This week the Black Misleadership Class, sexual violence and colonialism, and the crisis of US imperialism were on your minds. We share your letters for “You Can’t Shame the Shameless Black Misleadership Class” and “Sex was Central to Dutch West Indies Anti-Colonial Politics.” In “You Can’t Shame the Shameless Black Misleadership Class” Glen Ford argues that the Congressional Black Caucus has become irredeemable and must be replaced by a people-centered movement.
Jaribu Hill writes:
“Glen’s blistering indictment of the Black Misleadership Class is a stunning affirmation of the class struggle that is still raging. Pathetic and without even a slither of personal dignity, these pleaders have only one agenda—scramble, scoop up massah’s crumbs for themselves while our people are starving. I am old enough in this movement to remember how toms and race traitors would lurk in the shadows and occasionally show some semblance of shame or remorse. Not these pleaders! They are the proud recipients of nothing! They are the straw puppets who are the butt of massah’s jokes, snide remarks, public shamings and scoldings! I welcome more TRUTH and the actions that must follow! The class struggle is real!”
Reg Callaway writes:
“I too gasped when I heard hatch face Biden growl at the supposed civil rights leaders on how Blacks had better understand the new (old) realities. I was expecting a more reasoned discussion since the topic was "civil rights." Biden essentially delivered his Sista Souja and Cousin Pookie pre-emptive move early. To put it charitably, we're f**ked.
“But it is not just the clowns in the Congressional Black Caucus who are to blame for our downward slide. They also had a lot of help from prominent Black elites sitting safely in pulpits and academia pontificating our only salvation from the Orange Satan was to vote Biden - Harris. Without highlighting his racist background they told us once he was elected, Biden would have to be pushed to the Left. Their reasoning was like trying to switch a hungry lion to a vegetarian diet. It does not work. The lion can't change his diet.
“Anyone paying attention will realize Black elites in high places have been swindling Blacks for decades with the same tricks -- stick with the Dems because the GOP were Klansmen. Voting any other way would invite doom, we were told. As a result, organizing for a different political landscape was not possible since Black elites took away the foundations by instilling fear early in the process.
“In the community, however, Blacks are dying 2.4 times the rates of whites during this raging pandemic which can be largely attributed to enduring inequalities, community disinvestment, work situations, and poor health care. As CEPR.NET puts it, we're impacted by built-in inequalities of US social system.
“Yet, none of these facts matters one iota to the folks who can change the situation. Instead, we're supposed to be content with whatever tyranny they sic on us. Any Black demands such as Defund the Police is a bridge too far. Rep Clyburn of South Carolina made this clear recently when asked by an interviewer if he was ‘upset’ by the demand.
“Indeed, one could see the veins literally pop out of his face while wrongly stating the ‘demand’ hurt Democrat's chances for several electoral seats. In a sadistic way, his demeanor and rationalizing was another assist Clyburn offered to Biden: When confronting Blacks making demands, talk to them in an elevated angry tone as if they are livestock on a farm. Biden got the message. The civil rights leaders on the Biden - Harris zoom call dutifully closed out the secret meeting with their tails between their legs. Quiet, meek and thankful. The kind of Black attendance Biden will expect.”
In radio segment “Sex was Central to Dutch West Indies Anti-Colonial Politics” Chelsea Shields argues that the relation between sex and violence was crucial to colonial governance and anti-colonial resistance in the colonies of Curaçao and Aruba.
Reg Callaway writes:
“I spent many formative years in the Caribbean and can add sex tourism has been a staple of the their economies, not just in the Dutch Antilles. Men would land via aircraft or boat from the US and the first thing on their minds was ‘getting wife,’ a local term for having sex.
“But Chelsea Shields misses the forest for the trees. Sex is only a minuscule part of the history. The Caribbean was always under the thumb of the empire since Christopher Columbus' voyages. Foreign powers fought many bloody wars for these tiny pieces of land to exploit slave labor and the lands for sugar cane cultivation. These same powers grew enormously wealthy as a result.
“In my opinion, the so-called liberation is really a pipe dream. I like to refer to it as, the empire left through the front door but left the back door open for further pillage. The area has always been subdued economically because the global powers have ensured they were always subordinated to ethnic European dominance - politically and economically. There is no escape unless they want their economies blockaded such as Cuba. This mirrors the American Black community experience of sustained sanctions by the state.
“I spent some time on Curacao amongst the Dutch ‘colonists’ to see what they knew understood about the island history. Unsurprisingly, they believed in white superiority and reinterpreted historical events. The Caribbean islands had numerous slave revolts and almost all of them were put down by crown forces. There are statues dedicated to these revolts scattered around Curacao with a white fist on a pedestal. My Dutch friends who had been on the island for decades thought these meant white - black solidarity.
“Of course, Curacao is also synonymous with discreet banking. This was the first time I saw banks without windows and no real customers entering them. My White Industrial Complex (fake progressives) friends continue to put Curacao on their neoliberal talking point of tax haven list of offenders, which to me sustains their failed economic theory where tax money is needed to fund government progressive programs. In other words, because Curacao is a tax haven the White Industrial Complex would have us believe we have to endure austerity until they are closed down. Real progressives should avoid this framing and discuss taxation as a way to curtail the uber rich political power.
“Side note: Curacao has a preserved Jewish sector. This bit of history sheds light on the link between Jews and slavery. Curacao also has a slavery museum which depicts the brutality of enslavement. The other rulers of the rest of the Caribbean (Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, UK) made effort to destroy any and all evidence of slavery on their territories making it difficult to retrace the history.
“The Dutch, British and Americans use their Caribbean territories as far away bastions for the uber rich to park their money without the headaches of taxation.
“Developers have swooped in to take over their lands (even in Central America) leaving the mostly Black populations in poverty. Ending Black oppression, especially post COVID, demands serious action even in places like Curacao.”
The New Year marks a moment of renewed ideological struggle. The coming years of this decade will require serious ideological work to be done to build a new progressive movement.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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