Friday, October 19, 2007

NYC Councilman (former Black Panther)



by Rock HackshawThu, 10/18/2007
Many black political activists, some black nationalists and even a sprinkling of black moderates, will celebrate Black Solidarity Day on November 5th, 2007; and in keeping with the theme, a large group of blacks intend to endorse Barack Obama for president on that day. Included in that group is NYC councilmember Charles Barron and his wife (and fellow-activist) Inez Barron. The fiery council member from East New York, Brooklyn, intends to put together a group of progressives of all races, nationalities and ethnicities, behind this endorsement effort. He also intends to line up many anti-Iraq-War activists, some veterans, many church and community leaders, and hopefully also a few elected officials of all races, nationalities and ethnicities.
Barron-a former member of the Black Panthers- claims that he has been closely following the presidential debates and is confident that he is making the correct endorsement. He said that he liked some of the things John Edwards said about poverty in the USA, and also many of the positions that candidate Kucinich has taken. He said that Hilary Clinton has been the most disappointing to him, since she seems to lack core convictions. He said that he arrived at supporting Obama, despite some reservations that the candidate needs to get deeper into black issues while on the campaign stump. Barron believes that Obama is the most inspiring of the lot, and has offered many new ideas for change. He also seems to be attracting many young people and is bringing lots of new voters to the political system. Barron says "that this is all good".
This endorsement couldn’t have come sooner for Barack Obama, since recent national polls show him trailing Mrs. Clinton amongst black voters, by almost 20 percentage points (33-52). This endorsement also would help Obama deal with the question of “is he black enough?” In relation to that question, Barron laughed it off as silly and irrelevant. Barron said that such a moot question has no place at the discussion table, once you realize that all the other candidates bar Richardson (Hispanic) are white. He further added that even though Barack Obama may not be as militant as he (Barron) would like, he appears to be someone willing to work with all people on the political spectrum in order too find the common good.
Barron was highly critical of Hilary Clinton who he claims has taken the black vote for granted. He said that Mrs. Clinton has had seven years in the US Senate and has done practically nothing for black people. He asked where was she on the Sean Bell murder. He said that she wasn’t there when Amadou Diallo was killed by the cops (41 bullets) and she still isn’t there now, almost a year after the cops pumped 50 bullets at Sean Bell’s innocent body.
He said that it is easy for Hilary to come to black churches on Sundays, looking to grab our vote (winning over 90% of the black vote in both 2000 & 2006), but she doesn’t fight for our issues during the rest of the week. He calls her a weekend friend of blacks, but a weekday snob. He then listed a number of black issues that she has failed to respond to: police brutality/murder, racial profiling, the high black unemployment numbers, the double standards of injustice that blacks face from the judicial/penal system, high joblessness among black youth, high drop out rates in school and colleges amongst black males, high incarceration rates of black males, Jena Six, Katrina/ New Orleans, reparations for the descendants of slaves, Congressman Conyers’ health care bill, pervasive racism country-wide, high HIV-rates amongst blacks and Hispanics, predatory lending by financial institutions targeting the black community, high home-foreclosure rates in black areas, high rates of asthma, heart disease, etc. in the communities of color, the failing education system, racial discrimination in housing, health, employment, economic-development, banking, etc; and he added even more, in case you are wondering about some of the missing issues here.
Barron spent a long time listing what he sees as the failures of both Bill and Hilary Clinton relative to blacks, Hispanic and communities of color. He also said that the Bush-Clinton-Bush- Clinton formula for presidential leadership is tried, tired, flawed, and failed.
He further stated that Hilary Rodham–Clinton is not an option for blacks and people of color. He claims that the Clintons have had numerous chances to show what they could do for communities of color and they punted instead of going for fourth down. When I challenged him on this- by stating that the vast majority of black elected officials all over the country are supporting Hilary Clinton over Barack Obama- Barron had an interesting observation to proffer. He said that in his experience as an elected official, he has found that too many black electeds tend to be spineless. He said that they say one thing behind close doors- when in company with other black officials- but then they do something else when they leave the room and meet up with their white masters. He says that the slave-mentality still exists. He gave some stinging examples of such officials by name (I won’t list them here).
He further said that black leaders and black electeds don’t understand how powerful their positions are. He also said that they don’t use the votes they control, as leverage for attaining more resources and better services for their constituents and neighbors. He said that while there are many brilliant individuals amongst the black electeds, that collectively: they are a disappointing lot. He then chastised those of them who just fall lock step behind the endorsements of the county and party bosses, without thinking through what’s in the best interests of the districts they represent and serve. He said that between now and November 5th, he will be working hard to bring more prominent endorsements to the Obama campaign.
Stay tuned-in folks.