“I don’t care if the DNC (Democratic National Committee) backs me or not. This is a people-funded campaign,” says Paula Swearengin who’s running against the coal industry’s spokesperson, Senator (Joe) Manchin (D) in West Virginia’s upcoming primary.
“They are not voting for the issues and do not have our health or prosperity in mind,” she said in reference to the Democratic Party leadership. “They can stand with us or get out of the way because we are taking our state back.”
This is one of many examples of grassroots candidates who are challenging the two corporate parties in electoral races all over the country. In Jackson, Mississippi, a newly elected Mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, reminds voters that the point isn’t merely to resist one bad president, it is “to change the order of the world.
Something new is happening. People who are fed up with corporate owned government run by corporate backed parties and incumbents aren’t just staying home on election day, but are instead stepping forward and running for office. Their candidacies are the recognition of the fact that government that serves the corporations does so at the people’s expense.
One expression of this incipient new independent political motion found a voice in the People’s Summit held in Chicago over the June 9 through June 11 weekend. At one point during the summit, as Bernie Sanders was giving a speech, he asked, “how many of you have run for office or are actively involved in local campaigns?” Literally hundreds stood up to the applause of the audience. At another point when chants of “Bernie, Bernie,” arose he said, “no, it’s not me it’s you.”
Clearly, the glue that brought the Summit together was not blind devotion to a personality or candidate, but a reaffirmation into the electoral arena of the life and death issues that we face as Americans. Free universal healthcare for all, a guaranteed minimum wage that we can live on, access to clean affordable water, a pollution free environment, an end to the racial divide, an end to police murder of citizens, affordable housing and an end to homelessness, and free quality education for all; these are just a few of those issues.
People are beginning to separate themselves from both major parties precisely because the leadership of those parties consider things like healthcare, water, education, housing, etc., as sources for corporate capitalist profit rather than a starting point for rights that government should guarantee its people.
The widespread moral outrage at this has fueled the rapid growth of the movement. Ever larger numbers of new people are marching, protesting and entering into political activity, fighting for the people’s demands both inside and outside of the corporate parties. The understanding is shifting from Democrat versus Republican to haves versus have-nots.
We are four and a half decades into our economy transforming itself from industrial manufacturing to electronic automation. These changes are making themselves felt in the political life of the country. The billionaire ruling class is not willing to do anything for us, let alone respect the rights of workers or provide for those who can no longer feed, house or provide medical care for themselves. People, especially our young people, are becoming aware of this and are being set into motion.
The ruling class will attempt to do what they have always done: derail or push the movement off course from its final destination. But, the will of the people is to have an economy and government that are both finally of, for and by the people, and we will not be deterred.