Thursday, November 13, 2008
Real systemic “change"
Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. Click here to read excerpts from the book.
Pinkney wrote an article in The Black Commentator (of which he is an editorial board member) titled "The Pimping of Black America: Why Much of the Corporate Media Supports Barack Obama" (Issue 260, 17 January 2008). I am reproducing the article here.
Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.
What is the current US corporate media-induced frenzy, regarding the so-called “Obama phenomenon,” really all about and why, at this juncture in history, has it become increasingly so important for corporate America’s global military/industrial apparatus to have a male face of color as the figure head at its helm?
The actual function of the US corporate media and its allies is to control, falsely depict, and shape opinion. It does not exist to inform honestly the masses of people in order that they/we might truly be an informed people making informed decisions in our own best interest. Grasping this reality is essential to understanding how and why the US corporate media acts in the fashion it does.
The perpetual objective of the US corporate media and its minions world wide is constantly to distort, disinform and thereby disempower and control. Thus, anyone who dares expose the actual avaricious interests of the corporate media and its masters, in favor of the masses of people, such as does former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, is vilified, marginalized and/or ignored by said media. Cynthia McKinney is a time tested champion of the people who has demonstrated time and time again that she is no pawn of corporate America’s military/industrial complex. Like the late and beloved former US Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Cynthia McKinney is “unbought and unbossed.” She does not have to make a case to the American people about her ethnicity or Blackness, as the essence of who and what she is, is amply demonstrated by her many years of active commitment to the struggle for political, economic and social justice for all people: Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White.
Cynthia McKinney has left the morally and politically bankrupt Democratic Party in favor of building and supporting a real grass roots coalition across this nation that is committed to attaining real power for and to the people. Nevertheless, don’t plan to ascertain much about her US Presidential campaign or the concomitant "Power To The People" coalition from the US corporate media, for this is not in their interest. You will, however, learn about Cynthia McKinney’s campaign and the "Power To The People" coalition over time, as the incessant whispers of every day people grow into the roars of active political coalition building. This is all about real empowerment: exposing, stopping, and ultimately systemically reversing the insidious gains made by the de facto war profiteers and their blood-soaked and greedy corporate partners. This is not about raising false “hopes” or “dreams.” This is about people collectively and actively struggling to take control from the corporate maggots of the military/industrial complex who profit from the deprivation and misery of the vast majority of people in this nation and on this planet.
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand, immediately and intuitively, that the very same (and in many respects worse) US corporate media that overwhelmingly vilified both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X right up to the time of their assassinations, continues today to be no friend of the majority of the people, be they Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, or even White. To the contrary, the US corporate media promotes the interests of the corporate power elite by promoting those who represent those interests.
A Black American reader of The Black Commentator recently wrote to me concerning Barack Obama: “With Obama the system is employing a bait and switch tactic. On the surface the guy looks like he represents all that is new and hopeful, but he is a product of the corporate culture and that is where his heart and interests lie.” In my opinion, this reader’s observation is correct.
When observing the cynical strategy of Barack Obama’s US Presidential campaign, particularly as it relates to Black America, and ultimately to America as a whole, I am reminded of the words of Malcolm X when he said in relevant part, “A man who tosses worms in the river isn’t necessarily a friend of the fish. All the fish who take him for a friend, who think the worm’s got no hook in it, usually end up in the frying pan.”
Be clear about this: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was brutally murdered on April 4, 1968, in the context of his active and outspoken support for the massively exploited sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, and his crystal clear and adamant opposition to the US war in Vietnam. Dr. King was fundamentally despised by corporate American media and the US military/industrial complex. To portray this otherwise is simply not the truth, and it is accurate that those who do not know their history assuredly are bound to repeat it. We can ill afford to be hoodwinked by the US corporate media and its allies.
Yet, when researching who US Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign advisors are, it is clear that they come from corporate America and the military industrial complex and who today remain, more than ever, the de facto enemies of economically exploited and oppressed Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples. [Reference: Obama and the American Dream, by Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD, The Black Commentator, January 10, 2008, Issue 259]. We must ask ourselves: are we about to be the “fish” who “end up in the frying pan” of corporate America’s military/industrial fish fry?
Whereas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. abhorred the US war in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world, Barack Obama, cloaking himself in the guise of being a “peace” candidate, has repeatedly stated his support for “unilateral” US military actions in other nations. He has indicated that he opposes how the US is waging the war in Iraq, not the US waging of this bloody, illegal, and amoral war itself. It should be reiterated that Obama has clearly stated that he would wage this war “better,” more effectively. This is not the position of a candidate of PEACE. It is the position of a candidate promoting a PIECE of war.
US corporate media clips and sound bites of Barack Obama, shamelessly and hypocritically mimicking and invoking as his own, the legacy of the murdered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Black American women and men freedom fighters as if he embodies the struggle for justice and equality of Black, Brown, Red and other disenfranchised people in America, is patently utterly obscene.
The blood and collective memory of millions of Black women, men, and baby slaves in America;
Of Denmark Vesey & Nat Turner;
Of many tens of thousands of America’s Black lynching victims;
Of the - four little Black girl - victims of the heinous 1963, church bombing by white racists in Birmingham, Alabama;
Of the brutal murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till, and so many untold others of Black America;
- to this very day - cry out for justice. And this ongoing struggle is by no means embodied by Barack Obama.
Simultaneously, the hollowness and unadulterated cynicism of Obama’s false claim that “America is one nation, one people” is not only inaccurate, it is deliberate distortion of the reality of social, economic, and political inequality in this nation. Such rhetoric represents how Barack Obama seeks to “bamboozle” and negate Black America, other people of color and indeed all of America. It is a terrible charade supported and propagated by a significant segment of the corporate media and a back handed slap in the face to Black America. Moreover, this is also becoming obvious to a growing number of white Americans. There is absolutely no way that Barack Obama and his corporate and military advisors could not know that it is the hopes and dreams of all Americans, and most especially those of us who are Black, Brown, and Red, who are cynically being played upon [i.e. pimped] by this Obama rhetoric. Neither Americans nor the peoples of the rest of the world deserve any more of this.
Bear in mind that Barack Obama is perhaps, more than anything, a trojan horse candidate for corporate America, its media, and concomitant military industrial complex. Thus, a significant portion of the US corporate media is currently about the business of attempting to pimp us all, regardless of our color, on behalf of Barack Obama - sort of like an equal opportunity exploitation on behalf of the US corporate power elite. Of course, Barack Obama is by no means the only candidate being backed by this corporate power elite, but he is, at this juncture, the darling of the US corporate media; this should give us all pause for thought.
Obama revels in stating that he is the offspring of a “Kenyan” father and a white American mother, as if that somehow, in and of itself, is significant or is a qualification for the US Presidency. It is not. Nor does it have any relevancy whatsoever with respect to the important policy questions that he has not seriously answered.
Why does he support using “unilateral” US military actions in other nations?
Why are his top advisors from the power elite of corporate America and the US military?
Why did he not oppose the de facto racist, anti-Black and Brown, so-called Gang Abatement Act - S456 - in the US Senate?
Why does he deny the existence of a “Black America,” while simultaneously attempting to garner its votes?
Since he highlights that he is of a “Kenyan” father and a white American mother and he was raised essentially by whites, why is he any better qualified than a politically conscious and time-tested Black American of Black American parentage raised inside Black America to understand and relate to the pressing concerns of Black Americans or, indeed, all Americans?
What does he intend to do about the infamous past and ongoing US Government COINTELPRO [Counter Intelligence Program] and COINTELPRO-type activities to frame, discredit, imprison and often murder those US citizens deemed as political enemies inside America, itself?
Does he support reparations to Black Americans, the descendants of slaves in America?
Does he actually believe that poor and disenfranchised people throughout America are being “coddled,” as he has indicated he believes about the people of Iraq?
Other than rhetoric, what qualifications and specific actions make him substantially different from his Democratic Party competitors and better suited for the office of President of the United States?
Who specifically are the corporate donors to his campaign and how does this influence him?
Is his demonstrative loyalty to the people of the United States or actually to the corporate elite?
These represent only some of the serious questions that the US corporate media has not pressed Barack Obama to address.
Moreover, as the son of a “Kenyan” father who ultimately left America and returned to his native Kenya, Barack Obama should certainly be poignantly cognizant of the fact that the true and courageous foot soldiers and every day people of the Kenyan movement for national independence from British colonialism and Western imperialism were, in fact, sold out by bourgeois nationalists who were masquerading as being of and for the masses of the Kenyan people. This, coupled with the still-ticking time bombs of ethnic tensions - which were deliberately manipulated and exacerbated by past and ongoing Western imperialism - continue, in one hideous form or another, to afflict, horribly, Kenya as a country and the entire African continent as a whole.
Like some before him in his father’s native Kenya, Barack Obama in America has demonstrated that he is very solidly in the camp of the bourgeoisie of 21st century Western imperialism. Thus, the recipe for disaster in the Barack Obama scenario of America is ever so clear, notwithstanding America’s enormous proclivity for national and international subterfuge, trampling upon the sovereignty of selected nations, and resorting to military adventurism at the drop of a hat. This is further exacerbated by candidate Barack Obama’s repeatedly stated willingness to utilize “unilateral” US military force in other nations [i.e. military adventurism], that would, no doubt, delight the corporate and military elite but continue to utilize vast amounts of people in America and on this planet as nothing more than expendable cannon fodder. The most effective way to substantially reduce terrorism and other bloody conflicts is by refraining from spreading it by our own actions, not by any “unilateral” or "get off my planet by sun down" approach to terrorism or other disputes between nations. Perhaps Black, Brown, and Red peoples in America, due to our collective histories on this continent dealing with genocide, slavery, and territorial thievery, know the accuracy of this assertion better than most. Unfortunately, Barack Obama apparently does not.
Bluntly stated, Black America, in conjunction with other people of color, and indeed with all politically conscious persons of goodwill, must make a viable pact with each other no longer to accept the superficial rhetoric of any candidate, whether it be Barack Obama or anyone else. The “proof of the pudding is in its taste,” not in its outward appearance. Far too much is at stake. Far, far too much.
Much needed and real systemic “change” will not be brought about by the Democrat or Republican Parties or by any of their representatives. To expect such a thing would be like expecting the fox to tell us truthfully who ate the chickens. We must take our destinies into our own hands. It is time to be creative in this struggle and stop “going for the ghost.” It is, as Malcolm X said repeatedly, time to stop being “bamboozled.” It is the year 2008, and time that we realize that cosmetic change is no change at all.
Systemic change demands that we reject the superficial in favor of doing what is real. That is what this people’s struggle is all about.
Read Larry Pinkney's two-part article, "An Obama Presidency: More of the Same – Only Worse" here and here.