The Black misleaders have been busy selling out Black people for half a century, but are still only barely tolerated by the rich man’s Democratic Party and its racist figurehead, Joe Biden. The late Glen Ford explained.
This article was originally published in Black Agenda Report on December 17, 2020.
The Black Misleadership Class continues its descent into utter political irrelevance, dragging 48 million African Americans ever deeper into the abyss with them. Like a soap opera whose central pathologies endure through decades of changing casts of characters, the misleaders cling to their demeaning subservience to the Democratic Party in hopes of one day becoming honored and respected partners. The Black supplicants are always betrayed, of course, but prefer a bad marriage to no relationship at all. Indeed, the Black misleaders and the Democrats have been locked in what Malcolm X would describe as a house Negro/slave master relationship for so long – certainly since the late Sixties – that the Black junior partner knows no other way to behave.
In the latest installment of “The Black and the Powerless,” the usual gaggle of national Black civic organizations are awarded a closed-door meeting with their love-object, president-elect Joe Biden. The civic leaders respectfully requested that the Party protect the voting rights of its most loyal constituency, and use the powers of the executive branch to curtail the police violence that has plagued the Black community since the days of the slave-disciplining “paddy-rollers” – in addition to their perennial concern that more Black faces be elevated to high places in the new administration. However, as senior editor Margaret Kimberley recounts in this issue of BAR, Biden immediately put the house Negroes in their place:
“In a loud voice and in the manner of a bullying boss Biden dashed any hopes that he would use executive orders to enact policies that he can’t get passed because of Republican congressional opposition. He accused Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, of not reading his policy paper because she disagreed with him. He was vehement about not using the power of executive orders to thwart congressional Republicans and claimed concerns about constitutionality as an excuse for doing as little as he possibly can.”
“Biden immediately put the house Negroes in their place.”
As Margaret Kimberley observes, it is unclear who leaked the Zoom meeting – either one of the Black participants or Biden, himself, to demonstrate his eagerness to put the Black notables in their place and warn them not to encourage Black Lives Matter’s demand to de-fund the police. “We’re not,” said the Great Incarcerator, ruling out any rollback of the cops. “We’re talking about holding them accountable. We’re talking about giving them money to do the right things.”
Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, wrote the letter that requested the lopsided confab, which included NAACP President Derrick Johnson; former Department of Justice Civil Rights Division leader Vanita Gupta; National Action Network founder Rev. Al Sharpton; Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League; Kristen Clarke, executive director of the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and New Orleans congressman Cedric Richmond, who will serve Biden as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement .
Clearly, Biden was not impressed by these would-be power brokers, knowing that the Black misleaders have no bite and have not even dared to bark in the half a century since they collaborated in shutting down the Black Liberation Movement to become operatives of the rich man’s duopoly. In the 21st century, the misleaders have so debased themselves at the feet of Democratic power, it is impossible for the Party’s leaders to pretend they represent a constituency beyond their own dark faces.
“Biden was not impressed by these would-be power brokers.”
The Party has long understood that the Black civic organizations – having no mass movement behind them – need the Democrats more than the Party needs them. Back in 2004, during the Kerry-Bush presidential contest, the Democrats humiliated and defunded the whole Black civic society menagerie, cutting them out of the seasonal get-out-the-vote money that many had grown dependent upon for operating expenses -- as well as to maintain the illusion of a Black partnership with Power. As I reported for The Black Commentator in “Black Anger, White Money: A Crisis for Black Leadership,” Democratic fat cats like George Soros decided that the money men who subsidized the Party could jettison the Black civic nuisances at no political cost. Operating through so-called “527” outfits and paying “$8 to $12 an hour for door-to-door canvassers,” the white Democratic billionaires “supplanted (usurped might be a better word) the electoral functions previously performed by mainstream Black organizations such as the 84-member National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP).”
“Democratic fat cats decided that the money men could jettison the Black civic nuisances at no political cost.”
Unceremoniously dumped and defunded at the height of the (losing) campaign, the so-called “civil rights community” nonetheless continued to beg for a mission that would make them seem important to their political masters.
“It's insulting that none of us who have been responsible for most registration and turnout are at the table determining priorities,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. NCBCP executive director Melanie L. Campbell declared, “There is something wrong when groups who have closed the gap on enfranchisement with our track record and our history of protecting the vote are not getting funding.” The late Professor Ron Walters, a board member of NCBCP, sensed that the Democrats saw Black civic organizations as more of a burden than an asset. “There appears to be a dedicated campaign by the party leadership, the Kerry campaign and now ancillary funding organizations to build some political distance between themselves and key traditional leaders of the party base,” said Walters.
Sixteen years later, the “civil rights” community are singing the same tired song, still desperate to justify their status as a barely tolerated annex of a rich white man’s party.
The next year, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, scattering two-hundred thousand Black residents to the four winds. Fearing that a too-close association with Black people would hurt the Democrats’ chances to recapture the U.S. House in 2006, Party leader Nancy Pelosi refused to hold hearings on the catastrophe and barred Black Democratic congresspersons from attending Republican hearings on Katrina. As I wrote in The Black Commentator article “Katrina Shock: Therapy for Black America ”:
“Only Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney broke the Pelosi-invoked boycott. She attended every session, and made good use of the experience, challenging the administration’s witnesses every step of the way. The rest of the Black Caucus abstained from the hearings except for the occasional appearance of New Orleans Black Rep. William Jefferson, who, as a representative of the affected region, was given a pass by Pelosi.”
“Nancy Pelosi refused to hold hearings on the catastrophe and barred Black Democratic congresspersons from attending Republican hearings on Katrina.”
The Black Caucus has never – and should never – recover any vestige of dignity after putting the Democratic Party ahead of hundreds of thousands of poor and exiled Black people. They are still kissing Pelosi’s butt and draping her with kente cloth. Shameless and worthless, the vast bulk of the Black Caucus are totally in sync with their new leader’s racist politics and will not have to pretend to be soulmates with Old White Joe. In 2014, 80 percent of the Black Caucus voted to continue the Pentagon program to arm local police departments to the teeth, and in 2018 three out of four Blacks in the House supported making cops a “protected class.” They hate Black Lives Matter and its “defund the police” demand as much as Biden does, and have no solidarity with anyone except their own grasping, self-centered, hustling class.
The only solution is an independent, people-centered movement.