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The Obama '08 Phenomenon: What Have We Learned?

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The Obama '08 Phenomenon: What We have Learned?

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

"This generation will have to learn from damn near scratch what a real social movement looks like."

Without question, the nation has experienced an election of historical significance, for reasons that go beyond the obvious "first Black" aspect of race. This has also been the most-hyped presidential campaign in U.S. history, if for no other reason than the simple fact that every presidential campaign is more hyped than the last, since hype is what corporate media sells. But what has the experience taught us?

We have learned that a large and decisive national minority of whites can be persuaded to vote for a certain kind of Black man for president if that Black man possesses the following characteristics:

A family history that includes no African American lineage, and is thereby untainted by the negative cultural baggage associated with North American slave descendants. (This is similar to the special white dispensation afforded in past generations to Afro-Caribbean baseball players.)

An eagerness to embrace racist political icons such as Ronald Reagan, while vociferously denying that white racism is and has been "endemic" to America. This man must also be willing to without hesitation denounce, repudiate and otherwise vilify other Black individuals - even those who have been personally dear to him - at the first sign of white displeasure with that person.

A compulsion to telegraph whites that he shares their disdain for Blacks as a group. This specially endowed individual must be prepared to castigate Blacks in every arena of life, from incompetent child-rearing (the cruelty of fried chicken breakfasts) to failures of Black manhood (acting like "boys" rather than responsible adults), the shame of Black female promiscuity (stopping black girls from having babies out of wedlock is "the single biggest thing that we could do to reduce inner-city poverty") and Blacks' collective lack of good hygiene ("You know what would be a good economic development plan for our community would be if we make sure folks weren't throwing their garbage out of their cars"). But the Black man who would woo white presidential votes must have the smarts and discipline to never, never, never subject whites to such egregious, blanket group criticisms.

"This specially endowed individual must be prepared to castigate Blacks in every arena of life."

He must possess an imagination fertile enough to declare that Blacks have already come "90 percent of the way" towards racial equality - a statement without statistical validity based on any social or economic indexes, but one which assures whites that their long suffering at the hands of bothersome Black complainers is nearly over. This Black president-to-be must implicitly promise that his own election will provide the missing ten percent, and bring the race issue definitively to a close.

We have learned that whites took the candidate's words to heart, en masse. A CBS/New York Times poll taken one week before the election showed that 68 percent of whites believe that Blacks and whites "have about an equal chance of getting ahead" in American society. This fantastic conclusion was clearly inspired by Barack Obama's singular success, since less than half of whites gave that answer in July. Even more astonishingly, 43 percent of Blacks said the same thing -a response unlike any ever recorded in the history of professional polling, and totally divorced from Black realities. We have learned that Obama-L'aid kills healthy Black brain cells.

We have learned that Black politicians and activist-poseurs have an infinite capacity to celebrate not having engaged in struggle with Power, and that the Black masses can be made drunk by the prospect of vicariously (through Obama) coming to power. Having failed to make even the mildest of demands on Obama in return for unquestioning support, Black misleadership vowed they would press for firm commitments on issues of importance to African Americans once Obama had passed the final hurdle. (White progressives who were similarly self-neutered during the campaign also promise to begin acting like real people's advocates, any day now...just you wait and see.) We have already learned that "Progressives for Obama" of all ethnicities, who failed to put pressure on the candidate early on, when it might have made a difference, are full of crap.

"Sixty-eight percent of whites believe that Blacks and whites "have about an equal chance of getting ahead" in American society."

We have learned that even in failure and collapse, the Lords of Capital are smart enough to know they desperately need a new face, and are willing to bankroll the Black man who can provide it. During this election cycle we learned that capital can switch its party allegiances in an instant, first vetting and then jump-starting the Black candidate who would become the biggest campaign spender in U.S. election history, by far. In 2008, the Democrats became the party of Big Capital, whose choice was Barack Obama. We have learned that capital is never blind to color, when it can be used to capital's advantage.

We have learned that this generation will have to learn from damn near scratch what a real social movement looks like - which will be doubly hard, since they have been misled to believe that this year's frenzied electioneering was actually a "movement." Now it is over, and one Black man is moving - into the White House, having never promised his Black supporters a single thing of significance. But of course, hardly anyone Black made any demands of Obama.

Some folks never learn that Power concedes nothing without a demand.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Comments

The Real Movement Starts Now! Will BAR take the lead?

I have to say that the far left is just as narrow minded as the far right. Its either your way or the highway. Whoever doesn't share your worldview has dead "brain cells".

I agree with Mr. Ford in that we need to keep pressure on any POTUS, especially Obama. No POTUS is gonna bring change without that pressure coming from the grassroots. Just like in the 1960s. But he even said that in his speech.

What I disagree with is this:

"We have learned that this generation will have to learn
from damn near scratch what a real social movement looks like"

A lot of older people have to stop trying to compare us to the 1960s. We grew up in a very different social political climate. We are our own generation, we have our own world views and ideals.

What about the guys ground game Mr. Ford? You talk about grassroots!! What is your analysis of his gound game?

Someone should send ObamaLaid drinkers

this link

http://globalsociology.edublogs.org/2008/10/26/of-the-invisibility-of-so...

in case they need help understanding how the real world works.

drunk on ObamaL'aid

I can only speak from my perspective about the circle I know best, my peers: white, middle-class Democrat-voting gen-Xers. All but about one or two of the dozens of the people I personally know well who fit the demographic I've described, voted for Obama and now -- and this will sound harsh -- seem drunk from their orgasmic election night with the slick, Black, --- to borrow Biden's words -- "articulate, bright, clean-cut and nice-looking," American idol.

My friends have, almost unanimously, drunk the ObamaL'aid, been filled to the brim with their own fantasies of what Obama stands for, actually believing that, while they continue their consumerism-steeped lifestyle and watch from the bleachers, Obama just may, singlehandedly deliver the change they long for; that he will usher in a new era, in which white guilt has been forever assuaged and white hipsters can congratulate themselves, by casting their vote for Obama, for being responsible for the end of all things ugly, namely the Bush legacy and the history of white supremacy, weighing so heavy on their secretly frightened souls.

Obama said it himself: "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views."

I wish the situation in my circles was different and truthfully, I too feel afraid, as I suppose many of my friends do. But for a different reason. I feel small and alone (not so alone anymore thanks to BAR!!!) in seeing what lurks behind the sleek PR: the increased military budget and aggression, a possible draft (including men and women), another Cold War, another Great Depression -- which has hit so many in such a force already.

I voted for Cynthia McKinney, but feel disappointed in how few votes -- much fewer than I'd expected -- went to progressive third-party candidates.

Like many of my friends, I too want to believe in "hope" and "change," but am too skeptical to rejoice like so many are now. I am afraid that after the climax of last night and the inauguration in January, most like-minded folks will roll over in their collective bed and fall asleep, disassociating themselves from the harsh reality of what lies ahead.

I have vowed to be more politically engaged and active. I am not sure I have found an entry point yet, but I will keep on searching, questioning and reading your thoughts here. Thank you!

Shame on you Glen Ford

This hate filled excuse of an article, doesn't deserve publication.

Observing you is like witnessing a modern Greek Tragedy.

How can someone with your formidable intellectual potential just miss the Big Picture!?

You must be Sick; poisoned by hatred and blinding vindictive longings...
RU Crippled with Envy & Jealousy too, spewing this nasty filth & dare imply it be dissenting objective journalism?

Not only are you on the wrong side of and misinterpreting History...

But

You shame yourself "Glen Ford".

So what?

"A lot of older people have to stop trying to compare us to the 1960s. We grew up in a very different social political climate. We are our own generation, we have our own world views and ideals."

So? Everybody has a "different climate" and that is besides the point.

"What about the guys ground game Mr. Ford? You talk about grassroots!! What is your analysis of his gound game?"

As Glen Ford said, that was electioneering. His ground game was designed for his benefit, to elect him, not yours. That you mistakenly confuse that for a "movement" is exactly Glen's point.

Firstly, when you say "A family history that includes no African American lineage, and is thereby untainted by the negative cultural baggage associated with North American slave descendants" you know you are being deliberately disingenuous. Barack and his "family," whether you like it or not, includes Michelle's experiences and history. She is phenotypically as black as you get, and her lineage experienced the horrors of slavery, segregation and racism.

Secondly, Barack, and i think this is a better way to get at the point you want to make about his 'family,' is not part of your US racial binary. He is brown, he is mixed race, inter racial, whatever the term you want to use is - i personally prefer brown, but hey whatever.

So whenever youre spouting off about the chip on your shoulder, youre missing, in your tunnel vision, one of the most blindingly obvious symbols of this first 'black' president, he problematises race and ethnicity in North America in ways the binary cannot handle. That it is 'change' you can count on. And stuff you shud say more on, but always ignore.

A quick aside - and im not trying to hurt your feelings but the way you essentialise being black or white resides very close to the ways facists talk about race, and in particular im reminded of MLK who cautioned us against the traps of race-thinking that not only dehumanized the subordinate, but also those who benefited from it. In Obama black and white are bonded together, and your problem is you dont like this new historical conjuncture on offer. I would suggest rather than spouting off like some grumpy old man (i was going to say grumpy white man but hey you might get really offended) lets work harder at it explaining the realities of this new situation.

Thirdly, and this relates to the last point, i think you have some very important things to say about the institutional and often invisible racism within our society, the dangers the Lords of Capital hold over the possibility of authentic change and ultimately the fact that our work is still far from done, and just cus Obama one we should not let our guard down.

However, all that good stuff you talk about gets lost in your bitter, sour grapes diatribe that seems to be angry with Obama for being Obama. It also makes me think that the world your looking for requires you to maybe find a time machine so you can go back and find the America you miss so much, where black was black and white was white. Although we both know its not about running away, but facing up to new challenges and growing with them.

Please dont interpret any of this as someone who does not think you often write timely and necessary commentary, because i think you do, but right now i think you need to face up to the fact youre gonna have to modify the arguments you make. Saying Obama is certain kind of black man acceptable to certain white folk (cus we know its not all white people) misses the entire shift in itself. He's not black nor is he white. BUT HE IS PRESIDENT. And i think that possess some fundamental issues for the rhetoric you base much of your anger on.

Good day...

no.

barack does not "problematize" race. i don't think you know what that word means.

just because he is president, doesn't mean it's all fine. just because colin powell was in the administration didn't mean we didn't go to war.

barack's mixed background made him more attractive to white people, and he used that to get their votes. what ford and others are trying to get through to you is that racism isn't over just because a "model minority" is using and being used by moneyed powers just like every other president has since campaigning cost money.

as a mixed race person, I hate it when white people keep saying that barack "is such a bridge" or that "our history comes together in him" or that "race is bonded together". BULLSHIT.

he is not your get out of jail free card for centuries of racism and oppression that continues today. sorry.
i know you really want to feel better about it, but guess what - you're deluding yourself.

he IS a "model minority", which means that he compromises his identity for the sake of white/western acceptance, often to the detriment of those who can't or refuse to compromise our identities and our CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES to make you feel better.

you voted for obama. great. that doesn't make you an expert on being mixed or on politics, or on black politics, which is obvious from reading your post.

he is not "neither black nor white" and he is also not "both white and black" it is more complicated than that, and you should know better, mr. problematizer.

this is what happens when you listen to white liberals blather on cnn about their impressions of an event that they love to spin to make themselves look good.

dialog

You must be a mind reader because it seems every point you made I've been thinking.

Don't worry about the Bama-aid drunks. This was a great sum to a lot of insightful, critical writing here on BAR throughout the election season.

thx

i just call it like i see it. thanks to BAR for being real. this is a great place, and these folks know what's really good.

KS----What are you gonna do? You gonna start the movement?

KS, You arguing just for the sake of arguing. Its either your opinion or the wrong opinion. I can find common ground.

I mostly agree with what Glen Ford said.

Who is the expert on what a movement is? You KS? Glen Ford? Again this generation has a different worldview than the civil rightes era.

I'm not even and Obamamaniac, but I have to be fair about the situation.

If those young people feel like thay were part of a movement than let them feel that way.

By Mr. Ford saying these young people have dead brain cells he is isolating the same people he is trying to rally.

I'm all down for third party but we have to start organizing and mobolzing now for a third party in 2012. I'm down for that. I would have loved to see Nader, Mckinney, even Bob Barr in those debates. I intend on writing the Elections Committie to voice my concern.

We need to put all this pressure on our local elected officials.

KS, I had a typo when I put my link to my blog in. Check it out now

I thank BAR an Glen Ford for his brief but cogent assessment of the President Elect and the atmosphere that gave rise to his ascent. The question begs an answer, are African Americans so politically naive that we cannot see that Obama is a charlatan and a political opportunist who has hocked his soul in order to serve his corporate paymasters and to do their bidding? Are we so desperate for a sense of enfranchisement that we will overlook independence and strength of character for the purpose of the illusion of attainment and then engaging in irrational exuberance based merely on the idea of that illusion? If so, we are a pathetic lot. And, we do not deserve better than the likes of a Barack Obama.

This is what happens when white liberals get too cozy..

I love the coverage and analysis which come from BAR. Hell, I cant get REAL news anywhere else(except for maybe Democracy Now or Counterpunch).

Anyways, I remember someone talking about how white liberals are insulting as hell(I hate liberals...REALLY, I do). The liberal agenda is exactly what has been lulling Black people into this false sense of security in the Demcratic party. A vote for Obama is a vote for the Democratic party. The Democratic party is an instrument of white supremacy. Whether it be left-wing or right-wing white supremacy, I want a bite of NEITHER one.

Now, how is it that Sistah Fannie Lou Hamer(and others with her) could break from Democratic party and form our own political party in 1968, but 40 yrs later negroes see fit to come back around to the SAME party which the Black commnunity did away with???

I am going to post an article written by Tim Wise(on Davey D's Hip Hop site). This article is just one example of liberal side of white supremacy. The arrogance of a white man thinking HE can tell US what "historical" moments should matter to us and which ones shouldn't.

Good, and Now Back to Work:

Avoiding Both Cynicism and Overconfidence in the Age of Obama

By Tim Wise
November 5, 2008

http://www.racialicious.com/2008/11/05/good-and-now-back-to-work-avoidin...

Negro Naysayers

You all need to stop. Regardless of what you all think of Obama, lay off of him.

Ford and BAR continually downcast this man for doing nothing more than wanting to be President. Forgive him for having ideas and ambition.

Some of you all are on the wrong side of history. The resentment is ridiculous and shameful. Many of you think that you all are "progressive." However, you all seem to be as progressive as Chicken George.

I will give my brother his chance. And this is his opportunity and to a certain degree our (the black community) opportunity to really define ourselves in American history.

Obama 08!

The Liberal Voice

No, it's not a question of who is defining what or my opinion or yours or being "fair" or not. Facts are facts. Obamaism is not and has never been a movement. It's a marketing campaign. Period.

In terms of a movement nobody needs to start one. We need to continue the one that's been going on for generations. I'll check out your blog. Thanks.

Negro Worishppers

False but potent symbolism is the most dangerous kind of symbolism.

Anyway, you guys are funny. When are you going to get up off your kness? First it was "lay off him during the primaries", then "lay off during the general", now it's "lay off now that he's gotten elected." I guess soon it'll be "lay off the midterms are coming", then "lay off he's running for re-election"....

All in the name of "give the brother a chance" which is just another way of saying "give the brother blind support forever".

Not In Office Yet

Jeez. The President elect does not get sworn for another couple of months and people are already tearing him down.

And please this was a movement, you may not like it, it may not live up to your standards but it was a movement. A movement away from the far right and movement toward the center. (And lets not kid our selves, America is never going to go particularly left of center)

And this was about more than just a "small minority of whites" as you put it trying to make themselves feel good by voting for a token black man. This was about American's of all ages, races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc voting for a candidate that they, gasp, actually have some hope in. And many of them are at least willing to give the guy a chance before they write him off.

You are making the mistake of thinking that everyone white person is a racist, and that just is not true anymore.
There are always going to be racists, unfortunately it is something we have to deal with. But I say, screw em. Most of them have been pushed to the fringe of mainstream society and they know it.

Honestly, I think it is time for "African American's" to have honest debate with themselves about the state of black America. All of the problems are not a result of white people, racism, etc.

Obama win but Black Agenda loses

Black church is in RUIN.

Northern WHITE FORGIVENESS reigns SUPREME.

The 'new' WHITE FORGIVENSS SUPREMACY.

Black nationalism has been put in the dirt and buried by the rise of white voter compassion and understanding of issues moreso than race in Blue States.

White people in blue states have the most compassion for the black race to rise.

I am telling it as I see it.

Especially in New England...

*I am happy Booker T. Washington prophesy on this type of regional white people that is beneficial to the rise of the American Negro (Black American) has come to pass.*

Booker T. Washington was a prophet in deed.

He also said something about black success and politics.

I am waiting for his prophesy to pass which is already working mightily in Southern states between the white and black man.

America continues to be the only place in the world with WHITE PEOPLE here sharing compassion for such a BLACK MAN to make it thus far.

They set the STANDARD for what BLACK MAN should represent this country and the WORLD at large.

Africa continues to be NOT A PLACE where an BLACK MAN can make a WORLDWIDE NAME for himself and the BLACK RACE.

Obama eclipse NELSON MANDELA.

AMERICA is the CAPITAL of the African Black World no question about it.

Compassionate American White people have and ARE a part of the BLACK RACE RISE and FALL here in the United States of America and throughtout BLACK DIASPORA at LARGE.

God bless America and its people.

God Bless the compassion of BLUE STATE white people.

I mean it, I am not joking!

Thank You.

We can never ever get the STING out of BLACK CHURCHES now that BLACK AMERICAN PRIVACY is now wide open to the WORLD just like the ECONOMY.

Where can the BLACK HATE of WHITE PEOPLE Go.

AFRICA!!!! You's got to be JOKING.

LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Later

Black Agenda Report needs to change to include COMPASSIONATE WHITE PEOPLE APPROVED.

I think it would do this site SOME GOOD.

LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Jaded Youth

You Negroes should thank your lucky stars that the black web consists of more than "blackvoices" and "the root". While Glen is a bit more harsh than I would be, it's only because I don't expect much out of American citizenry, whether white or black.

I'm old enough to remember the jubilation when the first black mayors and congressmen were elected to office in the 60s and 70s, usually from "chocolate cities" like Cleveland, DC, and Detroit. The black communities in those cities are urban wastelands now. Successful blacks can't wait to get the hell out of those neighborhoods that they grew up in. We also were told to give Clarence Thomas a chance, as well as Condi and Colin. How did that turn out?

Oh well, I give the youth their enthusiasm. They'll be as jaded as me soon enough.

Fault

"The black communities in those cities are urban wastelands now. Successful blacks can't wait to get the hell out of those neighborhoods that they grew up in."

And whose fault is that?? At some point the people in those communities have to stand up and re-energize their own communities.

I live in Omaha, NE and while we don't have any inner cities - it is sad driving through North Omaha and seeing the state of despair of the homes. Nice homes, well homes that used to be nice. Big, solidly built, not these cheap things they throw up today - and yet people have let them fall into despair. You can't blame "the man" for that. "The man" is not stopping you from maintaining a decent home.

Afro American's need to be looking around and asking themselves why blacks from other nations come and do extremely well.

The truth is it is time to stop blaming racism for every ill in the black community. And quite frankly, yes decreasing out of wedlock births, especially among young people would do wonders in the community. Making sure that even more fathers are participating in the rearing of the children would do wonders. Living a healthy lifestyle and encouraging a healthy diet and exercise would be a good thing too.

And trying doing something for yourself. Doing something for your community and stop bemoaning the fact that some empty suits in DC aren't doing enough to help you.

dylan, you know not of what you speak...

dylan said: "Secondly, Barack, and i think this is a better way to get at the point you want to make about his 'family,' is not part of your US racial binary. He is brown, he is mixed race, inter racial, whatever the term you want to use is - i personally prefer brown, but hey whatever. "
=============================
dylan --

You should take a look at Glen Ford's photo (it is on the homepage...just scroll down a bit) and you will see that Mr. Ford is a helluva lot whiter than the brown Obama.

"Black Agenda Report" .......NOT!..............lol

I used to think this was a true * ginuine site for honest healthly argumentation...

What happened to that Agenda??

You have become:

This is the "Black Acrimony Report"

A gathering of pseudo intellectual misfits*

A Paradoxical Klan of Self Doubting, Self Hating yesteryears Black Nationalist, Vindictive bitter bordering on "Reverse Racist".

Well Studied, well Researched 'Educated' Faithless Fatalist...

A Whole Herd of "Chicken Little's"

As You Brilliant Keepers of the *Real Light* bask in ya Church of Doom & Gloom wallowing in doubt & animosity.
Seething & stuck at the Gate of yesterday's Hate as the World Turns & Heals & Marches On & On & On...

Sad Sick Silly Misstepping, Goose Stepping Fear mongrels,
delusional derisive deriding doppelgangers

Pretentious Presumptuous wanna be Revolutionaries Self Appointed Guardians of the poor ignorant Black Masses...

more like Lucifer & his crew rebelling against Heaven.........lol

NO Thanks!

Rant & Rage all you want you Tragic & Motley Crew.

The Multitudinous Millions upon Millions have Spoken...

History will erase your errant footsteps*

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!

Long Live President Barack Hussein Obama!

May God/Allah/Amun-Ra Guide his administration...

May We the People work hard & hand N hand to keep him accountable & Create a Better World.

May the Hope & Prayers of All & All be Answered*

Oh please

Given the amount of time and effort you gadfly here posting your long winded speechifying rants under different aliases it's obvious that you LOVE the Black Agenda report. You should be happy that they allow you to rant til your hearts content.

Ks ................LOL

Of course I love you...

UR still family;)

& quit lying you know damn well BAR does not tolerate idealogical dissension...

They delete post & block IP addresses... post haste!

& NO I don't spend the "amount of time and effort you gadfly here posting your long winded speechifying rants" that I you think...

tha Truth don't live huur no mo

But every now & then I pay U kiddies a visit;)

Laav ya Ks

Be Good beybeh*

Glenn Ford is on POINT again!!!

BAR,

Being Puerto Rican, Ive seen this movie before back home. Until 1954, Puerto Rico did not get to elect our executive branch head, which we call the Governor. It was a post the US president appointed. After much fight and bloodshed, we gained the "freedom" of electing the executive. But just like in South Africa, electing the figure head without any change in the underlying power structure means NOTHING other than symbolism. More than half a century later, Puerto Rico is worst off and most Puerto Ricans own less land, fewer businesses, more poverty and dispair. Just about all assets are foreign-owned. The worst part is most people on the island are so blind to this. The majority have been brain-washed to believe the US is their saviour if only we can get them to make us a state, the others know they are colonized expliotees but realize there are no other options. Hell, that is why I am here.

And at some point I hope that minorities as well as poor whites come to the realization that Class and exploitation are their enemy. And that the power structure has proven it can let Alberto Gonzales, Condeleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Negroponte, or Clarence Thomas carry the water for them. To identify with a guy who already compromised your civil liberties by votinf for FISA Act and the renewal of the PAtriot Act, has voted for every war funding bill, has compromised your financial future by voting for the Bankster Heist of $750 billion shows A) people who no idea what they are voting for or what it means B) They are the equivalent of the kidnapped identifying with the kidnapper. OR the serfs identifying with their oppressive monarchy.

If they aint learned they will see in four years. Just like Billy Clinton turned out to be the worst thing blacks could have imagined. Republicans may hurt your feelings but Dems hurt you economically just as much.

This is why I have no use for white Obama supporters (the majori

"The truth is it is time to stop blaming racism for every ill in the black community. And quite frankly, yes decreasing out of wedlock births, especially among young people would do wonders in the community. Making sure that even more fathers are participating in the rearing of the children would do wonders. Living a healthy lifestyle and encouraging a healthy diet and exercise would be a good thing too.

And trying doing something for yourself. Doing something for your community and stop bemoaning the fact that some empty suits in DC aren't doing enough to help you."

^^ When white liberals repeat the same generalizations and talking points about black people comparable to white conservatives, then you know all hope is lost and there isn't or never will be a strong left in this country. See, this is why I don't put any damn stock into the Obama Phenomenon, this is why I don't buy into the whole nonsense about Obama being a leader of a strong left-leaning grassroots movement. I can't count the many white Obama supporters who are some of the most ass-backwards, closeted-conservatives-but-liberals-in-name-only frauds known to men; just as racist as their conservative brethren, but far more secretive about it.

The audacity of them to even repeat these laundry list of smears and stereotypes of the black poor -- on a black website no less -- feeling no shame at all, solidifies my beliefs that most of Obama's white supporters voted for him as a form of absolution; a Get Out of Jail Free Card to assuage their guilt and responsibility for challenging white supremancy.

Sorry, I ain't drinking the kool aid, and I will continue to applaud Glen Ford and BAR for challenging this myth of a black Camelot. I had my issues with BAR in the past, but they're always on point when it comes to their analysis of Obama.

I'm Black

Preston,

Actually I'm black and I wrote that and I stand by it. I work in a poor black community and it is not racist or self hating to suggest that you gotta do something to help yourself.

Look around the black community. We all know there is a huge class divide in the black community. White people have their "poor white trash" and black people have theirs too.

I never said that all poor black people, were walking stereotypes. All I am saying, and I see this everyday is that there are actually black people who seem to relish in living up to the worst stereotypes about the race - and continue to make poor decisions thus worsening the situation they are already in. And minor things do a make difference. Simple things, like not having children if you can't afford them. Or if you already have children, not having anymore if you can't afford them. This is advice that all Americans should follow.

Get healthy. Eat right, exercise, so that you don't find yourself struggling to pay insane medical bills on preventable disease!!!

And please don't accuse me of drinking the Obama kool-aid. But as stating before, since he is the new President elect, I am willing to at least give him a chance, just as I have given countless other elected officials a chance.

For The Record

Obama only got 43% of the white vote and the black vote which he won 95% was the difference in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana.

So blacks put him in office despite all the butt kissing he has done the past two years.

Think about it 57% of whites voted against him despite all the anti black comments he made, yet he will govern to the will of whites.

I also think very few cabinet appointments will go to blacks, not that it matters because when it comes to high office they are all sell outs anyway.

Ah, New World,
as always under
whatever nom de guerre
modeling his Heaven Sent expectation that we all must become part of his fetish
for the rediscovery of the wheel, engaging in blather about keeping his eyes on the prize
even as the ferrety faces of his new veep and the Chief of Staff creep consolidate their ratlike snouts straight into the heart of the victory celebration,
the clearest indicators yet of what is to come.
You haven't taken over,
oh lyrical lightweight,
you've been co-opted
but the personal legend
between your ears
will still not
let you see same.
We salute thee
in passing,
oh noblest of the fetishists, and meditate upon your future
as yet another grant-fed
hack of the poetry nothingness.
Eshu cackles at thy intrepid
faith in thy fool, as do we.

Glad I found this website, but it's sad

It's good to see healthy conversations on subjects that too long haunted the African American community.
-It's sad to me that our people can't see the Democratic party for what it is.
-It's sad that our true history is being swept under a rug to be forgotten.
-It's sad that honest conversations about our past and future just aren't taking place.
-It's sad that we've traded one "Poverty Pimp" Jesse Jackson for a new "Poverty Pimp" Obama with joy.

Progressives Have Lost Their Nerve

The Obama Phenomenon has rendered adherents stupefied. Black Americans and white so-called progressives have lost their nerve. They would rather drink from the cesspool of fantasy than from the wellspring of reality. And Tim Wise's essay "Good, and Now Back to Work" is my case in point.

http://www.redroom.com/blog/tim-wise/good-and-now-back-work-avoiding-cyn...

The following is my response to his essay:

So let me see if I understand you correctly, Tim. You want me to feel a sense of pride that Senator, and now President-elect, Barack Obama threw black Americans under the bus to get to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Cold Popeyes chicken for breakfast, anyone? And this is from a man who fashioned his whole campaign under the banner of racial neutrality and transcendence. Obama is a typical politician and opportunist who employed negative racial narratives when it was politically expedient. Why did he do this? I'll tell you why: to appeal to white conservatives. Where was so-called black leadership? Where was Cornel West? Where was Michael Eric Dyson? Dyson, an enthusiastic Obama supporter, who attacked Bill Cosby and dedicated an entire book against him for his scurrilous assault on the black poor, waxed mute when his man did the same. Obama received a free pass from black leadership, a pass that would not have been conferred to a white candidate. Imagine if John McCain had said it.

And you want me, as a black American, to take pride in that?

You want me to be proud of the fact that Obama has compromised the civil liberties of American citizens? He voted for the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act. He voted for the REAL ID Act. He voted for FISA. He endorses Bush's faith-based initiative. Say what you will about "quixotic" Dennis Kucinich, but, unlike President-elect Obama, we can rely on Kucinich not to compromise our civil liberties.

And you want me, as an American citizen, to feel proud?

Now that President-elect Obama has achieved his ambition on the naive backs of his supporters, you and your ilk now talk of holding him accountable. Well listen, sports fans: It's too late. The time to do that was during the campaign. And whom do you think Obama is going to answer to anyway: The people, or Goldman Sach and JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup? Yeah, Tim, I know that you think that my point is redundant, a "no shit Sherlock" thing to say, but I will continue to say it until you have an eureka moment.

Your man is already starting out on the wrong track. Hard-line Israel stalwart Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel was named Chief of Staff in an Obama administration, and there are rumors that sexist and environmental racist Lawrence Summers is vying for the Treasury Secretary position. Look at your Great Black Hope now.

I can appreciate the historical significance of Senator Barack Obama becoming the first "black American" president of the United States of America. Never had I thought that I would see this day in my lifetime. But this historic first is hardly a reason to celebrate, or to be proud. This is a time for clear, dispassionate thinking about who Barack Hussein Obama really is, and about, most importantly, the kind of society and world in which we want to live.

Black President is all about rebranding the empire.

A true black president of any white dominated country is one who articulates the concerns of all the black citizens of that particular country without fear of rejection of the majority; and still gets elected. Barack Obama did not do that. Every opportunity he had to convince his white supporters of the need to look seriously at the disproportionately economic and societal malaise of the black populace of the country, he rather used that opportunity to score political points by vilifying them for their plight. Barack Obama, after having been elected, could not allude to his Kenyan father in his victory speech whereas he showed so much appreciation for his white family -- and rightly so. However, it was insulting not to have hinted on that heritage from which his black adherents find kinship. The fact is Obama is all rebranding of the U.S.A. We cannot deny the symbolic victory of his selection. But it is clear that this victory eventually goes to benefit the empire and its oligarchs who have orchestrated this charade to deceive the masses under their hegemony that the 'crumbling' empire is a force of good after Bush showed its true intentions for mankind. The election of Obama only serves to leverage the empire's weakening position in the world. I hope Obama is aware of the magnitude of this task. The United States is only a super power on paper. With the high expectation he has set, I only fear for his legacy. Interestingly, immediately he got elected, the Russians made their first chess move on the issue of missiles in Europe. However smart Obama is made to appear, he is greatly disadvantaged in playing this game of geo-politics with seasoned players such as Putin. This means Obama will have to depend on the same old empire sages to survive. I am wondering if these sages know the answers themselves. I think Barack has bitten more than he can chew.

Points off to Democracy Now news program

In response to Six Five Son of a Slave comment:

Do not give too much of a shout out to Democracy Now for news coverage. Amy Goodman gets an A for covering stories not touched by mass media but a C for tepid coverage and criticism of wayward Democrats and any member of a minority group who needs to be called out. Same for LinkTV, the independent network that airs Democracy Now.

Take no prisoner journalists such as Alex Cockburn, Glen Ford, Joshua Frank, and the rest of the BAR team are rarely seen on Democracy Now. Mr. Ford was on once that I recall to debate blowhard Michael E Dyson in a far too brief segment. Since BAR is not far from Democracy Now NYC studios (and BAR has link to Democracy Now on its site), I am disappointed that Goodman does not have Ford and company on her show more. This is not surprising though as Amy is one of those P.C.-to-a-fault liberals who fear offending black people and the Democratic party - Ford, Frank, and Cockburn are hot potatoes she ain't about to handle.

As for getting off the Democratic plantation, this will not happen in our lifetime, if ever. Players in the civil rights movement have become comfortable with their '40 acres,' be it a political office, corporate office, or grandstander/self-appointed misleader role. They lack the fortitude and conscience to stand up for the needs of the masses. If they had the guts and desire for real change, they would have been supporting Nader, Kucinich, or a Green Party candidate years ago.

Such people are useless - after all these years, they are less of an influence in the political arena than black people were pre-civil rights. By now, black influence should have caught up to AIPAC and the white Miami Cuban expat devil lobby. Instead, Latinos are making inroads and in 10 years, we will still be left on the side of the road, picked up on Election Day to install some hack who won't do squat for most of us, and then tossed out on the street till next time when we happily do it all over again.

As for the younger demographic, it has been reared on MTV quick cuts, TV, and 24/7 marketing so it is easy to impress, influence, and fool the hell out of them. Further, without a draft to scare anyone or Haiti-like living conditions, the youth are as complacent as their older counterparts. And, despite all the 'new media,' younger citizens still get their news and cues from television and its media misinformants, so forget about any real political activism, or just being more politically educated, arising from this demographic either.

The nonsense about Iran has started.

Obama says Iran's nuclear program is unacceptable; and Iran should cease its support for terrorist organization, according to accounts of his press conference today. I guess this is deja vu. Didn't we hear this nonsense from the neocons? Are Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations or freedom fighters of their people? We black people may end being the ridicule of the rest of the world if we don't stand up and criticise Obama as needed. All the other non-white races have far more meaningful feats to show for than a mere token political position. This Iran issue may end up in another conflagration. And Iran is not Iraq; they can take that to the bank.

To those like

Fresh N Clean who say give BO a chance, I ask what does the appointment of Rahmbo Emmanuel tell you???

Latinos & Barack

Regardless of one's take on this historical event, I can tell you this with certainty. Barack Obama represents, for millions of Latinos (Mexican-Americans and others of hispanic descent)the hope that a person of color with no ties to wealth (ala Bush),a product of a single mother and no father to guide him), can make it to the highest office in the land. I revere him; I am proud he's a lawyer like me. I, am, once again proud to be an American and have, after many, many years, placed the American flag in the front of my house in deep South Texas! Will he deliver as millions want? Hell no..there's not enough money in the world last time I checked, but for all of you who get a charge out of bringing him down, remember this: We're all in this together whether you like it or not!

Way to Go BAR!

I am grateful for this forum where there is true diversity of opinion. Thank you, Glenn, for making truth plain.

To "teachergirl"--don't give up. There is a growing number of us progressives who vote for progressive candidates; I voted for Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente--a historic first: two women of color running for the highest elective offices in the US.

Hang tough--our day is coming!

Jesus Christ

The man's not even in office and all y'all crabs talking s**t. While I too am cynical about Barack Obama, I'm at least willing to give the man a chance and actually see how he performs before I cuss him out. Don't blame the man, blame the climate and the culture that made liberal a dirty word and knows more about Hannah Montana than Ralph Nader. The Republican party is in ruin,its not going recover for a long while,if ever, and this nation, is slowly, shifting to the left.It appears the great progressive America isn't happening as fast as they want, as if such things happen over night. Obama may be a centrist now, I can see him shifting to the left like FDR did if our economy continues to worsen. While it is true that Obama can't talk about race honestly in politics, and might even have to pander,which is annoying, I wasn't surprised. Listen, a Black president set in the Black nationalist being the president of a majority white nation is never going to be possible. Why do so many Black people waste their time thinking they can change white people's opinions of them? Black people should do what Latinos do and form stronger bonds in the communities, stop letting classism,sexism,political views, divide us, help each other when we fall, try to form bussiness to bring wealth in the community rather than depend on white corporations and white politics to help us and be surprised when they turn our backs on us. And lastly, to the idea this isn't a real movement because we used computers and text messaging and no marching or traditional methods, so what. This is the information age, every thing is done by electronics. The 1960s is not relevant to my generation, and the older generation needs to realize this.

Sargent Major, Michael Hureaux

Howling Hound for the august 'Flat World Society'

Nay Bro Hureaux,
tis *U* that play tha fool

All the Oshira weep
that *U* yet sleep

Obatala & Nana Buluku in particular
wails that *Ur* lost at tha crossroads of Eshus's Nether...

Remember the Iconic pic
of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz
peering anxiously out of the curtains of his window with a Machine Gun in his arms???

It wasn't the denizens of White Sickpremacy that he feared;

He was trying to defend himself against Reactionary Black Nationalist, Fundamentalist Black Supremacist*

& He failed as foot solider Black Hounds of hell murdered him in front of his wife & children.

All Because he had Epiphany of Universal Brotherhood?

The first stage of his assassination was the creation of a Climate of Hate.

One of the Greatest WE ever produced Betrayed & Murdered by his Own:(

BAR goes far beyond simple constructive criticism,
BAR indulges in vile insinuations & presumptive accusations...

*U* know Sargent Major the problem with 'mutts' is that sometimes they try way too hard to be "Real Blacks" & end up stirring up a whole lotta doo doo...

To be PRO BLACK does not mean being Anti-Everything else*

& there is more than one way to Pet a Pussy...

I really hope yall can get to Genuine Healthy Argumentation,
& Devils Advocacy is permitted as long as there is Love!

How would you have your Brother President Barack Obama serve you, he already has invited all of America to submit their ideas to solve OUR problems, you can even post them on his website'

Why don't you run over there & Vent or you can even hold a civilized conversation...

& i Njoyed yo poetic spittle;)

thanks major

Yes, thats the problem with mullattos, they always try to overcompensate for not being black enough(a redicalous term if there ever was one), and I see it right here.

Response to Latinos and Barack

Obama has no ties to wealth? Think again. Obama's childhood was more working class than log cabin/walk 20 miles to school w/no shoes.

Regardless of his childhood socio-economic status, Obama has been hangin with the big boys and girls of Wall Street and corporate America since his Harvard days. His campaign and soon to be cabinet team consist of neoliberals, anything goes free traders, and warmongerers. This does not bode well for the 'little people' he left behind in his so-called hardscrabble upbringing.

Sadly, people buy into the hype of a candidate's hard knocks/hard times background and believe such will mean a candidate will work for others facing hard knocks and times. This rarely happens and it is sad as fewer politicians work for the benefit of the masses anymore.

As for the line about how Obama represents the hope that a person of color can attain the land's highest office - enough already. That role model pablum is tired. One should not need to see a person who matches his/her color or gender in a job in order to get inspiration to attain said job. Have a mind of your own, explore the possibilities, and go for it. Waiting for a role model to show the way is lame.

Further, Obama's win is not the fairy tale anyone can be President drivel. Regardless of color, gender, or socioeconomic status - if one does not get in the right network of power players to win favor and get campaign cash and pledge allegiance to keeping the greed and corruption train of said players rolling on, one can forget about being President.

As for those critical of Obama, we are not bringing him down as you say. We are doing what the mass media failed to do - tell all sides of the Obama story, provide facts not fluff, and provide a critique of his positions, advisors, and campaign contributors. Only by knowing the good and bad can citizens be informed and hold candidates accountable.

to teachergirl

you are NOT alone! your sentiments mirror mine exactly. thank you for posting!

Bourgeois blacks, you were warned

I understand the joy those civil rights/Jim Crow segregation Negroes felt upon the election of BHO. Again I ask,was this what MLK, Macolm X, Medger Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer was fighting for, to put a mocha-skinned biracial into the White House? Does this absolve the guilt you felt for abandoning the poor classes? How in the hell is there going to be real change when BHO appoints Rahm Emmanuel to be his Chief of Staff? The names of ex-Clintonistas being floated for his cabinet? BHO owes the Wall Street executive donors for his success; therefore, the working poor/lower middle classes won't be helped. You watch, Social Security dollars will be redircted to Wall Street speculators. Thanks to George W and his henchmen, there won't be any money left to pay for programs that help lower classes. BHO won't end the Iraq occupations, nor will he end confronations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or where the Wall Street/Pentagon war machine wants to plunder/profit from.

RE: Colombia Free Trade (What We Can Do)

There is talk that there may be a lame-duck session in Congress this November. President Obama and the Democratic Congress seem to be trying to get an economic stimulus package through Congress. Although President Obama is AGAINST a free trade agreement with Colombia at this time, there are rumors that free trade proponents will try to get a free trade agreement ratified as a condition for passing a stimulus package during the lame-duck session.

The Colombian government has used violence to displace Afro-Colombians from the lands that Afro-Colombians have legal rights to. Much of this land displacement is in areas where free trade proponents would like to develop. The Colombian government has also tried to undermine Afro-Colombian land rights by creating organizations that challenge the systems of governance of Afro-Colombians. Labor organizers and indigenous people are also oppressed in Colombia.

The debate over the phenomenon of President Obama's election is interesting, but telling our congressional representatives that a free trade deal with Colombia is an issue that we will hold them accountable for in the 2010 primaries is of immediate importance. There is nothing wrong with in-depth analysis President Obama rise to the presidency, but the issue of free trade with Colombia is clearly a time sensitive issue that we can influence our lawmakers on.

Please ask your representative to vote NO on a Columbia Free Trade Agreement!

Message To The Black Man

Well,well,well...there is a new day in America.Let me begin by saying that I am happy for Mr. Obama and America.Let me also say that I wish not to cast aspersion on this situation.I wish not to deny nor degrade the historical import of this event.Certainly something "new" has happened in America.We now have a black man as president.I do admire the way the country took to the streets.It was moving to see the crowds in tears as the Obama victory was announced.I am a man who has observed...no studied...this country and its citizens...for years.I applaud them for their valiant efforts.They did rise up against real threats to their dignity and hope.Yes I applaud them.Yet...I am the voice in the wilderness.I am the wise brother who keeps an eye on a larger reality.I come from slaves but I am the greatest among them.I can not afford to be duped.A black president does not guarantee freedom.Therefore while I am certain that something has been accomplished it can be nothing but illusion.Where will we be in 4 yrs? 8 yrs? Obamas mother is white.If she were black would that have made a difference?To me a black man has a black mother.I can see it no other way.It is no other way.The mother is what determines our nature.He is half white and half black.That is what he is.Give me a 100% black man and perhaps then I shall truly rejoice.I know that power will never concede victory because of a vote.I know that slavery continues to be the goal? The Mayan calendar ends in 2012.Many predict the end of the world during that time frame.I predict that they will try to put the "black" man back into slavery!To orchestrate an election of a black president would be a brilliant way to "escalate" a plan because it would unfold under the cover of great progress.There is no vote and if the people would not have taken to the streets and the media had not guided the "play" to fruition...election fraud would have caused a revolution. Yet...it is not time for that.Perhaps in 4 years? None woke up Nov.5th with racial inequality or injustice gone? What can this man Mr. Obama do for me? 1 thing.Which he has already done. That is to put a black face where it has never been before.Now the world may view me and my people in a different light.A light that is not so utterly unbalanced.I have hope that Mr. Obama is a prophet.Otherwise there is not much else that he can do for me.Will he now give me my forty acres and a mule? I will not judge Mr. Obama so soon.I will give him the opportunity to reveal himself via his actions during his reign.Promising to create more jobs does not cut it for me.I do not want a job.I want to be free.Don't give me that bullshit you suckers give to the masses.I do not vote because I am the greatest man in this world.Who am I to vote for? I relinquish my personal sovereignty to no man! A harvard education to me immediately signals a deficiency.Any degree other than that 33rd degree that is given by God himself reveals a deficiency to me.I shall rejoice with eyes wide open and I shall let my "blackness" shine through until the day I die.Not because of a presidential election but because I am The King.

Min. Farrakhan on Obama...

Delivered 11-09-08

"As exciting as Obama's win may be, Farrakhan cautioned that the crowd of about 2,500 people should not only be rejoicing. "There's nothing funny about what this young man has to face," Farrakhan said.

He urged the audience to protect Obama and to become personally responsible for helping the country improve.

"Don't do this young man harm,"

Farrakhan said. "This man not only needs our protection and divine protection, he needs all of us . . . to ask, 'What can I do to make him a successful president?' "

Obama Is he our man ,or their Boy?

A year ago I new obama was going to win.. I also knew that Cooperations put obama in the White house. This is a desperate move on the cooperation..Obama is the black face of Imperalisium.

Is it Time for a new political lexicon or "branding?"

First, what an impressive display of intellect. After careful thought and self-reflection, anlysis and insight from others, I believe that America as a whole will never be more "progressive" than Center-Right. Beginning with the Clinton "Movement" and culminating in Obama, the Dem Party has achieved a strategic coup by successfully outflanking the GOP. Good for the Party, not so good for "Progressives."

IMO, for whatever it's worth, I believe Obama will govern "moderately" on economic issues, "hawkishly" on military affairs, and pragmatically on foreign affairs. If we are blessed or lucky or the economy deteriorates further, maybe grand strokes are in store. But everyone here knows politics are about marginal or symoblic gains. We can debate the limits of the margins until the cows come home. "Is Obama a typical President or Imperial Tool?", pick your frame.

Speaking of framing: some call it Black Nationalism, some called it Black Conservatism, some call it self-help, or empowerment, some call it the Hip-Hop Generation.

I don't give a damn what you call it. What if Black's (or persons of color)pursuit of economic interests were called something different like, " "Entreprenurial Self-Determination," would that pass muster? Would that free us to get on with the business of using the talent and brainpower here to build sustainable, equitable partnerships in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere? Looking at it another way, should the white guys be the only one's to engage in 21st century colonialism? (Hows that for a radical perspective?) How many Black or Latino NGOs out there, btw?

Fu*@k the ideological for one second, and think about realistic constraints of American politics, the failure of Black elected officials, and the crisies tempering the dreams of an Obama Presidency.

Now is the time for the persons of color to develop the so-called Third World, or the Second and First ones for that matter,-- to build cultural and economic bridges, why should the White guys and gals have all the fun?

See how easy it is if we do "our own branding?" Down with Black Nationalism, up with "Entrepreneurial Self-Determination." Don't call me a Black Nationalist no mo! (I never was a complete socialist, btw) You too can buy FOB on a container heading around the world. I'm taking all comers, even those conservative Black Republicans with the MBAs. HA

Free your mind, we're talking the same shit, for the most part anyway. I want to see Pan-African/Latin Chambers of Commerce, by Jan. 1, or else, no more blogging for you.

Obama is the winning 'brand'

thanks Glen for some sobering observations on this election. First of all, Obama was, primarily raised by white people, so he can't help but carry the aura of 'whiteness' along with the African ancestry on his father's side. The DLC knew they could sell this amiable, smart, great looking young guy who rose quickly to become a senator. Barack is very smart, appears to be sensible & cool-but he is not a progressive, his voting record attests to that-he is not really progressive on black or white issues. Actually, I think all of us will be sacrificing even more real soon, Barack will have to crack the whip of cutbacks and roll out the 'reality sucks' agenda-and all that idealism will be out the window once the hard facts of no more $ or jobs are on the horizon for 2009. Green jobs require much planning before implementation-maybe the multi-nationals will take a break from China & India to invest in the U.S. green growth jobs maybe...we hope. Right now we just have to survive.

It's Official: The "Debate" is Over, Now Get to Work

Check out Chris Matthews, Hardball, tonight (11-10-08). Chris interviewed Dean of Cong. Black Caucus, James Clyburn,SC, he said Obama never ran as a "liberal" he ran and always said he would govern as a centrist. (Same thing BAR said too, w/o digressing too much).

The Question will be "How Bold?" They answer is likely to disappoint because, while certainly gifted, Obama is a cautious man, (no partisanship here, I mean that seriously). The Dems have a way of "disarming" themselves, the historical pattern is there. Joe Lieberman stays put, as case in point.

The Pundits say the "Center" brought the big V, and frankly they are right. I guess the "Libs", Hispanics, and Blacks were just along for the ride. Even Obama supporters say "the money might not be there?" Yes, lets celebrate that symbolic change can reap huge dividends, (I know my youngins were inspired) I'm just older and more pragmatic, so let's stop debating and get to work.

Our destiny is in our hands,seize the opportunities the Obama Presidency creates, don't rely on him to make bold strokes.



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