Amy Goodman: Bernie or no, activists are changing our country | KUOW News and Information

Amy Goodman: Bernie or no, activists are changing our country

May 9, 2016

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! on activist power: 

Bernie Sanders did not start a movement; he tapped into a movement.

The Occupy movement, which never really ended, even though people thought that didn't amount to a hill of beans.

Oh, that's not true.

You say the 1 percent today. And the 99 percent. Everyone knows what you mean. They occupied the language. The word “occupy” was the most looked-up for use word of 2011.

(You change the language, you change the world.)

That movement has grown. And you don't know where movements will go, but it's been a geyser. It has just opened up, tapped into people across the political spectrum.

There’s the movement to challenge inequality. The immigrant rights movement. The Black Lives Matter movement that has had a big effect on Bernie’s campaign and Hillary Clinton's campaign.  

They go behind the scenes behind closed doors at Hillary Clinton's fundraisers, like the one she held in Charleston, South Carolina. A young African-American woman holds up a banner, ‘I am not a super predator,’ referring to a statement Hillary Clinton made in 1996 referring to some black youth.

This was coming out of President Bill Clinton's so-called anti-crime bill that even the Clintons now admit led to a level of mass incarceration in this country that is fueling many movements right now.

We're seeing a kind of convergence. And we don't know exactly where it will go, but what's most interesting is that these movements are growing and they're making structural demands that will change this country.

And when it comes to climate change, we are at a juncture right now. I've been traveling the country in a 100-city tour. Every campus I go to, the students are occupying administration offices calling for fossil-free America. Fossil-free universities. People are ready for a change. Ready to change their lifestyle, because they see that the planet can't afford this anymore. And they can't afford the planet anymore.

You put all this together with the endless war. The country is involved in the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan. Absolutely President Bush started it, but President Obama continued it. And that war has expanded with the drone wars in Yemen and Somalia. These are undeclared wars, but people are being killed.

What's happening at the state level and local levels makes a huge difference now, especially with the stalemate in Congress. And what's happened in Seattle is paving the way for the $15 an hour minimum movement.

I come from New York. Our governor Andrew Cuomo, who is a Democrat, said when people were calling for $15 an hour, ‘You've got to be kidding. It's pie in the sky.’ And now he's handling it and signing legislation around it.

You know, Nelson Mandela said it always seems impossible until it's done.

Amy Goodman has hosted Democracy Now! for 20 years. Seattle was her 50th city on her tour. The transcript of her conversation at KUOW has been edited and condensed for clarity.