By now, even the most naive liberals should have caught on to the game whereby the army of paid and unpaid defenders of the Obama brand attack critics as “racists”. While crude, it has been eminently effective, having shielded the Obama administration’s corporate right policies from a left which would have seen them as anathema had they been imposed by a more phenotypically standard inhabitant of the Oval Office.
Recognizing that anti-racism has been cynically exploited as a weapon within the neoliberal ideological arsenal does not, of course, imply that racism itself is by any means non-existent, including among the left.
To take a conspicuous example, how else to explain that after nearly a decade the Black Agenda Report is rarely if ever mentioned as one of the left’s leading media outlets, belonging in the same company as The Nation, The American Prospect, In These Times, N+1, or Jacobin. This despite the BAR triumvirate of Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberly having offered the most consistent, reliable and effective criticism of the bipartisan right, conveyed with relentless clarity, precision and directness.
It is this last point which both sets BAR apart and also explains the left’s evident discomfort: the BAR contingent does not abide by de facto rules of engagement dictating deference and civility in the face of our enemies.
BAR’s rhetorical style derives not from the college seminar room but the streets. As a consequence, it can dispense harsh truths which even the most adversarial left outlets elide or dilute, willing and able, when necessary, to attack with a savagery fully commensurate with the odiousness of the worst neoliberal avatars.
Most notable among these are neoliberal wolves masquerading in multiculturalist sheep’s clothing. A recent salvo by Ford targets an archetypical example, Temple University African Studies Professor Molefi Assante, described as “J. Edgar Hoover in a dashiki” and “a redbaiting, bootlicking rat.”
Previous targets have included Wall Street apologist Cory Booker, sized up from the beginning as “a Young Frankenstein . . . wallowing in the funkiest corner of the political barnyard.” Also central within the “black misleadership class” is the Black Congressional Caucus who have routinely received kid glove treatment from the left, despite their having been crucial cogs in enabling the Obama administration’s reactionary foreign policy. BAR outed them as “minions of war . . . desperately seeking a rationale to give the First Black President his license to kill.”
Of course, the most notorious is the “community organizer in chief” with whom BAR share an entwined history going back to 1992 South Side voter registration drives. As did fellow Chicago resident Adolph Reed, BAR had Obama’s number from the beginning, exposing his ties with the right wing Democratic Leadership Council which the candidate was forced (disingenously) to deny during the 2008 campaign.
Based on their awareness of this arsenic laced product marketed to it, BAR made herculean efforts to warn a left besotted by Obama’s multiculturalist/communitarian rhetoric of the reality which would inevitably take shape as administration policy. Alas, to the left’s everlasting disgrace, few listened. And even now BAR’s characterization of Obama as “the more effective evil” when it is even acknowledged is dismissed with contempt.
Those on the receiving end of the elite political class-those in inner city communities targeted by the war on drugs, devastated by fraudulently marketed subprime loans, strangled by the imposition and maintenance of austerity economics and profoundly exploited by a black misleadership class who, having received a share of the spoils, secure the rights of elites to exploit the weakest among us-they are in no mood for euphemisms.
Those from more comfortable circumstances, socialized from an early age to avoid direct conflict will reject the BAR’s in-your-face approach as overly combative or “emotional”. But by pulling our punches it is we who misrepresent the extent of the depravity of neo-liberal elites. Whatever their gender, race, religion, ethnicity or sexual preference, they have long since lost any claim to deference and respect.