Our Revolution (OR) was established in 2016 by supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders‘s failed presidential campaign of that year. Seeking to “reclaim democracy for the working people of our country” by “harnessing the transformative energy” of the “political revolution” that Sanders led, OR is headed by a board of directors that includes former NAACP president Ben Jealous, left-wing activist Jim Hightower, Arab American Institute founder James Zogby, and former Sanders chief-of-staff Huck Gutman. In 2017, OR endorsed Rep. Keith Ellison for the position of Democratic National Committee chair. OR has close ties to ActBlue, which secures the “Donations” page of OR’s website.
Lamenting that most of America’s financial assets are “controlled by a tiny handful of individuals,” OR characterizes “wealth and income inequality” as “the great moral … economic … and … political issue of our time.” To diminish the “grotesque level” of inequality that pervades America, OR promotes policies that would: force “the wealthy and large corporations” to “pay their fair share in taxes”; increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour; put “at least 13 million Americans” to work by investing $1 trillion over five years on infrastructure projects; create “1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans” by investing $5.5 billion in a “youth jobs program”; expand taxpayer subsidies for rental assistance as well as the construction and refurbishing of “affordable housing” units; and expand Department of Housing and Urban Development programs for first-time homeownership,” particularly through down-payment assistance, loan guarantees, and a lowering of credit standards for underqualified loan applicants – some of the principal causes of the housing crisis and economic meltdown of 2008.
OR contends that America is awash in “structural and institutional racism,” and cites, as proof, the fact that African-Americans are, on average, much more likely than whites to be arrested or incarcerated. Moreover, the organization depicts blacks as the frequent victims of “hateful acts of violence” perpetrated by white “extremists who want to intimidate and terrorize black, brown and indigenous people in this country.” “Today in America,” says OR, “if you are black, you can be killed for getting a pack of Skittles during a basketball game. Or murdered in your church while you are praying.” OR also objects to laws “requiring voters to show photo ID” at their polling places, “restricting same-day registration and early voting,” “purging voter rolls of ineligible names,” and disenfranchising convicted felons — on grounds that such laws are akin to the “literacy laws and poll taxes” of yesteryear. Further evidence of racism, says OR, is the fact that black students are suspended or expelled from school at much higher rates than their white counterparts. Even the natural environment, OR claims, is affected by racism, as “communities of color” are “the hardest hit by air and water pollution.”
OR’s position on the environment at large is founded on the premise that pollution “caused mainly by emissions released from burning fossil fuels” is the principal cause of climate change, “the single greatest threat facing our planet.” Asserting that “the debate is over and the scientific jury is in,” the organization says that “97 percent of scientists agree about the urgent need to act.” By contrast, OR avers, “the vocal minority who don’t [agree] are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry,” and they “have deliberately chosen to put their profits ahead of the health of our people and planet.”
Asserting that America is a fundamentally sexist nation that “still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality,” OR charges that the Republican Party in particular is committed to “denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work.” And to address the “outrage that women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns,” OR calls for the Paycheck Fairness Act to be signed into law. Moreover, the organization vows that it will not “allow the extreme right-wing to defund Planned Parenthood,” which “provides vital healthcare services for millions of women.”
Calling on all Americans to reject the “racism,” “bigotry,” and “anti-immigrant and xenophobic hysteria” that allegedly undergird conservative calls for border security and the strict enforcement of immigration laws, OR wishes to “build upon” President Barack Obama’s DACA and DAPA executive actions which granted millions of illegal immigrants an opportunity to obtain temporary work permits, tax rebates, Social Security cards, and protection from deportation. In addition, OR favors the establishment of “a swift and fair legislative roadmap to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants” in the U.S.; a rejection of “the politics of fear” promoted by critics of “sanctuary city” policies; and the termination of “so-called ‘merit-based’ … immigration policies that discriminate against women.”
In the realm of foreign affairs, OR exhorts the U.S. to “move away from policies that favor unilateral military action and preemptive war, and that make the United States the de facto policeman of the world.” In 2015 the organization supported the Iran nuclear agreement, which allowed the Islamist regime in Tehran to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and be guaranteed of a near-zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road. Vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict, OR says America must play a key role in negotiating “a two-state solution” that recognizes “the Palestinians’ right to a homeland,” and in pressuring Israel to “end the blockade of Gaza and cease developing settlements on Palestinian land.” Further, OR calls for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, whose “mere existence” continues to “damage the United States’ moral standing in the world, undermin[e] our foreign policy, and fa[n] the flames of terrorism rather than dete[r] it.”
Asserting that it is “morally repugnant that we have privatized prisons all over America,” Our Revolution contends that “corporations should not be allowed to make a profit by building more jails and keeping more Americans behind bars.”
Additional OR policy priorities are to:
- “empower the next generation of progressive leaders” by “inspiring and recruiting progressive candidates” to run for political offices at every level of government;
- make tuition free at public colleges and universities nationwide, and cut interest rates on undergraduate loans in half;
- expand Social Security, which OR calls “the most successful government program in our nation’s history,” by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000;
- “guarante[e] healthcare as a right of citizenship” by enacting a “Medicare-for-all, single-payer healthcare system”;
- require employers to provide at least twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave, two weeks of paid vacation annually, and seven paid sick days each year;
- enact a taxpayer-funded, universal childcare and prekindergarten program “available to every American, regardless of income”;
- expand the WIC program “so that every low-income mother and her children receive the nutrition they need”;
- make it “easier for workers to join unions” by supporting the Employee Free Choice Act;
- support a publicly funded system of campaign financing that “amplifies small donations”; and
- overturn “the disastrous” Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, which struck down a ban preventing corporations and labor unions from funding the production of campaign ads for federal political candidates.
In September 2017, OR announced that it was “disappointed and shocked” when Illinois gubernatorial hopeful Daniel Biss, a Democrat, decided to drop his running mate, Democratic Socialists of America member Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, from his ticket amid criticism over Rosa’s support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement.
In 2019, a black woman named Tezlyn Figaro, who had been employed by OR as a political consultant until her firing in 2018, sued the organization on allegations of racial discrimination. The plaintiff claimed that her firing had occurred due to her race and in “retaliation for complaining about the organization’s treatment towards her and African-Americans.” The lawsuit also included broad criticism of “racism” in Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, accusing its all-white leadership staff of failing to engage black voters. The suit was eventually was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.