The 2022 National Action Network Convention commenced at 10 a.m. on April 6, 2022 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, with a panel led by NAN's founder and president Al Sharpton on “Politics and Voter Suppression in the Midterm.”
Giving the opening address, Mayor Eric Adams arrived late, helped cut the ribbon, gave a speech and then was quickly ushered out of a side door and out of a private exit to avoid the protesters out front.
Adams appealed to peoples' pathos saying, “What are we pouring into each other? Are we pouring a high sugary substance or are we pouring water? Something pure... NAN was an organization that poured into me what the possibilities were. So, when you hear people throughout the city who just don't get it and attempt to demonize what we are attempting to do, that's not an attack on Eric, that's an attack on NAN because I am NAN.”
Adams' language aligns any criticism of his governing as an attack on an influential civil rights organization. Following his leaked “Discipline of Message” statements, it is concerning how Adams positions himself to be above critique, almost forgetting he is a civil servant.
Then, there was a video address from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, remarking “Democrats are proud to march alongside you, united by President Biden's visionary leadership and commitment to justice. Together we are fighting to protect our most fundamental freedoms, including the sacred right to vote. Earlier this year, the Democratic house proudly passed the Pass the Freedom to Vote Act: John R. Lewis Act to stop partisan gerrymandering, empower grassroots donors, and curb the power of special interest money and bring an end to voter suppression and election subversion. As we defend our democracy, we also continue the fight against systemic racism in our criminal justice system.”
Pelosi's statements are convincing, until you remember Democrats tried to push HR1 alongside this bill in order to prevent third parties from participating in electoral politics. Pelosi's remarks about criminal justice reform also seem phony when you consider her endorsement of Patrick Svitek, a top recipient of money from private prisons.
Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said, “We are still fighting for the sacred right to vote... The Republican Party has become a party of fascism... The Democratic Party will keep pushing forward. This president and Democrats have a record that they have delivered on. Promises that they kept and promises that we're still working to fulfill. We've led a historic economic recovery... nearly eight million jobs created in 14 months.”
What promises is Harrison referring to exactly? Surely not Biden's campaign promises of student debt relief, lower health care and pharmaceutical drug costs, and less pipelines.
It’s interesting that the Democratic Party is positioning themselves as the beacon of voter freedom when the DNC was caught rigging the primary in 2016 and again in 2020.
While it may be important for civil rights leaders to be involved in politics, it is clear to see NAN's deep entanglement with the Democratic Party. Although many of NAN's audience might actually be interested in radical reforms that can only be made possible when operating outside of the establishment, it seems as though NAN does a good job keeping people inside the two party system by creating the fight between good and evil as that of the DNC vs. the GOP and not instead, the ruling class and their politicians, like Pelosi, who the DNC has allowed to create policy for decades without affecting any actual change.