Filmmaker Josh Fox: Sanders Pushed Party Platform to Left, But We Failed on TPP, Medicare, Gaza
The meeting of Clinton and Sanders delegates at the Democratic Party platform committee resulted in what’s being called the most liberal Democratic platform in a generation. The draft platform still needs to be ratified at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but it is already widely being touted as a victory for Sanders. Sanders appointed five members to the committee earlier this year, including scholar and racial justice activist Cornel West, leading environmentalist and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben and Minnesota Congressmember Keith Ellison, who chairs the House Progressive Caucus. The new platform includes Sanders’ call for a $15 per hour minimum wage, Social Security expansion and a carbon tax to price its impact on the environment. We speak with award-winning documentary filmmaker and Sanders delegate Josh Fox. He’s the director of "How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and is now playing on HBO.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: As Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, expected to endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today at a joint rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, we turn now to look at how two Sanders supporters are preparing for the Democratic National Convention. The television and film actor Shailene Woodley has launched a cross-country caravan to bring people to the DNC in Philadelphia. Woodley appeared in the TV series Secret Life of the American Teenager, and has starred in films, including, The Divergent Series, and The Fault in Our Stars. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Alex King in The Descendants, which she starred in with George Clooney.
SHAILENE WOODLEY: You don’t have a clue, do you? Dad, dad, mom was cheating on you. That is what we fought about. When I was home at Christmas, I caught her with a guy. It made me sick to see her near you. I went back to school thinking that was it, that I was just done with her. I was going to call and tell you everything. And then the accident happened and I was waiting ’til she woke up, I guess.
AMY GOODMAN: That is actor Shailene Woodley, and she is joining us today to talk about the Up To Us Caravan to the DNC. We’re also joined by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, director of Gasland and the new HBO film, How to Let Go of the world. Josh is just back from Orlando where he addressed the Democratic National Convention Platform Meeting over the weekend. Shailene Woodley and Josh Fox, welcome to Democracy Now! Josh, let’s start with you. What happened in Orlando? The final vote on the Democratic Platform, though, it’s not absolutely final, it can be changed at the convention, but, the vote for the platform to go to the convention happened, well, well, you were there in Orlando.
JOSH FOX: Yeah, well, I’m on the New York Platform Committee. So, what happened in Orlando is a two-day fight on every single issue facing America right now. Basically, a fight for the core and the spirit and the soul of the Democratic Party. And a lot of those issues, Bernie Sanders and our campaign won. On many of those issues, Bernie Sanders and our campaign and the, sort of, people’s agenda that was out in front of us didn’t win. So there is, I think, a lot to celebrate and what happened over the weekend in Florida —- certainly, we had a victory on the fight for $15, which was brought to us by Nina Turner. We had a monumental and historic achievement on the environment and on climate, which was negotiated by Bill McKibben, by Ben jealous, by myself, by Dr. Cornell West, by Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska. And so, there were moments -— AMY GOODMAN: By Congressman Ellison. JOSH FOX: Yeah, absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: Who we just heard. JOSH FOX: There were moments here where we had huge changes in the direction of the Democratic Party, certainly on energy. However, on TPP, on expanded benefits for senior citizens, on many other issues, we failed — on Gaza — to persuade Clinton delegates — who are voting as a bloc pretty much the entire time — that — so, there’s a progressive agenda that is fighting its way into the Democratic Party. And what’s interesting, is we hear a lot of talk about unity, and I think today is going to be very difficult for a lot of people, but true unity has to do with the truth, right? It doesn’t have to do with compromise between politicians. When the Democratic Party actually reaches where the people want to be on certain issues, that’s when you feel this idea of unity rather than some of what we understand from the Clinton camp as being really lobbyist-driven and corporate-driven, it doesn’t feel so much like we are in the same room as the rest of the American people —
AMY GOODMAN: Do you agree with Congressman Ellison, who we just heard from, saying they got the best can get, and as Bernie Sanders says, it’s the most progressive platform? But, for example, the ban on fracking was voted down. That’s an issue that you make all your films about.
JOSH FOX: Well, the ban on fracking was voted down, but, actually, in a way, we won something about the future, which is almost as important as a current ban on fracking. We got the Democratic Party to say that fracked gas power plants should not be developed, that we should develop wind and solar. That cuts the legs out of the future of the entire fracking industry. What the Democratic Party has been saying up until now, is we need to transition to fracked gas. We need to build 300 new fracked gas power plants. This would be an utter disaster for the climate. And this would be — this would incur, probably, two million new fracking wells in the future. This is the first moment that the Democrats actually said this is a bad idea, we’re not going to do that. We’re gonna have a price on carbon. We’re going to submit all federal energy projects to the Keystone XL climate test which says, if it’s bad for the climate we can’t do it. We’re gonna consult communities. This is actually in the platform. It says communities, people of color, and native tribes have to have a seat at the table. These are huge direct — shift — this is a 180 degree shift for the future of the Democratic Party. Of course, we’re gonna continue to fight for the fracking ban. Of course, we’re gonna continue to fight for TPP. What I would say is, all of our real gains are movement gains. These are not gains that Democratic establishment politicians came into office with. Andrew Cuomo didn’t arrive in Albany saying, I want to ban fracking. Hillary Clinton is not going to arrive in Washington, if she gets elected, with that kind of mentality, but it’s gonna be our job as a movement — and I think Bernie Sanders, I think Bill McKibben know this, and I think a lot of the Sanders folks know this — that it is our job right now to continue the political revolution, and that is what’s in front of us at the moment and I think that’s what’s so brilliant about what Shailene is doing.