BAR & Friends Anticipate the End of the Age of Obama
In the wake of the disasters that have befallen Blacks under his watch, President Obama’s exit in 2017 may “provide an opportunity to move the masses away from the Democratic Party and towards a discussion of alternatives,” said Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report. Speaking at a BAR-organized Left Forum workshop titled “Black Politics at the Tail End of Obama – and Beyond,” Kimberley noted that “Black politics had been on life support for some time before 2008, but his election marked the day that the plug was finally pulled.” The supreme irony, said Kimberley, “that the election of a Black man meant the end of Black politics, cannot be overstated.”
The Black Class Divide
Polls show that upwardly mobile Blacks often share with whites an “utter contempt and hatred for the Black poor,” said Dr. Tony Monteiro, professor of African American studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “This class division, this ideological division,” can be seen in the politics of “the Cory Bookers and Michael Nutters” – the Black mayors of Newark and Philadelphia, respectively – “and other Black agents of the 1%,” Monteiro told the workshop.
Back to Basics
“We’re going to have to let go of top-down, patriarchal, backward leadership models like the Black Church, and we’re going to have to let go of the Democratic Party,” said BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. We must “rediscover” basic organizing skills, “so that people who are most concerned about various issues can take leadership” of community organizations. And, we must “let go of the idea that we can come up with some creative act or persuasive argument that’s going to give us media access to galvanize huge numbers of people in some short period of time,” said Dixon.
Eyes on the Prize
“We’ve got to get back to old fashioned Marxist and Left Black Nationalist understandings of how race, racial identity and sham electoral democracy function within the overall context of capitalism and empire,” said writer and activist Paul Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. The renewed movement must be informed by the facts of “how labor markets work, how the criminal justice system works, how the real estate market works, instead of a game of Black and Latino and female faces in high places.”
The Doctrine of Mandatory Black Failure
Journalist Pascal Robert, a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report, speaking at a Left Forum workshop on the Economy and Ecology of Haiti, quoted Napoleon’s rational for sending 60,000 troops to attempt to crush the Haitian Revolution, in 1802. “My decision to destroy the authority of the blacks in Saint-Domingue,” Robert quoted the Frenchman, “is not so much based on considerations of commerce and money, as on the need to block forever the march of the blacks in the world.” We must realize, said Robert, “that there is a part of western foreign policy that invests in the importance of failed models of liberation. There is a psychic benefit to western imperialist nations to make sure that certain Black and brown nations stay failed, and do not ever give examples of success.”