We saw many photos of SEIU members taken at the union convention today. Most of the photos were of ball games, museums, the hotels and group shots---very little from the convention itself. People called to say that Clinton's speech focused on her alleged commitment to higher wages, discounting the California primary and extricating herself from the promised debate with Sanders. Our friends also said that her speech was repetitive and rambling, with odd points of emphasis, and that the International Union essentially redbaited Sanders and argued that Clinton is more acceptable to Republicans and therefore should be more acceptable to us. This photo is making the rounds on Facebook and shows Local 503 members listening to Clinton's speech.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and Hilary Clinton embraced, of course, and the message is sent that a deal is sealed in case anyone had any doubts.
A series of Sanders rallies in California meanwhile drew many thousands of excited people. Some polls are giving Sanders the edge in California. Clinton apparently left the SEIU convention in a hurry in order to make it to fundraising events in California.
Contrast almost any union convention with what social movements are able to do:
It's true that unions are the only relatively progressive and unitary organizations with a financial base and budgets and staff. On the other hand, the power of the people remains the real power.
And on the other hand, we have two Local 503 leaders (one past, one present) on stage with Hilary Clinton. And all seems calm and quiet on the shores of Lake Michigan, except that....
A Local 503 member-leader sends the following message: "Unbelievable... Sitting here minding my own business & just because I have a Bernie shirt on I get signaled out & talked to by staff about making a scene because "we don't want to be rude" to Hillary! Last time I checked this was America! I have the right to vote for who I want. I have the right to support who I want."
Ahjamu Umi was also present at Clinton's speech to the SEIU convention and wrote about it here.