Monday, January 26, 2015
I'm not sure why. But I've some ideas. For one, this is not a real forum and was not designed to be. It's more like a free-for-all circus. There are no real moderators who can help keep discussions focused. If someone wants to disrupt your thread there's nothing to prevent him or her from doing so. If someone wants to reply to your ANALYSIS with personal insults rather than reasoned rebuttal, he can do so In real time a forum could simply expel the disrupting persons and then proceed with the discussion. Given the way this so-called forum is designed it probably draws more people from the bottom of the barrel---I mean from the bottom intellectually, not necessarily financially. (Bright and conscious people can come from the hood, like Malcolm or James Baldwin, while buffoons can come from the privileged classes, like GW or whomever). Many good people tire of a "forum" which seeks after the lowest common denominator. And you get more and more people whose natural element is the gutter. The rational few find themselves swamped by a sea of mediocrity and stupidity. But they do exist.
Actually, what Black people expected of Obama is far from clear. And it's not clear that all expected the same thing. From the more conscious and progressive elements in the Black community the common criticism is that we get much the same policies as before, but with a Black face attached to it. When I was interviewed by a French newspaper during the summer of 2008, one questioned posed to me was whether Obama' s election (should it happen) would be a positive turning point for Black America or for the poor in general. I indicated to him that the system is the system, and that the mere existence of a Black president wouldn't mean the automatic end to institutional racism or economic exploitation. And at any rate, we don't know what Obama intends to do or even what he can do from within the framework of the existing socioeconomic order. The interviewer indicated that SOME presidencies in American history were associated with positive change---Lincoln, FDR and Kennedy/Johnson were his examples. But I pointed out to the French journalist that in each of those cases there was already a sizeable movement for social justice already afoot which affected the complexion of the incoming administration. There was an Abolitionist movement BEFORE Lincoln took office, and it had to pressure him relentlessly to take a clear stand against slavery. There was a militant labor movement of millions of people BEFORE Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office, and their pressure added considerably to the impetus behind the policies of FDR. Finally, there was a massive Black Freedom movement already in motion when Kennedy and Johnson took power. And the Movement had to pressure them to stop dragging their feet on civil rights. My concern was that even if Obama was elected, and was relatively progressive, it might mean very little in the absence of a popular movement for social justice. It is my view that the main focus needs to be on economic justice--the theme of Dr. King final phase of the movement, and something that our Black bourgeoisie abandoned--and the protection and advancement of civil freedoms. Without a movement, I argued, not much will be achieved even if Obama is elected. Well, he was elected and what I projected has pretty much been correct. But...we have witnessed waves of progressive struggles: Occupy, the Wisconsin workers strike, and the wave of struggle against police brutality---which in Ferguson has revealed a MILITARIZED police such as one expects to see in police states. There are FASCIST tendencies in America, bolstered by racism, and mainly for the purpose of protecting the privileged classes and their elite interests. Changing that requires considerably more than changing the skin color of the president.
I'm a afraid that the Wizard of Tuskegee was not especially good at understanding classes. But that's another matter. But I think that he himself knew that the "troubles " of the Blacks had to be kept public, or crimes against their humanity could be safely done under cover of night. The genius of Martin Luther King came precisely in bringing the grievances of his people to public scrutiny, EXPOSING the racists, lynchers and exploiters. Washington can speculate all he wishes about the motives of those who publicize wrongs---just as others speculated about his motives in keeping quiet about them. But what all tyrants fear is exposure, and whatever the motives of those who do the exposing, they do their community a service. Silence in the face of injustice amounts to complicity with the injustice.
Your comments in post# 268 didn't seem to show awareness of the symbolic intent of the "KKK", hence my reply. But precisely because you are a foreigner I didn't assume that you were "thick." Americans who don't get it I do think to be a bit thick. I don't necessarily expect someone from another country to understand all the symbolism that is old news to the average American any more than I can be expected to understand all the symbolism of the popular or political culture of France or England. Actually, symbolizing the government with the "kkk" brand may be an understatement. For while the KKK was a fascistic and racist terrorist outfit, they are/were LESS dangerous than the national security state, and our increasingly militarized police--something hardly common even in Alabama during the time of Dr. King. (Not even Bull Connor unleashed tanks on nonviolent demonstrators in Birmingham as happened to nonviolent demonstrators in Ferguson). The national security state, the elaborate system of surveillance, our increasingly militarized police are far greater dangers than the Ku Klux Klan ever was. It is the Supine Court which in 2013 gutted the enforcement clause of the Voting Right Act of 1965. And at this very moment they are weighing in on the Fair Housing Bill signed just over a week after Dr. King's assassination. This growing concentration of power (combined with attacks on civil liberties) reflects also the growing concentration of corporate monopoly of wealth, and growing corporate political dominance in local, state and national government. (Ironically, it was under Obama that the Homeland Security provisions were signed into law. ) Also, this repetitive talk about "personal choices" or "personal responsibility " is fine as long as you're talking about INDIVIDUALS. For we certainly expect at least adults to assume such responsibility. But when we're talking about SYSTEMIC evils as poverty, economic exploitation, the militarism, institutional racism, and the growing racial and class divides in our society and the world, talk of personal responsibility is itself irresponsible--cri minally irresponsible. For we can combat such evils only with SOLIDARITY and struggle for social justice. Given the fascistic tendencies of the time, obstructing the solidarity that is needed to save what little democracy is left, and to deepen and expand democracy, becomes a criminal betrayal of the common good. And if you think that racism or class oppression is a thing of the past, then some serious homework needs to be done.