Written by Jim Clingman March 7th, 2016
Aren’t you tired of the rap and clap sessions by political wannabees and their respective contingents? I know I am. The so-called “debates” are downright insulting and embarrassing, especially on the Republican side, reminiscent of a stand-up comedy show, or “throwing shade” as young folks say. Over on the Dem stage (Or should I say in their “ring”?), what was a fight has turned into a face-saving swansong for Sanders since he was, in his own words, “decimated” in South Carolina. Black folks strike again!
With all the money these candidates have in the bank this “theater of the absurd” could go on for months, and when it’s all over Black folks will have not moved one inch toward real empowerment. Unless we get serious about our own economic and political future, by establishing our political platform and being willing to promote, support, and leverage it, Blacks will continue to be relegated to the clown ring in this current political three-ring circus. We will be the diversions, the ones who turn the lion’s attention away from the performers, the clowns who turn the bull’s ire away from the bull rider by yelling and then jumping into a barrel.
The “Yo Mama!” debates in the Republican ring are really not debates, in case you have not noticed; they are rap sessions, Ronald Reagan séances, and pseudo-patriotic diatribes, repeated ad nauseam by guys who swear they are the answer to our problems. The only one who has any kind of real record of having actually solved a few political problems is John Kasich. But he’s so far behind the others that a victory for him is very unlikely.
Over in the Democratic ring we have two combatants who offer condescending words and platitudes directly to Black folks, as opposed to the Republicans who say absolutely nothing to Blacks. The Dem candidates rail against the business establishment and tell us that we really need more jobs to solve our problems. I don’t know how they expect to bring us more jobs, which are created by private businesses, when they are constantly denigrating business. It’s just hype. By the way, why do you suppose the Black candidate, Willie Wilson, has been invisible?
Post Super Tuesday shouting matches about who cares for Black people the most now dominate, as though being embroiled in these kinds of discussions will move us forward. Top that off with MSNBC’s U-turn in firing, demoting, or exiling their Black Barack Obama-can-do-no-wrong hosts and we have a real firestorm on our hands, don’t we?
Aren’t you tired of being hustled and huckstered? Aren’t you tired of the hype and the political histrionics? Those of us who are absolutely tired of it all have made a commitment to DO something about it. First of all, we refuse to be swayed by patronizing pundits and condescending candidates. It matters not what they say; their actions are what matters.
Understanding how the system works with regard to what they said versus what they do when they get into office, why are many of our people spending inordinate amounts of time arguing over whose plantation is more comfortable? Rather than organizing ourselves into a voting bloc that must be reckoned with and leveraging our votes, we end up acquiescing to political parties and their selected candidates. Rather than asking the candidates what they will do for us, we must present our demands to them, and rather than settle for lip-service we must have them sign an agreement signifying their support of our issues.
I can hear the moanin’ and groanin’ now. “Jim, they would never do that; so why ask them to?” That kind of defeatist attitude and subsequent surrender is indicative of why we are in the shape we are in today. If they refuse to support our demands, verbally and in writing, then why should we vote for them? What do we have to lose? Why vote for any candidate who does not support reciprocity for those who vote for him or her? That’s just stupid.
We must stop accepting the hypocrisy of candidates who say one thing and do another; we must not get sidetracked by arguments among political hacks and commentators that mean absolutely nothing to us in the scheme of things. We must stop doing our best impression of Pavlov’s dog when they come to call on us. If nothing is funny, don’t laugh; if you are not itching, don’t scratch. We must change the silly way we deal with politics by collectively leveraging something of substance in return for our votes. If we don’t change, the hucksters, Black ones and White ones, will always win.
Join the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors, and let’s make a real difference this time. www.iamoneofthemillion.com
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Obi Egbuna Jr
Apr 21, 2016
While Zimbabweans were celebrating their 36th anniversary of independence one of the main propaganda outlets of US Imperialism Voice of America(VOA) had the audacity to host a forum entitled Zimbabwe at 36: The Way Forward that included a panel discussion with the theme Zimbabwe’s Future: Changes and Challenges. The participants were Mr. Gregory B. Simpkins the staff director for the US House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, Reverend Issac Mwase of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Network, African Democracy Network and the AGOA Civil Society Network, and Mrs. Sibongile Sidilie Sibanda who previously worked for the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe but now represents Trusted Touch Healthcare LLC which she founded in 2011 the base of operations for TTH LLC is Rockville, Maryland just outside of Washington DC.
What the VOA demonstrated on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day through their neo-colonialist pet project Studio 7 created in 2003, is as long as they are in existence, those Zimbabweans who have decided to follow the trail of their countrymen and women who fought side by side with the British and Rhodesians during the 2nd Chimurenga, will always have a safe haven to openly and unapologetically plan the demise of their government country and people in the name of human rights and democracy.
It is important for the everyday Zimbabwean and African at home and abroad to understand that VOA is part of an Imperialist media conglomerate called the Broadcasting Board of Governors(BBG) that was connected to the United States Information Agency until 1999. The BBG has 8 bi-partisan members who are directly appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the US Senate, according to law no more than 4 members can belong to either the Democratic or Republican Party, the US Secretary of State is the ex-officio of BBG. In 1990 the Clinton administration established a Bureau of Broadcasting to consolidate three broadcasting services VOA Worldnet Film and Television service and of course arguably their most reactionary media creation Radio and Television Marti .
The BBG has an annual budget of 713 million US dollars whose main goal as they like to put it is to deliver accurate news and information to significant audiences overseas and to serve as trustworthy news and as an example of a free professional press in countries that lack independent media.
Their list of strategic targets include VOA Middle East Broadcasting Networks Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Radio Free Asia and as aforementioned Radio and TV Marti.
What the annals of history demonstrate is whatever nation on earth that VOA gives an unusual amount of attention to, suggests that US Imperialism desperately wants to bring about a regime change and until the political atmosphere has been created to successfully execute their plan, the goal is to make the diplomatic representation of that country have sleepless nights pondering how to respond to the malicious propaganda efforts of VOA firmly backed up by BBG and the White House US Senate and Congress.
When visitors and residents of Washington DC visit VOA the first thing that catches your attention are the huge images and quotations of former US Presidents along with puppets of US Imperialism whose political parties and installations were created and bankrolled right there in the Nation’s capital.
Some of the standouts include Ronald Reagan saying “VOA will not compromise the truth”
The former President of Poland Lech Walesa saying “There would be no victory over communism without the Voice of America” and lastly the Cuban Oswaldo Paya Sardinas who founded the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba quoted as saying VOA programs represent the ideal medium to inform Cubans about the need to reform the political process in Cuba. For his efforts to bring about regime change in Cuba Mr. Sardinas received the Sakharov Prize from the EU parliament, the Need’s Homo Homini award and just like the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai was a recipient of the W. Averell Harriman Award created by the National Democratic Institute.
It appears the goal of VOA studio 7 who in addition to Zimbabwe targets South Africa,Mozambique,Namibia,Malawi,Botswana and Zambia, is to one day reach the heights of Radio and TV Marti in Cuba however forums like the one held on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day, challenge the very authenticity of VOA’s charter specifically the third statute that states VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.
When Mrs. Sibanda stated that Zimbabweans in the diaspora are not allowed to vote she failed to mention the political makeup and aspirations of this constituency, if these Zimbabweans she speaks of belong the either faction of MDC or the civil society community financed by both the National Democratic Institute and National Endowment for Democracy, it would not be realistic for President Mugabe and ZANU-PF to take this into consideration. Mrs. Sibanda raised the point that for this reason she has a fear and lack of confidence in the financial sector, but failed to answer a question concerning how she felt as an entrepreneur about Zimbabwe being deliberately excluded from the US Africa business forum that the Obama administration hosted two years ago.
The most interesting comments came from Reverend Mwase who when asked his opinion of Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Dr. Eng Walter Mzembi engaging not only the Corporate Council of Africa a few weeks ago but Zimbabwean citizens in Dallas, Texas, who along with Zimbabweans in Atlanta make up the largest groupings inside US borders claimed he had no idea Minister Mzembi was in the country. An interesting question is how does a Zimbabwean who oversees a network of his countrywomen and also men and established the African Democracy Network and the AGOA civil society network a coalition of African NGOS whose focus is the implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act not have any knowledge that a Minister of his Government is coming to address a body with the stature of CCA yet the main body of Zimbabweans in the diaspora receive him with open arms.
A rather troubling but predictable dynamic was VOA on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day allowing Mr. Simpkins to have the bulk of the time, which meant what was advertised as a forum ended up looking like the individual there to represent US interests received preferential treatment, because the Zimbabweans in attendance were they to reinforce their loyalty to VOA and US-EU imperialism
No one in their right mind would expect them to express any displeasure with this setup.
When Mr. Simpkins was questioned about the recent decision of the Office of Foreign Assets Control targeting the Chemplex Corporation and the Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company, he not only failed to give an informed and appropriate answer, but appeared openly disturbed because it is rather uncharacteristic for a point with that spin to be raised at a VOA sponsored event. After the event Mr. Simpkins reiterated he is not an enemy of Zimbabwe, but with friends who absolve US-EU Imperialism of any wrong doing concerning Zimbabwe past or present there is no need for enemies.
The behavior of these particular Zimbabweans is by no means a phenomenon that captures reactionary habits and tendencies of individuals born and raised in the country’s 10 main provinces exclusively. Their willingness to form an alliance with VOA is the historical equivalent of some of our ancestors on the slave plantations, who chose to become slave-catchers instead of working with Sister Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad or taking part in the epic slave rebellions Africans organized everywhere in the Western Hemisphere where we languished as chattel in captivity. Their social demeanor and political posture also brings back painful memories of the misguided and brainwashed Kenyans who opted to fight for the British King’s rifles in Kenya as opposed to the Land and Freedom Army better known as Mau Mau.
Because US Imperialism was constructed at the expense of the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere, we understand why the presence of President Mugabe and ZANU-PF sends chills up their spines, they can never be comfortable dealing with a government and people who truly represent homeland security.
Obi Egbuna Jr is the US Correspondent to the Herald and the external relations officer of ZICUFA(Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association) his email is firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Views: 228
By Elliot Booker — 4 months ago
By OBI EGBUNA Jr.
Obi Egbuna Jr At every phase of our struggle for liberation and human dignity, Africans at home and abroad who have courageously and selflessly fought on the front line, all arrive at the conclusion that unity is undeniably the most invaluable weapon at our disposal. One of Mother Africa’s brightest sons Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah told us all “ The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart”, in the heat of battle it becomes extremely necessary to remember the most fundamental lessons that benefit our genuine resistance collectively.
On the African continent specifically, one of our best test cases concerning unity in perpetual motion serves us well, is both Zimbabwe’s 2nd and 3rd Chimurenga primarily because on the Patriotic United Front between ZANU and ZAPU, at height of the protracted armed struggle and the Unity Accord seven years after initial independence in 1980.
As history moved forward the last three administrations of US(The Bush and Obama and Trump currently ) let it be known to all who listen that while Zimbabwe is a small country it presents rather a peculiar problem concerning US interests in the region.
Whether the regime change agents in MDC, ZCTU or the 400 civil society groups whose blind loyalty is to US EU Imperialism, ever acknowledge this publicly, it is Zimbabwe’s political culture that has always been driven by unity, that forced them to become part of the inclusive government with Zanu-PF between 2009 and 2013.
While the example of Zimbabwe takes place on our Mother continent, it serves as an example and inspiration, that front line fighters and supporters of these efforts in the diaspora can not only learn from but aggressively incorporate on the strategical and tactical level.
If there is any indifference or backlash , it will come from quarters who are not comfortable looking to the African continent for insight and direction, because in the final analysis an amputated narrative of the African experience serves as their political and intellectual blueprint.
This amputated narrative which draws a striking resemblance to diced onions or dandruff on our scalps, happens to be the engine behind a social media driven network, that goes by the name American Descendants of Slaves(ADOS). We can only imagine how Bishop Richard Allen and Absalom Jones who started the Free African Society in 1794, would feel about the name ADOS.
The most visible and vocal proponents of the ADOS are a so called African American female and male tandem Ms. Yvette Carnell and Mr. Antonio Moore, Mr. Moore is a graduate of both UCLA and Loyola Law School and Ms. Carnell is a graduate of Howard University.
When articulating the ideological position of the ADOS, Mr. Moore takes on the character of a lawyer in the courtroom, where on the other hand Ms. Carnell who has a blog entitled Breaking Brown, has a more provocative and confrontational style of communication that appears to work for her.
At the forefront of the ADOS network’s political agenda is the age old question of reparations, similar to the manner that naked police terrorism defined Black Lives Matter and Imperialist corporate greed drove Occupy Wall Street movement.
Another characteristic that makes ADOS similar to both Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street, is what appears to be a deliberate choice to have political space, detached from the organized formations who developed and championed the very issue that steers their political efforts and program.
We challenge any and everyone to go back and review the articles of Mr. Moore and blogs of Ms. Carnell and find them humbly recognizing the tireless and selfless work of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, the New Afrikan Peoples Organization, NCOBRA(National Conference of Blacks For Reparations In America), Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement, December 12th Movement, and The National Black United Front. Even before these organized formations, the Nation of Islam and Africans who were in the Communist Party many moons ago, also pushed the question of reparations.
Because of our political culture takes on a matralineal character, the heart and soul of the reparations movement inside US borders was the larger than life Garveyite Queen Mother Moore, who took the red black and green flag of the UNIA-ACL and insisted it be the symbol of the reparations movement, that same flag is the symbol of what the internationally acclaimed hip hop group Dead Prez call RBG which stands for Revolutionary but Gangsta.
For whatever reason Mr. Moore and Ms. Carnell decided to yankee doodleize the Reparations question by not only dismissing the New Afrikan approach to reparations, but theoretically and figuratively draping themselves in the US flag.
When it comes to reactionary sentiments, we do have choices, you can either come out of the gate with plantation love like ADOS or wait until your twilight years like the NFL legend Jim Brown and scold Colin Kapernick for desecrating the red white and blue or Kareem Abdul Jabber who boycotted the US Olympics in 1968 over the Vietnam war but as a senior citizen became the cultural ambassador for the US State Department . Sadly this includes James Brown going from singing I’m Black and I’m Proud in the 60’s and then singing Living In America in the movie Rocky IV in the 80’s.
Another disturbing posture by Ms. Carnell and the ADOS network was to give the Pan Africanist movement a eulogy, which metaphorically speaking would be the equivalent of burying a human being alive. While genuine Pan Africanists were either angered or humored by this statement, we are delighted to know exactly Imperialism recruited for this opportunist mission.
When their appetite for for clarity and research increases, the ADOS will discover that the organizers who have pushed reparations in the streets beyond the comforts and confines of social media, gained crucial momentum when the reparations movement took on a Pan Africanist character.
Thanks to their contributions, reparations is a banner that has a home in the Caribbean thanks to the lawsuit by CARICOM and without question the efforts of our comrades in Namibia taking Germany to task for atrocities committed during the colonial era.
Cuba’s revolutionary demand for reparations stemming from the blockade is also part of the mix.
What this exposes is the ADOS refuses to acknowledge the boost Pan Africanist forces gave the reparations question at the UN conference on racism, xenophobia and other related intolerances. that took place in Durban, South Africa back in 2001. All patriotic Zimbabweans remind the world that was also the birth of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.
Concerning relations between Africans at home and abroad a micro nationalist approach is not consistent with Ms. Carnell’s political origin. As a student at Howard University, Ms. Carnell was the Chief Financial Officer of former HUSA President Neville Welch who was born in Guyana, whose Chief of Staff Elsie Aguele was born in Nigeria. Perhaps today Ms. Carmella would say Mr. Welch should have been the head of the Caribbean Student Association and Mr. Aguele should have remained in the African Student Union, and only students born in the US should lead Student Governments at HBCUS.
What Ms. Carnell and Mr. Moore must also recognize is that even though the New Afrikan movement never deviated from the program of seeking five states
in the south seeking five states in the South, at no pointing their history did they consider themselves politically exempt from fighting US-EU Imperialism’s Africa policy.
Since Mr. Moore is a lawyer interested in Reparations, he should know that the late freedom fighter Chokwe Lumumba through NAPO was at the forefront of breaking former US President Ronald Reagan’s travel ban on Libya in 1987. In 2009 Comrade Lumumba persuaded both NAPO and the National Conference of Black Lawyers to sign an appeal to the Obama administration demanding US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe be lifted immediately.
One of the most consistent organizations that was fought for Reparations based in New York the December 12th Movement, has remained at the forefront of defending the territorial integrity of Zimbabwe.
Every New Afrikan Organization gave platforms to ANC,PAC and AZAPO at their annual conventions.
What ADOS has done is challenged the legitimate forces committed to reparations, to distance themselves from the frauds, who exploited its mileage and don’t understand its roots. This includes Trans Africa Forum founder Randall Robinson and Retired US Congressman John Conyers .Robinson’s book The Debt What America owes to Blacks was a national best seller and Mr. Conyers pushed A reparations bill. Mr. Conyers voted in favor of sanctions on Zimbabwe and Mr. Robinson did nothing when TAF got in bed with the National Endowment for Democracy and worked for US EU regime change in Zimbabwe.
Would ADOS tell Senator and Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and former US President Barack Obama if they change their position on Reparations, maintaining sanctions on Zimbabwe is not an issue.
A rather interesting dynamic is that Mr. Moore’s articles are archived by a website called inequality.org,which is a front for the Institute of Policy Studies, financed the face liberal imperialist philanthropy George Soros, which unfortunately means if ADOS like so many others who are eating at Mr. Soros table, their expression of reparations doesn’t consider self determination a principle to die for.
Other ADOS mouthpieces have gone as far as stating Pan Africanism has achieved nothing concrete, if nothing else, as an act of humility and good will, let the Pan Africanist sector of our movement send the most consistent mouthpieces of ADOS a box of library cards.
ADOS front runners and extended mouthpieces should know the 5th Pan Africanist Congress resulted in thirty five countries in Africa liberating themselves from Settler Colonial Rule from 1957-1960, which remains the most rapid swing towards power ever witnessed in modern history.
One wonders if Ms. Carnell and Mr. Moore would have supported the deportation of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, because the feel a Jamaican born African could not build the largest mass movement in modern times, that was launched on US soil.
If it was up to them Mr. Moore and Ms. Carnell would have told the writer Claude McKay to stay in Jamaica, as opposed to coming to Harlem to help build the Harlem Renaissance.The follow up would have been to tell Arthuro Schomburg to stay in Puerto Rico and not come to Harlem and start the American Negro Academy or build the Schomburg Library of Black Culture, or even better Kwame Ture should have not been allowed to chair SNCC because he was born in Trinidad.
This also suggests Paul Robeson should have stayed away from Claudia Jones and threw a bash in Harlem when she was deported for joining the Communist Party which violated the McCurran Act.
ADOS had better recognize the CTS which is an acronym to contributors to struggle, which focus on commitment not birth. What if Katherine Dunham and Pearle Primus didnt use dance to teach us about the Haitian Revolution or the anti colonial movement in Africa?
Every so called African American drumming and dancing ensemble, owe their very existence to that great Pan African giant Ahmed Seku Ture.and the PDG who championed the African Cultural Revolution.
What if Langston Hughes told the Cuban born African poet Nicholas Guiilen the poet laureate of the revolution I only want to work with poets of my color born in the US?
What if Fela Kuti never read the autobiography of Malcolm X, given to him by ex Panther Ericka Huggins, which made him embrace his mother’s legacy of struggle and the black power movement he avoided in Britain.
Should Cuba deport Assata Shakur and Nehanda Obiodun and tell them to join ADOS????
How much substance would Manning Marable’s book How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America coned if he never studied How Europe Underdeveloped Africa who was inspired after reading George Padmore’s How Britain Ruled Africa?
Were SNCC and the Panthers wrong for distributing The Wretched Of The Earth because Frantz Fanon was born in Martinique and fought in the Algerian Revolution?
Lastly if Nnandi Azikwe and the Osagyefo never came to Lincoln University or Edwardo Mondlane and John Chilembwe didn’t attend Oberlin College or Virginia Theological Seminary, how would Ghana,Nigeria,Malawi and Mozambique look today? Would it matter if Amadou Diallo was shot down by the Contee regime in Guinee or the NYPD?.
Let us salute that Spanish speaking African Jesus Chucho Garcia for leading the Afro Descendant movement in the America’s, which is an alternative to a social media network that implies the slaveship was like an express train from Africa to the US with no stops in between.
While defending Pan Africanism falls on our shoulders going back and forth with ADOS is not a substitute for a concrete program.
Obi Egbuna Jr is the US Correspondent To The Herald and External Relations Officer to ZICUFA(Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association
His email is email@example.com
READ MORE AT: https://www.herald.co.zw/fyi-ados-pan-africanists-today/Post Views: 562
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
April 24, 2016 | Written by David Love
In this election season, as the age of Obama comes to end, Black America finds itself at a crossroads. And with the first Black president soon leaving office, the issue of a Black political agenda — or lack thereof — is placed in the spotlight. The questions that arise are whether the two-party system serves the African-American electorate, if Black voters are forced to select between the lesser of two evils, and whether a Black independent political party — or a coalition with other people of color and white progressives – is necessary as a counterweight to donkeys and elephants to ensure that their interests are protected.
At present, Black voters are presented with a Democratic Party that most African-Americans support — even amid decades-long charges that their vote has been taken for granted — and a Republican Party that has emerged as a focal point of white nationalism and is viewed as hostile to Black interests. Meanwhile, within the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders vie for the Black vote and support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with many Black pragmatists attracted to the former, and idealists attracted to the latter. But are African-American interests being served?
The notion of a Black party is by no means a new concept.
As noted by William A. Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, an independent Black political party was Malcolm X’s objective at the end of his life.
“I think this is the kind of work that we should have been engaged in a long time ago, well prior to Obama’s election as a Democratic Party candidate. We should not have had high expectations of what his candidacy would be because it was squarely within the two-party system,” Darity told Atlanta Black Star. We should have developed a party for a long time.”
Such efforts were attempted. For example, the preamble of the National Black Political Agenda, also known as the Gary Declaration — an outgrowth of the National Black Political Convention of 1972 — states that “all truly black politics, must begin from this truth: The American system does not work for the masses of our people, and it cannot be made to work without radical fundamental change (indeed, this system does not really work in favor of the humanity of anyone in America).”
In 1980, Black nationalists convened to form the National Black Independent Political Party, out of frustration over the Democratic and Republican Parties.
“The National Black Independent Political Party aims to attain power to radically transform the present socio-economic order. That is, to achieve self-determination and social and political freedom for the masses of Black people. Therefore, our party will actively oppose racism, imperialism, sexual oppression, and capitalist exploitation,” its charter stated.
Darity notes that the successes of past third parties have been tied to the personalities of individual candidates such as Ross Perot or John Anderson.
“Their parties were so associated with them that there was no way to sustain them when their candidacy was done,” he said, adding that a viable third party needs its own base and cannot be dependent on an individual candidate. The professor, who focuses on inequality, believes a third party is necessary in addressing the problems faced by African-Americans. He finds the concept of a party focused on social inequality in America “an exciting prospect.”
“It is essential because the national imagination is deeply constrained by the two-party system. There is no effort to solve the degree of racial inequality, joblessness and poverty, and the existing two-party system will not dramatically change those positions,” Darity said.
“One of the obvious issues is, Blacks are an outvoted minority in this country, unlike South Africa, so there would have to be coalition politics. And those coalitions would have to be carefully crafted so they would be in line with our interests,” he noted.
Darity warned, however, that Black people must be careful about what their interests truly are.
“There is a slippery slope of Black people blaming Black people for our condition. It’s what I call the Bill Cosby point of view — the idea that our problems are a consequence of our actions…which is a complete misanalysis,” he argues. “It’s not sufficient that this is anchored around Black folk. The ideological component of that party is crucial also.”
To advance his argument, Darity pointed to his research on the causes of Black disparity, including the finding that Black people who have college degrees have two-thirds of the net worth of whites who never finished high school. Further, studies have shown that Blacks who have finished some college or have an associate’s degree have a higher unemployment rate than whites who dropped out of high school. These studies are a “powerful indicator” of the problems faced by African-Americans not of their making, Darity insists.
Dr. Randall Miller, a historian and professor at St. Joseph’s University, believes the idea of a Black political party — not necessarily an exclusive party but one that “would push the interests of Black people to the forefront, and would drive policy and practice” geared towards African-American concerns — is a good one.
“One could also make the case that in terms of effectiveness, and in terms of unity of interests coming from the Black community — Black Lives Matter a case in point — doing it within the present party structure, at least in the short run, might be the most effective,” Miller told Atlanta Black Star. “There’s a lot of urgency in these issues. What happens historically with third-parties is they are short-lived, and don’t succeed. If organized well enough, they drive certain issues that force people to address them,” he added. “The extent you can mobilize public interests and support could mean one of the two parties would have to take up the issues.”
To make his point, Miller noted how through external pressure from the Civil Rights Movement, and internal pressure from Fannie Lou Hamer and others, the Democratic Party adopted policies of concern to African-Americans.
“The danger in doing so is it co-opts it and mutes it,” Miller said of movements that align with a particular party. Ultimately, he believes that for third-party politics to succeed, a “radical transformation of white views is needed.”
He thinks, however, that there is also much potential for third-party successes on the local level.
According to Vincent Hutchings, Professor, Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan, the challenge for any third-party effort is that the laws as written by the two parties discourage a third party from emerging.
“Unlike other advanced democracies, the U.S. makes it difficult to form a third party,” Hutchings told Atlanta Black Star, noting the winner-take-all system in which a party wins with a majority of the votes and not a plurality.
“The people who are there want to keep it that way,” he said.
Ultimately, because the rules do not favor a third party, “the third party would ultimately have to replace one of the two parties in order for that to happen,” Hutchings added.
Although the prospects are difficult, however, he believes such efforts as a Black independent party should be encouraged.
“A case is to be made for a party outside the Democratic or Republican Party. Just as the system is rigged to prevent the rise of a third party, the system is set up as to not be responsive to the interests of African-Americans,” he noted. “It’s set up in part because of the nature of the electorate. Most of the voters are white, and given the peculiar history of this country, they are not inclined to embrace the sorts of policies that would be necessary to address longstanding racial inequities,” Hutchings said.
Given that the system will make no substantial efforts to address these intractable forms of inequality, Hutchings said, it makes perfect sense to consider political structures outside the traditional two-party system.
“The issues that African-Americans and others face in this country can be described succinctly: For multiple generations, the United States has afforded privileges to people classified as whites. We are not only living with the residue of that, but the process is going on in 2016. The issue is not one about Black disadvantage and inequality, but white advantage and inequality that is sanctioned by the state,” he noted, emphasizing the need to address white supremacy and the privileges afforded to white folks.
“That portion of the population, on balance, will be reluctant to give up that power as a rule. Whites are reluctant to recognize they possess disproportionate advantage and give up anything that would diminish that advantage, and that is whether whites belong to the Republican or Democratic parties,” Hutchings said.
Further, he believes that addressing the concerns of Black people “means taking something away from whites,” which none of the presidential candidates are inclined to do, because “it is not in their political fortunes to do so.”
In addition, the political science scholar views a Black coalition with other groups “as being desirable, though not realistic in the short term.” However, he also noted that “at one time it was unrealistic to consider abolishing slavery or giving women the right to vote. History is peppered with things that were once unrealistic.”
Moreover, there are inherent difficulties to establishing an independent Black party, which would require a great deal of grassroots organizing, funding and internal unity. As Frederick Douglass once said, “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
For example, as Hurumia Ahati wrote in “An Independent Black Political Party: Posing an Alternative to Asses, Elephants and Rainbows” in the National Black Law Journal in 1988, the party may be labeled as separatist and not desirable for some Black people over being involved in a white-dominated power structure.
Hutchings anticipates some internal barriers to the success of such an organization. “
Other Black people will be resistant,” he contends. “Given the depressed disadvantage of many African-Americans, you understand why they cling their allegiance to the Democratic Party, because the other party wants to make things even worse. So a solution outside the two-party system has some risks. The risk is that the current allegiance to the current Democratic Party might facilitate the success of the Republican Party,” he noted.
“We also risk sticking to the current strategy. Things are bad, the Democrats are not going to make them better, and the Republicans will make them worse. So, pick your poison.”
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