Stepin Fetchit with Will Rogers in "The County Chairman" (Fox, 1935). | Photofest/From "Stepin Fetchit"
The current Black political leadership in the country is filled with puppets, content with acting in the service of the empire. This misleadership class works to undermine international solidarity and African liberation.
In 1821, Africans who were free or who had escaped enslavement came together in Onslow County, North Carolina to wage war against white oppressors. They were described as well armed and cunning, and during their campaign they destroyed farms, burned houses, and looted stores in broad daylight. It took a two hundred man militia 26 days to search woods, swamps and marshes before the group was finally subdued.
While we can only speculate about the dreams of these honorable ancestors, we can be reasonably certain they did not struggle and sacrifice with hopes for their descendants to ascend to government positions to do the bidding of the forces of global oppression. Yet, U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and other Black imperialist toadies have become experts at steppin’ and fetchin’ on demand to defend imperialist and Zionist violence.
In reaction to the Zionist genocidal campaign in Gaza that has reduced much of the territory to rubble and killed more than 23,000 innocents, Thomas-Greenfield spouted the following absurdity:
“Look. Israel has a right to defend itself. And calling for an immediate cease fire when Hamas continues to barrage large Israeli territories with constant bombing, when Hamas continues to say publicly and openly they intend to carry out another October-7-like event, does not give confidence to anyone that a cease-fire is what is needed now. Israel has a right to defend itself, and that is a right that we, as well as other Security Council members, support.”
On matters involving Niger, Ukraine and other hot spots, Thomas-Greenfield has also faithfully pushed the imperialist party line.
The use of Black and brown puppets to distort the racial optics of exploitation was a standard part of colonial administration, and it has remained as a central element of neo-colonialism. It is not at all surprising then that imperialists would use the same strategy in the U.S. where some have characterized the country’s African population as an internal colony of sorts. Amilcar Cabral disagreed with the idea that the predicament of Black people in America is a colonial one, but he also said: “That is not to say that the aims are not the same. And that is not to say that even some of the means cannot be the same.”
If not a colonial reality, the practical reality of the discrimination, exploitation, oppression and political repression that constitute the African experience in the U.S. renders Black people in this country as significant members of the global mass of humanity that endures the pain caused by imperialism. This relationship of Africans in America with the rest of “the wretched of the Earth” is distorted, confused and complicated when Thomas-Greenfield, like her government predecessors Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Barack Obama, stand before the world and spout imperialist lies, and not only advance the cause of the empire, but also by their mere presence suggest the possibility that all Black people in America agree with the imperialist program, and stand apart from other victims of imperialism around the world.
Notwithstanding buffoonery by high ranking Negroes, historically, Africans in America have enjoyed global admiration and solidarity from struggling people. Consider the many revolutionaries in the U.S. who have been given safety and refuge by Cuba. The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, Venezuela’s Bolivarian movement, revolutionary forces in Ireland, Libya’s Jamahiriya, and other revolutionary forces have in their own ways expressed their support for the Black struggle in the U.S. In fact, Palestinian young people used social media to communicate strategies to Black activists in Ferguson’s streets when that city went up in flames in response to police violence.
Perhaps no individual did as much damage to the international solidarity of struggling oppressed communities as Barack Obama. The potency of the danger he represented was grounded not only in his campaign of violence in various parts of Africa and elsewhere, but also in the near total support for him voiced by the Black masses in America. This dynamic made it difficult for people in other countries to distinguish the masses of Black people from imperialist forces.
Nevertheless, the suffering of America’s African masses has been impossible to conceal. Occasionally, events serve to remind the world of the oppressed condition of Africans in the U.S. Hurricane Katrina did it as did the murder of George Floyd. But if there is concern about preserving global solidarity of the oppressed with the plight of Africans in the U.S., then the Black community must use greater discernment when selecting its heroes.
The readiness to celebrate Obama and others flows in part from a hunger among Black people for anything that might be regarded as progress. Unfortunately, the mere appointment or election of a Black person to a high level government position has prompted the Black community to laud the accomplishments of such individuals even when they do nothing that benefits the people. But if Africans in the U.S. are looking for reasons to celebrate, they can have higher standards and save their praise until those holding positions in the imperialist structure decide to go rogue for the revolution.
It's not impossible for a high profile government official to defy the empire and act according to principle and conscience. However, such an individual must be prepared to accept the consequences. As just one example, in 1979, then U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young was already in hot water because, when addressing the issue of human rights in the Soviet Union, he dared to state with full candor: "We still have hundreds of people that I would categorize as political prisoners in [U.S.] prisons." Young’s statement was considered a mortal sin by the establishment and all of its apologists. But if Young was in hot water for his honesty about political repression, he set the water to boiling when he knowingly violated a strict U.S. policy against speaking with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). After Young’s discussion with PLO representatives became public, he was forced to resign his post. The PLO characterized it as “Zionist blackmail.”
It is unrealistic to expect revolutionary honesty and commitment from those from oppressed communities who are elevated to high places in government. Yet, the Black community has produced entire generations of fighters who have been willing to risk everything for freedom and justice. While history will judge Andrew Young based on the totality of his life and work, in that moment when he was tossed from the Carter Administration, he was presumably acting on principles consistent with his faith in God and with the values of the Civil Rights Movement that nurtured and developed his consciousness.
Candidates for high level positions with the empire are carefully vetted, and the chances are remote that a real revolutionary will be selected. But oppressed communities must nevertheless be ever ready to ensure that Black government officials who skin and grin for imperialism will find themselves marginalized, isolated and condemned - not for purposes of reforming these stooges, but to ensure that oppressed people everywhere know that the international solidarity among our communities remains strong and independent of the empire. Likewise, if ever any of these officials is inspired to commit career suicide by using their platform to attack the empire and advance the cause of the revolution, then they need to know we have their back so that others might be inspired and emboldened to do likewise.
Mark P. Fancher is an attorney and writer. He can be contacted at [email protected].