Change Starts in the Streets, Not With the White House

A supporters holds a sign for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during campaign event at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Monday, August 10, 2015. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

By Arun Gupta (March 25, 2016)

I asked dozens of activists and organizers what tangible movement building is coming out the Bernie Sanders campaign. Here’s what I found. The last half of the article will be of interest to many as it examines different responses from organized socialists. It’s a mixed bag at best.

One bit left on the cutting-room floor was people claiming to act under Occupy Wall Street conducting a phonebank for Bernie in Zuccotti Park, and weeks earlier a march for Bernie. It was a sad reminder of how OWS has disintegrated completely. One of the main Occupy principles was not to endorse candidates. The movement began out of a recognition the political system is thoroughly corrupt and compromised.

If Occupy activists needed a reminder of what else to do other than be a cog in a Democratic electoral machine, they could have emulated Black Lives Matter. Why aren’t activists organizing to disrupt candidate events based on their support for Wall Street and the war machine? It would have a big impact if it happened.

A thought. What about organizing to protest and nonviolently disrupt the inauguration of whoever wins?

Rather than reacting, the left should be in the streets on January 20, 2017, protesting against war and Islamophobia, against deportations and austerity, against Wall Street and political corruption, and for single-payer healthcare, an end to the war on terror abroad and at home, strong action on climate change, and more.

It doesn’t matter who wins. Only people power can thwart the heinous acts of whoever sits in the White House, and any positive legislation or policies that may happen starts with being in the streets, disrupting the status quo.

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