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Member since: Sun Jul 16, 2017, 07:11 AM
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Some who had tired of centrist appropriation

of progressive popularity suggested I make this an OP. Someone posted a poll revealing Obama's political approach to be more favored than the Sanders political approach. Almost immediately it was seized upon as proof of the popularity of establishment politics. Recalling not just 2008, but knowing Obama's 2012-2016 presidency to be a near wholesale rejection of incrementalism, I had to respond (edited slightly):

[What this poll actually asks is] more like [Do you prefer politicians like] the greatest president of our times and a transformative figure in American history or . . . (Insert any name you wish)?

Easy question. It's Obama every time. Now ask the same question but substitute McCaskill, Harris, Biden, or even candidates who are no longer running for office for "Sanders."

[This is] Followed by [the expected dose of] spin trying to portray Barrack as a moderate, establishment Democrat. Obama ran AGAINST a moderate Democrat AND the party establishment in the 2008 primary and beat them into submission. He ran as a progressive agent of change in the 2008 general election.

He compromised toward moderation from 2008-12 because disloyal blue dogs wouldn't get behind the policies he ran on and the Republican caucus had no such loyalty issues when it came to opposing him.

Moderates abandoned him anyway in 2010 and got their heads handed to them and Congress handed to Republicans. The moderates blamed Obama. In 2012, he won a clear majority, not merely a plurality, of the popular vote because the people still believed in him and the people in my community turned out like never before.

From 2012 through 2016, he used the power of the unitary executive to take radically progressive measures that to this day wouldn't get 100% support from our caucus.

Watching the establishment try to appropriate his legacy borders on hilarious, or disgusting.

I'm not going to engage

In an effort to divert from an honest discussion about why some of us who are inextricably joined reach different conclusions.

We can talk about differences right here.

Effie Black and others could not be more correct in making the point that the Sanders idea that economic equality will effectuate racial equality is naive at best and insulting and oblivious of the nature of socialist and Marxist black liberation at worst.

On the other hand, there is a huge percentage of our community which gets little or nothing from what what we as a party have accomplished because of what we have promoted to get there. If we can't have that discussion because we are so divided that we can't even see what unifies us, we have problems.

May I acknowledge a DUer

with whom I rarely agree?

I'd like to because Effie posted an OP a few days back that to me at least could not more perfectly explain the difference of opinion among those of us in the black community AND the common thread running through it. First, let me just re-post part of what they said:

While my father came from several generations of college-educated blacks, my mother was the first in her family to attend college. And the only reason she was able to attend the school she attended was the fact that a few years prior, a lawsuit was filed forcing the school to desegregate and federal marshals escorted black students into the college.

Thanks to my mother's education and career, the two sides of my family "caught up" to each other and to whites economically. Both of my parents were successful professionals, who could afford an excellent quality of life for themselves and their children. Yet they had to constantly navigate the systemic racism still operating in this country.

For example, although my father was a World War II veteran, they couldn't get a VA loan to buy a house with no money down, loans that were handed out like candy to white families (thereby enabling them to start building nest eggs and develop generational wealth generations before blacks could even think of doing so). When they finally were able to secure a loan, the bank "redlined" them, requiring them to pay higher interest, and realtors "steered" them into a neighborhood that had been "block-busted" by realtors, provoking "white flight" and gentrification and ghettoization. When they stood their ground and, with the help of lawyers and the new Fair Housing Act, they were able to force their way into a white neighborhood, they had to deal with the hostile stares and worse of their neighbors who were sure "those colored people" would drag down their property values - even though my parents were better educated, had better jobs and made more money than anyone on the block. (If you're not familiar with some of these terms and concepts, I urge you to google "redlining," "blockbusting," and "white flight" to get a better sense and context of what I'm talking about.)

As we got older, my parents had to give my brothers "the talk" in hopes that they wouldn't get shot for driving while black. They had to explain to me why I wasn't invited to the sleepover without coming right out and telling me that my friends' parents were afraid the little black girl would steal something from their house. While our white friends could get away with just about anything and everything, speeding around on Friday and Saturday nights, car full of beer and weed and, if they did get stopped, just got a warning like "You'd better go on home, son, before I have to take you there myself and have a little talk with your folks" from their friendly neighborhood police officer, my sisters and brothers had to make sure we didn't do ANYTHING wrong but were still stopped, threatened, made to lie across the hood of the car or down in the street and humiliated and terrified in countless other ways - all because black kids driving in a late model luxury car in an affluent neighborhood (where we happened to LIVE) must be dangerous criminals and the not-so-friendly neighborhood police officer - the same one - felt it his duty to make sure we didn't step out of line.

Even today, my elderly, distinguished father knows that whenever he attends a black tie event, there's a good chance that, at some point during the evening, he will be asked to fill a drink, bus a table, hail a cab or retrieve a car because - you know, a black man in a tuxedo MUST be the help there to serve them. And my beautiful, elegant, accomplished mother is still regularly assumed to be the maid, because a black woman in a nice home couldn't possibly be the lady of the house.

For those of you who are not black, I want to take a moment to point how exceptional these accomplishments were.

First, to come from several generations of college educated and beyond persons of color (dating all the way back to the mid 1800's) is extraordinary. This is not just because it represents generations of monumental effort to overcome overt racism, but also because the number of our forbearers who were able to do so was infinitesimally small. When John Russwurm graduated from Bowdoin College in 1836, he was only the third AA student to graduate from an American college or university. Even after the Civil War and the requirement that any state taking advantage of the land grant program provide for AA education spurred the creation of HBCUs very few offered degrees in any discipline other than divinity until after the turn of the century. The combined educational accomplishments of the author's father, and the previous generation of the poster's family, placed the author in a category unknown to all but a handful of black Americans.

The author's mother's accomplishments are no less unique. The first time US Marshals were used to escort black students into a college was 1963 and the author states that their mother started college a few years after that. If you know about the history of the integration of formerly all-white institutions of higher learning, you will also know that it didn't occur all at once. It wasn't like James Meredith was escorted the University of Mississippi and the next year black students by the dozens were admitted into formerly all-white universities. It was long and it was painful. While it varied, it is likely that the author's mother would have had no more than a dozen people who looked like her in the entire school. What's more, their mother would not have started college until 1965-66. 20 years after her husband returned from WWII. If she was anywhere near her husband's age, she would have been almost 45. Think about that for a second, starting college at age 45, as a black woman, with almost no one who looks like you sitting in class. Like the author's father, she would have been one in a million. Then, to turn around and raise a family with at least three kids? That is absolutely amazing.

I cannot tell you how moved I was when I read this story. It was particularly moving for me because our fathers must be about the same age. My father was going to join the Army when WWII in '42, a couple of years before it ended, when he was 23, but stayed home to help my grandma. He died in '98, when he was 81. When I read Effie say that her dad, who has to be right about 100 years old by now, still gets mistaken for a bus boy, I have to ask myself how stupid some white people have to be. Even as I write this, I am filled with anger. The people she described were unbelievably accomplished people of color and anyone who can't recognize that needs some help.

But that is kind of the point. Effie's family was special in a way no one in my neighborhood could have imagined anyone being. How many African American parents were among the handful of AA whose ancestors were able to graduate from college before Lincoln had even signed the Emancipation Proclamation. How many were able have John Kennedy's and LBJ's U.S. Marshals help make them among the first hundred or so black people allowed into previously all-white universities during the early 60s? How many could find a lawyer to file a lawsuit so they could take advantage of the Fair Housing Act to buy a house in an all-white suburb back then? (Heck, I had a friend who moved into a already slightly integrated neighborhood in Tallahassee with his white wife in 1995 and they pulled down his mailbox so many times that he had to get a P.O. Box.). And, quite honestly, how many black families had two college educated professional parents who had caught up to white families and their kids were driving late model luxury cars on the late 60s?

For people who have accomplished that much and their children, it makes perfect sense that redlining, the lack of availability of investment capital, how white folks stare at them in stores, who white people vote for etc. are the most important civil rights issues of the day. I can't blame them for that. As Effie basically said, they've worked so hard and still they are seen as busboys and maids. That sucks and it is indeed racist as hell. I can understand the frustration when a white politician says economic equality cures racism because it doesn't and the idea it does is a uniquely white idea.

BUT it is just a fact that a majority of AA experience have not had the astounding level of accomplishment Effie described. Yes, many of us have have achieved, but, in 2009, only 45% of us made more than $35K/year and our median household net worth was less than $5700. Most of us suffer that same degradation Effie described her family suffering AND those brothers and sisters are escorted by federal marshal to federal prisons, NOT universities. Michael Brown had not caught up to white people when he was gunned down like a dog and his family watched as a DA who was supposed to be on our side whitewashed the whole thing and a US Senator who was supposed to be on our side wouldn't call him out. Ricky Rector had not caught up to white people when prison guards cut his arms open so they could find a vein to use to execute him during the middle of what many here still claim was a magnificent change for the Democratic Party. Families living in abject poverty who are cut off after 2 years of benefits will NEVER catch up to whites.

Obviously Effie and others are right when they say money doesn't deter racism (well, money in the amounts any of us are willing to really discuss), not even for AA who have achieved what Effie described. On the other hand, when folks start talking about how the Voting Rights Act, or the Fair Housing Act, or even the Civil Rights acts, those marvels of centrist cooperation, can erase the damage far to many of our supposed allies have signed onto, they are no more right than the white politician they have singled out as whipping boy.

Does anyone have a link to a story on the ICE raid

In Morristown, Tennessee?

Apparently almost a hundred immigrants were detained and are being deported. Their families are hiding in churches. A call has gone out for attorneys to help.

A hundred families destroyed by that monster.

If you are religious, pray for them.

Notes from Clayborn Temple

Reverend Middlebrook and I sat near the back, close to the door, after he finished speaking and talked about how far we had come as individuals and as a people and how far we had to go. Around us voices of the poor, the elderly, and disenfranchised who had walked in from surrounding community were still rising up in song. He said to me, "That is the sound of freedom."

I ask him why we weren't all together with the celebrants at Mason Temple, people he has walked with his whole life ever since Reverend King was gunned down feet from where he sat. He looked back without even pausing and said, "They need their Dr. King too."

On this day, when we remember our personal image of what was taken from us, remember that there are millions who may have been freed in their hearts by the courage of great men like Reverend King but who remain in shackles. The fight is not over. The fight has not changed.

"Houston we have a problem!"

Actually, it's "We have a problem IN Houston . . . and Memphis, and Detroit, and Atlanta, and Gary, and . . . "

A couple of days ago, another OP linked to an article from the Kansas City Star about a study from the AFL-CIO group "Working America." The article concluded that economic anxiety is a major factor for black voters and that our failure to speak loud and often about improving conditions for working people had cost us in terms of black voter turnout. As might have been expected, and as was undoubtedly intended, the mere mention of "economic anxiety" brought heated denials from those for whom the term "economic anxiety" is a synonym for "Bernie Sander" and for whom "Bernie Sanders" is a synonym for "Why Clinton lost."

As shocking as it might seem given my continuing support for Senator Sanders, I cannot agree with the premise of the article (and if I believed it to be true I would have joined the view of the article without the slightest hesitation because it is pretty clearly a pro-Sanders article). While I hear about "economic anxiety" from other black people every time we talk about politics/the economy/our daily lives, the anxiety we face is different, although no less or more important on a personal level, than the anxiety faced by white working class voters. I know this comes as no shocker to most of you, but black people and white people have different life experiences and those differences are ultimately founded upon the color of our skin.

Unfortunately, the responses attacking the OP and the article were even more incorrect. Denying that our party has a major problem with black voters, insulting black voters by suggesting that they fell for the ham-handed "Russian interference" we have seen so far, insulting them again by suggesting that they came out to vote for President Obama only because he was black, and minimizing the importance of low black voter turnout in 2016 by placing it behind manifestly less-significant (statistically) factors like "Jill Stein/disloyal leftists/Susan Sarandon" and/or as-yet un-quantified factors like Comey, increases in voter suppression between 2012 and 2016, and what I call the "Russian version of 'Candy Crush' Syndrome (i.e., the incredible power of social media to get folks to engage in mindless self-destructive behavior)" when it comes to figuring out why we lost to a f-ing buffoon is a recipe for disaster later this year in Alabama and elsewhere and across the country in 2018 and beyond.

While I will focus on a particular FACTS, Pew Research has published the FACTS about black voter participation in 2016. As much as some folks want to (no adverb needed here, I hope) claim that Secretary Clinton performed as well as other recent non-black candidates, the fact is that 2016 marked the first decline in black voter participation in two decades. Given that many (white and black) Democrats saw us as not only championing the interests of Black Americans in the last election, but also being punished by white voters (and attacked by economic justice Democrats) for doing so, it should be of concern for ALL Democrats that black voters didn't, shall we say, "feel the[our] love."


Here is a simple mathematical fact, the primary reason we lost in those states we absolutely needed, Michigan, for example, was not because Jill Stein took away vote Secretary Clinton should have had, but because black voters were so unenthused by what we as a party offered that they didn’t turn out and vote.

In Michigan, Jill Stein received 30K more votes total in 2016 than she did in 2012 AND that was taking her votes from across the entire state. In just one Michigan county alone, Wayne County, with a population that is 40% black, Secretary Clinton received over 70K less votes than President Obama and 2012 was Obama’s close election. (Secretary Clinton received 130K less votes in Wayne County in 2016 than President Obama did in 2008). To place the blame on Stein-ists in face of those numbers is simple denial. (Btw, if you are thinking about blaming black voters for not turning out with the same level of and anger that we see leveled here on an almost daily basis against "leftists" who didn't vote, be prepared for a little pushback.)

Far too many people try to paper this over by saying, “We got 90%+ of the black vote in Michigan. We’ve got the message black voters want to hear.” Sorry, that’s just wrong. ANY Democrat is going to garner 90%+ of the black vote because we f’n suffer in a way non-black voters do not when Republicans win. (As I have mentioned in other posts, I am as extreme left as is humanly possible and I have voted for the Democrat in every single election beginning in 1972 for simply that reason, not because any candidate other than Obama in 2008 has spoken to my interests.) If you want to see whether we buy what is being sold, look at turnout. Turnout in 2016 tells you that all of the “experts” who are talking about how moderation and incremental-ism sells with black voters are wrong. They may sell at DU, and even with a vast majority of black DU members, but they doesn’t sell in Memphis where I live, or Houston, or, as we see from the stats, Detroit.

I have zero doubt that given the closeness of the 2016 presidential election in 3-4 key states, that without Russian/Cambridge Analytical social media disinformation, suppression of Democratic voters in the form of voter ID and voter registration laws – particularly combined with racially and/or ethnically targeted voter purges; and the suppression of Democratic voters in the form of racially and/or ethnically targeted decreases in polling locations and voting hours could have independently caused the 2016 disaster. Even the defectors to Stein could have changed the outcome. BUT if we are looking at the MAJOR cause of our defeat, it wasn’t any of those, it was our decision to ignore the dissatisfaction of black voters and to simultaneously tell working class voters to jump in a lake (when both of those groups have consistently voted in favor of the Democratic candidate and did again in 2016) AND then to continue the morally indefensible and failed strategy of playing to educated suburban whites which have never voted in our favor.

That has to change and it has to change now.

If we are to win in 2017, 2018, and beyond, it will take more than just claiming that we stand for people of color, or for that matter, working people. It sure as hell will take more than pitting them against each other. We are the party of the oppressed. We have to act on it, even if it means forcing "the middle" who doesn't vote for us anyway to deal with some ugly truths. We don't have the media. We don't have the money. We sure as hell don't have the Russians. All we have are each other.

Here at DU it is fine to vent. It's fine to let emotion overrun fact. It's fine to speculate what might have been if only . . . (insert your favorite Bernie hate and/or Bernie love meme OR Clinton hate and/or Clinton love meme here). 2016 f'ing hurt and that hurt isn't going away in 6 months, none months, or even a year, or quite frankly, forever. What's more, it will hurt our country for decades (as anyone who understands how easy it is to get rid of regulations - as we are seeing that POTrump do every single day - but how long it takes to put them in place knows) Let it out while you're here.


When we get out from in front of our computers or off our cell phones, when we walk out that door, when we walk out the door and look our oppressed Democratic constituencies in the eye, we need to do more than just be "better than the Republican," we need stand up and fight for everyone from Michael Brown, to the prisoners victimized by a racist criminal justice system, to the women who are still voting Democratic, to the workers who have watched their real incomes plummet.

We need to unite.

Thanks. I know it's long.

Well, you're half right anyway

You write:

The arrogance of white people to say ["It is all about the money"] astounds me.

The arrogance of ANY white person to pontificate about racism AT ALL should astound you.

Like you, I am offended when white folks tell me that racism is just one form of the economic oppression suffered by all people and that, if we just correct economic injustice, all will be well. I am ALSO offended when white folks tell me that people who look like me don't think economic injustice is a top priority.

Racism is housed in the "evolved" DNA of white people who have assured each other for thousands of years that they are not merely intellectually, morally, and spiritually superior to us, but genetically superior to us. It is that inbred ideology that gives them the "moral freedom" to treat us like chattel, beat us, rape us, lynch us, imprison us, execute us, and, yes, steal from us. It is, however, either an unawareness of historical fact, or the willingness to sacrifice fact for the sake of a political talking point, to not admit that economic oppression (read: capitalism) - together with an intrinsically racist criminal justice system - are the new masters' primary tools for maintaining a chainless slavery.

This dismissing of the economic justice issues we face is particularly troubling for me because I speak to groups of young people living in urban areas a lot and a majority, in my opinion a substantial majority, of them are unconvinced that we (meaning those of us trying to fire them up about the Democratic Party) really give a shit about social justice issues because the folks who are telling them we do care won't speak out forcefully about things that affect their everyday lives like the racial and cultural genocide being perpetrated through: every level of the criminal justice system; and, a social support network that has trapped them in despair. (Heck, it wasn't until Trump turned it into a political flashpoint we could use against Republicans that many in the DU community started showing support for Colin Kaepernick.)

When we aren't talking about economic oppression and they don't believe we care about social justice issues, we are losing needed votes. If you don't believe me, take a moment to compare turnout in Wayne County Michigan (where we make up an overwhelming majority of the registered voters) in 2012 and 2016. We lost Michigan by around 10,000 votes, statewide. In 2012, President Obama's so-called "bad" year, more than 60,000 more people got out and voted Democratic than voted for us in 2016.

The Democratic Party can't afford to lose 60,000 votes. If anyone thinks that CLAIMING that this party stands for social justice is working at the ballot box while we have major party spokespeople supporting DA Bob McCulloch's grand jury whitewash of the murder of Michael Brown, while our party's office holders won't prosecute anyone participating in this epidemic of blue on black murder (not even the f'n murder of a child, Tamir Rice), and while our cities are dying as unbridled capitalism leaves them to rot, they need to think again.

Sure, 90+% of us who do show up and vote will vote for Democratic Party candidates (e.g., I am black but I am also a Marxist. I have voted in every election at every level beginning 1972, BUT I have never voted for anyone but the Democrat in a general election in my entire life) because we actually suffer when Republicans win, but 60,000 less Democratic voters in Wayne County is a message to those who think that we can keep on doing what we did in 2016 and still win.

Yea, white people need to be called out for the way they talk to us and about us . . . ALL white people.


I am close friends with a former member of this group, Uponthegears. For those of you who don't remember him, he was one of a handful of Black DU members who stood for Senator Sanders until the convention and then stood in his defense after he became one of the whipping boys for Trump's victory. Even though Uponthegears views could not have been the most popular, he was always treated as a brother here. In fact, I came to DU because, even though he was FFR'd, he told me about the only post he had that that even most of the white DUers liked, a post about a friend of his whose tire was shot out late at night in rural Ohio and who got interrogated by the police for driving while black instead of treated like a victim of attempted murder. I was that friend.

Like Uponthegears, I am a Marxist and have been ever since we were both members of the Black Panther Party. I am as proud of that fact now as I was almost 50 years ago when we first learned of about the necessary role of Marxism in liberation from Seale and Cleaver. Even so, I have never voted for anyone in any election at any level who was not a Democrat. I have worked for the Democratic nominee during in every general election beginning in 1972 even though in 1972 I attended our convention instead. The reason for that is simple. It does not matter whether the Democratic Party "cares" about black people, or whether its policies are what I want them to be, or even whether it runs someone who I know to be racist. The United States has a binary system at the presidential level and for black people, at least in my mind, there is never a Republican who is better than any Democrat.

That does not mean that I will be silent when I see my brothers and sisters exploited. We were silent for 400 years. As of late, I have learned there is a price to be paid for that here. Because I have no doubt that I will pay that price in the near future, I just wanted to tell you before I do that Uponthegears is alive and well and that he still calls everyone in this group brother and sister.

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