by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The Black Alliance for Peace will have to work around or against the Black Misleadership Class. “For these infinitely self-centered creatures, even the Mother Continent is unworthy of basic human empathy, much less solidarity.” The Congressional Black Caucus won’t even complain of genocide in the Congo, much less war against Syria. Even the Movement for Blacks Lives’ position on peace is weak. Malcolm, MLK and Du Bois would disapprove.
Black America is “Pro-Peace,” but Its Politicians Work for the War Party
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“The Black political class has disavowed and defiled the legacies of W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King.”
The United States is at war with the very concept of the rule of law among nations, and constitutes the most imminent threat to the survival of the human species. Washington’s outlaw doctrine of “humanitarian” military intervention, championed by Bill Clinton and elevated to a defining national principle under Barack Obama, marks the U.S. as “a rogue state, a state that is completely rejecting international norms,” says Ajamu Baraka, of the Black Alliance for Peace. “There is no legal right for the United States to be in Syria, but yet they are in Syria with no domestic opposition."
Instead, much of what should constitute the “domestic opposition” to Washington’s flagrant crimes against peace is consumed with an obsession to punish Russia for imaginary offenses against a fictitious American “democracy.”
Ajamu Baraka calls for “a restoration of the commitment to the rule of law on the part of the US authorities" -- a minimal demand that should resonate with all civilized peoples, most especially Black Americans, for whom U.S. law has always been riddled with “exceptionalisms.” However, the Black political (Misleadership) class now takes its cues from the CIA, NSA, FBI and other spook agencies currently allied with the Democratic Party -- the most abject capitulation to evil imaginable.
On the world stage, the United States has declared itself above the law, as if it had already completed the conquest of the globe. Thousands of U.S. troops are implanted on Syrian soil, the better to arm, train and protect the Islamist jihadists that act as foot soldiers for U.S. imperialism in the region. Washington has no plans to leave, even after ISIS, the purported rationale for the U.S. presence, has been reduced to small guerilla bands. “We call that ISIS 2.0 — an insurgency, rural,” said General Stephen Townsend, commander of the U.S.-led “coalition” in Syria. “So I think we’ll still be here dealing with that problem set for a while.”
“The Black political (Misleadership) class now takes its cues from the CIA, NSA, FBI and other spook agencies currently allied with the Democratic Party.”
Townsend’s forces are laying trip-wires for nuclear war with Russia, whose eminently legal presence in Syria is at the request of that country’s government. That the U.S. has been enabled to invade and occupy a sovereign state “with no domestic opposition" is a testament to the collapse of progressive politics, in general, and the moral debasement of a Black political class that is utterly at odds with its own people’s history. Tethered mouth and foot to the Democratic wing of the rich man’s duopoly, the Black political class has disavowed and defiled the legacies of W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King. They have trashed the sacred essence of the Black Liberation Movement: solidarity with other peoples oppressed by white supremacist capital.
Solidarity has its own value, but it also earns reciprocity. In abandoning solidarity with those oppressed by the United States -- comprising an ever-growing proportion of the world’s people -- Black America sacrifices the moral authority to expect support for our own struggles. We are left alone to fend off the beast, here in its belly.
It is widely understood that U.S. rulers felt compelled to appear amenable to Black demands in the Fifties and Sixties because of concerns about how the rapidly decolonizing world viewed race relations in the United States. Dr. Gerald Horne, the Black historian who has studied African American political alliances dating before the War of Independence, maintains that it serves Black people’s interests to “ally -- as our ancestors did -- with the prime antagonists of US imperialism,” including, in various epochs, the British, French, Spanish, and later, the Soviets and Third Word revolutionary movements.
“The United States has declared itself above the law.”
In Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil, his 1920 global sequel to The Souls of Black Folk, the public intellectual and political activist W.E.B. Du Bois laid out his case for solidarity among the oppressed peoples of the planet:
“I believe that armies and navies are at bottom the tinsel and braggadocio of oppression and wrong, and I believe that the wicked conquest of weaker and darker nations by nations whiter and stronger but foreshadows the death of that strength.”
Malcolm X urged Blacks to think in terms of “human,” not “civil” rights, and to take their case against the U.S. to the United Nations -- as did Paul Robeson, earlier. The credo of Malcolm’s Organization of Afro-American Unity, released on February 21, 1965, the day he was assassinated, stressed the need for internationalist solidarity:
“The Organization of Afro-American Unity will develop in the Afro-American people a keen awareness of our relationship with the world at large and clarify our roles, rights, and responsibilities as human beings. We can accomplish this goal by becoming well-informed concerning world affairs and understanding that our struggle is part of a larger world struggle of oppressed peoples against all forms of oppression. We must change the thinking of the Afro-American by liberating our minds through the study of philosophies and psychologies, cultures and languages that did not come from our racist oppressors. Provisions are being made for the study of languages such as Swahili, Hausa, and Arabic. These studies will give our people access to ideas and history of mankind at large and thus increase our mental scope.”
“Our struggle is part of a larger world struggle of oppressed peoples against all forms of oppression.”
Two years later, Dr. Martin Luther King told a crowd at New York City’s Riverside Church why he was “Breaking the Silence” on the U.S. war against Vietnam.
“I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for ‘the brotherhood of man.’ This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ.... To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war.”
Dr. King saw clearly that foreign wars are incompatible with domestic progress.
“I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”
Black Panther Party leader Huey P. Newton took solidarity to a “higher level,” making common cause with those against whom the United States makes war. U.S. imperialism is the enemy of all mankind, therefore: “We join the struggle of any and all oppressed people all over the world, as well as in this country, regardless of color, who are attempting to gain freedom and dignity.”
These are voices of the Black Radical Tradition, the tradition that has made African Americans the most anti-war constituency in the United States, but which the Black Misleadership Class consistently betrays. For these infinitely self-centered creatures, even the Mother Continent is unworthy of basic human empathy, much less solidarity. No one has been more intimately involved, over a longer period of time, than Susan Rice in the U.S. sanctioned genocide of at least six million Congolese. From 1996, as a national security staffer and Under Secretary of State for African Affairs under Bill Clinton, to the Obama administration, Rice has dutifully facilitated the bloodbath in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the hands of U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda. Her service on behalf of this genocide, and other slaughters, earned Rice a shot at becoming Obama’s secretary of state, when Hillary Clinton left the job, in 2012.
“The Congressional Black Caucus is in solidarity with U.S. imperialism, not with the victims of Washington’s lawlessness in the world.”
Republicans mounted a campaign against Rice, claiming she was culpable for the jihadist attacks in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya. (Actually, the GOP failed to nail her on the real Benghazi crime, which involved transfer of Libyan weapons to jihadists in Syria.) Despite her well-known role in the worst genocide since World War Two, most of the Congressional Black Caucus supported Rice’s bid to become the top U.S. diplomat -- including Barbara Lee (D-CA), the most “anti-war” member of the CBC.
Six million dead Africans are not worth one Black face in a high State Department place, as far as the hideous Black political class is concerned.
The year before, in 2011, more than half of the Congressional Black Caucus voted to continue the bombing of Libya, which had once been Africa’s most prosperous and generous country.
Only three members of the Black Caucus (and just 5 Democrats) are co-sponsors of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Stop Arming Terrorists Bill, designed to halt U.S. proxy jihadist wars in Syria and elsewhere in the Muslim world.
The Black Caucus is at opposite ends of the spectrum from the Black Alliance for Peace. "The first thing that has to happen is for the United States to stop supporting those elements that are committed to perpetuating the conflict [in Syria], to stop supporting those elements that many people define as terrorist elements, and to be serious about a real diplomatic solution to this issue," said Ajamu Baraka. Clearly, the Congressional Black Caucus is in solidarity with U.S. imperialism, not with the victims of Washington’s lawlessness in the world.
However, the Black Radical Tradition is not dead. The Black Is Back Coalition, in its 19-point National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, calls for “U.S. Out of Africa, Asia and Latin America.... In addition to U.S. military withdrawal to within its own currently recognized borders, we demand an end to U.S. proxy wars, drone attacks and political subversion of governments and people’s movements around the globe. Given that the U.S. was the first nuclear power, is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, and has never renounced First Strike, we demand U.S. nuclear disarmament without preconditions––unilaterally, if necessary.”
The coalition also demands reparations and immediate forgiveness of debt for the formerly colonized world, the right to independence for the Palestinian people, and cessation of all U.S. aid to Israel.
“Even the Movement for Black Lives is weak on peace.
Other grassroots Black organizations have been true to the Black Radical Tradition and its ethos of solidarity with the oppressed. But, the closer one gets to the Democratic Party, the less peace-oriented Black organizations become. Among the establishment Black civic organizations -- which behave like annexes of the Democratic Party -- peace has no priority whatsoever. However, even the Movement for Black Lives is weak on peace. The M4BL’s closest approximation to an anti-war plank pledges to:
“Use upcoming international opportunities and human rights mechanisms to expose the systemic human rights violations inflicted on black communities, the linkages between people of African descent in the US with other Black people around the world, make connections with oppressed people globally, and chip away at American exceptionalism.”
In Syria, Washington is playing with nuclear war, and everywhere in the world, the U.S. rejects the very notion of international law. The Movement for Black Lives better get busy with its “chipping away” project.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].