Report on Meeting with Cong. Lujan & Last Night’s Rally. And Warren Decries: “Time for Liberals to Lead”

An inspiring rally, but just as a march is not a movement, neither is a rally. What is important is what you do today and tomorrow. Recent posts have been critical of DCCC Chair and our Congressman, Rep. Lujan, but I was among a handful of progressives who met with him this weekend in a very productive meeting. Post also includes links to Elizabeth Warren’s stunning speech to NetRoots Nation which generated an interesting idea.  What if?????

The Rally Against Racism was inspiring and it was heartening to see such a large crowd. We need these moments where our community comes together. But even with the best of intentions, the City and the organizers failed to incorporate a Native speaker among the many faiths represented. What’s more, shouts occurred throughout the speakers presentations about “Where are the Native Americans?” and with signs referencing the Entrada prominent, it was clear people had noticed the omission. The Mayor made a very stirring speech about there not being two sides to what happened in Charlottesville, a clear reference to Trump’s insensitive response.

But in the middle of the plaza is an obelisk with the inscription “To the heroes who have fallen in various battles with Indians in the Territory of New Mexico.” The obelisk stands as a very strong symbol that projects history as having but one side and one group of heroes without any acknowledgment that those Indians were defending their land and their people against colonization and then that those coming from Spain and Mexico were then recolonized by Anglos. The obelisk doesn’t convey anything like an honest rendition of our history. If we are going to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville, we may want to use last night’s stirring moment of protest to racism and use it to jumpstart a conversation about substantive ways we can address our own injustice. It is a giant elephant in the midst of our community that rears its head every Fiesta and perhaps we might want to consider using the Fiesta as an opportunity to address past wrongs and begin a deep community education effort about the realities of our cultural and political history. It seems quite obvious to me that the intentions yesterday were values-based and sincere. If the same folks on the stage incorporated representation from the Native Community and worked together to create forums for conversation, learning and listening, that would be a very good bi-product of yesterday’s rally.

But if rallies and marches are to have enduring impact, they must inspire sustained action. People need to find ways to make civic engagement a part of the fabric of ones life, not something expressed in response to a crisis or an announced march. Retake is holding a Town Hall on Aug 19 where in addition to holding a conversation with leadership from DPNM Labor and Retake, we will share ways in which you can make civic engagement part of your ongoing routine. it is easy, it is fun and it is rewarding. But more importantly, it is the only way we retake our democracy. RSVP on Facebook by clicking here or just write to

Elizabeth Warren Makes It Clear: The Future of the Party is NOT in the Center, But on the Left:  An Inspiring Speech

Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke at the 2017 Netroots Nation conference Saturday. And she tore into “so-called Democratic strategists” who advocate for more centrist positions and called for the party that to win, it must move boldly left, a position being advanced by Retake for weeks. The Massachusetts senator began by referencing a recent New York Times opinion piece advising that Democrats go “back to the center.

“A few weeks ago, I saw an op-ed in the New York Times from a so-called Democratic strategist titled, ‘Back to the Center, Democrats.’ It was all about how we have to stop caring about, quote, “identity politics” and stop waging, quote, “class warfare.” Apparently, the path forward is to go back to locking up non-violent drug offenders and ripping more holes in our economic safety net. I even got a shoutout! Apparently, I’m the face of the problem. So is Bernie. But let’s be really clear here – the real power, the real threat, is not me—it’s you, all of you. It’s your energy, your passion, and your commitment to our values that threaten the bland, business-as- usual establishment.”  She could have been speaking directly to Retake members. You are the real threat.

After proclaiming that the political and economic systems were rigged, Warren went on to say that “liberals are now the “heart” — rather than a “wing” — of the Democratic party.…the Democratic Party isn’t going back to the days of welfare reform and the crime bill. It is NOT going to happen. We’re not going back to the days of being lukewarm on choice. We’re not going back to the days when universal health care was something Democrats talked about on the campaign trail but were too chicken to fight for after they got elected.” Clearly, Warren feels that the Party has not gone far enough with A Better Deal.

This brings me to some thoughts on Congressman Lujan. In a meeting with the Congressman and a handful of progressives, we discussed ways in which the progressive constituents might be able to support him in taking stronger and more progressive stands and to use his position of leadership to advocate among his peers. Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders are clearly the Senates version of the heart of the Party. Sanders’ approval ratings clearly illustrate that by wide margins that his vision for the future of the Party, a vision shared by Warren, is very popular among all demographics. Indeed of the 16 politicians included the Harris Survey sited at left, he was the only one to enjoy better than 50% favorability. This isn’t an effort to advance a Sanders candidacy for 2020 as in all likelihood, Bernie will need to pass the torch. But what if, Rep. Lujan were to grab that torch and begin advocating stridently for universal health care, $15 an hour, eliminating money from politics, and putting a cork in the oil drills and becoming a fierce advocate for renewables?   What if he were to become a champion for the 8-point People’s Platform?  Click here to review OurRevolution’s eight-point plan. He has a safe seat and a very solid progressive community at his back. What if?

Click here to read the article which includes the text to the entire speech, which was riddled with specific policies that the Party needs to advance clearly and boldly.  At the bottom of this post is the video of the entire speech, so you can pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee and listen to what leadership sounds like.

In solidarity,

Roxanne and Paul




Categories: Actions, Democratic Party Reform

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9 replies

  1. Paul,

    I put together an expanded version of my comments regarding policies to deal with income inequality, as a possible guest blog, but don’t know how to send this to you by email.


  2. Indeed, what if Congressman Ben Ray Lujan dared to speak up for Progressive Values? What is the obstacle here? As a water-carrier for the DNC why should we think he would do this? Your post leaves us hanging……… If there is hope here, say so. If not, let this be known as well. The people are impatient for substantive change for people over politics.

    • We have just begun our conversations with Congressman Lujan. He is not really a water carrier for the DNC as he is not even a member, but he is in a safe seat, he has an almost perfect Labor voting record and 96% ranking for the Conservation Voters. There are holes to be sure, but he listens and we now have access so we have something to work with. It is a long haul but if we are persistent…..

  3. After the Ceremony – Abolish the Entrada

    There was at least one cranky attendee at last night’s Rally Against Racism who did not seem to get the point of the whole event….

  4. Lujan’s recent conception that DCCC candidates no longer have to be pro-choice to be supported for candidacy is but the most recent example of how far Democrats have slid to the political right. It represents one of the worst Democratic failures since the Clintons designated black youth as “Super-Predators”. The Democrats simply have no political standards that they will not freely abandon. I will not sanction that strategy or Lujan as a candidate with my vote or my money.

    Here’s a suggestion on the plaque in the Santa Fe plaza. The plaque celebrating the “heroes of the indian wars” should be removed from the obelisk and presented to the Native American community for destruction, or whatever they deem a fitting end for the object. In its place, a plaque honoring the history of Native Americans of New Mexico should be erected. An example might be the Pueblo Revolution of 1680, but perhaps the Native American community might have other choices. They should be asked about it, and the existing plaque removed. Regardless, the obelisk itself need not be moved or destroyed–simply remove the offensive marble plaque and replace it with one more fitting, in conjunction with Native American and other stakeholder communities.

    • As you suggest, any strategy needs to come from Native American leadership. We are starting conversations. Our role will be to listen and support. But I think we must also include Hispanic leadership in this conversation. We will keep you posted. I agree about the Democratic Party’s continuing slide to the right. Much work to be done.

      • I mentioned other stakeholders, which would of course include the Hispanic community. But as this particular part of the monument talks about “savage indians” (“savage” having been nicely removed long after the plaque was erected), I hope everyone would agree that Native Americans are the lead stakeholders in re: this particular part of the monument.

      • In issues like this, Dan, I don’t determine message, stakeholders or anything. I follow the lead of those who have been working the issue for far longer than me. And when given direction, I launch. But I suspect you are right.

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