A “Black-Paper” by
‘Baba’ Amefika D. Geuka
NATIONALIST BLACK LEADERSHIP COALITION
May 11, 2008
In this paper I will attempt to assess the current election cycle from the perspective of a life-long Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanist, more particularly, that of a “practical” Nationalist. I addressed the issue of practical Black Nationalism in a previous paper titled “Understanding Where We Are;” a pertinent excerpt from which follows:
“Practical” Black Nationalism is the distinguishing feature of the Nationalist Black Leadership Coalition’s approach to our ideology. We are determined to apply the theories and concepts underlying the ideology to the real-life circumstances of Black people. Our scholars, past and present, have done an exemplary job of developing theoretical bases on which to construct an organization capable of fulfilling the needs of our people; now it is up to us practitioners to accept the baton and carry it through the next leg of our journey toward reclaiming our humanity and restoring our greatness! Black Nationalists are the Black ideologues who love and want the best for Black people, but loving our people is not sufficient of itself. We must demonstrate that we understand what Nationhood means, and that we are capable of organizing ourselves into an effective force for needed and desired change. We can no longer allow ourselves to be viewed by our people as “rhetoricians,” people given to much-talk-and- little-do, or as Mwalimu Seyoum Lewis terms it, “rap-olutionaries.”
From a practical Black Nationalist perspective then, the current election cycle must be viewed in its proper historical context. Of particular import is the role that underlying political ideologies play in the electoral process. White Americans are divided along two contending “fault-lines” ideologically: 1) Conservative; and 2) Liberal. Liberal whites used to dominate the Democratic Party through the influence and wealth of their own minor party. Today, the Conservatives have abandoned their own minor party after their success in taking over the apparatus of the major Republican Party. In the process of that takeover, Conservatives completely routed Liberals, so much so that hardly a Liberal remains today who is willing to admit to being one. Indeed, a sure-fire way for Conservative/Republicans to defeat a Democrat is to label him/her as a “liberal.” The “L” word has become the “kiss-of-death” in American electoral politics. As a direct result, Democratic Party candidates have been obliged to “move to the political center” in an attempt to distance themselves from being labeled ‘liberal;’ in effect, to become as much like Conservatives as they can lay claim to without having to switch parties (as many former liberal Democrats have done in the past three decades).
But who are these “Conservatives,” where do they come from, and how did they manage to amass such political power in such a short time? This writer maintains that today’s conservatives are yesterday’s white supremacists. The “old wine” of racist white political demagoguery, has been placed in the “new wine skin” of white political conservatism. The mastermind of this shift was none other than the infamous “David Duke” of Ku Klux Klan notoriety. It was Mr. Duke who convinced racists that the old pointed-hat-and-sheet-wearing, cross-burning, overt racist KKK image was not the most effective way for white supremacy to maintain its dominant position into the 21st Century. He urged racists to cast off their hoods and hats, stop burning crosses on black folks’ lawns, take a bath, shave, put on a suit-and-tie, learn to speak English with little or no “southern drawl,” and engage their opponents through the mainstream electoral process. I have described David Duke’s obvious success with this strategy as the “David Dukenization of the Republican Party!”
Though David Duke himself was not able to benefit directly from his otherwise successful strategy, others who did not have his KKK “baggage” were shrewd enough to recognize the genius of his approach, and astute enough to take advantage of its political benefits. The two most effective conservative operatives to implement David Duke’s strategy were the late Lee Atwater, and “Newt” Gingrich. Atwater adeptly postulated that the Democratic Party had abandoned whites in the south and become overly-indulgent toward blacks; that the Democratic Party “pandered” to blacks at the expense of whites. This position resonated with whites in the south, and they responded to Atwater’s call for them to “Come home to the Republican Party!” Never mind that the Republican Party had never been “home” to southern whites, the appeal was to their racist contempt for being forced to mix-and-mingle with hated blacks. They were therefore willing to make a home for themselves in and through the Republican Party which, as the “Party of Lincoln,” they had despised since its inception. Today the Republican Party, securely in the control of conservative/racists, has become a haven for the most anti-black elements among the American populace, and has proven that it is possible to win major elections in America not only without the black vote, but by actually running against black people and whatever are perceived to be our interests! In other words, the conservative/racists have made blacks the proverbial “albatross” to be hung around the neck of Democratic Party candidates, along with the ‘liberal’ tag.
While Lee Atwater, a former Chairman of the Republican National Committee plied his trade most effectively ‘in-the-trenches’ of the electoral process itself, his contemporary Newt Gingrich did his best work by influencing how the mainstream media would view and report on the ‘new’ Conservative/republican Party. Not only do we now have a Republican Party dominated by thinly-disguised racists, but a Democratic Party seeking ways by which it can become more like its Republican counterpart. The most pressing dilemma for the Democrats is that for the time being at least, their most loyal and dependable constituency is the black electorate! How then are they to at one and the same time “court” white racists, and retain black voters? From all appearances, they have concluded that the black voters can continue to be safely “taken for granted” politically, because they….”have no place else to go.” The presumption is that black voters will in the final analysis vote for the Democratic Party’s candidates no matter what, and no matter how often and viciously they “kick-us-to-the-back-of-the-bus.” Suffice to say that the manner in which black voters have shown a determination to support Barack Obama’s candidacy in spite of his rejection of all things identifiably black, proves beyond a doubt that the Democratic Party’s brain-trust knows and understands its black constituents very well! If Obama gains his party’s nomination, there is no doubt he will get no less than 95% of whatever number of black votes will be cast in the general election; and there will be no “quid-pro-quo” given to us in return for that level of support.
As this is written, the mainstream media led by “Fox News Network” is making sure that black voters stay in place and play their designated role in these elections. All of the traditional voices that would advocate on behalf of “black issues” have been silenced or co-opted, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an ardent, eloquent, and forceful voice for black self-respect and self-determination, has been used and abused as a means of convincing black folks to distance themselves even further from anyone who would advocate in support of black interests. Who wants to be the next black man or woman to stick his or her head into the political/newsmedia ‘noose’ in an attempt to speak up and out for black people? Given what happened to Minister Louis Farrakhan, Tavis Smiley, and Jeremiah Wright, can anyone be blamed for not standing up and “speaking-truth-to-power?” We have done and are doing ourselves a tragic disservice!!
How Can We Make Lemonade out of This Lemon?
Our ancestors and forebears always reminded us that “Every cloud has a silver lining,” and they would never tell us something that was not true. What and where then is the “silver-lining” to the ‘cloudy’ situation hereinabove described?
People who control electoral politics in this country have already determined where the fault lines are in the upcoming elections, and which way each “interest-group” is likely to vote. If everyone votes according to plan, they already know what the outcome will be. The only thing that can “upset-their-apple-cart” would be for one or another special interest group to do something they were not ‘scripted’ to do, or not follow their script. Under normal circumstances, no group is likely to stray very far off-script, and the only group this writer is concerned about anyway, is the Black one! What could/would happen if we blacks broke ranks with the power-wielders and pursued a course of our own derivation and in our own collective interests? I am hereby challenging the “Conscious” members of the black electorate to join with the Nationalist Black Leadership Coalition (NBLC) in building a force capable of turning the design of the political power-brokers on its head!
We are looking for One Million racially-conscious Black Americans to register to vote as “No Party Affiliation” (NPA), or whatever is the equivalent in your respective state. It is important to note that we are not asking you to register as “independent,” because in some jurisdictions “Independent” may itself be a formal political party. We want you to register as having NO party affiliation whatsoever!!
Next, we want you to agree to cast your ballot in the general election for whichever party’s candidate is willing to go on record as supporting certain litmus-test issues that our voting block presents. At present, blacks have the dubious distinction of being the only special interest group among the American electorate for which neither candidate of either party has seen fit to offer even a token plank in their campaign platform! This is unheard of in contemporary political times, and is especially unnerving in an election where an American of partial African descent is deemed to have a realistic chance of winning his party’s nomination, and ultimately, even the Presidency of the United States itself!
At the rate things are going, political pundits are predicting a close election, with effectively all of the black vote going to the Democrat’s nominee, and that being offset by the “red-neck” racist group going against its economic class interests and voting for the Conservative/republican challenger. In an attempt to avoid admitting the obvious, media pundits and certain candidates are referring to this red-neck racist voting block as “hard-working, blue-collar white people,” rather than what we all know them to be. As things stand, the stage is set perfectly for an enlightened group of racially-conscious blacks to seize the initiative and take advantage of the fortuitous situation that has been put in place. Just as Barack Obama has come out of nowhere, burst onto the scene, and is poised to capture his party’s nomination — and likely — the Presidency, Race-conscious Blacks can now capture the pre-eminent position of advocacy for and leadership of the collective Black community, and in the process empower our people politically in a manner and to an extent never before imagined by even the most optimistic among us!!!
Until now the fortunes of the Black Collective in mainstream, partisan electoral politics have been securely in the hands of integrationists/assimilationist (I/A) spokespersons and mis-leaders. With that element having been muted and rendered impotent as far as political influence goes in the current electoral cycle, a vacuum exists which should be filled immediately by Nationalists and self-determinists; however, it will not be ceded to us without an aggressive effort on our part. If John McCain becomes the next President he will certainly continue the policies of the current Bush/Cheney administration. They would then seek to install their hand-picked “black conservatives” as the new leaders and spokespersons for Blacks in America. Should Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton win, the even newer “faces-of-color” we’ve been treated to on network and cable television during this campaign season will be put in place to speak for and represent the black perspective. Either would portend disaster for our people and our Collective interests.
There you have it Conscious Black folks; which way will you go? Down without a fight to either the Conservative/republicans or new-look Democrats; or up through our own self-reliant initiative? I invite you to become One of the Million Conscious Black Voters and help us break the ties that bind our people to dependency, self-negation, and the lowest rung on the political, social and economic ladder of American society.