With the first vote on her Green New Deal resolution looming in the Senate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared at the South by Southwest festival in Austin – a bastion of deep-blue politics in an otherwise red state – to share her “politics of optimism” with an audience of tech industry marketing mavens and social media “influencers”.
During an hour-long interview with The Intercept’s political editor Briahna Gray, Ocasio-Cortez expounded on the many (in her view) flaws of capitalism, which she once again confused with crony capitalism, the racist underpinnings of FDRs New Deal, abolishing ICE, incrementalism and the ‘moderate mindset’.
On the subject of capitalism, AOC warned that America is grappling with the consequences of putting “profits over everything else in our society” for so long, and that the capitalist system, as it stands, is “irredeemable.” Though, apparently, the irony of bashing capitalism at a bougie tech-industry financed marketing orgy was lost on her.
“Capitalism is an ideology of capital – the most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit… so to me capitalism is irredeemable,” she said.
Speaking on the subject of her Green New Deal, Ocasio-Cortez said she hopes to take care of minority communities and places like Flint, Michigan, first, because these groups were left behind by the original New Deal – the one passed by FDR.
While most Americans see the New Deal as the progenitor of welfare programs that benefit millions of White and minority Americans, Ocasio-Cortez said that the law was, in fact, deeply racist, because of something called “red-lining.”
“The New Deal was an extremely economically racist policy that drew little red lines around black and brown communities and it invested in white America.”
“It allowed white Americans access to home loans that black Americans didn’t have access to, giving them access to the greatest source of intergenerational wealth.”
AOC might be on to something, but she neglected to mention that the New Deal’s minimum wage laws resulted in 500,000 Black Americans losing their jobs, according to the Cato institute.
In one of the most bizarre claims made at her talk, Ocasio-Cortez accused ICE of injecting immigrant children with anti-psychotics during their raids.
“I don’t think that an agency that repeatedly and systematically violates human rights can be reformed…I think it needs to be abolished,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
But some of her most scathing rhetoric was saved for self-professed “moderates”. While millions of Americans prefer an incremental approach, Ocasio-Cortez defended her ideas as really not all that radical (though many of her critics would disagree).
Why would people want to settle for “10% better than garbage”.
AOC said she doesn’t understand moderates, and why they seem so willing to settle for a system that’s just ‘meh’.
“I think all of these things sound radical compared to where we are,” she concluded, “but where we are is not a good thing. And this idea of like, ten percent better than garbage, it shouldn’t be what we settle for.”
Headlines about her talk helped to distract from the far more negative recent news flow about AOC and her campaign, which is being investigated for possibly violating numerous campaign finance laws.
But on a more lighthearted note, at least she made a new friend.