by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball
Those purported liberals and progressives that urge pragmatism and caution in the face of raging imperial warfare and Wall Street’s predations, must not feel their own lives are at stake. “If they did really believe that corporations were leading the planet to doom or that the fascists they are protecting us from are just outside the gates, would they really only respond by a few rallies and a vote for a Democrat?” Blacks and browns are the folks living at Ground Zero.
The Professional Left Versus The Left of Us
by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball
“Black, Brown, Indigenous and working people need to abandon the conventions of the professional left and develop our own politics.”
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was partially right when earlier this year he dismissed the “professional left.” There is indeed a professional left, those whose entire careers and claims to fame are based on permanent liberal challenges to power and who arrogantly dismiss as immature, and worse dangerous, those who would push leftward beyond those limits. “Don’t go too far,” they tell us, “vote for us or THEY will get elected and then we’re in real trouble!” But that’s because liberals aren’t in real trouble. They don’t really believe that. If they did really believe that corporations were leading the planet to doom or that the fascists they are protecting us from are just outside the gates would they really only respond by a few rallies and a vote for a Democrat? Then maybe they are as “fucking stupid” as Rahm Emanuel said they are.
But to some the fascism warned of in all those faint allusions to totalitarian horrors already exists and the death camp trains have been running for decades with barely a peep from the professional liberals. Should we care about Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo when he never felt pressure enough to even lie about wanting to shut down the Corrections Corporation of America? Prisons and the racist legislation, hyper-policing, brutality and fraudulent judicial system that keep them filled are among the nation’s biggest businesses. Joblessness and poverty continue to worsen and even the tens of thousands dying from war abroad are more than matched by the deaths in this country resulting from public policies which deny adequate housing, food and health care to millions. When rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are found to be as high in Black communities in the United States as they are in war-torn cities overseas and children tell counter military recruitment workers that they might as well risk death fighting in foreign wars when they get shot at here at home since at least that offers the chance of health care and education who is really interested in more liberal threats of “it could be worse”?
“Prisons and the racist legislation, hyper-policing, brutality and fraudulent judicial system that keep them filled are among the nation’s biggest businesses.”
For Marcus Bellamy of the Arizona-based Black Organizing Network and Arizona Green Party this was the point of a series of events that took place this week in Phoenix. For Bellamy and co-organizers Arizona is the national “ground zero, the laboratory for the state testing out just how far it can go in terms of racial oppression.” According to Bellamy all the recent fuss over Senate Bill 1070 itself works to mask that “the migrant community is being used as a mere experiment in methods that can one day be used against the entire population – workplace raids, detention centers, extension of biometric data collection in prisons, the hiring of an armed volunteer force that enforces immigration law (which in any other country would be labeled a paramilitary force), integration of local and national police agencies along with cooperation from the National Guard in the name of ‘border protection,’ and so on may seem like an attack on the stereotypical ‘Mexican’ but will eventually morph into a blanket assault on anyone who defies the status quo.”
So sure, the professional left will undoubtedly tell us of all the small victories achieved in this week’s reversal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the passage of the Low Power FM Radio Act. And we are soon to hear more from the Black professionals, or “surrogates,” called upon by Obama to explain how Black people will benefit from the new tax bill. But who really cares if imperialism is gay or straight or if we are now to get more liberal/non-profit radio or if Black people will get extensions on unemployment benefits instead of proper jobs with proper wages? Black, Brown, Indigenous and working people need to abandon the conventions of the professional left and develop our own politics even if they be dismissed as immature, impractical and simple fantasy. Professional liberalism is no answer for us.
Several years ago Essence Farmer finally won her case in Arizona allowing her to run a natural hair braiding business without a license since cosmetology school does not teach that skill. This week Black Floridian barbers are being raided and jailed by armed and masked agents for precisely that same licensing issue. “Ground zero” strikes again.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Online visit us at BlackAgendaReport.com .
Jared A. Ball can be reached via email at [email protected].