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Chicago People’s Summit Is About Keeping Hope Alive


Chicago People’s Summit Is About Keeping Hope Alive

Tanner Jean-Louis

“This political revolution started before Bernie Sanders got here, and it will continue after his campaign.”

Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, delivered these words to some 3,000 attendees at the People’s Summit, a gathering in Chicago this past weekend of student organizations, civic groups, and unions allied with the Sanders campaign.


The "Keeping Hope Alive" title of this article is 180 degrees from the article's conclusion "to embrace Clinton as a viable alternative to Trump".

How is "embracing Clinton" going to be "keeping hope alive" ?


I think this summit was set up to counter the third party progressive summit that will be held shortly. I think this summit was for keeping hopes alive that progressives can play a bigger role in the Democratic Party. For many people that will be the way to go but others it will be the third party route.


Hope and Change Obama serially reconfirms that hope plus two bucks buys a cup of coffee, three bucks in high rent areas.


"As bestselling author Naomi Klein said at the summit:

“They told us that we couldn’t get here, that we would have to cover up our ideas . . . sneak them in under the cover of night, but no . . . these ideas are deeply popular.”

These ideas were ALWAYS very popular.

The problems were (and remain):

  1. Think tanks pay sexy TV pundits to PRETEND that the nation is centrist and "not ready" for things like a higher minimum wage or a single payer health care system.

  2. Polls are falsified or questions asked in ways designed to deliver results that suggest a "centrist" nation.

  3. No one had a pulpit through which to mention these things! (Most media goes instead to the likes of Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, and "liberals" who are only interested in their own career contacts... not the betterment of society).

The ideas are impotent without the political muscle to implement them. And anyone who believes that Hillary Clinton will do that is still dreaming... or caught in a tide-pool left behind by Obama's Hope and Change debacle.


Blue team loyalty runs deep and is hard to shake.

Hillarybots shun evidence and are as faith based as the Dubyabots they mocked for the past 15 years.


I see no logical reason for optimism. We remain deep in a class war. Liberals are content to ignore the consequences of imposing the austerity agenda of our poor. On core socioeconomic issues, Democrats and liberals are now to the left of former Republican presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, even Reagan. Greatest irony of my lifetime: While liberals were politely applauding the anniversary of the UN's UDHR in the 1990s, Bill Clinton stripped our poor of the same basic human rights listed in that international agreement, and liberals never connected these facts. They spent the years of this administration waving the banner for the middle class.

Listen to what people say when they talk about "inequality." They've restricted the inequality discussion to the gap between workers and the rich, disregarding the canyon between the working class and poor. They can read that the US shipped out a mass of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s; that there are now 7 jobs for every 10 jobless people who still have the means to pursue one (home address, phone, etc.) yet seem oblivious to the consequences: our poverty crisis. As our own history shows, it's impossible to save (much less, to rebuild) the middle class without shoring up the poor, and without a large enough middle class, the US economy will collapse.

If it really does come down to Trump/Clinton, we all lose. People can talk about revolution, but be realistic: If we had a revolution, who would fight whom, and for what? We're rich vs. middle class vs. poor.


If it comes down to Trump/Clinton, Trump wins. As far as we can tell, Trump and Clinton have very similar ideologies. Both increase the risks of WWlll. Because the US is depleted militarily and economically after the longest war in our history, we will lose. Trump/Clinton are both devout servants of the corporate state. Clinton presents the greater threat to Social Security. On this issue: After ending actual welfare, Bill Clinton had just enough time to begin similarly "reforming" Social Security, targeting the disabled. By 2000, the disabled had become the fastest-growing group of homeless people. They did very poorly on the streets. Liberals responded to this crisis with indifference. Finally, Obama was able to get benefits restored. As H. Clinton began revving up her campaign in 2015, the Clinton wing in Congress responded by virtually ending food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled. There is no question that H. Clinton hopes to pick up where her husband left off, phasing out Social Security.


Are there enough US liberals who would fall for that? I can guarantee that progressives (by definition) won't. We've seen that the right wing of the Dem Party -- what Bill Clinton proudly announced as the new "New Democrat Party" -- is more destructive than the Republican Party. They are solid neoliberals.