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Fixing the Congressional Black Caucus

We lead off this edition of No Fools Allowed with an e-Mail message from Marcellus Andrews, Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.

“How to Fix the Fractured Black Caucus” by Glen Ford and Peter Gamble (April 29, 5005) has it just right: sectors of the Congressional Black Caucus have drifted away from the progressive concerns of their black voting base because they have been lured by big corporate money and a lack of credible political competition n the black community.  Ford and Gamble’s call for a progressive black political action committees is also just right, though they might want to think a bit more creatively about funding such a venture.  It would be wonderful if white progressives were to lend a hand by helping a black progressive PACs get off the ground, but the economic arithmetic of contemporary black America holds out some promise for truly independent organizations financed by blacks alone.

How?  Consider the arithmetic: if a million black people across America sent $5 a month to black PACs, that comes to $60 million each year. Five dollars per month, or $60 per year, per person is about the cost of a pair of sneakers, or dinner for two at a fancy restaurant, with one glass of wine each, or the cost of two mid-priced tickets to a pro-basketball game. So, progressive black politics could be energized if a city of adults the size of Detroit spent $60 a year.  That’s power on the cheap.

A grass roots fund raising effort of this magnitude would take time to organize, but once created, would be a powerful force in support of progressive politics.  Black America could run its own money primary – where candidates campaign for the support of black PACs, which would in turn have to pay close attention to the views of their small contributors lest they lose an important part of their funding base.  Black candidates who proved too friendly to the opponents of working people would suddenly feel two kinds of political heat: a drop off in financial support and the emergence of well-funded, black opponents vetted by organizations loyal to black interests.  In time, black America could regain control of its own politics by wielding the power of the purse as well as the ballot in the political arena, thereby reducing the attractiveness of the corporate siren song that lures black elected officials away from their voter base.

In the end, black America must understand that the CBC is drifting because its black voter base is seen as trapped, giving self-interested politicians the leeway to cut deals that sacrifice the interests of their constituents.  Frankly, it is time for black America to buy as well as vote for its own political voice in the Capitol, or gradually have its voice silenced by the deep pockets of the corporate state.

J. Hutton writes to say it’s time to take out the long knives to change the CBC.

Thank you for the excellent article on the Fractured Black Caucus. I agree it needs medical attention; radical surgery. The Caucus needs to be purged. Here is how it is done.

Form a Black Political Hit Team; call it a Black PAC if you wish. It shall be a standing, amorphous, shadowy organization. It shall be the function of said team to assault the traitorous reprobates as eagerly as they are courted by the political right wing. The minimum assault package should be first, to strip them of their cover of Blackness, expose the 'thirty pieces of silver', brand them publicly, then finally to drive them into the camp of their paymasters and make them remain there; make them die there; make them be buried there. Let  the slaves be on the hands of their masters.

Beware of Barack Obama; he is a chameleon. Underneath his charming exterior is another Corey Booker.

Sounds like brother Hutton is proposing something like a combination of a Black PAC, a think tank and the mongoose squad (mongoose kill snakes).

The chart we published showing the 15 members of the CBC who voted with republicans got under the very old white skin of Marjorie B. Colson in Madison, Wisconsin.

When I read that Sheila Jackson-Lee of TX had voted to cut the estate tax I thought the world must have just turned upside down.  It isn't that many months ago that I made up my mind that the only leaders worth a dime on the U. S. political scene were African American, specifically, members of the Black Caucus.

I am a very white very old woman who has been hunting for a leader for a long time.  I voted for Ralph Nader for President, for I admire him, and I believe he has provided valuable leadership throughout his adult life. But Ralph is getting old, and he is a Party of One.  The Black Caucus, on the other hand, seemed to me to represent everything I am looking for in Progressive leadership.  Until now.

I wish you the best, and I am with you in your demand that African American leadership consider the wishes and needs of their constituencies.  I believe their constituencies stretch beyond the black community, to many of us who abhor the behavior of most political leaders.  You are doing the whole nation a favor with your writings and arguments.  We need you and we desperately need honest representatives in government we can admire and trust.

Musician Keith Benson wrote from Philadelphia to tell us we are doing a great job in the "solutions" department.

I read your BC magazine, religiously. I think it is excellent and insightful. I am extremely pleased with you article posing a solution for the sellout CBC members.

I believe your magazine would really stand out from the rest if that becomes the majority of your reporting. In other words - keep reporting SOLUTIONS, in every publication. Become synonymous with solutions. I'll help - if need be.

How well we all know the problems. Everyone reports them. It is the solutions we need.

Thank you.

God Bless.

An Offensive "Pet Negro"?

A BC reader by the name of Tirandaz says Mark P. Fancher's query ("Is Condi Rice President Bush’s Pet Negro?", April 21 2005) regarding Dr. Condoleeza Rice is timely.

…However, we need not agonize over the good Doctor. The fact is, Dr. Rice serves a higher purpose, did she but know it.

So, too, does Gen. Colin Powell. They both allow us Black folk to understand the type of Africans who participated in rounding us up, marching us to the slave markets and imprisoning us until time to be sold.

We now have, thanks to them, the opportunity to understand the Negro slaves who betrayed many a slave rebellion. I frankly confess that until I saw these two on the world stage, I couldn't imagine such a person. Only a person totally devoid of self esteem could perform as these two have performed, and have no doubt about it they are performers.

Bolton, to his credit, understood this and felt free to keep both Powell & Rice in the dark regarding certain facts relating to their respective jobs. Performers need only recite their lines and follow the promptings of the director.

Apparently, only Rice and Powell take themselves seriously. To the white folk around Bush they are simply Uncle Tom & Aunt Jemima.

That is what they should be to we Black folk.

Rao V Nagisetty believes the problem with Condi is due to the difficulty of dealing with celebrities.

Once they are a celebrity and they belong to your race, knocking them even for legitimate reasons shows a certain quality of "foolishness". It is similar to patriotism, my country, right or wrong.

The credentials of Dr. Rice are impressive but her qualifications to do the job are minimal. She does not have the attitude necessary to come to her own judgment. As Fancher says, she is always waiting for her Master's Voice. That was her career so far. As far as Dr. Mugabe goes, it is not clear he gets a fair press.

If you can defend Farakhan, I do sympathize with Dr. F, it should not be difficult to treat Mugabe fairly. That this world is screwed by the white man, you don't have to be a genius to see, just look on this world in Africa, Middle East, Far East , Indonesia, Taiwan etc. So some of us, like judge Thomas and Dr. Rice sold out and there is no reason to protect them from our criticism.

I will go so far as to say that these specimens are third rate, belong in the garbage bin. A race that produced a Marin Luther King, a Nelson Mandela, a Paul Robeson should not have to scramble to cherish every celebrated black. Celebrities are dime a dozen but those that inspire and enliven the human race for ages are but a few. I say Dr. Rice is unfit for her current job.

I will not trust her with anything that requires fairness and nobility.

BC responded:

The publishers agree with you, if you mean that Rice is culpable for every crime in which she has assisted.


Debra Robinson was offended by Fancher's Think Piece.

Let's call a spade a spade, shall we?  The characterization of Dr. Rice as Bush's "pet Negro" is offensive, demeaning, misleading and misogynist.  Dr. Rice has played the role of political advisor, analyst, and coach to two generations of the Bush dynasty. The policies she pursues – in the name of her boss - are more than likely of her own creation. Do not imagine that "W" is the mastermind and Rice is, to use retro-terminology, a running dog lackey.  Furthermore, it would be foolish to downplay her role in masterminding many of the policies she initiates, whether or not she takes direct credit for those policies.

While I am no fan of the Bush administration, Dr. Rice included, I do feel that she should be recognized for the powerful, intelligent, intense and strong black woman that she is. Any woman who has an admitted ambition to be NFL Commissioner is definitely a force to be reckoned with, in “her” own right, and is no one’s pet dog, or Negro.

Are the brown shirts around the corner?

In her Freedom Rider column on April 21, 2005, Margaret Kimbereley posed the question: "Fascism: Are We There Yet?".

Gwen Barbour wrote to say she fears we are very close.

Margaret Kmberly's article dovetails with another that I read recently entitled Facism Anyone?  We Americans better wake up and smell the coffee because we are as close to fascism right now as we have ever been at any time recently including the McCarthy era.  All this talk of covert surveillance of citizens, RFID chips, passports to re-enter the country and soon apartheid like ID cards should make us all ask the big question:  While the watchers are watching us, who's watching the watchers?  The lack of integrity, absence of character and  self serving seen in far too many of those who are "in charge" leaves me deeply troubled for our country. 

I recommend the article - Facism Anyone to all who want to take a serious look at what is happening  right now.  It can be found in Free Inquiry Magazine vol.23 Number 2. It  outlines 14 common indicators of a facist regime some of which include:

1)    Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism;

2)    Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause;

3)    A disproportionate share of national resources dedicated to the military;

4)    A controlled mass media (we're getting there);

5)    Religion and ruling elite tied together;

6)    Power of corporations protected;

7)    Power of labor suppressed or eliminated;

8)    Obsession with crime and punishment;

9)    Fraudulent elections. 

Knowledge is power!!  Thanks BC for giving a forum to writers like Margaret Kimberly who always put it out there for us.

Annette M Klapstein tells us she is preparing to leave the country.

I completely agree with your article, especially the part pointing out that at some point it will be too late to jump off the runaway train.

My husband and I are jumping off this summer, and I have made sure that my two draft-age sons have up-to-date passports so they can get out of the U.S. quickly when they reinstitute the draft or at any other time they feel the need to. 

I threatened to move to Canada when Reagan was elected, but I stayed and continued to fight the good fight to the best of my ability.  But this time, I no longer have any hope for this country.  It does indeed seem to me that we're about three-quarters of the way down the road to full-blown fascism, and I see no possibility of turning this train around.

Half (or more) of the people in this country seem to be brainwashed sleepwalkers with no idea of the disaster awaiting them on the immediate horizon. I will never stop being politically active, and doing everything in my power to end American imperialism, but for now at least, I will be doing it from elsewhere.

Thanks for all your good work.

Radio BC

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May 5 2005
Issue 137

is published every Thursday.

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