POLITICS
03/28/2017 05:51 pm ET

Bernie Sanders Gets Top Billing At New Conference Planned By His Supporters

Democrats are out of power. But the left sees its star rising.

The progressive activists who propelled the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are meeting in Chicago this June to plan their movement’s next steps.

The People’s Summit 2.0, as the conclave’s organizers call it, is a sequel to the inaugural conference that occurred around the same time last year. And this time, Sanders himself will be a keynote speaker.

The People’s Summit 2.0 will convene on June 9-11 at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago “under a thematic of moving beyond resistance to building a broad people’s movement for a just world,” according to a Tuesday announcement by the event’s sponsors. The conference is being organized by the National Nurses United labor union, People for Bernie, Our Revolution, Democratic Socialists of America, and several other top left-wing groups.

In addition to Sanders, leading progressive figures are slated to speak, including former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, CNN contributor Van Jones, actor Danny Glover, author Naomi Klein and activist Linda Sarsour.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will speak at the second annual "People's Summit" in Chicago from June 9-11.
Mark Reinstein/Getty Images
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will speak at the second annual "People's Summit" in Chicago from June 9-11.

A lot has happened since some 3,000 so-called Berniecrats gathered in Chicago last year to discuss how to build on the Sanders’ campaign’s momentum. At the time, Sanders’ campaign was winding down, but he had not yet formally conceded defeat to Hillary Clinton.

Clinton’s loss to Republican candidate Donald Trump has strengthened Sanders enthusiasts’ commitment to challenging the Democratic establishment. They argue that a populist, grassroots movement in the spirit of Sanders’ campaign is both the only way forward for the Democratic Party and the only defense against right-wing authoritarianism.

“With our institutions of liberal democracy severely eroded and fascism knocking at our front doors, the time is now for activists, organizers, and Berniecrats to come together and imagine an America and world that looks far beyond the horizon of establishment politics as usual,” People for Bernie co-founder Winnie Wong said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the new conference.

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