R Cobb’s great satirical image aside, this diary features Glen Ford’s ‘Black Lives Matter Founder Launches Huge Project to Shrink Black Lives’, blackagendareport.com, June 6, 2019 (BAR essays are all CC)
“Alicia Garza, of Black Lives Matter fame, last week introduced her latest project in the pages of the New York Times: a survey of “more than 31,000 black people from all 50 states” to determine, as the headline announced, “What Black People Want .” The Black Census Project “is the largest independent survey of black people ever conducted in the United States,” wrote Garza. A collaboration of Garza’s Black Futures Lab , Color of Change , Dēmos , and Socioanalítica Research , the project “trained more than 100 black organizers and worked with some 30 grass-roots organizations” to elicit Black people’s views on a range of domestic subjects – but asked not a single question related to war and peace.
Garza & Co. have thus performed a kind of lobotomy on the Black polity in the United States, excising from public policy discussion Black Americans’ views on the nation’s endless military and economic wars against people of color around the world. Garza’s team appears to have operated on the premise that Black people have no opinion on the death of millions and the destruction of whole societies, crimes that are committed in their name by the U.S. government. As if Black Americans don’t see the connection between ever-expanding war budgets and constantly shrinking domestic social spending. The project is structured as if African Americans are provincial boobs who don’t give a damn about foreign affairs or the intersection of U.S. foreign and domestic policy.”
Now what Ford hasn’t mentioned is that Garza’s op-ed at the NYT (arguably a mouthpiece for both the Democrats and the CIA) is titled: ‘Dear Candidates Here Is What Black People Want’. We long for the same things as everyone else, and yet few campaigns treat us as if our experiences matter.
‘During election season, I always cringe when I see candidates eating fried chicken next to a bottle of hot sauce in Harlem or taking staged photos with black leaders. These shallow symbolic gestures are not a substitute for meaningful engagement with black voters. And candidates should know that we see right through them.
Candidates and their campaigns are comfortable talking at black people, but few want to talk to us. This limits our ability to influence their decisions and policies. And it’s a bad strategy at a time when black people, black women in particular, form the base of the Democratic Party, are its most loyal voters and mobilize other people to go to the polls.”
Ms. Garza, a founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, is the head of the Black Futures Lab’
Note that blackcensus.org and black futures (pdf.) features Black Not Blue (hint hint) on every page. Ford covers some of the survey results, but I’ll feature these for now:
“The most important issues for respondents were also the most important issues facing the rest of the country — low wages: [‘More than 7 in 10 (71 percent) respondents “strongly favor” increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour] lack of quality health care, substandard housing, rising college costs (84% were concerned) and different sets of rules for the wealthy and the poor. Of course, a majority of Americans face these difficulties. But black communities experience them more acutely.”
I’ve forgotten the name of the third founder of the official Black Lives Matter movement, but one was Patrisse Cullors who’d reTweeted this:
@JamilSmith “The new @ewarren plan to confront the crises of student debt and college affordability is, per @AndyKroll, by far the most ambitious and detailed of any offered by a candidate in the 2020 field. Read the details, which she shared first with @RollingStone
…which I’d found doubly interesting as the photo above Garza’s piece at the Times was captioned: A crowd listening as Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts spoke to potential supporters in South Carolina in January. Credit Travis Dove for The New York Times…and in the foreground were mainly faces of color. (I’d used my last Times click yesterday, so I’d copied the whole letter into a word document.)
Now $15 an hour is hardly a living wage, is it? $22 might be, but that depends on single, married, married with children, amount of medical and other debt, and so on. So why did they choose such a low figure, and I’d include candidate Sanders in that?
Back to Ford:
“Most corporate Democratic candidates also avoid foreign policy issues whenever possible. Garza and her corporate-philanthropy-funded [< fascinating Ford Foundation and allies, and at DSA Jacobin, no less] crew impose the same strictures on Black discussion, in hopes of creating a saleable electoral campaign product for Democrats.
The survey’s web page is keen to advertise that the 31,000 “Black Census respondents are highly engaged in elections: Not only did more than 73 percent report voting in 2016, but 40 percent also report some other form of electoral activity, such as engaging as donors, volunteers, or canvassers.” The message is: these are folks that need to be put to work on some worthy Democrat’s campaign. “As the unwavering base of the Democratic Party, if the politically engaged Black population ceased to vote and gave up on the system, it would upend the Democratic Party and have devastating effects on our democracy as a whole,” says Garza’s Black Census Project, in a transparent pitch for its availability to save the Party and “the system.”
[Weird little conflations in the italicized portion, but I’ll leave that one alone.]
“Predictably, three-quarters of those surveyed want cops made accountable for their misconduct, and just over half want community boards created to supervised police departments. But the surveyors were not interested in Black people’s views on U.S. military violence abroad, or the impact of U.S. policies on poverty in the world, or anything at all about Africa, a continent the United States has militarily occupied since 2008. We do learn that President Obama, who effectuated the occupation, enjoys an 85 percent approval rating among respondents, as does Black Lives Matter.”
“The survey is a hustle to make Garza, Color of Change and their (already deeply-connected) financial backers bigger players in the Democratic Party – without challenging lawless U.S. empire, “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, today,” as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated more than half a century ago, and as Malcolm X hammered home till his dying breath.”
“But Garza knows the borders of what is acceptable to the corporate Democratic Party, and adheres to the limits imposed by the fat cats – who are also among her donors. This is sometimes called political “capture” of dissidents by the ruling class. However, the term “capture” hardly fits when the prey is begging to be caught.”
“Her survey is an insult to the Black Radical Tradition, which is rooted in solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the world and has resulted in Black America winning allies and emulators around the globe.
Fortunately, an organization exists that will never forget the six million Congolese that have been slaughtered to date as a result of U.S. foreign policy – the worst genocide since World War Two – and which fights daily to bring Washington’s “endless wars” to a halt: the Black Alliance for Peace . But that’s not the kind of project that corporate billionaires fund.”
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)