F– Tha System!.. Can You Be Radical & Revolutionary & Still Vote?

In recent weeks there’s been a lot of discussion around voting and whether or not its a futile exercise. Much of the apprehension comes from those who see the system as corrupt and the voting process hijack by unthinkable amounts of big corporate money which has made all those who get elected or appointed beholden to them vs the people.

Complicating this issue is seeing many who run for office play a political game which leads to them speaking ‘double talk‘, flat-out lying and over compromising on important issues. Some chalk it up and conclude, that ‘politics is a dirty business and those in the arena are simply doing what they gotta do‘. Others haven’t been so nonchalant and have been livid, especially if they see such actions taken at their expense. If they look on the ballot and see themselves at the short end of political policies by those vying for office, the conclusion is not to vote.

F– Tha System Don’t Vote!  F– Tha system don’t partake in a corrupt process! has been a rallying cry in more than a few circles..It’s more than just a Lupe Fiasco who has uttered this. I’ve heard it all throughout the Occupy Movement.. I’ve heard it amongst those who consider themselves radical or revolutionary-from dead prez to Rage Against the Machine to the Welfare Poets. I’ve heard it amongst those who are simply fed up and have lost all hope or have felt deeply betrayed. Many have concluded that the process is so corrupt and so contaminated that what we’re seeing is elaborate theater.. those gunning for office have already been selected..

Expressing disdain and  attempting to shame people into voting by telling stories of Fannie Lou Hammer and Martin Luther King and their sacrifices does very little to move the crowd especially when its clear that those doing the conjuring don’t adhere to many of the principles that those lauded individuals stood for.. If anything it’s likely to make folks more resolute in their position when they see the stark contradictions in ones rhetoric vs actions and that MLK and Fannie are being used as tools of convenience.

A few years ago during the historic Hip Hop Political Convention in Newark, New Jersey, longtime New York City Councilman  and former Black Panther Charles Barron addressed the convention and offered up some compelling words around being a revolutionary and voting. After his speech we sat down with him for an interview we he expounded upon his points..He talked at length about how and why it was critical we engage this system. The fact that we find it corrupt is even more of reason for those who are revolutionary to engage it.. It needs critical, principled people to intervene.  What Barron spoke on back in 2004 is good food for thought and gave some keen historical and political insight.. We wanted to share that with folks today..

Also since yesterday was National Voter registration Day we wanted to share with you a recent speech given at a Hip Hop Caucus Townhall Meeting around the issue of Voter Suppression.. The remarks by Barbara Arwine of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights need to be heard and acted upon..

The Rent is Too Damn High Party Resonates w/ Audience During NY Gov Debate

It’s gonna be hard to watch a gubernatorial debate and not have some one on the panel as outspoken and as colorful as Jimmy McMillan from the ‘Rent is Too Damn High Party

As I was watching this debate the other night for governor of New York at Hofstra University, I was glad to see that they opened up the event to all 7 candidates. This needs to be done more and we as a voting public we need to demand this..It would’ve been a oh hum affair just to see Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino. Well lemme take that back.. Paladino and his outbursts of ignorance can be entertaining until you realize folks are actually voting for him. But normally speaking, too many debates are corporate driven exercises where everything is scripted down to the questions. Very rarely do we have fireworks and real conversation. The excuse given by debate organizers is that there are too many characters who don’t deserve to be on the stage with the ‘real’ candidates.

When you stop to think about the so-called front running ‘real candidates’ who belong to the Republican and Democrat party are often characters. They play the role of being elusive, overly cautious and staying on message. The viewing public is left trying to figure out what’s truth and what’s spin. There’s never anyone else on the stage who can raise other perspectives and challenge scripted assertions. This needs to change.

Former Black Panther & NY City Councilman Charles Barron is running for Governor under the newly formed Freedom Party

What was good about the NY gubernatorial debate we got to see everyone. We got to see Brooklyn City Council member Charles Barron who was repping for the new Freedom Party. many didn’t know he stepped out and has tried to get traction for a much-needed third-party that doesn’t have to compromise. In short he gave folks something to vote for.

As noted earlier we also got to see Jimmy McMillan from the ‘Rent is Too High Party‘. He was the breakout star who was funny and provided comic relief of sorts but was at the same time, so right on point with his issue. In the age of Youtube we get to see how a debate should unfold and how a candidate should have passion for an issue.

It was also interesting to note how the NY gubernatorial debate was covered nationally. However in many places outside of NY the focus was only on Cuomo and Paladino.  This goes to show how a script is already written and being followed by Mainstream media.

Here’s some highlights..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4o-TeMHys0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TIGQhHGvP0

I think people should check out the Freedom Party. Here’s a good interview with Charles Barron..After Barron answers the first question there’s about 45 seconds of down time as camera person reposition themselves to get a one on one interview I wish someone had recorded and posted up Barron’s remarks from the debate. I couldn’t find anything on Youtube.

Folks who were at the debate noted that not only was McMillan funny but watching Cuomo and Paladino got hemmed up was funny. They weren’t able to hide behind handlers or pre-approaved questions..My boy SlabTzu DelFuego noted: ‘People who saw the whole debate laughed allot, not just because of McMillain. They laughed every single time Quomo and Paladino got rocked.

“I think I have more experience dealing with corrupt politicians than anyone else on this stage” – Kristin Davis former escort running for Governor under the Anti-Prohibition Party

“Trusting Quomo and Paladino to take out corruption, is like asking an arsonist to take out a fire” was a highlighted quote he attributed to Charles Barron

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thc5SVnfzcE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZLy6pv7Rxo&feature=related

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

NYC Councilman Charles Barron being Dissed by Fellow Democrats who Denied him Chairmanship

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When I read this story about Charles Barron the first thing I thought of was the irony of this happening on the watch of a majority minority city council line up and not seeing any outrage…I guess one shouldn’t be surprised, we are in a day and time where folks feel the best way to play the game is to be safe and be corporate… So a guy who is as outspoken as Barron finds himself at odds with those who feel that if ‘he’d only keep quiet’ things would be better..

I personally like and admire Barron for his brashness and fearlessness especially in the areas of police brutality. He was absolutely right in accussing the NYPD of allowing terrorism within the department. With all the madness that has gone on from outlandish killings of Amadou Diallo to Sean Bell… what else do you call it?

As far as him calling for the naming of a street after Sonny Carson why not? lets just say for aminute you actually believe the reduction of Carson to being a thug… Shouldn’t it be up to the community to decide? In addition, we have all sorts of streets, airports and buildings etc named after former domestic terrorists and slave owners.

Below is a speech Barron gave at the first Hip Hop convention in 2004 in Newark, New Jersey… He came in and talked about the importance of voting and how to hold people accountable.. 

http://bit.ly/dxDAFd 

Former Black Panther & NY City Councilman Charles Barron has always made himself accessible to the people in the community.. Boo to the City Council for denying him a chairmanship..

City Council slaps down Charles Barron, the only Dem without committee seat
BY Frank Lombardi
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU
Monday, February 8th 2010, 4:00 AM
 
Hermann for News

Charles Barron got a stinging slapdown from the City Council; he’s the only Dem without a committee chairmanship or a lucrative annual “lulu” stipend. 

In a City Council that for the first time has a nonwhite majority, black empowerment activist Charles Barron now finds himself a minority of one.

After eight years of boat-rocking incumbency as councilman for Brooklyn’s 42nd District (East New York, Brownsville), Barron is the only Democratic member without a committee chairmanship or a lucrative annual “lulu” stipend.

That took some doing, given the Council now consists of 45 Democrats and five Republicans. (A vacancy in the Borough Park district will be filled in a March 23 special election.)

Barron, 59, was bounced as chairman of the Higher Education Committee last month and stripped of his $10,000 lulu in a 47-to-1 vote engineered by Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan). His was the only “no” vote.

Barron was not named chairman of any other committee, though all 11 Democratic newcomers were. The only other members without a committee or lulu are three of the Republicans.

As Council slapdowns go, it was a stinging one. But Quinn and his colleagues can cite a litany of offenses for Barron’s penalty-box punishment, including:

Organizing a City Hall reception in 2002 for Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe; a failed attempt to give the same honor to vilified Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez in 2008, and saying at a 2002 rally in Washington that he was so angry at resistance to reparations he wanted to slap “the closest white person.”

There are more, his critics say: fueling a raucous Council session in 2007 by championing a failed push to co-name a Brooklyn street after the late Sonny Carson, a self-professed “anti-white” black activist; accusing Quinn of “a form of ethnic cleansing” for firing his chief of staff, Viola Plummer, in the aftermath of the Carson street-naming clash, and accusing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at a 2007 hearing of allowing “terrorism of the Police Department to take place in our community.”

More recently, Barron engaged in an angry public confrontation with CUNY trustee Jeffrey Weisenfeld, who denounced him as “a disgrace.” Barron called Weisenfeld a “sickening racist.”
Punishment or not, Barron has no intention of being a silent minority of one.

“I have a right to dissent,” he said last week. “I have a right to be black, to be bold, to be radical, to speak my mind, to be a revolutionary, to be socialist – whatever I call myself, I have a right to be that. …I have a right to be all that and speak my mind in a body without being punished. That is my First Amendment right.”

flombardi@nydailynews.com