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We have entered
a new epoch, facing the same enemy with new and dangerous designs.
The most critical
task facing Black political activists is to identify, expose and defeat
Black Trojan Horse electoral candidates. They must be identified early,
before money and media have provided them with credibility within
and beyond the Black electorate. We have the capacity to expose them
thoroughly, through rigorous research and relentless deployment of
our own media and institutional resources. At every opportunity, they
should be confronted directly and without civility, thus demonstrating
our outrage at their activities. These men and women must be ostracized
from the political life of the community.
We have a plan.
Events of the
past year have demonstrated that the Black political movement is vulnerable
to surrogate candidates in electoral contests in which African Americans
are a majority or near-majority.
is funded and directed by the Hard Right. It is a new and ominous
threat, intended to destabilize existing Black leadership and, ultimately,
destroy independent Black political action. Moreover, it is clear
that African Americans will be confronted by this determined strategy
for the foreseeable future and with escalating intensity.
The Cory Booker
mayoral candidacy in Newark was both a test and herald of the Hard
Right's New Black Strategy. Although Mayor Sharpe James was not ousted
from office, the closeness of the contest and the effectiveness of
the financial and other resources brought into play on Booker's behalf,
encouraged ultra-conservatives to believe that the new approach is
practical and promising.
In quick succession
and with great fanfare, Right-funded challengers defeated two Black
congresspersons: Representatives Earl Hilliard (D-AL) and Cynthia
McKinney (D-GA). Although right-wing Zionists played the most public
role in these campaigns, the same political apparatus that was at
the center of the Booker bid in Newark, provided organizational, media
and financial muscle in Alabama and Georgia.
The Hard Right's
own propaganda machinery, through its think tanks, has from the beginning
described the three contests as linked enterprises, with promises
of more to come. These enemies of independent Black action are hard
at work in the African American political heartland, seeking to groom
new candidates. It is from within the Democratic Party that the next
Black Trojan Horses will emerge.
who are creations of our historic enemies, should find no comfort
zone in Black America. But first, we must identify them. By design,
these are stealth candidacies. However, the tools to strip away the
façade are readily at hand. Determined people can overcome
the schemes of wealth.
The New Black
Strategy was first implemented through the political network centered
on the Bradley Foundation, of Milwaukee, which is author of much of
the Republican Party's social policy positions and funds the network's
most aggressive think tanks: Manhattan Institute, American Enterprise
Institute, Hoover Institute, Hudson Institute and other, satellite
outfits. Bradley works closely with the Olin Foundation, the Walton
Family Fund, the Scaife Foundation and other, traditional bankrollers
of right-wing causes.
As political organs,
these foundations are capable of causing many millions of dollars
of cash contributions and other vital electioneering resources to
be funneled into targeted contests. They are also extremely influential
among the mass media.
foundations' direct, Black-related activities were largely limited
to funding compliant African American academics, and to subsidizing
single-person front organizations such as Ward Connerly's California
operations and Robert Woodson's Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.
Attempts to legitimize Black Republican vehicles such as the Center
for New Black Leadership proved ineffective among the Black populace
However, the campaign
for school vouchers, under the direction of the Bradley Foundation,
introduced white conservatives to the possibilities of grassroots
and electoral action under non-partisan cover in the heart of urban
America. The Hard Right had found an issue that, if generously financed,
would make available to it significant numbers of potential minority
office-seekers and ambitious local activists. These "stealth"
candidates and operatives would not be burdened with the Republican
Cory Booker, an
obscure city councilman and nominal Democrat, emerged from the pro-voucher
crowd, where he caught the attention of the Bradley network, which
put together the sophisticated machinery and massive funding for his
In the interim,
George Bush captured the White House. The Bradley Foundation and other
Hard Right funders, who had functioned as the brains of the Bush-Cheney
wing of the Republican Party, were in position to shape national policy.
Vouchers and faith-based initiatives, both skillfully marketed to
create constituencies among African Americans, became top domestic
priorities of the Bush administration. Both "movements"
were invented with Bradley Foundation money.
The Hard Right
now had its ducks in a row: They prepared to tap billions from the
federal treasury to build conservative Black constituencies through
vouchers and faith-based programs. Meanwhile, the cultivation of stealth,
Trojan Horse candidacies within the Democratic Party would provide
a mercenary core of African American officeholders who could be advertised
as credible, alternative "leadership."
Where Black Republicanism
had failed miserably, Black stealth Democrats are poised like a knife
aimed straight at the heart of the Black consensus.
in Alabama and Georgia - and near-success in Newark - further emboldened
the Hard Right. In the mass media arena, they have achieved unqualified
success; the corporate press have adopted the Bradley Foundation-inspired
analysis of Black America as their own. African Americans, the media
declare, are deeply divided on critical issues - especially vouchers
- and no longer owe allegiance to a "civil rights-oriented"
agenda. By extension, historically influential Black organizations
no longer "represent" African Americans, particularly the
middle class. Black office-holders are hopelessly out of touch with
their constituents, while conservative Blacks are numerous and growing.
Unless the broad
ranks of Black political office-holders, activists, and influencers
join in loud and vigorous rejection of the Trojan Horses among us,
the Black electorate will also come to believe the Right's hype. This,
of course, would signal the end of Black consensus-driven political
activity as we have known it.
Not the same
It is important
to stress the attitudinal change within right-wing ranks that has
made possible the emergence of their New Black Strategy. This relatively
recent internal transformation among the enemy is more significant
than the willingness of some talented Blacks to function as surrogates
for the Right. Careerists and opportunists have always been among
us, but their services were not previously so highly valued; nor,
in the past, was their company so welcomed at right-wing functions.
Hard Right evolved. Their strategy is no longer tokenist. In a sense,
the Hard Right has decided to "normalize" its behavior toward
Blacks, i.e., to employ funding, media, and sophisticated institution-building
strategies in the Black community similar to those that have historically
succeeded among whites. This is precisely what makes the New Black
Strategy so dangerous: it is far less encumbered by past, racist inhibitions
against intimate and expensive relationships with significant numbers
post-Sixties explosion of African American electoral gains, the Hard
Right kept its hands off intra-Black contests. This period will henceforth
be remembered as a kind of benign Jim Crow, during which African American
politicians were spared the need to confront the full weight of right
wing financial, media and organizational clout on Black turf. That
day is over.
The national Republican
Party's embrace of the Bradley-pioneered strategy has vastly enhanced
the reach and effectiveness of the Hard Right network. Contracts,
appointments and all manner of emoluments are now available to Black
operatives who prove useful in local campaigns - win or lose. The
foundations no longer have to bear the burden of wholly subsidizing
their Black puppets. The inducements available to entice Black Democrats
to abandon the consensus have increased many-fold. The white Right
is no longer stingy to its Black collaborators.
the landscape, this year the evangelical and secular Right celebrated
a post-911 alliance with Jewish groups in solidarity with whatever
government rules Israel. Whether this reciprocal alliance is limited
to Rightists who happen to be Jewish or extends into more mainstream
pro-Israel organizations, is unclear. However, the evidence from Alabama
and Georgia indicates that Jewish organizations that had previously
observed the hands-off rule regarding interference in intra-Black
contests have become interventionist - on the same side as gentile
(In the Newark
mayoral contest, where foreign policy issues were not at stake and
the Jewish population is small, Booker operatives and their allies
in media repeatedly attempted to inject Black-Jewish "conflicts"
into the race.)
In practice, the
alliance of right-wing Jews with the corporate Right and the Christian
Right should have no effect on our course of action. Purging the Trojan
Horses from the Black body-politic is essentially an internal affair.
If we succeed, we will end up with the same allies we started out
with, but also a far healthier political environment. As we clear
the phony Democrats out, we will also clear our collective heads.
Where to look
In defense, African
Americans must awaken precisely that quality which the Hard Right
seeks to destroy: our historical will to speak for ourselves. On that
ground, there are no honest divisions among us. Although tolerant
of the widest range of political expression and styles, African Americans
can be trusted to recognize and rebuke their enemies when they
are pointed out to them.
The Hard Right
isn't in hiding - it is in power! It spends freely, in amounts that
wave like red flags in even the most upscale Black communities. These
people are massively buying their way into office and influence.
We and our allies can discover the points-of-purchase - the direct
financial lines to the Trojan Horses. The process can be tedious,
but it's not all that complicated. (Cory Booker was identified and
out-ed in the premier issue of The Black
Commentator, despite his down-with-the-hood pretensions.)
of the Hard Right is easy to detect. Black Trojan Horse candidates
are stealthy, carefully masquerading as cautious Democrats, but their
paymasters betray them at the top of their lungs. Hard Right web sites
and paper publications brag constantly about their actual and potential
minority assets. They can't help themselves because, for the Right,
the creation of an alternative Black leadership is a public ritual.
Whether he or
she knows it or not, The Black Trojan Horse is placed in public view,
at significant expense, for display purposes. They are there
to be pointed out and regaled as brave dissidents, fighting the entrenched
Black "establishment." Although powerful financiers and
corporate and foundation executives sit at the center of the Right's
machinery, they work through a public network of organizations, giving
the appearance of a political "movement." Sponsors champion
their favorites for membership in the club; they are introduced to
the people that count. The ritual begins within the orbits and organs
of the Hard Right. We just haven't been collectively looking in the
right places - which is understandable; the strategy is only a few
years old. Study the Right, and you'll find the Trojan Horse before
he/she becomes a media darling.
are arranged long before the race; by the time you see the money,
a fatal dose may already be in the pipeline. However, in order to
secure cash commitments to their Black protégés,
the right-wingers must communicate among themselves in ways that can
be easily overheard. There are no secrets, only people who have neglected
October, 2000 luncheon speech to the Bradley Foundation-funded Manhattan
Institute should have alerted everyone to the road he was about to
take in his quest to become mayor of Newark. However, no African American
had ever taken that route; these were the Right's first steps towards
direct intervention in Black electoral politics. Booker's core financial
and media backing was assured before he left the room. The Right's
communications network followed up with a chorus of praise for the
first-term councilman, preparing the larger field of contributors.
Booker's name was on every Right operative's lips. Yet, the funding
and media juggernaut that rolled into Newark 15 months later caught
the Black and brown city completely by surprise.
Earl Hilliard didn't know what hit him, either. After his June 25
defeat by Arthur Davis, Hilliard told The Black Commentator: "I
just found out this past week, that there were people who were sent
to Alabama that were on the payroll of corporations who were doing
all the necessary ground work and preparations and
put the money in, the money came like, WOW! It came almost at one
time, over a period of about 30 days." The congressman from Alabama's
Black Belt saw, too late, the footprints of the Hard Right's New Black
Strategy, an assault that the public perceives, incorrectly, as a
mainly Jewish operation.
In fact, the Right
is quite ecumenical, having cemented a pact, this spring, between
the corporate Hard Right (including the Bradley, Olin, Scaife, Walton
foundations, etc.), the Christian Right, and the Jewish Right. Everyone
knew the pro-Ariel Sharon train was barreling down on Cynthia McKinney.
However, as Stephen Zunes wrote in the August 25 issue of Common Dreams:
"[McKinney's] opponent's campaign coffers were enriched by contributions
from individuals and PACs affiliated with big business and other special
interests that surpassed that of the 'pro-Israel' groups.... Majette's
top contributors include a sizable number of major Republican donors
and very few names commonly associated with a Jewish ethnicity."
There is no need
to look for pro-Sharon Jewish money behind every attempt to unseat
progressive Black officeholders. The American Israel Political Affairs
Committee will shout its involvement from here to Tel Aviv. Look,
rather, to the established networks of the Hard Right foundations
and their think tanks. Gathered there are most of Black people's enemies,
scheming under one, big umbrella. Follow their grants and associations
and you will find aspiring Black Trojan Horses, awaiting their assignments
and checks. Some will be preparing to run for office, others in line
But that's not
the whole herd. The Democratic Party's right wing is organized around
the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the faction that most slavishly
courts big corporations and seeks to distance the party from unions
and progressive Blacks. (Yes, this is the faction that spawned Bill
Clinton, Al Gore and vice presidential candidate Senator Joe Lieberman.)
Every African American politician associated with the DLC should be
considered suspect, and closely watched. There is no reason for them
to be there except to make deals with the party's right wing - which
believes that Gore lost the 2000 election largely because he became
too closely identified with Blacks and labor.
In some areas
of the country, the DLC is the gray area between the Republican and
Democratic machineries. Cory Booker's only close New Jersey
party ties were with the rump DLC, or "New Democrats," who
lauded him as a future star of the national party.
Gregory Meeks of Queens, NY, is active with the DLC. The large bulk
of the Congressional Black Caucus is aligned with the Progressive
The DLC was formed
in the South to keep big business and white conservatives from allying
themselves entirely with the Republicans. Georgia Senator Zell Miller
is a prominent DLCer - he threatened to become a Republican early
in the Bush term, a step that would have made little difference in
his politics. Miller is the sponsor of Denise Majette's political
career. There is little doubt that she will join the DLC; we predict
the same for Arthur Davis.
Policy Institute serves as the DLC's think tank, and describes itself
this way: "The Institute's core philosophy stems from the belief
that America is ill-served by an obsolete left-right debate that is
out of step with the powerful forces reshaping our society and economy."
The statement could have been written by any corporate-funded outfit,
and fits perfectly in the mouths of Black stealth candidates signaling
- but not too loudly - their rejection of the historical Black consensus.
We must watch
who comes and goes at DLC functions. The place is a potential breeding
ground for Black Trojan Horses.
In fact, we've
got to do a lot of watching, and more.
Flush with two
real victories and one imagined triumph, the authors of the Hard Right's
New Black Strategy have doubtless kicked the campaign into higher
gear than initially planned. In addition to the usual centers of intrigue
(the DLC, for example) and the on- and off-line publications of the
Right, it will be necessary to monitor regional and local media and
newsletters to determine who is being courted by whom. Again, when
the cash actually arrives, it will be too late to nip the Trojan Horse
candidacy in the bud.
To some, such
monitoring of the associations of African American politicians and
aspirants may smack of paranoia, creating an unhealthy political climate
in African American communities. Just the opposite: it is the stealth
candidates, the Black Republicans masquerading as Democrats, who lie
about their backers and agendas and steal the people's right to an
honest choice. Even if America as a whole isn't ready for real campaign
reform, it is within our power to enforce some degree of transparency
in our own communities.
Not only are eyes
and ears needed, but organizations of Black elected officials, overwhelmingly
Democrats, should set up special committees on the alert to right-wing
activities among the Black political class. Special attention should
be paid to local school voucher groups, who have access to (Bradley
Foundation-funded) training centers for activist cadre and electoral
candidates. The school board candidate is only a check away from City
be serious people, however. The honest, conservative-leaning Black
candidate is not necessarily a tool of the Hard Right. If his pockets
are light, he's certainly not with that crowd.
Once stealth candidates
(or bought-off incumbents) are identified, they must be exposed. This
will require both documentation and dogged perseverance, making full
use of whatever media is available. When media fails to listen, relatively
small groups of people are capable of making news, through
demonstrations and other actions that demand coverage.
It must be emphasized
that there has never been a campaign like the right-wing offensive
that is currently directed against us. We will have to be creative
in our response, while the Right and its hirelings rely on stealth,
the sheer power of money and the manipulations of the corporate media.
The Black Commentator
is working with others to create a center to defeat the stealth candidates
and their sponsors. We have established Trojan Horse Watch to begin
this process. Once organized, we are confident our collective resources
will be sufficient to identify the stealth candidates, expose the
Hard Right's schemes in the early stages, confront the front men and
women at every venue and, ultimately, shape a political environment
in which they cannot operate.
This is a self-determination
project, in need of your skills, your energy and your commitment.