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Sanders Launches “Our Revolution” To Continue His Political Revolution

Senator Bernie Sanders at Our Revolution launch
WAMC/Pat Bradley
Senator Bernie Sanders at Our Revolution launch

When he withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders promised supporters that his movement was only beginning. Last night, Sanders launched “Our Revolution,” the organization and plan to continue his political revolution.  

Senator Sanders launched the initiative to keep his political revolution moving forward in a live webcast from Burlington. Supporters began lining up outside the venue two hours before Sanders was scheduled to speak.  Jennifer Billings of Williston said politics needs to be shaken up.  “Honestly I’m not a big fan of the political system as it is now and Bernie represents hope to me.  I think right now we need to have a political revolution.  We need to have everything shaken up and start again.”

Before the stream, several local speakers energized the standing room only crowd.  State Senator David Zuckerman has been endorsed by Senator Sanders in his run for Lieutenant Governor. He told the crowd that Our Revolution is a collective effort to put democracy back into the hands of the people.  “The momentum is out there and now it's a matter of building on it. There are people that are hungry all over this country for our democracy to be about people again and not about corporate money and establishment politics. And I think Bernie's campaign really inspired a lot of people. And I think at this point people realize there's nothing to lose. It is time to work together to shift the economic system so that the one percent doesn't get it all.”

After a number of speakers and an interlude featuring a klezmer band, Sanders took the stage. Echoing his stump speech, he noted that his campaign captured the imagination of the nation’s youth.   “When you capture by large majorities the young people of this country it means that our ideas, our vision, is the future of this country. The political revolution means nothing less than the transformation of our country into a society in which we will not continue to have a handful of billionaires controlling our economic, political or media life. This nation has never been about oligarchy. And we must, our generation, must never allow oligarchy to become the governing doctrine of our nation.”

But there may be trouble behind the hoopla.  Before the launch of Our Revolution, numerous news outlets including Politico, The New York Times, NBC, and Buzzfeed reported that most of the group’s staff quit, citing numerous concerns including finances and leadership.   At the launch Wednesday night, event co-organizer Rights and Democracy Founding Advisor James Ehlers downplayed the revolt within Our Revolution, saying people trust Bernie.  “This isn't about any one single individual. This is a movement of people. There will be disagreements but ultimately we're talking about the values that are absolutely critical to our quality of life, our respect for one another as human beings.”

Larry Cohen, former president of the Communication Workers of America, will lead Our Revolution.  Sanders named his presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver president and Shannon Jackson executive director.  Because his political activities are restricted as a Senator, Sanders will not direct or control Our Revolution.

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