Rekindling the Bern: local activists plan to continue the Sanders revolution

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Andrew Cryer

Photo shows Cullman for Bernie Sanders/Jill Stein members Victoria Tuggey, Christy Eddy and Donna Clifton.

CULLMAN – It was a warm summer night as the sun was setting in Cullman, Alabama. Local activists gathered in a small apartment to discuss the future of the Bernie Sanders movement in Cullman. Donna Clifton, founder of Cullman for Bernie Sanders/Jill Stein, hosted the gathering as part of the kickoff for Our Revolution, a nonprofit organization fueled by the historic Sanders campaign. The livestream from a small computer monitor carried a large message “our revolution continues.”    

“We’re here to continue the revolution that Bernie started,” said Clifton as she gathered local organizers to watch the livestream of the kickoff.  When asked why Bernie supporters continue to fight even though their candidate is out of the race, Clifton responded, “because it was never about him. It’s about the movement. We are going to continue that movement.”

Clifton is no novice when it comes to political organizing. She was part of the Occupy Movement in Panama City when the liberal movement started spreading shortly after the financial crash of 2008. She was shocked by the amount of support that a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist senator from Vermont saw in Cullman; he claimed 35 percent of the Democratic vote in Cullman County.  

“Bernie Sanders said ‘Change does not occur from the top on down, but from the bottom on up. When millions of Americans stand up and fight, that is when real change will happen,’ and I completely agree,” said Cullman for Bernie/Jill Stein Media Specialist Christy Eddy, who had never voted before this year’s primary. “I am 36 years old. I’ve always hated politics and I’ve always felt like it was corrupt. I thought that every politician was dishonest, but I saw a post about Bernie; about how he has stood for the same things for 40 years and how he has fought for poor people. He wants to make a change.”

Eddy continued, saying, “Everybody says it’s not about the man it’s about the movement. That’s not true for me. Anyone can say they are for the things Bernie is for, but not everyone can lead, not everyone can inspire, not everyone can touch your heart the way that he has.” When asked if she would consider voting for Clinton, Eddy said, “Never. I’d vote for Trump over Clinton. If I vote for anyone that isn’t Bernie then I’d vote for Jill Stein.” The group yelled “never” in unison.

The group is just now truly getting started. They plan on organizing locally to campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, oil pipelines like those in North Dakota and other pressing national and state issues.  The group plans to campaign for universal healthcare, Native American rights, automatic voter registration and expanding social security.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, at the corner of Main and Cherokee at 2 p.m., the group is planning to hold a demonstration against voter fraud which, in their view, cost Bernie Sanders the primary election against Hillary Clinton. On Monday, Aug. 29, at the same location from 3-6 p.m., the group plans to hold a rally to call for the overturning of Citizens United.

The embers of those who “felt the Bern” are rekindling the movement in order to continue the revolution, in the state of Alabama, to fight for what they view as a progressive struggle against the elite class of the United Sates.

 

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