Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

Cory Booker, the Next Black Corporate Presidential Contender

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Booker has always been a sycophant of the rich and devotee of their most reactionary causes.”

Cory Booker, the obnoxious and joyously cynical Newark, New Jersey mayor and soon-to-be U.S. senator, perfected the role of stealth Black corporatist Democratic politician years before Barack Obama was elected to national office – although he’s eight years younger than Obama. If anything, Booker has more friends in high rightwing places at this stage in his career than did Barack Obama when he was running for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, ten years ago. Obama came out gradually as a servant of the corporate class; Booker has always been a sycophant of the rich and devotee of their most reactionary causes.

While Barack Obama waited until he was president to fully display his school privatization colors, Cory Booker began his public career as an operative in the corporate-funded private school vouchers game. At the age of 33, and with only one term as a city councilman under his belt, Booker used his rich contacts in rightwing, mainly Republican circles to vastly outspend, and almost defeat, the most powerful Black politician in New Jersey, Newark mayor Sharpe James. Four years later, in 2006, after a very large Republican U.S. Attorney and now governor, Chris Christie, had put James on the path to prison, Cory Booker walked into City Hall with an army of Wall Street and Silicon Valley billionaires behind him.

Once he steps into the U.S. Senate, to serve out the remainder of the late Frank Lautenberg’s term, Booker will immediately start running for president, staking out a position to the right of the current occupant and of Obama’s likely successor, Hillary Clinton. In the last presidential race, Booker infuriated the Obama camp by coming to the defense of Bain Capital, the Wall Street investment firm where Mitt Romney made his fortune. Booker said it was “nauseating” to see all those good people in high finance held up to scorn in an election campaign.

The filthy rich have cultivated a true-blue believer in Cory Booker.”

Nobody can say that Cory Booker doesn’t take care of his friends in the 1%. They certainly take care of him. They have bankrolled all of his electoral efforts, most recently allowing Booker to spend almost three times as much as his top Democratic senatorial opponents, combined. Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerman’s $100 million gift to the Newark Public Schools made Booker look like an urban miracle worker – although the transaction was actually more like Booker presenting the schools as a gift to Zuckerman and his privatizing friends. Other Silicon Valley fat cats set Booker up as head of a start-up Internet company that made Booker a millionaire, at least on paper. Now that Booker is going to Washington, the start-up is going down the tubes. But, there are plenty more self-serving deals to be made on Capitol Hill.

In the recent campaign, Booker sounded positively like an old-style Republican, badmouthing “Washington” in every other sentence.

The filthy rich have cultivated a true-blue believer in Cory Booker, the still-young man from the suburbs of New Jersey. As I wrote in the inaugural issue of the Black Commentator, in April of 2002, “At his age, Cory will be a blight on the political scene even longer than the rest of the Four Cs (colored conservatives counting cash).” I was referring to Condoleezza (Rice), Clarence (Thomas), and Colin (Powell).

He’ll likely be around even longer than his fellow Black stealth corporatist, Barack Obama.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

Direct download: 20130814_gf_BOOKER.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52am EDT

Crimes Against Blacks Demand Consequences, Says Black Is Back Coalition

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

We must build a movement to win power in our own hands.”

According to the Black is Back Coalition for Peace, Social Justice and Reparations, which holds its national conference this weekend in New York’s Harlem, the recent “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial sent a clear message that it’s open season on Black people in the United States. But, how can that be so in the second decade of the 21st century, more than two generations after passage of laws that that were supposed to make African Americans full citizens, and with a man of African descent in the White House? Obviously, Black people are not effectively wielding power in the United States – certainly not in their own defense. Otherwise, why all this impotent rage at an unjust system that criminalizes African Americans as a group and allows police – and even civilians – to shoot Blacks down like dogs?

There will be more and more Trayvon Martins and more Sean Bells and Ramarley Grahams until we as a people are able to deliver some kind of consequence,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black is Back Coalition. He’s talking about “consequences that will force the system to respond to the needs that we have in our communities” and to redress the harms that have been done to Black people. This means “taking control of our own agenda,” because, says Yeshitela, “the system won’t stop acting towards us the way it does unless it has to pay some kind of consequence.”

Crimes against Black people cry out for consequences, all across the country. In New York, members of Ramarley Graham’s family will participate in the Black is Back Coalition conference, at St. Mary’s Church, in Harlem, August 17 and 18. Only last week, a Bronx grand jury refused to indict the policeman who shot the unarmed18-year-old to death in the bathroom of his own home. It is up to Black people to decide what the consequences of such crimes must be – otherwise, Black folk’s enemies will become even bolder.

Isolated individuals and groups cannot possibly impose consequences on Power.”

We must build a movement to win power in our own hands,” says the literature for the Black is Back Coalition conference. Movement building is what the coalition is all about; it is the reason organizations that were already engaged in struggle came together to fashion a working coalition in which Black people of various political stripes united to fight for common goals. Omali Yeshitela, who is a founder of the Uhuru Movement, puts it this way: “The Black Is Back Coalition challenges the notion that I can be in my own little corner, with my own little issue and, somehow, forge ahead by myself.” Isolated individuals and groups cannot possibly impose consequences on Power. Only Black people wielding their own, organized power can do that.

The greatest diluter of potential Black political power is the Democratic Party, which is financed and controlled by bankers and the rich, who then stifle independent Black political action through their networks of bought-and-for Black operatives and politicians. Most members of the Black Is Back Coalition believe what’s needed is a final break from the Democratic Party, and a real struggle to achieve independent Black organization. The best place to start is with an already existing Coalition that proudly proclaims “Black Is Back.”

For more information on the Black Is Back Coalition national conference, go to their website at BlackIsBackCoalition.org, or call 202.681.7040.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130814_gf_BiBConf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45am EDT