Here is the latest news about the Facebook (META)-driven grassroots movement proposing a huge march on Washington this fall to support the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):
I wrote in a column on Monday that advocates for the D.C. rally planned to present the idea to the Sanders campaign when their Facebook page collecting RSVP’s for the event reached 100,000. The number of Sanders supporters who RSVP’d rose from 87,000 on Monday to 100,000 by mid-week and by Friday morning had climbed to 108,000.
The grassroots activists spearheading the D.C. rally proposal formally presented the idea to the Sanders presidential campaign in a conference call late Wednesday. After the conference call, Charlie Ryan, a leading organizer of the movement to hold the Washington rally, told me: “I thought the call went well. There was interest in learning what the vision for the event is, what benefits we see from such an event and enthusiasm for our efforts but they weren’t in a position to make any commitments.”
As this column is published Friday morning the Sanders campaign has not yet signed on to embrace the proposal but movement organizers are optimistic and the 100,000-plus people who have already RSVP’d to attend the rally have good reason to be excited. Attendance would almost certainly rise well into six figures which would make this rally the largest campaign event, by far, for any candidate running in 2016.
A large scale progressive March on Washington would fuse together the politics of old and new media.
The rally would give a huge boost to the Sanders campaign. It could well evolve into a progressive mega-event reminiscent of the marches on Washington to support civil rights and oppose the Vietnam War in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Michael Hertz wrote an excellent story about the powerful dynamic of the social media-progressive movement synergy in the L.A. Progressive.
A large-scale march on Washington by Sanders supporters could be a defining moment in the modern history of presidential politics. It could mark a political and social inflection point dramatizing the revolutionary organizing power of social media to mobilize the rejuvenated power of the progressive movement to promote its values, causes and candidates.
Similarly the widely televised drama of a progressive march on Washington would dramatize to socially conscious corporations the potential cause-related marketing power of social media, combined with progressive values, to advance conventional business goals through mutually beneficial alliances with masses of socially conscious consumers.
A large scale progressive March on Washington would fuse together the politics of old and new media. The visual power and drama of masses of Sanders supporters gathered together at the Washington Mall would force cable and network television, and daily newspapers, to give the Sanders movement the attention it has long deserved but not received.
Additionally, the organizing power of new media would fuse together the long time necessity of politics, campaign fundraising, with the profoundly democratizing power of large numbers of small donors to fight back against the corrupting and un-democratic power of small numbers of ultra-wealthy donors to make those in politics and government the handmaidens of those who buy influence by giving them the most money. The notion of social media-powered progressive marches on Washington is an idea whose time has come. The magic of this moment is the natural power of the virtual but real infrastructure of social media technology to mobilize and organize large numbers of people to support common values and causes they share.
As Jenny Q. Ta, a leading and socially conscious social media entrepreneur who is Founder and CEO of the social net-WORTHING platform sqeeqee.com recently told me: “We should never underestimate the power of popularity plus social media pull. When you combine the ‘popularity factor’ with the almost unbelievable ability of social media to promote a cause and spread the word quickly, you soon discover the medium’s surprising potential to raise an enormous amount of support in an incredibly short time.”
To paint a portrait of what a progressive march on Washington by Sanders supporters might look like, and future progressive marches on Washington that I predict would attract one million progressives to the Washington Mall, let me end today by quoting in full one man’s well-stated version of a manifesto for the proposed Bernie Sanders rally, which can be found on the Facebook site promoting the idea, from Charlie Ryan:
When our African American brothers and sisters continue to be victims of institutional racism in America; we say-ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When women still do not have pay equity in America; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When our soldiers and their families continue to suffer in perpetual, senseless wars; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When too many families live in fear of deportation, with no path to citizenship; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When Americans, regardless of their race, religion, disability or sexual orientation cannot realize the full promise of equality; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When the top 0.01% own more wealth than the bottom 90%; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When so many young American families cannot afford quality, affordable childcare; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When billionaires are buying our government and our politicians; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When our banks continue to put our economy at risk; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When our infrastructure is crumbling around us; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When we have more of our people incarcerated than any other country on earth; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When we have American’s working for starvation wages; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When we have millions of Americans with substandard or NO health care; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When our citizens are being crushed by student loan debt; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When our seniors cannot afford to live out their lives in dignity and security; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When our young people are discouraged from higher education because their families can’t afford it; we say-ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When our country and our planet are suffering from the effects of climate change; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When corporations get huge tax breaks while American children go hungry; we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
When cowardly politicians attempt to suppress our right to vote we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
These are just a few of the reasons we say- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
These are the reasons why we need YOU to help reclaim OUR country.
When we stand together there is Nothing, Nothing, NOTHING we cannot accomplish!
ARE YOU IN?