Printer Friendly Version
There are any number of definitions of what a progressive politician is but, in the American context, one litmus test suffices to weed out virtually all the Democratic Party actors who are not progressive: membership in the DLC. Vampire-like, the Democratic Leadership Council spread their capes to envelop Black Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, the impeccably credentialed progressive candidate for U.S. Senator. As if transfixed, Obama passively allowed the DLC-spawned New Democrats to place his name in their directory.
We’re glad he snapped out of it (See Cover Story, this issue), and trust that the U.S. senatorial candidate’s name will soon disappear from the damnable directory.
In the course of our dialogue with Obama, on June 19 we posed three “bright line” questions designed to distinguish real Democrats (“Yes” answers) from positions taken by the corporatist DLC (“No”):
1. Do you favor the withdrawal of the United States from NAFTA? Will you in the Senate to introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?
2. Do you favor the adoption of a single payer system of universal health care to extend the availability of quality health care to all persons in this country? Will you in the Senate introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?
3. Would you have voted against the October 10 congressional resolution allowing the president to use unilateral force against Iraq?
As expected, longtime progressive Obama answered all three in the affirmative.
Associate Editor Bruce Dixon, a Chicagoan now living in Atlanta, worked closely with Barack Obama in early Nineties voter campaigns, and has been on point for in explicating the racist history and sleazy machinations of the DLC. T.P., a reader who also resides in Atlanta, appreciates Dixon’s work.
Bruce Dixon's penetrating analysis came at a very critical point when election decisions are being made by the citizens of the U.S. For God's sake there have been only a few voices raised in dissent and to lose one as passionate and articulate as Obama would surely ensure the horrifying victory of another international power crazed maniac. Of course, it is pretty obvious that Obama has been affected, as shown by his rather pathetic attempt to deny the charges. One is glad you did not let him off the hook and have challenged him to get the hell out of the good books of the DLC!
Jeff Cohen is on the road a lot, but he took time to write.
the communications director of Kucinich for President, and the founder
of FAIR, the progressive
media watch group.
a longtime critic of DLC, and Dixon's piece was the best expose yet.
Dixon’s June 12 Cover Story, “Muzzling the African American Agenda – with Black Help: The DLC’s corporate dollars of destruction,” caused Wayne Spencer to banish the DLC from his website.
for DLC? That’s more than a fair exchange, Mr. Spencer.
Paul Dean, of Sebastopol, California, agrees that the political lines of demarcation need brightening.
all those that contribute to :
I just wanted to tell you guys that you are an absolutely class act,
in every respect. I have recently become aware of your site, and it
is now slated to be part of my regular diet. You are right on the
money with your assessment of the DLC, the Bush thugs, your identification
of methods used to control, distort and destroy any progressive agenda
that might arise, etc. And in addition to your thorough understanding
and exploration of the issues, your writers are artistic, creative,
articulate and entertaining.
You guys use language like a laser, and with that laser you cut through countless layers of bullshit and rapidly expose the substance within. Further, your point of view seems to be remarkably internally consistent. I loved the piece on Barack Obama and the DLC. You have deftly exposed the essence of the issue, and framed your 'bright line questions' to him in such a fashion as to leave no wiggle room. Absolutely marvelous! The DLC must go. Without a truly powerful third party, there is no hope for democracy and social and economic justice in America when the DLC controls the Democratic Party agenda. All progressives must know this, and any candidate that wants to be taken seriously must steer clear of the DLC subversion. Thank you for articulating this so powerfully.
Ric Dodson believes the problem is a lot bigger than the DLC.
again I would like to extend my thanks to your publication for a refreshing,
intelligent and timely assessment of current conditions in this world
and in our nation.
Dixon’s home folks remember him well. Dick Reilly and Christine Geovanis
butt heads with corporate evildoers through HammerHard MediaWorks/Chicago and Chicago
Just wanted to write and say how much a bunch of us at Chicago Indymedia appreciate the blistering analysis on Black Commentator. We've especially been enjoying the back and forth on Illinois senate hopeful Barack Obama instigated by our old friend Bruce Dixon. Also, our educational project, HammerHard MediaWorks, has been including your piece on media consolidation in Black radio markets in our skills-share teaching kit (with attribution, of course). We hope that's ok.
Keep up the great work. Your website is a truly precious resource on the web.
Reilly and Geovanis are referring to our May 29 commentary, “Who Killed Black Radio News?” Or, they might be talking about “Treat Corporate Media Like the Enemy – and no free pass for Black radio,” May 1. We are partial to both pieces, and pleased that Chicago Indymedia finds useful.
Blunt imperial instruments
Watching the Bush men hold forth on foreign affairs is, at times, like dreaming of people already dead. The American hegemonic adventure is utterly and irrevocably doomed, but the architects of the disaster are helpless to do anything but continue down the road to general ruin, oblivious to the actual trajectory of their path. They are, finally, history’s defects, now nearing the end of their grotesque social mutations. The Pirates have set out to conquer the world – in a bubble.
said as much in our June 19 commentary, “The
Pirates’ Blunt, Useless Instruments: The Iraq occupation cannot possibly
succeed.” The Bush men fervently believed that:
The Bush men fervently believed that:
Once the U.S. military and its corporate camp followers were fully embedded on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the whole of the Eurasian land mass would be open to American power projection. Syria would swing wide the gates to Damascus, lest they be knocked down. Jubilant Iranians would sing Farsi songs in praise of Coca-Cola over Ayatollahs, while contributing their crude to the U.S.-controlled mix. Saudi Arabia would crumble from princely rot, ridding the U.S. of fat royal skimmers of profits rightfully belonging to people of Aramco….
This is an occupation unlike any other in modern history. Acting solely on greed and delusions, the Pirates dismissed the collective experience of humanity to attempt the occupation of a large and sophisticated society without a reasonable expectation of collaboration from any significant segment of the population. It cannot be done, as confirmed by the daily dispatches from Iraq and beyond….
The Bush men are unfit to occupy anyone, the worst possible candidates for world hegemony. Like Wile E. Coyote, they are going down.
Larry Piltz is a writer’s writer, a political satirist who can get real serious when he wants to – yet is very kind to the rest of us.
Ayatollah and Coca-Cola - truly inspired rhyme, practically doubled over laughing, and speaking of colas, how about RC & Farsi, Sprite & Shiite, Dr. Pepper & Dr. Germ? Or, Cluster Cola, with 100 little taste explosions in your mouth - it's coffinated! Pick some up today. Now made with no-waste packaging: turn the plastic six-pack holder into three sets of handcuffs!
Wile E. Coyote image, a great parallel, suspended midair out from
a cliff, legs churning - brings to mind the Tom Jefferson quote, something
about trembling for my country when I realize that God is just.
U.S. of Acme. USA! USA!
Nobody spins words like Larry Piltz. But Pete Rorvik is the model of efficiency.
Somebody should have had their name on this one. It's one of the most brilliant and informative pieces I've seen on the problem.
Unsigned commentary is a collaborative product. We use several brains at once.
We looked forward to some thoughtful responses from the readership when we published Joseph Anderson’s June 12 Guest Commentary, “Right Hook at the Bell! Bell Hooks’ Black male-bashing.” Anderson used hooks as a straw woman to counter those who depict Black males as, “at root, not only fundamentally different, but uniquely pathological, uniquely predatory (especially sexually) and misogynist - in Hooks' words, sexually immature, traumatized and dysfunctional.”
Among those who stepped to the plate is Ms. Trineka D. Greer, a composition instructor and graduate student in the Department of English at Pennsylvania State University.
I am really torn about how I feel. I do have a major problem with how African American females in the academy and otherwise are constantly made to feel like we are race traitors if we call Black men on issues related to gender. Perhaps, some go about it in ways that offend folks but at least they are starting a dialogue. And quite frankly, some folks need to be offended into action. If you ask some Black women, you will find that many us have as many complaints about the way Black men (sexism) treat us (individually and as a system of treatment) as we have about "The Man" (racism). Most of us have had more Black men call us bitches, whores, chicken-heads (and treat as such) than we have had white people call us "nigger". Unfortunately, we often remain silent because of the hostility that we receive from Black men.
On the other hand, I agree with the author in his opinion that bell hooks needs to "tighten up". Dr. hooks often represents information as fact without substantiating her claims with research and documentation. However, I just read an article about sexual abuse of Black males and their research, which is documented and accessible, substantiated that this is a huge "unspoken" problem. The movie "Antwone Fisher" was about the trauma caused by the abuse of young Black boys and how this pathology contributes to many of the problems that Black men experience. A good friend of mine who is a licensed counselor, explained that the majority of all Blacks who get therapy or counseling do so because it is court mandated. This is unfortunate and I think many more of us need to come to grips with that.
Finally, I really disdain Black and White comparisons. You know, when people say things like "if they don't do it to white people, why do they do it to Black people?" etc. I believe this type of rhetoric and evaluation is really limiting. So it did unnerve me that Mr. Anderson continually made this move throughout his article. My answer to his question is that perhaps somebody should assert that white men's penchant for choosing trophy wives is also pathological. Maybe that would satisfy him and make it OK to make the same assertion about Black men. I am a little disappointed that he spent so much time berating Dr. hooks and virtually no time discussing the problems, both psychological and spiritual, that plague Black folks... Perhaps he could have discussed why so many Black men mimic the unsavory behaviors and attitudes of their white male counterparts (i.e. good old boy clubs, sexual harassment, etc.). Whatever the case, more Black men need to be taking the issue of sexism and gender-based oppression more seriously. As a Black Feminist, it unnerves me how oblivious some Black men and women for that matter are to these problem. Look, Black women have been feminist or infused feminism into their every day and ordinary actions (i.e. Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, Angela Davis, etc.) long before white feminists ever invited "us" to speak at one of their meetings.
The racist disinformation network
Jacqueline Bacon’s excellent piece on racially hostile media survived two months of inattention, its shelf life sustained by the depth of Bacon’s analysis. “Disrespect, Distortion and Double Binds: Media treatment of progressive black leaders,” was commissioned by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and reprinted by on June 19.
Media commentators should avoid name-calling, stereotypes and other distractions from substantive discussion about ideas or proposals; represent people’s ideas and statements fairly; and portray their actions and beliefs accurately. Sadly, when it comes to African-American leaders who challenge the status quo, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and professor and author Cornel West, these standards are frequently violated – including, in some cases, by African-American commentators.
Suhas Malghan connected with Bacon’s piece, immediately.
sooner had I read Jacqueline Bacon's article on your site did I come
across this article on Rev. Sharpton on the Salon site. I shall
let it speak for itself.
readers should be forewarned. Those that are not registered for Salon’s premium offerings will endure 15 seconds of a commercial – a tolerable experience – only to be subjected to Jake Tapper’s relentless racism. Tapper – an incompetent, like most of his ilk – uses Sharpton's complaints about vicious media distortions (and outright lies) as an excuse to perpetrate more of the same.
The Selling of Academic Political Science
Bruce Dixon’s open letters to Profs. Bullock, Boone
In August of last year, Denise Majette defeated Rep. Cynthia McKinney in a Georgia Democratic primary in which Majette stood in for the missing white candidate. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the rest of national corporate media had framed the race as a battle between the spent remnants of the civil rights era and an emerging, independent, more conservative Black “middle class” – represented by Majette.
Soon after the polls closed, it became apparent that the only thing unusual that had occurred was an extraordinary white turnout, augmented by an unknown but hefty Republican crossover. Other than that, DeKalb County showed itself to be like most other Dixie jurisdictions – racially polarized. Whites voted ninety-plus percent for their surrogate candidate, Majette. McKinney was the overwhelming Black favorite.
Finding itself at odds with the facts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution invented a fraudulent “study” to prove that its pre-election coverage and predictions had been accurate – that Majette had won a quarter to a third of the African American vote. had already concluded that this was a mathematical impossibility, and Associate Editor Bruce Dixon proved it. His analysis showed that Majette could not have received more than 19 percent of the Black vote – that there was no “biracial coalition” in support of Majette. The Black Consensus had embraced McKinney.
During and after the campaign, the AJC and the national corporate media repeatedly called on two academics for political insight: Charles Bullock, of the University of Georgia, and Clark-Atlanta University’s William Boone. Both could be depended on to echo the newspaper’s discredited position, that Black DeKalb County was politically fractured along class and age lines. They served their purposes, if not their professions.
Except among readers of , the AJC was no doubt confident that its lie would stand. However, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to say, “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” As reported on June 12:
The crime has come back to haunt the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In reporting that McKinney's people were filing papers for a return match, the AJC was compelled to share the results of a study by University of Georgia professor Charles Bullock, one of the paper's regular quote men. During the campaign and its immediate aftermath, Bullock had given credibility to the Majette "biracial coalition" myth. Later, however, he conducted his own study, and found that Majette had garnered only 17 percent of the Black vote - entirely consistent with 's analysis, which had bent over backwards to give Majette the benefit of the doubt whenever questions of voters' race arose.
Prof. Bullock advised Majette that what she “needs to be doing is getting out, courting in the black community, trying to broaden her coalition because she did so poorly in her community."
However, Bruce Dixon won’t let Bullock escape his own complicity in the AJC’s propaganda. The same goes for Boone, who didn’t bother to prove himself wrong, but may wish that his role be forgotten. Below are Dixon’s letters to the two corporate media quote men.
You apparently agreed, having been quoted around that time in an AP story saying the following:
was a change in DeKalb, and Cynthia didn't pick up on it," said
William Boone, a political scientist at historically Black Clark Atlanta
University. "There's a growing Black middle class here, a middle
class that is much, much different from the Black middle class of
the civil rights era. Cynthia had the civil-rights-era politics down
pat. But the voters were looking for someone more focused in the issues,
not just someone who is Black and will look out for them." (Associated
Press, August 22, 2002.)
Just to avoid giving Bruce the last word, we’ve saved Mano Singham’s letter as the kicker. Readers will note that Dixon’s name is not mentioned, once.
Thank you for creating such a great website. I found it through a link from Counterpunch some time ago and it is now bookmarked for regular reading. It is not often that one finds such brutally frank analyses of current events. The tone of your site reminds me of the attitude of IF Stone who said:
"It's just wonderful to be a pariah. I really owe my success to being a pariah. It is so good not to be invited to respectable dinner parties... To be regarded as nonrespectable, to be a pariah, to be an outsider, this is really the way to do it. To sit in your tub and not want anything. As soon as you want something, they've got you!"
It looks like you don't want anything and don't expect anything from the powers-that-be.
On a practical note, I am writing a book on the educational achievement gap between black and white students in the US. I came across a good quote in that I would like to use:
"The starting point of American racism is the assumption that white people and their institutions represent the proper, normative standards against which all other people and institutions are judged. Once the white normative assumption is internalized, a racist worldview flows from it as surely as water to the sea, polluting every social space in its path."
This appeared in The Black Commentator, Issue number 42, May 15, 2003.
Should I give credit for the quote to just the website or is there a name that you would also like to credit?
Keep up the good work!
Thank you, Mano Singham. We will all take credit, as it should be.
gratefully acknowledges the following organizations for sending visitors our way during the past week:
Your comments are welcome.
Visit the Contact Us page for e-Mail or Feedback.