Socialists Discuss During the DNC

Brenner, Johanna

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/09/2016
Year Published:  2016  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21473

On the steamy evening of July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia a raucous audience of close to 800 gathered to discuss electoral politics and movement-building. This was day three of Socialist Convergence, organized by a coalition of left organizations to create a socialist presence during the Democratic National Convention.



Various events were organized by the People’s Human Rights Campaign, by Global Women's Strike for Peace, Black Men for Bernie, Jill Stein campaign, and Grassroots Global Justice, among others.
Discussing Socialism

The Socialist Convergence intended to address these various movements and campaigns from a socialist perspective. Titling our program "Carrying Forward the Political Revolution," we hoped to center strategic questions, not least of which is how to build coalitions and mutual support across this wide range of issues. Over the four nights there were many thoughtful presentations; but not all of the panels sparked the sort of dialogue about strategic possibilities that organizers had hoped for.

The panel on electoral politics, with well-known speakers Chris Hedges and Jill Stein, drew the largest and most boisterous crowd. It had been organized to discuss "what next" after Sanders' defeat and the coming installation of Hillary Clinton.

A good part of the audience came to cheer on and support the Jill Stein campaign. Stein obliged with a repeat of her stump speech, claiming (rather amazingly) that if all 43 million people burdened by student debt were to vote for her, she could easily win the presidential election.

Chris Hedges' moralistic attack on Sanders was roundly booed, as was Lev Hirschhorn (of the DSA) who argued for taking over the Democratic Party. Hedges and Stein gave prepared remarks while Hirschhorn, along with Bhaskar Sunkara (Jacobin) and Steve Williams (Left Roots), attempted to engage the strategic questions organizers had built the panel around.
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