OBAMA: WHAT BLACKS AND PROGRESSIVES
HAVE BOUGHT INTO
By Glenn Ford, BAR’s senior editor // with comments
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Blacks and so-called progressives have abandoned their obligation to demand anything from Barack Obama. Especially among African Americans, there is a refusal to even listen to Obama’s actual policy positions on matters such as military spending and troop strength or subprime lending disaster relief – issues that go to the very heart of his often profoundly unprogressive policy stances. This historical abdication of responsibility to make politicians accountable has already rendered progressives of all races, irrelevant. Left and Black “leaders” claim they will get around to challenging Obama later on – after he’s ensconced securely in the Oval Office. They know nothing – or pretend to know nothing – about mass social behavior. Grass roots action cannot be switched on and off. Once the last vestiges of a movement are shut down, it takes many years to start it up again.
[Broadcasters and others desiring to download the MP3 of this commentary should visit the Black Agenda Radio archive page. ]
“Blacks and progressives have neutered themselves.
Black Agenda Report has long held that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are identical, politically. Both are associated with the Democratic Leadership Council, the corporate rightwing of the Democratic Party. Clinton proudly upholds the DLC banner, while Obama claims to not be a member, but behaves exactly as if he were one.
Both Obama and Clinton have repeatedly told us, if we were really listening, that they plan to defend America’s so-called “interests” in the world – however the U.S. defines those interests. In real-world language – as opposed to American double-speak, code-speak, and warlike nationalism-speak – both are imperialists who call for huge increases in military manpower, that will inevitably lead to more wars of aggression. Hopefully, neither is as crazy as John McCain, who is busy trying to convince Republican voters that he’s itching for a fight with anybody, anywhere, for any reason. But these are only cosmetic differences among imperialists – differences in tone, not substance.
Our primary concern is the effect this electoral season has had on masses of Blacks and those non-Blacks that consider themselves progressive. We have witnessed a capitulation to the DLC-inspired Obama campaign on the part of white so-called progressives. African Americans are now near-universally in the Obama camp. Both groups imagine they are witnessing a “movement” in the making, when in fact there is no such thing as a movement being born in a hundreds-of-millions of dollars electoral campaign. Rather, progressives of all races have abandoned movement politics, thus ensuring that Obama remains unchallenged by the Left, free to move further to the Right as a general election campaigner and in the White House.
“Especially among African Americans, there is a virtual refusal to allow issues to intrude on Obama’s parade.”
This wholesale surrender to Clintonism with a Black face and winning smile cannot be justified on any substantive political basis. Therefore, progressives find themselves with no choice but to “hope” that progressive “change” will somehow occur, despite the fact that Obama has laid out positions that are anti-progressive by any measure. Especially among African Americans, there is a virtual refusal to allow issues to intrude on Obama’s parade.
There was only a remnant of a movement left in the United States, before Barack Obama’s phenomenal rise. Black and white progressives claim they are prepared to resume agitation after Obama’s election – that they will rev up the movement once again if they discover the new president turns out to be what he has repeatedly promised to be: a corporate
Democrat committed to imperial policies abroad, who shuns any analysis or demand that does not conform to his own “race neutral” – in practice, “race blind” – domestic policies. If progressives truly believe they can turn mass, grassroots politics on and off, like a switch, they are delusional. Large groups of human beings don’t act that way. Barack Obama’s honeymoon will surely last for years, no matter what crises he mishandles or provokes.
Blacks and progressives have neutered themselves. They have dropped out of struggle, and made themselves irrelevant by refusing to make Obama accountable for his own policy positions and statements. It will be a very, very long journey back home.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Comments [original sample]
“Hope” in a coming “Movement”
written by J in Texas , March 05, 2008
Once again, thank you BAR. i’ve been waiting all week for your commentary, since you seem to be the only Black progressive outlet challenging Obamania.
I am so frustrated with my intelligent, (formerly) progressive friends who believe either that: 1) Obama will turn around and be the true progressive that he is once he gets elected or; 2) the “movement” he has inspired has progressive (transracial) potential. Because of this, they are willing to close their eyes to Obama’s imperialist stance (Israel over Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa, etc.), his neoliberal stance, and, most importantly, his post-race stance.
I used to think we progressives were smarter than those crazy conservatives, but I’m beginning to wonder…..
Thank you again for keeping it real!
Once again, another meaningless Anti Obama article
written by Ambro23 , March 05, 2008
Nothing interesting to know again
So predictable and so pathetic, anyway McCain is gonna win in November so all these articles won’t mean a thing after all…
Well we’re movin’ on upppppp!!!!!!!!
written by George Thompson , March 05, 2008
I was thinking today about how newly freed slaves had few jobs and no opportunity. That was a coalescing force that mobilized millions of ex-slaves. What do we have now? Well most of us at least have a decent job and a house and a car. Apparently that is enough for blacks. Once we bought into consumerism and the quest for whiteness in our jobs and lives, the movement was already dead. Most black people today spend their lives trying to stay as far away from progressive politics as possible for fear of losing their marginal gains compared to whites over the centuries. It is a corporate slave mentality that blames those being victimized for the problems they were born into, much in the vein of Bill Cosby’s incessant tirades.
I wish I could say there were a way out but there isn’t. The movement is dead and it’s staying dead because we got bought and sold out. Slavery is still much alive in black folks’ minds. We have become a race of cowards, afraid to challenge the status quo for fear of not being able to afford a Lexus or a backyard swimming pool. No wonder so many blacks support Obama, even when confronted with the reality of his antiprogressive agenda.
Blacks just don’t get it. We are not citizens just because we were born in the United States. We are being held captive in the United States but willingly. We believe all the negative propaganda that the media feeds America about Africa. White America could at any moment re-institute slavery and what would we do? Probably continue fighting amongst ourselves. Our movement is not just fractured. It is a relic, something to be taught in African-American history classes and nothing more. What cataclysmic event will it take to awaken us if not Katrina nor Jena 6? But like I said the dead cannot be awakened and that is where we stand. Game. Set. Match.