Sean McElwee

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Sean McElwee

Sean A. McElwee is a New York City activist.

Abolish ICE


From Think: Why Is This Happening? Outlining the left wing of the Democratic Party with Sean McElwee: podcast & transcript

Sean McElwee. He's more than that, I'll get to that in a second. Who was sort of the person to popularize the phrase abolish ICE. It originated with immigration activists, groups that work with immigrants every day. But he started tweeting about it, every time a bad ICE story would come out, retweet abolish ICE. He's got a t-shirt that he photographs himself in, abolish ICE, abolish ICE, abolish ICE. He throws this salon cocktail thing where bunch of lefties like from across the spectrum from like sort of progressive Democrats to like hardcore, very militant socialists come together. And he has placed himself in a really interesting way at the nexus of the building of this new left. This kind of vanguard within the Democratic party coalition. You know, these are folks that belong to Democratic Socialists of America. They have red roses on their Twitter handles. They want ideas like Medicare for all, free college for all, a public option for banking, abolish ICE.[1]

Upper Manhattan/Bronx DSA Closed Facebook Group

Members of the Upper Manhattan/Bronx Democratic Socialists of America, closed Facebook group, as of October 15, 2017 included Sean McElwee .[2]

Political philosophy


Sean McElwee, a socialist organizer, might be the left’s answer to Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist and conservative impressario who presided over weekly meetings of conservative organizations. McElwee convenes a weekly socialist happy hour in New York, and has cited the tea party as a model. Like Norquist, McElwee is shrewd, witty, media-friendly, and dedicated to purifying his party of heretics, and defining politics as a zero-sum, ethically unbounded class war in which parties use control of government primarily to seize control of wealth and political power. “There was a recent study that suggested Republicans were so effective at murdering poor people through policy that it meaningfully affected election outcomes. That’s the level of raw political brutality the GOP operates on. The sooner progressives internalize this, the better,” he tweeted recently. “fuck your enemies, help your friends . that’s the sum of politics. there is nothing else.”[3]

Data for Progress Co-founders

Data for Progress Co-founders.

Green New Deal

The ubiquitous young left-wing activist Sean McElwee, whose weekly East Village happy hours have drawn senators and Presidential aspirants, published an early sketch of what a Green New Deal policy might look like. Some of these people may have thought of themselves as outsiders but, to older Democrats, they must have looked the way rising leaders of the Party always have.[5]

Ocasio-Cortez connection


"War within the party"

Limited resources mean that playing in the presidential primary will be difficult, but the energized new left has already seen some of what were once considered its most outré ideas—the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, Abolish ICE and free college—become a central part of several likely presidential campaign platforms. Next cycle, members of the group plan to target from five to 10 House Democrats who occupy safe blue seats. Some names of the targets have already been floated out, like Henry Cuellar, but Sean McElwee, a liberal activist and co-founder of Data for Progress, where he works closely with Justice Democrats, listed a handful more who are vulnerable to a Crowley-sized challenge, including Kathleen Rice of Long Island, Jim Cooper of Nashville and Dutch Ruppersberger of Baltimore.[6]


  1. [1]
  2. []
  3. [ 11, 2018 Two Cheers for Socialism: Why Liberals Need Enemies on the Left By Jonathan Chait]
  4. [2]
  5. [The New Yorker How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Allies Supplanted the Obama Generation By Benjamin Wallace-Wells4:51 P.M. o1/17.2019]
  6. Politico Magazine POLITICS ‘There Is Going to Be a War Within the Party. We Are Going to Lean Into It.’By DAVID FREEDLANDER February 04, 2019