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Netroots Nation


"Turn on the Water! Tax Wall Street!” Rally

July 17-20, 2014 - Netroots Nation Detroit

Netroots Nation is the largest annual conference of progressive political activists and politicians in the U. S. The selection committee will only hold the conference in strong union cities and its ninth conference was held in Detroit, July 17-20, 2014. Detroit was chosen for a number of reasons in addition to being a union town. These included the status of being under an emergency manager, the (at the time of selection) possibility that Detroit would become the largest American city to go through bankruptcy, the ongoing privatization of the Detroit schools, the rebounding auto industry, the revitalization of the downtown core, the creative influx of artists, musicians, and makers, the mixing of newcomers with long-time residents working together to find sustainable solutions, and undoubtedly a hundred other good reasons. Detroit is actually quite awesome!

The conference was held in the newly renovated south end of Cobo Hall along the Detroit River and it was a beautiful venue; Michiganders and Detroiters in particular can be proud. The Marriott Hotel at the GM Renaissance Center was the conference hotel, so most people were able to stay within walking distance of the Netroots conference and other activities, all of which were held in the downtown area even though the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Motown Museum and several other Detroit highlights were also recommended.

Netroots Nation has a reputation for attracting the heavyweights of the Democratic Party, liberal and progressive groups, unions, and all manner of people who would like to see society move in the direction of egalitarianism, increased fairness in opportunities, education, and finances, and environmentally sustainable economics. This year was no different, with heavy-hitters such as Vice-President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren delivering keynote addresses on Thursday and Friday, respectively. VP Biden was very late for his keynote due to being on the phone with the President of the Ukraine, dealing with the shooting down of the Malaysian flight MH17 that had happened that day, i.e., doing his job, but was greeted with enthusiastic applause after his introduction by Progress Now's Arshad Hasan. Michigan Congressman Gary Peters, who is hoping to fill Carl Levin’s seat in the U. S. Senate, introduced Senator Warren to an almost deafening round of applause.

The esteemed Reverend William Barber gave an inspiring Opening Keynote on Thursday evening while Michigan’s own Senator Debbie Stabenow and gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer gave keynotes on Saturday morning. There were 80 panels and 40 hands-on training sessions in addition to 70 exhibitors, so attendees had to choose from among multiple concurrent events; a very difficult decision at times.

Detroit Metro Mashup’s Michele and Bob (aka ChemBob) had the great fortune to attend the Cheers and Jeers dinner party hosted by Daily Kos and its founder Markos Moulitsas at Vincente’s Cuban Cuisine on Wednesday evening, the day prior to the official opening of Netroots Nation. The food was fabulous and the discussions and camaraderie were like a family reunion that somehow eliminated the rancor and jealousy. Our thanks go out to Markos, Meteor Blades, Navajo, and everyone else who made us feel so welcome and right at home.

Following the dinner at Vincente’s we went straight to Detroit Beer Co., a microbrewery and restaurant that we always enjoy, for the “Netroots Nation 2014 Kick Off Party – Welcome to Detroit” that was hosted by the Michigan Senate Democrats and the DLCC. Michael Sergeant, the Executive Director of the DLCC, and Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Senate Democratic Leader, were there to greet all the attendees and get them fired up for the upcoming elections. We also had a good time here, milling about in conversation with people from all across the country. It is clear that there is a lot of energy in the Democratic Party and a desire to find rational ways to solve problems and move the country in a progressive direction.

During the next days we also attended various caucuses, keynotes, exhibitions, and, notably, Friday’s “Turn on the Water! Tax Wall Street!” march and rally. We have photos and a video from the march as well as from almost all the events we had time to attend, including the keynotes of the Vice-President and Senator Warren. Please go check them out and give us positive feedback on our website and on Facebook if you enjoy our coverage!

Netroots Nation brought a great deal of attention to Detroit and SE Michigan generally, which is the focus area for Detroit Metro Mashup’s reporting on events, people, places, and things in support of our region. We were pleased to get to cover it, thankful to those who made it happen, and hope for more events focusing on renovating and rebuilding both the spirit and the infrastructure of this sector of Michigan.

Next year’s Netroots Nation is planned for Phoenix, Arizona. For more information about Netroots Nation 14, including lists of all the sponsors, or to plan for attending Netroots Nation 15, go to:

Netroots Nation evolved from annual meetings of the Daily Kos community, which were known as Yearly Kos. If you want more information about Daily Kos, check out: