Black American Politics in the 21st Century: Is It Time For A New Plan?

As under Bush and Cheney, the rights of corporations take precedence over those of human beings. Obama campaigned against offshore oil drilling until he had the nomination locked up, then walked back to a position pretty much identical to his predecessors. Up until the BP disaster in the Gulf, the Obama administration handed out oil leases and drilling permits for a year and a half with no reviews and no safeguards.

One of the first things the administration did after the extent of the disaster became evident was to declare a no fly zone over and near the actual leak. Further regulations, including measures that make it a felony for reporters and camera people to get within 60 feet of a boat skimming oil, or a boom at sea or in the marshes, are clearly put there to conceal the extent of the calamity. Evidently, the corporate right to conceal crimes outweighs the human right to know those crimes, and the so-called freedom of the press.

So Democrats are not delivering on human rights either.

Why We Can’t Change the Democratic Party From the Inside

That’s been the plan for going on 75 years now. Those who claim they can do it now disregard the experience of generations of activists before them.

This author is one of those who invested more than twenty years as a Democratic activist in Chicago working with hundreds, sometimes thousands of brave, wise and generous people trying to change that party from the inside in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. We organized neighborhood by neighborhood around housing, policing, gentrification, Reaganomics, apartheid and unjust wars from Vietnam to Central America to the Middle East. We were always well to the left of our elected Democratic leaders, but for us, the Democratic Party was still the ship, and all else was the storm. So where we could, we established persistent neighborhood organizations independent of the Democratic Party and we tapped those networks to oppose City Hall in neighborhood elections for aldermen, ward committeemen, state legislators, for countywide offices and ultimately for congressional and mayoral candidates. The cumulative effort of those networks I played a personal role in building, and those of networks paralleling them in neighboring parts of the city are directly responsible for the political careers of current Chicago area Democratic congressional representatives Bobby Rush, Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez, Jesse Jackson Jr., and Jan Shakowsky, and many other local figures.

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