Now that the dust and balloons from the Democratic National Convention (DNC) have settled, local activist Carroll Fife, who attended the four-day gathering as a Bernie Sanders representative on the DNC Platform Committee, is back home in Oakland with experiences to share.
“It was so interesting to see the dynamics inside of the party,” said Fife. “You have the nomination of the nation’s first woman candidate for president, and then you see another group of people who still feel disillusioned by the whole process even in light of a historic event like that.”
At the convention in July 25 – July 28 in Philadelphia, Fife worked alongside fellow activists, state and federal officials, celebrities, workers and many others to address the county’s most critical issues.
Among the many events she attended, Fife highlighted a particularly memorable panel discussion with actress Rosario Dawson on race relations in America.
“It was probably one of the best panel-type workshops that I attended the entire time,” said Fife. “There was a real discussion about what’s happening in this country right now.”
She also recalled an event hosted by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and actor and activist Danny Glover where Bernie Sanders spoke.
“I was excited for (Bernie) to see down-ballot candidates for state, assembly, school board, and for local grassroots efforts,” she said. “That to me was amazing, and the fact that he is going back to the Senate as a democratic socialist took the sting out of him endorsing Hillary because a lot of people were disillusioned.”
Still, many parts of the event – including what Fife described as a “very conservative” convention – floor left her feeling disappointed.
“There was very little room for dialogue. I think when we get into a “lesser of two evils” discussion about who to vote for, it really minimizes the discussion and doesn’t leave room for creative thinking or even questioning what is needed in our society,” she said.
Prior to arriving in Philadelphia for the convention, Fife spent three days in Orlando, Fla. working with the platform committee.
Many local residents contributed money to help Fife attend the convention and platform committee meetings to ensure that Oakland views and interests were represented at the national level.
Along with other committee members in Orlando, she was responsible for molding the final draft of the platform that was later delivered to the DNC.
According to Fife, the two biggest areas of disagreement in the platform committee were around the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and single-payer healthcare.
“We wanted to try to gain some ground on and get the amendments we felt were more in alignment with what the American people need,” she said.
Though unsuccessful in getting some of Sanders’ amendments passed, many supporters are still calling this year’s platform the most progressive in the Democratic Party history.
However, Fife said she remains skeptical.
“I’m more of a radical thinker…and politics operates as it does because that’s what’s needed to maintain the status quo,” she said. “When you ask me what needs to be done, I would say there needs to be a complete political revolution for things to operate differently, not Band-Aids on bullet holes.”