Former People's Party activist describes 'depressing' experience with group

Renee Johnston, a former volunteer and activist with the People’s Party, told Hill.TV that her experience with the party was “really disappointing” and “honestly depressing.”

The Movement for a People’s Party is a progressive populist party, founded in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, that advocates for working people and prioritizes issues like free public college, a $15 minimum wage and single-payer health care.

Johnston described the appeal of the People’s Party, including an opportunity to help move away from the “duopoly” of the two party system in the U.S., “where you feel that you just don’t have a choice.” She also spoke to her personal motivation and original enthusiasm to volunteer with the movement.

“I just wanted to make a difference. I just wanted my kid to not be scared to drive his car when he gets older. That was my goal in this and to be in an organization that had so many people excited and so many people ready to work.”

But Johnston said the party’s “lack of organization is really, it [was] egregious.” 

“When you bring volunteers in and people are really excited to get going and really excited to do the work, if you don't have something for them to do you basically have this stagnant group of people who are excited to make some change and have nowhere to go with their excitement.”

Johnston also described what she said were racial tensions within the movement, saying there was a disagreement over whether “white people” had the authority to use the “N-word.”

She said those racial tensions were part of broader political polarization and class struggles within the movement.

“This is what happens when you try to play that game with the Right and the Left and you don’t acknowledge that the class struggle and the race struggle are entwined in such a way that you can’t separate them. You can not pretend that one doesn’t exist.”