Progressive leaders and activists convened to attend the annual Netroots Nation conference in New Orleans to discuss the future of the Democratic Party in preparation for the 2020 presidential election.
More than 3,000 left-wing activists gathered at the three-day event — between Aug. 2 and 4 — that seemingly rejected the Democratic Party’s call for more moderate policy positions and focused on the necessity of promulgating progressive policies such as universal health care and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), all while praising socialism and identity politics.
“The [Democratic] establishment is terrified of that word: ‘socialism’,” Cynthia Nixon, New York gubernatorial candidate, told the crowd. “But if we learned one thing … it’s that Republicans are going to call us socialists no matter what we do. So we might as well give them the real thing.”
California Sen. Kamala Harris also blasted the Democratic establishment, saying “the folks who helped build the Democratic Party and have been the backbone of the Democratic Party have not always been given equal voice in the Democratic Party.”
She went on to defend the use of identity politics. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Thinks There Should Be Something Like A House Progressive Caucus)
“Let’s be clear, when people say [identity politics], it’s a pejorative,” Harris continued. “That phrase is used to divide, and it is used to distract. Its purpose is to minimize and marginalize issues that impact all of us. It is used to try and shut us up.”
Harris called on the Democrats to further address the need of identity politics.
Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City also criticized the Democratic Party establishment for lying to progressives.
“We are constantly told that our ideas will never win the day. They tell us to moderate. They tell us to speak to the great middle out there,” de Blasio said. “What I see is not a time for moderation. It’s a time for progressives to double down on what we believe in. I see the dawning of a new progressive era.”
Other keynote speakers included Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as well as Democratic congressional candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kevin de Leon.
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