Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) that they should try to persuade Americans as if they were in "school" -- gradually conveying ideas so that they will eventually be ready for large-scale, structural changes to society.
Democratic socialists, she said during a video event on Tuesday, should help Americans "develop the lenses of analysis necessary" to understand power and capital in the United States.
"We are able to use the lenses to elevate the general consciousness, then what we do everytime we add a small layer," she said.
Continuing, Ocasio-Cortez said: "It's kind of like when you go to class, or when you go to school, there are folks that are going to yell and say, 'Why don't you go from 0 to 100 on 'The View' or what have you,' and it's because every time you go to school, you don't go to class once and then graduate with a degree -- you go for many days at a time, slowly adding layers and layers upon layers, and we use public events, we use current events like what is just happening in developments of police brutality, in what is happening with our immigration system where people are being corralled and kept in our immigrant detention systems and our prisons, which are creating some of the largest COVID outbreaks in the country."
"We use all of these events to help contribute evidence to the analysis of power, which will help people realize how power is concentrated in the United States -- which gives us a better foundation to challenge it and then paint and begin to establish alternative structures for a better world," she said.
The DSA backed Ocasio-Cortez during her primary challenge against former House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, N.Y.
During that same video, Ocasio-Cortez doubled down on her contention that workers should boycott work amid the coronavirus shutdown.
"You know, there's a lot of people saying, 'Call for a general strike, call for a general strike,'" she said. "The majority of Americans don't know what a general strike is and so our responsibility is to talk about it, expand consciousness about it, and to actually create the conditions in which working people can generate and really exercise their own power, the power that they already have."
The New York congresswoman previously told Vice TV that workers should just boycott work rather than returning to society when the economy reopens.
"When we talk about this idea of reopening society, you know, only in America does the president -- when the president tweets about liberation -- does he mean go back to work. When we have this discussion about going back or reopening, I think a lot people should just say 'no' — we’re not going back to that,” she said.
“We’re not going back to working 70-hour weeks just so that we could put food on the table and not even feel any sort of semblance of security in our lives.”
The freshman congresswoman has received plenty of attention for her response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. She previously posted an apparently celebratory tweet in response to oil prices collapsing.
"You absolutely love to see it," she said in a now-deleted tweet that referenced oil prices collapsing. That tweet has since been deleted and replaced by one describing the "opportunity" presented by the coronavirus's impact on energy.
"This snapshot is being acknowledged as a turning point in the climate movement. Fossil fuels are in long-term structural decline. This along w/ low interest rates means it‘s the right time to create millions of jobs transitioning to renewable and clean energy. A key opportunity," she said.
On Tuesday, she argued capitalism was allowing the stock market to perform well while the rest of the country suffered.
"Hint: it starts with a C and ends with -apitalism," she tweeted, linking to a tweet about the health of the stock market. She added that "this is what happens when Wall Street captures Congress and writes themselves bailout check after bailout check as working people die."