Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R-NY), in an interview published on Tuesday, promoted her fellow Democratic socialist from New York as another candidate who hopes to transform the country.
The website Interview Magazine published the conversation between Ocasio-Cortez and Jabari Brisport, nominee for New York’s 25th State Senate district, with the headline, “Jabari Brisport and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex are Looking to Make all Kinds of Trouble.”
“With a Yale School of Drama degree and a Bernie Sanders endorsement under his belt, Brisport has declared victory as New York’s first openly gay Black state legislator,” the introduction to the article said.
“What do you want people to know about your beliefs and this movement?” Ocasio-Cortez asked Brisport. “What do you think people get wrong about it?”
“People hear ‘socialism,’ and they think that it’ll be an end to all the good stuff they like, that somebody is going to swoop in and steal everything from them,” Brisport said. “That they’ll have to have a breadline and a can of tomato soup, and that’ll be it.” He went on:
But for me, it’s really about getting people out from underneath the thumb of capitalism, and freeing them from the very small group of people that manage—or I should say mismanage—our economy and our society for their own wealth and benefit. It’s about freeing up people to truly experience all the joys in life by making sure they don’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll be able to keep their home from month to month, or whether or not they’ll be able to pay for health care when they get sick.
“It’s about freeing people from all the existential havoc that capitalism wreaks on us, and allowing them to truly thrive,” Brisport said.
Brisport said the thought of being in the state legislature is like being embedded into the institution.
“It’s funny, I kind of see myself as, like, a mole on the inside,” Brisport said.
“I felt the same way!” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I’m a mole. A man on the inside.” She added:
It’s remarkable how, in such little time, we’re really starting to grow this movement on a city, state, and federal level. You’re going to be joining other DSA candidates, other people with the principles of Democratic Socialism. What do you think that means for the state, and how do you see this trajectory playing out?
“I really think we’re about to see a sea change,” Brisport said.
Ocasio-Cortez expressed support for identity politics:
I’m interested in digging into the identity piece a bit because, when it comes to politics, people talk about it in a very superficial way. I think that there’s more depth to this conversation than people usually give it. You’d be the first Black gay state legislator in the entire history of the state of New York, which is a big deal.
“But also, I feel like it’s not a coincidence that virtually every DSA candidate has been a person of color,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I don’t think that’s an accident. Do you see the intersections of your identity with your politics?”
“I’m interested in how you connect identity to the progressive movements happening in the state and city,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“I consider being a socialist a part of my identity, too,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I realized I was a socialist because of identity and race.”
Brisport gets to ask a question of Ocasio-Cortez, and he wanted to know about what it is like to be a part of the Squad — Ocasio-Cortez, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — four far-left members of Congress.
“It’s been so priceless and immeasurably important to have this sisterhood,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s kind of growing into a family. Honestly, I don’t even know if I would have been able to survive my first year, politically and emotionally, without them. Those relationships for me go so far beyond politics.”
She said other politicians have “transactional” friendships but that the squad is different because of their socialist ties.
“It’s so incredible to be able to call [Congresswoman] Ayanna [Pressley], or anyone of them, and for us to have a pizza night and just kind of vent about the unique things that we’re going through, because we are targeted as people who speak up to an establishment that is calcified in both the Republican and the Democratic parties,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
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