Copycat Progressive Tactics at the ‘People’s Convention’ in Detroit Spin Popular GOP Messaging



Organizers from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) used some language during the second annual People’s Convention in Detroit July 25-27 that echoed popular themes from President Trump and the GOP.

Founded in 2012, the Center for Popular Democracy is a nonprofit federation of progressive groups, including some of the old chapters of ACORN.

Andrew Friedman, co-director of the CPD said the organization supports issues “like repealing and replacing the 1994 crime bill.”

Anti-Obamacare rhetoric is only one echo of GOP messaging this week.

Perhaps in imitation of President Trump’s positive, populist appeal, organizers had creative methods of attempting similar messaging success without using the words “MAGA.”

In the video invitation to the event, CPD Co-Executive Director Ana Maria Archila touted the “freedom to thrive.”

Positively repackaging eco-activism, social justice, and redistribution of wealth, CPD’s director of federal action and racial justice Tracy Corder  said organizers were “leaning into the idea of abundance.”

“We have all that we need to live abundant lives,” she said. “We can have a Green New Deal, we can have Medicare for All, a just immigration system, if we are able to re-prioritize where we’re putting our money.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13) proposed as her first bill in Congress the Justice For All Civil Rights Act. It expands federal law beyond the intent to discriminate by altering US civil-rights protections to cover “discriminatory impacts.”

Closing the event at Cobo Hall Saturday afternoon, Tlaib spoke of “people” she symbolically takes with her into committee rooms and organizes.

Specifically, her stated goal is to organize Congress and the people to regain political control of the courts.

However, she pivoted to a deep populist need for voter significance when she related her bill to what she called the “discriminatory impact” of Michigan’s use of Emergency Managers to replace those elected by voters.

“People always think of Voter suppression as leading up to the vote,” she said.

“No… I’ll show you what voter suppression looks like after the vote, and that’s the Emergency Manager law where they wiped out every single city-elected and anybody that we elected, out of power and put in somebody that took a class.”

She said emergency manager appointments resulted in “dismantling of public schools, kids in Flint being poisoned, corporations taking over our government from the inside,” as well as a greater drop of black home-ownership in Michigan than in any other state.

Reportedly 1600-1800 attended the three-day event, exceeding initial targets of 1500, and including 50 grassroots organizations from 34 states.

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Abigail Nobel is a reporter for The Michigan Star.





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