pulled a similar stunt the previous year, fronting a petition
signed by almost 50 wealthy Blacks supporting elimination of the
federal Estate Tax, a levy affecting less than one out of every
200 African American households.
signatories included media owners Earl Graves (Black Enterprise),
Thomas Burrell (Burrell Communications Group), Keith Clinkscales
(Vanguard Media), Barry Cooper (Black Voices.com), Byron Lewis
(UniWorld Group), Ed Lewis (Essence Communications), Alfred Liggins
(Radio One) and Alexis Scott (Atlanta Daily World).
by Johnson's ability to mobilize some of the most vocal members
of his tiny class, the Republican National Committee authorized
a $1 million schedule of anti-Social Security and pro-private
school voucher radio messages, centered on the American Urban
Radio Networks. The official GOP campaign also targets Black markets
in the key presidential election states of Pennsylvania, Michigan,
Kentucky and Missouri.
outside of the official GOP apparatus - but well within the circles
in which Johnson and his closest, Hard Right white business associates
operate - is the Council for a Better Government, whose spokesman
is Kansas City Republican activist John Altevogt. The shadowy
council is spending $1.5 million in 12 states to spread the Johnson-inspired
message: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas,
Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and
North Dakota (!), according to the Associated Press. Altevogt
has submitted letters to the editor and written a guest column for
Metro Voice News, a hard core Christian Right political sheet that
calls itself "Kansas City's only local newspaper serving the Christian
City was the site of the political season's first broadcast of
Republican Social Security messages aimed at Black radio audiences.
That campaign, launched by GOPAC just after Labor Day, was pulled
from the airwaves after public outcry and under pressure from
the Republican National Committee, embarrassed by the "misleading
and offensive" language of the ads. Social Security, said
the pulled version, amounts to "reverse reparations"
- the essential pitch outlined by Johnson when he served on Bush's
bogus, bi-partisan panel. Altevogt's Council for a Better Government
campaign for Black attention appears to be a reincarnation of
the GOPAC effort.
Johnson moves in mysterious ways, his favors to perform.
"new," but saying nothing
applauds the wise counsel of University of Maryland
political scientist Ron Walters, whose analysis, though diplomatically
couched, is quite biting. In a recent column, Dr. Walters wrote
of "the emergence of the view that Blacks are rejecting the
'old'confrontational Black leaders for 'new' moderate ones. In
fact, said Walters, "some Black leaders are now running from
being called 'Black leaders.'"
observed a crowd of "new" Black leaders at a showcase
organized by Memphis Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., at age 33 the
most shameless (and least bright) Black darling of the Right and
the corporate media. (Our assessment, not Dr. Walters'.) Also
in attendance was slickly intelligent Cory Booker, still searching
for a credibly "Black" squat since being thoroughly
exposed as a tool of the Bradley Foundation, George Bush's favorite
are encouraged to take note of the other actors on stage at the
"new Black leader" theater. Dr. Walters wrote:
Congressman Harold Ford's panel during CBC weekend featured
Artur Davis, who defeated Earl Hilliard in Alabama; Kendrick
Meek, a Florida state legislator who will succeed his mother,
Carrie Meek, when she retires from Congress; Cory Booker, a
Newark, N.J., city councilman who ran against Mayor Sharpe James;
Karen Carter, member of the Louisiana State Legislature; and
Michael Hooks, head of the Memphis School Board. This young
group was supposed to discuss what it meant to "move beyond"
the civil rights legacy, but they ended up affirming it. Nevertheless,
it was clear that Davis will be loyal to Israel when he comes
to Congress and that Cory Booker and Harold Ford Jr. have few
objections to school vouchers. Otherwise, the group sounded
like their older colleagues.
innocents may have wandered into this sideshow. But, based on
the marquee, all merit close scrutiny.
are several points to be made regarding Dr. Walters' observations.
First, the Bookers and Fords have nothing to say, only
something to sell - their youngish Black faces - and to sow: media-driven
division in the Black body politic. They dare not violate in clear
words the actual Black Consensus on basic issues of health care,
criminal justice, housing, employment, income disparity, support
for public education, and a strong federal role in overcoming
past and present racial discrimination, including affirmative
aware that Black voters will never knowingly elect those who would
violate The Consensus, these Trojan Horses move in stealth; they
avoid taking opposing positions on issues that are dear to the
African American electorate, but are anathema to their rightwing
and media supporters. As best they can, these mercenaries hide
their financial sources. To the Black audience, they present an
upbeat posture and attitude - the promise, but never the substance,
of "new" ideas.
their media and Hard Right backers, they flash the wink that is
perfectly understood: "Wait until I'm a Black leader. I will
as Dr. Walters puts it, "There has been a consistent attempt
by the establishment to create a Black leadership that would be
absent on major public policy issues, that would be non-threatening
on the racist treatment of Blacks and that would not march and
raise hell in the 'old' civil rights style to challenge the system."
Walters urges Black America to "maintain the dignity of 'Black
leadership' and its mission."
Black and Blue dog
The meaning of dignity escapes Harold Ford entirely. Not only
is he one of three CBC members on the Democratic Leadership Council
(DLC) - the guiding arm of the party's right wing - he is one
of only two Black members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a capacity
in which he helps these 33, southern-based "moderate-to-conservative"
legislators in much the way mascots assist "their" teams.
He makes a spectacle of himself.
(The other Black and Blue Dog is Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA). Both
Bishop and Ford are among the Four Black Eunuchs who voted with
Bush on unilateral war against Iraq.)
Like the DLC, the Blue Dogs fancy themselves a bridge "between
ideological extremes" - meaning, the positions taken by most
of the Congressional Black Caucus, on the Left, and the most rabid
Republicans, on the Right. By his presence among the Blue Dogs,
Ford signals that he is not bound by the Black Consensus, despite
the fact that his safely Democratic seat is 59% Black. He could
vote as "Black" as he wants. He chooses not to.
got 40% of the white vote in the last election - a level he did
not need but fervently sought. As he angles for a shot at the
Senate, Ford cultivates an image of open-mindedness - in contrast
to Black politicians who vote their community's interests - but
he is actually open to anything that will further his own career.
This is politely called opportunism.
short, Ford is no credit to the race, and does not want to be.
Since he hangs with Blue Dogs, we feel comfortable applying animal
metaphors to Rep. Ford: he walks like, talks like, smells like...
a Trojan Horse.
Trojan Horse TV show
our next issue, we will discuss the Hard Right's flagrant propaganda
deployment of "America's Black Forum," the syndicated
television program founded by
publishers Glen Ford and Peter Gamble, 25 years ago. Over the
years, ABF has become the most blatantly rightwing Black-oriented
program on television; indeed, it is in a treacherous class by
itself. ABF's producers are unmistakably in collusion with the
most reactionary institutions on the American political spectrum.
we thought it best to publish the following remarks by NAACP Chairman
Julian Bond in this issue, rather than the next. Bond is
a regular commentator on ABF, but has no role in management and
direction of the program. The same goes for political columnist
Juliann Malveux, also an occasional presence. Both represent progressive
window dressing on an aggressively rightwing set.
remarks are contained in his speech to the NAACP's convention,
in Houston, this summer. We thought them appropriate for this
column, dedicated to rooting out Black Trojan Horses. First, Bond
spoke of the Bush Administration's assault on civil rights. He
is an even wider conspiracy than this - an interlocking network
of funders, groups, and activists, who coordinate their methods
and their message.
are the money, the motivation, and the movement behind vouchers,
the legal assault on affirmative action and other remedies for
discrimination, attempts to reapportion us out of office, and
attacks on equity everywhere.
had a collection of black hustlers and hucksters on their payrolls
for more than twenty years, promoting them as the new generation
of black leaders.
can't deal with the leaders we choose for ourselves - so they
manufacture, promote, and hire new ones. Like ventriloquist's
dummies, they speak in their puppet master's voice, but we can
see his lips move and we can hear his money talk.
financed a conservative constellation of make-believe black
organizations, all of them hollow shells with more names on
the letterhead than there are people on the membership rolls.
purchasing seats at the table of influence, and they're buying
Blacks at a few bucks a head.
Courts Traditional Democrats
New Negativism of "Black Leadership" by Ron Walters
Dog Coalition, plus Harold's Ford's Black Caucus of One
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