No way to stay out of this one, so I’m linking a piece by Illinois resident, political scientist, and writer Adolph Reed. Wright, of course, is being subjected to a one-sided vilification-fest by the media. They hate uppity Negroes; they hate anyone who is tainted by a whiff of Black nationalism; and they really hate anyone who doesn’t go along with the cherished white delusion that race is no longer an issue here.
Obama, as I predicted, is throwing Wright under the bus.
I’ve taken plenty of time out to beat up on Senator Clinton for her phony-baloney perception management campaign; and since I’d rather eat shit than endorse either one of these opportunists, I’m linking Reed’s piece on Obama (even thougth I have disagree with Reed a time or two in the past (on the role of Black nationalism, eg).
Nationalism is what Wright elicits, by the way, because he insists on bringing up the evidence of the colonial relation Black America is subjected to by white America. This is his cardinal sin… reminding us that we are not a melting pot, that we are not equal, that it is not all in the past, and that all the prophets of working class unity can’t conceal the fact — except by rhetoric — that the white working class in the US is complicit in the colonial subjection of African America, because as in all imperial relations the white working class gets a cut. The ruling class hasn;t had to divide white and Black workers since the 18th Century. Since then, the white working class was in the vanguard of whtie supremacy.
That’s why Clinton’s veiled appeals to racism work. That’s also why Obama is trying to play an opportunist’s (and a fool’s) game: talking racial reconciliation and unity as if it were a fact to whites and hoping he can mobilize phenotype authenticity for African Americans (as a righteous reaction to Clinton’s race-baiting, imo).
THIS is why some of us insist that elections can only be engaged tactially, and why we should place no hope in them.
I’ve never been an Obama supporter. I’ve known him since the very beginning of his political career, which was his campaign for the seat in my state senate district in Chicago. He struck me then as a vacuous opportunist, a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him. I argued at the time that his fundamental political center of gravity, beneath an empty rhetoric of hope and change and new directions, is neoliberal.
His political repertoire has always included the repugnant stratagem of using connection with black audiences in exactly the same way Bill Clinton did—i.e., getting props both for emoting with the black crowd and talking through them to affirm a victim-blaming “tough love” message that focuses on alleged behavioral pathologies in poor black communities. Because he’s able to claim racial insider standing, he actually goes beyond Clinton and rehearses the scurrilous and ridiculous sort of narrative Bill Cosby has made infamous.
It may be instructive to look at the outfit where he did his “community organizing,” the invocation of which makes so many lefties go weak in the knees. My understanding of the group, Developing Communities Project, at the time was that it was simply a church-based social service agency. What he pushed as his main political credential then, to an audience generally familiar with that organization, was his role in a youth-oriented voter registration drive.
The Obama campaign has even put out a misleading bio of Michelle Obama, representing her as having grown up in poverty on the South Side, when, in fact, her parents were city workers, and her father was a Daley machine precinct captain. This fabrication, along with those embroideries of the candidate’s own biography, may be standard fare, the typical log cabin narrative. However, in Obama’s case, the license taken not only underscores Obama’s more complex relationship to insider politics in Daley’s Chicago; it also underscores how much this campaign depends on selling an image rather than substance.
There is also something disturbingly ritualistic and superficial in the Obama camp’s young minions’ enthusiasm. Paul Krugman noted months ago that the Obamistas display a cultish quality in the sense that they treat others’ criticism or failure to support their icon as a character flaw or sin. The campaign even has a stock conversion narrative, which has been recycled in print by such normally clear-headed columnists as…