Oh No No, You’re Political, We Can’t Do That!

a Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The nonprofit industrial complex basically owns the US social movement and the spaces in which it operates. In the realm of most places people can hold public meetings it enforces a curious standard of what is and is not “political.”

Oh No No, You’re Political, We Can’t Do That!

a Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Some time last year, during the presidential campaign the BDS Movement held a major conference in Atlanta. I asked a friend who planned on attending anyway to approach the organizers and ask if the Georgia Green Party could buy a table at the event so we could hand out information about our party, which is the only US political party we know of that endorses the Movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction the apartheid state of Israel.

The surprising reply we got was “Oh no no, we can’t do that, we can’t sell you a table. You’re political!” The organizers were so immediately and completely embarrassed at this foolish reason that they couldn’t own it, they claimed it was the church’s rules. But the church assured us it was OK with them, that having rented the space the BDS people had complete discretion as to who might rent a table.

What then, is really at work here? Nothing is more political than the BDS Movement. The state of New York is paying public money to vigilante detective groups to track down and publish a database of businesses associated with anyone connected with the BDS Movement. Such persons are to be denied state contracts, and possibly state employment. BDS is already illegal in France. But allowing Green Party people, who are already attending the event, to hand out Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka literature in the corner would have pushed the BDS Movement off the edge – of what exactly?

It’s only because nonprofits funded by the once percent have owned and run US social movements for two generations that activists can tell you with straight faces that BDS, the movement for immigrants rights and others are somehow not political but the Green Party is taboo because “it IS political.”

This wasn’t the first time we’ve heard that nonsense. Greens hear it every time we look for places to meet. We hear it every time we’re invited to events, but not offered the mic. “Oh no no, you’re political.” It looks like politics, the actual instruments which might make it possible to organize and fight for peoples power are routinely ruled out of and away from the rooms rented to the movement.

When they tell you it’s OK to be nonprofit political, you just can’t be political political that means that “political” is the last thing they’ll permit us to be in any space they’ll rent to us. So it’s time to get our own spaces.

So in order to scale up sustainably, the Georgia Green Party has adopted a minimum monthly dues level of $10 per month, scale sliding upward from there. We hope to sign up our first 1,000 members by Labor Day, at which point we can begin hiring staff and exploring office and event spaces in a couple places around the state. If people are not going to fund peoples parties nobody will. We’re going to ask the people. And we think they’ll help us get it done.

For Black Agenda Report, and for the Georgia Green party I’m Bruce Dixon

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and the co-chair of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at [email protected].