White Leftists and Black Power
There's a scene from The Autobiography of Malcolm X: After police beat and arrested a black man in Harlem, X called all the residents in the neighborhood out into the streets in a tightly controlled protest -- hundreds of blacks solemnly lined the street behind him as he demanded--and got--medical attention for the man the police had beaten. Legend has it that the police captain, after caving to X's demands for fear that Malcolm X could start a riot with a snap of his finger, said "No one man should have that much power."
That power -- the power to trigger black riots at will -- is the power white leftists have always craved.
Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison. I'm talking two-fourths of the Mount Rushmore of African American writing--two of the brightest talents in black history, either of them arguably the finest writer America has produced. Both of them documented this white leftist strategy to manipulate black rage to drive their own radical agenda.
So it's reasonable to suspect that domestic terrorist William Ayers of the Weather Underground was looking for a way to co-opt 'Black Power' when he hosted the launch of Barack Obama's political career in Chicago. This does not prove Ayers ever got what he wanted from Obama! But it does raise questions -- just questions, fair questions -- that Obama should answer. Instead, he demands we not even ask them.
We all heard the 'viral scream' over the net after Obama's failure in last week's debate -- groupthink blog posts repeating ad nauseum that questions about the Weathermen are irrelevant. That we should just give veto power over counter-terrorism to Obama without assurances that he saw through (let's say, outsmarted) the disaffected, insane radical white terrorists who tried to recruit Obama as a pawn in the "same ol' same ol'" leftist race game. I think the 'viral scream' is specious, reckless and silly.
Richard Wright wrote two classic novels, Black Boy and Native Son. Native Son tells the story of a young black man who is manipulated by young white Communists and ends up suffering the death penalty.
In The God That Failed, Wright retold his personal experience of being recruited as a tool by white leftists in Chicago. Without his consent, Wright was elected to lead a Communist cell after attending only a few meetings:
"Without my knowledge or consent, they confronted the members of the Party with a Negro, knowing that it would be difficult for Communists to refuse to vote for a man representing the single largest racial minority in the nation, inasmuch as Negro equality was one of the main tenets of Communism." (p. 121-122).
So white leftists used Wright to play the race card in an intra-party power play. Wright eventually recoiled in disgust from the enforced groupthink:
"The Communist Party felt it had to assassinate me morally merely because I did not want to be bound by its decisions." (p. 149)
In horror, Wright describes a groupthink re-education 'trial' of a wayward 'Comrade.' In an eerie, ideological seance, cultish insults were hurled at the free thinker ('smuggler of reaction' with 'seraphim tendencies', 'bastard intellectual' with 'anti-leadership attitude', 'incipient Trotskyite', 'petty bourgeois degenerate') until the free thinker broke down and re-converted to Communism.
Wright knew he was next, and broke completely away from the party. "I knew that if they had held state power, I should have been declared guilty of treason and my execution would have followed." (p. 157)
Finally, he describes being physically assaulted by the party because he would not be used:
"The rows of white and black Communists were looking at me with cold eyes of nonrecognition ... I had suffered a public, physical assault by two white Communists with black Communists looking on." (p. 161)
In his classic novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison described events identical to those Wright described in his autobiography American Hunger. Just as the party recruited Wright for his extraordinary talent with words, in Invisible Man, the white leader of the ultra-leftist 'Brotherhood' ('Brother Jack'), recruits a talented young black after hearing him deliver a rousing, spontaneous speech on the street. The young, gifted but naive black man comes to see that 'Brother Jack' manipulated his vulnerability to racism so as to mold him into a tool:
"[Ellison] writes in the introduction to his novel that his brief involvement with the Communist Party was in reaction to white society's classification of him and all Negroes as inferior... Ellison's eventual disillusionment with the party is reflected in the Invisible Man's rejection of the Brotherhood as self-serving and not actually interested in the rights of Black Americans."
From the New York Times 1952 review:
"[Ellison] experienced a brief hour of glory as an orator and then a permanent state of humiliation and despair. And the Harlem riot which the 'Brotherhood' provoked makes a theatrical climax of looting and arson for Mr. Ellison's book." [emphasis added]
Given this documented pattern of white ultra-leftists recruiting young black talent in a deliberate strategy to co-opt Black Power, how can we not suspect the Weathermen were 'at it again' when William Ayers sponsored the young Obama? How can we not ask whether, when, and how Obama saw through William Ayers' game?
Apologist Eleanor Clift insists we not ask these questions because "there are no answers to this." That's not true. There is at least one possible answer: the answer Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison gave. Obama just can't give that answer without risking a big chunk of his cashflow.
Obama's problem is that the Far Left controls his money. MoveOn can turn off the tap at any time. (Make no mistake, Kos is a bundler, MoveOn are bundlers.) To get elected, Obama has to throw the Far Left under the bus, and he has to throw Rev. Wright under the bus, but he has to do it delicately. He's shifting his Rev. Wright story bit by bit, from "I cannot disown him" to "I would have rejected him" to "I disown his remarks, but not him," tip-toeing ever so carefully so black voters don't pick up the whiff of 'flunkiness.'
With the Weather Underground, Obama can fake anger in the debate (his scripted line 'detestable acts' uttered with just the right inflection of disgust summoned up from his sense memory -- after all, he only gets one take on live television). But to keep his MoveOn money, he can't give the answer Wright and Ellison would give: "Yes, the Weathermen tried to recruit me as a pawn to exploit black social frustrations. I took their money, now I'm running for President. Whitey got played, not me!"
Note that Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison had nothing to gain or lose by being honest about their interactions with white leftists.
As I said, it's the "same ol' same ol'' leftist race game. Today, white leftists play the race card so brazenly, it's breath-taking. Huffington frontpaging smears of working class 'white guys' dovetails with Obama insulting the white working class in front of his fundraisers. Axelrod and Chris Bowers write off white working class voters. The white working class saw through the Far Left's bogus 'workers' rhetoric a long time ago. Now the Far Left says 'fuck the white working class, let's try to play the blacks.'
White leftists gaming the racial sensitivities of blacks. Obama playing along. Somebody is getting played here. "Just who is playing who?" is a fair and relevant question.
The God That Failed, Columbia University Press 2001 paperback edition.
The God That Failed is a seminal work in pre-Red Scare anti-communist literature. Despite his disavowal of Communism, Richard Wright was blacklisted during the Red Scare for his earlier membership in the Communist Party. Wright accused the Party of suppressing the publication of American Hunger because of its unpleasant portrayal. " ... the dream of fraternity and social justice turns into a nightmare of servility to party double talk and sudden turns." Foreign Affairs