Bill De Blasio, mayor of New York City, has endorsed a new progressive political group formed from the ashes of the Bernie Sanders campaign.
“It’s an extraordinarily powerful moment to be forming a progressive action network,” De Blasio said, speaking at the first New York Progressive Action Network (NYPAN) conference in New York City on December 4.
The state-wide organization is a coalition of 25 progressive groups and Bernie Sanders organizers, many of who volunteered for the Vermont senator’s doomed presidential election campaign.
The aim of the group is to advocate for Bernie Sanders’ platform at a local level.
“It is not, as so many have alleged, a moment of decline for progressives. It is a launching pad moment for progressives and it is so important to gather together in unity,” De Blasio said.
The silver lining of Bernie Sanders’ campaign is that progressive ideas are now part of the mainstream conversation, and are being reflected at a national level in the Democratic Party platform, he explained.
“For all of us over the years who have been laboring in the vineyards, that combination of things never came together before. To get to the platform, to dominate the national debate, that’s what 2015 and 2016 have yielded,” the mayor added.
2016 was also the year that the needs of working people came to the fore, demonstrating that the focus of progressive movements on real economic issues is pertinent and powerful.
“Dialogue of how to raise wages, how do we raise benefits, how do we make sure the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, that’s what primaries were about. It was the right discussion that this country wanted to have. The outcome of the general election tragically proved that those were the issues people wanted to hear more about and in so many cases they did not,” he said.
Even so De Blasio said the political environment across the country is now wide open so long as progressive groups like NYPAN continue to knock on doors and educate people about the “economic reality.”
“When progressives band together in a common cause, we have an extraordinary ability to reach the people. We can win these battles, we can protest the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, we can stop tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations…we have the majority position on these issues if we organize to fight back and win,” he said.
Photo via Eli Christman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)