Civil war on the left, part 33

Steve’s long-running metaphor of “Civil war on the left” manifested itself in a literal way at a December 3 meeting of the central committee of the Michigan Democratic Party. The meeting was convened to elect delegates to the DNC. Michael Sainato recently reported on the meeting in the New York Observer. Sainato’s reportage is not a model of lucidity. As I understand it, however, supporters of Bernie Sanders in the peanut gallery seem to have had a close encounter of the physical kind with party regulars:

During their meeting, Sam Pernick, president of the Young Democrats of Michigan, and other Sanders supporters—who nearly outnumbered the rest of the attendees at the meeting—protested the lack of transparency and openness exercised by the Michigan Democratic Party, which rigged the DNC delegate nomination process behind closed doors. Michigan Democratic Party officials responded with force. Pernick and several others were nearly dragged out of the meeting. Pernick is pursuing charges, and the Westland Police Department recently issued Mike Stone, a senior Michigan Democratic Party official, a ticket for assault and battery.

“We need to make it clear that violence, assault and battery have no place in our party,” Pernick said in a press release. “We came there to protest a lack of transparency and support Keith Ellison for DNC Chair—the reaction from leaders within the party was to violently throw us out of the room.”

Recalling that Students for a Democratic Society was founded in Michigan, I wonder if young Mr. Pernick doesn’t represent something of a throwback:

Through a movement Pernick has called “Michigan For Revolution,” he and other activists are organizing meetings across the state to encourage youth and progressives to engage with the state and local Democratic Party, and to push for reforms. He cited eradicating the influence of corporate money in the party, removing the practice of “vote buying” in which party members are influenced by outside interest groups to attend meetings and vote as a bloc, and to obtain greater representation for the young Democrats in the party’s leadership positions.

Now it can be said. Young Democrats are revolting.

The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel incorporates a reference to the December 3 incident involving Boy Pernick in his account of Keith Ellison’s campaign for election as chairman of the DNC.


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