Let me start by disclosing I once thought the Movement for a People’s Party (MPP), now calling itself the “People’s Party” was a viable alternative to the duopoly. However, I’ve been monitoring their movements as an organization as well as using their internal slack as a volunteer to try and keep updated on what they’re doing.
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Now that we’ve gotten that over with, let’s take a deep look at the MPP and why it isn’t what it seems.
Shall we start by looking at their wholly unelected “Advisory Council”? Sounds good. Here’s the list of members, straight from peoplesparty.org as of ~12:10am 1/01/2021-
- Amaya Wangeshi —Founder of Beyond Bernie, former volunteer national high school director Bernie 2020
- Chase Iron Eyes — Co-founder of the Last Real Indians
- Cheng-Sim Lim —Board member of Healthcare for All LA, national Bernie Delegate
- Chris Smalls —Founder of The Congress of Essential Workers, led national-reported Amazon warehouse walkout
- Dr. Cornel West —Public intellectual, Harvard professor, author, co-host of The Tight Rope Podcast
- Eleanor Goldfield —Activist, singer, writer, host of Act Out!, creator of Art Killing Apathy
- Eynelys García—Host of the Eynelys Show and YRLA
- Jimmy Dore — Host of The Jimmy Dore Show, host of several Comedy Central Specials, political comedian
- Justin Jackson — NFL running back, LA Chargers
- Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap — National Director, Move to Amend
- Maebe A Girl —Silver Lake Councilwoman, first drag queen elected to public office in the U.S.
- Medea Benjamin — Co-founder of Code Pink
- Mike McCorkle — Former chair of the Progressive Democrats of Colorado, lawyer, national Bernie delegate
- Rep. Mike Sylvester — Maine State Representative, endorsed by DSA
- Omar Fernandez — President of the American Postal Workers Union of VT, executive council member of the VT AFL-CIO
- Dr. Peter Kalmus — Climate scientist, author, Bernie 2020 surrogate
- Ron Placone — Host of Get Your News on with Ron, political comedian
- Rose McGowan — Cultural Resetter, Time Magazine Person of the Year, founder of the Rose Army, NYT bestselling author
- Ryan Knight — Host of the Amped Up Podcast, Medicare for all advocate
- Susan Sarandon — Academy-award winning Actress, nominated for nine Golden Globes, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, activist
This is an interesting list to say the least. However, it’s primarily academics and celebrities. Not to say those types of people don’t have a place in breaking the duopoly, yet there’s no organizing prowess. Only one labor organizer and no tenant organizers are on the board. The only two people adjacent to a labor organizer is Omar Fernandez, who is in union leadership as the President of Vermont’s APWU (American Postal Worker’s Union) and Chris Smalls who has organized strikes and walkouts from Amazon warehouses, making Chris a labor organizer.
As many activists and most labor organizers know, being in union leadership is not the same as being a union organizer. This board overall has several strong picks. However, the collective strength lies in celebrity and name-recognition, with less emphasis on grassroots or “people to people” organizing. Most of the board are somehow related to either the Democratic party or Bernie’s campaigns.
However, there is one pick who may stand to undermine what the MPP claims to stand for: Rose McGowan.
Rose McGowan once side-stepped a question about a convicted pedophile and child pornographer she worked with on a film by saying, “I still don’t really understand the whole story or history there, and I’d rather not, because it’s not really my business. But he’s an incredibly sweet and gentle man.”
Furthermore, she’s been embroiled in controversy for homophobic and transphobic comments, such as:
“I see now, basically, people who’ve fought for the right to stand on top of a float wearing an orange speedo and take molly. And, I see no help, and I see no paying it forward, and I have a huge problem with that. There are so many things to help and do, and I see no extending of a hand outside of the gay community to another community. And that’s a problem for me.” (Molly is also knowns as ecstasy or MDMA)
“Gays are as misogynistic as straight men, if not more so. I have an indictment of the gay community right now. I’m actually really upset with them.”
“You’re a woman now? Well f**cking learn that we have had a VERY different experience than your life of male privilege.”
Additionally, absent of bylaws, the MPP is arguably not even a party yet. Whether or not you believe that a party can be a party without bylaws, the absence of bylaws and organized structure is causing daily chaos in their organizing slack.
Moderators in the MPP slack are frequently guilty of silencing questions and dissent by deleting entire threads of messages. Even further, when people ask for guidance, they tend to get radio silence. Rank-and-file members have expressed plenty of concerns ranging from not wanting to be silenced to frustraitons at lack of operating democracy or direction from leadership.
In the third/last above screenshot, party leadership compares the grassroots to “Salvation Army bell-ringers” and outright claims that said bell ringers shouldn’t have input in the campaigns they are running.
People are even asking for a separate space for criticism so they don’t have to see dissent.
Here’s one of many messages expressing dissent that got deleted.
Beyond that, the MPP has admitted (via their former Twitter handle) that they seek to be a new big tent party, that they want to court moderate Republicans, and they don’t want to be a party of the left. In other words, they want to be another capitalist party. We already have two of those, and look where that’s led America.
I even twitter’ed them asking about their seemingly incoherent strategy.
The word “progressive” has never been more popular, and even the most corrupt faces of the establishment have claimed it, including people like Nancy Pelosi. And, unprincipled populism is dangerous. Left populism can lead to social democracies like Europe and the Nordic countries, as well as lefter projects of building actual socialism. Right populism is generally fascism. Populism that isn’t set in as “left” runs the risk of dragging people and organizations to the precipice of fascism.
Here’s one member of the volunteer slack who posted this exact message at least 20 times. It kept getting deleted, but the administration of the “party” eventually left it up.
Here’s one more screenshot, where a rank-and-file member is calling for reformation of the People’s Party, and to make it little-d. democratic If we already have to reform it, how is it any better than the DNC?
There are plenty more screenshots out there, including several of my own that I could’ve used. However, to maintain readability and some form of brevity for this article, the ones I have shared will suffice.
The MPP’s strategy is to have local organizers set up state hubs, file for a statewide “People’s Party” and, once the party is officially recognized by the relevant state, to link their efforts to the national organization, which happens to be a PAC. There is no offer of durable or financial support to organizers setting up state hubs and parties. This makes it seem like the so-called “People’s Party” as a national organization wants to grift and subsist off the passion of the grassroots, cashing in on local organizing work only once it boosts name recognition and donations.
In summary, the MPP’s claim to fame is celebrity, not organizing. Other parties, like the Greens, actually focus on the persistent fight to break the duopoly through organizing and petitioning for things like candidates and ballot access.
Addendum: The screenshots are not intended to state or imply that individual organizers agree with the author’s take on MPP, rather to ensure the readership knows the credibility of the author’s claims.