“Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward all research.”—Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]
“Beware of the naked man who offers you clothes.”—African Proverb
The most insidiously dangerous of all systemic gatekeepers are those who masquerade as progressives or so-called leftists but who in reality act as the fifth column for the maintenance of U.S. Empire abroad and internal repression at home.
Perhaps the most egregious example of this can be found in those alleged ‘progressive’ members of the Black and White ‘intelligentsia’ who urged the struggling, everyday, Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people of this nation to support the 2008 then U.S. presidential candidacy of the corporate-backed, war mongering, silver tongued Barack Obama.
Thanks in no small measure to support from black systemic gatekeepers such as Cornel West, Amiri Baraka (aka Leroi Jones), Al Sharpton, and Henry Louis Gates, et al; Barack Obama became and was installed as the 44th president of the United States—the first nominally-black head of the U.S. Empire. It is now the year 2011, and the poor and disenfrachised people of all colors in this nation are suffering increased economic austerity, massive joblessness and home foreclosures, the largest incarceration rate in the world, a de facto police state, an extension and expansion of the unconstitutional ‘PATRIOT Act,’ a continuation of the outrageous ‘extraordinary rendition’ program, the continuance of the U.S. gulag at Guantanamo, and last but by no means least, the bloody U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and now north Africa.
The above-mentioned systemic gatekeeping opportunists knew full well by the middle of the year 2008, that Barack Obama was the darling of the blood sucking U.S. corporate/military elite. Nevertheless, they supported him and urged others to do so. They shamelessly urged that Obama be supported whether “critically” or otherwise. Thus, these systemic gatekeepers did all in their power to neutralize, ignore, marginalize, or stifle those, including Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon, The Black Commentator’s Larry Pinkney and Dr. Lenore Jean Daniels, and former U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney and her running mate Rosa Clemente etc., who for at least four years now, have been repeatedly disseminating the clarion call as to the enormous systemic dangers of supporting the corporate groomed and backed Barack Obama. On the other hand, the systemic political opportunists, and most particularly those of the Black and White intelligentsia masquerading as ‘progressives,’ were well aware of the fact they were urging everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this nation to go against their own interests and court economic and political disaster in the person of Barack Obama.
Early in the year 2008, The Black Commentator published as its cover story a piece titled, Barack Obama and the Euphoria of Madness, which stated in relevant part that, “Many Black Americans and our Brown and Red sisters and brothers, will, I fear, come to be deeply disappointed in Barack Obama, once he demonstrates who he really is. There will be no peace or justice under an Obama presidency, should such come to pass. Even the majority of white Americans, with the exception of the corporate liberals and conservatives, may yet come to realize that Obama’s interests are corporate interests; they are not the needs and interests of everyday people, who represent the overwhelming majority of this nation and the world . . . Now, more than ever, is the time to be critical thinkers, not blind followers.”
Some of these previously-described political opportunists are still supporting Obama, while others of them, most notably (Dr.) Cornel West, are now cynically hedging their bets by pretending that they have had an epiphany—only recently becoming cognizant of who and what Obama really is.
In a nauseating display of opportunistic alacrity, Cornel West, while being interviewed by Marina Portnaya of Russia Today television (broadcast on April 4, 2011), had the unmitigated audacity to state that Barack Obama is “becoming a pawn of big finance and a puppet of big business,” as if he somehow did not realize three years ago that Barack Obama is a “puppet” and a “pawn,” and he was even then, back in 2008, an obvious Wall Street, corporate-backed “puppet” and “pawn!” It was Cornell West himself who was among those ‘intellectuals’ who urged everyday people to “critically support” Obama, which terminology is, in and of itself, a ridiculous contradiction in terms—something like the the phrases ‘military intelligence’ or ‘friendly fire.’ One does not support, “critically” or otherwise (no matter what his or her color), a person who is a systemic creation and has no de facto motivation other than personal ambition; and it defies all reason to assume that Dr. West, this pontificating, academically well adorned intellectual, was somehow intrinsically unaware of this.
Moreover, Cornel West, in this Russia Today interview, without so much as flinching, stated that people in this nation in these years under Obama have been “sleep walking.” Yet, Dr. West, opportunistically neglected to point out that he himself is among those who are responsible for what he described as the present “sleep walking” state of mind of the ‘American’ people. He needs to clearly and consistently acknowledge his own role in helping to facilitate and bring about this mental/political stupor [i.e. “sleep walking”], and its concomitant dangers and horrors.
Finally, Dr. West, when asked to explain his heretofore political support for Obama (which was in addition to that of an inordinate and enormous amount of known corporate financial support) gave the utterly pathetic response that many “ordinary people gave him [Obama] money too” as if that justified his actions. Dr. West’s response failed to mention that the support for Obama from “ordinary people” was, in part, due to his (and others of a similar ilk’s) support for the man that he now conveniently characterizes as having become “a pawn of big finance and a puppet of big business.” What cynical opportunism and manipulation!
Perhaps, the so-called “radical democratic awakening in the American Empire” to which Cornel West made reference in the Russia Today interview, will include an “awakening” to how persons such as himself sold out the needs, hopes, and dreams of everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people nationally and globally. The severe damage that alleged “leaders,” including Cornel West, have done to everyday people of all colors is not negligible and is extremely reprehensible. There is absolutely no excuse for it. Will Dr. West put his finger in the air again to sense which way the political winds are blowing? Is yet another political flip-flop in the making on the part of Dr. West?
Politically conscious people await Cornel West’s acknowledgement and public self-criticism for his dastardly role in facilitating the “sleep walking” and the pimping of the pain of the everyday ‘American’ people. If there is even any possibility for redemption of, or trust for him, he must do this. He cannot pretend that he has stood with the people all along. He has not.
Now that Barack Obama has announced that he will run for re-election with his billion dollar campaign war chest, thereby blatantly checkmating any in the Democrat Party who might have envisioned challenging him, it is, more so than ever before, incumbent upon everyday people to seek, and creatively build, serious alternatives to the death grip of the corporate Democrat and Republican Parties. We must begin at the local level while simultaneously building a national everyday people’s network.
As we everyday people struggle to bring about much-needed systemic change, we must always be aware not only of government actions to neutralize this legitimate struggle, but also of those who masquerade as ‘progressives’ and/or leftists but who are really political snakes and bandits.
We’ve much work to do. Onward then, my sisters and brothers! Onward!
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.