Guest post: What a trip to Chicago taught me about movement politics

On the weekend of October 22, five stalwart Iowa CCI Action Fund members piled into a van heading for Chicago and joined Reclaim Chicago for an electoral training. Reclaim offers a different model of movement politics for people who believe in economic, racial, and social justice.

In light of the 2016 General Election results, we know a couple things.

  • First, people are hungry for a change in business as usual politics. Currently it’s being found in false prophets of right wing populism like Donald Trump who use fear to deceive and divide people.
  • Second, we know movement candidates and movement issues are successful. Financially, far too many people are living precariously on the edge. We’re hungry for genuine leadership and when candidates are willing to challenge the economic status quo, we jump at that chance. Even in the midst of this year’s right-wing backlash, candidates across the country that were backed by social justice movements won big.We also saw this result in minimum wage referendums winning in state after state: Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington.

CCI Action has the antidote to our political despair. We need to elect people from our movement who share our political vision.

Leaders saw firsthand the Reclaim Chicago political model, and how it catapulted Illinois State Representative Will Guzzardi to victory. In Minnesota movement candidate Ilhan Omar won a state house seat. We know that candidates from our movement, with a shared vision of economic, racial and social justice can win. But we’ll need ordinary members to run and help run candidates. Additionally, we’ll need to fund elections with thousands of people giving small dollar donations, allowing our candidates to be free from the pressures of big money donors which have captured our political system.

Members attending the Chicago training bring back to Iowa renewed hope and enthusiasm to win local seats and stop business as usual politics. Fortunately, we can follow examples of ordinary people like 27 year-old Latino leader Carlos Ramiez-Rosa who won a seat on Chicago’s City Council in 2015.

It’s through movement candidates, not through establishment party leaders, which we will win the kinds of progressive change which help working people.

Written by CCI Action member Ross Grooters of Pleasant Hill

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