The “Hellraising Humanitarian” on “Dreaming a New Dream”

Photo courtesy of Nina Turner.

The national co-chair for Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, Nina Turner, delivered an electrifying speech during her October 30 fundraiser at the Santa Monica home of Jan Goodman and Jerry Manpearl, stalwarts of Los Angeles’ progressive scene. Reminiscent of the Spanish Civil War’s antifascist leader La Pasionaria, the impassioned oration by Turner, a former Ohio State Senator, could be described with colorful cliches as a rabblerousing, fire breathing stemwinder.

Turner’s dramatic discourse at Santa Monica set the stage for this Q&A almost two months after CounterPunch requested an interview with the extremely busy campaigner, which finally took place by phone. Reached back at Cleveland, Turner revealed herself to be a skilled tightrope walker, a precariously perched performer with one foot in the people’s camp of mass movements and the other in an electoral arena dominated by the capitalist system. The thoughtful Turner clearly chafes under the straitjacket of the two-party duopoly and strategizes how to pursue progressive policies, despite both Republicans and the corporate wing of the Democratic Party.

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Ed Rampell was named after legendary CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow because of his TV exposes of Senator Joe McCarthy. Rampell majored in Cinema at Manhattan’s Hunter College and is an L.A.-based film historian/critic who co-organized the 2017 70th anniversary Blacklist remembrance at the Writers Guild theater in Beverly Hills and was a moderator at 2019’s “Blacklist Exiles in Mexico” filmfest and conference at the San Francisco Art Institute. Rampell co-presented “The Hollywood Ten at 75” film series at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and is the author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States and co-author of The Hawaii Movie and Television Book.    

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