Bankrupt Black Leadership, Nukes and Environmental Racism

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The same greedy corporations that have long funded white politicians now finance what used to be traditional civil rights organizations like SCLC and an entire new class of black politicians. The cutting loose of black political leaders from their constituencies has dire consequences for the entire American polity.

Bankrupt Black Leadership, Nukes and Environmental Racism

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For more than a generation, in the last third of the twentieth century, black America was the immovable rock that anchored the left side American political life. Places like Detroit, New Orleans and St. Louis were literally and figuratively where the left lived.

It was a time when civil rights organizations and African American politicians could reasonably be expected to object, to protest, to publicly resist blatant crimes against their constituents on the part of governments and corporations. But by the turn of the 21st century, corporations had begun to finance the rise of a new class of elite black political leaders, politicians like Atlanta's Kasim Reed and Shirley Franklin, Philadelphia's Michael Nutter, and Newark's Corey Booker, and of course President Barack Obama. At the same time, those corporations became the major funders of what used to be called civil rights organizations like the Urban League, the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Council.

Except for ceremonial bows and obeisances like Black History Month and pleas to vote for them on election day, Black America's political leaders are now free from most obligations to black people, and what used to be vigilant, vocal civil rights organizations are silent in the face of corporate crimes like environmental racism against black communities, let alone the wider implications of these crimes for all Americans.

One of the best examples of this is in Georgia, where the Obama administration in 2009 granted Southern Companies $800 million to underwrite the construction of two nuclear reactors next to a pair of leaky existing nukes in a poor, mostly black Georgia town where almost every family has a cancer case or two. But who would raise the cry? The Southern Christian Leadership Council, perhaps, based in nearby Atlanta? No way. The CEO of Southern Companies headed up SCLC's building fund, raising millions to pay for its Auburn St. headquarters. So SCLC is silent.

Although poor rural black people are the first to pay the price of this atrocity, they won't be the only ones. Georgia's Public Service Commission, which is supposed to look out for consumers has allowed the power company to add $10 to $20 per month to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of utility bills to underwrite construction costs of this deadly monstrosity. Even officials of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have noted that the reactor design is similar to those of the ill-fated Fukushima reactors in Japan, and ought to be re-evaluated in the light of that disaster.

This is a textbook example of how the cutting loose of the black political class from black people has affected the entire American polity. The radioactive poisoning of poor black communities alone should have roused SCLC and the black political class to action defending its supposed constituency. If the Bush-Cheney gang had done such a thing, cries of “environmental racism” would ring across the country. But corporate-funded black leaders, who should be the canaries in the coal mine, don't allow themselves to criticize the corporate-funded black president. So the silence of the black political class enables the theft of hundreds of millions, perhaps billions from ratepayers statewide and permit the construction of the first of a new and hazardous generation nuclear plants that threaten the safety of millions.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at




There is no formidable African voice in USA or anywhere in the world advocating on behalf of the majority of black population who are lingering  at the bottom of the human chain,  with poverty and unemployment rarely seen among any ethnic group. The educated and wealthy black elites are only concerned about their standing with the powerful in both government and corporations at whose pleasure they serve.  They do not want to rock the boats of these people because they keep them employed. Their financial stabilities come with numerous strings attached, one of these strings is their silence!

I was stunned when the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, expressed in no uncertain terms how nauseated he was that the venture capitalist, Mitt Romney, was being attacked by Democrats!  Cory Booker has never raised his voice when the subprime mortgage lenders (his supporters) were targeting African Americans with good credits, and loading them with predatory home loans with escalating and shameless interest rates which pushed them off the cliff ; nor has Cory Booker  complained against the financial advisors at the “for profit”  colleges and universities which targeted very bright African American students from poor families and loaded them predatory private student loans. These advisors were handsomely rewarded by the private  lenders, like CITI Group, to steer minority students who were barely old enough to understand the implications of private student loans being sholved down their throats!  Most of these students are now jobless while their debts (which cannot be offloaded through bankruptcy) are quadrupling! Without good creadits, these young African Americans will be confronted with PAY DAY LENDERS who charge 467% interest rates. The payday lenders are promoted by Montel Williams!

There are numerous “lone wolves” African American elites pretending to be speaking on the blacks! I have seen Travis Smiley and Cornell West on various TV shows attacking Barack Obama for Black poverty. 

(a) Barack Obama has only been President of USA for less than four years!

 (b) He been dealing with the US economy that was pushed off the cliff by the outgoing Republican President, leaving millions unemployed or homeless

 (c) Black economic woes did not start in 2009 when Obama assumed the presidency. It is, therefore, hypocritical and baseless to hang black poverty on the Barack Obama!

(d) African American Community does not have a strong and powerful representation in Washington like other formidable groups who are feared by elected officials in Congress. To be heard in Congress, you need to be united and have a powerful LOBBY representing what you want!

(e) African American elites are severely fractured and are hanging on thin relationships they have formed with the powerful elites from other communities in order to earn their living. The powerful people they associate with have politically neutered them and only look for them when they want black votes to defeat some republican! This episode has repeated every election circle with zero benefit to poor African Americans!

(f) Travis Smiley has been Bill Clinton (“the first Black President”)  pal and supported Hillary Clinton during 2008 Democratic primaries. He has many scores to settle with Barack Obama because his candidate, Hillary, did not win

 What these “lone wolf Black  singers” fail to understand is that they will never make a dent in the lives of poor African Americans UNLESS THEY GET TOGETHER AND START SPEAKING WITH ONE FORMIDABLE VOICE LIKE MARTIN LUTHER KING OR MALCOLM X DID before they were assassinated! NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE BARKINGS OF A LONE WOLF!!

Stuck in a Dem/Rep mindset

Who   gets   to  determine   the    message  of  that  " one   formidable   voice?" Your   post  reeks  of  the   Dem/Rep  mindset:  criticize   Obama   and   you're   a  republician   stooge. There  are  many   who have  discarted   the    dem/rep  mental  shackles  who    believe   they  both   stink.

Since   you   mention   Martin  &   Malcolm,  they   may   have   spoke   with  one   formidable   voice,   but   their  messages  were  significantly   different.

Malcolm  X  said  "when  whites  start   telling  you  how   great some   Black   leader is ,  its  someone   they  control."

Obama  is   no  less  controlled   than   the   others   you  criticize. They're  all   gatekeeper  puppets.




It has been obvious for a long, long time that African American elites, through whom the control the whole community is managed, are willing particpants and very comfortable playing the role of gatekeeping puppets! The African Americans  is the the only group whose votes have no returns! The rallying of poor African Americans to vote to the candidates who ignore them after the votes are cast  is channeled through these black elites who are handsomely paid to play the role!