Taped to streetlights throughout Downtown Auburn are posters reading “Our Revolution: Organize today, create a better tomorrow,” advertising a new political movement in the area.
Our Revolution is a national organization with smaller, local groups around the world. Auburn’s chapter works closely with the Auburn chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, DSA, but it still maintains its own autonomy.
“DSA is an organization that is a specifically socialist organization, so there is an entire ideological subsection of beliefs in the DSA,” said Brandon Sinniger, a member of Auburn DSA. “While they may not be incompatible with Our Revolution, there is certainly plenty of overlap.”
After Bernie Sanders ran for president in 2016, the Our Revolution movement officially took off. The goal was to involve voters who couldn’t find a political identity in the Democratic party who still wanted to be involved in politics, Sinniger said.
“Our Revolution is kind of an outlet for people who may not necessarily consider themselves socialist or far left, but still want to get involved in progressive politics,” he said. Whether it’s with campaign work, canvasing for Bernie Sanders or another progressive politician, or just hanging out at debate watch parties,” he said.
Currently, Our Revolution has approximately 18 to 20 members. Gaining official members isn’t necessarily the goal of the organization, said Chair of Our Revolution Auburn Taylor Chavers.
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“Our Revolution doesn’t really have a membership list. It’s more of a constant outlet for any type of event,” Chavers said. “Like recently, we had a kick-off and had close to 30 people show up to that.”
In the 2018 election, out of 1.7 million ballots cast, over 660,000 people voted a straight Republican ticket. Though known for more right-leaning policies, Sinniger said that the DSA and Our Revolution don’t receive many negative comments.
“As members of the DSA we don’t see ourselves aligning in theory with Democrats, because there’s a lot of things we disagree with Democrats on,” he said. “Especially when it comes to economic policy, so sometimes we don’t really feel overwhelmed with operating in the South. Our socialist policies and our socialist platform are specifically focused on working people more so than regular Democrats in the South, so that’s why we don’t really see ourselves at odds with others.”
Chavers mentioned that a lot of confusion with the Democratic Socialist platform comes from skewed stories in the media.
“A lot of left-wing policies get filtered through Fox News and MSNBC kind of bias, and they kind of misrepresent these policies in a way to make them sound worse than they actually are,” Chavers said. “We kind of want to do away with that — erase this mysticism around these policies and show that they’re actually helpful. They will help the majority of people’s lives.”
The most important thing is not focusing on partisan arguments, but making sure people’s voices are heard, Sinniger said.
“At the end of the day a lot of these people are just like us, and it’s just a matter of getting the word out about these specific ideas,” Sinniger said.
Now as the 2020 presidential election season is ramping up, the Auburn chapters of Our Revolution and DSA will start to work with the Bernie campaign with each organization having different goals.
“The real message of the Bernie Sanders campaign is that you don’t enact political change by posting ads or getting people to check a box. It comes from a nation-wide system of bottom-up organizing,” Sinniger said.
Chavers emphasized that Our Revolution was more of an electoral organization than a specific party group.
“Our goal is getting the Bernie-crat wing of the Democratic Party into office, into power,” Chavers said. “It takes more than just the president, it takes state legislators, senators and house representatives and stuff like that. It’s all about interacting at all levels.”
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