Fixing the Congressional Black Caucus
We lead off this edition of No Fools Allowed with an e-Mail message
from Marcellus Andrews, Senior Research Fellow at the New America
“How to Fix the Fractured Black Caucus” by
Glen Ford and Peter Gamble (April
29, 5005) has it just right: sectors of the Congressional
Black Caucus have drifted away from the progressive concerns
of their black voting base because they have been lured by
big corporate money and a lack of credible political competition
n the black community. Ford and Gamble’s call for a progressive
black political action committees is also just right, though
they might want to think a bit more creatively about funding
such a venture. It would be wonderful if white progressives
were to lend a hand by helping a black progressive PACs get
off the ground, but the economic arithmetic of contemporary
black America holds out some promise for truly independent
organizations financed by blacks alone.
How? Consider the arithmetic: if a million black people across
America sent $5 a month to black PACs, that comes to $60 million
each year. Five dollars per month, or $60 per year, per person
is about the cost of a pair of sneakers, or dinner for two
at a fancy restaurant, with one glass of wine each, or the
cost of two mid-priced tickets to a pro-basketball game. So,
progressive black politics could be energized if a city of
adults the size of Detroit spent $60 a year. That’s power
on the cheap.
A grass roots fund raising effort of this
magnitude would take time to organize, but once created,
would be a powerful
force in support of progressive politics. Black America could
run its own money primary – where candidates campaign for the
support of black PACs, which would in turn have to pay close
attention to the views of their small contributors lest they
lose an important part of their funding base. Black candidates
who proved too friendly to the opponents of working people
would suddenly feel two kinds of political heat: a drop off
in financial support and the emergence of well-funded, black
opponents vetted by organizations loyal to black interests. In
time, black America could regain control of its own politics
by wielding the power of the purse as well as the ballot in
the political arena, thereby reducing the attractiveness of
the corporate siren song that lures black elected officials
away from their voter base.
In the end, black America must understand
that the CBC is drifting because its black voter base is
seen as trapped, giving
self-interested politicians the leeway to cut deals that sacrifice
the interests of their constituents. Frankly, it is time for
black America to buy as well as vote for its own political
voice in the Capitol, or gradually have its voice silenced
by the deep pockets of the corporate state.
J. Hutton writes to say it’s time to take
out the long knives to change the CBC.
Thank you for the excellent article on the Fractured Black
Caucus. I agree it needs medical attention; radical surgery.
The Caucus needs to be purged. Here is how it is done.
Form a Black Political Hit Team; call
it a Black PAC if you wish. It shall be a standing, amorphous,
It shall be the function of said team to assault the traitorous
reprobates as eagerly as they are courted by the political
right wing. The minimum assault package should be first,
to strip them of their cover of Blackness, expose the 'thirty
pieces of silver', brand them publicly, then finally to drive
them into the camp of their paymasters and make them remain
there; make them die there; make them be buried there. Let the
slaves be on the hands of their masters.
Beware of Barack Obama; he is a chameleon.
Underneath his charming exterior is another Corey Booker.
Sounds like brother Hutton is proposing something like a combination
of a Black PAC, a think tank and the mongoose squad (mongoose
The chart we
published showing the 15 members of the CBC who voted with republicans
got under the very old white skin of Marjorie B. Colson in Madison,
When I read that Sheila Jackson-Lee of TX
had voted to cut the estate tax I thought the world must have
just turned upside down. It
isn't that many months ago that I made up my mind that the only
leaders worth a dime on the U. S. political scene were African
American, specifically, members of the Black Caucus.
I am a very white very old woman who has
been hunting for a leader for a long time. I voted for Ralph Nader for President,
for I admire him, and I believe he has provided valuable leadership
throughout his adult life. But Ralph is getting old, and he is
a Party of One. The Black Caucus, on the other hand, seemed
to me to represent everything I am looking for in Progressive
leadership. Until now.
I wish you the best, and I am with you in
your demand that African American leadership consider the wishes
and needs of their constituencies. I
believe their constituencies stretch beyond the black community,
to many of us who abhor the behavior of most political leaders. You
are doing the whole nation a favor with your writings and arguments. We
need you and we desperately need honest representatives in government
we can admire and trust.
Musician Keith Benson wrote from Philadelphia
to tell us we are doing a great job in the "solutions" department.
I read your BC magazine, religiously. I think it is excellent
and insightful. I am extremely pleased with you article posing
a solution for the sellout CBC members.
I believe your magazine would really stand out from the rest
if that becomes the majority of your reporting. In other words
- keep reporting SOLUTIONS, in every publication. Become synonymous
with solutions. I'll help - if need be.
How well we all know the problems. Everyone reports them.
It is the solutions we need.
An Offensive "Pet Negro"?
A BC reader by the name of Tirandaz
says Mark P. Fancher's query ("Is Condi Rice President Bush’s
Pet Negro?", April
21 2005) regarding Dr. Condoleeza Rice is timely.
…However, we need not agonize over the
good Doctor. The fact is, Dr. Rice serves a higher purpose,
did she but know
So, too, does Gen. Colin Powell. They both allow us Black
folk to understand the type of Africans who participated
in rounding us up, marching us to the slave markets and imprisoning
us until time to be sold.
We now have, thanks to them, the opportunity
to understand the Negro slaves who betrayed many a slave rebellion.
I frankly confess that until I saw these two on the world stage,
I couldn't imagine such a person. Only a person totally devoid
of self esteem could perform as these two have performed, and
have no doubt about it they are performers.
Bolton, to his credit, understood this
and felt free to keep both Powell & Rice in the dark
regarding certain facts relating to their respective jobs.
only recite their lines and follow the promptings of the
Apparently, only Rice
and Powell take themselves seriously. To the white folk around
Bush they are simply Uncle
Tom & Aunt Jemima.
That is what they should be to we Black folk.
Rao V Nagisetty believes the problem with Condi
is due to the difficulty of dealing with celebrities.
Once they are a celebrity and they
belong to your race, knocking them even for legitimate
reasons shows a certain
quality of "foolishness". It is similar to patriotism,
my country, right or wrong.
The credentials of Dr. Rice are impressive but her qualifications
to do the job are minimal. She does not have the attitude
necessary to come to her own judgment. As Fancher says,
she is always waiting for her Master's Voice. That was
her career so far. As far as Dr. Mugabe goes, it is not
clear he gets a fair press.
If you can defend Farakhan, I do sympathize with Dr. F,
it should not be difficult to treat Mugabe fairly. That
this world is screwed by the white man, you don't have
to be a genius to see, just look on this world in Africa,
Middle East, Far East , Indonesia, Taiwan etc. So some
of us, like judge Thomas and Dr. Rice sold out and there
is no reason to protect them from our criticism.
I will go so far as to say that these specimens are third
rate, belong in the garbage bin. A race that produced a
Marin Luther King, a Nelson Mandela, a Paul Robeson should
not have to scramble to cherish every celebrated black.
Celebrities are dime a dozen but those that inspire and
enliven the human race for ages are but a few. I say Dr.
Rice is unfit for her current job.
I will not trust her with anything that
requires fairness and nobility.
The publishers agree with you, if you mean
that Rice is culpable for every crime in which she has assisted.
Debra Robinson was offended by Fancher's Think Piece.
Let's call a spade a
spade, shall we? The
characterization of Dr. Rice as Bush's "pet Negro" is
offensive, demeaning, misleading and misogynist. Dr. Rice
has played the role of political advisor, analyst, and coach
to two generations of the Bush dynasty. The policies she
pursues – in the name of her boss - are more than likely
of her own creation. Do not imagine that "W" is
the mastermind and Rice is, to use retro-terminology, a running
dog lackey. Furthermore, it would be foolish to downplay
her role in masterminding many of the policies she initiates,
whether or not she takes direct credit for those policies.
While I am no fan of the Bush administration,
Dr. Rice included, I do feel that she should be recognized
powerful, intelligent, intense and strong black woman that
she is. Any woman who has an admitted ambition to be NFL
Commissioner is definitely a force to be reckoned with,
in “her” own right, and is no one’s pet dog, or Negro.
Are the brown shirts around the corner?
In her Freedom Rider column on April
21, 2005, Margaret Kimbereley posed the question: "Fascism:
Are We There Yet?".
Gwen Barbour wrote to say she fears we are very close.
Margaret Kmberly's article
dovetails with another that I read recently entitled Facism
Anyone? We Americans better
wake up and smell the coffee because we are as close to fascism
right now as we have ever been at any time recently including
the McCarthy era. All this talk of covert surveillance of citizens,
RFID chips, passports to re-enter the country and soon apartheid
like ID cards should make us all ask the big question: While
the watchers are watching us, who's watching the watchers? The
lack of integrity, absence of character and self serving seen
in far too many of those who are "in charge" leaves
me deeply troubled for our country.
I recommend the article - Facism Anyone
to all who want to take a serious look at what is happening right now. It can
be found in Free Inquiry Magazine vol.23 Number 2. It outlines
14 common indicators of a facist regime some of which include:
and continuing expressions of nationalism;
of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause;
disproportionate share of national resources dedicated to the
controlled mass media (we're getting there);
and ruling elite tied together;
of corporations protected;
of labor suppressed or eliminated;
with crime and punishment;
Knowledge is power!! Thanks BC for giving a forum
to writers like Margaret Kimberly who always put it out there
Annette M Klapstein tells us she is preparing
to leave the country.
I completely agree with your article, especially the part
pointing out that at some point it will be too late to jump
off the runaway train.
My husband and I are jumping off this
summer, and I have made sure that my two draft-age sons
have up-to-date passports
so they can get out of the U.S. quickly when they reinstitute
the draft or at any other time they feel the need to.
I threatened to move to Canada when Reagan
was elected, but I stayed and continued to fight the good
fight to the
best of my ability. But this time, I no longer have any
hope for this country. It does indeed seem to me that we're
about three-quarters of the way down the road to full-blown
fascism, and I see no possibility of turning this train around.
Half (or more) of the people in this country seem to be
brainwashed sleepwalkers with no idea of the disaster awaiting
them on the immediate horizon. I will never stop being politically
active, and doing everything in my power to end American
imperialism, but for now at least, I will be doing it from
Thanks for all your good work.
You can visit the Radio
BC page to listen to any of our audio commentaries
voiced by BC Co-Publisher
and Editor-in-Chief, Glen Ford. We now publish the text of
the radio commentary each week on the Radio BC page.
We thank each of you very much for your readership. Please keep
acknowledges the following Websites for sending visitors our way
(listing is in no particular order):