Fierce

AOC Tells Princess Nokia How She Brushes Off Online Haters: ‘You’re Either Going to Believe All These Horrible Things About You, Or You’re Going to Choose Yourself’

Photos: Roger Kisby/Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Princess Nokia recently sat down to have a candid and emotional conversation about changing the world through their respective paths. The two Bronx-born Boriquas touched on topics of self-confidence, sexism, representation, and how they deal with criticism. The conversation was part of a partnership between Rolling Stone magazine and Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight Action.

As the two sat down to begin their discussion, Princess Nokia (born Destiny Nicole Frasqueri) joked about the two of them being “twins” and bonding over their shared Bronx heritage.

But after the jokes subsided, the conversation quickly turned emotional, with Princess Nokia telling the Ocasio Cortez how much of an inspiration the congresswoman has been to her. “I picture you as a teenager and just being into all of these profound subjects,” said Princess Nokia, her voice breaking. “And really believing in yourself and taking your interests and ambitions to a really high place that not only rewards you, but honestly serves so many other people.”

In turn, Ocasio Cortez gave Princess Nokia credit where credit is due by saying that she, too, serves her community, albeit through a different medium.

AOC said that both her and Princess Nokia have used their culture to influence their work.

“At the end of the day, we are uplifting our communities, and we’ve taken how we’ve grown up and we’ve learned that it’s not just our own individual stories, but they’re part of larger systems,” she said. “And to talk about that and to let it shape how we think which in turn shapes the work that we do.”

But the meat of the conversation came when Princess Nokia talked about how she turned her life around from living with her abusive foster mother to deciding to leave and move in with her grandmother. Nokia opened up about how that small decision influenced her to keep on making “healthy decisions” and ignoring other people’s negativity. From that point forward, she began to believe in herself.

AOC praised Princess Nokia’s story, adding that the question she gets a lot from young women is how to “deal with all the toxicity” from others.

At this point Princess Nokia jokingly raised her hand and said “I want to know that too.”

Ocasio Cortez responded by saying, “You get to a point where it’s so bad, that there’s a very clear choice in front of you: You’re either going to believe all of these horrible things about you, or you’re going to choose yourself. And you’re going to believe in yourself. The moment you choose yourself and you trust yourself…that just automatically disqualifies all the haters.”

Ocasio Cortez then summed up why she believes Princess Nokia’s music is so important: because it celebrates the beauty of the individual. “You don’t have to prove your worth to anybody,” said AOC. “You don’t need to be anything to be worthy. You come out of the box worthy. And that aspect of your music and your art is so important.”

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Student Loan Debt Relief Is Trending But What Can We Expect From An Incoming Biden Administration?

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Student Loan Debt Relief Is Trending But What Can We Expect From An Incoming Biden Administration?

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We still have over two months until President-Elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20, 2021. However, that hasn’t prevented people and pundits from discussing what needs to change (and how quickly) once he’s sworn in.

Obviously, the new president will have a lot on his plate. Thanks to an unprecedented four years under a Trump Administration which has largely gutted several government agencies and enacted dangerous policies for Americans, Biden will have to act quickly and decisively.

One possible agenda item for Biden’s first days in office involves the student loan debt crisis. Currently, our collective student loan debt stands at $1.7 trillion (the second largest debt behind mortgages), so it’s no surprise that the Biden team are looking to address the crisis.

Biden signals he’s open to student loan debt relief but is it enough?

During a Monday press conference, President-Elect Biden confirmed his support for forgiving some student debt “immediately.”

He repeated his support for a provision passed as part of the HEROES Act, which the Democratic-controlled House updated on Oct. 1. The provision calls for the federal government to pay off up to $10,000 in private, nonfederal student loans for “economically distressed” borrowers. Biden specifically highlighted “people … having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent,” and said the debt relief “should be done immediately.”

Student debt forgiveness was a major campaign plank of some of his more progressive rivals for the Democratic nomination, but it remains controversial even among some Democrats. 

However, many point to it as a plan he can execute quickly and on his own. Attorneys at a Harvard legal clinic argue that the power to cancel federal student loan debt rests with the president and his or her education secretary, since it’s the Education Department that actually originates these loans. That means it can be done regardless of who controls the Senate without passing any new laws.

According to many experts, canceling student debt could have a major positive impact on the economy.

Credit: Tom Williams / Getty Images

Although it sounds like forgiving student load debt would be an easy move, some are asking should it be done? Most economists agree that canceling student debt will boost the economy, freeing up younger people to start businesses, buy homes and even start families. 

In fact, Elizabeth Warren, in her presidential campaign proposal, cited arguments that debt forgiveness would reduce the racial wealth gap, reverse rural brain drain and allow more people to complete their educations.

Activist groups such as the Debt Collective go further, arguing that student debt is wrong in principle. “We must return education to the status of a public good,” the organization says on its website.

Progressives like AOC and ‘The Squad’ are pressuring Biden to expand his plan.

The Squad (the nickname given to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan) have strongly supported wiping $30,000 off student loan debts, which they outlined in their Student Debt Emergency Relief Act in March.

The bill aims to provide immediate monthly payment relief to those who have taken out federal student loans and crucially prevent those with student debts from having to make involuntary payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

And in response to many who are against the idea, AOC had the perfect clap back. In a tweet on Tuesday, she dismissed arguments against canceling hefty debts accrued in further education.

“‘Things were bad for me, so they should stay bad for everyone else’ is not a good argument against debt cancellation – student, medical, or otherwise. #CancelStudentDebt,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley further contributed to the debate, adding: “Student debt cancelation will ensure an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19, jumpstart our economy & close the racial wealth gap. One more thing,” she said.

But why are so many others so upset about canceling student debt?

Many opposed to canceling student debt claim that it would create resentment in those who spent a long time paying off their own college debts. The argument goes that they had to sacrifice and suffer and it wouldn’t be fair that current and future college grads might not have to sacrifice and suffer in the same way.

Other critics of debt forgiveness state that a bailout will simply redistribute the debt to other Americans, and will largely benefit those who can afford to go to college, disproportionately helping a well-off segment of society at the expense of the taxpayer. 

Something those people should keep in mind, though, is that their experience of massive student loan debt is not one shared by every generation of students. From 1988 to 2018, the cost of college increased by 213%. Wages, unsurprisingly, did not increase by 213% in that period — in fact, they’ve pretty much remained stagnant since the 1970s.

Perhaps most importantly, canceling student debt doesn’t negatively affect those who’ve already paid off their student loans. Insisting that other people pay off their loans in full, no matter how much of a hardship, is demanding suffering for the sake of suffering. 

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AOC Goes Head To Head With Marco Rubio After He Attacked Democratic Socialism

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AOC Goes Head To Head With Marco Rubio After He Attacked Democratic Socialism

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When it comes to rumors, hearsay and false statements Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proven time and again that she has no tolerance. She also showed that faced with disinformation campaigns being spread by her colleagues in politics, she will do more than just fight back. She’ll serve the truth.

So there’s no surprise that when AOC saw Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spreading falsehoods she was quick to come to the rescue.

Over the weekend, after Florida Sen. Marco Rubio started to get trigger happy on Twitter, AOC stepped in.

On Sunday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio went to Twitter and announced, “Not every Democrat is a socialist. But every socialist is a democrat.” It didn’t take long for Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America, to clear things up for Rubio on Twitter.

“Curious what you call GOP giving away billions in public funds to Wall St & fossil fuel companies?” she replied to Rubio. “Or what you call YOUR ability to go to Walter Reed hospital & receive socialized healthcare for free? Funny how it’s only ‘socialism’ when others get what y’all give yourselves.”

The Congresswoman went onto comment “(Also, the idea that socialists like Dems… lol).”

It didn’t take long for those with non-Democratic ties to also chime in on Rubio’s tweet.

Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins tweeted that “Marco Rubio is very confused,” he replied. “The only socialists with a path to the White House are me and @AngelaNWalker on the @GreenPartyUS ecosocialist ticket.”

American political strategist and commentator, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas who is also a conservative never-Trumper replied “Not every US Senator from Florida is an embarrassing disappointment. Oh, wait….”

Rubio has made his dislike for Democratic socialism clear for years. In the past, he’s tweeted that “‘Socialism’ is incompatible with America’s founding principles because marxism is the belief that: ‘Persons of & by themselves have no value. An individual has a value only inasmuch as he is the representative of an economic category…outside of that, man has no value.’”

A socialist, in the traditional sense, is an adherent of socialism. 

Socialism can be defined as “a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control.” 

Recently, Business Insider broke down the difference between a ‘socialist’ and a ‘democratic socialist’ and the differences are pretty clear.

As the outlet highlights socialism can be defined as “a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control… In other words, it’s a state-controlled economy in which the state controls the means of production (factories, offices, resources, and firms). There are also forms of socialism in which the means of production are controlled and owned by workers.”

On the other hand democratic socialists, like AOC, are committed to democracy.

“Democratic socialists also believe strongly in democracy and democratic principles,” explained. “They are by no means proponents of authoritarian government systems many Americans associate socialism with.”

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