The People's Summit - Photo via National Nurses United

Opinion: The People’s Summit Is Establishment As Fuck

by Chelsea Lyons
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Maybe it’s too early to tell for sure but these are the facts….

They alienated and disposed of the majority of third party and independent activist groups that have done work this year. The “diversity” of the summit is fucking nonexistent. This is a bunch of establishment nonprofits pitching themselves to the progressive community. Pitching themselves to people who already support them instead of teaching them.

They are disregarding entire issues, especially the indigenous movement that absolutely rocked the hell out of activism this year. You would think this summit would be full of water protectors right? It’s not. Probably because they couldn’t afford the $300 ticket. Neither Angelo Wolf or myself would be here if weren’t for the fact that we were gifted tickets by friends who wanted us to be here. Furthermore, stating that this is mostly an invite only summit.

There hasn’t been one mention of the multitude of resistance camps across the country or the bank exit movement. Jill Stein very clearly tried to do a workshop here and they said no! This is a summit of mostly elitist progressives being taught to work inside the political structure. The idea that they are using the tagline “beyond resistance” is fucking laughable.

The resistance is not here. We weren’t invited. They pushed out a ton of grassroots activist organizations to make room for establishment organizations.

On the bright side, the participants of this summit are some of the most bad ass people I know and this is a fantastic networking opportunity for the activist community. As long we don’t allow them to narrate the discussion.

Chelsea Lyons At The People's Summit During A Young Turks Interview
Chelsea Lyons At The People’s Summit During A Young Turks Interview

Follow up:
I don’t want people to think that The People’s Summit didn’t have fantastic speakers. It most certainly did.
The point I want to make is that are a lot of incredibly powerful people that should be speaking that are not.

If you want to hold an event with like minded individuals that is limited to working within the political structure, mostly the binary party structure currently in place, that’s totally fine. The Dem Takeover movement is valid and they are doing very important work.

However, if our goal is to advance a narrative of “Beyond Resistance” then we must include more resistance movements outside of the political structure. There were some, but we needed more. Many people could explain the issues on the ground better which could have created unprecedented direct action.

The People’s Summit had a rare opportunity to to bring together the broader activist community to learn from the people on the ground doing the work. The networking was excellent but it could have been so much more, hopefully it can be.

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Post Author: Chelsea Lyons

─ She's a mother and activist who participates in resistance efforts across the country. She's invested her time with helping Flint, supporting Standing Rock and participating at the Democratic National Convention.
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