On Saturday, I attended a panel at the second annual Politicon event in Pasadena called "The Bernie Panel." It was billed as "a talk on how Bernie Sanders and his supporters have upset the Democratic apple cart, kept Hillary Clinton on her toes and continued to gain momentum in the competitive 2016 presidential race." Yet it soon became clear that the majority of the panelists were not Bernie Sanders supporters, and that the moderator was not going to correct the record on any of the outlandish statements made by the panelists or allow questions from the audience. As the lead organizer of L.A. for Bernie, I felt compelled to try to interject. And for that, security was called and I was almost hauled out.
As a political activist, I have organized and attended many street protests. I often wonder how many people in the public we influence as we march by them brandishing our signs and shouting our chants. And when we post our articles, events and memes on Facebook, are we preaching to anyone besides the choir? Maybe there is a better way to change hearts and minds and inspire people to action.
We were 20 minutes into one of the most boring Power Point presentations I have ever seen. While we looked at “shaded areas of cross-sections of multiple productive zones of oil fields,” the regulator was droning on and on. You’d think I’d be nodding off. But no, my heart was beating and my palms were sweating. I was about to do one of the boldest actions I have done since becoming an activist three and a half years ago.
Last weekend, “Pump,” the new film by Josh and Rebecca Tickell, directors of “Fuel” and “The Big Fix” premiered in New York and Los Angeles the same weekend as the largest climate rally in history. As four hundred thousand people marched to tell world leaders we have to get off fossil fuels or face human extinction, this film promoted the use of alternative transportation fuels including ethanol, methanol from natural gas and compressed natural gas (CNG), the latter two obtained through a noxious and greenhouse gas producing process known as fracking.