Amiri Baraka wrote a long letter to members of the black left before the June Black Radical Congress Meeting. You can find the entire speech here but I first found out about it over at P6. I can boil down the speech without doing too much damage to the following essential points:
*the Black Left should do all it can to put Obama in office because McCain represents the second coming of the Third Reich.
**the Black Left should organize to create a critical bloc that should hold him accountable, but only AFTER the election.
***third party attempts–Nader, McKinney–are pretty much doomed to failure and represent the black Left’s inability to engage in pragmatic politics instead of doctrinal purity.
I’ve got significant problems with Baraka’s argument. And in the wake of Rev. Jesse Jackson’s gaffe, committed on Fox News of all places, I’ve got a growing problem with Obama. Fortunately I had the opportunity to hash this stuff out on the radio as well as in print. On Friday I was on WCHB in Detroit for an hour, and then later in the afternoon I was on KCRW in Los Angeles. Detroit to Los Angeles in only five hours…
Anyway the KCRW show is here. It’s me, Baraka, Erin Aubry, Joseph Hicks, and Peniel Joseph. It can be exceedingly difficult to moderate a show with five guests and only 40 minutes. Listen to the show for content–if you’ve got the time it’s really worth listening to. But also listen to see how he manages the guests. Originally he was going to choose four guests out of five (I suggested that he keep Erin and Amiri and then pick two out of the rest of us. In hindsight I would’ve suggested he keep Amiri and Peniel and dump Joe) but he went with all five instead.
Peep the way that Amiri uses everything but logic to respond to my central criticism.
At this point I am seriously considering abstaining in the election.
I am also now of the belief that to move the country to the left we’re going to have to in effect jettison the black poor.