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Andrew Stefan from Reader Supported News is on the ground at The Gathering at the Sanders Institute

The Gathering at the Sanders Institute

Andrew Stefan from Reader Supported News is on the ground at The Gathering at the Sanders Institute

ermont Senator Bernie Sanders and the Sanders Institute are hosting a gathering of prominent progressive thinkers, speakers and activists in Burlington, Vermont this weekend.

An entire list of event speakers can be found here.

RSN’s Andrew Stefan is in Burlington to cover events. Andrew will posting regular text and video updates.

While somewhat reserved in it scope at this juncture this gathering has significant implications for the upcoming 2020 presidential election cycle. - MA/RSN




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Bernie Sanders addresses the Sanders Institute Gathering in Burlington, Vermont. (photo: Andrew Stefan/RSN)
Bernie Sanders addresses the Sanders Institute Gathering in Burlington, Vermont. (photo: Andrew Stefan/RSN)

 

Day 1 – November 29

With hundreds of progressive leaders and activists in attendance, the Sanders Institute Gathering kicked off with a talk by author Simon Sinek on Thursday night at the ECHO Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont. Sinek spoke about the need for a progressive movement with long-term perspective and flexibility enough to grow and adapt.

Following Sinek, Jane Sanders and Dr. Cornel West briefly took the stage before the night’s final speaker, Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders spoke for roughly twenty minutes and addressed a number of topics such as the war in Yemen, racism in the criminal justice system, and climate change. Sanders was emphatic while introducing a core theme of The Gathering: “Change always comes from the bottom, not the top.” After closing his keynote, Sanders received a standing ovation.

Day 2 – November 30

At 9 a.m. in Burlington’s Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, the Gathering began on Friday with talks about Medicare for All. From the start of the day, attendees filled the building’s main theater to capacity, leaving some standing at the back of the venue.

The afternoon saw an engaging and well-received panel discussion about climate change and the Green New Deal. With Bill McKibben moderating, Naomi Klein, Matt Nelson, and Dr. Stephanie Kelton discussed the urgent need for action to avert climate catastrophe. The panelists touched on how to best frame the issue of climate change, how to build a more intersectional environmental movement, and how progressives can learn from indigenous communities while standing up for environmental justice.


Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein on Indigenous Struggles and the Fight Against Climate Change from Reader Supported News on Vimeo.

After the panel, Ben Cohen, activist and co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, spoke on efforts to get money out of politics, suggesting that all federal elections be funded exclusively with “democracy vouchers” – a system through which each voter is given a $100 tax credit to donate to the politician of their choice. Cohen’s statements were followed by an ice cream social.

The Gathering proceeded Friday night in Main Street Landing’s Black Box Theater, which attendees also filled to capacity. Just after 8 p.m., an event titled “Short Takes: Ideas Into Action” started with Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks (TYT) news network hosting a series of talk show-style interviews with progressive notables such as Jane Kim, Randy Bryce, and the former mayor of São Paulo, Brazil, Fernando Haddad. Attendees responded with thundering applause when Haddad stated that the left’s mission everywhere should be to “make people dream again,” while he made the case for providing compelling political alternatives to conservatism and neoliberalism.




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