Cornel West, Liberal Sellouts and Critiques Agst President Obama

In recent days there’s been a lot of blow up about the criticisms levied at President Obama by Princeton Professor Cornel West.. Many have quickly circled the wagon and attacked West claiming his critique was more personal than principled. The end result has been West being dismissed and Obama being praised as if the critiques about him being a supporter of corporate and foreign policies that are harmful to poor people were not on point..Below are a two articles that excellently address all sides of this issue.. They weigh in on Cornel, look at Obama’s policies and offer up some solid points about Obamites.. Big shout out to Chris Hedges of Truthdig and Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report for these breakdowns..

-Davey D-

Why Liberal Sellouts Attack Prophets Like Cornel West

by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges

The liberal class, which attempted last week to discredit the words my friend Cornel West spoke about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, prefers comfort and privilege to justice, truth and confrontation. Its guiding ideological stance is determined by what is most expedient to the careers of its members. It refuses to challenge, in a meaningful way, the decaying structures of democracy or the ascendancy of the corporate state. It glosses over the relentless assault on working men and women and the imperial wars that are bankrupting the nation. It proclaims its adherence to traditional liberal values while defending and promoting systems of power that mock these values.The pillars of the liberal establishment—the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party—all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence. Those who expose this moral cowardice and collaboration with corporate power are always ruthlessly thrust aside.

The capitulation of the liberal class to corporate capitalism, as Irving Howe once noted, has “bleached out all political tendencies.” The liberal class has become, Howe wrote, “a loose shelter, a poncho rather than a program; to call oneself a liberal one doesn’t really have to believe in anything.” The decision to subordinate ethics to political expediency has led liberals to steadily surrender their moral autonomy, voice and beliefs to the dictates of the corporate state. As Dwight Macdonald wrote in “The Root Is Man,” those who do not make human beings the center of their concern soon lose the capacity to make any ethical choices, for they willingly sacrifice others in the name of the politically expedient and practical.

By extolling the power of the state as an agent of change, as well as measuring human progress through the advances of science, technology and consumption, liberals abetted the cult of the self and the ascendancy of the corporate state. The liberal class placed its faith in the inevitability of human progress and abandoned the human values that should have remained at the core of its activism. The state, now the repository of the hopes and dreams of the liberal class, should always have been seen as the enemy. The destruction of the old radical and militant movements—the communists, socialists and anarchists—has left liberals without a source of new ideas. The link between an effective liberal class and a more radical left was always essential to the health of the former. The liberal class, by allowing radical movements to be dismembered through Red baiting and by banishing those within its ranks who had moral autonomy, gradually deformed basic liberal tenets to support unfettered capitalism, the national security state, globalization and permanent war. Liberalism, cut off from the radical roots of creative and bold thought, merged completely with the corporate power elite. The liberal class at once was betrayed and betrayed itself. And it now functions like a commercial brand, giving a different flavor, face or spin to the ruthless mechanisms of corporate power. This, indeed, is the primary function of Barack Obama.

continue reading article at Truth Dig

How Cornel West Did the Obamites a Favor

by BAR Executive editor Glen Ford

It is a shame that Princeton professor Cornel West did not stick to a disciplined critique of the corporatist policies that have made Barack Obama richly deserving of the label, a “Black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs.” Instead, the Princeton professor slipped into psycho-babble, musing on the president’s supposed “fear of free Black men” and associated personality deformities. The particularities of Obama’s racial background may, or may not, have contributed to his malignant neglect of the African American condition, but we will not forge a movement to defeat Obama and his Wall Street masters by putting the president on the couch.

There is no need to inject racial psychoanalysis into the (public) conversation when straightforward political analysis is more than sufficient to the task. In two and a half years, the Obama administration has expanded George Bush’s wars and national security infrastructure and budget, added a new theater of combat in North Africa, and proclaimed a presidential prerogative to assassinate and invade at will. He has out-Bushed Bush.

Obama engineered by far the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind, funneling at least $12 trillion to Wall Street. At the height of his popularity, still riding the crests of post-election euphoria, and under no real pressure from a demoralized Republican Party, Obama eagerly placed Social Security and other entitlements “on the table” for chopping. He endorsed the corporate/Republican line that deficits were the nation’s biggest problem, effectively sentencing the unemployed to damnation and inviting the austerity reign of terror that has descended. And these are just the highlights of Obama’s tenure.

The resulting catastrophe in Black America had rendered Black Obamites all but mute on issues of policy; they could not defend the indefensible. In an MSNBC debate with West, Al Sharpton, the administration’s Black pit bull, was reduced to inane sputtering. The rationale for continued Black and progressive support of the Obama administration has been reduced to one factor: a primal fear of the Tea Party boogeyman. Yet, the sheer economic and political devastation wrought under Obama’s brief tenure has made it plausible to make the case – as we do at Black Agenda Report – that the First Black President is not the lesser of two evils, but the more effective evil, having facilitated more of the right-wing agenda at home and abroad than George Bush ever attempted or envisioned. What does it matter that Obama is not a white Republican, if he can tear down the social safety net, privatize education and wage aggressive war more effectively than the GOP?

Of course, Obama is empowered to act as Wall Street’s Trojan Horse by the acquiescence of the Left’s core constituencies – chiefly, Black America, without whose consent and active participation progressive politics is reduced to the fringes. For reasons that have everything to do with race, Black people have clung to Obama even as he has consistently pushed them away. But the agonzing facts of a community in historical free-fall can no longer be denied. The “Black Wall” that the African American mis-leadership class attempts to erect around Obama is cracking, if not crumbling, especially among left activists and intellectuals. Cornel West is a celebrity example.

The First Black President is not the lesser of two evils, but the more effective evil, having facilitated more of the right-wing agenda at home and abroad than George Bush ever attempted or envisioned.”

Melissa Harris-Perry

Unable to mount a coherent defense of Obama’s policy decisions, especially after his further, dramatic lurch to the right following last year’s midterm elections, Obama’s unrepentant Black politicos seethed in relative silence. It had become impossible to speak in policy terms without indicting the presidential icon. Cornel West’s foray into Obamanalysis gave them the opportunity to explode in reams of outraged words that had little or nothing to do with policy. Prof. Melissa Harris-Perry managed to write almost 1,500 words forThe Nation on West’s “personal attack” on Obama, offering only 130 words about her own position on Obama’s tenure at the end of the, a Black Obamite corporate hangout, gleefully reported that West had “’stepped in it’ with his controversial comments about President Obama,” with “Google News listing more than 100 stories.”

This is the kind of “controversy” in which Obamites revel, precisely because it allows them to avoid confrontation with Obama’s indefensible policies. If they can resurrect another version of the phony, diversionary arguments of 2007 and 2008 about whether Obama is “Black enough” to deserve African American support, then they can hope to coast through the 2012 campaign without having to justify support for the “Black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs.”

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted

Are Well-Off Progressives Standing in the Way of a Real Movement for Economic Justice?

This Alternet article..Are Well-Off Progressives Standing in the Way of a Real Movement for Economic Justice? is a very interesting article that addresses a topic that with each passing day is causing more and more tension in left leaning enclaves.

To be honest this problem as outlined in the article has long existed but it often manifested itself in the form of tensions between communities of color and white progressives. The initial contention from various communities of color was that white progressives were reluctant to share power, resources or seats at the table.

It was cool to have a Black or Brown face here or there to validate an issue, organization or an agenda, but the convo and outreach wasn’t gonna go too far. Many POC have often complained that many amongst white progressive allies rarely wanted to dig deep and help fundamentally resolve key problems.  You might see this manifest itself  in discussion around an important issue where POC call for justice and major overhaul of an institution while their white counterparts might take a softer stance and call for ‘Reform’. The biggest complaint from POC has been a willingness among white progressives to follow the leadership of POC.. This is not a new discussion, Malcolm X addressed this in several speeches.

Fast forward to 2011…Today the landscape has shifted a bit where we now have a lot of well to do Black and Brown folks who sit comfortably in many of these progressive enclaves. Some refer to them as a new punditry/buffer class whose presence and visibility has created the illusion that they are on the case and smashing on key issues important to the masses in their respective communities. They’ve created the illusion of being on the same page with on the ground grassroots folks who are doing the heavy lifting of organizing, but sadly many of these Black and Brown pundits are accused of being disconnected and all about protecting the status quo.

Complicating this dilemna is the long running joke/ whispers about how some of these popular leaders who assert that they speak for the  ‘down trodden’ wanting to come to those same poor communities and charge outrageous fees amounting to tens of thousands of dollars including first class airfare and 5 star hotels. Many have been accused of NOT touching on key issues at all..This was evident when we saw many, avoid addressing glaring police brutality cases like the murder of  Oscar Grant and the beating of Jordan Miles in lieu of safer more marketable issues like Lebron James‘ choice of basketball team or actor Mel Gibson‘s racist outburst.  The talk has been many within the new punditry class approach and speak to issues with the goal of getting a speaking gig moreso than shedding light to

Bottom line there’s a class battle of sorts brewing… and while its easy to identify and attack when its along political fault lines, its bit more painful and not as obvious when its amongst those who are supposed to be your allies.   This recent Alternet article begins the conversation…

-Davey D-

Are Well-Off Progressives Standing in the Way of a Real Movement for Economic Justice?

Many progressives are affluent and well-educated. Does their elite status stand in the way of a movement to fight attacks on the working class?
May 22, 2011 |

Over the past few years, it’s become an article of faith among progressives that we’re living through a second Gilded Age — you know, an era in which great fortunes accrue to powerful business leaders and institutions and the nation’s wealth is concentrated at the very top. In the past few months, as Republicans have proposed budgets that would cut taxes still further on the backs of the middle and working class, progressives havehammered away at the statistics — like that the top 1 percent of Americans hold 34.6 percent of the nation’s wealth; the bottom 90 percent, just 26.9 percent.

But the growth in inequality and decline of the middle and working class, though exacerbated by Bush administration economic policies, isn’t a recent phenomenon — it’s been in progress for decades. Which begs the question: why on earth did it take so long for the Left to take notice? How did we end up with inequality reaching levels not seen since before the Depression without waging anything approximating a real fight against it? Surely the trends of decreasing social mobility and increasing social stratification in the supposed “land of opportunity” call for serious resistance — where has it been? As thoroughly reprehensible as the Right’s slavishness to wealth and power is, the fact that it took a financial meltdown for economic justice to even begin to replace welfare reform on the political agenda suggests progressives need to do a bit of navel-gazing.

continue reading this article on Alternet

Our Coverage of the Global Hip Hop Conference at Stanford

OLMNews covers Stanford University’s global hip-hop Symposium where renowned author Jeff Chang, Stanford professor Samy Alim & Hip-Hop icon & activist Chuck D of Public Enemy who speak on the globalization of hip-hop and it’s effect on social & economic issues worldwide.

OLMNews reporter Davey D speaks with Omar Offendum, Syrian American rapper, who along with other notable artists from around the globe, created a song that sparked a movement of solidarity with the people of Egypt and the middle east.

Omar Offendum