It’s three weeks till the midterm election. In Georgia where I live the big contest is between Brian Kemp, the secretary of state, in charge of administering his own election for governor, and Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp is a longtime fixture in Georgia politics, an out and out racist who has purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the state’s rolls in the last several years, the latest a block of 53,000, about 70% of them African American voters. Abrams, who if she wins will be the state’s first black and first woman governor, has been the leader of Georgia Democrats in that state’s House of Representatives since 2011.
I’m personally and politically way over the notion that electing black faces to high places makes things better for ordinary African Americans. It’s good for the careers of those elected, for their investor-contributors and a narrow circle of people around them. But it just doesn’t elevate the situation of ordinary black people. It’s been tried again and again, and it just hasn’t panned out that way, so I can’t get excited about electing the first black governor. I ain’t mad at those who believe this lie, or even at those who tell it. I must have believed it once upon a time too, decades ago, my salary depended on it, and I certainly spent a good piece of the 80s and 90s helping sell this mistaken notion to others.
The Greens are not allowed on the ballot in Georgia, thanks to the politicians of both parties who don’t want the competition. So while the Republicans are busy disenfranchising people, and the Democrats are herding people onto buses for early voting, I’ll be in DC this weekend with Ajamu Baraka and Cindy Sheehan and others for the Womens March on the Pentagon. There are some things we’re allowed to vote for, when we’re allowed to vote at all, and some others we are not.
I live in Georgia’s 6th district, where the incumbent Republican congressional rep is the vile and corrupt Karen Handel, Brian Kiemp’s predecessor as GA Secretary of State.. The Democrat running against her is Lucy McBath, a black mother whose unarmed teenage son was gunned down in Florida in 2012. McBath is raising money at a terrific rate and has been polling within two points of Republican Handel for several weeks. Almost-a-congresswoman McBath has lots to say, unfortunately none of it very insightful, about gun safety. Beyond swearing fealty to the apartheid state of Israel, McBath has nothing to say about foreign policy, about the world beyond the shores of the United States. Not a hint. Not a word.
As I wrote last month, 22 out of 32 so-called progressive Democratic party candidates for Congress – those backed by Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress and Our Revolution – have nothing to say about foreign policy beyond support for Israel.
This is beyond troubling. It’s ominous. The US has more than 800 military bases around the planet, fleets in every ocean, and more nukes pointed at more places than anybody, and is bombing four countries that we know about. The US is flying drones over most of Africa, and has special forces operating on the ground in dozens of countries. The US of A spends more on the military than the next ten nations combined, and the military budget which most Democrats voted to approve, is likely to be paid for with cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and social security, and all the forms of federal aid (except police and prisons) provided to local governments.
Apparently there are some things the two capitalist parties will allow us to vote on, and some other things which are completely and utterly off the table, now and forever. Like empire. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s official corporate pocket, has embraced an unprecedented number of candidates straight from the military and intelligence sectors. Progressive Democrats running for Congress have with few exceptions, chosen to dummy up. But really who are the dummies here? Democratic congressional candidates like McBain are all accomplished grownups. They know where they stand, they just don’t want us to know for sure till after they’re safely elected. It’s a piece of contemptible duplicity which Democrat voters train themselves to accept. It’s one more reason I can never be A Democrat again.
I’m under no illusion that there will be hundreds of thousands of people at the Pentagon this weekend. Those kind of numbers usually come from hundreds of hours on the part of paid organizers, and tens or hundreds of thousands spent on logistics, which usually comes from the nonprofit sector – corporate philanthropy. In their infinite wisdom, the masters of philanthropy do not fund that kind of thing.
There’s a critique of the weekend march on DC or Wall Street or your local center of power as well which asks what are we accomplishing when we don’t disrupt business as usual, a critique that wonders, when we show up and holler slogans and speechify into streets that are empty but for the crowds we bring, what are we accomplishing? I’m not sure.
But this year, nobody is allowed on the Georgia ballot except Republicans and Democrats, and with nearly all the Democrats pretending they don’t have a position on empire, a march on the Pentagon, the first in 50 years, seems a sensible step on the way to building a visible and powerful movement for peace. I’m sure those of us in DC this weekend will be considering what the steps after this look like.
For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Please know that Google and other corporate social media do suppress the availability of Black Agenda Report’s content in search results and other displays. The only way to be certain you’re getting resh news, commentary and analysis from the black left is to visit us at www.blackagendareport.com and hit the subscribe button so that our free weekly email with notices and links to all our content arrives in your email box every week.