Several hundred Bernie Sanders supporters gathered Wednesday afternoon in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to denounce Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The prior evening protesters had crowded around the entrance to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at AT&T Park. About 100 Sanders delegates walked out of the convention center to stage a sit-in in the media tent, in protest of Clinton’s nomination. At one point protesters outside the convention tried to climb the barriers preventing them from entering.
The World Socialist Website spoke to many young people and workers who turned out for a fourth day of protest at the DNC. Many expressed anger and disgust at the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate, as well as the corruption of the Democratic Party more generally. When asked about Sanders’ support for Clinton, many defended him as “being a man of his word.” In the background, speakers from an organization called Black Men for Bernie encouraged protesters to “keep the faith.”
Our reporting team spoke to Kate and Meira, who had driven to Philadelphia from New York to support Sanders and protest the nomination of Hillary Clinton. Kate told us, “Hillary is such a warmonger and it really scares me. The two candidates are loathed by so many people.” Speaking further about Clinton, she said, “I think she’s a puppet, and they’ll get a new puppet. There are a lot of agents and actors, it’s a machine.”
When asked about the leaked emails exposing the DNC, Meira said, “We were saying it all along, and it is outrageous, scandalous and awful. Their apology doesn’t mean anything because they are apologizing and not doing anything. If they meant it they would say, ‘Wow, this was awful, let’s vote again.’ They’re not saying that. They’re saying, pardon my language, ‘We screwed you over, sorry! We’re going to take the results we dictated and run with them.’ We knew that our votes were stolen. We know what happened, and it’s kind of insane.”
Wynn and Heather drove all the way from Iowa. Wynn said that “WikiLeaks basically validates everything we’ve been thinking since the beginning. The things that have been going on are unfair, unjust,” at which point Heather added, “corrupt!”
When the conversation turned to the “Fight for 15” campaign and a bill in Iowa that has partially increased the minimum wage, a reporter for the WSWS explained that this was a paltry increase, used as a ploy by the Democratic Party. Heather replied, “So I make $8.20 an hour, I have for the last five years. When I first got that job I could buy a pound of hamburger for $3. A pound of hamburger now costs $5. How can I afford to feed myself and my daughter?”
Heather added that in Iowa 30 percent of children don’t get enough to eat. She said that a study in the state showed that for a family of four you need to be making more than $16 hour. “Do you know how many people in Iowa actually make $16 an hour and some odd cents?!”
Wynn expressed some degree of belief in reform, but added, “Capitalism is definitely broken, there’s no doubt about that.”
The WSWS also spoke to a young man named Nathan, who had a sign that denounced Hillary Clinton as a war criminal and crook. “Hillary Clinton is involved with the military-industrial complex,” he said, “and I think it’s really a shame because it’s disguised as the war on terrorism, but it is really a war of controlling resources and oil in the Middle East.”
“I think dropping bombs in the name of keeping us safe is a load of BS,” he went on. “Dropping bombs just creates more terrorists. We need to do something different.” When asked about the role of the Obama administration in the wars for resources, he drew attention to the recent bombing which killed over 80 civilians in Syria.
“We need to get together and stop these things from happening,” Nathan added. “Because the Syrian children, they don’t deserve it, they’re just like you and I, how are they supposed to survive when we’re dropping bombs in their backyard? That does not stop terrorism because you’ve just killed their brother, their mom, their dad … I think it’s awful.”
The WSWS discussed the election campaign of the Socialist Equality Party with Nathan. In response he said he thought the SEP’s program was “a great idea,” but he “didn’t know how to get there, though.” A reporter drew attention to the power of the international working class and the growth of class struggle. Nathan responded, “I see a system right now that is beneficial to the ultra-wealthy. And I see a system of divide and conquer. And I’m sad to see the amount of people falling for it.”
A young worker named Bryan responded strongly to the WSWS’ call for a working class party, united internationally and independent from the bourgeois parties. “Exactly, a lot of the reasons they keep [class issues] separate [from the election discussion], is because they want to keep us divided by gender, race,” he replied.
Zach, another young worker, said, “People just want change. Trump voters don’t want another four years of the Democrats and Clinton voters don’t want to go back to when Bush was president. But it’s hard to trust either of them because they just say anything.
“I’m not registered to vote. It just doesn’t seem like there’s a reason to yet. It’s like you don’t even want to pay attention to it because it’s so negative. You don’t want to watch Fox or CNN and you know in the back of your head that they’re lying to you.”