The great Fred Hampton, Black Panther leader that was murdered by Chicago police in cahoots with the FBI on December 3,1969, had a refrain he used in his speeches. "I am a revolutionary." Partly he was killed because of his oratory skills, partly because of his organizing skills. He was in the process of merging the Black Panthers with other activists groups of the day - and J. Edgar Hoover put a stop to all that.
The 1960s were the last time the revolutionary spirit lived in the U.S. It was powerful enough to enable the the Equal Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Womens' Liberation, and even forced Dick Nixon to create the EPA. Since then it's been a slow, regressive stumble toward elite control and oligarchy in this country.
The flame of revolution was finally rekindled with Occupy Wall Street in 2011 - peaceful civil disobedience and a focus on the 1% who are debilitating our lives and decimating our planet. Since then we've seen protests around the globe. Here in the states, Black Lives Matter has taken up the mantle, along with many other groups including the Green Party.
But there's never been anything like Bernie's Revolution in my lifetime. (I was a teen in the 60s.) His focus on income inequality and elitist interests was a breath of fresh air in a horrendously stale political environment. As we know, he brought out millions, mostly young, into the fray and won 22 states. We won't bother here with the Dem shenanigans that contributed to that losing outcome.
Bernie's Revolution came to a sad end when he endorsed Hillary Clinton as 'most qualified' to be our next president. He can still play a strong role, and he's clearly still passionate about our revolution. Indeed, he's initiating the Sanders Institute and Our Revolution - two new entities to carry on this movement. But our leader does not endorse Hillary or play by Democratic Party rules. The Duopoly sucks the life out of revolutions.
Perhaps in the end he was more politician than revolutionary. We each choose our battles, and I'm grateful for the awakening he brought to millions. His endorsement of Clinton marks another 'lesser of two evils' argument. I prefer the Stephen Colbert line, 'The evil of two lessors."
Bernie 'stepped back', as we used to say at Occupy gatherings. He's no longer our standard bearer. So where do we turn?
First, while recognizing that our lives have been warped and damaged by this corrupt system. We do not give in to the Duopoly. There's no hope there. Nor do we allow ourselves to be manipulated by fear - "Vote for Hillary or, OMG, Trump!"
Indeed, there is a much deeper point about being manipulated by fear. It creates havoc and separation, preventing us from experiencing the lovely healing power of peace and love.The lovely joy of all of us being Here together in Life. If we need a new moniker without Bernie's name, maybe it's the Revolution of Peace and Love.
Second, we must continue our revolutionary struggle by supporting localism at every turn. Vote locally with your dollars, engage in community action. Eat local, organic food and enable local energy efforts. This is the insurgency that can diminish globalism and strengthen our neighborhoods.
Third we must stay engaged with politics, especially on the local level where we can have the most impact.
Which brings me to the Green Party.
The Green Party's first national impact came in 2000, when Ralph Nader ran for president with Native American Winona La Duke as his running mate. They garnered 2.7% of the vote. And they were vilified for 'costing Al Gore the election' - which we could more truthfully be laid on Al Gore's unremarkable campaign, his selection of Joe Leiberman as his running mate, the Democratic Party's failure to address real issues during the 1990s, or Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
It's different now. More folks identify themselves as 'Independent' than Republican or Democrat. The issues and the oppression we face is far more clear to far more many of us. And many of us can no longer stomach the supposed 'lesser of two evils' argument.
The Green Party's Jill Stein has proven herself as a leader and a compassionate human, willing to take on the great challenge of the Second American Revolution. Her positions match Bernie's, except when they're clearly better - like honestly addressing Palestine and the Middle East and ending the Permanent War Paradigm lead by U.S. imperialism.
She is a true candidate for peace, justice and rebuilding our broken country. She is a revolutionary.
Cincinnati Speech - 7/18/2016
All is not lost. If you're wise enough to believe that we're exactly where we're meant to be (as I do) here on the great stage of human life, then you know there's hope. If you're wise enough to think that we don't have to live under the elitist thumb forever, then you join millions of young and not so young people who think and feel the same. If you're determined to do your best and live your life to the fullest regardless of seemingly everything crumbling down around us...
Then say it loud and say it proud - I am a revolutionary.