If you want to stand around with signs of some significant show of political clarity, they should at least be aimed at the crypto fascist McCain. To not even be able to identify who is the main enemy at any given stage of struggle is patently non-revolutionary. To think that Obama is the principle target of our struggle is , at best, infantile left and anarchist. It could be pro McCain.
If we go back to basics, revolution is the seizure of power. The aim of revolutionaries, at most stages of struggle, is the seizure of power, to picket Obama is to move to seize power for McCain.
What is also not understood is the tortuous path of revolutionary struggle. Obama, along with quite a few other “post 60’s” developments is the product of the 60’s struggles, a direct result of the turbulent civil rights and Black Liberation movements. Whether you yet understand it or not, Without Dr. King, Montgomery, Malcolm X, Robert Williams, Rosa Parks, CORE, The Freedom Riders, The Black Panthers, SNCC, CAP, there could be no Barack Obama . Without those bloody struggles against Black national oppression, racism, discrimination, segregation, there could be no Obama candidacy, certainly not of this magnitude.
Jesse’s two runs were admirable , and yes, they were part of the sledgehammer of Black politics from the 50’s through the 80’s. And just as that force created the visible use of Powell and Condoleeza Rice as negro “buttons” within the rightwing establishment of US bourgeois politics , none of that was possible without the Black movement itself, as contradictory as that might seem . The internationally perceived racial conflict in the United States was the most glaring contradiction to US claims as the almighty white angel of world politics.
The colored Secretaries of State provided some of the cool out necessary not only to sublimate that image but to foist on this world of colored people a confusing tactic , so that when the US Secy of State hopped out of plane somewhere in this mostly colored world, friends and righteous enemies would be startled by who was carrying the message.
So that now it’s come all the way to the “top” of US government, this need for another, Yeh! Black , face to cool out the ugliness the last 20 some years have mashed upon the world. We might not agree with the intention of this playacting, but at the same time we must recognize the forces that make this necessary. Recognize those forces, because we are a large part of them. And with that recognition must come the understanding of what is the next step in this protracted struggle to ultimately eliminate imperialism and monopoly capitalism, which are the base of continuing national oppression , racism, gender oppression, anti –democratic hegemony anywhere in the world.
The very negative side of the “post racist” line that Obama runs is that the die is cast for nitwits to say that racism is done and gone and that if you still in the ghetto or still don’t have a job, it’s on you. Bah, Humbug! Obama’s best intention is that there is the making of a post racist coalition that can provide the muscle for his campaign and victory in the election. But reality, the cops, the jails, the unemployment figures puts all that down every day.
But it is a very pimpable figment. The New York Times recent cover story “Is Obama The End of Black Politics?” is a very stinking example of its pimpablity. One obvious answer to that is “Only if Obama is the End of White Politics” which we see even in the way the Clintons as well as McCain and the overwhelming racism of the media are running the primaries, is certainly not the case. One could hope that an Obama victory wd signal an incremental leap in the direction of more democratic allowance for highly skilled operatives within the system, which is what Obama certainly is. But “post racist”?..., gimme me a break.
The Times article, predictably, uses the most visible of stealth negroes , i.e. those who, while profiting by the opening in US politics provided them by the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movement, and getting substantial Black support at the polls, believe that they have “made it” by virtue of their own impeccable greatness, Booker in Newark, Nutter in Phila, Fenty in DC come to mind. Booker, whom I sent a copy of Marvin X’s book How To Recover from An Addiction to White Supremacy , though more crafty than Nutter, who played gun bearer for Bonnie & Clyde during the Democratic primaries, Booker has raised Newark taxes 8% , fired 4 or 500 mostly black city hall workers, claiming to have a budget problem but hiring at the same time a half dozen non-Newark natives as“deputy mayors”, at $176,000 a piece. My son, Ras, was deputy mayor for four years and took no salary. The top 10 Police officials, including both the Police Director and the Police Chief are white. Fenty who claims his biracial parentage has made him see ”more” than merely black struggle. Booker says “I don’t want to be the person that’s turned to when CNN talks about black leaders…I’m Popeye, “ he says…”I am who I am”. Naturally these would be the people the Times would use to give an obituary for “Black Politics”. But certainly, these kinds of “wooden negroes” are not entirely new on the scene, they are just the most recent crop of negroes claiming they are greater (or safer) than mere black people. The struggle between Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen was essentially the same , when Langston says in The Negro Artist & The Racial Mountain (1926) “ One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, ‘I want to be a poet—not a Negro poet’ meaning subconsciously, ‘I would like to be a white poet’, “meaning behind that “’I would like to be white’ And I was sorry the young man said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself” In a recent Esquire Booker comes on like he thinks he is Will Smith in I Am Legend, a single human scientist trapped in a city full of vampires.
When Nutter (Mayor of Philadelphia) says,” I never asked anybody to vote for me because I was Black”, he is missing the essential historic fact of Black life in America and trying with all his might to dismiss it. That he couldn’t even run for Mayor being Black. He might have had to run for his life, if he even said such a thing. It was Black peoples’ unity and struggle that has made even this delusion of self anointment possible.
Black politics will only disappear when the Black majority disappears. And even the wish fulfillment of New York Times “liberals”can never achieve this, nor the creepy self hatred of those incognegroes the Times wants to anoint as post black negroes. Still the question of Obama’s candidacy is a quite different consideration. As I have said , in print and in the flesh at many forums, no matter what is said by whoever thinks to deny this, or even what Obama says himself, the foundation of Obama’s successful candidacy is the 90% support by the Afro-American people. A fact that I’m sure he understands. Obama also understands that it is the rest of the American people he must reach out to, no matter how attempts he makes to do this are questioned, even by Black people. Even 90% of 12% is not enough to win the presidency.
So that for the so called militants, black or white left not to understand that the logic and strength of Obama’s candidacy is the 21st century manifestation of the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements, impossible without it. Jesse Jackson’s two impressive candidacy’s were also part of that motion, not to accept both these phenomena as positive aspects and results of our collective struggle is to lack “True Self Consciousness".
The real question now is what is the next step, what is the key link in that chain of progressive struggle that if grasped will hoist the whole of us incrementally to the next level of unity and struggle. For those forces so duped by their erroneous understanding of what constitutes revolutionary movement. The consistent idealism of those who wd waste their vote on people whose most positive contribution would be to point out even more foricibly the link between McCain and a swifter fascist future for the US and critically support Obama’s outright liberalism, but issuing a critical list of planks for a more progressive Obama campaign.
There are even some utterly backward cultural nationalist negroes who say “Obama is their enemy” because he is not demanding that black people stop speaking English and speak their mother tongue (my mother tongue is Afro American) or that he blame the Jews for the world’s ills. My God!, You couldn’t win on those planks even if the election was for the NAACP or the Black Panther Party Or the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee.
We cannot go backward or even contemplate it. A revolutionary must first find out what it is the people want, what they need. Unfortunately for some, the definition of revolution is to construct some elitist cultural nationalist, religious or infantile leftist , position, the “further out” the better, so they may claim, since few others will get down with that, that they must be the most revolutionary of all. Too often this is just a means of hiding out from the real work of educating and organizing and settling for being the hippest chump in the closet.
What we must be aiming for at the present level of US politics is a Peoples or Popular Democracy, rather than the tongue constructed false democracy real dictatorship (of wealth) that exists today. That must include the replacing of the monopoly capitalist-imperialist domination of US politics at every level with a United Front , which shd be led by the working class in alliance with farmers, the progressive petty bourgeoisie, oppressed nationalities and progressive national bourgeoisie. The loose Obama coalition, as it exists now.
For the Afro American people a National United Front , Democratic Assembly, would be a huge step in the right direction, as what was attempted by the Convention Movement of the 19th Century, the National Negro Congress in the 1940’s and the Gary Convention in the 1972. It is this kind of organized force that would be powerful enough to maintain the correct orientation of any National Coalition of multinational forces to win this election and help steer the ship of state.
The fiercest opponents to such a victorious coalition , the first steps toward moving toward a United front US government, rather than one dominated by corporate Imperialism is the racist right and the juvenile delinquent left (some of whom are quite rightist and even some quite racist..e.g., how can Nader put Obama down for “sounding white” ..what does “white” sound like? And how come Nader don’t sound like that?)
Ultimately this political period will be characterized by what kind of political force Blacks and progressive Americans can put together to secure Obama’s election and push him ever to the Left. What is even clearer and a piercing denial of the NYTimes distortion is Hubert Harrison , the Black Socialist, writing in the New York Call ca: 1911 “Politically, the Negro is the touchstone of the modern democratic idea. The presence of the Negro puts our democracy to the proof and reveals the falsity of it…True democracy and equality implies a revolution …startling even to think of “ ( quoted from Jeffrey Perry’s recent volume Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism 1883-1918)
So the question of “Black Politics” must be inextricably bound to progressive politics in this country and just as we fought as Black people and with progressive allies of many nationalities even to vote, or for that matter drink out of public drinking fountains or ride anywhere in a bus, so it is this same “Black Politics” clearly broadened by Obama to include a progressive coalition in the most ambitious attempt to show that Black Politics in its most progressive meaning is the struggle for a Peoples Democracy here in the US. This is what the Obama campaign asserts boldly. We must see that it continues to do so right into the Oval office and beyond.
The following are a few exploratory planks of a document that should be added to by the willing and serve as a basis for a national mass supported document to present to Obama.
Progressive Agenda for Obama
1. End Iraq War, cancel preparations for Iran War. Re-establish that it is Congress that declares war
a. End so called “National Security Government: Close Guantanamo, end Homeland
Security\domination of US political and social life.
2. Make racism a criminal offense assault 1
3. Use of the N Word (by anyone) assault 2
4. Use of the B Word (by anyone) assault 2
5. Begin to push for change in Political Culture of US**
A. End the Electoral College System
B. End Winner Take All System
C. Initiate One Person One Vote
D. Abolition of US Senate -replace with Unicameral system (one House of Representatives based on One Person One Vote).
E. Parliamentary System= As many parties as represent ideological groups, as in Europe, so that Coalition politics emerge
F. Ban on private monies in elections
G. Restoration of Voting Rights to Ex Felons
6. Review of National Debt by National Forum
7. Executive Support for Reparations- Establishment of National Citizens Committee
8. General Investigation & Review of Criminal Justice System
9. Appointment of Progressive Supreme Court & Other Judges
10. Review Diplomatic Relations with all Nations. By National Panel with recommendations
d. Saudi Arabia
Strengthen Committee on Africa, investigate relations
11. Investigate Need for Cabinet level Office of Afro American Affairs
12. Review Affirmative Actions statutes, reverse negative trends
13. Housing: “Everyone must have a place to live” bill
14. Education- Reaffirm support with action for Public Education. Veto attempts to weaken PE budget
15. Minimum Wage
16. Investigate Bush-Cheney years, including their election, with National Forum, Recommendations
17. National investigation of 911
18. Review FDA- Reverse Bush’ Rule eliminations
19. Review Environmental Protection Agency –role- laws
20. International treaties review Oslo, Nuclear, Ballistic missile, Trade
21. Plan for direct monitoring and supervision of Voting Apparatus Nationally. Stop “suppression of the Black & Latino vote”
22. Executive intervention for National Health Care plan
23. Presentation of Progressive National Immigration Bill
24. New initiative for National Cultural & Arts Support
25. New Public Works Program to put US back to work
26. Push programs for Regulation of Capitalism, Stop excessive outsourcing , end big capital’s abandoning of factories, cities, industries
People who keep saying: ”The president can’t do anything” should review FDR’s “First Hundred Days” aimed at ending the great Depression. “On his first day in office , Mar 4, 1933, FDR called Congress into a special session. He then proceeded to drive a series of bills through Congress that reformed the US banking industry, saved American agriculture and allowed for industrial recovery. At the same time wielded the executive order creating the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration (WPA) and the Tennessee Valley Authority. These projects put tens of thousands of Americans back to work building dams, bridges, highways and much needed public utility systems.” (About.com) What was called “The New Deal”
What we need from Obama is a Newer New Deal. What we need from ourselves is the political clarity and will to ensure Obama’s election!