(This is part two. Here’s part one: Delegates are on stage talking to their supporters.)
1:21:00: after listening to Karen speak on stage, six supporters want to talk to Kerith and get her business card.
David1 and David2. David1 was a Bernie Sanders Field Organizer in Ames, Iowa, where he met David2, Who is from Massachusetts. He also went to five other states.
He met a candidate in Wyoming who “is a really great speaker but is not very organized.”
1:24:30: Two women from Burlington County, NJ, cast their very first vote for Bernie Sanders and me!
They are concerned if Bernie delegates were threatened to vote for Hillary, such as with stripped credentials. Beyond the general guilt of ‘not voting for Hillary is a vote for Trump’, this is untrue.
Another concern: Are Hillary supporters using their signs to cover Bernie signs? This is significantly true, but whether it is officially sanctioned, that is impossible to know.
1:26:00: Jeff: “Hopefully in two years maybe you’ll vote for me again. We’ll see what happens.”
Jamie: “Of course! I already know that you care what we care about. That’s what matters.”
1:26:25: Kerith is sitting and talking with the whole crowd of people from before.
1:26:50: A supporter, Ryan Scott Davis, a Democrat from Maine, asks how does one become a delegate?
According to him there was only 3,400 total votes in the entire state for the democratic presidential primary. Maine closed two thirds of its polling stations. According to the New York Times, the Democratic primary had 3470 votes, and the Republican primary had 18,627 votes.
Jeff: “Because when there’s chaos you can do whatever the hell you like.”
He arrived in Philadelphia today. He was at Independence Hall earlier, and worked his way to the park.
The park’s curfew is at 10 PM. At that time the main stage shuts down, and you’re supposed to leave the park. But the police are allowing people to stay and pitch tents. This is something very strongly fought for by Philly.FYI.
1:33:35: Kerith is still talking to the group.
You can run as independent, but in our two-party system, it is harder…
Let me be clear, there is no funding to get. You have to go find it. There’s this myth, that if you’re a Democrat, that there’s money to be found. Obviously it makes it easier to raise from Democrats, because they’re organized. So there’s that.
She talks about the need of getting 1,000 signatures in order to get onto the ballot in Pennsylvania, and you only have three weeks to do it. And in order to survive any challenge, you need many hundreds more than that. “You need friends.”
1:34:35: She is holding a light in her lap, pointing it up to her face, like when telling a ghost story.
Jeff, to Kerith, totally deadpan and dry: “I have something very important. Could you please say bwah-ha-ha-ha?”
Lots of laughter. My favorite moment of levity at the convention.
Kerith: How do you start to get involved right now? Go look on your state websites for the rules, they’re different everywhere. Go look now.
“But no one is running for the seat, right? And no one wants it. So there’s no getting in to get into get in. You don’t need the party apparatus. You need to get the petitions, you need to get the signatures, make sure that they are good… File them with the State Department, your name goes on the ballot…
I don’t want this to turn into Occupy… You can be pissed, but you need something to do next.”
1:37:30: Jeff hands out the Brand New Congress leaflets, as an example of what to focus on, to avoid making the same mistake as Occupy.
1:38:30: Kerith talks about how Brand New Congress helps candidates raise money, to compete in this corrupt system. She talks about the negative cycle of fundraising, and how it is antithetical to actually helping people.
This moment, and the moment where Joe Sullivan the police chief, and I stood on the stage together, in front of City Hall on Sunday, and looked out at the crowd, And said “This is the way it’s supposed to look like between the cops and the people.” And he stuck out his hand to shake my hand, and I slapped his hand away and I hugged him. And then we looked and we stared at each other with big smiles on our face. And then he turned and said, “And this is the way it will look between the Philadelphia police and you.”
1:41:25: Jeff talks about how Brand New Congress is a staff for all of their ~440 candidates, so candidates don’t have to worry about fundraising or polling or media, or anything except for connecting with their potential constituents. Brand New Congress is also a brand, so that no matter who you vote for, if they are under the Brand New Congress label, you know what you’re getting.
1:42:50: David1 talks about how, despite not having a lot of clinical experience, he worked intensely for six months during the Bernie Sanders campaign, and that it takes a lot of discipline. He asks me if I had that discipline during my campaign, and it’s hard for me to answer.
1:44:40: A 23-(“and-a-half”)-year-old woman from New York asks what she can do to prepare for the future, “because I would love to run for Congress one day.” She’s especially upset about the State of the school system on Long Island.
1:46:30: I suggest joining Brand New Congress, Democracy for America, and Our Revolution. Attend as many things as you can, find what you like best, focus on them and drop the rest.
1:47:15: David1 talks about in addition to going to meetings, to get experience now, such as by volunteering for a campaign. “Make yourself a permanent body in that office.”
1:48:35: Caleb: “The Millennial Generation is the most progressive generation in American history.”
Jeff: “How much did Bernie Sanders teach you this?”
Being here [in FDR Park] is great, is rallying is great, but unless I’m actually active and doing something, this is all for naught.
1:50:45: David1 suggest picking an issue and learning everything about it. Run on that issue. This is what I like to do personally, which is to go deep, instead of wide.
1:51:00: Jeff: “So when did you arrive here?”
NY Woman arrived on Monday morning. Caleb arrived very late Sunday night, after a 24 hour straight drive from Iowa, With two friends, Ryan and Javier.
1:51:30: NY Woman:
As soon as we realized that there was foul play in this election, we knew that we had to be here. I wouldn’t be able to look my children in the eye and tell them that I didn’t try.
1:52:20: Caleb: “Our generation is terrified to have children.”
Our generation is just terrified to have children, because we know the world that they are going to be born into. We don’t want our children to be born in a world where everyone is fighting for resources. We want to live in a world where everyone is able to cooperate and get along and everyone’s needs are met. That is not the direction the world is currently headed in.
1:53:00: NY Woman’s Tim Canova shame bell, inspired by Game of Thrones.
“Hillary Clinton, DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Shame! Shame!” Smiles.
1:53:45: David one reminds us of Stephanie Anders, who was the last person to speak when we were on stage. Anders is running as an independent in Florida against Debra Wasserman Schultzin the general. And if Tim Canova wins, she will be running against him
NY Woman: “That’s the choice we need to make! Those are the choices we need in this country.”
I bring up the point of, yes it is a good choice, but it would also be splitting the vote between them and the Republican in the general.
1:55:0: Kerith is speaking with Claudia from Kentucky, about how dramatically Claudia’s electric rates are going up. They talk about solar and feeding energy back into the grid and leasing arrangements.
1:57:05: Kerith: “See if you can challenge the ordinance. Challenge the law. There’s lots of ways to effectuate change.”
She talks about getting a petition signed by 100 people in her town, go to the state house and complain. While a petition doesn’t guarantee anything it makes it clear that people are upset.
1:57:30: Jeff asks about the difference between online and paper petitions when the issue is local.
Kerith talks about how paper petitions used to be weighed.
1:59:05: Kerith: “Shake that cage. Make an appointment.”
Shake that cage. Make an appointment. Go say, “Here’s my $400 utility bill. How do I afford that? … Here’s my paycheck, here’s my grocery bill, I had to take the dog to the vet this month, and here’s my utility bill. How do you propose I do that?” And see what they say to you.
I suggest recording meeting, and we briefly discuss the legal implications of audio versus video recording, and permission.
2:00:30: We meet Brian
(See the full article on Brian. The entire dialogue is below.)
2:00:30: Brian joins us. A 21-year-old, soft-spoken, Hispanic man from Brooklyn, New York, wearing a gray tank top. He has a small goatee on the very bottom of his chin.
He asks Kerith what the next moves are, to avoid becoming Occupy. Kerith ask about finding candidates and Brand New Congress.
2:02:20: Kerith: “Find the thing that makes you angry, and run for that seat.”
She reviews Claudia’s problem, and says that the likely place to solve that problem may be in the state house, or perhaps the city council.
Kerith: “What motivates you? Because the campaign, it is grueling. You better care a lot about it.”
2:03:13: Brian is concerned how when you search for “DNC” on Google, there is nothing about the protests. And the first articles about the protests are negative against the protesters.
He says that while the future is important, it’s also important to make a statement right now.
2:09:05: He wants to know what kind of a statement we can make right now, with all these people already here. Kerith says that the statement that we can make is getting the people that we want, and they don’t want, into Congress.
Kerith: “It’s not a tomorrow thing.”
My thoughts, as I’m writing this, 9/14: The energy that it would take to make a statement in the last day of the DNC is likely not worth it. The statement that we can make is in the long term, but get started organizing for that right now.
2:09:45: Brian: “But we have to address the fact of how ridiculous of a picture it [this] is. There’s two walls and SWAT preventing us from showing our outrage of a rigged election.”
Kerith: “Being angry and fighting it won’t change who’s there making the decisions.”
2:11:15: Jeff: “We need to create a new game. But we also need to expose their game for what it is. That’s what I’m doing.”
I think there’s another side, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Which is–all of these things she’s been saying areaccurate… We need to create the government that we deserve. That’s one part of it. We need to just forget these rules, this game is not one that we choose to play. They want to play their game–
Brian: “But we’re playing it.”
Jeff, taking back control, not being distracted:
This game is one we choose not to play. So we’re gonna create a new game. However, the other side of it is, we need to expose their game for what it is.
Brian: “Yes! Exactly.”
That’s what I’m doing. I’m not going in and protesting. I’m going in and showing what it’s really like. Livestreaming all of the walk out, which the news is not going to do. But you can see the truth. The truth is there for you. The truth is there for you.
I’m not out there screaming, “This sucks! This sucks! This sucks!”, But I’m recording everything that’s going on, because the people out here want to know the truth. And this is the only way that they’re going to get it.
2:12:15: Claudia: “Find what you do in your spare time, and that’s your passion.”
Claudia works four jobs, but spends her spare time on politics.
I’m here in Philly. I’m here as a protester. I’m here as a guest for two delegates. If you would ask me even a week ago, if I thought I would be sitting here, on a livestream, talking to people about how I could affect change, I would’ve said no. That’s not gonna happen.
If your pasttime is art, make political art. If what you doing to pass time is livestreaming, then livestream. Do whatever you can. [Bernie says that] change does not happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up. And we’re the bottom.
Claudia is currently working on the campaign for a city commissioner in western Kentucky, one of 13 running for four available seats. She herself wants to run for the House of representatives.
Claudia: “It’s a long game. It takes two years. I’m in this to win this.”
But were acting as if the rally is already over… My impression is that[, despite understanding the long-term goals], it’s speaking in a way that–making it seem that we have already like–we’re past this DNC already. It’s over. We’re just sort of biding time until the next step.
He wants to organize something now, at the DNC, with the delegates, to make a statement. “To do something drastic.”
Jeff: “Why do you need to convince them of something?”
Because the message of this entire movement. The message of this entire March, wasn’t just to protest against the–HRC. [The fraud and corruption was obvious to all of us. We need to protest against the entire Democratic Party.] The whole point of this protest was to show how outrageous we are at a rigged election.
As I write this, 9/14, I disagree. While important, protesting the rigged election is not the most important point. We are here to begin a revolution and change the system.
2:15:05: Jeff: “And I’m asking you. I’m asking you: Why do we need to convince them, that they’re corrupt?”
It’s convincing America through progressives who will– By showing America, the right wing America, and Latino–you know, the whole other side of the country that’s republican. That we’re going to do real, immediate change. We’re not just idealists looking towards, oh tomorrow, tomorrow, we’ll get a seat in Congress. If we look impotent, what are people going to do…
Jeff: “Impotent to them. To the Democratic Party.”
Brian: “To America.”
Jeff: “So who do you want to convince? Do you want to convince America, or do you want to convince the Democratic Party?”
Brian: Pause. “Both.”
So why do we waste time across the street, when they have no interest in anything that we have to say? Forget them… If we waste time trying to convince the bully that they’re a bully… That is time that we could otherwise be creating the government that we deserve…
We notify America through us, not them. We don’t try and go through the media’s filters, or fun house mirrors. We create the media. We inform America the way that we want to inform America…
Do you understand? Am I making sense?
I understand. It’s perfectly logical. But I’m saying this isn’t pressuring anything. This is an showing power, this isn’t showing unity. This is showing a massive people who want to change, and are not doing anything with the numbers that they have. And they’re not organizing in a way that’s going to have an immediate effect now.
9/14: Brian seems to believe that, while actual change is important, it is more long-term, and the perception of change by others is a more urgent and immediate concern. He sees all of these people standing around him with the energy and the anger, and the window of opportunity for something more immediate is slipping away.
2:19:10: Claudia: “If we weren’t pissed off, we wouldn’t be here talking right now. We’ve already done something…”
Claudia talks about how this DNC is different, given the amount of supporters from all around the country that are already here. How remarkable it is that she, as someone from western Kentucky, is talking to Brian from New York, on a livestream, here in Philadelphia.
2:19:45: Claudia: “We’re not going to get [the coverage that we want] from the mainstream media–”
Brian: “Unless we do something rash.”
Claudia has been interviewed by CNN and the New Yorker while in Philadelphia. I have been interviewed on television and was quoted in four newspaper articles while at the DNC. But Brian believes that we are only talking amongst ourselves. He believes it is critical to break through that wall so that people outside of our community hear our message.
We need to preach to those outside of our choir. And he seems to think that the only way to do this is by taking a dramatic stand right now, before the DNC ends (with this being the the night before the final day), So that it is indeed covered by mainstream media, and in the way that we want it to be covered.
He frankly seems to want the impossible, yet seems desperate to do something, and to do it right now.
2:20:55: Claudia tells the story about her 68-year-old mother, who was very conservative and closed minded (“Sorry mom”), screaming at the television when, Matt Bevin, an extremely conservative person won the Kentucky governorship (“the worst thing that’s happened to Kentucky in a long time”). Claudia was surprised to find out the her mother did not in fact vote for Bevin.
She took this opportunity to reach out to her, asking who she was going to vote for for president. She said she didn’t know anything about “that Barney guy.”
8 1/2 hours later, 430 in the morning, I turned my mother into the biggest damn Bernie supporter I’ve ever met.
I, Jeff, was very happy to learn that what convinced her was researching his platform, and likely watching videos.
2:24:10: Brian. One of our viewers agrees with him, that we must communicate with the DNC directly, not in directly.
2:25:20: I propose someone walking around tomorrow, during the daylight, documenting all of the security. The fences, the police, the horses, the concrete barriers, the Secret Service tent, the multiple layers between FDR Park and the Wells Fargo Center. I wish I had time to do this.
Brian wants to reach “The people who only have MSNBC.” I think it’s unrealistic goal in the timeframe that he wants to do it in.
2:26:50: Jeff states that he has to leave, and gives Brian the opportunity to give some closure viewers.
Brian: “We’re going to march through [across the street] peacefully, and show you that we’re not going to be ignored.”
He wants to orchestrate a demonstration to breach the Secret Service security tent, so they can peacefully protest inside the DNC. As if the Secret Service would let them anywhere near. He feels that doing it in a way that is “being peaceful” will somehow get them past the Secret Service. He also suggests somehow being assisted by delegates, which implies tricking the Secret Service.
2:28:00: Jeff: “And you don’t think the Secret Service is going to stop you?”
He does believe they will be stopped.
Jeff: “And then what?”
2:27:35: Brian: “And then we demonstrate that America is not going to take a completely corrupt system.”
I have serious doubts that they will ever reach that point. They will be taken away, out of the view of any cameras, before any actions can take place.
I say how regardless of how peaceful he intends to be, that approaching the Secret Service in this manner is extremely aggressive and, in my opinion, inadvisable.
Do you think the civil rights movement, That people don’t get hurt? … Don’t you think people are prepared for that? … If we are being peaceful, then why would they attack us?
I was unable to get my head around why that statement didn’t feel right to me. As I write this on 9/14, I get it:
Of course people got hurt during the civil rights movement. During any protest movement. The goal is to choose an action where you can make as much difference as possible before reaching the point of violence. What you are considering seems very likely to reach that point before anything meaningful happens.
When people got hurt during the civil rights movement, during the most effective campaigns, they got a lot of things done before they reach The point of violence. Or the violence was captured and broadcast to the wider public. You are likely not going to get either of those things by approaching the Secret Service in this way.
And no, I do not think that you are prepared for that. I think you are biting off way way more than you can chew, and are sacrificing preparation because of your intense sense of urgency. You seem to feel that it must be done before all these people leave tomorrow afternoon, and I’m just not sure that that’s possible.
If this is really that important to you, then do your research, and contact people that know about this. About the military, about the government, about security, about protests, and be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
And perhaps, given the time constraints, it is impossible to do anything. Perhaps you should lower your standards. If you are convinced that this is indeed the way you want to do it, then you better get started figuring out exactly what you need to figure out so you can make it happen in the most effective way possible.
The Secret Service will not “attack you”, but they will stop you. It doesn’t matter how peaceful you are, if you attempt to breach their barrier, you will be stopped.
2:30:05: Brian: “I have the experience and the knowledge to know what the hell to do against a two-party system that has literally done every corrupt thing in the book.”
Jeff, 9/14: What does that have to do with anything? We’re talking about planning a protest that attempts to breach the Secret Service. The message that we want to express once we have successfully breached the Secret Service, is really not relevant at the moment.
What do you think it’s going to happen? … It’s like you’re saying if we go in there we’ll be massacred or something. That something dire will happen when peaceful people that want to be heard walk into a place that directly concerns them?
Jeff, 9/14: If I’m going to participate in something, I want to know that something effective and meaningful is going to be accomplished To before it is shut down. I believe strongly that this particular idea will be shut down before anything even remotely positive is accomplished.
2:31:15: Brian: “It’s now or never.”
Jeff, 9/14: Then I choose never.
I’m not saying don’t do it. If you want to do it, do it. But I absolutely will not participate in it, and, I wouldn’t sabotage you, but if people asked me, [I would say] I don’t think it’s a good idea unless we get some really seasoned advice on how to pull it off.
2:32:35: Brian: “We shouldn’t be this scared to do something peaceful.”
2:36:10: Brian: “This is like something out of a third world country. Peaceful people will be killed if they do anything that is against the rules.”
2:37:00: Claudia and Brian hug. Claudia: “I don’t want you to die today.”
Claudia and Brian introduce themselves to each other and hug. Claudia says, “I don’t want you to die today.”
Jeff: “I want you to die two days after that.” Laughter.
Claudia: “Whatever you do, please be careful.”
2:37:40: Jeff: “We should not have to do that research. This should not be the country that we live in. But this is the country that we live in.”
2:39:15: Jeff: “Before I asked this question, how old did you think I was?”
Jeff: “I’m 44.”
Brian: “That’s great. You look so great.”
Jeff: “My insides are 73, but.” Laughter.
A viewer says I should have a “Dr.” before my name 🙂