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Are African Americans “Strategic Voters” Or Are We A Captive Constituency?

Are African Americans “Strategic Voters” Or Are We A Captive Constituency?

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Strategy is an overall plan or policy designed to achieve some objective. So what is this thing that Democrats and nominal non-Democrats call “strategic voting”?

Will this “strategic voting” thing help us roll back the vicious police and prison states? Will it make the economy work for the 99% instead of the 1%? Will it help us stop gentrification or the privatization of schools, roads, post offices and public services? Will strategic voting get the thirty million people, many of them black whom Obamacare missed real health care? Will strategic voting stop our drone bombings in Somalia and Pakistan, or US support of apartheid Israel?

The proponents of strategic voting readily admit that it will do none of these things. For them, “strategy” is simply electing a Democrat, any Democrat because Republicans are the White Man's Party. This calculus of fear, as Glen Ford has explained is the entirety of black presidential politics. It's a politics of fear, a fantasy world in which overwhelming dread of the White Man's Party is the first, the last and only thing that matters.

The problem of course is that throwing away our hopes, for a just and peaceful society, for getting off fossil fuels and creating millions of new green jobs especially in the inner cities where we need them most, shelving our demands for economic justice and radically shrinking the prison population, putting aside our struggles for higher wages and the right to unionize, for affordable day care, housing and health care, for free quality education from kindergarten through universities --- putting all these things on the back burner for fear that the White Man's Party might gain the White House, the state house or whatever house is not a strategy at all. It's just fear, and fear is not a strategy.

Fear is running away from strategy. Fear is fleeing from any meaningful struggle. “Strategic voting” means jumping back into the trunk of the Democratic party's car. If that's a strategy it ain't a good one. Democrats in office have often proved themselves the “more effective evil” executing policies like school privatization, mass survellance, whistleblower crackdowns and bankster pardons that Republicans could only dream of.

As passengers in the Democratic party's trunk we don't get consulted about what the Democrats do once they're in office. Barack Obama didn't ask black America if we wanted public schools defunded, broken and privatized or if we wanted the banksters lightly slapped on the wrist instead of broken and imprisoned. African American voters are what political scientists call a “captive constituency”. The last strategic thing we did was to let our fear of the White Man's Party induce them to climb into the Democratic party's trunk.

The Democratic party is owned by its contributors, by Wall Street and the hedge fund guys, by Monsanto and Big Ag, by military contractors, privatizers and gentrifiers. Once we're in the Democratic party's trunk, and we've been there for a generation now, the only strategic options are to remain a captive constituency or to pull the latch and escape from Hillary's and Debbie Wasserman Schulz's, from Cuomo's and Rahm Emanuel's trunk to leave the Democratic party and vote our hopes instead of our fears.

I'll be voting for the Green Party this year because it's the only party that opposes school privatization, and drone wars, and gentrification. It's the only party that thinks voting ought to be a constitutional right and that aid to Saudi Arabia and apartheid Israel ought to end yesterday, and more. Unlike a vote cast in fear, a vote from Rahm's trunk, my vote will be a strategic one. Unlike Democrats, I will be voting my hopes and demands, not my fears.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and be sure to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a member of the state committee of the Georiga Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160406_bd_strategic-voters-or-captive-constituents.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:34pm EDT

A Few Black Caucus Members Have Some Questions About Israel

The entire history of the apartheid Zionist state is an affront to the very notion of civilization.”

Black Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson has written a letter that puts him in the cross-hairs of the Israel lobby – and he’s managed to bring eight other members of the House with him, including three colleagues from the Congressional Black Caucus. Johnson teamed up with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a longtime – and usually very lonely – critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The senator is the author of the Leahy Law, which requires the United States to cut off military aid “to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information” that the unit has “committed a gross violation of human rights.” Congressman Johnson believes this language applies to Israel and to military and police units in Egypt. Together, the two countries account for more than 75 percent of total U.S. military assistance to foreign states: $3.1 billion a year to Israel, and $1.5 billion to Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that the U.S. increase its annual gift to the Zionist State’s military to $4.5 billion.

Congressman Johnson’s letter urges Secretary of State John Kerry to do as the Leahy Law requires, and make a determination if Israel and Egypt have engaged in gross violations of human rights. The letter calls Kerry’s attention to specific cases of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians and the use of torture by Israeli security forces, and it cites the Egyptian military regime’s 2013 massacre of as many as a thousand unarmed civilians at Rab’aa Square, which Human Rights Watch describes as “the world’s largest killing of demonstrators in a single day in recent history.”

Washington has no problem with mass murder.”

In addition to Senator Leahy, Hank Johnson convinced eight other House Democrats to sign his letter, including Black Caucus members Andrè Carson, of Indiana, Eddie Bernice Johnson, of Texas, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, the congressional Delegate from Washington, DC.

The crimes of Egypt’s military regime have shocked the world, but Washington has no problem with mass murder, which is why the Egyptian military has been a U.S. client for the past 40 years.

And, there is, of course, not a chance in hell that Secretary of State Kerry will certify that Israel is a gross human rights violator – despite the fact that the entire history of the apartheid Zionist state is an affront to the very notion of civilization. Just two weeks ago, an Israeli soldier was caught on video cold-bloodedly shooting a wounded and helpless Palestinian in the head. A poll showed 66 percent of Israeli Jews have good feelings about the soldier’s behavior, and 57 percent don’t even want the government to investigate the murder. This is the kind of barbaric society that is bred by apartheid – a society that should be recognized as inherently evil by every member of the Congressional Black Caucus. But, only three Black congresspersons joined Hank Johnson in questioning why the U.S. spends billions to arm the last apartheid state on Earth. In 2014, every single Black congressperson, including Hank Johnson, voted in support of Israel even as it was slaughtering more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Four signatures on a letter will never erase the shame they have brought upon Black America through their support for the most racist regime in the world.

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: 20160406_gf_HankJohnsonLttr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT