PHILADELPHIA—Just hours before the Democratic National Convention (DNC) kicked off, chants such as “show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like!” and “hey hey, ho ho, this corporate greed has got to go” echoed throughout Broad Street. Hundreds of men, women, children, and even a few dogs, marched four miles from City Hall to the Wells Fargo Center, where Democrats were gathering to nominate Hillary Clinton.
It was a scorching hot afternoon filled with signs, flags, and massive cutout faces of Sen. Bernie Sanders. But the heat proved to be a non-factor for these protesters, fed up with the current election and the broader system. Along the way, bystanders filmed, cheered, fed, and hydrated the marchers who were being escorted by law enforcement officers with bicycles on both sides of the road.
The day was organized by Cheri Honkala, national coordinator and co-founder of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC). The march was named “March for Our Lives,” and Honkala was with a plethora of activists, speakers, and philosophers including Cornel West, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, Marc Lamont Hill, and many more. The essence of the gathering was to fight back against the economic issues facing Philadelphia and the country: ending hunger, providing affordable housing, livable wages, increased access to education, overturning Citizen’s United, and more.
Upon finishing the march, protesters began gathering in Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, directly outside the convention. The PPEHRC was preparing to host a Stein rally and while waiting, many sang songs, shared laughs, and greeted some of the speakers.
While the mainstream media failed to cover much of these events, Hedges, a journalist, activist, author, and Presbyterian minister, explained the importance of political movements and protests.
“The system is dramatically sealed—it’s closed,” Hedges told Bold. “So either we take to the streets like Syriza, or Podemos, or we allow them to cement in place a system of oppression that rivals anything seen in east Germany.”
The mainstream media has received plenty of criticism for failing to cover third-party candidates. The Young Turks, the largest online news show, talked extensively about the role the media plays in elections, and how despite outpouring support for third-party candidates this election season, the mainstream media is apathetic.
Protesters were distraught about the recent DNC email leaks revealing its blatant collusion with the media to help sabotage the Sanders campaign, which many among the group supported. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, Americans trust in the media remains at an all time low of 40 percent and doesn’t appear to be improving any time soon.
“The mainstream has been completely corporatized,” Hedges continued. “So for instance, on the email leak where West was called by DNC members ‘trash’, CNN talks about ‘was this a Russian hack?'”
When asked if he believed Russia did in fact have anything do to with the leak, Hedges replied, “I don’t care. The fact is Wikileaks exposed the reality of the DNC and the power structure, and how they were gaming the system against Sanders, that’s the story.”
As ominous storm clouds loomed overhead, the protesters roared as Stein was rushed on stage to deliver her speech.
“We are leaving behind the corruption, the backstabbing, and the lies, that they are saying to the media,” Stein said to an adoring crowd of hundreds. “That they said bad things about Bernie, and they have apologized. They did much more than say bad things, they sabotaged a revolutionary campaign.”
As November approaches, it will be intriguing to see how both Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson fair. Major distrust of the government, and the media will surely mean a surge in the polls for the Green, and Libertarian parties.
Charlie May recently graduated from the Ramapo College of New Jersey, receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. His main focus is politics, national security, foreign affairs, money in politics, and investigative pieces. He hopes to bring a fresh, unique perspective to Bold.