Our Coverage of the People’s Summit

The Indy was on hand in Chicago. Read our reports from the ground.

Indypendent Staff Jun 9, 2017

Update — Today begins the third and final day of the People’s Summit and here marks where participants get down to the nitty-gritty of building political power. They’ve split up into breakout groups based on their respective states and strategy sessions are underway. Last night, Bernie Sanders addressed the crowd, here’s a report on his speech:

Bernie Sanders Calls on Democratic Party to Open its Doors to Young and Working People

Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders offered kudos to U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday.

“Labour won its seats not by moving to the right, not by being conciliatory but by standing up to the ruling class,” Sanders said, speaking from the podium at the 2017 People’s Summit in Chicago.

His remarks follow a triumphant showing at the polls for Labour in Thursday’s general election.

The results of the vote could offer an eventual path to the Prime Ministership for Corbyn, who, like Sanders, has drawn mass support for his working-class politics while fighting against steep opposition within his own party. Corbyn’s success appears to confirm Sanders was onto something.

In his remarks on Saturday, Sanders emphasized how proposals seen as unattainable prior to his presidential candidacy — a $15 an hour minimum wage, Medicare for all, a trillion dollar infrastructure investment — are no longer considered radical. An independent who caucuses with the Democrats and ran in the primary contest against the party’s eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton, Sanders was unsparing in his criticism of the Democrats’ political program; its promotion of free trade, wars abroad and watered down health, environmental and economic policies that have benefited big donors at the expense of the poor and working people.


Update —

Bernie Speaks Tonight

An outside observer, unfamiliar with political events over the last two years, might look upon on the paraphernalia and schwag on display here and mistake the People’s Summit for a Comic-Con where all the attendees worship one superhero: a bald gentleman from Vermont. But there is real substance behind this gathering — struggles for economic, racial and political justice that the political establishment has neglected. Tonight the man who helped instigate this movement addresses his supporters and is expected to announce the next stage of the “Political Revolution.”

Catch the live-stream.

Update —

Zephyr Teachout: ‘We are in the Middle of a Revolutionary Moment’

The Indypendent got a word in with Zephyr Teachout this afternoon here at the People’s Summit. The Fordham Law professor ran for Governor of New York in 2014, mounting a significant to incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but losing in the Democratic primary. In 2015 she sought a seat in the 19th Congressional District, this time winning the primary but coming up short against Republican John Faso.

Zephyr’s stump speeches for Bernie Sanders in 2016 earned her many admirers among the crowd here. “Screw New York,” a woman told Teachout, interrupting our interview to ask for her autograph. “I want you to run for president!”

We asked Teachout about an ongoing lawsuit she is spearheading with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) against President Donald Trump for violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause. The clause is widely interpreted as prohibiting the president from receiving financial benefits other than his salary while in office and from receiving gifts and other benefits from foreign governments.

There are some obvious ways Trump is violating the emoluments clause through his global hotel business. Could there be more that we don’t know about? And could your lawsuit bring these violations to light through discovery?

There are some really blatant violations, but what we don’t know is all the details of the violations. It’s important for the American people to know but it’s also important for our lawsuit.

Your lawsuit was originally criticized as unrealistic for lacking standing. How has the amended lawsuit CREW filed in April addressed that?

CREW has been affected under a long line of cases, called the Havens Realty cases. It’s a very well established precedent. We also represent people in the hospitality industry who have been affected by having to compete with the President.

On the political front your candidacy and obviously that of Bernie Sanders’ showed the potential reach of progressive politics but also it’s limits, no? When do you see progressives breaking through to a point where they’ll actually start winning major races?

I think we’re in a revolutionary moment. I outperformed Hillary Clinton [in the 2016 election], despite all the money that was spent against us.

Update— Van Jones gave a rousing speech this morning. Here’s a synopsis:

-The debate over whether to appeal to people of color or white working class is “the stupidest false choice” I have ever heard.

-The Clinton campaign was a “boondoggle” that set a billion dollars on fire. Now her camp is trying to pit people against each other to avoid the blame.

-Donald Trump was present in the small red towns where the pain is. The left, however, wasn’t there. That needs to change.

-Blacks are the backbone of the progressive left in this country. When our children are being shot down in the streets like dogs, we need the support of our allies. It should be your issue too.

-The elites in both parties keep us fighting against each other yet I see pain and addiction in the inner cities and small towns and nothing is done to help these people.

-Don’t take the bait. Progressives can’t “out-ugly” Trump. We will win with hope, compassion, solidarity.

Update— Welcome to day two of our coverage of the People’s Summit here in Chicago. Activists from around the country have gathered here to strategize and debate ways not only to say “no” to Donald Trump’s agenda but to say “yes” to putting forward and building a just alternative. This little clip from last night just about sums up the situation:

 The Young Turks

The Young Turks has a live stream of the mainstage:

Update — 

Update — Unicorn Riot will be live-streaming on and off from the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago this weekend. Catch their stream here:

The official stream available here at

Turns out left-wing ideas really do have mass appeal. Evidence: The stunning results on Thursday for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party in the U.K general election and last year’s presidential bid from Bernie Sanders. Both politicians are unabashed socialists who haven’t so much campaigned as initiated movements; fighting, through the blunt force of populace upsurges, to wrest control of their respective parties from entrenched, monied interests.

Over the past year and a half, The Indypendent has been tracking Sanders’ Political Revolution, following the strategists, social media gurus, and young podium-pounders that have driven it.

This weekend, as many of them gather in Chicago to discuss the next stage of the revolution at the People’s SummitThe Indy will be on hand. We will be talking to organizers and keeping up with the debates, as activists from across the country gather to plot a path to power in the streets and in voting booths. Sanders will be on hand to address the crowd on Saturday evening. The stakes are high, since, as Brexit and Donald Trump’s election show, the right is more than capable of grabbing populace ground ceded by the left.

Check back here or follow our Twitter and Facebook feeds for updates on the People’s Summit.

In the meantime, we recommend Peter Rugh’s article, “The Red’s Are Back in Town,” on the explosive growth of the Democratic Socialists of America in the wake of Sanders’ presidential run and in response Trump’s rise to office. In the way of a compendium to the piece, our Indystructible podcast recently featured an interview with Jacobin Magazine’s Bhaskar Sunkara on the prospects and pitfalls socialists face in the years ahead. Also worth a read, our coverage of last year’s People’s Summit.

More to come. . .


Photo (top): The Bernie Bird reads The Indypendent at the 2017 People’s Summit.

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