News from America’s Political Revolution!
Bernie started Our Revolution with a single purpose:
To build a powerful grassroots movement that makes progressivism a transformative force in American political life. Help us continue the work of fulfilling Bernie’s vision.
Join us for a Special Monday National Organize to Win Call focused on ending fossil fuel subsidies!
Jane Kleeb, Our Revolution Board member, will lead a discussion with U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, 350.org’s Bill McKibben, Annie Leonard of Greenpeace USA and Erich Pica of Friends of The Earth.
IN THIS ISSUE…Defending democracy with the For the People Act, continuing to fight the filibuster, Medicare for All wins, the #Bamazon fight and more!
As we end the first quarter of 2021, here are some of the things we’ve accomplished so far this year.
We elected progressive champions in St. Louis and Illinois and helped Karen Carter Peterson advance to her runoff in Louisiana.
We worked with members of Congress to pass the PRO Act and For The People Act, called on President Biden to take a stand for Alabama Amazon workers, and won local fights to ban fracking, eliminate cash bail, pass Medicare for All resolutions, and more.
We elected Our Revolution members to Democratic party leadership positions in Florida, Maine, Arizona, and Illinois.
Learn more about what we did this week to fulfill our mission below!
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats pushed forward on S.R.1 – For the People Act, by holding a committee hearing. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged swift action on the bill, as state GOP lawmakers are introducing a flurry of legislation to restrict access to the poll. As of last month, 253 such bills have been filed in 43 states. While Republicans are trying to restrict voting, the For the People Act would make voting easier, get big money out of politics and strengthen ethics rules — policies that are popular with a majority of voters. Mitch McConnell has vowed to defeat the bill, raising once again the importance of ending the filibuster.
Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, the featured guest on our Monday National Call, emphasized the importance of passing S.R. 1 – For the People Act to defend our democracy. The former lead impeachment manager warned, “We came very close to becoming a failed state. The full story has not been told yet of how close we came to losing our democracy on January 6.” He also pointed out how the filibuster undermines democracy: “The 50 Democratic senators represent 40 million more Americans than the 50 Republican senators. Less than one-third of the country is blocking the agenda supported by over two-thirds of the country.”
The two horrific mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder in recent days have also called additional attention to the filibuster and its role in blocking common-sense gun control measures which the majority of Americans support.
Sen. Nina Turner, who’s running to represent OH-11 in the U.S. House, has picked up the endorsement of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. AOC called Nina “a bold, unapologetic progressive” whom she needs alongside her in Congress to fight for progressive policies. The OH-11 primary will be held on August 3, and Our Revolution Ohio is going all out to make sure Nina joins AOC and the rest of the Squad. Sign up to help phonebank for Nina!
Progressive voters had a great showing in the election last Saturday in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, and Our Revolution-endorsed candidate Karen Carter Peterson now advances to a runoff election on April 24th, when she can become the first Black woman to represent Louisiana in Congress.
Adolph Reed, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania and a native of New Orleans, joined our Monday National Call to introduce State Sen. Peterson. A leading Socialist scholar who has campaigned for Bernie, Professor Reed said, “This is an exciting opportunity to elect a genuine progressive champion with a wealth of political experience.”
Now we have to unite and push hard in the next month to make sure that we elect an unapologetic progressive to the House from LA-2. A win for KCP is a win for Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage.
Our Revolution North Texas was at it again this weekend! OR volunteers and activists block walked for their local endorsed candidates in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area: Hosanna Yemiru and Giovanni Valderas for Dallas City Council, Jen Sarduy and Tara Wilson for Ft. Worth City Council, Diana Saleh for Arlington City Council, and Mary Harris for Wylie, TX, City Council. We need to elect progressve champions up and down the ballot!
We have been campaigning in support of the PROAct in Congress and on behalf of Amazon workers in the streets of Bessmer. If you have any doubts about why this is so important, listen to Our Revolution Executive Director Joseph Geevarghese, who joined Nathaniel Pearlman on The Great Battlefield podcast to discuss his history of organizing on behalf of the working class and why it’s more important now than ever.
On Friday, Bernie went to Alabama to stand in solidarity with the 6,000 Amazon workers in Bessemer who are voting on forming a union, and Our Revolution Birmingham and Our Revolution Georgia were there to support the workers. Their campaign has been in the national spotlight and inspired workers throughout the U.S. “What you are doing requires an enormous amount of courage,” Bernie told workers at the rally. “You are taking on one of the most powerful corporations and the wealthiest individual in the world in an anti-union state. And not just for yourselves and your families – for workers all across this country.”
Bernie was joined by raptivist Killer Mike, an Alabama native who compared the treatment of Amazon workers to the abuse his grandmother endured working in Alabama sharecropper fields. “We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing companies to come in and pillage our people for a package to get there in two days.”
Last weekend, Sen. Nina Turner traveled to Alabama to meet with Amazon workers and take part in a union rally. “There are Amazon plants in Ohio, in CD-11. What happens here happens to the Amazon workers in my district.” She heard firsthand accounts of grueling working conditions and the company’s anti-union tactics. “I’ve been holding back the tears, hearing stories — the work is gut-wrenching, and they’re under constant surveillance. They feel guilty about going to the bathroom.”
This week, Bernie introduced two bills that address wealth inequality by making sure the wealthiest people and largest corporations pay their fair share. The For the 99.5% Act would replace our rigged tax code with a progressive estate tax on the wealth of the richest 0.5% of Americans, estimated to raise $430 billion over the next decade. The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act would eliminate tax breaks and loopholes that encourage corporations to offshore jobs and profits. 64% of Americans agree that the very rich should contribute an extra share of their total wealth each year to support public programs.
Our Revolution is launching an effort to push members of Congress to support Bernie’s legislation. In an interview with CNBC, Our Revolution Campaigns & Communications Director Paco Fabián said, “Corporations and the wealthy need to pay their fair share. We have seen an incredible amount of pandemic profiteering while folks have been losing their jobs and their health care.”
Our Revolution Colorado held its March statewide meeting this past Sunday, focusing on their 2021 efforts to win Medicare for All both in the state and nationally. Rep. Joe Neguse joined the call with a reminder that support for Medicare for All in Congress continues to “grow day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.” and he thanked Our Revolution Colorado members for their grassroots organizing for healthcare justice over the past four of years.
Our Revolution Maryland‘s Phil Ateto, who participated with Reps. Debbie Dingell and Pramila Jayapal in the introduction of the Medicare for All Act of 2021, wrote an account of his personal healthcare story that was published in media outlets. He writes: “For me and millions of Americans, this bill’s passage would not only be life-changing — it could be life-saving. I’ll be urging every member of Congress to sign on to the Medicare for All Act of 2021.”
Our Revolution Essex County has successfully campaigned the West Orange Township Council to pass a resolution in support of the Medicare for All Act of 2021. The Council’s approval of the resolution sends a strong message to New Jersey’s federal legislators that the residents of West Orange are demanding an end to for-profit health care in favor of a universal system without copays or out-of-pocket costs. “Our for profit health insurance system has long been plagued with injustices and inequities,” said Justin Goldsman, chair of Our Revolution Essex. “We are pleased that the Council passed this resolution.”
Our Revolution New Jersey held a rally on Friday outside the office of U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), to urge him to co-sponsor the Medicare for All Act of 2021 — which was introduced last week in the House of Representatives.
“The pandemic exposed employer-sponsored health insurance as an embarrassing failure,” said Mario DeSantis with Our Revolution Gloucester County. “Any healthcare reform that does not permanently guarantee healthcare as a human right is inadequate. Medicare for All means rectifying the healthcare inequities that existed long before the pandemic.”
On Monday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing on H.R. 51 – the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which would make the District of Columbia the 51st state. D.C. pays more in federal taxes per capita than any state, yet its 712,000 residents have only limited self-government and no congressional voting rights. Our Revolution supports DC Statehood, and a new poll shows a majority of Americans do, too. Sign the petition to show your support!
Our Revolution believes Puerto Ricans should have the right to self- determination. That’s why we support H.R. 2070, a bill introduced last week by New York Reps. Nydia Velázquez and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez that would provide a democratic process for Puerto Rico to choose its own political future.
Illinois Congresswoman Marie Newman joined Our Revolution Chicago and Cook County’s March meeting with an update on her progressive priorities. As vice chair of the CPC, Marie said she is “very focused” on bringing Medicare for All to a floor vote and on getting a $15 minimum wage over the finish line, which she pledged will get done in this Congress. She also cautioned on placing too much importance on bipartisanship, saying while it’s nice to have, it’s usually not very impactful. “Just because a bill is bipartisan doesn’t make it good. Typically, it’s watered down and diluted. Rather than worrying about bipartisanship, let’s focus on what works.”
Long Standing pressure from Our Revolution Howard County, MD and other progressive groups resulted in a big win for immigrant justice. After years of resistance, County Executive Calvin Ball agreed this week to end Howard County’s contract with ICE to warehouse undocumented immigrants. ICE’s facility in Howard County must close by May 18th.
As the Baltimore Sun is reporting, the contract termination comes “less than a week after Del. Vaughn Stewart’s ‘Dignity Not Detention Act’ passed the Maryland House with a veto-proof majority.” Stewart’s bill would terminate all county agreements with ICE to hold detainees by Oct. 1, 2022. Our Revolution Maryland endorsed Vaughn Stewart when he first ran for office in 2018 and he is active in the Our Revolution Montgomery County Chapter.
On Monday, the Evanston, IL City Council voted to give housing grants to eligible Black households, becoming the first city in the nation to pay reparations to Black residents. Daniel Biss, mayor-elect of Evanston who was endorsed by Our Revolution, says he hopes his city’s decision will spur other cities to follow suit and help move the country forward. Daniel believes a lot more work is needed to educate people on the case for reparations. “That progress has to come from the grass roots up — from the neighborhoods, municipalities and states, and eventually building pressure on the federal government.”
Our Revolution South Carolina rallied at the SC Workers March for $15/hr in downtown Columbia Sunday evening. Progressives, Democrats, and Independents gathered at South Carolina Democratic Party headquarters. Calling on President Joe Biden to stand with the Democratic base who elected him, activists chanted: “$15/hour. No Justice – No Peace. The time has come – for $15/hr!”
Our Revolution joined a coalition of progressive organizations calling on President Biden to nominate strong antitrust enforcers to the FTC and the Department of Justice who will hold corporate giants accountable. In a letter to Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, we highlighted the failure of Obama-era antitrust enforcement that led to today’s Big Tech monopolies — which have harmed both consumers and small businesses — and urged them to “make a clean break from past leadership” and elevate people with strong track records of standing up to big corporations.
Our Revolution joined 300 environmental and justice organizations in sending a letter to Congress calling out concerns with the CLEAN Future Act — a bill that proposes to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035. Of concern are half-measures included in the proposal such as fossil fuels, biomass, and nuclear power, which are not “clean” and pose “unacceptable risk to communities and the climate.” We are calling on Congress to define clean energy to include proven solutions like wind, solar, storage and efficiency — and exclude fossil fuels and other false solutions.
Judith Whitmer, the newly elected chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, joined our Monday National Call to discuss how progressives out-organized the establishment and swept the Nevada Democratic Party elections. Their story began with Bernie’s 2016 presidential campaign. “When Bernie said ‘Not me, Us,’ I took it literally and decided to run for office.” Judith organized the Left Caucus within the NDP to move the party left. “I’ve always believed in an inside-outside strategy — grassroots organizing in our communities, pushing for progressive planks in the party platform, and working in coalition with other groups like Our Revolution — that’s how we got where we are today in Nevada.” Sensing defeat, the incumbents transferred funds out of the party’s bank accounts before the new officers could be sworn in. Our Revolution has launched a donation effort to help the new NDP recoup the $450,000 in funding they lost to the DCCC.
Our Revolution Trenton Mercer organized to oppose the undemocratic NJ tradition of the county Democratic Party automatically endorsing incumbent candidates without a vote. The local Our Revolution chapter created a petition organized delegates to vote down the convention rules that would have exempted the incumbents from a vote. Our Revolution Trenton Mercer member Fran Carroll brought forward the motion, which passed 65%-35%. As a result, two Our Revolution Trenton Mercer-endorsed County Commissioner candidates – Samuel Frisby and Terrance Stokes won! We expect more voices on the commissioner board supporting civilian oversight boards for police, free college education, and resolutions in favor of Medicare for All!
Our Revolution California is hosting a candidate townhall for the upcoming California Democratic Party elections!
Join us to hear from the progressive candidates and for a robust conversation about issues that affect not only the party but also progressives throughout the community.
Our Revolution Massachusetts is holding its March meeting Sunday. The topic is Transparency and Democracy (or the lack thereof) in the Massachusetts State House and the leadership of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. For decades, Speakers of the House have stymied progressive reform behind closed doors without any recorded votes.
In parallel, Party leadership thwarts progressive initiatives and undermines the campaigns of progressive candidates. This ORMA Forum will lift the veil behind which Massachusetts party leaders pursue a corporatist agenda. Guests will also discuss organized efforts to transform the legislature and the Party into the democratic institutions our founders envisioned.