A Washington, D.C., conference featuring eight Democratic presidential candidates began Monday with the crowd chanting the words of a fugitive cop-killer, Fox News reported.
The We the People conference — which attracted candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julián Castro, Amy Klobuchar, and Jay Inslee — kicked off with Jamal Watkins, NAACP vice president of civic engagement, naming Assata Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, the network said.
"I want you to do something with me," Watkins told the crowd of labor and political groups. "I'm gonna actually have you participate with me in repeating some words from a leader by the name of Assata Shakur. So if you could stand up — if you can't stand, it's OK — but I want you to repeat after me."
Image source: Fox News video screenshot
Watkins quoted Shakur line by line and let the crowd repeat — and the oh-so-progressive call-and-response was in full bloom: "It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains," Fox News said.
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Shakur's words, in turn, were appropriated from the final sentences of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels' Communist Manifesto: "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!"
Shakur was convicted of the 1973 murder of a New Jersey state trooper when she was in the Black Liberation Army. After escaping from prison in 1979, Shakur fled to Cuba, which granted her asylum even as she remains on the FBI's list of most-wanted fugitive terrorists.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
Fox News said that while there was no indication any of the presidential candidates aligned with Shakur's words, Democrats and progressives have embraced her.
Among the groups at the event were the Sierra Club, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, SEIU, and Communications Workers of America, the network said.