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Galindez writes: "I believe we will really shake things up in two years when we have built an independent political organization that will allow us to support progressive candidates all over the country."

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont talks to supporters during a rally at the University of Washington, in Seattle. (photo: Joshua Trujillo/
Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont talks to supporters during a rally at the University of Washington, in Seattle. (photo: Joshua Trujillo/

“Our Revolution” Will Transform America

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

24 August 16


have been politically active for 30 years. My first arrest was with Phillip Berrigan at the White House. I volunteered to go on the White House Tour and pour blood on the pillars. Phillip advised me to take it slow and start out with a lower risk, so I instead was arrested on the White House sidewalk holding a banner. Many years later I did go over the White House fence with Phil’s community and poured blood and red dye on and in the fountain. The banner the first time read “Iran Contra Gate Verdict: Impeach Reagan.” The banner when we went over the fence read “US Foreign Policy, Fountain of Blood.” I organized against nuclear testing in Nevada, went back country at Vandenberg Air Force Base to protest tar wars. I have helped to organize antiwar marches.

Following the first Bush stolen election I helped found and decided to focus my energy on creating a progressive media that could go around the mainstream media. During that time I spent a lot of time in Crawford, Texas. with Cindy Sheehan. I was embedded in Occupy in Washington DC. (I was headed to New York when Zuccotti Park was raided, and I decided to stay in DC, where an organized encampment still existed.)

I worked on Paul Wellstone’s first Senate campaign as a volunteer. I worked for Jerry Brown and Bill Bradley’s presidential campaigns because I opposed the “Democratic Leadership Council.” I attended the first Green Party Congress in West Virginia and I voted for Ralph Nader.

I’m not looking for any rewards or anything, I am telling you my history to show that I am not a neoliberal who is trying to herd people into the Democratic Party. I am a progressive who wants to transform the Democratic Party.

I have probably been focusing too much on this November. We can make some difference in down-ballot races this time, but in two years we will do even more. We do have opportunities left this time, but I believe we will really shake things up in two years when we have built an independent political organization that will allow us to support progressive candidates all over the country. “Our Revolution” will help us build those organizations in our communities.

I have witnessed campaigns getting crushed by the establishment over the years, but this time it is different. This time the momentum is on our side, and I believe we are unstoppable. They will try to slow us down and will have victories of their own. For example, I hope but don’t expect Debbie Wasserman Shultz will lose to Tim Canova next week. I believe Tim will be the next congressman from that district. It just may take a little longer.

You see, they have the established structure, something we are just beginning to build. We need a progressive bench of local officials who have built a base of support that will help them move into Congressional and other higher offices. Tim has built a base of support in this election that can help him or another progressive win in the future. I am not ruling out victory this time, but I’m not counting on it either.

Diversity of Tactics

Elections are only one tool in the box. I have used them all over the years. We must continue to use them all. I attended the Convention of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement’s (CCI) Action Fund this past weekend. CCI has been using all the tools at their disposal for a long time.

I sat down with Evan Burger, who was on Bernie’s Iowa campaign staff from the beginning. He now works for CCI’s Action Fund. According to Evan, CCI’s strategy has not changed.

“CCI Action has already been doing electoral work (both voter education and endorsing candidates) but we’re very excited to start recruiting, training, and supporting our members as they run for office,” said Burger.

“We see running candidates for office as an extension of our existing theory of change: that movements, not individuals, create social change. Our candidates will run out of a movement, rather than just individuals throwing their hat in the ring.”

Burger pointed out that the Sanders campaign showed that you can win if you run on the issues.

“Our candidates will be running not just to win but also to strengthen the progressive infrastructure in the state.”

While recruiting and running candidates is important, CCI will also continue organizing on the issues.

“We’re also excited because that seems to be the direction that a lot of other organizations (including Our Revolution) are heading in as well. We’d love to work with Our Revolution not just on the electoral work but also any organizing on issues that line up with ours, such as stopping TPP.”

Here are some of CCI’s activists calling on people to take action on a few of the issues that CCI is in the forefront of in Iowa.

Larry Cohen, who will be the Political Director for “Our Revolution,” gave the keynote at the convention. He talked about building organizations in all 50 states that will further the momentum started by the Sanders campaign. Cohen talked about building a movement that will never accept being told that we can’t win. If we learned nothing else, according to Cohen, the Sanders campaign showed us we can win.

Cohen also warned that the TPP will likely come to a vote after the election in a lame duck session. We have to start organizing now to stop it. Along those lines, CCI has invited Larry Cohen to return to Iowa in early October for actions in all four Congressional Districts. So keep October 7-9 free for a major push against the TPP.

I have seen it all over the last 30 years. We are a diverse movement with diversity of tactics. There is a time for civil disobedience, a time for running candidates, a time for mass mobilizations, and a time for numerous other tactics. We have to use all the tools at our disposal. CCI has been using all the tools, and is a model for what other communities need to build as a part of “Our Revolution.”

In the last few months I have joined CCI, secured a seat on the Polk County Central Committee of the Democratic Party, and continued my work to build a progressive media alternative here at RSN and at PRTV.

As a movement we need to use all the tools at our disposal. We are not going to agree on everything, but we have to fight together to win. Tonight – Wednesday, August 24th – is the launch of “Our Revolution.” Go to a house party tonight and meet fellow progressives in your neighborhood and listen to Bernie outline his plan. You can find an event here, just enter your zip code.

Don’t dwell on this election – let’s stay together and transform our country.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

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