Meet the Only Member of Congress Who Has Been a FARC Captive

Meet the Only Member of Congress Who Has Been a FARC Captive

Mark Pocan came to DC to do the right thing, consequences be damned.


The US Congress has historically been defined by a seniority system that has too frequently rewarded members for the length of their tenures rather than the strength of their ideas. But that’s changing, as young progressives are getting elected to the House and demanding to be heard. The change is occurring at least in part because progressives like Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal have joined new members in forcing it.

They have made the Congressional Progressive Caucus a force for opening up the process and getting newly elected members on key committees and in the thick of essential debates.

Representative Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat elected to the House in 2012, co-chairs the caucus, and he is our guest this week on Next Left. A gay man who traveled to Canada to get married before the laws changed in the United States, a trade unionist with deep skills as an organizer and activist, and an ardent advocate for altering US foreign policies to place an emphasis on diplomacy rather than war making, he has with CPC co-chair Jayapal (a Washington Democrat elected in 2016), made the caucus a place where the next wave of progressives are being welcomed and given leadership roles from the start. New members such as Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Deb Haaland, and Katie Porter all hold key positions associated with the caucus.

Pocan works with them, as he does with veteran progressives such as Barbara Lee, to advance an economic and social and racial justice agenda that demands an end to needless wars and a Green New Deal to save the planet. He’s an advocate for abolishing ICE, a champion of Middle East peace—and a magician.

Show Notes

The DCCC’s Plan to Punish Democrats for Backing Primary Challengers Is Sparking Major Backlack, The Nation, John Nichols

Behind the Scenes of the House Democrats’ Twitter War, The Nation, Joan Walsh

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-CHairs Call for an Impeachment Inquiry, The Nation, John Nichols

Mark Pocan is waging a lonely fight for deeper thinking on Israel and Palestine, The Cap Times, John Nichols

Magic Monday with Mark Pocan

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read, just one of the many incisive, deeply reported articles we publish daily. Now more than ever, we need fearless journalism that moves the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media.

Donate right now and help us hold the powerful accountable, shine a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug, and build a more just and equitable future.

For nearly 160 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and moral clarity. As a reader-supported publication, we are not beholden to the whims of advertisers or a corporate owner. But it does take financial resources to report on stories that may take weeks or months to investigate, thoroughly edit and fact-check articles, and get our stories to readers like you.

Donate today and stand with us for a better future. Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy