Let me first say this: I am against anarchy. I never have nor will I ever, openly endorse the upheaval of a democratic government. Dictatorships and other forms of autocratic governments are an entirely different story; this is to say that I will not openly support the upending of the United States government as we know it in its present form. As far as I am concerned, there are other global options where individuals can move if the U.S. does not suit their governmental needs. What it appears to me that many revolutionaries are opting for is a reverse of oppression and I am categorically against the oppression of any particular group of people be it for past or present transgressions.
However, I am in favor of reparations–let me be absolutely clear.
I’ve had this conversation with my father and others of the revolutionary mindset, “Move to Canada” I say. Or perhaps, those of the older generation could follow Randall Robinson and simply “quit America” and move to the Caribbean, which honestly I believe is a WONDERFUL idea (that book gave me retirement hope!). I believe that we have the power, particularly as the struggle for black civil rights continues to effect change, postive and real change that is, within the confines of the structure that is set up for us. I’m not advocating, necessarily, for those like Amiri Baraka to go back to the 60’s, but advocating that we completely dissemble our government as we know it is counterproductive as far as I’m concerned.
I fail to see the point of doing to white people what they have done to us as the proper answer to rectifying race relations in our country. Furthermore, I hardly would expect a Barack Obama to come into a presidency of this country and cater to the needs of only 13-14% of the population of this country. Blacks who voted for him did not vote for him to be president of Black America or to be the leader of this Second America no one wants to talk about, but rather the President of the United States of America, being the face of this entire country not just here, but abroad to the entire world. This is not to say that I’m totally sold on this notion of “give-obama-a-break-and-let-him-get-elected” camp, because I think there are all issues that all candidates need to be able to answer irrespective of race. However, I think that it is selfish and quite delusional if we think that Barack Obama is going to be “our” president.
Well, what do you mean by “our president” Joshua? I’m glad you asked.
Problem number one: some white folk who have voted for Barack Obama, weren’t necessarily voting for Obama, but rather against Hillary. In their primary vote in favor of Barack, it signified to them that they are in fact liberal and have no race issues. That feeling somehow transmogrifies into feeling that they themselves have done their part to end racism and have removed this idea of reparations from the collective consciousness in the country.
Barack will be president over these people as well as the African American populace.
Problem number two: Granted that the president is not the president of the Senate, but rather the Vice-president, those who remember Harold Washington and Council Wars in Chicago know where I’m going with this. We live in a country that for all intents and purposes is divided 50-50. There is a slim Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate and if we think that just because we have a black President that all of a sudden policies that favor the black community are just going to magically come to fruition then, again, WE ARE DELUSIONAL.
Ultimately, no president has been elected by solely catering to a non-white demographic over the white majority. Even in the case of Mike Huckabee, we see him losing horribly to Weathervane McCain (NEWSFLASH–UNN to Weathervane McCain: Check Into Retirement Homes in the lower 200’s) because he’s appealing to a smaller base, and does NOT have wide reaching appeal.
Now, yes, it’s a bet and a gamble that Barack will in fact do what he says he will do. However, he’s had a good track record and there’s no indication that he will stray from his roots once he gets elected. Even if he didn’t promote one policy that was specifically attentive to the needs of the African American community (and I’d be right disappointed if he didn’t) everything that his campaign is based upon would communally and collectively improve the lot of the African American community. Even as I write this, I wonder is this in fact the image of the New Negro? Barack doesn’t have to say he’s pro-black, we already see it in his actions–so why are we forcing him to say so and in turn jeopardize his election chances.
Keep it uppity, JLL
Below is a copy of an alleged transcript of a speech that Amiri Baraka delivered on January 16, 2008. The UNN received this transcript via email and was unable to fully verify the nature of this speech and is not fully aware if these are in fact the words authored or spoken by Amiri Baraka.
“The anti Obama claptrap from Black people is most times Negro trickery, either they are with Bill 2 (Hilary). I read there’s even a Negro for Biden, or else like the anarchist minded folks who come on Super Left, they are so militant they opt for passivity & content themselves with merely calling their perceived enemies names. The mask of the foolish juvenile delinquent left who sees no progress in doing anything but name calling.
That’s how you got rid of Dinkins, he was too conservative, so you hooted and hollered until you got a real militant, Adolph Giuliani & here we are today w/ yr boy the billionaire mayor whose nose opens wider each day at the sight of Obama running. Like Rock & Roll, it needs our inspiration!
But it has got to be clear that the less we do, the less we can expect Obama to respond to us. It is the fundament reaction of most politicians that they respond to the sharpest presence, although we shd know that under the capitalist election shenanigans, it is always money that speaks loudest, which is why one of our constant calls in trying to transform the US political culture, that we demand all private monies be eliminated from elections. In fact the first of our ongoing political tasks is to relentlessly call for the transformation of the US Political culture! The elimination of the Electoral College, One Person, One vote, to eliminate the anti democratic Winner take all system. The abolition of the Senate to be replaced by a single (unicameral) House of Representatives. Restoration of voting rights to ex felons. Elections of a single day, direct democracy i.e. voting at the workplace, school &c compulsory voting …if taxation is compulsory, voting shd be too.
But those are a few of the tasks to be taken up by an energized Black population and in alliance with a Left Block of the broadest population no matter what happens ultimately to Obama. Yet it is the most obvious infantile left-anarchist error that haunts our movement, to constantly be talking about Revolution and not even participate in one of the most obvious ways of seizing some power.
I have heard seriously flawed arguments that Obama is not “Black enough”! You better be checking out his politics not his melanin. Though w/ an African father and very Black grandmother, he probably closer to the Mother land than most of us straight out Black Americans, for whom our direct connection with Africa was over by the 19th c.
Plus is Hilary or Edwards blacker? Despite some deluded Bloods I know who called Bill Clinton “the lst Black president”, is that why he passed that crime bill, wasted welfare & established states’ right on many social programs.
We are the people of the double consciousness, both Black & American, but if we understand DuBois’ equation properly we shd know that mean that we struggle for equal Citizenship rights as well as Self Determination!
To support Obama is to grasp both ends of that double consciousness, aware of the contradiction but also the dialectic that makes that social twoness of use to us.
But we must understand that we are now at a stage of struggle for a People’s Democracy, a Revolutionary Democracy, where our maximum accomplishment at this stage of struggle wd be a United Front Government, based on an alliance of multinational workers, the progressive petty bourgeoisie, farmers , all democratic forces and even with the shaky national bourgeoisie. Such an accomplishment wd still be a transitional stage, but an incrementally closer step toward socialism.
National oppression, racism, the oppression of women and gays will never cease until monopoly capitalism is put under control and then depowered and then eliminated. But we cannot airbrush or dismiss as unnecessary all those stages that will one day enable us to do that.
The mass support of Obama by the national Afro American movement, especially its progressive sector will reinvigorate our struggle. We can not merely stand on the side lines and be chumped-off , mumbling as one super-militant sister in DC recently read in a poem putting down Hilary & Obama & ending “Only the white man will win”. A white racist cd’ve sd that! Is that all were good for now?
The Republican Right has co-opted the Negro as a bow to the civil rights movement. Slicker than the Democrats. Condoleeza, Tom Ass, The Colon, have been energized like that Battery operated rabbit to delude the lowest of us here & around the world. , that somehow that represents real democracy. We must enter into that mainstream struggle & make our own demands, utilize the pressure of our needs & our numbers. We are almost fifty million people with the 16th GNP in the world…almost 600 Billion dollars a year. We have the muscle and the money – We need to make our move.
A massive Afro American presence around Obama’s campaign shd be utilized by us not only to renew the Afro American struggle, but also as a method of recreating the reality of a national Afro American political assembly, democratically elected from all 50 states, able to support our friends, oppose our enemies in whatever way we see fit!
With such a presence we cd have stopped the Bush seizure of power in Florida & so prevented the Ohio recurrence. The Black American must have a self determined power base and the ignition spark can be brought into focus and perhaps one ignition spark can be supplied by our consolidating a correct relationship to the Obama campaign. No matter what America does in the nomination or election! “