Interview with Daniel Deceder, Steering Committee Member & National Organizer at Movement for a People’s Party

January 30, 2018
postmillennial .org

The Movement for a People’s Party (MPP) is working to build a coalition of working people, unions, community groups, students, academics, parties and organizations for a nationally viable People’s Party in the United States. “It is no longer about convincing the American public that we need these changes or that we need these policies, because people are on board,” says Daniel Deceder, steering committee member and national organizer at MPP.

We interviewed Daniel to discuss what it would take to create a party that actually represents the people, why he believes that the Democrats won’t save us, and how people can support the Movement for a People’s Party.

PM=postmillennial

DD=Daniel Deceder

 

PM: Describe the Movement For A People’s Party. What is your role? What made you decide to join?

DD: In a way the Movement for a People’s Party (MPP) is a continuation of the political revolution started by Bernie Sanders. The majority of Americans feel that neither of the major parties represent them, and unfortunately they are correct. Like Noam Chomsky said, “The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party.” Both parties are working to please the same donors in the top 1% of our population.

I know it seems like the Democrats and Republicans hate each other, but when you focus solely on the issues and the policies being forwarded, that is just a lot of political theater. The Democrats throw us a bone on social issues from time to time, but they have become another party of Wall Street. Democrats and Republicans are both working in the interest of Wall Street, big pharma, the health insurance industry, the fossil fuel industries, the military industrial complex, and the donor class…not the people. You cannot be a party of Wall Street and a party for the working class at the same time.

Movement for a People’s Party knows that nothing is going to get better until we have a party that is working to fix the real problem in our country: money in politics. We also know we can’t start this new party by ourselves. The majority of Americans now support things like single payer health care, free public college, $15 minimum wage, and getting money out of politics. Sixty-one percent even say that they want a new major party. It is no longer about convincing the American public that we need these changes or that we need these policies, because people are on board. We just need to bring people together. Our goal is to form a coalition of working people, unions, parties, and organizations to build a new People’s Party.

My role at Movement for a People’s Party is to work as a member of the Steering Committee, which means I am lucky enough to help with decisions about the direction of the movement. I am also a national field organizer, so I oversee the leaders and volunteers in 11 states and DC.

My decision to join MPP was immediate when I learned about it, but my shift away from the two-party system was a long time coming. I worked in the mental health field for a long time because I saw it as a way to bring about positive change. After years of that work, I could see that I was dealing with the effects of much larger problems. Mental health, wealth inequality, our failing educational system, climate change, they are all a result of the corrupting influence of money in politics and the major parties serving the interests of the donor class. Even so, I was disillusioned with politics in general, and felt that real change would have to come from outside the current system because it certainly didn’t seem that it would come from our corrupted politicians. Then Bernie Sanders came along, saying things that I never thought I’d hear a politician say, and I thought maybe I was wrong. It was really exciting, and I was totally on board.

Then 2016 happened. After the election, my disillusionment with our two party political system was confirmed, but I also saw opportunity. Bernie woke a lot of people up, and (unlike under Hillary) under Trump they could not be content to go back to sleep. Something good can come of this as long as people understand that Trump is not the problem, but a symptom of a much larger problem. It is not an exaggeration to say we need a revolution, and that it is not going to come from inside our two party system. Not long after the election, I saw an interview with Nick Braña explaining his plan to start a People’s Party, and I was like “Yes!” That was it, no more compromising, no more incrementalism, I was 100% on board from that moment on.

Movement for A People’s Party members

 

PM: In your view, how can MPP accomplish its goal to “inspire millions back to the voting booth by giving Americans the major new party that they’re calling for?” What would it take to inspire those millions of people?

DD: It is going to take a party that actually represents the people. Ultimately, that means getting money out of politics, creating a party that is free from big money and special interests. We have worked with a lot of different organizations and a lot of people all over the country and we keep hearing the same thing: “No corporate money.” Recently we held the People’s Convergence Conference in DC, bringing together many different people, parties, and organizations and that was the consensus. I think 2016 proved many things, but mostly it proved that people are tired of the establishment, tired of the corruption, tired of the revolving door of politics. In 2016 people wanted to vote for an outsider. Bernie Sanders on the left, and Trump on the right. I think that in 2016 Bernie’s campaign also showed us that if you truly represent the people, the people will support you, $27 at a time. Politics as usual is not going to inspire people. Fear is not going to inspire people back to the voting booth, yet that is what the two existing parties continue to offer the people. So when we form this party that actually represents the people, the people will come out and support us.

 

PM: How can people join The Movement? What support/partnership does it already have? 

DD: There are many ways to join the Movement for a People’s Party. Definitely the most helpful way to join is by signing up to volunteer. We have a nationwide field team of volunteers with leaders in many of our 50 states, but we still have a long way to go. When you sign up to volunteer we will get you in touch with your local leader or even help you start a chapter of your own. We want to have chapters and leaders all over the country, especially on college campuses, so if you are connected to a university or college and want to help, please reach out. You can join our massive online/social media team. Social media plays such a huge role in our movement today and we are always looking for more people to join our team whether that is graphic design, website design, or just sharing and spreading our message through social media platforms. You can also show your support by following MPP on all social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc. Finally, if you don’t have free time to give but you still support the movement, you can join our mailing list and stay up to date with everything going on with MPP. You can do all of this through ForAPeoplesParty.org or email us at organize@ForAPeoplesParty.org.

The Movement for a People’s Party has supporters all over the country. In our mission to form a coalition to build a new party we are also reaching out to and trying to learn from revolutionary parties and coalitions being built all around the world in Chile, Greece…Podemos in Spain for example. We are collaborating with the Green Party, DSA, Our Revolution, workers unions, and many more organizations both local and national. We have a long list of academics that support the movement, including big names like Cornel West. Independent media has been extremely supportive of our efforts and that has been invaluable…people like Lee Camp, Tim Black, Mike Figueredo, and Jimmy Dore. Still, the support of the people is really what we need to make this party happen.

 

PM: Can you list some concrete actions that can help MPP’s mission?

DD: The first action you can do is to go to ForAPeoplesParty.org and sign up in support of our movement, or sign up to volunteer. Spreading the word and encouraging others to do the same is one concrete thing you can do right now, either in person or on social media. You can also check our events map on the website to attend an event or chapter meeting near you. On the website under “Organize” there are forms you can submit if you have organizations, candidates, or supporters such as academics that you would like to suggest for the movement. We could even set up a video conference call with our leadership and the organization, candidate, or academic you suggest. You can make a donation online, which is extremely helpful and would be greatly appreciated. We are 100% funded by the people and will never take big money donations. Finally, one of the best and easiest actions to do is to join our national conference call every Thursday at 9:30pm on Maestro. (Register for the calls here)

 

PM: Looking back at your past, was there a particular event or a work of art that greatly influenced your political views?

DD: I really don’t think I could pick one. Most recently I think street art has had the greatest impact. Particularly in regards to politics, I think street art is very important today. There is something about how accessible it is. Anyone can experience it no matter your class, it’s not in a museum somewhere you have to pay to get in, you have to be wearing a shirt, or whatever. And people who might look down on this type of artwork and call it graffiti still have to experience it whether they like it or not. Those are actually the people who this artwork is frequently directed towards. I feel like many of the street artists out there today are speaking for the working class. Stik is a London-based street artist, he does a really good job of that because he definitely understands the struggles people are going through. He was homeless before he became famous for street art, painting his pieces in the doorways that he had slept in that night. Of course Banksy is the most widely recognized, but I do think he is one of the best from a political standpoint. He has created so many powerful pieces and has a scathing sense of humor to go along with it.

 

PM: Do you hold any views that are considered controversial?

DD: I know I have some unpopular views. Being critical of the Democrats in the Trump era is definitely frowned upon in some circles. One view in particular that is controversial even among close friends and family is my opinion that the Trump/Russia “Russiagate” narrative is false. I think it is propaganda, I think it is xenophobic, and I think it is dangerous.

In the book Shattered, written by Hillary Clinton’s staffers, they state that John Podesta and Robby Mook came up with the Russia hacking narrative 24 hours after her concession speech as an excuse for her unbelievable loss to Trump. First the misleading cry of “Russia hacked the election!” was repeated ad nauseam by the press. Then the claim that 17 intelligence agencies agreed that Russia hacked the DNC was widely cited (and is continuing to get undue, irresponsible coverage by the mainstream media). This is not true. In reality it was a handful of people within just 3 agencies, all hand-picked by James Clapper. For the sake of argument, let’s say it was Russia who hacked and released those emails. The Democrats spun this so well that we don’t even talk about the fact that the emails were real, the corruption they exposed was very real, and they revealed it was Hillary and the DNC who actually worked to influence or “meddle” in our election. So if it were them, this leads to the uncomfortable conclusion that by leaking DNC emails Russia spread the truth around.

Excerpt from Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign (p.395)

You can read a great report done by VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) that was published in the The Nation proving that the DNC “hack” was actually a leak that had to have been done locally with a zip drive. And finally, when it comes down to it, the reason we can’t know for sure who hacked or leaked from the DNC is because the DNC refuses to turn over their servers to the FBI. That is a huge red flag to me.         

I cannot address every claim, but the fact remains there is still no proof of collusion. It does not matter that every bombshell that comes out about Trump and Russia ends up being debunked, because now it is out there in the public consciousness and people want it to be true. That’s how propaganda works. If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes truth. I know some people are just going along with the narrative with the hope that it will take Trump down or hurt him, but unfortunately it will do the opposite. This false narrative will embolden Trump and his claims of “fake news,” because it is fake news. It is frustrating to know that much like the Iraq war, there will be no real consequences for the people spreading these lies. Now “Russiagate” has morphed into this Neo-McCarthyism, and it is so disappointing to see people I respect participating.

 

PM: Who/what has inspired you lately?

DD: Again it would be hard to pick just one person or one event. I would have to say that Jimmy Dore really is one person who continues to inspire me. He inspires me to keep on with what I’m doing. He keeps me sane when I feel like I’m going crazy, when I feel like “Oh my god, am I the only one seeing this BS?!” I watch his show and I know that I’m not. Jimmy can make people laugh even while talking about stories and subjects that are infuriating, which is really important. I feel like humor has always been an important political weapon. And Jimmy uses it to punch up toward the people with the money and the power, which is how it should be used. Journalism is supposed to be used to keep our government in check, it’s supposed to be the fourth estate. Jimmy continues to do that, and he speaks truth to power, and that is getting harder to find these days. Actually it is getting harder to do today. Independent media is being demonetized online, social media censorship is out of control, and if we lose net neutrality things will get even worse.

Furthermore, “Russiagate” has now become a way to smear independent media and silence dissenting voices. Jimmy, Lee Camp, Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald and others, all of whom have done an amazing job of pointing out the lies and propaganda of the elites and mainstream media, have been smeared as witting or unwitting Kremlin agents. It is crazy to have to turn to a comedian for journalism, but historically certain comedians have been some of the most important truth tellers, like Bill Hicks, George Carlin, and now Jimmy Dore.

From left to right: The Miserable Liberal (Stef Zamorano), Daniel Deceder, Jimmy Dore

 

PM: What do you think would be the impact of millennials on the political future of America? Do you identify as a millennial?

DD: I am barely hanging on to millennial status, but yeah I guess I consider myself a millennial. Yes, millennials are going to have an enormous impact on the political future of America and I am super optimistic about it. In a recent poll, 71% of millennials stated that they want a new party…so this new party is coming, in what form we don’t know yet. I’m optimistic because millennials understand the biggest challenges we are facing…climate change for example. Climate change is honestly the number one reason I’m involved with the Movement for a People’s Party. The planet literally does not have time for more of the same, more incrementalism, and neither party is doing anywhere near enough to address this issue. The Democrats, much like the Republicans, are in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry. I don’t really want to say millenials are progressive, only because I’m not sure what that label means anymore, and I think that labels get in the way of the points you are trying to make. But basically millennials understand that we have the technology right now that could end our reliance on fossil fuels. I look forward to the impact of millennials on America, and on the world. I’m excited for it, I have a lot of faith in this generation.

 

PM: If you had the ability to write anything on a billboard, what would it be?

DD: “The Democrats will not save us!”

 

PM: Thank you for your interview with postmillennial! Any last words?

DD: Get angry. Get angry, but not just at Trump, that’s easy, get angry with the people who brought us Trump. We need to focus that anger toward the people who need to hear it, the people with the money and the power. The most important thing is to not let your anger turn to apathy. Those people at the top, the ruling class, they are counting on your anger turning to apathy. They want you to feel helpless, but we shouldn’t feel that way when we are the majority.

We have to focus on the problem of the corrupting influence of money in politics. Yes Trump is horrible, but we need to deal with the conditions that led to someone like Trump being elected President in the first place. The Democrats are thrilled that Trump is so terrible because their donors are getting the policies they want, and the Dems still get to look like the good guys. The bar is set so low that they are ready to win without changing a thing, just once again offering, “We’re not Trump.” I would not be surprised if we get the “Blue Wave” that everyone is clamoring for in 2018 simply because of the media-fueled antagonism toward “the Donald.” But that is not going to fix anything, because the Democrats continue to refuse to back policies that will actually make people’s lives better. Therefore, it is up to us to create a party that will. It is up to us to point out that our current situation is the result of 30+ years of neoliberalism and both parties turning their backs on the working class. The Democrats and Republicans aren’t going to do it, because their donors do not want them to.

Credit: Ben Garrison

Barack Obama’s legacy is a prime example of this. The former President did nothing to address money in politics, he took 2 wars and turned them into 7, he made George W. Bush’s tax cuts permanent, he bailed out Wall Street, he did not increase minimum wage, he expanded NSA spying/repealed habeas corpus, he broke the deportation record, he opened the arctic to drilling, he ran on single payer/public option only to deny the people while he had a supermajority in congress, and so on. You have to see the game that is being played by both parties, otherwise you will continue to place Obama and others like him on a pedestal. Our time is limited, both economically and environmentally, so spend it on creating a party that does care about you because it is funded by people just like you. There is hope, but first you need to get angry.

 

 

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Post Millennial (PM) is here for people who aspire to cultivate generational perspectives, recognize the differences inherent within generations, and determine how we might use those differences to steer back toward a vision of humanity that is bigger than any single demographic. To join our community of authors visit: postmillennial.org/join.

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