From Black Agenda Report…

An excerpt:

Obamamania

Barack Obama’s corporate-made and -financed presidential campaign is the product of three distinct factors, all mitigating against Black self-determination and political cohesion: 1) corporate decisions, made a decade ago, to provide media and financial support to pliant Black Democrats that can be trusted to carry Wall Street’s water; 2) a widespread desire among whites to prove through the safe and simple act of voting that they are not personally racist, and/or to dismiss Black claims of pervasive racism in society, once and for all; 3) a huge reservoir of Jim Crow era, atavistic Black thinking that refuses to evaluate Black candidates’ actual political stances, but instead revels in the prospect of Black faces in high places. A President Obama would, of course, be the zenith of such narrow, non-substantive, objectively self-defeating visions.

In 2007, the Obama “package” amply satisfied all three “constituencies.” Corporations found him a loyal ally on Capitol Hill and on the speaking circuit, rewarding him handsomely for his fealty; millions of whites came to believe Obama could solve the “race problem” by his mere presence, at no cost to their own notions of skin privilege; and infinitely manipulable Black dreams of the ultimate Head-Negro-in-Charge. Many, if not most, Black folks yearn to see a Supreme HNIC before they die, and will not question how he got there or whom he really serves.

Paul Street has written often in these pages and elsewhere of Obama’s political charade: his impudent posing as the “Joshua” to succeed Dr. King’s “Moses Generation,” while supporting none of the fundamental social transformations sought by King; his fawning praise of the same U.S. “free enterprise” system that King thought was incompatible with racial justice and peace; Obama’s ridiculous and statistically baseless declaration that Blacks have already come “90 percent of the way to equality,” inferring that his election would provide the final ten percent; the senator’s initial insistence, later modified, that the Katrina catastrophe and the Jena outrage had nothing to do with race; his remarkable pledge to the Foreign Relations Council to increase U.S. troops strength by 100,000 soldiers and Marines, all the while maintaining the farce of being a “peace” candidate. The list goes on, and will doubtless lengthen as the campaign continues.

However, we at Black Agenda Report are most concerned with the paralyzing stupor that Obamamania has induced in the Black polity. Even committed Black progressive activists have jumped on the candidate’s bandwagon-to-nowhere. My saddest, and yet most telling, experience with Obama-coma came late last year, when I was bracketed with New York City Councilman Charles Barron on Ron Daniels’ weekly WBAI Radio political discussion show. Barron is one of my favorite politicians, a former Black Panther who is also a grassroots community activist and implacable foe of racism and entrenched power. Barron announced that he and the local activist group with which he is affiliated were endorsing Barack Obama for president.

In what turned into a debate between us, I confronted the councilman with all the facts outlined above, and more. He, like every other Black Obama supporter, could offer no coherent response, except to pillory Hillary Clinton, Obama’s political twin. Indeed, the interview/debate experience was audibly painful for Barron, who knows full well that Obama stands on the opposite side of the political line – when he decides to stand anywhere, at all. Finally, Barron could only offer that he “wants to give the brother a shot.” That was it. The phrase, which he later repeated, was like an exhalation of used up air, an abdication of the imperative to Speak Truth to Power if the representative of Power is Black and seems to be an unstoppable phenomenon.”

5 Responses to “From Black Agenda Report…”

  1. Hi,

    I’m becoming very leery of all of the Black people who have so many reasons why Black people should not support Sen. Obama.

    I haven’t made up my mind yet who I’m going to vote for but I am considering Sen. Obama.

    My question is why are these people who are critiquing Sen. Obama expecting him not to have the backing of certain unseen elements. All Presidential candidates do.

    Thanks

  2. When are we going to stop falling for young guys with one page reume that we could wish to have beer with, but never can? The ones that promise to be the uniter and not divider, outsider and not insider. Eveyone can drive, almost no one safely on ice. We need someone who knows how to drive on ice. Meaning experienced. Republicans are so out to touch with us that they think we can afford $15000/ year health insurance. They talk like millionairs. “we give you tax credit” 49000000 people don’t have enough income to get tax credit. Avg income of people in my area is 32000/y we can’t afford the paper that Republican health insurance is written on. Vote Clinton, the only experienced one on Democratic side. stop falling for new idealogs who can’t deliver but you wish to have beer with. JW was enough for few generations

  3. Mes Deux: You are quite correct, all of the other candidates “belong” to bizness and those who don’t are polling in single digits. What concerns me about Obamamania is not him, so much as it is US and how we go for someone without seemingly checking his record, what he actually says and supports…That as well as how those words and deeds suggest he will approach the problems of communities of color, poor communities, globalized communities.

    I don’t hear a progressive agenda being put forth; I hear him saying what he needs to say to get elected. The people stuffing money in his pocket and the ones he HAS pledged allegiance to – Israel and corporations – are not our friends. Quite the contrary.

  4. Many have done a fact check on him and resulted in the fact that they want to support him. Many just sit back assume he has a one page resume and draws up conclusions based on their own previous perceptions. I am not saying Obama is perfect and he himself has admitted that. But just so you know, in order to run a campaign you need money!! I am a freelance event planner/designer for my events I need to find sponsors or their would be no event. Mabye some people dont know that. The issue is not Obama but the country that he is running for president in. Candidates are forced to have to take contributions from private donors giving some unfair advantages.

    It was early 2006, before he thought of running for president when I sat on a panel and meet and heard him speak. He spoke about a lot of good things that would benefit the black community. He spoke about the criminal justice system, education, social programs, the reponsiblity the the individual and more importantly the family..the black family and how families work to nurture and guide. When that is missing one could only ask for chaos. He also talked about the injustice in Katrina. He recently spoke about Jena also but what you people must understand as he does, he is between a rock and a hard place running as black person for president of an %80 percent white country. He understands a lot of the issues that effect us but takes baby steps in addressing them becuase he knows it can be a touchy subject in an election. To have a platform where he even addresses black issues 10% of the time will turn him into a black candidate which means his candidacy will be over. If some black people dont understand that then they are flat out dense.
    He speaks a lot about hope and chance and faith etc… because they are universal. He knows how divisive race could be but that does not mean he is going to ignore it. I found him to be very vocal about it in 2006 when I had heard him speak about it (he wasnt pandering/he wasnt running) I find that black leaders and those some in the black community are too critical and pessimistic which was unfortunately not originally based on the issues. I love how quick some of you are of your own before looking and analyzing the actions and mindsets of the other in many cases!!!! For those who love the Clintons!! for each his own. They are no friend to us. Obama knows that he said it 2006.

    So for some blacks who speak so fondly of MLK today, I’m sure if you were alive back then who knows you probably would be singing a different tune…fuck the hope, faith, change and dream shit right. You people just love MLK but just so you know during his time he had enemies many, many of which were in the black community!!!! Who didnt like his approach and how it appealed to whites, some didnt like the idea of intergration etc… But MLK was smart enough to know that you cannot change anything if you cannot appeal to those who have the power to change it. He once asked blacks not to give up on their white brothers. Obama beleives in that message. I never beleived in that but now I am trying….In 2006 when I went to go meet with the guest speakers one of which were Obama, I was very critical of him, very cause blacks have proven, proven to be sellouts too many times before. Mabye that is the reason for the great fear or hesitation.

  5. a round of applause for this post. the point of branding is to circumvent rational thought and harness the irrational, emotional forces of masses of people.

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