Barack Obama: The Test of Black CommUNITY
By: Tolu Olorunda
Staff Writer - YourBlackWorld.com
“But we must understand that we are now at a stage of struggle for a People’s Democracy… The mass support of Obama by the national Afro-American movement, especially its progressive sector, will reinvigorate our struggle… We must enter into that mainstream struggle & make our own demands, utilize the pressure of our needs & our numbers. We are almost 50 million people with the 16th GNP in the world... almost 600 Billion dollars a year. We have the muscle and the money. We need to make our move.”
- Renowned Poet and Activist, Amiri Baraka, in a speech earlier this year.
The Black CommUNITY has laid its bed and must now lie in it. To be sure, this author is not particularly pleased with the 95% level of unconditional support from the Black CommUNITY, vis-à-vis Obama’s presidential bid. Nevertheless, Obama’s unpredictable popularity within the Black CommUNITY is a testament to an often glossed over, deep-seated desire/potential for divine unity of the Black CommUNITY. Obama’s candidacy, thankfully, buttressed this reality in unequivocal terms. Many have privately joked, over the past week, about the seeming impossibility of the Black CommUNITY agreeing on any specific agenda, let alone a political one. Some have quipped that the last time such unprecedented levels of support was rendered in favor of anything, O.J. Simpson was on trial for double murder. The comedic value of such statement notwithstanding, its veracity is unquestionable. Having rallied around this man, with unwavering support, let there be no more excuses for our disunity, or inability to remain unified around the ultimate cause: Total liberation.
On at least three key issues, the world will need the assistance of the Black CommUNITY to emerge victorious: AFRICOM, GLOBAL POVERTY and RACIAL INEQUALITY.
On Africom, a militarization and heist of Africa’s natural resources, Obama’s thin record is troubling, at best. Sen. Obama has suggested that, “There will be situations that require the United States to work with its partners in Africa to fight terrorism with lethal force. Having a unified command operating in Africa will facilitate this action.” These “partners” in Africa knew better than to accept the offer to host Africom in their country. If the Black CommUNITY is to avoid being perceived as enablers of the rape and ravish of their brother/sister’s land, it must act now to prevent the germination of this unholy scheme. Inaction is not an option.
On Global Poverty, Sen. Obama has been extremely vague when addressing the plight of the impoverished. Ever since Sen. John Edwards dropped out of the presidential race, the issue of poverty dissipated into a nameless agenda. Edwards’ campaign of highlighting the ranging disparities between the Two Americas, as he called it, swiftly found itself under the rug. With John Edwards’ disappearance, following news of his extramarital deeds. Sen. Obama, having arduously solicited Edwards’s endorsement in the primaries, saw no more use for the man who launched his campaign in Hurricane-stricken New Orleans. Worse than the truncated highlights of poverty in the presidential race, was the narrow-minded belief that poverty in the U.S. best represents the world’s trauma. But long before folks in the U.S. were losing their jobs, humanity was at a loss for words, with people in Haiti, Cuba, Somalia, Ethiopia etc. living on less than a dollar a day. The Black CommUNITY must see to it that the struggle to put an end to global destitution is addressed within the next 48 months.
Racial Inequality has been, regrettably, sidelined in the course of the 2008 presidential bid. One esteemed newspaper would, upon Obama’s victory, declare racism a “myth.” The Black CommUNITY is, however, not amused. For a people who have suffered the brutal tyranny of oppression for centuries, such uninformed inferences are only a sobering reminder of the daunting task ahead. In the course of Obama’s presidency, there will be those who would seek to use a Black presidency as the avenue to make claims that Blacks have overcome every impediment put in way of their progress. The appropriate response should be to confront such challenges to our humanity head-on, but to also keep in remembrance our duty to achieve racial equality for every faction of society whose livelihood is daily suppressed by the egomaniacal appetite of big money corporations. We must side with our Latin-American brothers/sisters, and encourage them to fight, even harder, for the God-given right to a livable wage. We must, as well, consider the dignity of our Arab brethren as sacrosanct. Any and all attempts to dismiss their integrity should be forcefully admonished. The beauty of the Black CommUNITY lies in its inherent ability to fight on behalf of those who once oppressed it.
If President-Elect Obama’s recent appointments are any signal, it is clear that our unity is the only strategy capable of guaranteeing stability in the next 4 years. If we end up, 4 years from now, in worse shape than we are now, the blame must be squarely placed on our shoulders. Mass organizing, unrivaled in human history, seems to be the only solution for the dilapidated levels of humanity in which our people are presently entrenched. It would be a shame, a damn shame, if our judgment is clouded by the emotional pull of a Black presidency. Change certainly doesn’t come by wishing or hoping – the civil rights movement taught us that. It is written in one of the holy books, that “Faith without works is dead.” The neo-liberal fan base has displayed, following Obama’s victory, a sheer unwillingness to question, let alone to criticize, let alone to condemn any policies of an Obama administration, deemed deleterious to the internationally disenfranchised society. BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member and Columnist, Dr. Lenore Daniels, expressed concern about this in her Election Special column, stating: “The day after, the Black Philadelphians on Chilton Avenue are still smiling. Still shouting Obama, Obama! It’s still incredible. An African American in the White House! In the meantime, President-elect Obama offers Congressman Rohm Emmanuel (D-Ill) the position of White House Chief of Staff. Pro-Israel, pro-war, Emmanuel! And the Left, waving a victory flag, says it will offer criticism - starting in January!” There’s no doubt that our work is challenging and confronting. However, if the Black CommUNITY was capable of transporting a relatively unknown Senator to the highest seat of the land, let there be no excuses for our negligence to do likewise in matters concerning, Social Justice, Economic Independence and Racial Equality. In the words of a departed civil rights hero, “Can we do it? We can do it, we shall do it!”Reprinted From Black Commentator