The Democratic Party and the American Black Population
The interruption of Bernie Sanders campaign rally in Seattle by Black Lives Matter activists has thrown into the politics of elections discussion of a life and death issue for the Black population that’s long been ignored. Not surprisingly, many liberal whites opined that blacks aren’t helping “their” cause by such “uncivil” actions. Some wondered why an issue important to blacks, who are only 13% of the population, should be forced upon the whites. Honestly such comments are painful to hear or read because they show an incredible degree of – I was going to say lack of understanding and insensitivity, but no, I’ll be more frank – pure, unadulterated racism.
Some wonder what Malcolm X and Dr. King would say about any of this: about Black Lives Matter and their interruption of a white Democrat’s rally or about the reaction of white liberals to those interruptions or better yet about Democrats and liberals in general and if we can put our hopes in them again to bring about real change.
Here is Dr King’s take: “I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ’I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ’more convenient season.’”
And here is the Great Malcolm X: “The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox. One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.”
After the Democrats got the black vote and won the presidency and then failed to deliver on their promises, knowing the party could still count on their blind support in the next election, Malcolm said, speaking to blacks: “…You’re the one who put the present Democratic administration in Washington, D.C. The Whites were evenly divided. It was the fact that you threw 80% of your votes behind the Democrats that put the Democrats in the White House. Democrats have been in Washington, D.C. only because of the Negro vote. They’ve been down there 4 years and all the legislation they wanted to bring up they brought up and got it out of the way, and now they bring up you [in regards to the Voter Rights Act – S.S.]. You put them first and they put you last”.
The political landscape then when Malcolm was speaking was similar to the first two years of President Barack Obama’s presidency when the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, in addition to the White House. So, Malcolm goes on about the Democrats: “In Washington, D.C. in the House of Representatives there are 257 who are Democrats. Only 177 are Republican. In the Senate there are 67 Democrats, only 33 are Republicans. The Party that you backed, controls two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate and still they can’t keep their promise to you …”
“Anytime you throw your political weight behind a political Party that controls two-thirds of the government and that Party can’t keep the promises it made to you during election time, and you are dumb enough to walk around and identify yourself with that Party, you are not only a chump but you are a traitor to your race”.
Speaking of traitors, President Obama won the presidency as the nominee and with the support of the Democratic Party with over 90% of the black vote and right at the peak of police killings and after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which spawned arguably the first anti-establishment black national movement, he signed into law the “Blue Alert System” to “protect police officers” who might be the target of frustrated and angry people who might decide to take vengeance on them.
Obama’s presidency was a Godsend for the white supremacist billionaire class With several simultaneous wars overseas, killing brown people in the thousands, banks relieved of all accountability for their actions, Monsanto and other multinational corporations defended and represented rigorously, weapons, drug makers, insurance and oil companies making billions, whistle blowers jailed and threatened, civil liberties curtailed in the name of “war on terror”, NSA ramping up its vast spy operations against the citizens and the police going wild on the streets, while the rich got richer and poor poorer. The poor and the black community could not have been overlooked and ignored by a Republican administration which blacks and their white liberal “allies” wanted to avoid at all cost, any more than they were during Obama’s presidency.
Now, liberals want to try another liberal Democrat and are angrily admonishing blacks against pushing their life and death issue of police brutality and mass incarceration into the center stage and want them to put their trust in another liberal. In other words, just as they did with the Occupy movement, Democrats want to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement into the Democratic Party and integrate and dissolve it and render it impotent and ineffective. Let’s here it from the great teacher, Malcolm X, again: “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”
Now, I know this is going to anger many white liberals, but it’s time to say it: I believe, in the long run, liberals and particularly the Democrats are the most stubborn, resilient and intransigent defenders of the status quo and the most dangerous and the most formidable enemy of the working class, including the oppressed minorities. Paraphrasing Malcolm, it’s better to face the snarl of a wolf than the smile of a fox because as Dr. King added: “the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate”.
I’ll let Malcolm give the conclusion: “The government itself has failed us, and the White Liberals who have been posing as our friends have failed us. Once we see that all these other sources to which we have turned have failed, we stop turning to them and start turning to ourselves”.