Obama’s Re-Elected What Next? Michael Skolnik of Global Grind & Hip Hop Activist Rosa Clemente Weigh In

With the re-election of President Barack Obama, we been having a series of discussions on Hard Knock Radio with key activists and organizers all over the country about the next steps we should be taking. This is an important conversation considering how concerned and dissatisfied many were feeling in the weeks and months leading up to the 2012 election.

Many felt President Obama had come up short on a number of issues and was dreadfully wrong on others. Many who felt things weren’t headed in the right direction were cautioned that we should give the President time to get his bearings. We were told he inherited a tremendous mess and that change would not come overnight.

We were also told that President Obama was under tremendous pressure from his political opponents who were determined to limit him to one term. The type of obstruction Obama was up against in Congress was unprecedented. he amount of racism directed at him was unprecedented. Hence activist and organizers were encouraged to fall back and rally around the president with the goal of shielding him and getting him a second term.

That has finally happened the other night. In the aftermath of his re-election there should now be strong pushes for him to address issues of poverty, the plight of labor, ending the war and other imperialistic foreign policies, deading mass deportations and eradicating the ramped up domestic spying and erosion of constitutional rights via NDAA.

As Boots Riley of the Coup famously pointed out not too long ago, our vibrant movement for social justice where many of these key issues were being addressed and fought for long before Obama was even a presidential candidate somehow became morphed into a movement to get him into office. That was good for Obama but not necessarily good for the movement. The momentum garnered over the past 8 years should not have dwindled  It left us short-changed.

This time around, many are re-thinking, re-tooling and laying out plans of action for the next 4 years and beyond. Many activists are determined not to make the same mistake of jettisoning their respective movements for the sake of an elections. Others are determined to keep themselves and the people around politically engaged beyond 2 and 4 year contest. Still others are finding that its time to build from the ground up, by establishing strong local basis that can withstand any sort of national political storms.

Michael Skolnik

One of the people we interviewed a day or so after the election is Michael Skolnik who is editor and chief of Global Grind, which is an online publication owned by Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons. Skolnik was also a surrogate for the Obama campaign.

During our interview we covered a range of topics including how to hold this President accountable to why we didn’t see more young people who voted in overwhelming numbers having visible seats at the table.

We discussed some of the problems that many had with Obama on key issues and what would be the best ways to push him and not get be obstructed by supporters who were over defensive.

We also talked about long term strategies and what we should be striving for during Obama’s second term. Skolnik offered some great insight and suggestions Peep the Hard Knock Radio interview below. Let us know what you think…

We also spoke with long time Hip Hop activist and former Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente. Rosa has long been pushing that the Hip Hop  generation move away from constraints of the democratic party and adopt a more radical and uncompromised politic. She feels Hip Hop has become too much of a mouthpiece for the democrats and has lost a lot of its bite and overall integrity, especially when it remains silent and actually cheerleads a president who embraces policies that Hip Hop folks have long stood against.

She talked about the importance of us focusing on younger voices, creating space for many who have been locked out and highlighting the work of on the ground organizations like the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement who never stopped organizing and pushing even with Obama in the White House.

Clemente noted that there’s been a pressure to vote over organizing and its led to folks believing that’s the only thing needed to be politically changed. This has been too much of an oversimplification in addressing systemic and complex problems and that perspective needs to be changed. With the re-election of Barack Obama, Clemente sees opportunity for endless possibilities for great change. She notes, the focus can now return to us  resolving our issues vs getting someone re-elected.

Rosa concluded our Hard Knock Radio interview by sharing her personal vision for change during which includes stepping up and strengthening the Green Party. .. Click the link below.

Was President Obama’s Re-Election About Our Hopes or Our Fears?

There’s a lot to reflect and say about last night’s election. The re-election of President Barack Obama brought enthusiastic cheers from all corners of the country. But one should be cautious and not misread those cheers. They weren’t the cheers of 2008 where there was literally dancing in the streets as history was made and folks were left hopeful.

Last night what we heard were cheers of relief. It was relief that came from millions of people having to endure he humiliation of chaos at the polls , where many wound up standing for up 6 or 7 hours or were aggressively questioned by Tea Party backed True the Vote poll watchers who suspected their eligibility, and a range other widespread voter suppression efforts.

Last night the cheers were being relieved of having to deal with Neandrathrolic behavior from sitting lawmakers who felt that there was ‘legitimate rape‘ and that women should not only not be allowed to have abortions, but shouldn’t have access to birth control

Last night we heard cheers of relief, because folks were fearful of having what little safety nets were left to be immediate dismantled or repealed on the day those seeking power took office…

Like it or not, Obama won last night’s election because of widespread politics of fear..not hope. Many who voted for him, did so with lots of dissatisfaction and disappointment on an array of policies the President championed or did not champion, but what they perceived was coming down the pipe was so frightening folks quickly got in line and pulled the lever for the President..

It was clear with Mitt Romney that there was a 47% of the population that needed to be ousted. He and many of his supporters felt like many of us were ‘leeches’ and no longer needed to be seen as fellow human beings… The mean-spirited racially charged policies being proposed and brought before the floor in Congress, sent a strong message to many, that there was a helluva a lot of white folks who were not playing around and were going all out to roll back anything and everything that had progressed in the past 50 years. That frightened people and Obama was a beneficiary.

Last night Mitt Romney had a voting base that consisted of 89% white people. That xenophobic angry base and how they see the world is best personified with the remarks of Bill O’Reilly and his Fox News cohorts. Its personified with the nasty tweets sent out by singer Ted Nugent where he refered to Obama supporters as whores and welfare cheats. Its personified by the angry tweets from Donald Trump who said the election was  sham and a travesty and America must fight to stop what had just happened.. (an Obama win)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZZt3jPDvNQ

Only time will tell if what we experienced was some grand exercise of Good Cop Bad Cop with the end game of getting everyone to reinvest into a system that has constantly failed people. But for now many are happy that they pushed back on something they felt would be irreversibly catastrophic. By voting and re-electing Barack Obama many who are part of a growing demographic of folks who feel they’re constantly marginalized felt like they were standing up and pushing back on the type of attitude expressed in the O’reilly video..

Unfortunately, it’ll take more than just voting. More push back is needed. It ranges from deading citizens united which allowed unlimited money to come into politics to having comprehensive election reform that restricts deceptive practices and voter suppression tactics. Close to 5 Billion dollars was spent for this past election..

It’s gonna require push back to stop the relentless attempts by corporate giants to own and privatize everything from our drinking water to FEMA which is what Mitt Romney proposed. It’s gonna require us to push back and demand economic and social justice..

All the forces that worried folks are still here, most likely plotting and scheming on how to better advance their cause. Bain Capitol and uncaring companies like it are still around and doing business as usual. In fact that might be vengeful and economically spurn their workers because of the win.

The forces behind banning ethnic studies books in Arizona have not left. Those who wish to public education and privatize public universities are back at work gearing up for the next round of tuition hikes. Police are still gunning down Black people every 36 hours..The people who obstructed Obama and demonstrated racial hostility are still in Congress and the Senate.

The policies that Obama embraced or didn’t embrace are still in front of us..How will we get him to match the words he uttered in his speech last night that left many feeling re-charged?  How will we become partners in reshaping America so that beneficial for all vs being disposable tools who are only tapped when its election time? In short there’s lots more work to do and hopefully all of us are up to the challenge.

written by Davey D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddx8t6zGWxA

Voter Suppression Intimidations Tactics in Full Swing All Over the Country this Election Day

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

Barbara Arnwine

After 2 years of campaigning and over 4 billion dollars spent, it all comes down to Election Day which is happening as we speak..Voter Suppression is everywhere with the power elite trying everything they can to stop folks from voting.. You can peep the video above where they tried to close the doors on people in Ohio.. Thank God Jasiri X, Bakari Kitwana, Angela Woodson and Paradise Gray were on hand..

Today we spoke with Barbara Arwine from the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights who broke down all the  Voter Suppression tactics are being used everywhere. you can listen to our interview by clicking the link below..

During our conversation she explained that there are long lines in many places where folks have stood for up to six hours as biased election boards have lessened voting sites and voting machines available for the public in some areas. In short folks are being discouraged to vote with the long lines

The Voter Suppression billboards erected by Clear Channel in Black neighborhoods in places like Cincinnati, Ohio, have been replaced by people driving tracks with mobile billboards.

The biggest problems is True The Vote, a Tea Party/ Koch Brother backed organization out of Texas which had as it’s goal to recruit one million vote challengers. As we speak in places like Pittsburgh, PA, African-American voters are being bombarded with TTV folks demanding to see IDS and questioning folks… The laws are that people do not have to answer or show any ID to anyone..In fact in almost all the states except Tennessee, restrictive voter ID laws have been struck down, but that hasn’t stopped True to Vote poll challengers from harassing people.

We are also finding that phone calls are being made telling folks they can vote over the phone. Some of these calls are coming from people pretending to be from the Board of Elections.. There is no such thing as voting by phone…

Here in the Bay Area, thousands of people woke up to deceptive flyers that rearranged voting endorsements from a Democratic club. On the new flyers Prop 37,the GMO labeling bill has switched from Vote YES to Vote NO.. That’s totally inaccurate and a distortion of what the Democratic club had stated..There has also been ballot tampering in nearby Vallejo.. People seeing any of this are being asked to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE

Our guest Barbara Arwine from the Lawyers Committee of Civil Rights said that what will need to happen after this election is nationwide election reform bill banning deceptive practices and voter suppression tactics..

Here’s our insightful intv w/ Barbara Arwine, giving us the lay of the land all over the country