Freedom Rider: Organizing in the Age of Hillary

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The resistance to a Hillary Clinton presidency has already begun. Activists gathered in Chicago “to strategize the fight against police violence, neoliberalism and imperialism,” all of which promise to be hallmarks of her administration. The Black Misleadership Class plays its usual, toadying role. “The liars who said they would hold Obama’s feet to the fire are repeating their empty words and hoping no one pays attention.”

Freedom Rider: Organizing in the Age of Hillary

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

“All forms of mass action must be used to deprive Clinton of support or claim of a mandate.”

The Hillary Clinton administration, Slick Willie part II, will bring catastrophe unless there is constant agitation waged against it. The same woman who bragged that her party platform was progressive now brags that Republicans endorse her. The situation is urgent but there is no need to despair or to reinvent the wheel. There are groups across the country engaging in protest and they show a clear path for a liberation movement.

This columnist joined with 200 activists in Chicago for the Right to Exist, Right to Resist conference organized by the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS USA). The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Police Oppression, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, Peoples Organization for Progress, Bayan USA, Chicago Teachers Union, US Palestinian Community Network, Committee to Stop FBI Repression and others met to strategize the fight against police violence, neoliberalism and imperialism.

If it is true that no person is an island then no struggle should be waged in isolation. The people of Ferguson, Missouri received support from Palestine during their rebellion against police occupation. The neoliberal onslaught that privatizes education and closes schools also deprives Flint, Michigan of clean water and its democratic rights. American imperialism threatens all life on this planet with its constant provocations against Russia and China which risk world war.

“The black “misleaders” are silenced yet again by a prospective Democratic presidency.”

This presidential election repeated the sleight of hand which presents the Democrats as the party which defends us from the barbarians. Donald Trump is the foil used to fool millions of people into believing that the errand boys and girls of neoliberalism can also be the guarantors of human rights.

Hillary Clinton’s administration will be disastrous for black Americans in particular. The black “misleaders” are silenced yet again by a prospective Democratic presidency. They will not speak up against Hillary Clinton any more than they did against her husband or Barack Obama. They said nothing when Bill Clinton ended the 60-year long entitlement to government benefits. They said nothing when he used the war on drugs as an excuse to lock up thousands of black people with draconian prison sentences. They said nothing when Obama wouldn’t allow those people to request their freedom or when he declined to prosecute even one killer cop. They say nothing when American presidents wage wars of aggression all over the world. We can expect more going along to get along when “two for the price of one” becomes a reality.

Not only must activists do their utmost to fight back against the real life Lady MacBeth but they must call out those who falsely claim to be in their camp. The liars who said they would hold Obama’s feet to the fire are repeating their empty words and hoping no one pays attention. They must be exposed right now and again after election day because they will surely make good on their history of appeasement.

The Right to Exist, Right to Resist conference took place on the second anniversary of Laquan McDonald’s murder at the hands of Chicago police. McDonald was only 17 years of age, a child according to American law. His death, the existence of the Homan Square secret prison and other instances of torture and brutality resulted in demands for community control of the police.

“She may bring the mothers of police murder victims on to the stage but she has said nothing about ending the death toll.”

Chicagoans are struggling to establish an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). Black community control of the police is a mobilizing issue all across the country. The demands began under Obama and must continue after Hillary Clinton takes office. She may bring the mothers of police murder victims on to the stage but she has said nothing about ending the death toll. That task is left for activists who know better than to expect any justice from her.

Millions of Americans struggle financially and are displaced by gentrification or fear the police or want to keep their public schools open. But in 2016 they have been led astray by one of the most cynical presidential campaigns of all time. Hillary Clinton preferred Donald Trump as her rival because she was likely to lose to any other Republican. She then used the man she wanted to run against to rally otherwise skeptical voters to her side. The ego maniacal Trump performed as expected and is driving all but dead-ender right wingers to Hillary’s side.

There must be no celebrating when her victory is announced. That is the moment when the fights must begin in earnest. All forms of mass action must be used to deprive her of support or claim of a mandate. The champion of the ruling classes cannot be allowed to claim the progressive mantle. That title belongs to the people who met in Chicago and marched in memory of Laquan McDonald. Frederick Douglass’ advice to “Agitate, agitate, agitate,” must still be followed. If not Hillary Clinton will privatize Social Security and find a rationale to start one last disastrous war. She will be stopped only if we assert our right to exist and right to resist.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.