LUMPENPROLETARIAT—Political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal was in conversation with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman this morning. As ever, Mumia gave us his intrepid analysis of the nation’s current political climate, despite suffering from untreated illnesses and disease behind bars. Joining the Democracy Now! discussion, actor Danny Glover observed that it was apparent that the state was trying to kill Mumia through denial of needed medical care, as Mumia has now been taken off of death row.
Saliently, as Bernie Sanders betrays his supporters, betrays progressives, who poured their hearts and souls into his campaign, Mumia closed his telephone call by reminding us of an important article by legal scholar and human rights advocate Michelle Alexander entitled “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote“. Michelle Alexander is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press). Regarding the 2016 Presidential Election, we might add that Michelle Alexander‘s reasoning applies as well to why Hillary Clinton doesn’t deserve the Hispanic/Latina vote or the working class vote or any vote.
THE NATION—[10 FEB 2016] H illary Clinton loves black people. And black people love Hillary—or so it seems. Black politicians have lined up in droves to endorse her, eager to prove their loyalty to the Clintons in the hopes that their faithfulness will be remembered and rewarded. Black pastors are opening their church doors, and the Clintons are making themselves comfortably at home once again, engaging effortlessly in all the usual rituals associated with “courting the black vote,” a pursuit that typically begins and ends with Democratic politicians making black people feel liked and taken seriously. Doing something concrete to improve the conditions under which most black people live is generally not required.
Hillary is looking to gain momentum on the campaign trail as the primaries move out of Iowa and New Hampshire and into states like South Carolina, where large pockets of black voters can be found. According to some polls, she leads Bernie Sanders by as much as 60 percent among African Americans. It seems that we—black people—are her winning card, one that Hillary is eager to play.
And it seems we’re eager to get played. Again.
The love affair between black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. He threw on some shades and played the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. It seems silly in retrospect, but many of us fell for that. At a time when a popular slogan was “It’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand,” Bill Clinton seemed to get us. When Toni Morrison dubbed him our first black president, we nodded our heads. We had our boy in the White House. Or at least we thought we did.
Black voters have been remarkably loyal to the Clintons for more than 25 years. It’s true that we eventually lined up behind Barack Obama in 2008, but it’s a measure of the Clinton allure that Hillary led Obama among black voters until he started winning caucuses and primaries. Now Hillary is running again. This time she’s facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state—many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life. Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand.
What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the disappearance of work?
No. Quite the opposite.
Learn more at THE NATION.
Related Lumpenproletariat articles, relevant to Hillary Clinton’s 2015-2016 presidential campaign, include:
- “Why Hillary Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote by Michelle Alexander“, 27 JUL 2016
- “Hillary Clinton, US/NATO, & the Lynching of Gaddafi“, 3 MAR 2016
- “Activist Berta Caseres Assassinated,” 3 MAR 2016
- “Historical Archive: Third Party Challenge to Unconstitutional Prop 14“, 2 MAR 2016
- “My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency (2015) by Doug Henwood,” 29 FEB 2016
- “Hillary Clinton for USA Presidency: Pros and Cons“, 13 APR 2015
[Image entitled “Michelle_Alexander_11_02” by Miller Center of Public Affairs (flickr page, Charlottesville, VA – Flickr: Michelle Alexander at the Miller Center, December 3, 2011), Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)]
[27 JUL 2016]
[Last modified 23:17 PDT 1 AUG 2016]