Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized the Democratic Party for not being progressive on Monday, declaring her own party is a “center or center-conservative party.”
“We don’t have a left party in the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview at MLK Now 2020. “The Democratic Party is not a left party. The Democratic Party is a center or center-conservative party.”
The freshman congresswoman cited Congress, including the speaker Nancy Pelosi inability to bring progressive issues such as “Medicare For All” for a floor vote.
“We can’t even get a floor vote on Medicare-for-all — not even a floor voted that gets voted down,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We can’t even get a vote on it. So this is not a left party.”
In an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ocasio-Cortez said there are “left members inside the Democratic party” such as her “squad” members of Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar ”who are working to try to make that shift happen.”
The Democratic socialist went on to accuse billionaires of making their money “off the backs” of “undocumented people,” “black and brown people being paid under a living wage” and “single mothers.”
“Well, you didn’t make those widgets, did you?” Ocasio-Cortez said when asked why successful business owners don’t deserve their wealth. “Because you employed thousands of people and paid them less than a living wage to make those widgets for you. You didn’t make those widgets. You sat on a couch while thousands of people were paid modern day slave wages, and in some cases real slave, real modern-day slavery. You made that money off the backs of undocumented people. You made that money off the backs of black and brown people being paid under a living wage. You made that money off the backs of undocumented people. You made that money off the backs of black and brown people being paid under a living wage.”
She continued, “I’m not here to villainize and to say that billionaires are inherently morally corrupt – but they are, I mean, I think there is a case, but um, but, it’s not to say that, it’s to say that this system that we live in, life in capitalism, always ends in billionaires. If you don’t do it, someone else will. It’s who decides to make that choice is just kind of up to, you know, circumstance.”
Ocasio-Cortez noted that she disagree with the “true believers” in her party that says capitalism can end poverty.
“There are a lot of true believers that we can ‘capitalism’ our way out of poverty in the Democratic Party,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “If anything, that’s probably the majority. And that’s an area which I agree with Dr. King, that that assessment is flawed.”
“And one day we must ask the question: Why are there 40 million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy,” the civil rights leader said in a 1967 speech. “And I’m simply saying that, more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society,” she added.