Corey Booker and the Hard Right's Colonization of Black American Politics

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

A new black political class has arisen, one with only nominal connections to black voters or communities Their careers and orientation are corporate through and through. Some prominent black Democrats have actually been operatives of the hard right for decades, like Newark's Corey Booker.

Corey Booker and the Hard Right's Colonization of Black American Politics

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

On the first weekend in May, Newark mayor Corey Booker appeared alongside Fox News host Juan Williams and ultra-conservative Republican governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to sing the praises of charters and school privatization, and the evils of organized teacher and parent power at the annual conference of the Alliance for School Choice.. It's not a big step for Corey Booker, it's the place he's been all along, since his first late 1990s gig as a founding board member of the Bradley Foundation's Black Alliance for Educational Options. What's new is that in 2012 black Democrats with national profiles like Booker can appear in public spouting pro-corporate right wing dogma alongside such creatures, and hardly anyone notices. What has happened to Democratic party politics, to black politics?

To hear mainstream pundits like Andra Gillespie tell it, black politics and the black politician have been re-invented. The poster boys for this new generation of elected black Democrats are people like Newark's Corey Booker, former DC mayor Adrian Fenty, and of course, President Barack Obama. Re-invention, the story goes, is a good thing because the re-inventors are “technocrats,” whatever that means, with access to funding, elite connections and crossover appeal that their predecessors lacked, all of which enabled them to get things done which previous generations of black politicians could not or would not.

Some other voices, however, say that the narrative of “re-invention” hides and conceals more than it explains or reveals. “What's happened to black politics,” says Glen Ford, a veteran New Jersey journalist and co-founder of Black Agenda Report “isn't re-invention. It's hijacking. It's colonization.”

In a groundbreaking 2002 article “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree”, and again at a recent speech at New York City's All Souls Unitarian Church, Ford outlines the early career of Corey Booker, and Booker's relation to the constellation of right wing forces orchestrated by the ultraconservative Bradley Foundation, which spent tens of millions of dollars in the 1990s creating astroturf movements for vouchers, school choice, and ultimately for charter schools, at the same that Bradley funded the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and platoons of racist and corporate ideologues like Charles Murray, Robert Bork, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Antonin Scalia.

Turning the axis of black politics rightward over the last decade was, Ford says, the project of a decade and an immense achievement for the right. For the last third of the 20th century the most left-leaning segment of the North American polity was black America --- not Cambridge MA or Ann Arbor MI or San Francisco or even New York City --- the rock and foundation of the US left was in New Orleans, Detroit, Newark, St. Louis, Washington DC and other black dominated cities. Funding black Republicans and cranky black academics did little to undermine that rock. The right had to incubate and raise its own crop of corporate-oriented black Democrats to turn that trick. Corey Booker was an early asset.

In Ford's 2002 article and in the recent speech, he explains how, on the eve of his first run for mayor, Booker was granted a coming-out party at the right wing Manhattan Institute, a signal for the entire conservative universe that he was one of their own. Conservative deep pockets who never took interest in a Newark election in their lives wrote bags of checks. Every single corporate-media outlet in the tri-state area endorsed Corey Booker over his opponent. Thanks to his powerful conservative allies, newbie Booker greatly outspent the most powerful black politician in the state, losing only narrowly in his first mayoral run.

The second time Booker ran for mayor, feds timed their investigations and indictments of Mayor Sharpe James so that he was forced to resign only 3 weeks before the election, too late for another anti-Booker candidate to put together a coherent campaign. Booker also benefited from publicity that could not have been bought with tens of millions of dollars, a feature-length award winning documentary film that portrayed his opponent as a crook, which he was, and Booker as a kind of urban saint.

As one might expect from a product of the Bradley Foundation in office, Booker has faithfully pursued a right wing agenda devoted to dismantling public education, and turning over government assets such as Newark's water system to favored private contractors. Interestingly, Booker's full scale pursuit of privatization of his city's garbage collection, watershed, parks and recreation and other services and assets are little known and rarely mentioned by media outside his home town. The recent Salon article on the “re-invention” of black politics manages to ignore the actual policy practices of the new black “elite displacers” – an empty description meant to apply to new black elite politicians replacing old ones --- as well. Privatization and the cutting of government workforces are massively unpopular propositions among the people Booker and the rest of the black political class supposedly represent. Telling this part of the story would be a little too much information. If we had it we might actually begin to understand what the “technocratic leadership,” if there really is any such thing, which Booker and his colleagues bring to the table actually is.

We might not know much about Booker's aggressive attempts at privatization, the time he rushed into a burning building has been breathlessly covered everywhere. The mayor of Newark some would have us believe, wears a cape. Corporate media seem to work very hard to make our elections are about feelings of safety, pride, fear or security, about images of youth and “technocratic” competence, whatever that is.

The right has decisively invaded the politics of black America, and owns the Democratic party outright. Barack Obama is effectively a center-right president, pursuing wars, prosecuting whistleblowers, shielding banksters, and using cruise missiles to dispatch suspected terrorists with an impunity the Bush-Cheney gang never enjoyed With black Democrats routinely shilling for imperial wars, austerity, school closings, privatizations, bailouts and kindly treatment for their campaign contributors, there are no outlets in the two parties for the real needs and desires of much of black America. The two party system has become people-proof and democracy-proof.

The new black politicians still do call liberally on the images of struggles past. Kasim Reed, for instance, the black mayor of Atlanta in his campaign lit called himself a “civil rights lawyer”. He forgot to mention he was a defendants's civil rights lawyer, defending corporations that violate the civil rights of actual persons. The new black politicans drape themselves in kente cloth every now and then, and they remember King's birthday and Black History Month. They come together to celebrate and congratulate each other frequently, at occasions like the Congressional Black Caucus's annual legislative conference. But their politics, black politics haven't been re-invented. They've been compromised. Hijacked. Colonized.

Black politics isn't about addressing black unemployment, which is at levels not seen in seventy years. It's not about the catastrophic fall in black family wealth that has resulted from the foreclosure epidemic, also disproportionately concentrated in black neighborhoods. Black politics isn't about addressing the issue of black mass incarceration which has shredded our families and futures. Black politics isn't about stopping the wave of foreign wars which King a generation ago called a demonic suction tube drawing resources away from programs for human needs. There is no room for any of these concerns in today's black politics. All that's left is re-electing the black president, protecting him and the first lady from insults and shoring up the careers of black mayors and congressmen. All that, and getting paid.

Black politics is over, at least until the day when enough of us walk out of the Democratic party to build something new, something that does not yet exist.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)


The Deceptive Use of Terms in Poly-tricks, Public Policy, etc

The 'Re-invention' of Black politics sounds like Marable's 'Malcolm X- A life of Re-Invention' where apparently Marable's book literally tries to re-invent Malcolm into something he was NOT- something more acceptable to the so-called 'main-stream' [as has been done to Martin]. NCLB / RTTT's nation-wide assault on the teaching profession & dismantling of public schools- is termed Education 'Reform' instead of DEFORM.

Poly-tricksters tout bi-partansanship as if it's something good for the people that gets things done for our sake. Well bi-partansanship got us NAFTA, so-called welfare 'reform' [= DEFORM], the repeal of Glass-Steagal, NCLB / RTTT School 'Reform' [= DEFORM], the authorization of the US military assaults on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya & threats to do the same in Syria & Iran; - the NDAA US Police-State Act, Obama's 'Bipartsan' Simpson-Bowles' deficit commission's assault on Social Security & Medicare, etc...

And then there's 'Public-Private Partnerships'- which is code for bought-off public officials [at all levels of Gov't] selling &/or leasing off on the cheap &/or allowing corporate control of public assets [private profit at public expense]- which generally costs more, w no improvement in services, while costing people's jobs &/or driving down wages. 

NATO is being called a force for 'Peace' [= 'War is Peace'] instead of the largest imperialist military alliance of Euro-American ex-enslavers &/or ruthlessly racist ex-colonial powers [= globalized Neo-colonialism / imperialism] in history!!! NATO carried / carries out its self-serving so-called 'R2P' mandate to protect civillians in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, etc- by relentlessly bombing them back to the stone-age [Note: Af-Pak, Iraq, Libya, etc are no-where near the North Atantic & they posed/pose no real threat to any Euro-American {= NATO} country- regardless of the 9-11 hype & the phony 'War on Terror' {=  War on Islam]! And of-course Obama is a 'Peace'-Prize winning War Pres!

AND- This is no defense of Obama -BUT- The fact is Obama been called a non-citizen socialist / communist [ridiculous assertions- most of Obama's policies are not even moderately 'liberal' & his white momma was related to 7 - 8 US Presidents] by the hard-core Hush Limpballs / Newt Grinch-witch / FOX Noise [owned by a native Aussie who is married to a woman from Communist China] type crowd- more than any politician in recent memory- including whites who are much more 'progressive' than he is- ala Kucinich, Sanders [who actually calls him-self a socialist], etc. Thus IMO: Socialist, poor, middle-class, etc are all poly-trical code Terms: Obama the 'Socialist' Pres = Obama the Food-stamp Pres = Obama the Nigger Pres! Poor People = Black & Brown people. Middle-class people = so-called 'main-stream' {= white} people.

How much u wanna bet

That the mafia -that runs all of collegiate/professional sports & the referees- and the gangster governor is going to orchestrate the New Jersey Devil's winning of the Stanley Cup this year???

Cory will get all the glory for this, with big parades and so forth...

Cory is getting destroyed on twitter for throwing fellow house negro Obama under the bus:

Republicans Launch "Stand With Cory" Petition

Newark Maryor Cory Booker becomes GOP hero. Republican National Committee taunts Democrats over Booker opposition to Bain attacks:


To Bruce, Margaret, Glen, and everyone else at BAR:
Keep telling the truth. It is having an impact.

The elected African American

The elected African American elites owe their elected positions to the Wall Street firms that  have financial control over their elections!

Ordinary African Americans are under assault from every angle starting with the predatory  student loans, mortgage, payday lending and auto insurance insurance (to name only a few).

The other day, while watching "NEED TO KNOW" program on PBS, I learned that one African America veteran who borrowed $2, 500  at 465% interest from a payday lender ended up paying over $30,000 in a period of about 3-years!! Whenever you see Montel Williams representing payday lenders, remember this particular veteran paying $30,000  interest for borrowing $2,500. And there are thousands victims like him! This is "nauseating"! This is happening while African American elites who pretend they represent African American interests only choose to voice their opinions when they are defending the vultures who grease ther bottom lines!. These African American elites take the actual voters for fools!

Black churches used to be

Black churches used to be venues through which the benefits of unity and infomation sharing were taught. Now, almost all African Amererican clergy has been so inflitratred by big money influence their that they only see $$ signs while calling the name of Jesus!

Without unity, the black  people in USA, Africa  or anywhere else in the world are doomed by the use of the greedy and opportunists among them!

Africans are now used to kill Africans for pay! People like Cory Booker  and others have sold their souls to big money from the very people who think black people do not have brains! THIS IS THE TRAGEDY!