American Samizdat

Friday, March 09, 2007. *
Someday, soon I hope, through enlightened private and public funding, we will carve out of some hills in Mississippi or Alabama, an obsidian panoply of American black heroes. There will, I'm certain, be many more than four faces. It will be called Mt Blackmore.

The short list of candidates should include Marcus Garvey, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Booker T Washington, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, John Coltrane, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammed, Minister Louis Farrakhan, H Rap Brown, Shirley Chisolm, Ron Dellums, and Muhammed Ali.

One of the reasons that I have the "Help Wanted" ad at the top of the page is that I have a sense that freedom, integrity, and justice in America is more likely to be achieved by a coalition of citizens and legislators other than white males.

I recently in these pages decried what I have seen as a chasm between the white male-dominated Left and other politically leftist groups. I'm looking harder at that and I've grown a bit. Maybe that chasm is a positive phenomenon. Perhaps advocating integration and unity is not such a good idea, because the strength and power of the non-white-male left might be forced to compromise beliefs and programs/policies that are essential to a radical revolution. Barak Obama, I venture, is an exceptionally noticeable result of such integration. Colin Powell and Condi "They Named a Damn Oil Tanker After Me" Rice are the most egregious and nauseating outcomes. (Heh . . . I've been working on a whole hip-hop riff about "CondiMints" that will likely not make it through to these pages - but yuh know . . . y'know?).

A brief mention of some recent milestones:

Cynthia McKinney has been the only member of Congress so far to introduce a bill of impeachment. Sure, she did it when she was out-the-door-lame-duck, but I have a feeling she would have none so anyway. And she probably would have gotten some co-signers, too.

Barbara Lee, as I remember, 'tho I may be mistaken, was the only MC to vote against military action in Afghanistan. She has without exception voted against, and publicly, stridently opposed all military actions from day one of her Congressional membership. She has unfailingly continued and augmented the legacy of her district predecessor, Ron Dellums. Dellums will someday be recognized as being in the top five list of most courageous, conscientious, and brilliant lawmakers this country has ever seen.

Maxine Waters co-founded and now chairs the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus. Other co-founders include John Lewis, John Conyers, and Charlie Rangel. These are some exceptional leaders.

The Congressional Black Caucus is a vibrant force of leadership on Capitol Hill. It is most attractive for the fact that there is a true evolutionary tension at play, a dialectic that is still almost invisable not only in the white-dominated MSM, but in more left-leaning conduits like Capitol Hill Blue and Talking Points Memo.

Glen Ford's Black Agenda Report and The Black Commentator chronicle the forces at play. The latter's writer, Margaret Kimberley provides an unyielding view of the interplay between black and white current events. She also leads the current debate within the black political community as it develops its own right-middle-left dynamic.

In "Freedom Rider: Crazy, Greedy White Men", she writes:
Insanity, avarice and dismal failure aren't barriers to success for powerful white men. They are allowed to make up nonsense to get what they want, kill thousands of people, display jaw dropping incompetence, lie to Congress, the CIA (if necessary), and the American people, and still maintain their positions of authority and political power.

Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States of America, is a perfect example of this phenomenon of untouchability. In the 1970s Cheney served as Chief of Staff to then president Gerald Ford and Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense. Along with people like Paul Wolfowitz, they argued that the Soviet Union was stronger than anyone, even the CIA, believed it to be. . . .

If Cheney, Rummy and friends decide to go to war against Iran, the Democrats won't stand in the way. They will make quiet noises about authorization but in the end they will say yes and Cheney will have been proven right. It doesn't matter if he shoots hunting partners, or gives himself up when he is trying to be secretive. His stock options haven't disappeared either. Perhaps he isn't so crazy after all . . .
This, by the way, is some of Kimberley's lighter stuff.

Over four years ago, Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, in "Corporate Black Caucus", introduced the first inkling of the tension among African-Americans driven by the post-capitalist forces moving at the same time toward middle-class assimilation and underclass disenfranchisement. They wrote, in part . . .
The Congressional Black Caucus says that it has been "the conscience of the Congress since 1969."

If that is in fact the case, why then is the caucus not taking a leadership role on major progressive issues of the day?

Because like the vast majority of members of Congress, the caucus has been bought off by the corporate commercial interests?

Why isn't the caucus taking a leadership role on moving the country toward a solar economy?

Could it be because oil and auto companies like BP Amoco, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil, Texaco, General Motors, Ford, Nissan, and Daimler Chrysler give big bucks to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation?

Why isn't the black caucus speaking out against the tobacco, junk food and alcohol companies that prey on the nation's young and old alike?

Could it be because Anheuser Busch, Heineken USA, Miller Brewing Company, PepsiCo, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and Coca-Cola give big dollars to the foundation -- and Ms. Tina Walls of the Miller Brewing Company sits on the board of the foundation? . . .
Here's the bit . . . if Pelosi, Reid, Murtha & Company have their way, we will have but a movement toward the center. That movement is more likely to stifle or extinguish a revolution in paradigm. Although Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition had its day, a blurring of colors is not what we need today. We need, conversely a sharpening of outlines. Black is better served as black.

A revolutionary coalition does not require that the parties be grey. There is enough common ground to be found in a multiracial unity in which colors of both skin and principle are sharply delineated. We spoke much about "diversity" in the late 20th century, but in retrospect diversity still was meant to take place in polyglot white-driven assimilation.

The fact is that much is happening in our culture to support clearer outlines and clarify objectives. In many districts across the country, blacks, now parents, who demanded school integration are now promoting segregation. This leaves many liberals, both black and white, aghast, shaking their heads, and muttering something like, "I do and I do and I do for these folks, and this is the thanks I get."

You bet. Look at the record. The underlying imperative of the community action-based War on Poverty/Great Society" was to have "the maximum feasible participation of the poor." I know . . . I was a community organizer and program director in a CAA in the 70s. Our BOD and program executives were overwhelmingly white, in spite of catchment area demographics that were near majority latino and black. There were only a few pockets across the nation in which blacks actually controlled the development and delivery of services. In Boston, for example, Action for Boston Community Development was a black organization, as was the College of Public and Community Service. Hubie Jones, one of my advisors, was a dynamic and forceful leader (and still is).

Jane Addams, whom I wrote about here recently, went through an evolution that started with social work attempting to assist poor immigrants to integrate and assimilate. Her later years were characterized by empowering these same communities to raise their voices beside, not within, the white culture. Her own voice is stirring the same sentiment from long suppression.

Let that voice be heard, yo. It been heard. It heard.
posted by Unknown at 11:24 AM
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