“Like many, I had been promised hope and sold out far too many times to count.”
Cyril Mychalejko 5-7 minutes
I am changing things up this week. I have decided to have Meet a Progressive as a stand alone newsletter feature moving forward. You will receive an additional weekly edition of the newsletter with my roundup of local, state, national and international stories that I have been following.
Today we meet Bucks County’s Eric Miller, the creator and host of the Daily Bern, found on Facebook and YouTube. The show promotes and platforms progressive news, candidates, and activists around the country and world. I only recently found Eric’s amazing show thanks to my friend Frank Romeo, and wish I had known about it years ago. There is a robust progressive community in Bucks County and one reason for this feature it to make sure we all get to know and support each other’s work.
What inspired you to start working for progressive social change?
I’ve always held the positions I hold in terms of justice (although they naturally evolve, as they should), but it was the 2016 Sanders campaign that really ignited me politically. I had followed him for years in his media appearances and when he announced his candidacy for President, I was all in. Like many, I had been promised hope and sold out far too many times to count. Now here was a national candidate in a crumpled suit and rubber shoes rejecting corporate bribes. His policies were just as unbought and legit as he was. Not infallible, but an honest and incorruptible public servant carrying on the fight for the people a la MLK and FDR. It was inspiring and still is. The movement he inspired isn’t going away anytime soon and I’m proud to be a part of it.
What do you identify as the top issue progressives must confront a) locally, b) statewide in PA, c) across the nation, and d) around the globe?
The biggest thing that poisons everything else is corporate money in politics – that extends to donations, lobbyists, receiving sweetheart gigs after holding office, etc. It literally blocks progress on every single issue from common sense gun reform, to boldly fighting climate change, to Medicare for All, to drug pricing, to you name it. We need candidates up and down the tickets that are unbought and unbossed. The moment a candidate accepts that money, everything they do is suspect. Even at a local level, you often see real estate developers bribing.. errr, “donating” to candidates and getting abatements, favorable regulation and zoning, etc. It starts there and goes to the global level, just name the issue and the capitalist interest and you’ll find the bribes. So the top issue, I believe, is working to get unbought candidates elected at all levels.
What types of organizing and projects are you working on right now?
I primarily run Daily Bern, which has been around since 2015. We are a source for progressive news and views, but more than that I’ve been conducting interviews with progressive activists and candidates for the last year or so. We’ve had on Nina Turner, Jamaal Bowman, Ro Khanna, progressive candidates from all around the country running for everything from City Council to the U.S. Senate, and activists from all kinds of spaces including environmental justice, Indigenous rights, progressive districts attorney, social justice, and I was even honored to host a relative of Emmett Till to discuss his life, legacy, and their ongoing pursuit for justice. There are so many people fighting the good fight. So many inspiring candidates and activists doing the work. The goal of Daily Bern is to help platform them, spread the word on what they’re doing and how people can help, and to keep building the progressive movement from our little corner of the interwebs.
How can folks get engaged and involved?
You can find Daily Bern on Facebook and YouTube. The best way to get and stay engaged is to keep liking and sharing, keep your voice raised, stay off the sidelines. We’re in a marathon here, not a sprint. We will certainly suffer setbacks and we all need to take a breather from time to time, but we have to fight the long fight and stay true. In a practical sense, donate or volunteer to local campaigns and justice groups. Some of those campaigns are won by just a few votes and they could use your $20 far more than a corporate candidate that is reportedly receiving millions. We know we’re on the right side in terms of justice and policy. We just need to build the bench, lift each other, and keep pushing to overwhelm the corporate status quo with our efforts. And we are, albeit slowly. The struggle continues.
Which journalists, writers, podcasts, and publications do you turn to for information and inspiration?
Micheal Brooks was the best and is sorely missed. Democracy Now! and TYT are solid sources for me. David Doel at The Rational National, Mike Figueredo at The Humanist Report, John Iadarola at The Damage Report, and Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi at Useful Idiots are all fantastic. CommonDreams and The Intercept are excellent. There are so many leading voices offering information and inspiration – Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner, AOC, Dr Cornel West, Ilhan Omar, Shaun King, Warren Gunnels, Briahna Joy Gray, Mark Ruffalo, Public Citizen, Charles Booker, and so many more to list! And of course, now what you’re doing Cyril, and thank you for that!
Cyril Mychalejko is a teacher and freelance writer from Bucks County. Follow his work at https://cyrilmychalejko.substack.com.