Brana takes an opportunity to remind attendees to download the app and vote on whether to formally form the party before introducing Green-turned-Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson. "There has been more truth-telling, in my opinion" than at both major-party conventions combined. The People's Party Convention is bringing up issues that the corporate parties are content to ignore, "like growing up in an alcoholic family." She's riffing on MLK's "living up to its creed" observations about the Declaration of Independence: revolutionary stuff, but written and embodied by slave-owning hypocrites. We have forces in this nation that have been tamping down those revolutionary principles; society has moved forward only when people have been brave enough to push back against those forces. Now channeling Bill Hicks: ...and we kill those people like MLK and RFK who take stands against injustice. The challenge for fighting current injustice: "It's not one institution; it's an entire economic mindset" imposed by the trickle-down economics that took root in the 1980s. "It did not lift all boats; in face, it created...people left without even a life vest." Love her use of the term "corporate aristocracy"—same thing the US fought to free itself from in the 18th century. She's comparing this movement to the moments that created the abolitionist, the suffragist, and the Civil RIghts movements. This is our moment. "We need an entirely new America." Despite her embrace of radical solutions, she's voting for Biden because she's convinced that Trump with a second term will be even worse: He's been holding back in his first term. (My diagnosis is that it will take an even more horrendous Trump presidency to wake people up and get them in the streets to dismantle this system. It ain't gonna be pretty.)
Four and a quarter hours elapsed, including the halftime break. This was originally scheduled to run two hours. I wonder how many other people have stuck with it all the way through.
This is the moment I've been waiting for: Dr. Cornel West. He says he's been following this show the entire time. "Lift every voice" from the depths of your soul; the echo chambers of the big-party conventions are not that voice. He's connecting the death of W.E.B. duBois with MLK's speech at the Lincoln Memorial just a few days later. MPP, whether it knows it or not, is a "fight-back" that arises from duBois's four essential questions (look 'em up) and telling the truth about America, the good and the bad. We are living at the intersection of multiple catastrophes or potential catastrophes, including the continued existence of world-ending nuclear weapons. He's name-checking tons of mostly black activists, musicians, writers, thinkers who put their fingers on the systemic problems of this nations that politicians have not had the courage to take up and find solutions. He's talking fast and in multiple directions within a single sentence, so I'm not transcribing anything verbatim or even trying to. I worry that people who don't recognize those name-checks won't get nearly as much out of this ultra-profound speech as they should. (Hell, he just mentioned "Brother Bob Avakian.") Now, at the end of his allotted time, he's getting around to explaining his position on the 2020 presidential race, similar to Williamson's (and Chomsky's and Angela Davis's), although he'd love to be able to vote for Hawkins/Walker.
Former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner represents a one-two punch with Dr. West: both unapologetically Christian and applying the morality of their faith to politics, both adept at the cadences that emanate from the pulpits of Black Churches. She's also invoking the names of artists and activists—Marvin Gaye, Langston Hughes—even reciting one of Hughes's poems about young people who will lay their lives on the line for truth, justice, and true peace). There are subtle differences of style though, as much in their movements and gestures as in their tempos and tonal variations. (She doesn't have West's patented we-sharin'-a-secret stage whisper.) Peace is the presence of justice, not just the absence of war: "How can we have peace" when we have all these blatant injustices from huge economic inequality to cops murdering with impunity? She was progressive to radical before she linked up with Bernie Sanders in 2016, but she has used that experience as a springboard to solidify her progressive-radical vision and distill it into words. "We got some dragons to slay, baby!"—the twin dragons of neo-fascism and neo-liberalism, as she has said in her recent interview with Anderson Cooper and other times. "We won't stand for a 'lousy peace' [Hughes's phrase] because we know that neo-liberalism is what got us here." Her vision now includes getting the #DemEnter and #DemExit progressive factions to unite, which will create a popular force that is unstoppable. She's not going to tell anybody how or for whom to vote (yay) but respect West's and Williamson's conclusions even if she disagrees with them. This respect is what makes this convention a beautiful thing: MPP also isn't going to tell its members how or for whom to vote, as long as they are ready to make the People's Party happen beginning in 2021. Turner is now closing with a quote from Barbara Jordan that she invokes frequently. "What the American people want is simple: They want an America that's as good as its promise."
Brana says now that 99% of those who voted on whether to form a new major party have said yes. We have just witnessed five hours of history. Now I challenge the Green Party leadership to see whether they will hitch the Green wagon to this star or stay in the political margins.
I gotta get some dinner now. Thank you, Nick Brana and the other 32 speakers.