Sanders Activist Says Progressives Should Not Accept Clinton as the Nominee Without Protest
Annabel Park tells Paul Jay that there should be no more excuses made for the Democratic Party ignoring the demands of its supporters
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. We’re in Chicago at the Pesdet671ople’s Summit, and now joining us to give us her take on what’s happening here is Annabel Park. Annabel is the creator of the “We Want Bernie Sanders” Facebook page which has garnered over 300 thousand likes. She’s also a political activist and documentary filmmaker. Thanks for joining us.
ANNABEL PARK: Thanks for having me.
JAY: So, what’s your impression? The political revolution must continue, said Bernie Sanders. That’s the theme of [inaud.] here, but what does that mean and what do you think of the way things are being framed here?
PARK: Well, first of all, I think this is extraordinary. What they did, this space is amazing and I feel like they’ve really treated the Bernie Sanders supporters in the manner that they should be treated, as people who really deserve to be honored and celebrated and, I mean, they’ve been treating us with delicious food, so there’s so much here that I just deeply appreciate.
But at the same time I feel like we’re not having some conversations that we need to be having as a movement right now. I feel like the way it’s framed to me is a bit like not only is the primary over but, like, the election is almost over or it’s become irrelevant, and that we should focus on, you know, issues and kind of organizing in the way that we have been organizing even before Bernie Sanders, right, as a progressive movement.
But the problem is that we have worked, many of us worked really hard in the last year to give Bernie Sanders this platform.
JAY: Yeah, let me just, for people that don’t know, Annabel’s been involved in building this Facebook page, as I said, “We Want Bernie Sanders.”
JAY: And It’s become a big page and there’s quite a lot of pages like this. There’s been a very big, spontaneous movement on social media and it’s been very successful, and a big part of the success of the Sanders campaign, so, go ahead–
PARK: –Yeah. But I also traveled to primary states, you know, and volunteered, and, you know, I documented some of that. I also worked on Asian American outreach, so it wasn’t just social media. I mean, I did a lot of stuff offline and met people around the country. So, I know how hard people have worked and I just feel like we need to have a discussion about going forward into the convention, what are we actually doing in Philadelphia?
Because there are lots of delegates here who don’t know what to do actually in Philadelphia, and there are people trying to organize protests outside the convention, right? And who’s going to lead that effort? And are we going to leave it to people who are often the most radical and vocal to take the lead on that? Because that could put a big blemish on this entire effort, right? If it looks like the very end of occupy where you just see people having a standoff with the police, with the riot police.
JAY: I know, I think some of the people involved in Roots Action and some others have been trying to have a, create a network of Bernie delegates, but there’s been nothing planned here for the delegates to meet as delegates? I’m asking.
PARK: I, there’s been no time set up for that, you know, so I’m just concerned that we’re treating this whole situation like, campaign like the primary’s over when I fear there’s a lot of things we need to figure out going into the convention, like, how do we put pressure on the democratic party? You know, on things like not just a platform but holding them accountable for the process.
There’s still uncounted ballots, right? They’re still flipping counties in California, you know, and there are things coming out about Hillary Clinton every single day that make people go, how is she going to be hold up as a candidate, you know? So [inaud.], there are a lot of variables going into July and I just feel that the conversation has been too much up here about just movement building that I’ve heard at many conferences. And they’re very intelligent people. I admire everyone who;s here, but I don’t understand why we’re not talking about the tactics.
JAY: Well, talk more. What would you like to see as the tactic and what more of the conversations you’d like to see?
PARK: Because right now, the majority of the people I talk to here, they don’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton, and we don’t feel there’s been any concessions you know? So yeah, okay, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, that’s been one concession, but she hasn’t made any policy concessions, right? And suddenly we’re going to vote for Hillary Clinton and get behind her? And some of the speakers have actually articulated that, that we need to do this, and it’s all very much [crosstalk] about fear.
JAY: [interceding] It has been some speakers, not the framing of the conference though, in terms of support for Hillary–
PARK: –Okay, that might be true, but I haven’t heard anyone say, under no condition will I vote for Hillary Clinton, either.
JAY: No, I don’t, I think that’s sort of unspoken–
JAY: –Stop Trump, vote for Hillary but then keep the movement building going.
PARK: Right, yeah. But the relationship that we have with the democratic party right now, many of us supporters, feels almost like an abusive relationship where they have taken us for granted. We don’t have a voice, right? Some of our votes didn’t get counted, okay? They don’t seem to care what we think, [crosstalk] you know, so, yeah.
JAY: [interceding] Well, and the nurses are actually talking in a similar way.
PARK: Are they?
JAY: Well, RoseAnn DeMoro was Sanders’ nominee for the platform committee, though she was turned down by the DNC. They’ve acknowledged, and I think Sanders’ campaign has [inaud.], the DNC’s been completely antagonistic to this campaign.
PARK: So if you’re in an abusive relationship, what do you do? Are you going to continue to believe that this person can change and make excuses for the abuses, right? Or are you going to walk out the door, okay? And I’m at a point personally where I’m like, I’m walking out the door because I don’t want to make excuses for abuse anymore, for voter suppression, you know, for favoring certain candidates, all the behind the scenes stuff, the corruption, you know, the money–
JAY: –Well, some people are proposing a tactic at the convention where a lot of people do walk out. Is that something you would support?
PARK: The delegates?
PARK: Yeah. I think [crosstalk] we need to do something–
JAY: [interceding]–That the Sanders delegates walk out–
PARK: –that dramatic. What I don’t want to see is violence, okay? I don’t want to see violence on the street. I don’t want it to look like 1968, right? I want this to be about us holding the Democratic Party accountable and to let the country know, we need more options. The two-party system props up the oligarchy and we can’t be in a situation that all we can do is support this system or participate in the system. [crosstalk] We need something else. Yeah.
JAY: [interceding] Well, one of the speakers, one of the speakers, I believe it was Becky Bond, who works for the Sanders campaign, but was talking very strongly about the importance of demolishing Trump, that if you don’t smash Trump in this election you’re going to have all kinds of mini Trumps. Even if he loses, but if he loses only by a little then this kind of racist, xenophobic kind of positioning becomes something that can be duplicated across the country. I think she said it was going to be like whack-a-mole dealing with these guys.
So it’s a fine line, because if the defeat of Trump and the decisive defeating of Trump, I mean, at this point what else is there except people are going to have to vote for Clinton even if it’s hold your nose and vote for Clinton.
PARK: Yeah. We can act like we’re in “The Walking Dead,” you know? Like, oh, we’re afraid of more zombies attacking us. You know? Yeah, that may happen, okay? But I don’t accept the framing that our enemy really are the zombies, okay? Maybe I’ve been watching “Walking Dead” too much, but really the enemy are people who want power, right? It’s not the zombies. And so, it’s the system. It’s the power relationship.
I’m less afraid of people and more afraid that we have this system that we keep propping up and reinforcing again and again and again, and we accept Clinton as the nominee without a protest, okay? Without having a real accounting about things that happened, then we’re just going to be actually rewarding it, okay? That’s what I’m afraid of. My zombie is the establishment politics, not Trump, you know, wannabes.
JAY: Well, what do you make of the argument which I’m sure is what, you know, these people would say, that if you have too big a break, falling out, too much disarray at the Democratic Party convention, in other words, if there was a real walk out, it would make the whole Democratic Party leadership look dysfunctional and might give some significant support to the Trump campaign. I mean, how much does that concern you?
PARK: I mean, I’m concerned, but given that 44 percent of America is independent, okay, and they don’t like the Democratic party of the Republican party, I think the majority of people will welcome another way of doing this, okay?
JAY: So you mean a third party candidate, then?
PARK: Yeah. We need more parties, not just the third party. We need more parties. We need more people saying, we’ve got to do better than this two parties duopoly here, you know, and we can’t just keep reinforcing it out of fear of zombies, you know? We just can’t. I’m not there. My fear is not with Trump wannabes. My fear is with oligarchy, okay? And we’re not going to get rid of that just by spreading fear about Donald Trump or the Tea Party or whatever. Yeah.
JAY: All right, thanks very much for joining us.
PARK: Yeah, thank you. Okay.
JAY: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.
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