(Political) Reform or Revolution? | Acronym podcast #14

Right now, we are about 24 hours or so before we learn the results of yet another – and final – Super Tuesday in this wild primary election season. No matter what happens in California tomorrow, Bernie has made it clear that he is taking his argument to the convention and the superdelegates, ans so the next chapter in the #FeelTheBern story will begin.

The question regarding if that revolution will lead to a revolution (political or otherwise) is still an open one.

On the podcast today, I speak with Keyan Bliss (Communications Coordinator for Move To Amend) about the road to revolution and where (if at all) that intersects with electoral politics.

Among the more though provoking articles published in the avalanche of thought pieces surfing the wave of #PeakBern is Todd Chretien’s piece at Socialist Worker that begins by imaging a January 2017 where Bernie Sanders has defied the odds and become President of the United States and does a great job is unpacking questions surrounding the possibilities, obstacles and pitfalls of trying to build a revolution from within the Democratic party.

Chretian gives credit to Sanders for highlighting the evils of money in politics, writing:

Sanders rightly points to the corrupting influence of campaign cash. But keep in mind that the Old Jim Crow and the Vietnam War predated the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The capitalist class has other means to assert its domination over the state machine besides campaign contributions.

Getting “money out of politics,” when discussing the American state, is a bit like saying we should get “money out of economy.” The problem of state power and economic monopoly cannot be reduced to tweaking electoral regulations. Something more potent is required.

That something more potent is what the organization Move To Amend is working towards. Formed in the fall of 2009 – in anticipation of the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision that would be handed down in January of 2010 – Move to Amend is a coalition of organizations and individuals that – according to its mission statement individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.

Specifically, Move To Amend is calling for an Amendment to the Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

Mindful that – as Todd Chretian so eloquently put it in the article I refereed to earlier –that the pre Citizens United era in the United States was anything but one in which economic justice and democracy flourished – Move To Amend sees this amendment as the beginning of a revolutionary movement.

Note: A few years ago, I partnered with the group Move To amend to produce the documentary Legalize Democracy. If you have not seen it, my biased recommendation is that to budget a half-hour of your time to take it in. I’m proud of the project and think we succeeded in packing quite a bit into a tight half hour in a way that is very accessible.