Are we beating a dead donkey?
By Amos Miers, National Staff – Progressive Democrats of America
I was on the streets during Occupy in 2011, faced the police riot on the 6 month anniversary in New York when we attempted to reoccupy Zuccotti Park where we were mostly beaten with few arrests (they did not want arrests in the headlines). I organized protests against the RNC in Tampa in 2012 where the convention was held, where I got the full treatment of FBI surveillance, had an undercover agent provocateur attached to me as a “partner,” visited by the FBI at my home and treated like a terrorist by our local government. All for simply speaking out for demonstrators when authorities wanted to demonize us and trample our inalienable rights by installing a police state during the convention. And had the DNC been there I would have protested that as well…we railed hard against the corporate grip over the two party system and spoke out against those in either party who sold out their constituents to the highest bidder.
And some of us who refused to be part of the establishment whether in elected offices or in party affairs, started to realize we had no voice on the inside if we stay ONLY on the outside. I explored running local candidates and little by little got more familiar with the operations of the Democratic Party and still kept a healthy distance. When Bernie announced his run for office it was game over for me. I jumped in head first and attended the very first meet up called We Want Bernie led by Progressive Democrats of America that occurred literally days after the soft announcement for Bernie’s presidential candidacy.
Bernie was a motivator, PDA was the organization that put me on an effective path, the ONLY one that had any real effective TEACHABLE tools that were offered nationwide. And I was on plenty of conference calls with a lot of orgs at the time, including Bernie’s own campaign. From organizing a massive grassroots effort to becoming a delegate to the DNC for Bernie, PDA showed me the way forward as I transitioned from OUTSIDE efforts to INSIDE efforts.
I follow Bernie’s sentiments about why I am still involved in the party even though as a Bernie delegate we took some pretty serious emotional abuse by some really disgusting people who call themselves Democrats. Those who took the abuse along with me, those who have the most reason to walk away, are currently State Committee members, County Chairs, Vice Chairs, Precinct Committee people and we even have a Berniecrat in our state appointed to co-chairing the ENTIRE RESTRUCTURING OF OUR STATE BYLAWS.
PDA had an effect. A pretty massive one. And I did not even mention the Run Bernie Run campaign that pushed Bernie to run which occurred before I joined the We Want Bernie campaign. And we collectively nailed 200 votes for a progressive to run the DNC, just 30 votes shy, in a corporate controlled party. That is not a small thing. PDA helped get those votes, I was there in Atlanta for Keith’s Campaign where there were many PDA volunteers showing up to help Keith.
Article mentions 3rd party challenges and why Bernie is working INSIDE the Democratic party, someone who in the past promoting 3rd parties and called foul on the two party system, and found through decades that avenue is not viable:
“I know what happened during my campaign,” Sen. Bernie Sanders acknowledged when the journalist stated that many supporters feel that the DNC undermined Sanders’ presidential campaign.
Sanders pointed out that in California, “progressives are gradually taking over the Democratic Party.” He says that that is what he is trying to do now, by working with the Democratic Party. Sanders admitted that he might not succeed if the resistance to progressive ideals is too strong within the party, but he feels it’s the best chance right now that he has to save the planet.
“But I do want to also say to you as somebody who knows, I think, more about this than anybody in Congress: Doing third-party politics is not so easy. If you think, ‘Oh boy, we don’t like the Democrats. We need to start a third party, and wow, in a couple of years.’ Maybe. You know? Maybe. But that has not been the history of the United States.”
Today I am a National Staffer for PDA. I am also the Vice Chair of my Country Democratic Party. I am a board member of our State Democratic Progressive Caucus and President of our newly formed County Chapter of the Democratic Progressive Caucus. I am actively organizing my county, working across the state with other progressives in their County DECs, and working towards a better State Party. This is happening across the nation via PDA and we are coordinating our efforts every day.
The INSIDE-OUTSIDE strategy works only if there is viable INSIDE elected officials in the Democratic Party as well as Public Elected Officials to turn the energy from the street into actual policy.
Are we beating a dead donkey? Hell no we are not!
We are pumping that donkey full of progressive nutrients and as PDA Phone Guy Mike Fox always says, we are dragging it kicking and screaming to its FDR roots.
-Amos Miers, National Staff
PS. I’m asking you to help PDA make the Democratic Party progressive.