These are tough times. Tulsi Gabbard ended her presidential campaign and endorsed Joe Biden and sadly I fully expect Bernie Sanders to make good on his pledge of “supporting the nominee” should he end his campaign as well.
Bernie built a movement with hopes of taking over the party and moving it to the left to represent the people. He has been successful in so many ways, some that may not be so obvious. Unfortunately, he felt he needed to do it inside a corrupt and conservative neoliberal party.
So many of us learned so much as a result of Sanders’ efforts. He has been the most incredible agent of change in my lifetime. I revere and respect Bernie Sanders more than any other politician or activist I have ever seen. He did something truly special. He built a movement with OUR help. He led us to believe we could have a better future.
A generational gap with boomers and other older voters coupled with a lack of belief in the system among younger voters lowered turn-out for progressives and delivered the aircover the establishment needed as they rigged the party against our interests in the primaries and the overall process, all while hiding in plain sight. Many of us saw this, but too few had any meaningful idea of how to really fight back.
Organizational strength is required. Systems. Knowledge. It’s not enough just to be angry. It’s not enough to attend rallies and meetings. We cannot rely on populism; we need real practicable knowledge that allows us to develop systems of power — shadow power through a movement — and the ability to convey complex messages to large groups of people. We need more than entertainment, though that has its place. We cannot reject knowledge.
The enemies we will fight are strong and deeply entrenched. We are not fighting people, but systemic power.
We need to recognize the powers and systems that have opposed us and realize we are in a class struggle that is intersectional and intergenerational. When we identify core issues and develop processes and systems to counter them, we must act with swift determination to counter bad narratives and bad solutions that are proposed — both within the establishment and, sometimes, in our own movement.
Neoliberalism must be crushed and defeated once and for all. We need to innoculate ourselves from the disease of ignorance that keeps us down. This process begins with a solid understanding of how our economic system works. We must shake off the myths and legends that get told and retold unwittingly amongst a populist movement. Knowledge is power.
We must have a full understanding of Modern Monetary Theory. Leveraging the power of sovereign currency and the implications it presents can bring about a just, fair and sustainable society.
We must unite in truth. When an idea sounds good but is wrong, we must reject it. When our own ideas are proven incorrect we must move on. We cannot advance policies and ideas that are tinged with neoliberal taint. A Universal Basic Income is one such neoliberal proposition that has a lot of populist energy but is merely a give away to capital and not a solution for real poverty. Indeed, it is dangerous.
We must become rights-driven — legal rights-driven. We demand a legal right to a job, a legal right to healthcare, a legal right to an education, and a legal right to shelter. We must remove the nooses of student debt and medical debt. We must unshackle the minds of our youth and provide opportunities in the arts and any other programs our communities design. We must regain the public purpose. Most of all we must save our environment to have a future. We must rebuild our crumbling infrastructure to maintain our levees, dams, and bridges. We must build a caring economy for all.
We must conceive and demand freedom for all, beginning with economic justice. We must have environmental and ecological justice. We must have peace with justice. We must have equality with justice. We must have a functional democracy. We must be able to focus on our collective health and well-being. We must harness the powers of technology and innovation to the benefit of all. To achieve these demands we must destroy neoliberalism.
Bernie Sanders did something wonderful for us all. He allowed us to see how we could pull together and do great things. He showed us that #NotMeUs is a forever concept. We must hold on to these lessons and build a movement that is not trapped in a party.
That is what we stand for at Real Progressives. That is how we will build Real Progress in Action. We will develop policies. We will educate and we will build media structures for the masses. We will give strength to activists in communities and we will build bridges through outreach. We will be the glue when we need to come together and the hammer when one is required to smash through whatever is impeding our success. Please help us in this mission. We need you all. #NotMeUs.
Steven D Grumbine, MS, MBA, PMP, PSM1, ITILv3
Host of the Macro N Cheese podcast