowhere near what they call viral, we had a taste of it. But we need to plant this virus deeper. It’s pretty easy to click on a meme to say you’re coming to a rally. It’s a little harder to get your butt TO the rally. (An organizer’s rule of thumb: Yes means maybe, Maybe means no). It’s even harder to actually VOTE for Bernie. It’s harder still to get 50 people to vote for Bernie who wouldn’t otherwise do that. This is what each of us who is involved this early in the campaign needs to think about doing. What I’m thinking is that instead of putting all that logistical and expensive effort into holding large rallies of the people most likely going to vote for Bernie anyway, we should instead, or perhaps, if everyone is obsessed with the larger rallies, see the next phase as holding smaller rallies in each locality that turn into precinct walking parties. Ultimately, social media will not allow us to avoid the hard but rewarding work of organizing our communities precinct by precinct. This is the work of the revolution. We organize every precinct. We view this not as some kind of electoral device to turn out voters, but we see these precinct organizations and the networks of precinct organizations of people who support the issues that Bernie stands for as permanent organizations of the society we are trying to create. This means you – yes, you – everyone reading this sees themselves as a precinct captain organizing every Bernie supporter in your neighborhood/precinct. You call a meeting. You get to know each other. You all bust your asses to get Bernie elected for sure, but you don’t stop there whether he wins or loses. Your group studies the local issues and advocates for those things that can improve your neighborhood along the lines of a society which values people over profit. Things like police accountability. Things like minimum wage – many cities set their own minimum wage. Things like pollution, stopping the coal trains going through your town or whatever. And these groups, these precinct groups, maybe some of the people play music and would like to play for their neighbors. Maybe there are writers or poets who want to read to each other or to an audience of neighbors. Maybe some of you do an inventory of skills and interests in your neighborhood. Maybe there’s a sub-group that would like to imagine what a society that valued people over profit, a society for which the highest value was human connection, might look like in their neighborhood. Maybe there are people that need help and others in a position to help them. I don’t know about you but this vision, which is Bernie’s vision, but really all of our vision, makes me feel warm and cozy inside, and a little bit powerful, as in, we can do this. Maybe this is what democracy looks like.

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