Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Si Se Puede: Obama and MAPA

January 30, 2008

In various previous bulletins we have pointed out numerous contradictions and challenges facing us during this presidential campaign. The aspirations for political change that conforms to the myriad social needs of Latinos, the working majorities of the U.S., and all people of color are huge. Fair and humane immigration reform, an end to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the return of U.S. troops to their loved ones, universal and affordable healthcare, fair versus "free" trade policies and an end to the export of millions of jobs, immediate relief to working families devastated by the subprime housing crisis, equitable and progressive tax rates, a reduction of the budget deficit not on the backs of working people, a restoration and protection of privacy rights and an end to government spying and surveillance on its citizens and residents, protected right to organize a union and negotiate a collective bargaining unit, an end to the era of dependency on fossil fuels, the inviolability of women's right to choice and immediate access to health services - these and many more issues are moving millions of people into motion in search of relevant change in our country.

The real question before us is whether any of the current presidential candidates measures up to our expectations and aspirations for change within the context of a constrained political system dominated by two main political parties - Republican and Democratic, its various minor parties, but an ever growing and robust independent segment of the electorate?

The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), the oldest political-civic organization of Mexican Americans and Latinos in the U.S., answers the question in the affirmative with some reservations. The task before us is enormous and we refuse to invest everything on one woman or man aspiring to assume the highest political office in the land, and expect that this will create the change we desire. This is only one element of the political equation. The majority of the responsibility for change is ours - our collective responsibility to create sweeping social movement and impose our political will as the majority producers of society. We do this by participating in political elections, mobilizations of masses of people, social protests, lobbying, sit-ins, petitions, recall of elected officials when necessary, and the use of many other tactics.

No political candidate is perfect, but which candidate comes closest to our ideal and speaks to our issues and interests, exudes confidence, demonstrates a track-record for integrity and speaking truth to power, and voting in favor of working peoples interests?

Our first choice was Congressman Dennis Kucinich. We firmly believe that his platform is our platform, and that his progressive trajectory as an elected official speaks for itself. However, for many reasons citizen Kucinich retired from the presidential primary race to pursue a re-election bid for his current seat. MAPA stood on principle to support the candidate who thoroughly stands for peace, fair trade, humane immigration reform, universal healthcare access, women's choice, worker's rights, and while his candidacy may have represented an impossible long- shot - we resolved that elections in and of themselves do not constitute the main measure of political change, and that our fight is a strategic one premised on deep-rooted organization of political conscious Latino workers and families in alliance with affinity constituencies.

However, something nasty in the national campaigns reared its head over the past two weeks, which motivated us to consider another endorsement for a presidential candidate of the Democratic Party primary elections. We have observed with utter disgust the use of racially divisive and polarizing tactics employed by the Clintons, both Hillary and Bill, against Senator Barack Obama, not the first presidential candidate of African American origin. This is something that we would have expected from Republican candidates, but instead it surfaced from the bowels of the center-right institutional currents of the Democratic Party. The tactics are absolutely deplorable and clearly demonstrate what the Clintons think of all people of color.

In other words, when they speak and refer to Senator Barack Obama in the racially disparaging manner in which they have, they are really referring to all of us people of color - African Americans, Latinos, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans. Perhaps worst yet, they think little of white members of the electorate wrongly believing that such tactics would move white voters away from Senator Obama - the scary specter of a black candidate with little experience and questionable credibility assuming the reins of power. The repeated claim by the Clintons' paid pollster, Sergio Bendixen that Latinos won't vote for a black man is one more example of the polarizing self-fulfilling prophecy injected into the campaign of late. Certainly they will deny such a charge, but then again, they are not people of color and have not been the victims of their own invective.

MAPA has historically supported candidates it believed were competent to represent the corresponding electorate irrespective of their national origin, race, gender or age. The content of their character is what mattered most to us.

The leadership and membership of MAPA have resolved to endorse Senator Barack Obama as the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, who also just happens to be African American.

We also observe with great pride growing numbers of young white voters enthusiastically embracing the message of Senator Obama, black voters turning out in greater percentages than previous elections exuding pride and hope, Latino culinary union members who see themselves in the candidacy of the young senator, and women who deposit their faith in the intelligence and oratorical imagery displayed by candidate Barack Obama. All of this bodes well for the future of America - seeing beyond race - capable of assimilating the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Senator Obama is the only remaining candidate who has declared in favor of issuing driver's licenses to immigrants (much before the current campaign) and the right of immigrant youth to higher education through the Dream Act, pursuing humane immigration reform his first year in office, returning all U.S. combat troops from Iraq, (one of the few federal legislators who originally opposed the war publicly), and pursuing universal healthcare reform (albeit retaining a role for private insurance companies) - these are a few of his down-payment commitments to the electorate he seeks to convince that now is the time to carve the change required due to the current maladies plaguing the country. It is our obligation to move this campaign and candidacy still closer to the wishes and pressing needs of the majorities.

Si Se Puede con Obama, Yes We Can with Obama, is the recurring chant that we now will also raise to oppose those candidates who live in the past, seek dynasty, angle to divide and polarize us, or propose continued neo-liberal directions for the nation-state.

Si Se Puede with Obama, and with and by and for the people.

Nativo V. Lopez
National President

Join us in this prolonged campaign for driver's licenses and visas for our families. The first step in making change is to join an organization that pursues the change we desire. We welcome you to our ranks.
Other organizations leading this movement include: Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), MAPA Youth Leadership, Liberty and Justice for Immigrants Movement, National Alliance for Immigrant's Rights, and immigrant's rights coalitions throughout the U.S..

Nativo V. Lopez, National President of MAPA (323) 269-1575

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Latino Vote:

Clinton's Latino spin

The Clinton campaign's assertion that Latinos
historically haven't voted for black candidates is divisive -- and false.
January 28, 2008 Gregory Rodriguez - Los Angeles Times
If a Hillary Clinton campaign official told a reporter that white voters never support black candidates, would the media have swallowed the message whole? What if a campaign pollster began whispering that Jews don't have an "affinity" for African American politicians? Would the pundits have accepted the premise unquestioningly?

A few weeks ago, Sergio Bendixen, a Clinton pollster and Latino expert, publicly articulated what campaign officials appear to have been whispering for months. In an interview with Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, Bendixen explained that "the Hispanic voter -- and I want to say this very carefully -- has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates." The spin worked. For the last several weeks, it's been on the airwaves (Tucker Carlson, "Hardball," NPR), generally tossed off as if it were conventional wisdom. And it has shown up in sources as far afield as Agence France-Presse and the London Daily Telegraph, which wrote about a "voting bloc traditionally reluctant to support black candidates."

The spin also helped shape the analysis of the Jan. 19 Nevada caucus, in which Clinton won the support of Latino voters by a margin of better than 2 to 1. Forget the possibility that Nevada's Latino voters may have actually preferred Clinton or, at the very least, had a fondness for her husband; pundits embraced the idea that Latino voters simply didn't like the fact that her opponent was black.

But was Bendixen's blanket statement true? Far from it, and the evidence is overwhelming enough to make you wonder why in the world the Clinton campaign would want to portray Latino voters as too unrelentingly racist to vote for Barack Obama.

University of Washington political scientist Matt Barreto has compiled a list of black big-city mayors who have received broad Latino support over the last several decades. In 1983, Harold Washington pulled 80% of the Latino vote in Chicago. David Dinkins won 73% in New York in 1989. And Denver's Wellington Webb garnered more than 70% in 1991, as did Ron Kirk in Dallas in 1995 and then again in 1997 and 1999.

He could have also added that longtime Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley won a healthy chunk of the Latino vote in 1973 and then the clear majority in his mayoral reelection campaigns of 1977, 1981, 1985 and 1989.

Here in L.A., all three black members of Congress represent heavily Latino districts and ultimately couldn't survive without significant Latino support. Five other black House members represent districts that are more than 25% Latino -- including New York's Charles Rangel and Texan Al Green -- and are also heavily dependent on Latino voters.

So, given all this evidence, why did this notion get repeated so nonchalantly? For one, despite the focus on demographic changes in America, journalists' ignorance of the aspirations of Latino America is pretty remarkable. They just don't know much about the biggest minority in the nation. And two, no Latino organizations function in the way that, say, the Anti- Defamation League does for Jewish Americans. In other words, you can pretty much say whatever you want about Latinos without suffering any political repercussions.

Unlike merely "exuberant" supporters, whose mushy grasp of facts Clinton has explained by saying they can sometimes be "uncontrollable," pollsters such as Bendixen most certainly work -- and speak -- at the whim and in the pay of the candidate.

So what would the Clinton campaign have to gain from spreading this misinformation? It helps undermine one of Obama's central selling points, that he can build bridges and unite Americans of all types, and it jibes with the Clinton strategy of pigeon-holing Obama as the "black candidate." (Witness Bill Clinton's statement last week that his wife might lose South Carolina because of Obama's growing black support.)

But the social costs of the Clintons' strategy might end up being higher than the country is willing to pay. According to Stanford Law professor Richard Thompson Ford, who just published "The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse," such political stunts can be "self-fulfilling prophecies."

"It could make black voters more hostile to Latinos," he said. "And Latinos who hear it might think that they somehow ought to be at odds with blacks. These kinds of statements generate interracial tensions."

At the Democratic presidential debate in Nevada, Tim Russert asked Clinton whether the New Yorker quote represented the view of her campaign. "No, he was making a historical statement," she said. "And, obviously, what we're trying to do is bring America together so that everybody feels like they're involved and they have a stake in the future."


Posted by MAPA: the Mexican American Political Association

Friday, January 25, 2008

How the Clinton Campaign Armed a Black-Latino Time

How the Clinton Campaign Armed a Black-Latino Time Bomb in Nevada: Divide and Conquer Politics

L GIORDANO, January 22, 2008
Las Vegas, Nevada.

The chairs in the Concorde Ballroom of the Paris Casino were arranged as if for a wedding, but were more a prelude to an ugly divorce.

On one side of the at-large caucus room were supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton, led by an organizer for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), overwhelmingly Mexican-American.

On the other side of the aisle were supporters of Senator Barack Obama, led by a shop steward for the Culinary Workers Local 226, overwhelmingly African-American.

Both groups were made up predominantly of women. They shouted at each other, booed, hissed and hurled thumbs down in open, sneering contempt for the opposition. The hostility toward their sister workers on each side had more to do with each other than with the candidates they supported.

Capitalism and its politicians have long played divide-and-conquer to divide immigrants from other economically suppressed demographic groups. A generation or two ago, Irish, Italians and Jews were districted by those in power into the same Congressional, legislative and city council districts to compete for the same scraps of political representation while White Anglo-Saxon Protestants took the rest of the pie. The same has occurred in recent years to shoehorn blacks and Latinos--the two most solid Democratic Party voting demographic groups - into increasing conflict.

During last June's debate over the federal Immigration Reform Bill, the overtly racist Minutemen organization took time off from patrolling the border vigilante style to hold a small march in Los Angeles against reform. They recruited a sole black minister who brought along half-a-dozen men from his congregation for an anti-immigrant rally that had no more than two-dozen participants. This, justifiably, provoked anger among Mexican-Americans and others in LA, and thousands marched in counter-demonstration. Truth is, there were far more African-Americans marching with the pro-immigrant group than that stood with the Minutemen, and that fact saved the situation from becoming uglier.

As census trends explode to bring, just two or so decades from now, the Caucasian population of the United States into minority status, entire industries have been launched to prevent a majority alliance from forming along class-solidarity lines. There are book contracts aplenty waiting for divisive pundits like Earl Ofari Hutchison, author of The Emerging Black GOP Majority (2006) and Latino Challenge to Black America (2007) and who dedicated much of 2007 and, now, 2008 to bashing Obama over on The Huffington Post. Black-Latino tensions bubble up from high school brawls in Los Angeles to City Council antics in Buffalo, and of course in the prison system where gangs choose up sides so often along ethnic and racial lines.

But now it's exploded out into the open in the Democratic presidential nomination battle, with the Clinton campaign leading the charge. In recent weeks, efforts by Clinton surrogates to wage racial politics against Obama were viewed by reporters as efforts to sway white voters away from Obama: a national Clinton co-chair implied that Obama had a drug-dealing past, a former US senator repeated disproved Islamic smears, and most recently a billionaire black entertainment mogul introduced Clinton by resurrecting the drug canard. All three then staged public "apologies." But it's the words of Bill and Hillary Clinton that have sent the signals from above, from the latter's angry uncle acts in New Hampshire and Nevada and his defense of a voter suppression lawsuit there, to the former's exaltation of LBJ as the real MLK, the strategy has been to bait Obama supporters into respond in kind. Then they claim to be "victims" of false accusations of racism.

Remarkably, the race-baiting has had little effect on those white voters that would be expected to bite, particularly those in rural areas--considered by white urban and suburban liberals to be the racist ones--who in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada delivered bigger percentages for Obama than urban and suburban voters. But perhaps the white folk were never the intended target of such divisive politics. No, it led, instead, to the afro-hispano-divide on Saturday in Las Vegas, one that could cause lasting harm to all progressive efforts--electoral or not--in the near future of the United States of America.

The Clinton White House vs. Mexican-Americans

When president from 1989 to 2001, George H. W. Bush tried to gain approval for a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, just as Ronald Reagan tried before him, he couldn't convince a Democratic Congress to go along. That magic trick required the Democratic regime of Bill Clinton--backed by a multi-million dollar corporate lobbying campaign, off which many Clinton '92 campaign staffers made good money pressuring fellow Democrats--who rammed NAFTA through.

NAFTA took effect in 1994, soon devastated the Mexican family farmer, many of whom fled across the US border while many more were displaced into Mexican cities and border states to work in post-NAFTA sweatshops. That, in turn, sparked a marked increase in undocumented workers in the US, who are now on the receiving end of the same repressive policies and media-fed demonization that were perfected against African-Americans and now utilized, likewise, against Hispanic-Americans.

In 1993, when President Bill Clinton took office, there were 80,815 men and women in federal prisons. By the end of his two terms, in December of 2000, there were 125,692: an increase of 55 percent over eight years, according to the US Department of Justice.

Federal drug enforcement counted for more than half of the 45,000-strong increase in federal prisons, leaving a total of 63,898 drug war prisoners, more than half of the federal prison population, at the end of Clinton's term. That was the consequence of mandatory minimum sentences, which the Clinton administration, and particularly Attorney General Janet Reno, pledged to reform in January 1993, but quickly abandoned during those eight years in power.
The Center on Juvenile Justice concluded at the end of the Clinton years, "When William Jefferson Clinton took office in 1993, he was embraced by some as a moderate change from the previous twelve years of tough on crime Republican administrations. Now, eight years later, the latest criminal justice statistics show that it was actually Democratic President Bill Clinton who implemented arguably the most punitive platform on crime in the last two decades. In fact, 'tough on crime' policies passed during the Clinton Administration's tenure resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history."

The Clinton administration's criminalization of the economically poor fell heaviest upon Hispanic-Americans. By 1997, more than halfway through the Clinton White House years, 27 percent of federal inmates were Hispanic (compared to 17 percent of state level inmates). By 2000, 43 percent of all federal drug war prisoners were Hispanic, the most likely group to be first-time offenders, and the least likely to have committed a violent crime. (If anything, these numbers undercount the real impact, since most Hispanic inmates are classified by the prison system as "white.")

Contrary to what CNN's Lou Dobbs says, these Hispanic prisoners are not primarily "illegal immigrants." US born Hispanic men are seven times as likely to end up in prison than foreign-born Hispanic men.

And during Bill Clinton's presidency, the White House made no effort to reform immigration laws or set a path to citizenship for the millions of new immigrants streaming across the border as a result of NAFTA. President George W. Bush has been more progressive on the immigration issue than Clinton ever was.

But after winning the New Hampshire primary, Senator Hillary Clinton went to Nevada and made a noisy public play for Latino voters. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, the Mexican-American in the presidential contest, obliged her by dropping out of the race and clearing the path for Clinton. She walked through a predominantly Hispanic North Las Vegas neighborhood as her first post-New Hampshire media appearance, and noshed guacamole and chips at the Lindo Michoacan restaurant. During that session, with the TV cameras running, a man shouted, "my wife is illegal." (What man, if his wife is truly in the country without permission, would advertise that fact on national television? The Clinton campaign had been caught earlier in the campaign planting questions, and this incident carried the same media-manipulating smell.) Clinton's response - "No woman is illegal!" - caused many to forget her doubletalk at a debate last October about drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants when she took both sides of the issue. Indeed, at Saturday's caucus, some of her supporters gushed to reporters that "Hillary supports amnesty" for immigrants.

That blatant level of pandering from the team that had, during eight years in power, done so much damage to Mexican-Americans and their country of ancestry both, has to be viewed now in the context of the race-baiting tactics that dominated the Democratic primaries in early 2008. According to the entrance poll of Nevada caucus-goers, 64 percent of Hispanic voters favored Clinton to just 25 percent for Obama, while 83 percent of African-Americans backed Obama to only 16 percent for Clinton. If those percentages hold in the February 5 California primary (and in contests that same day in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, also with large numbers of Mexican-American voters), Clinton may soon be on the road to the Democratic nomination.

Eight Days to Disarm a Time Bomb

The day after his narrow defeat in Nevada (while, due to white rural voters in the northern Nevada 2nd Congressional District, Obama edged out Clinton, 13 to 12, for Democratic National Convention delegates), Obama went to the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and seemed to acknowledge that he has work to do to reverse, or at least dampen, the trend of Latino voters for Clinton.

From the pulpit where Martin Luther King once preached, he said to the predominantly black congregation:

"if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community.

"We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity."

The Obama camp certainly recognizes the problem, but so far hasn't taken that message to the ground level, to the homes and neighborhoods and restaurants, and, yes, in front of television cameras, to break bread together with Mexican-Americans and make his case more forcefully.
Obama--not Clinton--was a co-sponsor of the Immigrant Reform Bill that was the central issue of 2007 for the Latino population. He has to make that case and do so fast or the black-Latino rift that the Clintons have so cynically encouraged could become the story of the remaining Democratic primaries, leading to such acrimony that one group, or the other, stays home in November.

In addition to those factors, Obama needs to shine an eviscerating light upon the actual record of the first Clinton administration and the brutality of its increased prosecution of Hispanics for non-violent federal drug crimes. According to a 2003 survey by Fairbanks, Maslin, Maulin & Associates for the Drug Policy Alliance, a wide majority of Latinos in California oppose prison terms for drug offenders.

Short of a rumored, pending--but as of yet unconfirmed--Obama endorsement by Senator Ted Kennedy, the most visible sponsor of the Immigration Reform Bill and highly respected by many Latino voters, Obama is going to have to confront the black-Latino rift seen in Nevada head-on if he has hope of gaining the nomination.

The terrible Clinton legacy of US government mistreatment of Mexican-Americans--including the majority that are legal citizens--provides the constitutional law professor and civil rights lawyer from Illinois the opening to do so. But the time bomb of black-Latino division is ticking and could explode, if not disarmed in the next week, as soon as Tsunami Tuesday rolls in on February 5.

Parts of this story were originally published in The Field-- - where Al Giordano has been writing about the presidential campaign.

Al Giordano, the founder of Narco News, has lived in and reported from Latin America for the past decade. His opinions expressed in this column do not reflect those of Narco News nor of The Fund for Authentic Journalism, which supports his work. Al encourages commentary, critique, additional analysis and news tips for his continued coverage of the US presidential campaign to be sent to his email address:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Social forum in Mexico D.F.

Recommended viewing

Everyone's an Expert on the Latino Vote, Except Latinos

Everyone's an Expert on the Latino Vote, Except Latinos

The most interesting development out of this weekend's Nevada caucus votes had little to do with Hillary Clinton winning a large percentage of the Latino vote -- that was predictable. More fascinating was the sudden and exponential surge in the number of experts in Latino politics.

It was tragicomic to watch non-Spanish speaking pundits explain the 'reality' of the Nevada vote while standing in the artificial light of the casinos during one of the first caucus meetings held entirely in Spanish. Reporters had to wait for translators to tell them what campaign workers were saying before they could report it to us. Understanding the electoral needs of casino, hotel, restaurant and other workers who labor in a new economy -- and require new hours for voting -- proved very difficult for many in the media to understand.

It was no less difficult having to watch the white, and some African-American, political commentators on MSNBC, CNN and other networks tell us that the Latino vote for Clinton reflected "black-Latino tensions." The New York Times newspaper had earlier echoed these observations in a story that caused frustration in the Latino blogosphere. In a recent issue of The New Yorker, a publication that has no Latino editorial staff and publishes very few stories a year about the country's 46 million Latinos, the magazine showed off its newfound expertise in a story which detailed how Latinos are Clinton's electoral "firewall," thanks to the "lingering tensions between the Hispanic and black communities." It's hard to know how they know this when only one serious polling organization in the country conducts polls in a language other than English.

Yet everybody, it seems, has something to say about Latino politics. Everybody that is, except Latinos.

The awkwardness and simplicity seen and heard in the coverage of the Latino electorate illustrates how ill-equipped the news organizations, the political parties and the society as a whole are to understand and deal with the historic political shift previewed in Nevada: the death of the black-white electorate. Simplistic talk about the Latino vote provides another example of how we live when the 'experts' and their organizations are increasingly out of touch with the dynamism and complexity of the electorate and the general populace.

As a result, the growth of the very diverse Latino electorate will likely force the revelation of more inconvenient truths. Principle among them is the media's conclusion that anti-black racism among Latinos explains why they voted Clinton and not Obama in Nevada. Story after story tries to fit the Latino vote into the procrustean bed of old-school, black v. white politics.

Typical of these conclusions are statements by the liberal New Republic's John Judis. He explained Latino support for Clinton this way: "Latino immigrants hold negative stereotypical views of blacks and feel that they have more in common with whites than with blacks." Judis backed his claims with a modicum of academic seriousness as he quoted "experts" like Duke University political scientist Paula D. McClain. McClain told me in an interview that she neither speaks Spanish nor watches the primary source of Latino news and political information, saying: "I don't watch Univision." Quoting her makes little practical sense.

It only makes sense when we consider how ever-expanding Latino power in Nevada and across the country is pushing up against people's fraying sense of nationhood and citizenship. Latino citizens and voters, not undocumented immigrants, are the targets of many liberals. These liberals long for the simpler days of a black-white electorate, a less-globalized country. Like Clinton, Obama and all Republican candidates, they support the political and racial equivalents of the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino border wall.

So instead of considering that Latinos reflect the new complexities of our political age, we should, experts tell us, simply swallow the black-white political logic of the previous era, like the half-moon cookies our grandmothers made. Ignore whatever you think of the Clintons -- they have more than 15 years of relationships, name-recognition and history in the Latino electorate. Outside of Chicago, Obama has less than two years. Never mind that Latinos may still be wondering about why Obama did not, until recently, secure the support of most black voters. Never mind about the political amnesia about how the country's last black candidate of national stature -- Jesse Jackson -- defied the prevailing racial logic during the Presidential primaries of 1988, when his Rainbow Coalition secured almost 50 percent of the Latino vote in Latino-heavy New Mexico counties like Santa Fe and San Miguel and 36 percent of the Latino vote in the largest Latino state in the country: California.

The Latino experience of the right-of-center Clintons and the left-of-center Jackson, who the Illinois senator did not ask to campaign for him, raises questions about Mr. Obama's political operation and his political agenda. Time will tell us what was behind the Latino support for Clinton in Nevada. And who knows, maybe the experts telling us about Obama, Clinton and other candidates' fortunes in upcoming primaries will do so without the black and white lens that has proven obsolete in the face of a new country.
By Roberto Lovato

January 22, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ward Connerly mounts anti Affirmative Action,0,4177506,full.story?coll=la-home-center
From the Los Angeles Times
Drives in 5 states target affirmative action
Activists aided by Prop. 209's Ward Connerly aim to put the issue before voters. Foes say the initiatives will be hard to block.
By Stephanie Simon
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 19, 2008

DENVER — Intent on dismantling affirmative action, activists in five states have launched a coordinated drive to cut off tax dollars for programs that offer preferential treatment based on race or gender.

The campaign aims to put affirmative action bans on the November ballot in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The effort is being organized by California consultant Ward Connerly, who has successfully promoted similar measures in California, Michigan and Washington.

Supporters of affirmative action say the initiatives will be hard to block, given that Connerly has a proven ability to raise funds and persuade voters, even in more liberal states.

"They've targeted states where there's a white majority electorate and a vocal, if small, extreme anti-immigrant right wing," said Shanta Driver, who runs By Any Means Necessary, a coalition that defends affirmative action. In such states, she said, "it's extremely difficult for us to win."

Connerly's campaign -- which he calls Super Tuesday for Equality -- could also get a boost if the presidential ballot includes an African American or a woman. That would help him make the case, he said, that the playing field is level and minorities no longer need a hand up.

In most states, Connerly has until spring or summer to collect enough signatures to put the measures on the ballot. His allies have already submitted more than 140,000 signatures in Oklahoma. Petitions are circulating in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska. (The number of required signatures varies from about 76,000 in Colorado to about 230,000 in Arizona.)

If successful, the ballot measures would ban a broad range of programs designed to overcome the nation's legacy of racism and discrimination.

One such program, in Tucson, treats minority- and female-owned companies as the low bidders for some construction contracts, even if their proposals come in as much as 7% higher than a bid from a firm owned by a white male rival. Academic mentoring targeted at specific groups, such as female engineering majors or Latina teens, would also be banned. The University of Colorado would have to cancel or redefine more than 100 scholarships because they award funds based on gender or race.

As he has in the past, Connerly is promoting the ballot measures as "civil rights initiatives."

The wording may differ slightly from state to state, but in general the measures say: "The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any group or individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. . . . "

Opponents say that's misleading because it doesn't explicitly say that affirmative action would be banned.

"What Ward Connerly is banking on -- and it's a sad thing -- is a lack of information among the public," said the Rev. Gill Ford, a regional director of the NAACP.

The debate may also become entangled in immigration politics.

Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma recently passed tough laws aimed at stopping illegal immigrants from holding jobs or receiving government benefits. Missouri is weighing similar measures. Nationally, debate rages about illegal immigrants' efforts to get driver's licenses and pay in-state tuition.

A public angry at mostly Latino illegal immigrants may be in no mood to listen to arguments about a need for racial preferences.

"Many topics have the ability to dominate public attention this year," said Arizona state Rep. Ben R. Miranda, a Democrat leading the opposition to Connerly. "We may not have enough time to educate the public."

In 2006, supporters of affirmative action made a strong -- and well-funded -- stand against a Connerly-sponsored ballot measure in Michigan. Republicans and Democrats, union leaders and business executives, women's groups, the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and the Roman Catholic Church all spoke out against the initiative. Still, it passed with 58% support. Voters also passed the affirmative action ban by substantial margins in Washington in 1998 and in California in 1996, when it was on the ballot as Proposition 209.

Connerly, who is of black, white and Native American heritage, began fighting against racial preferences as a member of the University of California Board of Regents in the mid-1990s. He has said he came to the issue after meeting with a white couple whose son had been rejected from several University of California medical schools; they believed less-qualified minority students had an unfair edge in admissions. A land-use consultant by training, Connerly now devotes himself to anti-affirmative- action campaigns.

Even after a decade, the effect of his initiatives in California and Washington is not clear-cut. Minority enrollment at public universities plunged at first but has since rebounded except at a few of the most elite campuses.

In the economic sphere, a California Department of Transportation study last year found that based on the number of businesses owned by women and minorities, such companies should be getting 19% of state transportation contracts. In fact, their share has amounted to 11%.

To defeat Connerly's ballot measures, his foes must use such statistics to make the case that American society is still riddled with racism and discrimination.

That's a message voters may not want to hear. "We'd all like to think it's hunky-dory," said David B. Oppenheimer, a professor at Golden Gate University law school.

Significant disparities in income among races exist in all five states Connerly is targeting, with Asians on top, then whites, then Latinos, then blacks. The exception to that order is Arizona, where blacks earn more than Latinos.

In Colorado, the median household income for whites is about $55,000; for African Americans, it's about $35,000. In Nebraska, the figures are $47,000 for whites, $37,000 for Latinos and $28,000 for blacks, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Nationally, the median net worth for a white, non-Latino family is $120,900; for minority families, it's $17,100.

Many opponents of racial preferences say these disparities can best be addressed through aid based on economic need, not race. Carl Cohen, who teaches philosophy at the University of Michigan, says he supports mentoring programs, financial support, even preferential college admissions for the economically disadvantaged. "But to do it on the basis of the color of your skin, or the country where your grandfather happened to be born -- what the hell does that have to do with anything?" he said.

In response, Oppenheimer mentions a study published a few years ago in the American Journal of Sociology. Researchers sent black and white men with nearly identical resumes to apply for hundreds of entry-level jobs. In some cases, the men were instructed to say they had spent 18 months in prison on a felony drug conviction. The results: Whites with a criminal record were more likely to be called back than blacks with no record.

"Put yourself in the shoes of a black teenager who has to confront the reality that a white ex-con gets a racial preference over him" in the job market, Oppenheimer said. "That's the racial preference that Ward Connerly should be worried about."

African Americans, he points out, make up 12% of the workforce. Yet they're only 3% of the chief executives, 5% of the medical scientists and 5% of the lawyers.

Connerly responds that overt discrimination should be punished by the courts. But to presume that every minority needs special treatment is demeaning, he said. To make that point, he has turned to local activists who say they can testify to the corrosive effects of racial preference.

The Missouri campaign will be run by Tim Asher, former admissions director at North Central Missouri College. The two-year school offered full scholarships to students from underrepresented groups -- basically, "anyone but white people," Asher said. It fell to him, he said, to explain to impoverished white students that "they weren't qualified because of the color of their skin."

Colorado campaign director Valery Pech Orr is well-known for filing a suit after she and her husband, who are white, lost a construction contract to a minority-owned business under federal affirmative action law. During more than a decade of litigation, Orr said, she was urged to register the family company as female-owned to take advantage of affirmative action. She refused: "It was an insult. Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I'm disadvantaged. What about my brains? My talent? My competitive spirit?"

The Supreme Court made clear that affirmative action is not a long-term solution to racial disparities.

In 2003, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote: "We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary."

Analysts say Connerly's five-state strategy could help speed up that timetable.

"This is a perfect way to call attention to the issue and suggest that there's a broad base of support" for ending affirmative action, said Daniel HoSang, a political scientist at the University of Oregon who studies race and politics. "It'll influence the debate. Clearly, it will."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The White Curtain

Why I Got Angry After New Hampshire:
The White Curtain and the Possibility of Hope

The African World

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.,BC Executive Editor

I have not been an Obama supporter. On the issues, I have
felt that Kucinich and Edwards are clearer and more on point.
They have been talking about some real changes in domestic
and foreign policy, and I applaud that. I have been
disappointed that they have not grasped race far more than
they have, but they tend to lean in the right direction.

But that is not why I am writing this piece.

I got angry after the New Hampshire primary. Going into the
primary, Senator Obama had a 13-point lead over Senator
Clinton. Senator Clinton had virtually issued her concession
speech. Yet, Senator Clinton came out on top.

There have been a number of reasons offered by pundits as to
what happened:

* Some have suggested that Senator Clinton became more
humane through the misting of her eyes during a candid
moment (captured on camera).
* Some have suggested that
the perception of Senator Clinton being "attacked" by
both former Senator Edwards and Senator Obama led to a
sympathy factor.
* Others have suggested that Senator
Obama became cocky and stopped reaching out for
* Still others believe that the "white
curtain" (a term used by writer Bob Wing) came into
play and that white voters said one thing to the
pollsters and did another thing behind the curtain.

I do not think there was any one factor, although I am
inclined to believe that the "white curtain" was far more in
play than the media let on. And this failure on the part of
the established media to give more credence to the "white
curtain," or what in other circles is called the 'Bradley
Factor' (after the reversal in fortune by former LA Mayor Tom
Bradley, who lost the election for California governor in the
1980s after all of the polls indicated that he was a shoe-in)
has my back up.

In a Washington Post column from January 11th, African
American commentator Eugene Robinson suggested that what
often happens when Black candidates run is not so much that
whites change their minds, but that the numbers of white
undecided voters enter into the picture and they cast their
ballots for the white candidate. I have great respect for
Robinson, however, this seems like a distinction without a
difference. It begs the question of what inspires these
white undecided voters to turn out in high numbers to vote
AGAINST a Black candidate. In that sense, it may be that we
have to look at this question of the "white curtain"' a bit
differently, i.e., that it may not be so much a matter of
white voters indicating - to pollsters - that they will
support a Black candidate and then voting otherwise, but
rather that large numbers of white voters use the category of
"undecided" in order to shield their true preference.

The second source of my anger has to do with the Clintons,
and I use the plural here. If another Black person calls
former President Bill Clinton the alleged 'first Black
President,' I think I will personally take their head off,
followed by their arms and legs. Rather than treating Senator
Obama's candidacy as a serious one with which they have
significant differences (which they actually do not), there
has been the use, by the Clintons, of codes as a way of
attacking Obama's character. The emphasis on 'experience' is
one such code. The denigration of the idea of 'hope' is
another code. Instead of forcing Senator Obama to clarify his
positions on the issues, which is in fact his key weakness,
the Clintons have engaged in attacks on the candidate as a
person, something of which Senator Obama is undeserving.

Former President, Bill Clinton, was unsettled by the way some
of his recent comments were interpreted as suggesting that he
believed Senator Obama's candidacy to be a fantasy. Instead,
Bill Clinton was, in my opinion, quite correctly - but for
the wrong reason - suggesting that the media is turning the
Obama candidacy into a fantasy. Yet what is important here
has been the reaction within Black America. Bill Clinton's
remarks were HEARD as part of a character assassination
against Senator Obama. African Americans, for a host of
reasons, have been and continue to be slow to warm to the
Obama campaign, but when Obama is personally attacked, the
Clintons can be guaranteed they will encounter genuine anger
that they may not be able to overcome.

Ok, now I am a bit calmer. But here is my other point:
Senator Obama is going to need a strategic "rethink." The
Obama campaign has gone a long way on motivation and good
feeling, but with little content. Obama has fostered the
illusion that we can all join together and that he will
oversee the construction of an historically unprecedented
united front of Democrats, Republicans and Independents to
bring us into a new age. He has studiously avoided any tough
issues, yet is prepared to make reckless foreign policy
suggestions, e.g., unilateral US military action against Al
Qaeda bases in Pakistan and the need to take action against
Iran (without defining why Iran is an alleged problem).
Contrary to his competitor in the change category, former
Senator Edwards, he has largely shied away - until quite
recently - from discussing the fact that the US is polarizing
along wealth and income lines, as well as the fact that labor
unions are key to economic justice.

The Obama Campaign may have believed that they could use
'hope' and 'bi-partisanship' as their tickets to the White
House, but that route seems to be fraught with problems. The
New Hampshire loss makes it imperative that the Obama
campaign redefines itself as it approaches Super Tuesday. As
both Clinton and Edwards press him, the former on his
character, the latter on his views, Obama will be compelled
to define himself as an independent political figure with a
clearer vision as to what sort of country, indeed world, he
wishes to construct. If he does not, he will be condemned to
be viewed as a motivational speaker rather than a champion of
a new path.

Having walked the fence for so long, I am not sure that
Senator Obama is prepared to be the practitioner of a new
political direction. There is an important place for both
hope and fine language, but if the vote is in his favor, the
question will be: what happens after Inauguration, Senator?

[Bill Fletcher, Jr. is Executive Editor of The Black
Commentator. He is also a Senior Scholar with the Institute
for Policy Studies and the immediate past president of
TransAfrica Forum.]

Marcha Migrante

January 16, 2008


MAPA and Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana endorse the MARCHA MIGRANTE III, the third year of unprecedented commitment by Border Angels/Gente Unida, led by Enrique Morones to share the human story of the immigrant communities to other communities far and wide throughout the United States. Only by including broader circles of humanity in the struggle to reform our current unjust and unfair immigration system will we ever fathom the prospect of success in our endeavors. Join us in endorsing the MARCHA MIGRANTE III.

Nativo V. Lopez
National President


Wednesday January 16 @ 1:00 pm Pantoja Park
(Kettner and G street, downtown San Diego)

MARCHA MIGRANTE III from San Diego to the Canadian border and back (Feb 2-17, 2008) Be part of history as we ask the nation to VOTE "su voto, es su voz" (your vote, is your voice) and we visit "forgotten migrants" (California, Oregon, Washington, US/Canadian Border, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, California) Migrant vote will be the difference !!!

MARCHA MIGRANTE I (Feb 2-28, 2006) San Diego to Washington DC and back, (40 cities, 20 states) helped spark national marches (March and April, 2006) of more than 3 million people.

MARCHA MIGRANTE II (Feb 2-17, 2007) San Diego to Brownsville and back (entire US/Mexican border, all ten border states on both sides of border) Gathered stories to take to Congress on why we need humane and comprehensive reform.

MARCHA MIGRANTE III (Feb 2-17) San Diego to Canada and back. We will visit the "forgotten migrants" and ask all to Vote ! SU VOTO, ES SU VOZ !!! We also plan border action on US/Canadian border y mucho mas! Migrant vote will be key.

Join us, as we share our plans, join other organizations such as SI SE PUEDE and ask all to vote, although we have no particular candidate, we all need to participate in vote, we also continue to denounce human rights abuses such as raids and gas bombing of communities, denounce continued vigilante hate group attacks and public postings, demand Human Rights for all. No more deaths. No more hate.

Enrique Morones

Border Angels/Gente Unida

(619) 269-7865

Join us in this prolonged campaign for driver's licenses and visas for our families. The first step in making change is to join an organization that pursues the change we desire. We welcome you to our ranks.
Other organizations leading this movement include: Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), MAPA Youth Leadership, Liberty and Justice for Immigrants Movement, National Alliance for Immigrant's Rights, and immigrant's rights coalitions throughout the U.S..

Nativo V. Lopez, National President of MAPA (323) 269-1575

Join the Mexican American Political Association mailing list

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Progressives and the Obama campaign

I have previously stated that I support Barack Obama for President. I am working on the campaign.

Numerous writers have noted that the policy positions of the three major candidates are remarkably similar. On Tues., Jan.15, 2007, at the Las Vegas debate the three candidates significantly agreed on their plans to leave Iraq within a year. This has been a contentious issue and several commentators have made assertions about the candidates plans that do not match the actual plans.
There health care plans are substantially the same. There is a difference, and the Edwards plan has some advantages. However, unless you know of some way to get a 60 + vote in the Senate, we are not going to have a progressive national health plan. At best, we may be able to get semi decent plan in some states and continue the fight for a national system.
Even their economic and anti poverty plans are similar. Edwards gives a better speech on this, but if you look at their plans there is little difference.
Edwards is good at the anti corporate speech, which some call populism. (BTW, I support populism). At the same time Barack Obama campaigns against the control of our government and the agenda by special interests and lobbyists. Not quite anti corporate, but close.

A left candidate is not going to win this election. A Democrat might, but that is not certain. Each of these candidates have remarkably similar positions. We are not going to determine who wins and we are not going to gain access to power from this election. Those who dismiss Barack Obama are making a substantive error.

So, if the candidates are very similar, why then should I as a progressive support Barack?

These are some ideas to consider.
What kind of a campaign will it take to win? Which candidate will build the kind of a campaign that will gain the White House, and several seats in the Senate and even more in the House?
A win will require the mobilization of broad new forces in our political system. I propose an in depth discussion of which candidate will be able to mobilize new forces?
Which forces will be brought into the mobilization? For example, to date, Hillary has been able to mobilize White women over 50, and Barack has been able to mobilize youth and African Americans. The next few primaries will tell us more about this.
We need a candidate that will build a new majority in this country. How do we get there?

How will we change the political landscape and make room for future mobilization. I am impressed with the growth of the youth vote for Obama.
I have taught at a university for the last 35 years and have regularly worked with politically active students. This Obama effort is different. It has an energy an enthusiasm that I have rarely seen. And, it is positive, not cynical. (This may differ in various areas around the country. I do not know)
We need to recognize that a person who is 22- 25, was only 17 when George Bush was elected. They have only begun to pay attention to politics. Their entire political experience has been the Republican war/Katrina debacles. Their participation in this effort is formative for them. One of my early elections was for Eugene Mc Carthy (1968) , and another was for George Mc Govern (1972). These efforts taught me not to trust the D.P. What we know is that these campaigns created an environment which benefited the creation of a left.

This campaign will create a significant environment for a new generation of young people. It will engage them in political efforts.

In addition the Obama campaign takes the U.S. issue with race one step forward. It is not a final push. However, it is a major step. And, this generation is prepared to work together across racial lines. This has not been true in prior campaigns. Even the Jackson campaign (which I worked in) was a project of the African American community and a group of progressives. This Obama campaign, particularly the youth part of it, is a campaign of a broad majority in pushing forward on race. If Barack can win in Iowa, he can win in the U.S.

Should Barack Obama win the nomination, race and racism will be on the agenda. Important in this effort will be to divide the stone cold racists from those in the majority communities who are not actively participating in oppression but who deny the importance of racism in our society.
As a candidate he represents a new generation of Black leaders, yes, a post Civil Rights generation. Barack is skilled at organizing and reaching out to new people. And his campaign will take us this one step forward.

I am confident that another aspect of racism will be strong in the November election- the anti immigration efforts. If you listen to Lou Dobbs, or read the newspapers, you can see the extensive preparation already being prepared by the Republicans to run an anti immigrant campaign. The Republicans will seek to consolidate their long use of race as a wedge issue by running an anti immigrant effort. They will claim they are not opposed to immigrants, just illegal immigrants. But, they will mobilize a racist vote. We on the left will need to prepare for a difficult anti immigrant campaign with which ever Democrat candidate who emerges.

It is important at this juncture to bring in as many new young people as possible and to engage them in anti racism work; both working to elect Obama and working to oppose anti immigrant hysteria that is approaching.

I look forward to a discussion about how a progressive majority can be created and mobilized.

Duane Campbell
From a discussion on dsamember

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Race and Obama

Rally for Him Now!
By Melissa Harris-Lacewell
Posted Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008, at 1:09 PM ET
So much for the post-race horse race. The exit polls in New Hampshire were accurate for the Republicans and for the second-tier Democrats. The only miscalculation was the amount of support for Obama. That miscalculation is about race. Iowa caucus-goers stood by Barack, in part, because when voting with their bodies, in front of their neighbors, Iowans are held accountable. In the quiet, solitary space of the voting booth, some New Hampshire voters abandoned Barack.
The reasons are not simple. Some media believe that women voters want a woman president. But there is not a substantial gender gap in American politics. Historically, white women voters are as likely to be Democrats as Republicans; as likely to vote for male candidates as for female; and as likely to describe themselves as conservative or liberal. It is not as simple as gender solidarity. Some observers will argue that naked racism explains Tuesday's result. But that argument ignores the thousands of white women and men who built Obama's local organization in New Hampshire and worked tirelessly on his behalf for months.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Obama Wins in Iowa

This from our ally Hunter Gray.

Just a few thoughts on Iowa -- and Beyond:

When I sacked in last night, I felt considerably better about the national -- and even global -- future than I have for a hell of a long time.

It wasn't too long ago, historically speaking, that people like many of us had to fight to survive at a Woolworth lunch counter.

We see the tremendous influx of young people into the Obama -- and, to a substantial extent, into the Edwards bailiwick as well -- as a damn realistic harbinger of a better future and an ultimate promise of an even better one.

In the late 1950s, many veteran left radicals were discouraged. Those of us, vastly younger and just "taking the trail," were far more hopeful and actively zealous. Even in Arizona, we were engaged in the more socially conscious dimensions of Labor, we organized a highly successful campus-wide food strike and dorm betterment campaign at Arizona State, and were moving to challenge compulsory ROTC. And we pushed in our far corner for human rights.

And comparable things were certainly going on in lots of other local places.

Nationally, the Civil Rights Movement was, with deliberate speed, picking up momentum -- just as there has been, in this difficult epoch, much anti-war movement.

JFK's election was never seen by many of us as any great millenium. But, fueled by many younger people and others of similar inclination, it reflected the profound discontent and frustration that had festered in the "dismal '50s." The election of '60 ushered in a rapidly growing atmosphere of Realistic Hope.

Movement picked up -- and up -- and People Wanted More -- and More. They pushed and More came.

It's always been my experience that, when folks start winning on good and tangible fronts, they shoot higher -- and higher. The Kennedys et al.[and the System in general] were pressured from the grassroots For More -- and More. And a fair amount of More did indeed come.

There is always a place for Us Radicals -- especially if we try to avoid the intricate theology of ideological nit-picking and its consequent schisms and falling-away and, even more fundamentally, alienation from the grassroots.

Whether times are lean or times are flush, it's up to Us to keep the Vision high. Whatever happens in 2008 and beyond, we all have our jobs to do -- as we, via our hearts and minds, see fit:

Organize -- That remains Genesis. Always and Forever.

Just a few thoughts on a rather cold and windy Idaho mountain morn -- where the arising and inevitable Sun shines just under the eastern horizon.

Yours, Hunter [Hunter Bear]

See also the video at

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Obama campaign

So far, I have read on a number of comments on the Obama campaign that consist of little more than veiled references and feigned insider knowledge. I have not read much substantive analysis, mostly name calling.

For a good essay by a seasoned antiracism activist from the Jackson campaign, see Http:///

I have previously posted a comparison of the candidates as developed here in Sacramento for our electoral group the Progressive alliance. You can find arguments for Edwards and Obama on our blog at

Here I would like to take up two of the most frequent characterizations of the Obama campaign which I find lacking.

The argument that Obama is an example of color blindness offered by Angela Davis in The Nation is not consistent with the campaign. While I respect the opinion of Angela Davis on many issues, there is a problem here. We should look at the actual campaign and the actual programs.
Also see Shelby Steele, of all people, on this topic in Time Magazine along with an essay by Joe Klein. 
Rather than dismissing Obama, or relying upon others views, I urge readers to look at what he is actually saying. His campaign, for example, is far from color blind. It is not “beyond race” at all.

You can read his positions at

If you wish to see more see the article on the South Carolina “Black” primary.
On this issue I think it is important to recall a little history. Most African Americans did not support Martin Luther King Jr. while he was active and organizing. Particularly, most “militants”, and many leftists did not.
They found MLK, too accomodationist. Not militant enough.
Of course now writers all claim to have been active supporters of SCLC and King, but if you read history, and his own speeches, you will find how often he was criticized and even denounced as too integrationist.

Now I think there are real issues in the case of Obama and Oprah. What is this role of an African American from the post civil rights generation?
I am not saying that Obama is a new M.L. King. He is an elected official, not a movement leader. However, a fair and accurate analysis of the role of this campaign is in order.

A second major critique, one which I am of two minds about, is the critique of his post partisanship talk. According to the Des Moines Register poll of today, Barack is leading in Iowa --- and his strong support is among independents who will vote in the Democratic primary.

Here is the problem as I understand it.

Bill Clinton etal ( and Hillary) created the DLC arguing that the old politics, the old party structure was obsolete. His critics claim that Sen. Obama is repeating this refrain.
It was different in the DLC era. Their primary argument was that the Democratic Party looked as if it were captured by “special interests” and critics meant Blacks. The DLC was after the Reagan Democrat voter, an older White Male.
Well, obviously with Obama as the candidate, he is not repeating that argument. He is, however, like Clinton, not kneeling to each special interest (such as the NEA, etc.)

I, and many others cringe at this. We tend to see this as an argument against party politics, the sort of beyond ideology stuff. Yes, this is a problem.

At the same time, there is another side. If you think of the actual Democratic Party, of the really existing Democratic Party, that is a corrupt, incompetent, disorganized mass that usually ends up supporting corporate capitalism (see Robert Reich’s new book, supercapitalism),
Given the real nature of the really existing D.P. , then the Obama line of reaching out beyond the existing partisan dueling in the capitol, which is really about who gets the most corporate money for their campaign chests is a reasonable approach. Given this party, then I am less certain of my own position on Barack’s line on the post partisan debate.
How many of us try to recruit people into the D.P.? Why? Then, if Barack argues to move beyond partisanship, why is there such criticism.

So, these are two of the items that concern me about the criticism of the Obama campaign. And they are two items that concern me about the campaign itself. I do not have a clear answer on these. However, in electoral time lines, we do have to make some choices.

Inside the Black Primary, Bob Moser.

Reflections on Black Group Identity in the 21st. Century,
Dr. Milton Kilson

Duane Campbell