Black Boomers have led our generation off a cliff by embracing neoliberalism
MLK day is now time for the Black Congressional Caucus, Democratic Party, and many in our political establishment to pretend that MLK represents everything they stand for. This holiday serves as a day for our media class to continue to whitewash MLK and paint their leaders in his image. As someone who has been truly moved by the actions and life MLK, it is now time we call out black boomers for abandoning our revolutionary roots.
The Black Congressional Caucus and Barack Obama have led black people off a cliff. People know me as @SocialistMMA on Twitter, the black guy who despises the Democratic Party. There are a lot of assumptions made about why I dislike Democrats and our black leaders so much. People overcomplicate things. It is as simple as this: our black leaders failed our generation. Time and time again, they join forces with our oppressors and people wonder why black people have been failing in this country. I am an MLK leftist, a Malcolm X leftist, a Frederick Hampton leftist. In my mind, our path as black people in an institutionally racist and imperialist nation is to follow in those revolutionary footsteps. I witnessed this heritage blatantly tossed aside by our older generation to join neoliberalism. Here, I break down all my frustrations with black leadership, where we went wrong, and how we bounce back and recover from here.
This civil rights movement was left unfinished. Black leftists observe the material conditions of black people and all people of color and conclude that we live in a system that is deeply institutionally racist. Black liberals may understand that we live under these oppressive systems, but they seem more interested in giving them more funding and acting as their champions once in office. Black liberal opposition to extremely pro-black policies like Medicare for All, a living wage tied to inflation, and many more progressive ideas are why black leftists must take it upon themselves to start actively challenging black leadership.
When you see our black leaders support the Crime Bill en masse and enthusiastically support the author of the crime bill in Joe Biden, I cannot help but to perceive them as complicit in leading black people off a cliff. The Crime Bill was a horrific piece of legislation that propped up our racist prison industrial complex and created our current carceral state that jails 25% of the world’s prison population. This is not an accident; Democrats love arresting black people for prison slave labor. Kamala Harris was a big supporter of this and civil asset forfeiture. Civil Asset Forfeiture is another institution designed to siphon wealth from disenfranchised communities.
When leftists challenge Joe Biden on his racist record, one of the first things that is brought up is the Crime Bill, but the bankruptcy bill was also devastating to black lives. The bankruptcy bill was one of the most anti-working-class pieces of legislation ever. Joe Biden voted against amendments that would have eased the burdens of those suffering from medical debt and student loan debt. This highlights the key difference between black liberals and black leftists because black leftists discuss the black financial consequences of neoliberal capitalism. Black people are the demographic that suffers the most under medical debt. Black people pay the most interest on student loans. Joe Biden fought his entire career to make it more difficult to go after Wall Street fraudsters who charge black Americans higher interest rates and deny them loans.
Combining the negative effects of both the Crime Bill and Bankruptcy Bill, I see no reason why it is inaccurate to state that no one has done more harm to the black community than any public figure in the modern era than Joe Biden. I am bringing this up because the Black Congressional Caucus supported and dragged this guy across the finish line during this Democratic Primary to the horror of young black voters who supported Bernie Sanders. Our black leaders prop up our oppressors and whitewash their horrible deeds. This is why we need black leftists to challenge our leadership who uses their influence to back corporatists.
The Black Congressional Caucus largely supported Joe Biden because they, like the Democratic Party, still believe in trickle-down economics. Joe Biden has made no secret his entire career that he is a fiscal conservative. Barack Obama referred to himself as a moderate Republican from the ’80s. Trickle-down economics led to historic income inequality, which thus destroyed the black community. The objective of trickle-down economics is to make sure the wealthy are taken care of so that they will invest in their workers which will lead to an influx of money for everyone. Over the course of the last few decades, this has been shown as blatantly false as inequality exploded and quality of life plummeted. With that, disenfranchised communities suffer the most from our boom-bust cycle, where we are the “first fired, last hired” while white oligarchs are given tax breaks and corporate bailouts, yet black families are forced to fend for themselves.
“This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”
–– Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Trickle-down economics has failed the black community on such a scale that racial income inequality is as bad as it was during the civil rights era. In 1968, the wealth of a typical white household was $70,786, meanwhile, the wealth of a typical black household was $6,674. As of 2016, white families had an average of $149,703 compared to black families having an average of $13,024. So, in the civil rights era, black families had 9.4% of the wealth that white families had compared to 2016 when black families had 8.6% of the wealth of white families.
This wealth inequality leads to a massive amount of disparity across the board. 1 in 5 black Americans report not having enough food which is three times more than white families. Black people make up more than 40% of the homeless population despite only being 13% of the general population. Black life expectancy is years lower than any other group, largely due to our inability to afford healthcare. When we are forced to get healthcare, it forces us into debt. Nearly one in three black Americans have past-due medical debt — 31% of the medical debt in this country is owed by African Americans despite only being 13% of the population.
I laid out many of the ways this system has failed African Americans. This highlights my frustration with black boomers who shifted to the right over the last few decades. They left the civil rights movement unfinished. Now ask yourself, where exactly has the Black Congressional Caucus been while our communities were ravaged by neoliberal capitalism? Well, W.E.B. Dubois said it best:
“A class structure began to arise within the Negro group which produced haves and have-nots and tended to encourage more successful Negroes to join the forces of monopoly and exploitation and help victimize their own classes and any other lower classes that were possible. To remedy the situation thinking Negroes still regarded their first step toward emancipation as being political power”
— W.E.B. Dubois
Black leaders selling out our people for riches is a tale as old as the slave trade. I laid out earlier how our current healthcare system has failed black Americans. Meanwhile, our black leaders like Jim Clyburn take the most from Big Pharma compared to any member in the House or Senate. This is why Clyburn fights against our right to have healthcare. This is directly shown as his failure to represent his constituents. South Carolina ranked 49th for cost of healthcare, 41st for health outcomes, and 32nd for access to care. Now you see why Big Pharma gives Clyburn so much money, he works for them. Not our community.
Black mis-leadership like Jim Clyburn is only possible because the Democratic Party learned that they could hide evil corrupt corporatism behind people of color and women. This is why Kamala Harris, despite her atrocious criminal justice record and support for US imperialism, quickly shot to the top of the Democratic Party despite voters harshly rejecting her during the 2020 Democratic Primaries.
Now I am seeing a more troubling pattern emerge, Democrats are using these black corrupt leaders to shut down and stifle movements against the establishment. For example, Jim Clyburn, Jamie Harrison, Barack Obama, Raphael Warnock, and many other black leaders are the Democratic attack dogs used to attack grassroots activist movements like Defund the Police. Jim Clyburn comparing Defund the Police to “burn baby burn” and Barack Obama concern trolling about the slogan is how they are used to undermine our movement. Let us be clear, Defund the Police is NOT a slogan. It is a policy demand. One which these black congressional oligarchs do not like because Democrats receive more money from the police than Republicans do. Once again, these black establishment Democrats are selling out our people and attacking our movement for money and political power.
Just like movements of the past, efforts to challenge injustices take work. What is remarkable is the speed at which Defund the Police advocates started to win over public opinion. Despite initially starting off unpopular last summer, Defund the Police is now supported by 74% of Democrats and 55% of independents. So, despite the entire media apparatus vocally against Defund the Police and black liberals playing their role of concern trolling activists still massively shifted how the public views Defund. Barack Obama receiving harsh pushback from his sleazy comments about Defund the Police is a sign of great things to come. This is exactly the kind of challenge I want to see leftists apply to black liberal ideology from now on
Throughout the course of my lifetime, there has been a desire for the rise of black leftists and strong anti-establishment-minded black leaders. It was so strong that this country elected Barack Obama on the MLK mandate of ending the wars. Fred Hampton warned us about the coming of someone like Barack Obama decades ago.
“Because if they don’t have any education, then, they’re nowhere. … And then, if they’re not educated, they’ll want more, and before you know it, they’ll be capitalist, and before you know it, we’d have Negro imperialists.”
— Fred Hampton
As Fred Hampton points out, education is key. As those who follow my Twitter know, I canvassed for Bernie Sanders openly as a black socialist with great personal success. I gave speeches in barbershops that I believe went well. The more I explained our policies and the history of socialism, the more black people I won over. The reason why educating ourselves is important becomes clear in an argument I got into with a gentleman at a black barbershop.
This guy was a textbook Biden voter who HATED Bernie Sanders and anyone pushing socialism. He called me young and naïve and unaware of the “evils of socialism”. Meanwhile, I proposed to him, “why do you think you know more than our great revolutionary leaders like MLK and Malcolm X who were socialist.” This is the shocking part. Despite this gentleman being 74 years old as he told me, he didn’t even know MLK and many black revolutionaries were socialist! How is this possible? So how did he respond to me educating him on the political leanings of our heroes? He denied it. Said I was, “making it up”. Well, I pulled up the article from Katie Halper, “The 11 most anti-capitalist quotes of MLK”. He was not pleased and continued his self-denial. This is the level of propaganda we are dealing with and how badly our current black leaders led an entire generation off a cliff. Like Hampton warned, without education, we will have Negro capitalists and Negro imperialists.
Growing up under the George W. Bush era, being anti–war was my introduction into politics. Then as I read more from our great revolutionary leaders like Fred Hampton, MLK, Malcolm X, and Angela Davis about the evils of imperialism. Our great leaders were socialist and anti-capitalist. Just like Hampton warned in the quote above, lack of education (in this case due to extreme US propaganda led to us being led by black capitalists and black imperialists like Obama.
Now that today is MLK day, you will see the predictable lineup of black liberals trying to sell to you how much MLK means to them. MLK preached about the evils of militarism. Meanwhile, Obama oversaw massive police budgets, expanded George W. Bush’s 2 wars to 7, and launched an unprecedented drone war that killed 90% innocent civilians. While Obama was raging these wars, he allowed black people and the working class to starve. I laid out earlier that racial income inequality is worse than the civil rights era, and that happened under the Obama administration because of his disastrous handling of the 2008 financial crisis when he refused to bail out black homeowners and instead chose to bail out his friends on Wall Street. In fact, Obama installed Eric Holder as Wall Street’s secret weapon at Attorney General. Holder’s role was to protect these same bankers who defrauded black Americans and kicked us out of our homes. Eric Holder was the first African American man who served as Attorney General and our community was quickly sold out to Wall Street as the result.
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It’s not only the black community Obama greatly harmed. Barack Obama laid the groundwork for Donald Trump’s immoral immigration policies by being the Deporter in Chief and building the cages that Trump would abuse during his administration. There was the infamous story that broke this year about ICE performing hysterectomies without the consent of detained immigrants that made liberals lose their minds, for good reason. But what they failed to bring up was how whistleblowers said that policy started under Barack Obama in 2014. Meanwhile, Democrats are STILL supportive of ICE. Then you have Barack Obama’s horrible treatment of indigenous people by brutally suppressing the Standing Rock protests. Barack Obama, through his foreign policy, created the refugee crisis by bombing Muslims en mass. Acting as the champion for this broken system and continuing his work crushing working-class movements today makes Barack Obama complicit in upholding this racist system our black revolutionary leaders fought against. This is why black leftists need to be loud and point out how the older generation of black people and our leaders completely abandoned our revolutionary roots.
Thus far I laid out all the many ways our black leadership has failed not only the black community but all communities of color. Democrats love employing a “diverse” group of oligarchs to do the work of the ruling class. That is exactly why Joe Biden is staffing up with a group of minorities that are shills of weapon defense manufacturers and Wall St. It’s a genius strategy. Whenever white progressives or anyone light skinned question these people, they are smeared as racist. “Why are you attacking black leadership” is often used to silence dissent. The rise of the black left is a giant threat to the ruling class for this reason and is why I often get blocked by liberals on Twitter. They can’t handle our objections and can’t smear us as racist like they do to our white comrades. This is why I think it is upon black leftists to be MORE aggressive, especially now that Biden and his group of POC oligarchs are taking power. Their game plan of stifling dissent using identity is ending.
I like what I see thus far with this rise of the “new black left”. Cori Bush, Nina Turner, Angela Walker, Briahna Joy Gray, Ilhan Omar, Charles Booker, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, Dr. Cornel West, and many more are all powerful, inspirational black leftist leaders that are rising. In this last election, we saw Cori Bush dethrone a black political dynasty of 50 years in St. Louis. We saw Jaamal Bowman pull a massive upset in his race over the then-powerful Elliot Engel. You notice these black leftists and their ideology are treated like the enemy of the establishment in the same way MLK and Malcolm X were treated as the enemy. The Democratic Party pretends to support women of color, only if they agree to advance the tools of oppression of white supremacy.
This article is reposted here with the permission of the author, Nick Cruse, Citizen journalist, Co-Founder #TenDemands, Board Member: National RCV (https://t.co/4ltTIeJPHm) KC Tenants KC Sunrise (https://t.co/V8v3ulLMiB)
This article was originally published on Nick Cruse’s newsletter with this note:
Hey my friends, I hope you enjoy my first-ever political op-ed. I work completely independent so any support towards my journalism would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and enjoy Venmo and Cashapp – SocialistMMA, https://www.patreon.com/SocialistMMA
Photos: Barack Obama at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers Conference (zz/PBG/AAD/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 9/20/17) / Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a press conference, 1966. (AP Photo)