Wednesday, January 2, 2008

She's Right

So, yeah, I support Barack but after reading this essay, I have to say, "damn, she's right".

Is Obama Black Enough?

By Grace Lee Boggs

This is a good question because it challenges us to stop glossing over the huge changes that have taken place, both positively and negatively, in black leadership over the last 50 years.

In the 50s and 60s we may not have called it “black leadership” but there was no doubt what we had in mind. We were talking about “the movement.” Southern blacks, rising out of obscurity, determined to rid their communities and this country of Jim Crow, risking their lives by sitting in front seats on buses, sitting down at lunch counters, registering to vote. Small groups of deeply-committed and highly-disciplined individuals engaging in non-violent actions that forced millions of white Americans to look at themselves and recognize the crimes that have made possible the rapid economic development of this country. SNCC students transforming themselves and humanizing this country by simple acts that raised the fundamental question of what it means to be a human being, thereby inspiring women, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans to challenge patriarchy and racism.

In the North men like Malcolm challenged us to look into the mirror by transforming themselves from hustlers into community leaders and searching for new ideas when those which had initially inspired their transformation tuned out to be too narrow. Students inspired us by walking out of schools demanding black history and black administrators.

Between 1965 (the year Malcolm was killed) and 1968 (the year Martin was gunned down) black leadership was taken to a new level by King. Agonizing over the twin crises of the Vietnam war and the urban rebellions, he called for a radical revolution in values, not only against racism but against materialism and militarism. Warning against integration into the “burning house” of U.S. capitalism, he emphasized the need for two-sided transformation by and of Americans, both of ourselves AND our institutions, a transformation that would take us and the world beyond both traditional capitalism and communism.

King was killed before he could put this new revolutionary/evolutionary transformational vision of revolution into practice and make it widely known to the world.

After his death civil rights leaders, ignoring King’s warning, seized upon the opportunities that had been opened up by “the movement” to enter the “burning house” of U. S. capitalism. Instead of calling upon the American people to confront our consumerism and militarism, instead of challenging corporate globalism, these opportunists became a part of the system, evaluating black progress by how much they and other blacks were catching up with whites.

In 1977, with the support of the civil rights establishment, Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first black mayor, used scabs to break the garbage workers strike. In the late 70s civil rights leaders turned blacks into a special interest group inside the Democratic Party, just as the Democrats were becoming indistinguishable from Republicans in their dependence on corporations for campaign funds

As a result, the word “black” has lost all its movement meaning. So Bill Clinton, the man who sponsored NAFTA, who got rid of Aid to Dependent Children, who bombed Iraq, and who now suggests that Hillary’s first act as president would be to send him and George W’s father around the world, can be called this country’s “first black president”!

Meanwhile capitalism has morphed into corporate globalization, the materialism of the American people has skyrocketed, inequality is mushrooming inside the United States and between the global north and the global south, violence continues to escalate both at home and abroad, and the planetary crisis is reaching the point of no return.

Had it not been for the movements of the 50s and 60s, Obama and Hillary would not be front runners in the presidential race today.

But neither Obama’s ethnicity nor Hillary’s gender is enough to earn my support. Neither is calling on the American people to confront our materialism and militarism or challenging and proposing alternatives to corporate globalization. At this critical period in human history that is what we should be requiring of ourselves and of any presidential candidate, whatever their race, gender, or religion.

Fortunately new leadership is emerging out of obscurity, at the grassroots level, building community instead of running for office.

Source: Michigan Citizen, Dec.30 - Jan.6, 2008

Barack will have to step up. But I do believe that he would and will.


Ukali said...

Dr. Goddess... yeah, she's right!

The question, now, is: how will We recognize those emerging leaders? I'm willing to bet that Barack Obama ain't one of them (no matter how much you and others 'like' him).

Mama Grace is talking about TRANSFORMED human beings who are willing to forgo material acquisition, high political status, and financial enrichment for the sake of social good. That's asking for a lot these days, but such is the QUALITY of leadership needed to steer this country (and the world) from a sure course of self-destruction.

Barack Obama's "blackness" ain't got nuthing to do with his commitment to improving the lives of millions suffering here and abroad as a result of U.S. greed, waste, and neglect. We'll know in a few months if the Democrats think he's "ELECTABLE" enough.

Ukali (N.O.)

Dr. Goddess said...

Did you get my emails?

Yes, I like Barack but it's for many reasons and I know he's not the most radical amongst us. I just think he's a very, VERY decent human being and I very much want to see Michelle Obama as the First Lady. There are many reasons to support Obama but I hear what you and Grace Lee Boggs are saying and it's quite valid. I simply think that Obama's background and even his heart will help to change the world, not just the U.S.---especially if he doesn't get shot ;-)

Transformed? Oh yes, that's where we need to be but so many of us are not there. I believe in it, I try it, struggle with it; but what makes Obama not qualified to help transform his and all of our lives?

Somebody has to have a high political office and I suppose my question is, why not someone who has truly served and why not someone who is an intelligent, decent, human being?

He's young enough for me to believe he will be more progressive but he's progressive and experienced enough for me to believe in him now.

Can you give us a breakdown of the housing situation in New Orleans? I'm getting alot of mixed stories about what people want, if ALL of the protestors are paid (and if that means anything) and so on...