On the heels of the widely covered Republican and Democratic Conventions, a lessor known political gathering was taking place online. Nearly half a million Americans tuned in to vote for the formation of the People’s Party.
The People’s Convention last week streamed for five hours on Sunday with some very progressive speakers, including some prominent Democrats. All were there for one reason. To form a “major new corporate-free political party in America.”
Among the speakers were several disgruntled Democrats. No, not Bernie Sanders, but his 2020 national co-chair Nina Turner was there along with a 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate, Marianne Williamson. The roster also included former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, Harvard professor Dr. Cornel West, comedian Jimmy Dore, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges.
Williamson blasted an economic system that for decades has stranded “millions of people without even a life vest,” as massive amounts of wealth has gone directly to the top, leaving the American middle class “completely devastated.” She said, “It is health insurance companies, it is big pharmaceutical companies, it is big oil, it is food companies… and of course, it is the military industrial complex.”
Nina Turner went on to say, “we are in a fight for our lives and for future generations.” She then quoted a poem called “Kids Who Die” by Langston Hughs from 1938 that still carries the same weight today, “We don’t believe in the lies and the bribes and the contentment in a lousy peace.”
Jesse Ventura, who won the governorship of Minnesota on a third-party ticket said, “We need a third or fourth entity to step in. The lesser of two evils is still evil.” Dr. Cornel West made a call to “transform the American empire into a more democratic space.”
Hedges probably summed up the rationale behind the creation of the People’s Party the best. “There is only one choice in this election, and that is the consolidation of oligarchic power under Donald Trump, or the consolidation of oligarchic power under Joe Biden,” said Hedges. “The oligarchs with Trump or Biden will win again, and we will lose.”
Progressives at the People’s Convention were very enthusiastic and excited about finally having a party that represents them. It could be seen in the fact that 99% of the attendees that streamed the event took part in the voting process to approve the formation of the new party.
For those hardcore Democratic Party die-hards waiting to blame the People’s Party for a Biden defeat in November, you can breathe easy. The party won’t be active until the next cycle in 2022. In the meantime, most speakers were encouraging attendees to vote Trump out by voting for Biden.
The People’s Convention was thoroughly ignored on virtually all mainstream media outlets, but Republicans and especially Democrats had better take notice. Progressive and independent voters have been waiting for this moment for a long time and the powers that be will not be able to ignore it.
You may be quick to dismiss them, but with congress at record low approval ratings for years and leadership roles mainly being held by lessor men and women who cater to the wealthy, people are hungry for change.
Back in the late 1800’s, in the midst of the last gilded age, the United States saw its first incarnation of the People’s Party. In it’s inaugural year of 1892, the party made up of progressives and populists won races for governor, elected congressmen, and won four states in the presidential race.
The Movement for a People’s Party, the organization that coordinated this venture, now says it is working to establish local branches around the US, which will “form the building blocks of state parties” and begin the long and grueling process of securing ballot access. 2022 is not that far away, but first thing is first.