Category Archives: Blacks

Martin Luther King’s Revolutionary Dream Deferred

We are now experiencing the coming to the surface of a triple prong sickness … [that] has been lurking within our body politic from its very beginning … the sickness of racism, excessive materialism and militarism. … the plague of western civilization.
—Martin Luther King, Aug. 31, 1967

We kill the most beautiful among us—anyone, it seems, who reveals the nastier, brutish elements of American society and has the audacity to imagine, demand even, a better path: peace, unity and tolerance. Abraham Lincoln, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and so many others.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of King’s tragic assassination, and though countless publications will brim with commemorations and retrospectives of this misunderstood icon, most will miss the mark. Long ago co-opted and sanitized by mainstream political figures, the King of memory bears little resemblance to the radical, complex man himself.

He’s remembered by Democrats and Republicans alike as the “good,” “peaceful” civil rights leader—a useful foil for the “bad” activists of the black power movement, the Stokely Carmichaels, Malcolm Xs and Huey Newtons of the world. In reality, the categories were never so neat, the commonalities staggering.

In a sense, we all—white and black, liberal and conservative—have our own King. My King is the provocative King, the critic of bigotry but also of capitalism and the Vietnam War. The King, in truth, who has been willfully concealed from view.

When I arrived at the American history department at West Point in 2014, I—a white, heterosexual, military man—was handed the portfolio and teaching load on civil rights. Everyone else, it seemed, studied the American Revolution or the Civil War, and, well, I came across as vaguely progressive and willing, at least compared with my peers. A former student of counterinsurgency operations in Northern Ireland, I decided to ditch the old scholarship and embrace my new role. I’ve never looked back. I taught classes and led an annual summer excursion for cadets to visit with movement veterans across the South. I, along with two academy law professors, faced an immediate challenge: the cadets’—and most Americans’—utter misunderstanding of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King himself.

After 50 years, with the United States again locked in racial conflict, culture wars, gaping inequality and perpetual global war, now seems as good a time as any to take stock of the state of King’s “three evils”: racism, materialism and militarism.

America’s Original Sin: Race and Privilege

The cry of “Black Power” is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear … the economic plight of the Negro poor.
—MLK, 1966

They are all linked, by the way. To treat each challenge as discrete is to rob them of their intertwined, inescapable power. Racism is a no-brainer. We’ve not come as far as we like to believe. Sure, there’s been the Brown v. Board ruling, Civil and Voting Rights Acts, even a black president. Nevertheless, each of these historic victories is being rolled back before our eyes. Schools are again as segregated as they’ve been in two generations. Conservative courts have dismantled key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Heck, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions—a man too racist to serve as a federal district judge in the 1980s—heads the Justice Department.

Race and empire are intimately connected. Look only to the unprecedented militarization of the nation’s police—decked out in camo fatigues and sporting the same armored vehicles we drove in Baghdad—and the never-ending catalog of racially charged brutality cases nationwide for evidence. America resembles two armed camps, physically and intellectually isolated from each other. Five decades into an unwinnable and racially biased war on drugs, black men still fill the prisons in this nation—which has by far the highest rate of incarceration worldwide. In 2018 in the U.S., a black male is nine times as likely to serve time as a citizen of the next worst country: Cuba. We’ve got a long way to go.

The Unspoken King: Anti-Capitalism and Counter-Materialism

The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.

The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.
—MLK, 1967

We inhabit a peculiar moment, when most Americans hardly look up from their smartphones long enough to realize they’re missing “Real Housewives.” The vacuous world of celebrity worship and material preoccupation does not lend itself to the impassioned activism King demanded. Unfettered, free-market capitalism—enabled by neoliberal Democrats like the Clintons—has gutted the American dream and rendered it an unattainable nightmare for many. The empirical evidence is staggering.

Income inequality in the (ostensibly) egalitarian United States has reached its worst levels since the Gilded Age. Wages for the working class have been stagnant for 40 years, while the superrich bask in an embarrassment of riches. The federal minimum wage is worth less in real dollars than it was 50 years ago.

Yet it’s all so much worse than that. Obsessive materialism and big money (think pharma, oil, fracking) in politics have set American culture in the express lane to existential disaster. Most of us live a delusion, wishing away the gathering storm of global warming while chasing immediate gratification from social media clicks. Soon after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, Syria finally joined up, making America the true, lone international pariah. Really doubling down, Trump’s recently released National Security Strategy completely removed climate change from the Pentagon’s list of threats. I’m sure King would approve.

The Greatest Purveyor of Violence: U.S. Militarism, 50 Years On

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.
—MLK, 1967

One could plausibly argue that the United States remains a prominent purveyor of death, or at least chaos, across much of the planet today. It is this—the third of King’s evils—with which I am myself most familiar. Alas, in 2018, American militarism is alive and well, ranging from the symbolic martial pageantry pervading the National Football League to an ongoing, expanding and genuinely global war. Thanks to painstaking research at Brown University, we now know the U.S. military is conducting counterterror operations—all undeclared wars—in 76 countries. The bill so far? Some 7,000 dead American soldiers (eight of my own), 1.3 million war-related Arab/Muslim deaths, 10 million refugees and $5.6 trillion dollars. For this, we’ve gotten 30 times more worldwide terror attacks than occurred in 2001. What a steal.

Taking further stock of the state of U.S. militarism requires a macabre tour of direct and sponsored operations across the greater Middle East. In Yemen, the United States is complicit in Saudi terror bombing—providing munitions and in-flight refueling—that is causing famine and a world-record cholera epidemic in the Arab world’s poorest nation. In Syria and Iraq, the (perhaps justifiable) campaign against Islamic State resulted in far more civilian deaths than originally reported. Ceaseless backing of the far-right Israeli government has helped facilitate an incessant state of siege of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The U.S. also backs dictators, kings or strongmen with abhorrent human rights records far and wide across the region, from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. Sure, they’re crooks, sure, they gun down protesters, sure they behead women for “sorcery,” but hey, at least they’re our crooks.

The point is as simple as it is disturbing: While there are many “purveyors of violence” in the world today, the United States is far from innocent. Militarism is alive, well and growing in our increasingly martial culture. In King’s time, young Vietnamese girls burned in napalm strikes signified this mindset. Today, perhaps the consummate image is a starving Yemeni child.

Appropriating the Dead: Willfully Misremembering King

In America, in the fifties and sixties, one of the important crises we faced was racial discrimination. The man whose words and deeds in that crisis stirred our nation to the very depths of its soul was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
—President Ronald Reagan, 1983

When a Hollywood performer [Reagan], lacking distinction even as an actor can become a leading war hawk candidate for the presidency, only the irrationalities induced by a war psychosis can explain such a melancholy turn of events.
—MLK, 1968

That neoliberal and neoconservative voices—along with mainstream figures in both parties—annually pay dutiful homage to King, without uttering a word about materialism or militarism, is a national disgrace. That former President Reagan, hero of the contemporary right, would publicly praise him, borders on the absurd. Lest we forget, Reagan, after all, made the first stop on his general election campaign in Neshoba County, Miss.—praising “states’ rights” in the city where three civil rights workers were famously murdered in 1964. He also initially opposed the bill officially designating Martin Luther King Day. Refusing to deny that King was a “communist,” Reagan would only say, “We’ll only know in about 35 years, won’t we?” And by the way, there are still four sitting (Republican) senators who voted against the MLK holiday: Richard Shelby of Alabama (no surprise there), Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin (There’s No Blacks in Utah) Hatch and (disturbingly) John McCain of Arizona.

Every year, we’re treated to the same hypocrisy. Mainstream figures in both parties—some who vote for massive tax breaks for the rich, nearly all who support America’s endless wars—publicly laud and then invoke the ghost of King. None lays out a 21st century plan to implement MLK’s still incomplete vision. They have no such plan. They were bought and sold by corporate elites and the military-industrial complex long ago. On the right, some even engage in the fantasy that King was actually a Republican. He wasn’t. Truth be told, King would fit into neither of the two parties today. His platform and favored issues hardly receive public airing anywhere but the fringe left. Nonetheless, both Democrats and Republicans invoke King’s ghost every January for petty political gain. It’s heinous.

Republicans especially, but also centrist liberals, want us to believe King was one thing only: a narrow, nonviolent civil rights activist. That he gave only one speech: about a dream of his black daughters attending school with young white girls. They’ve sanitized him, castrated his message, omitted (through strikingly Orwellian “new speak”) his uncomfortable quotes. They’ve done so with nefarious intentions and political agenda: convince the masses that King’s revolution is over, completed, final. Stop complaining, stay out of the streets, there’s no reason to protest. Be thankful for what you have.

Don’t fall for it. Read, study, unearth the real King, the radical King, and take up the torch of his fight—a dream deferred—against the three evils still alive and well in the United States: racism, materialism and militarism. The owners of this country are counting on your apathy. Prove them wrong.

By Maj. Danny Sjursen/truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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THE SHOT THAT ECHOES STILL

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, fifty years ago this April, marked a blow to the struggle for racial equality from which the nation has still not healed. In an essay published in Esquire in April 1972, James Baldwin reflected on attending the funeral, and how King’s death signaled the end of civility for the civil-rights movement. At turns heartbreaking and hopeful, Baldwin’s words are as powerful—and urgent—as ever.

This year marks the 85th anniversary of Esquire. To commemorate this historical moment, each issue of the magazine in 2018 will feature a classic Esquire story written by an iconic Esquire author that feels as timely today as the year it was originally published.

An Introduction By Michael Eric Dyson

On April 9, 1968, thirteen hundred people filed into Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta for the private funeral of a man who, like his father before him, had once served as its pastor: the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Attendees included Thurgood Marshall, Wilt Chamberlain, Marlon Brando, Dizzy Gillespie, Stokely Carmichael, and Robert F. Kennedy, who’d be killed less than two months later. The choir, 160 strong, sang sorrowful hymns. Ralph David Abernathy, cofounder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, officiated. A lone singer performed a devastating rendition of “My Father Watches Over Me.” But the most memorable speaker that morning—a haunting baritone piped out of tinny speakers that left his four children startled—was King himself.

James Baldwin

Getty

“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral,” King pleaded posthumously in a recording from his “Drum Major Instinct” sermon given two months earlier and played at the behest of his widow, Coretta. He didn’t get his wish: The service lasted two hours, followed by a public, nationally broadcast funeral held that afternoon at King’s alma mater, Morehouse College. Such pageantry was a too-familiar vessel into which black pain was stuffed at moments like this, moments when suffering made no sense, moments for which we had no words. Yet the writer—especially one whose fiery style was forged in the pulpit of his church-bound boyhood—must have words. In “Malcolm and Martin,” as the essay was titled, James Baldwin recalled King’s funeral “the most real church service I’ve ever sat through in my life” and then grappled with the national undoing set loose by his death. Baldwin knew that America could survive only if it underwent an extraordinary social transformation—equality for all, hatred for none—that echoed the most noble ideals set out by our founding fathers. (That is, when they set aside their blinding bigotry.) But he also knew that King’s death, and Malcolm X’s in 1965, were signs the nation refused to acknowledge that the key to its salvation was held by those very people whom it had enslaved. The former quickly embraced pacifism; the latter was an advocate for black freedom at any cost. But the daily battles took a toll on both men, and their views had begun to converge—Malcolm mellowed; Martin grew more radical—so that, as Baldwin wrote, “by the time each met his death there was practically no difference between them.” Not that the country much cared about the particulars; the American experiment had once again bet against its redemption by black moral genius and lost.

America, Baldwin believed, was split in two—not between North and South but between the powerful and the disenfranchised. Racism, that scourge that beclouded our democracy, remained—remains—the nation’s greatest peril. But the powerful maintained the status quo by sowing discord among the disenfranchised. Poor white folk, rather than uniting with their socioeconomically oppressed brothers and sisters against the rich, trained their targets on poor black folk. They channeled their anxieties into a vengeance against blackness.

In this way, Baldwin predicted the forces that would one day lead to the return of xenophobic white nationalism, to the rise of Donald Trump. But to say Baldwin was ahead of his time is to miss his point: America will always need a prophet—a Malcolm, a Martin. The powerful will always seek to silence that prophet, instead trying to achieve the nation’s redemption on the cheap—not through self- correction but through crimson-stained violence that sacrifices the Other, whether black or brown or queer or immigrant. Fifty years after one lone prophet who didn’t make it to forty gave up the ghost on a bland balcony in Memphis, this essay is proof that King’s legacy, and Baldwin’s words, remain vital.


Since Martin’s death, in Memphis, and that tremendous day in Atlanta, something has altered in me, something has gone away. Perhaps even more than the death itself, the manner of his death has forced me into a judgment concerning human life and human beings which I have always been reluctant to make—indeed, I can see that a great deal of what the knowledgeable would call my life-style is dictated by this reluctance. Incontestably, alas, most people are not, in action, worth very much; and yet every human being is an unprecedented miracle. One tries to treat them as the miracles they are, while trying to protect oneself against the disasters they’ve become. This is not very different from the act of faith demanded by all those marches and petitions while Martin was still alive. One could scarcely be deluded by Americans anymore, one scarcely dared expect anything from the great, vast, blank generality; and yet one was compelled to demand of Americans—and for their sakes, after all—a generosity, a clarity, and a nobility which they did not dream of demanding of themselves. Part of the error was irreducible, in that the marchers and petitioners were forced to suppose the existence of an entity which, when the chips were down, could not be located—i.e., there are no American people yet. Perhaps, however, the moral of the story (and the hope of the world) lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself. However that may be, the failure and the betrayal are in the record book forever, and sum up and condemn, forever, those descendants of a barbarous Europe who arbitrarily and arrogantly reserve the right to call themselves Americans. The mind is a strange and terrible vehicle, moving according to rigorous rules of its own; and my own mind, after I had left Atlanta, began to move backward in time, to places, people, and events I thought I had forgotten. Sorrow drove it there, I think, sorrow, and a certain kind of bewilderment, triggered, perhaps, by something which happened to me in connection with Martin’s funeral.

King at a press conference in Birmingham, 1963.

Magnum​

 

When Martin was murdered, I was based in Hollywood, working—working, in fact, on the screen version of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. This was a difficult assignment, since I had known Malcolm, after all, crossed swords with him, worked with him, and held him in that great esteem which is not easily distinguishable, if it is distinguishable at all, from love.


There is a day in Palm Springs, shortly before I left there, that I will remember forever, a bright day. Billy Dee Williams had come to town, and he was staying at the house; and a lot of the day had been spent with a very bright, young lady reporter, who was interviewing me about the film version of Malcolm. I felt very confident that day—I was never to feel so confident again—and I talked very freely to the reporter. (Too freely, the producer was to tell me later.) I had decided to lay my cards on the table and to state, as clearly as I could, what I felt the movie was about, and how I intended to handle it. I thought that this might make things simpler later on, but I was wrong about that. The studio and I were at loggerheads, really, from the moment I stepped off the plane. Anyway, I had opted for candor, or a reasonable facsimile of same, and sounded as though I were in charge of the film, as, indeed, by my lights, for that moment, certainly, I had to be. I was really in a difficult position because both by temperament and experience I tend to work alone, and I dread making announcements concerning my work. But I was in a very public position, and I thought that I had better make my own announcements, rather than have them made for me. The studio, on the other hand, did not want me making announcements of any kind at all. So there we were, and this particular tension, since it got to the bloody heart of the matter—the question of by whose vision, precisely, this film was to be controlled—was not to be resolved until I finally threw up my hands and walked away.

As the original assignment card shows, Baldwin was living in Palm Springs, California, at the time.

Ben Goldstein

I very much wanted Billy Dee for Malcolm, and since no one else had any other ideas, I didn’t see why this couldn’t work out. In brutal Hollywood terms, Poitier is the only really big, black, box-office star, and this fact gave me, as I considered it, a free hand. To tell the bitter truth, from the very first days we discussed it, I had never had any intention of allowing the Columbia brass to cast this part: I was determined to take my name off the production if I were overruled. Call this bone- headed stupidity, or insufferable arrogance or what you will—I had made my decision, and once I had made it nothing could make me waver, and nothing could make me alter it. If there were errors in my concept of the film, and if I made errors on the way to and in the execution, well, then, I would have to pay for my errors. But one can learn from one’s errors. What one cannot survive is allowing other people to make your errors for you, discarding your own vision, in which at least you believe, for someone else’s vision, in which you do not believe. Anyway, all that shit had yet to hit the fan. This day, the girl and Billy and I had a few drinks by the swimming pool. The man, Walter, was about to begin preparing supper. The girl got up to leave and we walked her to her car and came back to the swimming pool, jubilant.

The phone had been brought out to the pool, and now it rang. Billy was on the other side of the pool, doing what I took to be African improvisations to the sound of Aretha Franklin. And I picked up the phone.

It was David Moses. It took a while before the sound of his voice—I don’t mean the sound of his voice, something in his voice—got through to me.

He said, “Jimmy? Martin’s just been shot,” and I don’t think I said anything, or felt anything. I’m not sure I knew who Martin was. Yet, though I know—or I think—the record player was still playing, silence fell. David said, “He’s not dead yet”—then I knew who Martin was—“but it’s a head wound—so—”

Top, left: Members of the press corps stand on a crane-held platform to better photograph King’s casket at Morehouse. Top, right: Coretta King and Harry Belafonte at the service. Middle: A small group of the more than 150,000 people who lined the four-mile stretch from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College, where a public ceremony was held. Bottom, left: Coretta King consoles their daughter Bernice. Bottom, right: James Baldwin and Marlon Brando.

Ben Goldstein

 

I don’t remember what I said; obviously I must have said something. Billy and Walter were watching me. I told them what David had said.

I hardly remember the rest of that evening at all, it’s retired into some deep cavern in my mind. We must have turned on the television set if we had one, I don’t remember. But we must have had one. I remember weeping, briefly, more in helpless rage than in sorrow, and Billy trying to comfort me. But I really don’t remember that evening at all. Later, Walter told me that a car had prowled around the house all night.

I went to Atlanta alone, I do not remember why. I wore the suit I had bought for my Carnegie Hall appearance with Martin. I seem to have had the foresight to have reserved a hotel room, for I vaguely remember stopping in the hotel and talking to two or three preacher-type-looking men, and we started off in the direction of the church. We had not got far before it became very clear that we would never get anywhere near it. We went in this direction and then in that direction, but the press of people choked us off. I began to wish that I had not come incognito and alone, for now that I was in Atlanta I wanted to get inside the church. I lost my companions, and sort of squeezed my way, inch by inch, closer to the church. But directly between me and the church there was an impassable wall of people. Squeezing my way up to this point, I had considered myself lucky to be small; but now my size worked against me for, though there were people on the church steps who knew me, whom I knew, they could not possibly see me, and I could not shout. I squeezed a few more inches, and asked a very big man ahead of me please to let me through. He moved and said, “Yeah. Let me see you get through this big Cadillac.” It was true—there it was, smack in front of me, big as a house. I saw Jim Brown at a distance, but he didn’t see me. I leaned up on the car, making frantic signals, and finally someone on the church steps did see me and came to the car and sort of lifted me over. I talked to Jim Brown for a minute, and then somebody led me into the church and I sat down.

Esquire’s October 1968 cover captures the fatal outlook of a country rocked by a half-decade of assassinations.

Esquire

The church was packed, of course, incredibly so. Far in the front, I saw Harry Belafonte sitting next to Coretta King. Ralph David Abernathy sat in the pulpit. I remembered him from years ago, sitting in his shirt-sleeves in the house in Montgomery, big, black, and cheerful, pouring some cool, soft drink, and, later, getting me settled in a nearby hotel. In the pew directly before me sat Marlon Brando, Sammy Davis, Eartha Kitt—covered in black, looking like a lost, ten-year-old girl—and Sidney Poitier, in the same pew, or nearby. Marlon saw me, and nodded. The atmosphere was black, with a tension indescribable—as though something, perhaps the heavens, perhaps the earth, might crack. Everyone sat very still. The actual service sort of washed over me, in waves. It wasn’t that it seemed unreal; it was the most real church service I’ve ever sat through in my life, or ever hope to sit through; but I have a childhood hangover thing about not weeping in public, and I was concentrating on holding myself together. I did not want to weep for Martin, tears seemed futile. But I may also have been afraid, and I could not have been the only one, that if I began to weep I would not be able to stop. There was more than enough to weep for, if one was to weep—so many of us, cut down, so soon. Medgar, Malcolm, Martin: and their widows, and their children. Reverend Ralph David Abernathy asked a certain sister to sing a song which Martin had loved—“Once more,” said Ralph David, “for Martin and for me,” and he sat down.

The long, dark sister, whose name I do not remember, rose, very beautiful in her robes, and in her covered grief, and began to sing. It was a song I knew: My Father Watches Over Me. The song rang out as it might have over dark fields, long ago, she was singing of a covenant a people had made, long ago, with life, and with that larger life which ends in revelation and which moves in love.

He guides the eagle through the pathless air.

She stood there, and she sang it. How she bore it, I do not know, I think I have never seen a face quite like that face that afternoon. She was singing it for Martin, and for us.

And surely He

Remembers me,

My heav’nly Father watches over me.

At last, we were standing, and filing out, to walk behind Martin home. I found myself between Marlon and Sammy.

Top, left: In 1956, King was arrested for his involvement in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It’s unknown who scrawled the notice of death, or when. Top, right: King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech to 250,000 people during the March on Washington in August 1963. Bottom: Newspapers around the world led with the news of King’s death. Meanwhile, riots broke out in dozens of cities throughout the country; 58,000 soldiers from the Army and the National Guard stepped in to quell the uprisings.

Ben Goldstein

 

I had not been aware of the people when I had been pressing past them to get to the church. But, now, as we came out, and I looked up the road, I saw them. They were all along the road, on either side, they were on all the roofs, on either side. Every inch of ground, as far as the eye could see, was black with black people, and they stood in silence. It was the silence that undid me. I started to cry, and I stumbled, and Sammy grabbed my arm. We started to walk.

I don’t think that any black person can speak of Malcolm and Martin without wishing that they were here. It is not possible for me to speak of them without a sense of loss and grief and rage; and with the sense, furthermore, of having been forced to undergo an unforgivable indignity, both personal and vast. Our children need them, which is, indeed, the reason that they are not here: and now we, the blacks, must make certain that our children never forget them. For the American republic has always done everything in its power to destroy our children’s heroes, with the clear (and sometimes clearly stated) intention of destroying our children’s hope. This endeavor has doomed the American nation: mark my words.

This photo, published in Esquire’s August 1968 issue, shows mourners at King’s burial.

Ben Goldstein

Malcolm and Martin, beginning at what seemed to be very different points—for brevity’s sake, we can say North and South, though, for Malcolm, South was south of the Canadian border—and espousing, or representing, very different philosophies, found that their common situation (south of the border!) so thoroughly devastated what had seemed to be mutually exclusive points of view that, by the time each met his death there was practically no difference between them. Before either had had time to think their new positions through, or, indeed, to do more than articulate them, they were murdered. Of the two, Malcolm moved swiftest (and was dead soonest), but the fates of both men were radically altered (I would say, frankly, sealed) the moment they attempted to release the black American struggle from the domestic context and relate it to the struggles of the poor and the nonwhite all over the world.

To hold this view, it is not necessary to see C. I. A. infiltrators in, or under, every black or dissenting bed: one need merely consider what the successful promulgation of this point of view would mean for American authority in the world. Slaveholders do not allow their slaves to compare notes: American slavery, until this hour, prevents any meaningful dialogue between the poor white and the black, in order to prevent the poor white from recognizing that he, too, is a slave. The contempt with which American leaders treat American blacks is very obvious; what is not so obvious is that they treat the bulk of the American people with the very same contempt. But it will be sub-zero weather in a very distant August when the American people find the guts to recognize this fact. They will recognize it only when they have exhausted every conceivable means of avoiding it.

In the meantime, in brutal fact, all of the institutions of this nation, from the schools to the courts to the unions to the prisons, and not forgetting the police, are in the hands of that white majority which has been promising for generations to ameliorate the black condition. And many white Americans would like to change the black condition, if they could see their way clear to do so, through the unutterable accumulation of neglect, sorrow, rage, despair, and continuing, overriding, totally unjustifiable death: the smoke over Attica recalls the bombs of Birmingham and the liberal Mr. Rockefeller reveals himself as being even more despicable than his openly illiberal confreres further down.

But it is not important, however irresistible, to accuse Mr. Rockefeller of anything. He is just another good American; one of the best. It is unlikely that any Western people, and certainly not the Americans, have the moral resources needed to accomplish the deep and mighty transformation which is all that can save them. Such a transformation involves unimaginable damage to the American ego; would reduce all the American religious ceremonies, including the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, to the hypocritically bloody observances many of us have always known them to be; and would shed too unsparing a light on the actual dimensions and objectives of the American character. White Americans do not want to know what many nonwhites know too well, e.g., that “foreign aid” in the “underdeveloped” countries and “anti-poverty” programs in the ghetto are simply a slightly more sophisticated version of the British policy of Divide and Rule, are, in short, simply another means of keeping a people in subjection.

Since the American people cannot, even if they wished to, bring about black liberation, and since black people want their children to live, it is very clear that we must take our children out of the hands of this so-called majority and find some way to expose this majority as the minority which it actually is in the world. For this we will need, and we will get, the help of the suffering world which is prevented only by the labyrinthine stratagems of power from adding its testimony to ours.

Baldwin’s first Esquire story ran in 1960; his ninth, and last, ran in 1980. In an interview for the July 1968 issue, conducted two days after King’s funeral, Baldwin grapples with the growing violence in the fight for equality.

Esquire

No one pretends that this will be easy, and I myself do not expect to live to see this day accomplished. What both Martin and Malcolm began to see was that the nature of the American hoax had to be revealed—not only to save black people but in order to change the world in which everyone, after all, has a right to live. One may say that the articulation of this necessity was the Word’s first necessary step on its journey toward being made flesh.

And no doubt my proposition, at this hour, sounds exactly that mystical. If I were a white American, I would bear in mind that mysteries are called mysteries because we recognize in them a truth which we can barely face, or articulate. I would bear in mind that an army is no match for a ferment, and that power, however great that power may consider itself to be, gives way, and has always been forced to give way, before the onslaught of human necessity: human necessity being the fuel of history.

If my proposition sounds mystical, white people have only to consider the black people, my ancestors, whose strength and love have brought black people to this present, crucial place. If I still thought, as I did when Martin and Malcolm were still alive, that the generality of white Americans were able to hear and to learn and begin to change, I would counsel them, as vividly as I could, to attempt, now, to minimize the bill which is absolutely certain to be presented to their children. I would say: if those blacks, your slaves, my ancestors, could bring us out of nothing, from such a long way off, then, if I were you, I would pause a long while before deciding to use what you think of as your power. For we, the blacks, have not found possible what you found necessary: we have not denied our ancestors who trust us, now, to redeem their pain.

Well. Baby, that’s it. I could say, and they would both understand me: Don’t you think Bessie is proud of Aretha?

Or: Do you think that Americans can translate this sentence both out of and into the original? My soul is a witness for my Lord.

By James Baldwin/Esquire

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Israel Is Exposing Africans to Danger of Slavery

You’ve probably heard that right now, in the year 2018, African men, women and children are being sold at slave auctions in Libya. What you may not have heard is that Israel—the recipient of more United States military aid than any other country in the world—is putting tens of thousands of Africans at risk of torture at the hands of those very slave traders. How did these refugees come to find themselves in Israel to begin with? And why is Israel now expelling them all?

First of all, Israel is connected to Africa—northeast Africa. And as African people flee the dictatorships oppressing them and ethnically cleansing them, they flee in every direction, including northeast, to Israel. Those that have fled to Israel believed its claim to be a democracy, and thought that a state supposedly established to provide a safe haven for refugees would understand them and grant them asylum.

But they were wrong. In 2012, Israel built a high-tech fence on its border, cutting the country off from the rest of the African continent, to ensure that no more refugees could enter. And once it was completed, the government worked on forcing out the 65,000 African refugees that had already made it into the country. At first, Israel feared what the world would say if it sent these refugees right back to the tortures they had fled. So instead of outright deporting them, it announced an official policy to “make their lives miserable” in order to drive them all out.

Hundreds of Israeli chief rabbis issued a joint religious edict decreeing that it is a sin against God to rent apartments to African refugees. Israel’s political leaders baselessly accused the Africans of being incorrigible criminals and of spreading diseases. And for years, the government outright refused to examine African refugees’ asylum requests. When it finally did, Israel earned itself the distinction of having a higher refugee rejection rate than any other country in the world, over 99 percent.

And then the government built the largest detention center in the world, and rounded into it thousands of refugees off the streets of Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. All this in order to “make their lives miserable,” so that they buckle to the pressure, grudgingly relent and agree to self-deport back to Africa. In this way, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to ethnically cleanse the country of between a third and a half of all African refugees in just five years.

All this was bad enough. But now an old-new evil spirit is sweeping across the globe. Buoyed by a worldwide wave of white supremacy, Netanyahu now realizes that it’s no longer necessary to coerce consent from these African refugees in order to deport them. Netanyahu’s new plan is to simply round up the remaining 35,000 African refugees, and physically force them out of the country. If any refugees refuse to leave, Israel will jail them for life. In December, the measure passed in the Israeli parliament with a large majority, and the country’s Supreme Court gave the policy its stamp of approval.

Netanyahu is beginning to boast about Israeli xenophobia, and trying to convince some European Union allies to adopt its racist policies—and purchase its high-tech fences to keep refugees from reaching Fortress Europe. If Israel is allowed to expel its remaining African refugees, it will send a clear message to the EU that it’s legitimate for any country to adopt anti-refugee rules and keep out black and brown people that are fleeing for their lives—without even a sense of shame.

Let’s not pretend that Israel is some kind of safe haven for black folks. In recent years, the government’s racist rhetoric has led to lots of vigilante violence against this community. African refugees have been murdered by Israeli lynch mobs across the country. Even the babies of African refugees have been violently attacked by Israeli racists: In Tel Aviv, a kindergarten was firebombed, and a 1-year-old baby was stabbed in the head. No Israeli has ever been sentenced to jail for any of these savage hate crimes.

But the fate that awaits these refugees if they are forced out of Israel will be far worse. Israel has bribed the government of Rwanda with tens of millions of dollars to agree to take in the refugees that Israel expels. But the refugees aren’t granted status there. Instead their documents are confiscated, and they are quickly forced to leave the country and begin their search for safe haven all over again, from scratch. While seeking protection in Europe, they are falling into captivity in Libya, where they are tortured and raped, mutilated and murdered.

By David Sheen/truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist

How President Clinton Betrayed the Poor (Audio)

Currently, over 41 million Americans are living in poverty. It’s a massive problem that scholars like Peter Edelman, a Georgetown Law professor and director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, are working hard to address.

“In terms of public policy and poverty … the research shows us that we’d have about 90 million people in poverty if we didn’t have Social Security, the Earned Income Tax Credit, SNAP, which is food stamps, and so on,” Edelman tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer in Part One of an interview on the podcast “Scheer Intelligence.”

“So we actually have been doing—and this is very important in the age of Paul Ryan, who says nothing works, and let’s get rid of all of it, which is a total lie,” Edelman continues, “we should understand, it wasn’t as though we stopped shop in 1973 and said we’re not going to help at all. We did.”

The interview begins with a discussion of Edelman’s early career under Robert Kennedy in the 1960s, before ultimately focusing on his time as an adviser in the Clinton administration.

“I can certainly say we should have done more,” Edelman tells Scheer of poverty policy. “It’s not only the low wage, it’s also the mass incarceration.”

Edelman ultimately resigned from the Clinton administration in 1996 in protest of Clinton’s drastic restructuring of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program by passing the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act.

“Here was Bill Clinton, and instead of talking about ending poverty in any serious way, he was talking about ending probably the most successful program for dealing with poverty,” Scheer says. “It [the AFDC] was just basically eliminated.”

“They were totally wrong,” Edelman responds. “Within HHS, with Donna Shalala, we’re pushing very hard to get Clinton to veto that legislation … the disagreements are very unambiguous, they’re very clear.”

Edelman’s latest book, “Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America,” delves into these issues in further detail and can be purchased in the Truthdig Bazaar. Listen to the full interview in the player above, and stay tuned for Part Two of the interview. Find past episodes of “Scheer Intelligence” here.

Posted by Emma Niles/truthdig click here for audio

Posted by The NON-Conformist

New Tax Bill Throws Meat to Corporations and Wealthy, a Bone to Most Blacks

Anyone committed to narrowing the huge economic gulf separating this country’s haves and have-nots probably views Dec. 22, 2017, as a date that will live in infamy. That’s the Friday when President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, a GOP-sponsored early Christmas present for corporations and the uber-wealthy that’s projected to tack an additional $1.5 trillion onto the national debt.

Following a year of unprecedented Wall Street earnings in 2017, the rich now have an additional tool to wring even more wealth from a booming world economy in 2018. For businesses, the corporate tax rate plummets from 35 percent to 21 percent, while married couples who file jointly and make $600,000 or more annually will see their tax rate shrink from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. The law also lowers taxes for most middle- and working-class taxpayers, until these temporary cuts begin to sunset.

“I think the most important thing to take away from the tax law is that it is an enormous upward redistribution of wealth, particularly a redistribution of wealth for those who make money by having money, as opposed to those who make money by having a job,” says Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution, in Washington, D.C.

Williamson calls it “a mathematical certainty” that the new tax-cut law will further widen the economic chasm between rich and poor U.S. citizens. “The reality in the United States is that people of color have been systematically kept from economic opportunities for generations, which means that even Blacks who earn a high salary today are unlike to have the kind of wealth that white Americans with similar jobs have, because white Americans have relatives with jobs that were denied to other people.

“When we give a [tax-law] gift at the expense of people who are not wealthy, we are also giving a gift to a disproportionately white population, at the expense of a disproportionately non-white population.”

Trump and Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate had disingenuously touted their tax legislation as long overdue “tax reform” that would toss an economic life raft to middle-class families. After going through most of 2017 without a significant legislative victory, GOP senators were so desperate to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that they voted on the measure in December without waiting for newly elected Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones to join the Senate.

“This was really about delivering a whopper corporate tax cut. That was the main drive of the whole process,” says Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies. “The conservative agenda is to cut taxes and then weaken the social safety net.

“So I think we’re headed toward austerity politics now, created in part by this tax cut,” Collins predicts. “The wealthy are going to be creating tax shelters, creating pass-through corporations. And that’s going to create a demand for further [federal] budget cuts,” after the impact of that missing tax revenue is felt. Collins says that with defense appropriations viewed as “off limits,” it’s only a matter of time before Republicans start looking to chop funding to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

The reason the tax-cut law is such a sweetheart deal for corporate America, according to Collins, is that all the tax cuts for businesses are permanent, while cuts for individuals will be phased out over the next five to seven years.

Angela Campbell, a Black advertising executive living in Manhattan, isn’t surprised the GOP’s tax legislation put corporations in the catbird seat. “It’s a crap shoot whether they will pass along any of those savings to working people,” Campbell says. “I will believe it when I see it. Some companies are talking about infusing their savings into employee-development initiatives, but it’s just talk until I see action.

Campbell, who has college-bound children 17 and 14, points a provision in the tax law that slaps a 1.4 percent excise tax on the endowment returns of private universities that have at least 500 tuition-paying students and nonexempt assets of more than $500,000 per student. “They use that money for financial aid,” Campbell notes. “Most of the Ivy League schools have a policy that if you come from a family making less than $75,000 and you get admitted to Harvard or Princeton, you go for free. In my mind, it means they can no longer be as generous with the people that need it the most. That’s what worries me most about the tax bill.”

Inequality expert Chuck Collins says the new tax law “accelerates existing trends, meaning that if you own a lot of assets, if you already are in the top 20 percent, you’re going to see your fortunes improve. But if you depend on a wages, a paycheck, it will compound existing inequality, including the racial divide.

Trump and congressional Republicans “didn’t pass this with Black people in mind, with people in mind who are not on the asset-building train,” Collins says. “It’s a lost opportunity in terms of actually reducing wealth inequality. For example, the tax law reformed the mortgage interest deduction, but instead of directing the funds to those who have been excluded from home ownership, they’re using that saving to pay for a corporate tax cut.”

Drake Warrick, a Black international development official in suburban, Washington, D.C., says it appears the new tax law won’t boost — or hurt — him and his family of four.

“It’s not going to pull generations out of poverty,” Warrick notes drily. “I’ve looked at it to the extent that if affects my income. I talked to my tax man and he said, ‘Drake, it’s not going to do much for you!’ It’s not going to hurt me, but I’m not going to get back $30,000. I don’t have investments that are going to benefit from any kinds of write-offs. I’m in the same situation I was in before the bill passed.”

By Blair Walker/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Bill Would Require NFL Team to Refund Snowflake Fans Offended by National Anthem Protests If fans of the Indianapolis Colts are going to be offended by something, it should be their team’s on-field performance this season.

When Indiana State Rep. Milo Smith left the Indianapolis Colts’ Sept. 24 game, he felt triggered.

Not because his Colts played terribly, although they did a lot of that in a year they won only four games (including the one Rep. Smith attended) and finished dead last in their division. No, it was because Smith had personally witnessed a handful of the Colts’ players take a knee during the national anthem.

Smith (R-Columbus) was so offended he introduced a bill last week that would require the Indianapolis Colts to offer refunds to fans who purchase tickets if those fans are also offended by players kneeling for the national anthem.

“To me when they take a knee during the national anthem, it’s not respecting the national anthem or our country,” Smith told the Indy Star. “I’m pretty patriotic, and it didn’t sit right with me.”

A gross abuse of legislative office? A misguided attempt to impose government force on a private transaction? A potential violation of the U.S. Constitution? Smith’s proposal is all three.

“His proposed law is an absurd assault on the First Amendment because it tackles, if you will, political speech of the players by exerting economic pressure on their employer, the Indianapolis Colts,” says Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana. “The First Amendment protects each of us from government controlling what we say, and it certainly protects businesses and their employees from government regulation that seeks to discourage speech based on its content.”

Smith is, of course, free to express his disagreement with the players’ decision to kneel for the anthem. He’s completely free to voice those opinions to newspapers like the Indy Star or to post on social media—like President Donald Trump has done, often, throughout the current football season. He’s also free to stop buying tickets to Colts’ games, stop watching National Football League games on TV, and to request a refund from the team for the game he attended in September (good luck with that last one).

Being a member of the state legislature does not give Smith the right to legislate against every little thing that offends him. It’s no better than would-be senator Roy Moore arguing that it’s illegal to kneel during the anthem. It’s no better than the suggestion, made by Trump in September, that NFL teams should fire players who protest the anthem.

Those protests, by the way, started as a way to make a point about police brutality against blacks—something that’s been largely forgotten as the protests and reactions to them were subsumed by political tribalism once Trump got involved.

Conservative snowflakes who turn to government as a means of solving their problems, whether in the Indiana statehouse or the White House, will end up like the Colts did this season—big, big losers.

By Eric Boehm/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The Validity and Usefulness of the Term “Black Misleadership Class”

It is both an actual and aspirational class, which ultimately sees its interests as tied to those of U.S. imperialism and its ruling circles.”

In what he called “an afterthought” to his December 21 article on “The Black Political Class and Network Neutrality,” BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon dropped an unexpected bomb. He now has “deep reservations” about use of the term “Black misleadership class,” because “it implies that there is or ought to be a class of good and righteous black leaders.” The term is “sloppy and imprecise,” Dixon writes, adding (I hope) sarcastically:

“Maybe the good ones are supposed to be the ‘real’ blacks and the bad ones unreal. Maybe the difference [is] having or lacking character, table manners, home training or ‘real’ blackness, or even some kind of black magic.”

This is all quite cute, but bears no connection to the way the term “Black misleadership class” has been deployed by every one of BAR’s editors, including Dixon, since the publication’s inaugural issue in October, 2006 — and by Dixon, Margaret Kimberley and myself in our previous duties at The Black Commentator. It is as if Bruce imagines that he has been in the company of narrow Black cultural nationalists all these years, and has finally broken loose from such mysticism. He appears to believe that his colleagues — and, apparently, his former self — have been guided by perceptions of Black leaders’ “authentic or inauthentic blackness,” rather than their “class allegiance.”

“It is as if Bruce imagines that he has been in the company of narrow Black cultural nationalists all these years, and has finally broken loose from such mysticism.”

It’s a broad brush, and inflicted on the wrong people. The language of Black “authenticity” seldom appears in Black Agenda Report, and virtually never from the pens of its editors. During Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, his boosters, mainly in the corporate media, claimed that Obama’s Black detractors were obsessed with the idea that he lacks “authentic” Blackness. However, BAR’s problem with Obama has always been that he is a corporate warmonger – an “authentic” toady for the ruling class. Our critique of Obama has consistently focused on the class that he serves. But Bruce seems to remember things differently.

I have so deeply embraced the “Black misleadership class” terminology, I thought I coined it, myself. But, a thorough Google search of both BAR and The Black Commentator provides no evidence of my authorship. Instead, the first use of “Black misleaderhip class” by anyone appears in the March 17, 2005, issue of The Black Commentator – then under my editorship — in an article by James Warren, titled “Thirty-Seven Years of Non-Struggle Misleadership .” Warren, who described himself as having “been active in the Black and Labor movement for over 35 years,” refers variously to a Black “misleadership class” and “Black mis-leadership” as standing in the way of “our most prized possession…the ordinary working class men and women waking up as if from a deep sleep.”

The next reference to the term appears in the title of Bruce Dixon’s February 9, 2006, piece, “Failure of the Black Misleadership Class .” However, “misleadership” does not appear in the rest of the body of the work. Instead, Dixon uses the term “black leadership” 17 times, without the prefix “mis.” Three months later, on May 11, 2006, Dixon refers to the “black misleadership class,” and later “the black business leadership class,” in an article titled “The Black Stake in the Internet .”

The first use of ‘Black misleaderhip class’ by anyone appears in the March 17, 2005, issue of The Black Commentator, in an article by James Warren.”

In an article titled “The Black Caucus’ Fatal FOX News Embrace ,” that has disappeared from the archives of Black Agenda Report but was picked up by Common Dreams on June 6, 2007, Leutisha Stills refers to “the groveling mentality of a Black misleadership class that watches African Americans get their asses kicked every day of the year by Rupert Murdoch and the entirety of corporate media….”

I don’t show up in Google using the BMC term until October 9, 2010 when I condemn “a misleadership class that sells out the people at every turn” in a video of a speech to the Black Is Back Coalition.

BAR editors Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Ajamu Baraka, and Margaret Kimberley have all used the term, in articles posted on March 12, 2015 , September 14, 2017 , and January 18, 2017, respectively. Coleman-Adebayo blasted the “Black mis-leadership class” for orchestrating an elaborate kabuki theatre in the city of Selma, Alabama”; Baraka excoriated the “black mis-leadership class” for fully participating in “the process to deliver the people’s resources to the ruling elite”; and Kimberley denounced Atlanta Congressman John Lewis for exemplifyingeverything that is wrong with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Democratic Party and the black misleadership class.”

Nellie Bailey, an editor and co-host of the weekly Black Agenda Radio program, is a consistent user of the term. Indeed, until Bruce Dixon’s recantation of December 21, all of BAR’s editors cited the sins and crimes of the “Black misleadership class” – with Dixon and me blasting the BMC most often.

Brother Dixon now prefers to substitute “political” for “misleader.” He writes that the “black political class” (Dixon does not capitalize “Black” — I do) “happens to be a class to which most of us don’t belong.” But he is the one guilty of “sloppy” and “imprecise” usage. Bruce and I and the rest of the activist/writers/analysts at BAR do belong to the broad Black political class. He is restricting membership in the political classes to elected officials and, presumably, lobbyists, corporate media commentators and business friendly civic organization “spokespersons” that carry the rulers’ political water. Grassroots political activists are written out of Dixon’s definition of “politics” — even those who dedicate most of their waking hours to “people’s” causes. Most Black preachers and academics (except those whom media award the title “public intellectual”) would be excluded, too. The bourgeoisie certainly prefer the narrowest definition of political class, restricted to those who speak for Power.

“Grassroots political activists are written out of Dixon’s definition of ‘politics.’”

For those of us who don’t work for the rulers, “political class” winds up being of little use, much like the term “the chattering classes.” We all chatter. The question is: Who is chattering to whom, about what, and in whose interests?

“Black Misleadership class” is not a ‘scientific” term. It is weaponized political terminology, with specific meaning based on Black historical and current political realities. Most often, in our usage at BAR, the term refers to those Black political forces that emerged at the end of the Sixties, eager to join the corporate and duopoly political (mostly Democrat) ranks, and to sell out the interests of the overwhelmingly working class Black masses in the process. It is both an actual and aspirational class, which ultimately sees its interests as tied to those of U.S. imperialism and its ruling circles. It seeks representation in the halls of corporate power, and dreads social transformation, which would upset the class’s carefully cultivated relationships with Power.

We know who these people are, based on their political behaviors. Our job, as conscious “political” people, is to expose their treachery — so that the Black masses will reject their “misleadership.”

“Until Bruce Dixon’s recantation of December 21, all of BAR’s editors cited the sins and crimes of the ‘Black misleadership class.’”

The following is excerpted from an article of mine that has disappeared from BAR’s archives, but which was picked up by the August 31, 2014 Greanville Post, titled, “Black Folks are Going Nowhere Until We Discard the Black Misleadership Class .”

“The current Black Misleadership Class voluntarily joined the enemy camp — calling it ‘progress’ — as soon as the constraints of official apartheid were lifted. They exploited the political and business opportunities made possible by a people’s mass movement in order to advance their own selfish agendas and, in the process, made a pact with Power to assist in the debasement and incarceration of millions of their brothers and sisters. In the case of Black elected officials, their culpability is direct and hands-on. The professional ‘interlocutors’ between African Americans and Power, from the local butt-kissing preacher to marquis power-brokers like Al Sharpton, serve as the Mass Black Incarceration State’s firemen….”

Students of Black history will immediately recognize the role played by these Black “firemen”: they are the “House Negroes” that Malcolm X inveighed against ; the aspiring or professional “type of Negro” who, when the master’s house started burning down, “would fight harder to put the master’s house out than the master himself would.” — Malcolm X, Wayne State University, January 23, 1963.

Malcolm struggled on behalf of the “field Negro,” the working class masses. “House Negro” and “Field Negro” were not scientific terms; they were political weapons that resonated among the Black masses. They had sharp, cutting edges, designed to rebuke and isolate the internal enemy, and to discourage other Black people from collaborating with the ruling class.

Our mission today is no different.

They are the ‘House Negroes’ that Malcolm X inveighed against.”

In 2013, in a speech marking the first national conference of Students Against Mass Incarceration, at Howard University, I explained why BAR makes “full use” of the term, “Black misleadership class”:

Some folks might think we mainly use it as an insult. And we DO.

“We believe that denunciation and shaming of those behaviors and politics that are destructive to our people is a good and useful thing to do.

“When people who claim to be Black leaders aid in the destruction of our people, they deserve to be insulted — “buked and scorned,’ as we used to say.

“So, of course we mean to insult these people that we call the Black Misleadership Class….

“They wanted to put their own upwardly mobile faces in high government and corporate places. That meant preserving the system — not tearing it down.

“They wanted to celebrate their own upward mobility, not agitate for social transformation. So, after 1968, they helped shut the Movement down.

“In order to consolidate their own political power, and curry corporate favor, the Black Misleadership Class directed Black people’s energies toward the narrowest electoral politics and the crassest materialism. Their modus operandi is to treat the masses of Black people as cheerleaders for the upward strivings of a few.

“The ultimate expression of that madness, is that the Black Misleadership Class poured all of its energies into protecting a symbol of ultra-upward Black mobility — Barack Obama — while the bottom fell out for the Black masses.

“This is the same class that has historically been far more ashamed over Mass Black Incarceration, than outraged. They resent those Blacks who have been caught up in the criminal justice system, because they mess up the petty bourgeois picture of Black America that they like to paint.

“They have no use for the rest of us, except as props in their for-profit productions.

“So, damn right, we like to insult the Black Misleadership Class. It’s part of our political work. They need to be insulted.

“We need a Movement, not just to deal with our external enemies, but also our internal ones. Because they are killing us, from the inside out.”

Brother Dixon may be willing to give up a perfectly good weapon, but I am not.

Down with the Black misleadership class! Power to the people!

By Glen Ford/BAR

Posted by The NON-Conformist