I’m snatching the following quote from Adolph Reed’s important work Stirrings in the Jug:
Encouraging popular participation is the only effective possibility for reinvigorating a progressive movement in black political life because people respond by organizing themselves when offered concrete visions that connect with their lives as they experience them, not to ideological abstractions or generic agendas that perfume narrow class programs. (pp. 50, 51)
Adolph’s academic work can be remarkably obtuse, and I’ve been meaning to ask him why the hell he makes his work so difficult to understand, but this volume is ESSENTIAL for anyone seeking to understand the current political context as well as the historical trajectory of black american political development. With that said, check out this story. One of the things that Reed calls for in remaking black politics is a renewed focus on representative-constituency relationships. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and a host of other folk don’t fit in here because while they may CLAIM constituents, these constituents can’t vote them out of office nor objectively examine their political behavior (because most of it occurs behind closed doors).Clyburn DOES fit this role…but why is he seeking to withhold his support in this instance? It isn’t because black people want him to make a different call. It isn’t because he thinks that one candidate may be particularly bad for black people, policy wise. It is because one of the candidates offended his historical sensibility by insulting the civil rights legacy.You’ve got to be kidding me.This is the type of thing we’ve got to get away from with the quickness. And publicly condemn those who would make such weighty decisions on such petty concerns.