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The Attack on New York Congressional Candidate Charles Barron by Liberals and the Corporate Right Wing Shows Why We Need Independent Black Leadership

Reading the attack by Moveon.org (http://kenyonfarrow.com/2012/06/13/moveon-org-denounces-black-nyc-councilmember-why/)  on New York Councilman Charles Barron was a reminder of how little things change in America. The need to demonize Black leaders who are unrepentant in creating a sphere of Black organizing power and in holding independent political positions is as much in play today as it was during the Black Power era of the 1960’s. Since the destruction of that movement, there remains sustained vigilance amongst white political elites to guarantee that Black leader who step outside the acceptable parameters of political thought gets knocked down. Liberals believe that they represent the cutting edge of a rational left discourse. Through their delusional fog of self righteousness they believe they should gut check anyone who steps outside their artificial boundaries.

Leaving the showmanship of a Charles Barron aside, it is quite obvious that the attacks against him from liberals (and the right wing) is because of his independent thinking.  He won’t subvert his beliefs to fall in line with the dominant liberal narrative of what it means to be “progressive.” His clear views on US foreign policy being about controlling resources for the west and destabilizing any nation or land mass that does not heed to it makes him a “tea-partier” according to Move-On. Not supporting Israel, a state created by the west on the land of the indigenous population through genocidal practices including killings, mass expulsions and apartheid practices (hmm…does that sound familiar to anyone even remotely knowledgeable on US history)  makes him anti-Semitic in the eyes of liberals. To be a good “progressive” (the new buzz word for liberals today) apparently you have to be down for a little European land grab and you must accept as true all US State Department and corporate media’s pronouncements on this week’s enemy who is “trying to take away our freedoms.”

On gay marriage, Mr. Barron says he won’t block any legislation but does not agree with the idea because of his religion. He also says he won’t compare the struggle for marriage equality to the civil rights/human rights struggle of a formally enslaved population. Is this really the most backwards position on this issue? According to Move-On this position is a primary reason why Mr. Barron, a three time New York City Councilman, should not hold office. Lastly, he is opposed to the idea of charter schools becoming the new education paradigm because they are mostly profit driven entities with strong corporate backing that feed off public funds. The charter school industry has yet to produce any evidence of their vast superiority over public schools in test scores or academic achievement. In fact most studies rank them below public schools in academic achievement.  But these issues are at the heart of the Move-On attack and are why his opponent is receiving so much support from liberal and corporate pay masters (read Juan Gonzales story in the NY Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/wall-st-big-shots-prominent-politicians-worried-charles-barron-bid-brooklyn-congressional-seat-article-1.1094559)

Liberals have similar anxieties as the right wing. However unlike the right wing who still like their Black people invisible, liberals want Black faces who push the issues that are most sacred to them said in the language that makes white people feel safe, snuggly and secure. To be good with the liberal crowd you must always end any critique of US policy in one of several ways. Always support the troops and the good intentions of US foreign policy no matter how many people of color die. Respect the “great promise” of American democracy no matter how long slavery and Jim Crow lasted, no matter the great poverty of Black communities, “hope” is only an election or legislative session away. The liberal has too much skin in the game to have someone, especially independent Black leadership attempt to dictate changes of any significance and weaken the air tight grip they now enjoy over the black populace.

To make matters worse the social justice left, inclusive of people of color groups is mostly silent on protecting a natural ally like Charles Barron. These groups want plenty of black faces and ideas but are also leery of independent Black leadership. There has been an uneasy relationship forged with liberals and the foundation world since the 2008 right-wing led economic collapse.  This has led to a shift right for some in the left world in the sometimes understandable chase for relevancy. This shift means that Black leaders and organizers can also feed off the trough as long as they get their priorities straight. Priority one is to learn that the term People of Color is the New “Black.” No more Black issues to speak of unless it’s in the context of a broader people of color framework. Otherwise you will be out in the cold when it comes to funding and access.

This last decade has now more than ever silenced independent radical black leadership. Charles Barron in his attempt to win a New York Congressional seat has further exposed the sentiments of our time. The right is opposed and will let you know it. Liberals and certain members of the corporate class want their controllable alternative and have the money to make it happen. While most in the formally radical now progressive left stay silent because to speak up jeopardizes alliances and the chance to be relevant.

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About Kamau Franklin (80 Articles)
Kamau has been a dedicated community activist and organizer for over twenty years, first in New York City and now based in the south. He has been a leading member of several grassroots organizations dedicated to the ideas of Malcolm X on self-determination. He has organized on various issues including youth organizing and development, police misconduct, and creating sustainable urban communities. Kamau has led and developed community cop-watch programs, freedom school programs for youth, large scale community gardens and alternatives to incarceration. He can be followed on twitter @kamaufranklin.

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