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.
After Marriage Equality, Are Transgender People 'Going To Be Left In The Lurch'?

“I think the fear of a lot of transgender people is that we recognize that we’re very close to accomplishing the tent poles of our community’s work,” she commented. “I think a lot of trans people are beginning to feel like, when those issues are off the table, most of the rest of the issues are our issues. Are our allies — whether they be movement allies and organizations, political allies, people in elected office — are they going to move on to the next big thing? Are we going to be left in the lurch here? I think those are legitimate fears. I’m doing a lot of thinking these days about what the movement looks like after marriage equality. It would be really, really interesting to ask some people who may be considering a run for the big job, ‘What do you think? What are the big issues that impact LGBT people? What are you going to be doing for LGBT people once marriage equality is something in the history books?’"

An Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren Regarding the Marginalization of Reproductive Rights at Netroots Nation

Netroots Nation 2015
100 N 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

July 18, 2015

Sen. Elizabeth Warren
2400 JFK Federal Building
15 New Sudbury Street
Boston, MA 02230

Dear Senator Warren,

We the undersigned attendees of Netroots Nation 2015 are writing to express our disappointment and frustration with your failure to include a single mention of reproductive health and rights in your keynote speech.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, states enacted 51 new abortion restrictions in the first half of this year, which brings the total number of restrictions to 282 since 2010. It is a mistake to exclude this crisis from the concerns of the broader progressive movement, especially when reproductive freedom is a basic economic issue for half of the population.

When you are addressing Netroots, you are in a room full of activists from states like Missouri, where women have to wait 72 hours to access abortion. You are being live-streamed from states like Mississippi, where women are fighting tooth and nail to keep their lone clinic open. Women all over the country are being disrespected, called immoral, and talked down to like they are children for having the audacity to say they stand with the majority of Americans who support the right to abortion. 

When you stand up in front of progressives and detail all of the ways that progressive values are mainstream American values and fail to include abortion, you are reinforcing the white male dominance that still holds power in conferences like these.

We activists and advocates are not here to get out your votes, throw the largest parties at Netroots, and then keep applauding as you lay out a broader agenda without us. 

We look forward to hearing you speak authentically on how progressive values include the right to abortion when you address Netroots Nation in St. Louis in 2016. 


Mary Alice Carter
Christina Crisostomo
Emily Crockett
Heather Cronk
Helene de Boissiere
Rebecca Farmer
Johanna Fernandez
Jaclyn Friedman
Gabriel Garcia-Vera
Melissa Green
Paris Hatcher
Katie Hegarty
Norma Jimenez
H Kapp-Klote
Katie Klabusich
Regina Mahone
Erin Matson
Anne Mattson
Pamela Merritt
Tara Murtha
Sean Nicholson
Benjamin O’Keefe
Hemly Ordonez
Rachel Perrone
Dana Rasso
Kelley Robinson
Roger Rosen
Robert Jay Ross
Hannah Elyse Simpson
Kaori Sueyoshi
Robyn Swirling
Jos Truitt

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!

Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter

I shouldn’t have to preface my comments with statements professing loyalty and support to any movement in order to minimize the negative comments that are to come. Nonetheless, I feel obligated to do so, because otherwise, assumptions will be hurled as facts in absentia.

I am a supporter of any movement that seeks to end any kind of racism, sexism, and other oppressive notions. My support, however, is not contingent upon whether or not that group wants my support, and nor are my critiques entirely grounded in the fact that I am white, cis, and male.

All too often, in social conflicts, we prioritize labels above diversity; we accept statistical trends as being always significant, and fail to acknowledge the other 30 or 48%; we all too often seek to place blame on entire groups as opposed to individuals, and further step away from being accountable for our own support, our own thoughts, our own actions, and the consequences that follow. All too often, we let anger drive all of our thoughts and motives, and forget to define progress through a lens of pragmatism.

It is dangerous, unwise, and impractical to relegate all critiques as being invalid on the basis that the author of that critique – is white. Not all critiques are created equal.

This is where I divert to Bernie Sanders, and the Black Lives Matter protests that took place, interrupting his speech in Seattle.

Supporters of the interruption have much to say in agreement, and much to say in contest to those who were offended, disgusted, or are opposed to the interruption.

Here are a list of specific reasons why I find the fiasco with BLM and Bernie Sanders as being wasteful, useless, and not pragmatic.

First, unlike the interruption that took place at the Netroots conference, the interruption of Bernie Sanders’ next event served no purpose other than to be a political bully of sorts. Supporters of the action have suggested that Sanders “hasn’t done enough,” but offer little insight into how they have reached this conclusion. Netroots is a conference for liberals to be liberals, and interestingly, many of the mainstream liberals that have since become household names, Hillary & Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, have all been booed for supporting things like the Patriot Act, and the Defense of Marriage Act. It has almost become a ceremony to heckle and jeer at a big shot Democratic leader. Marin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders, running for president as they are, surely weren’t going to escape that trend.

Regardless of this trend, it is readily apparent that Black Lives Matter supporters, who so avidly denounce Sanders supports, and “white progressives” as being “white supremacists” for not liking the second Sanders interruption in Seattle, have little understanding of Sanders’ platform.

Sanders is a self-described Democratic Socialist, which is a political and economic philosophy that emphasizes the importance of democratic economics, i.e., the means of production should belong to the people – not big corporations. Every issue – besides Racial Justice, which was added after the Seattle incident – is hugely economic in context. Every action taken that is described is economic in context. Democratic Socialism views almost all conflicts in society as being hugely driven by economic imperfections, and a growing system of oligarchy that should be dismantled from the ground up. For Sanders, ending racism isn’t just some matter that can be rallied out of existence, for him, it’s vitally important to tackle the economic conditions that lead to inequality as a whole.

Second, Sanders isn’t a mainstream Democrat, and although he understands the nuances related to being perceived as such, he nevertheless stands little chance in being the Democratic nominee – which carries a lot of weight. But this point is nonetheless relevant to my critique. It isn’t enough to go after one of the weakest Democratic candidates (in terms of electability), and then profess to be “fighting against racism,” because the candidate with an economic platform didn’t “bow down” to your whims the first time you interrupted him. It isn’t enough to shrug off criticisms and inquiries as to why BLM has yet to go after mainstream Democrats like Clinton (and possibly Biden), or even the conservatives like Trump and Cruz.

My third point expands a little by pointing out that Sanders is one of more than 20 presidential candidates, and the worst part about all of this is that Presidents have very little, if any power at all, to make the changes needed for social equalities. If you want legislation to be passed that would help to end your plight, focus less on Sanders, and focus more on the fact that every single seat in the House of Representatives is up for grabs next election, and 34 senate seats. That is to say, 88% of Congress is running for election in 2016, and yet your modality for change is to strong arm a candidate with an already impressive civil rights record into putting on his website a platform for Racial Justice (a point that is incomplete without also pointing out that half of his Racial Justice platform talks about economic violence against race – i.e., an emphasis on economics as opposed to simple politics).

So when Sanders supporters, and others, criticize Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford for interrupting Sanders in Seattle by saying that it wasn’t very tactical – it’s a perspective that’s largely supported by evidence.

None of what I have just said stems from a perception that my voice, or even my perspective, should overrule, or be “more valid” than that of a person of color. None of what I have just said should be interpreted as somehow dismantling or de-legitimizing your anger. What should be taken away from this is simple – your tactics aren’t very effective, and you won’t see progress if you’re going to attack the most progressive candidates for “not doing enough” when the position that they are vying for can never “do enough” to begin with. My critique has nothing to do with me – it has to do with my support of your cause, and an evidenced based analysis that suggests that your method of conflict will yield very little come election season – and beyond.


Here’s just a few of the shots I got today during the Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley Town Hall at Netroots Nation.

The discussion was hijacked during O'Malley’s Q&A by BlackLivesMatter protesters demanding answers about the candidates’ plans to end systematic injustice.

I don’t know the names of the individuals in the candids so if you do let me know!


Elizabeth Warren just brought down the house at the Netroots Nation conference – and she challenged presidential candidates to reduce Wall Street influence in government.

iloveyoulikeanoctopus  asked:

What's your take on Bernie Sanders at Netroots?

first, hot damn i love a real question! second, the first thing i noticed was that HC didn’t dare to darken the doors- probably smart as i envision only the most country club of a response had she been met with the same protesters. and now she gets to play Monday morning quarterback, which is really about campaign management.

though hopefully if she is watching game tapes she heard warren’s call to get her shit together.

as for bernie, i think he’s charting new territories as a politician. one where he’s going to have to connect with his community organizer past self. ironically, he supported obama (and obama supported him) in presidential bids due to their mutual community organization pasts. alas, his initial response was not of being annoyed with the message, but more of getting pushed out of what he had hoped to cover. (to be clear, i absolutely support the protest-it is one of the biggest issues in the 2016 election and all dems need to get their collective shit together) he was a force for organization during civil rights sit ins, and when it was not at all popular to do so, backed jesse jackson for president. but the fact remains that his response (though he’s done better, now) showed he needs to get vitally connected to the current movement, and understand the BlackLivesMatter is not a hashtag, but a force with quite possibly even greater force than the civil rights movement he was a part of. because this movement is not just about removing the signs, and desegregating public places in policy. this movement demands real change-one that addresses the legacy of police brutality and incarceration once policy changed and minds didn’t.

i have faith in bernie. he showed up unlike HC. that said, he has to get his head around being the politician AND activist/organizer this country needs if we hope to really meet the legacy of racism head on. and understand that class does NOT supersede race and fixing classism will not fix racism.

he also needs to realize that he is not a novelty player in this election, and get himself some campaign folks worth their salt.

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!

I'm a Feminist Democrat Texan Activist, and I Need Your Help to Get to Netroots Nation!

Hey y’all! Genevieve here. I’m running for a scholarship to Netroots Nation, where I”ll learn more about best practices for organizing our netroots here in Texas to advance reproductive justice and get out the vote for candidates like Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte.

I’m an Annie’s List campaign school grad, I’ve worked for three pro-choice lady Democratic candidates, and two pro-choice women (also Democrats) in the House of Representatives. I also blog for Burnt Orange Report, where I’m a Reproductive Justice and Women’s Health Staff Writer.

YOU CAN HELP ME GET TO NETROOTS NATION! It takes one minute to vote, and less than a minute to share this with your friends. So #VoteCato here: and then tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW!


This Post is CampaignSick approved! Y’all help FOCS Genevieve get to Netroots!