At the 2017 People’s Summit, activists Josh Fox, Erika Andiola, Linda Sarsour-and Jim Hightower tell The Real News the resistance must also challenge the oligarchy within the Democratic party
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Jaisal Noor: We’re here at day one of the People’s Summit in Chicago, which is uniting left groups for a quote, “movement beyond the resistance.” We asked some of the thousands of attendees what demands this must have within the Democratic party and outside of it. Linda Sarsour: We have to build power outside any political parties. That we have to build the power outside and push the Democratic party to align with us on our issues, not the other way around. Erika Andiola: You know, we have a lot to focus on, because we are getting hit left and right by the Trump administration, but everything that we’ve been doing for, you know, since they took office, there’s a lot of communities who, you know, have it worst, even worse than others by what he’s been doing in his executive actions. But I also think that we, you know we also have to figure out what we all are also fighting for, and I think, you know, for me, I am just really tired of fighting against everything. You know, I think we do have to resist, some of us have been resistant for years. Josh Fox: You’re asking, “What does the real progressive movement look like?” This is it right here. I mean, you’re talking about a place where, out of that Bernie campaign, and I was a Bernie Sanders surrogate, I served on the platform committee for the Democrats. We had positions that people cared about, and the corporate Democrats had positions that were wishy-washy, and weak, and didn’t create enthusiasm. We wanted $15 an hour, not 12. We wanted a ban on fracking, not useless regulations that are just a gimme for the oil and gas industry. We wanted to stop the spying and NSA. We wanted single-payer, not more corporate profits for a healthcare plan that is actually charging people a lot of money. Noor: I think one of the lessons from Corbyn’s victory is that people want to fight for something, they want a radical agenda, they want the safety net restored. They don’t want to be involved with foreign countries that fund terrorism. They want to break the traditional pattern this country has been going to for the last 70 years. We don’t hear that from the Democrats, Democratic Party of the United States today. Where is that going to come from here? Jim Hightower: It’s going to come from the grassroots people who make up this conference, forged this conference, but most importantly, they go back to where they are. The big fight is at the local level. It’s nice to demonstrate in Washington, but that’s not going to anything done. What we’ve got to do is go back, recruit people to run for school boards, city councils, Congress, state legislatures, etc. And build an actual movement. People are getting elected all across the country on exactly the program that you just talked about. Josh Fox: Let me ask you this question, who you do think had more influence on our election, Russia or Exxon Mobile? Goldman Sachs or Russia? Right, the healthcare industry, Monsanto or Russia? Why don’t you ask this question. What’s Exxon Mobile’s relationship to Russia? Rex Tillerson is over in Russia right now working with Vladimir Putin to figure out how to frack the arctic. That’s a trillion dollar deal. He’s the Secretary of State. We have a lot of influences on our elections. Unfortunately the only influence on our election should be the people. That’s why this is called the People’s Summit. Issues also transect with what Bernie Sanders called, you were a surrogate for him, challenging the oligarchy in this country … They’re making money in all these issues. Criminal justice, healthcare, what is it gonna take to build a broad movement that really does that? Linda Sarsour: We’ve been organizing in silos, the kind of ending mass incarceration, the immigrant rights folks, the environment justice folks, but at the end of the day to you point you gotta follow the money. The present industrial complex are the same people who are making money off of the detention centers, are making money off of fossil fuels, are making money off of the banks. Our communities are the ones that are being directly hit. It is our communities that are impacted by poverty. It is our communities who have, are the making up black and brown communities making up the majority of the prison population. It’s gonna require and economic boycott. It’s gonna require us organizing [intersect-ually 00:04:05] bringing all the movements to the table. It’s about building power. Can’t be just theoretical and ideological. We can’t just talk anymore. We gotta do the work on the ground. Noor: Stay tuned to therealnews.com for all of our coverage of the 2017 People’s Summit, as well as the launching of the Nina Turner Show. With Michael Sainato, this is Jaisal Noor in Chicago.