Corporate Lobbyist Becomes Chair of the California Democratic Party, Confirms the Need for a New People’s Party

For Immediate Release: May 20, 2017

BREAKING: Corporate lobbyist Eric Bauman just became chair of the California Democratic Party. His achievements include taking $100,000 from pharmaceutical companies to block the initiative for lower drug prices in California. An initiative backed by Bernie Sanders.

The Democratic Party doesn’t need any help from the Republicans to lead our country to kleptocracy. Last year, it was the Democrats who supported billionaire coal baron and former Republican Jim Justice for governor in West Virginia. In January, it was the Democrats who threw out their own rules to make billionaire developer and former Republican Stephen Bittel the state party chair in Florida. Now, it is the Democrats who are courting billionaires to run for governor in three more states.

For months, Bernie Sanders has pointed to California as the bright spot in a bleak effort to reform the Democratic Party. Now that state party has just elected a proud corporate lobbyist as its leader.

Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of the California state legislature and they have governor Jerry Brown. But instead of passing the single payer bill that has been part of their state party platform for years, they have vowed to block single payer in the legislature. What is the point of trying to elect Democrats who side with Republicans the minute they take office?

It’s time for an intervention in the progressive movement: Is this what reform looks like? Is this what Bernie meant when he said the Democratic Party must become a grassroots party?

In November, Bernie said the Democratic Party had to choose if it was going to go through with a “fundamental restructuring” or remain with the “failed status quo.” They made their choice. Now the choice is ours: Do we submit to the establishment parties and allow the spiral into oligarchy to continue, or do we form a party for the progressive majority?

When NNU nurses broke rank at the convention and spoke up for single payer, the outgoing party Chair John Burton told them to “Shut the fuck up and go outside.”

California Democratic Party chair John Burton yelled at nurses protesting for single payer to “shut the f*ck up and go outside.” Burton condescendingly told the protesters, “There’s [sic] some people who have been fighting for that issue before you guys were born.”I think it is Time for John Burton STFU and go outside!!!!

Posted by Progressive Unity Project on Saturday, May 20, 2017

This time, we’re going to take your advise.

Draft Bernie for a People’s Party!

Weekly Organizing Call – 5/18/17

On our tenth weekly call, Draft Bernie founder Nick Brana gave a brief update of our recent activity. Legendary revolutionary Victor Tiffany, founder of #Bernieorbust. Victor’s group Citizens Against Plutocracy explained why he believes that the Draft Bernie movement is the right path away from a plutocracy and why Bernie is such an integral part of the movement. Randi talked to us about the upcoming Email Day of Action this week. We are trying to convince Bernie to endorse our movement with as many signatures as we can possibly get and that is why we are asking you to join us in our Email Day of Action. Here is a sample email. Our movement is growing and gaining momentum!

Weekly National Conference Call – 5/11/17

On tonight’s call, Steve Grumbine from Real Progressives talked to us about why we should feel hopeful that the Draft Bernie movement is doing the right thing in the current political arena. Ray Balaster, the new State Co-lead from Arkansas and Tisia Stemp, State Organizer from Nevada shared their thoughts about best practices for activating state volunteers. Nick and Carol gave us the latest Draft Bernie updates and event happenings. The momentum is building!

Weekly Organizing Call – 5-4-17

Listen to our eighth National Conference Call as we share the latest developments and talk about where the growing movement to Draft Bernie is heading next. this week, Nick talked about how the movement for a people’s party has been on a roll! In the past week, Dr. Cornel West joined us and fellow revolutionaries Jane Sanders and Nina Turner retweeted us! The rising independent media star Anoa Changa, host of The Way with Anoa, was our guest speaker. (more…)

National Organizing Call – 4/27/17

 

H.A. Goodman joined the call tonight to talk about why Draft Bernie is the only way to go forward. Mike Lucido, State Lead from NY reported what his team is doing in New York. National Organizer, Randi Wickliff gave ideas about how to get the most impact at National events like the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29. Marie Adams, National Organizer for the North East Region told what she did to get more petitions signed at the Science March in Denver with signs, t-shirts, and business cards. Carol Ehrle explained the May 8 Day of Action: the Draft Card Day of Action. Let’s flood Bernie’s office with the official “draft” cards.

Audio: National Draft Bernie Organizing Call- 4/27/2017

Dr. Cornel West and Draft Bernie Founder Nick Brana Invite Sen. Sanders to Town Hall

April 25, 2017

Dr. Cornel West and Draft Bernie Founder Nick Brana Invite Sen. Sanders to Town Hall

(New York City) — The renowned professor and progressive activist Dr. Cornel West and Nick Brana, founder and director of Draft Bernie For A People’s Party, issued an invitation to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to a Town Hall forum.

The two delivered the invitation this morning in a joint appearance on Democracy Now! with hosts Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. The Town Hall will be held in Washington, D.C. at a date to be determined.

“A town hall is the perfect forum to discuss the question on every progressive’s mind: ‘Should the progressive majority form its own party?’” Brana said. Independents far outnumber Democrats and Republicans and a majority of Americans want a major third party. Polls also show that Americans are overwhelmingly progressive on the issues.

The Town Hall invitation comes on the heels of Monday’s announcement by prominent intellectual Dr. West that he is endorsing and supporting Draft Bernie For A People’s Party. Dr. West was one of the first nationally-known and respected influencers to endorse Sen. Sanders in his 2016 campaign for president. He is the second surrogate from that campaign to endorse the Draft Bernie movement, joining Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and anti-fracking activist.

Draft Bernie was launched in February by a group of Sanders campaign staff, delegates and volunteers under the direction of Brana, the former national political outreach coordinator on Sanders’ presidential campaign and the former electoral manager with Our Revolution.

###

Watch the Democracy Now interview with Dr. Cornel West and Draft Bernie’s Nick Braña

Just a day after endorsing the Draft Bernie campaign to convince Sen. Bernie Sanders to join the effort to bring about a new party,  Dr. Cornel West was joined by Draft Bernie founder Nick Braña on the set of Democracy Now news program to discuss why this movement is important and to announce its  next steps. Click to watch the video.

Dr. Cornel West Endorses the Movement to Draft Bernie For A People’s Party

April 24, 2017

Dr. Cornel West Endorses the Movement to Draft Bernie For A People’s Party

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The renowned professor, activist, author, and provocative intellectual Dr. Cornel West has endorsed the new campaign to draft Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to create a people’s party.

“The neoliberal vision of the Democratic party has run its course. The corporate wing has made it clear that the populist wing has little power or place in its future… The time has come to bid farewell to a moribund party that lacks imagination, courage and gusto,” wrote Dr. West in an op-ed in today’s Guardian announcing his support for a new party.

“And if brother Bernie Sanders decides to join us… we may build something for the near future after Trump implodes,” Dr. West continued.

Draft Bernie was launched in February by a group of Sanders campaign staff, delegates and volunteers under the direction of founder Nick Brana, the former national political outreach coordinator on Sanders’ presidential campaign and the former electoral manager with Our Revolution.

The Draft Bernie movement seeks to convince Sen. Sanders that the Democratic Party is corrupt beyond redemption, and that the creation of a new party is necessary to turn the nation’s profound desire for progressive change into a political transformation.

“Dr. West is a moral compass for the progressive movement. He was one of Bernie’s first major endorsements for president. Now he is leading the way once more by calling Bernie to a new people’s party,” said Brana.

Dr. West is the second Sanders campaign surrogate to endorse Draft Bernie. In March, Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and anti-fracking activist, joined the movement remarking, “When people are not represented, new parties are born… We need to say to Bernie, ‘It’s time to distance yourself from the Democrats and to start something new and we’re behind you to do that.’” As surrogates, they traveled frequently with Sen. Sanders. Dr. West was one of the first and most prominent influencers to endorse him.

In only two months, the Draft Bernie movement has built a national field program with organizers in nearly every state and large metro area. The crux of the effort to convince Sen. Sanders to helm the new party is a petition gathering effort and a crowdfunding campaign whereby supporters pledge a given amount with their credit cards conditional on Bernie heading up the people’s party. Aside from its growing ground organization, Draft Bernie is also organizing on its website (draftbernie.org), its Facebook page, and its Twitter page. Brana has also been interviewed numerous times by major progressive media, including Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, The Real News Network, Real Progressives, Caitlin Johnstone, and Tim Black.

In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now on Dec. 1, 2016, Dr. West provided some insight into his view of why the Democratic Party “has simply run out of gas.” He cited its allegiance to Wall St., the re-election and continued party leadership of Con. Nancy Pelosi, and its unwillingness to adopt anti-fracking and anti TPP policies on the Platform Committee.

“I’m not convinced that the Democratic Party can be reformed… There has to be some integrity and moral consistency. And unfortunately, the Democratic Party just strikes me as not being able to meet that challenge,” said Dr. West in the interview.

“Bernie began the campaign with nothing but his message and his integrity. He was a little-known democratic socialist going up against a household name. The media and the party were against him. He had no money and no super PAC. Yet Bernie launched a political revolution in just one year,” said Brana.

“The Sunday shows, the stadiums full of electrified supporters, the quarter of a billion dollars that Bernie raised; all of them followed from his message and his integrity. Those are the true source of Bernie’s power. It’s an honor to be joined by Dr. West, someone who understands that our movement wins when we cast out the logic of incrementalism and represent the progressive views of the majority without reservation or retreat.”

Dr. West has held professorships at Princeton, Yale, Union Theological Seminary, the University of Paris and Harvard, where he is currently a Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy. He has written 20 books and edited 13 others. The best known of these are Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, all of which are considered classics.

He is a frequent commentator on politics and social issues in mainstream and alternative media outlets. These include the Bill Maher Show, the Colbert Report, CNN, C-Span and Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV show. From 2010-2013 he was co-host of the popular radio show “Smiley & West” heard on PRI around the country. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.

National Organizing Call – 4/21/17

 

On this week’s call, Araquel Bloss, founder of the Progressive Independent Party (PIP), spoke about the importance of Draft Bernie and forming a third party that is free of corporate influence. She stated that PIP has several progressive events posted on their website. Next, Dustin Hansen, Kentucky state leader, told us that with just 3 volunteers at the Bernie/Perez event, they were able to collect 100 petition signatures and recruit 9 more volunteers. After that, Asher Rost, Florida state leader, reported on several events he attended and talking points he used to connect people to the draft Bernie movement. Then Nick Brana explained the Thunderclap. He also made 3 requests for volunteers who are needed. Carol announced the dates of upcoming events and actions. Finally, Nick stressed the use of state Facebook groups for posting events before taking a few questions. We ended with “Feel the Bern!

Audio: National Draft Bernie Organizing Call- 4/20/2017

National Draft Bernie Organizing Call – 4/13/2017

This week we were joined by two rising progressive stars. Leading Latino activist Cesar Vargas and founder and host of Act Out! on Free Speech TV, Eleanor Goldfield. State Field Organizer Bill Kildell told us what is going on in Washington to promote Draft Bernie to the local Democrats. Then Draft Bernie Founder Nick Brana gave us the latest updates from the campaign. Carol announced the dates of upcoming events and actions. Finally we we took a couple of questions. Enjoy!” (more…)