Netroots Nation

When They Say "We Want Our America Back", What The F#@k Do They Mean?
Jill Sobule
When They Say "We Want Our America Back", What The F#@k Do They Mean?

Jill Sobule: When They Say “We Want Our America Back”, What The F#@k Do They Mean?

I wrote this song at the Netroots shindig for The Freedom From Fear Awards – “a new national award that honors 15 ordinary people who have committed extraordinary acts of courage on behalf of immigrants and refugees – individuals who have taken a risk, set an example, and inspired others to awareness or action. The award honors unsung heroes who are not professional advocates.”

In deciding what to write, I thought I would include an anti-immigrant history with the still befuddling question I have for the Tea Party folk.

You can listen to the song here, and the lyrics [here].


Andrew Breitbart, at Netroots Nation, confronted with tough questions (racism, prostitutes, cocaine, Oh My!) - @TheYoungTurks

The fact that the first real pushback from leftists against Black Lives Matter is around the 2016 election reveals how electoralism can induce activists to side with elites against the grassroots. Left-wing supporters of Sanders believe his campaign is a unique chance to advance the cause of socialism. As such, they will be inclined to ignore if not defend every bad position he takes. The backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement that percolated through the web and social media following the Netroots Nation confrontation has less to do with the specifics of the incident and more to do with the sense the activists were somehow derailing a rare chance to advance socialism for everyone.
Leaving aside that Sanders is pushing for Keynesian policies, not socialist or even social democratic ones, his campaign is antithetical to movement building. It’s top down, centered on one person, with no process or space for popular input to discuss his political failings, the limits of electoralism, or other strategies. After 2016 Sanders is not going to turn over his organization with its apparatus, lists and expertise to the left.” ‪#‎amerikansocialism‬ ‪#‎progressiveposturing‬

Downtown Boys on tour throughout N America starting this week!

6/26 Providence, RI @ Columbus Theater (benefit show to pass Providence anti-racial profiling ordinance)
6/30 Cleveland, OH @ Now that’s Class
7/1 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean (free show, 21+ sorry)
7/2 Manhattan, KS @ Church of Swole
7/3 Denver, CO @ Mutiny Information Cafe
7/4 OFF
7/5 Boise, ID @ Neurolux
7/6  Portland, OR @ Anarres Infoshop
7/7 Seattle, WA @ Black Lodge
7/8 Vancouver, BC @ Black Lab
7/9 Olympia, WA @ Old School Pizzeria
7/10 Arcata, CA @ Bat Cave
7/11 San Jose, CA @ Think and Die Thinking
7/12 San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
7/13 Los Angeles, CA @ Thee Alley
7/14 Riverside, CA  @ Blood Orange Infoshop
7/15 Ensenada, MX @ Euro Bar
7/16 Tijuana, MX @ 1250
7/17 Phoenix, AZ  @ Netroots Nation UFCW Afterparty
7/18 El Paso, TX Boomtown
7/19 Mcallen, TX @ AQUInceañera Fest at Yerberia Cultura
7/20 Austin, TX @ Mohawk (Inside)
7/21 Houston, TX @ Walters
7/22 New Orleans, LA @ 1305 Poland Street
7/23 OFF
7/24 Orlando, FL @ Space Station
7/25 Miami, FL @ Churchhills
7/26 Jacksonville, FL @ Rain Dogs
7/27 Savannah, GA @ QuoLab
7/28 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
7/29 Raleigh, NC  @ Nice Price Books and Records

I am the black woman who interrupted the presidential town hall. This is why I did it.

I am Tia Oso, the black woman who took to the stage and demanded a microphone on July 18 at the Netroots Nation Presidential Town Hall in Phoenix, Arizona. I did this to focus the attention of the nation’s largest gathering of progressive leaders and presidential hopefuls on the death of Sandra Bland and other black women killed while in police custody. This is an emergency.

Remember how everyone was disappointed with Bernie for not taking a strong stance on Black Lives Matter at the Netroots Nation conference a few weeks ago? Well, he listened to what the activists had to say and has recently added some content to his usual spiel. I can not stress enough how important it is to have politicians that listen to the concerns of grassroots movements. It is the foundation of democracy that politicians represent the people. Bernie gives me hope that we the people do have a voice.
Why Hillary Clinton and her rivals are struggling to grasp Black Lives Matter
Strained interactions and attempts to appease the burgeoning activist group demonstrate how a new force on the left has disrupted traditional politics and created challenges for Democrats.

The rise of Black Lives Matter has presented opportunities for Clinton and her opponents, who are seeking to energize black voters to build on the multiethnic coalitions that twice elected Barack Obama. But the candidates have struggled to tap into a movement that has proven itself to be unpredictable and fiercely independent. It is a largely organic web of young African American activists — many of them unbound by partisan allegiances and largely unaffiliated with establishment groups such as the NAACP that typically forge close ties with Democrats.

At Netroots Nation, the two candidates, who are attempting to challenge Clinton from the left, might have expected to receive a warm welcome. Instead, they seemed to wilt under the questions of protesters, who stormed the space around the stage and recited the names of blacks killed during confrontations with police.

The episode has been seen by many liberal activists as an embarrassment for the two candidates, who appeared surprisingly ill-prepared to respond to questions many thought they should have expected.

Sanders threatened to leave the stage as protesters demanded that he repeat the name of Sandra Bland, a black woman who died in a Texas jail cell earlier this month. Then he canceled a series of meetings he had scheduled with some of the activists following his appearance — something they found out only when campaign manager Jeff Weaver showed up in Sanders’s stead.

O’Malley responded by telling the protesters, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter” — a statement that struck the demonstrators as dismissive of their movement and the unique discrimination endured by African Americans at the hands of the police.

Bernie Sanders’ disgusting new campaign policy

I’ve talked a lot about Bernie Sanders this weekend and how I feel he hasn’t been taking the black liberation movement seriously enough. 

A lot of people have disagree with me. Some of them have mentioned that he just hired a black woman (Symone Sanders) to be his National Press Secretary. 

So after the disruption at Netroots Nation and Saturday’s disruption in Seattle and his new hire, what has Bernie learned?


At the start of his rally in Portland tonight, Symone Sanders spoke to the crowd and warned them that protesters might cause another disruption. She said that if this happened, the new policy of the Sanders campaign is that she wanted the crowd to drown out what the protesters were saying by chanting, “We stand together!” over and over until the protesters stopped talking. 


Not only has he chosen to not listen to these voices, he has chosen to patronize them. 

This is NOT what a partner in struggle does. This is insulting and offensive. How dare he?!

It’s like he’s patting a child on the head and saying, “What’re you crying for?” 

I am so glad that I did not give in to the criticism I was getting before for not accepting that Bernie was already a proven partner in liberation work. Fuck that! Actions speak louder than words and louder that policy platforms. This shows Bernie’s true feelings, and I am disappointed. 

The protests must continue! He is clearly not hearing the message!

Netroots Bound!

So I’m venturing out of California for the next two days to do a training session on community management at Netroots Nation.

Netroots Nation is a progressive, non-profitty, do-gooder conference and this is my first time attending. I’m not only stoked to present with two of my friends, but getting to see a good chunk of my DC friends too as this is a DC-heavy conference….in Minnesota!

Each day at work is getting better now that I’m on a team. I’m feeling less like new kid and getting more acclimated. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop out here in terms of a “bad day” but I’m finding myself enjoying every minute of everything I’m doing out here.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about relationships and how I don’t want to be in one again for at least a year. I’m not putting a hard time table on things, but I really need to be in an exclusive relationship with Adam. I’m sure I’ll date and continue to do so to meet new people but even the concept of dating is new to me. My friend Karl Frisch once said to me that dating is awesome because you get to meet lots of people and figure out what you like. That’s really what it’s about for me. When I used to be in pain from a broken heart, I’d find someone else and that would help me move on. That works for some people but not for me. The most recent broken heart taught me a lot. As did driving across the country alone (a concept which still seems to impress people but that’s a different story).

As I drove I processed my whole life and found myself so much more comfortable with being “single and 30” than I ever was before. This year is about listening to Adam to get involved in the things I enjoy and like. I’m kinda digging the whole “find a random event in San Francisco and show up alone” thing, too. It’s scary going into a room alone without knowing anyone. My friend Lauren (who also just moved here) told me she would never do that sort of thing on the east coast. Here, we both do it, because it’s almost as if the fear and uncertainty drives us. I’m happy to report that while I’m meeting people out here, I’m still balancing old friendships both in SF and elsewhere. I wasn’t always good at that. I realize now how much time I used to spend worrying about how I appeared to others. So I’d never say “no” and I’d worry all the time if I upset someone. Now I let it roll.

My aunt told me something before I left. She said as much as it sucks to hear, no one in the world owes you anything and really will always have your back except for you.

It’ll be interesting to see my DC friends and observe how I am around them. I am working hard to have my own back and not need anyone else’s, but I still love being around people. I know it sounds mildly selfish but that’s really not the intention - at least not maliciously.

This conference will be a lot of fun and will no doubt get me thinking about what I miss about DC. But this is life. This is how it rolls.

I will also say though - I’ve been beyond impressed with how hard my east coast friends work to keep in touch with me. Whether they’re in Annapolis, Philly, NYC, or DC. They rule. I only hope I’m holding up my end as well.

Ok here goes 9 hours of airports!

To continue with the #YOLO theme I’ve designated for myself this summer, I agreed to emcee the Advocates for Youth #NN13 Welcome Reception! This will be interesting to witness, suffice to say. Come if you’ll be around!

Watch on

He’s just not that into you.

This is an interesting report, in spite of the mainstream media’s never-missed opportunity for false equivalence at the very end. The liberal blogosphere’s reality-based, and the right-wing one flies off on looney conspiracist tangents that fuel political violence.


Want to start a conversation on rape culture?

Watch and share this video from Zerlina Maxwell at Netroots Nation.