Wed, 27 July 2016
This Movement Has Millions of Mothers, Most of Them NOT Campaigning For Hillary Clinton
A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon
I don’t know Geneva Reed-Veal, Sybrina Fulton, Lucia McBath, Maria Hamilton, and Gwen Carr. What I know about them is that they’re the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton and Jordan Davis, four of whom were killed by police, the other by a homicidal right wing nutcase.
I know they’re all members of a club they didn’t volunteer for, one that nobody wants to belong to. , and they deserve our respect, our profound sympathy and our support. I know they’re letting themselves be called “the mothers of the movement” and they’re campaigning for Hillary Clinton. I know they were trotted in front of the Democratic convention Tuesday night, where one of them announced that Hillary was going to lead us into an era of restorative justice.
There’s plenty more I don’t know.
I don’t know if the mothers are aware that Hillary Clinton justified and campaigned for the end of welfare in the 1990s, throwing families into deeper poverty and turning millions of poor mothers out into the low wage workforce without child care. I don’t know they’re familiar with the Clinton crime bills of 94, 95 and 96 which financed and fueled the expansion of the mass incarceration state and took Pell grants for college education away from people in prison. I don’t know if they know that Hillary to whom they claim a mother to mother bond helped close the courthouse doors to lawsuits against prison conditions and the efforts of the convicted to prove their innocence. She helped incentivize states to lengthen already unjust and draconian prison sentences, and expand the federal death penalty from four to sixty offenses.
I have no way of knowing whether these ladies actually thought up that “mothers of the movement” title. It sounds like it came from the sharp tongue of some mouthpiece of the black political class, that gaggle of black politicians, preachers and business types which has tied itself hand and foot to the corporate right wing of the Democratic party. This black political class relentlessly celebrates and commemorates the Freedom Movement of 50 years ago to create their signature brand, which is the impression that they had something to do with it, and they’re always on the lookout for opportunities to appear relevant to the current movement.
Capturing and cynically using some of the mothers of those murdered by police is exactly the kind of move we’d expect from the operatives of our black political class. They’re old hands at the game of power politics, and these mothers are newbies. Geneva Reed-Veal, Sybrina Fulton, Lucia McBath, Maria Hamilton, and Gwen Carr are certainly the mothers of martyrs. But let's not get it twisted.
This movement has thousands of martyrs, and tens of millions of mothers, from maroons and runaway slaves whose names we’ll never know to the Harriet Tubmans and Ida B. Wells, to organized nurses, teachers and home health care workers, to the many thousands of women in the streets today. And it’s safe to say that most of the movement’s mothers are NOT campaigning for Hillary Clinton.
For Black Agenda Report, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.