When Black Panthers Aligned with Confederate-Flag-Wielding, Working-Class Whites

Can the unlikely alliance of the Black Panthers and a group of transplanted Southern Whites in 1969 hold any lesson today, asks Colette Gaiter.

By Colette Gaiter
The Conversation

In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump won the white vote across all demographics except for college-educated white women. He did especially well among working class white voters: 67 percent of whites without a college degree voted for him.

Some post-election analysis marveled at how the white working class could vote against its own interests by supporting a billionaire businessman who is likely to support policies that cut taxes for the rich and weaken the country’s social safety net. Since the New Deal, the Democratic Party has been seen as the party of working people, while Republicans were considered the party of the elites. Trump was able to flip this narrative to his advantage. Election 2016 balkanized issues and made it seem impossible to work on racism, sexism, poverty and economic issues all at once. A core question moving forward for social justice advocates and the Democratic Party is how they can move beyond identity politics and attract working-class voters of all races, building stronger coalitions among disparate groups.

One place to look for inspiration and instruction might be 1960s social movements that understood the power of alliances across identities and issues. During this period, a radical coalition formed that might seem impossible today: A group of migrant southerners and working-class white activists called the Young Patriots joined forces with the Black Panthers in Chicago to fight systemic class oppression.

So how did this alliance form? And how can its lessons be applied to today’s political moment?

An Unlikely Alliance

In the post-civil rights era, a militant Black Power movement emerged, with the Black Panther Party for Self Defense forming in 1966. Inspired by Malcolm X and other international black thought leaders, the group embraced armed struggle as a potential tool against organized racial oppression – a radical break from the philosophy of nonviolent protest. A large faction of the group developed in Chicago, where one of the party leaders was a young man named Fred Hampton.

Unlikely Alliance. (Redneck Revolt)

Chicago in the 1960s was a brutal place for poor people. Black, brown and white people all dealt with poverty, unemployment, police violence, substandard housing, inadequate schools and a lack of social services. Ethnic and racial groups each created their own social service and activist networks to combat every kind of oppression.

One was the Young Patriot Organization (YPO), which was based in Hillbilly Harlem, an uptown neighborhood of Chicago populated by displaced white southerners. Many YPO members were racist, and they flaunted controversial symbols associated with southern pride, such as the Confederate flag. But like blacks and Latinos, the white Young Patriots and their families experienced discrimination in Chicago. In their case, it was because they were poor and from the South.

In his short time as a Black Panther leader, Fred Hampton wanted to advance the group’s goals by forming a “Rainbow Coalition” of working class and poor people of all races.

Former members of the Chicago Panthers and YPO tell different versions of the same story of how the groups connected: Each attended the other’s organizing meetings and decided to work together on their common issues. Over time, the Black Panthers learned to tolerate Confederate flags as intransigent signs for rebellion. Their only stipulation was that the white Young Patriots denounce racism.

Eventually, Young Patriots rejected their deeply embedded ideas of white supremacy – and even the Confederate flag – as they realized how much they had in common with the Black Panthers and Latino Young Lords.

Assumed to be natural enemies, these groups united in their calls for economic justice. In the Aug. 9, 1969 issue of The Black Panther newspaper, the party’s chief of staff, David Hilliard, admiringly called the Young Patriots “the only revolutionaries we respect that ever came out of the mother country.” Recalling his work with the YPO, former Black Panther Bobby Lee explained that “The Rainbow Coalition was just a code word for class struggle.”

Fred Hampton. (Wikipedia)

In the end, the Illinois Panthers brought together various elements of the black community, Confederate flag-waving southern white migrants (Young Patriots), Puerto Ricans (Young Lords), poor white ethnic groups (Rising Up Angry, JOIN Community Union, and the Inter-communal Survival Committee), students and the women’s movement. The disparate groups under the coalition’s umbrella pooled resources and shared strategies for providing community services and aid that the government and private sector would not. Initiatives included health clinics, feeding homeless and hungry people, and legal advice for those dealing with unethical landlords and police brutality.

Racial Divide Exposed

Almost 50 years after the original Rainbow Coalition, the U.S. electorate remains divided along racial lines. Even though Donald Trump asked black Americans, “What do you have to lose?” by voting for him and abandoning the Democratic Party, it didn’t work: Only 8 percent of black voters (and 28 percent of Latino and 27 percent of Asian voters) cast ballots for Trump. Blacks and Latinos are well-represented in the working class, and people of color will become the majority in the working class in 2032.

Much 2016 post-election attention has focused on working-class white voters, who have been characterized as “forgotten” and “angry” for being left out of the economic recovery. Yet African-Americans have been far worse off; since the 2007 recession, the unemployment rate of African-Americans is nearly double that of Hispanics and more than twice that of whites.

Hillary Clinton was the candidate who collected the most diverse voter base – the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia looked like the Rainbow Coalition redux – and she was expected to win the election. However, that visual hid racism’s residual and deeply entrenched place in U.S. society. One of the lessons of the 2016 election is that the country is not as advanced in its work on ending racism and discrimination as most would like to believe. Trump did not have to do much to capitalize on this.

The Rainbow Coalition members in 1960s Chicago understood how difficult it is to build coalitions across identities. Former Black Panther Bobby Lee recalled working with the Young Patriots:

“It wasn’t easy to build an alliance. I advised them on how to set up ‘serve the people’ programs – free breakfasts, people’s health clinics, all that. I had to run with those cats, break bread with them, hang out at the pool hall. I had to lay down on their couch, in their neighborhood. Then I had to invite them into mine. That was how the Rainbow Coalition was built, real slow.”

The coalition, bringing together seemingly polar opposite Black Panthers and Young Patriots, showed that real interactions allow people to understand that their struggles are not essentially different. Trump probably was sincere when he invited African-Americans to join his movement. He simply didn’t realize that a glib invitation would not produce the same results as real coalition-building over a period of time.

The lesson to learn from studying 1960s social movements is that lasting change toward economic and racial justice will probably be built brick by brick, person to person and “real slow.”The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Colette Gaiter, is an Associate Professor, Department of Art and Design, at the University of Delaware.

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43 comments for “When Black Panthers Aligned with Confederate-Flag-Wielding, Working-Class Whites

  1. November 2, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Whether Trump was “sincere” in his what this article calls a “glib invitation”, is an open question-especially when he boldly and arrogantly advocates violence against dissenters to his racist, injurious, language and more so, in his concrete policies, and jurist appointees, affecting Africans and African derived peoples (which ultimately includes all peoples, since Africa is the mother of all human “races”, if you will), women, Latinos, Native Americans, African-Caribbeans, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. Other sources and centers will have to help unify the peoples, clearly, not the Head Evil, Agent Orange, Trump.

  2. Rob Newcommenter
    October 26, 2018 at 5:03 am

    “Their only stipulation was that the white Young Patriots denounce racism.”

    “Eventually, Young Patriots rejected their deeply embedded ideas of white supremacy – and even the Confederate flag – as they realized how much they had in common with the Black Panthers and Latino Young Lords.”

    Are you saying that the only way the alliance worked at all, was when the far right abandoned some of their supposedly core tenets? That sounds like the “left” did not have to change much, but the “right” did. That sounds to me, like the left convinced the right to abandon their more combative and ridiculous ideas, and brought them to the conclusion that the class struggle was the over-ridingly important one.

    That’s not an equal alliance, that’s a reform for the far right. That’s what needs to happen. The far right needs to take note that the people they blame, are just like them, sans bigotry.

  3. Ernst
    October 25, 2018 at 4:13 am

    We should not forget to write more critical “black history” facing facts even if they hurts your preconception. Where we will go first? To slavery. It was not even near that whites captured Africans. In fact it was global huge business where Africans willingly were selling other Africans. Denying African own traditional long period slavery much before transatlantic slavery and ignoring Arab slavery is critical point. The role of black man selling other blacks and eagerly pimping out millions of black females is painful truth.

    • Jeff Blankfort
      November 1, 2018 at 7:34 pm

      That slavery existed prior to the trans-Atlantic slave trade is an historical fact but it is irrelevant to the present situation and the need to change it, as was the role that European Jews played in pursuing the trans-Atlantic trade in humans. Of historical importance, for sure, but not key to changing America’s political climate.

  4. sparrow
    October 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Nowadays the Panthers’ presence on such a forum would be evidence used to attack them as “antisemites” and for severing the legitimacy of their progressive credentials by Jewish “soft.-Zionist” so-called “progressives”.

  5. thomas
    October 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

    So interesting part of History. It remind me what may emerge here in France with a strong Front National and a strong far left party with anti-racism roots. Only the immigration ideas divide them. Both are calling for the same social services and workers employment protection and basecally try to fight the neo cons and economicaly its “neo libéral” system. For instance both want the end of EU ( as too fair for big companies like GAFA and destructive for nationaly organised politics such as social services for instance. In a word EU being only economic and not politic. EU serving US interest instead of national interest(s) ) this unlikely union would blow the “parties of power ” ( centre right or centre left, same stuff called “libéral” or ” social libéral” despite being its contrary )We start here to hear such call up for unlikely union… So thanx for this article translated for http://www.les-crises.com ( kind of intercept or consortium kind of blog from France )

  6. DH Fabian
    October 23, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    Much has changed. At least early on, the Black Panthers put focus on poverty as proof of the failures of our capitalist system. By the early 1970s, some unity had been built between the black community and many poor and working class white people. Then came Reagan in the ’80s, and Democrats followed his lead, Democrats threw the poor off the cliff back in the 1990s, and liberals firmly embraced capitalism, ignoring the consequences (all those pushed into poverty). In recent years, anti-white stereotyping has become routine, especially among white liberals — and especially concerning low-income and poor white people. White poverty isn’t acknowledged among people of color at all. Like I said, much has changed.

  7. Clyde
    October 23, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Hillary Clinton never articulated a desire to build a coalition. Hillary Clinton never sought to work for the middle class, the working class. Clinton and her allies exposed their hypocrisy and the nation is now paying for it.

    It is absolutely possible to bring people together in a “rainbow coalition” but you must have a leader that wants to do so.

    • DH Fabian
      October 23, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      The US is a solidly capitalist entity, and every aspect of our lives come down to economic status, regardless of race, gender, etc. This is the issue that ultimately determines our voting choices. Liberal media went all-out to sell Hillary Clinton as a “bold progressive.” Those who pointed out Clinton’s solid record as a pro-war/anti-poor Democrat tended to get blocked off of liberal discussion boards. Are we expected to form a multi-racial “rainbow coalition” to more collectively support the anti-poor agenda of the Democrats, for the purpose of protecting the advantages of the more fortunate?

  8. Paora
    October 22, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    A timely reminder of the need to meet people as they are when building a movement. Most political groups these days seem more interested in obsessively policing linguistic purity rather than engaging in the kind of political struggles that could actually challenge the powers that be. In fact their members often identify more with members of the elite who mouth the same platitudes than the people they claim to be struggling on behalf of. Political consciousness is a result of shared struggle, not a prerequisite for it. A white working class man who subscribes to some racist tropes after a lifetime of Fox News viewing is no more a lost cause than a Black working class man with some homophobic or sexist ideas. But in the current climate the former is regarded as the enemy while the latter would likely be welcomed into a movement and through participation in struggle alongside women & LGBT people have the possibility to change his beliefs. In writing off a significant segment of the population these groups basically function as a recruiting Sergeant for Trump or the real Fascist that will likely follow him.

  9. Larry Larsen
    October 22, 2018 at 1:17 am

    Brilliant article!! Timely.

    The Confederate flag should be adopted across the board to represent a universal challenge to the corporatist establishment. Make it a universal icon of rebellion. Black, white, latino, working class, poor… EVERYBODY! Rise Up!!

    I just heard Chris Hedges on Jimmy Dore the other day talking about Hedges’ phrase, “The narcissism of minor differences.” What a BRILLIANT observation and description. You know, pick 2 or 3 issues that EVERYBODY agrees upon (e.g. medicare for all, ending perpetual war/bring the money in $Ts, home, no more free trade agreements, secret or otherwise, infrastructure development/jobs, etc. …) and UNITE! Do some damage! Create a viable alternative power base (as opposed to a granular, quibbling, gaggle of eternal wannabees).

    Heck just the potential raw fact that the Confederate flag was adopted by all oppressed and disenfranchised people in the US would show the PTB that something was radically different. It would scare the pants off them.

    Again, great, thought-provoking article. The time for personal and movement introspection is here, NOW! Our problems are not going to solve themselves, and we are approaching a point of no return if we want to avoid a feudal economic society (among other beckoning apocalypses) in the near future.

    • CoolCORain
      October 25, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      If you follow the “Hillbilly Harlem” link in the article you will find that an original YPO organizer in Chicago, who back then “wore a Confederate Flag with free Huey buttons, Black Panther buttons and a button the represented every color of every race”, thinks the flag of traitors is not a good organizing meme for today.

      “As we grew politically and respected the Black Panthers and the Young Lords we determined that there was no place in the movement or the world for the Confederate flag. It symbolizes a period of time when our black brothers and sisters were mere property to sold or destroyed at the white man`s convenience. And that the Confederate flag was created to serve as a symbol of plantation owners to perpetuate slavocracy. I would not recommend it`s use by any group or anyone or any purpose and believe that it should be destroyed as a tribute to those who suffered pain and anguish in a great dark period of our history.” – Hy Thurman

      Leave the Traitors flag in the museum.

  10. Woden
    October 21, 2018 at 10:08 am

    For a short time there was the possibility of an alliance of two separatist groups – The Hotep Movement (small black separatist group) and the (real) Alt Right (who are somewhat feudalistic in politics). But the media couldn’t be bothered to watch what was bubbling underneath their own class blindness to understand the nuances of race politics and nationalist politics.

    The Proud Boys are Nationalists, not a racist, separatist group like the real Alt Right. They are Paleocons like Pat Buchanan, not Fascists and they certainly are not racists.

    This is why no one takes left wing writers seriously anymore. You can’t be bothered to do surface research. I happen to agree with your premise that this is largely a class struggle – Rural whites aren’t a rich lot and they are struggling. They consistently vote Republican because Democrats always seem to represent city and suburb dwellers. Their problems are hand-waved away by politicians. If you want to see a good example, look at what’s happening with milk prices for small dairy farmers right now.

    But for heaven’s sake, get your extremist groups and moderate groups labeled correctly.

    • Anne Jaclard
      October 21, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      The Proud Boys openly oppose economic and social equality, and glory in the murder of ex-socialists. They also promote the most aggressive, chauvinist forms of “Western identity.” Everyone should remember that the idea of the “West” is a political ploy by NATO and Atlantic transnationals on one hand, and a banner that the racist alt-right/new right rallies behind on the others. It is thus fascist on two counts. There is history and culture worth preserving from what is called the “West,” including the great revolutions and universal, cosmopolitan values, but fixing them exclusively to an invented Occidentalism as opposed to seeing them as the common heritage of humanity is a mistake.

      • Woden
        October 22, 2018 at 8:44 am

        “glory in the murder of ex-socialists” Really? Huh. The things people believe.

        There is nothing wrong with being proud of western values and cultures. There’s nothing wrong with Nationalism. Except that you oppose it. It’s only fascist in your mind. Now run along, back to Ivory Tower, Inc. where other cultures and values are experienced in the safety of a fish bowl. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be here dealing with with your “corrections”.

        • Anne Jaclard
          October 22, 2018 at 10:41 am

          Gavin McInnes held street brawl, waved sword to commemorate murder of Japanese socialist leader (https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/22/boys-o22.html).

          I’m equally opposed to barbarism when it comes from other cultures (ISIS, Modi, Abe, the FSA rebels and Erdogan), who have more in common with the alt-right than either do with the so-called “ivory tower” of tolerance.

          • Monte George Jr.
            October 23, 2018 at 11:57 am

            “(ISIS, Modi, Abe, the FSA rebels and Erdogan)”. You left out Antifa.

    • CoolCORain
      October 25, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Proud Boys are not a grass roots organization. Not to say anybody who currently identifies as a Proud Boy can not be won over and start to see things through the lens of class which is required for any solidarity between oppressed groups. Their leaders are the worst type of people. I agree with your short analysis of the current leadership of the Democratic party but only the worst type of change will not come from the proud boys.

      • CoolCORain
        October 25, 2018 at 12:38 pm

        I meant …”but only the worst type of change will come from the proud boys.”

  11. October 21, 2018 at 9:10 am

    I am a co founder of both the Young Patriots and the Rainbow Coalition and current chair of the YPO. I am still organizing working class whites in the south. The Young Lords and Black Panthers are still organizing too.

    • CoolCORain
      October 25, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Holy Cow as Harry would say. The real Hy Thurman! Thank you for your activism and service to the people. If it is really you. Hard to verify that type of thing on this comment board. I scrolled down an saw your post after I commented on a post by a Confederate Flag fetisher above using a quote by you. I hope i represented your views correctly.

      With the current situation in the Chicago area of Black flight to the suburbs and exburbs due to economic issues, police being police, etc. etc. perhaps there is a chance of turning history on it’s head and starting a similar organizing process out in the ‘burbs.

  12. Harry Lieber
    October 20, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    An interesting story, but what happened to the coalition later on? Why did it not persist? As presented above, the story is incomplete.

    • bostonblackie
      October 22, 2018 at 12:48 am

      The FBI conspired with the Chicago police to assassinate Fred Hampton and the coalition did not last, as Hampton was the force that brought it together.

      • lou E
        October 22, 2018 at 10:32 pm

        Nailed that one the FBI / CIA spies and rats were reporting a terrifying challenge to fascist america cooperation among the hamsters? off with their heads! and make them pay for the boots, badges and bullets!

  13. October 20, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    class unconsciousness is a crippling social disorder but is was dealt with, or at least attempted to be dealt with, in chicago back in the day and must now occupy the minds and bodies of all who wish humanity to succeed ..that can only happen by getting rid of racialized capitalism and ending stupid reference to “people of color” as though there was some real difference and “people of no color” were the problem, not the political economics of capital and private profit before any notion of public good..there is only one race and making more alleged “people of color” part of the privileged class, as has been the case for far too long, only strengthens the privileged minority…we are the majority and need to wake up and smell reality, before it’s overpowering stench smothers us all..stop voting for lesser evils, start working to create democratically owned and operated businesses, public banks and political parties that represent people and not money..and hurry.

  14. AA
    October 20, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    It seems to me both sides of become overwhelmingly conservative these days, taking on the philosophies the neocons built on from Leo Strauss, constructing strong ideological bonds between tribal groups to unite against a common enemy or enemies, whom the corporate elite know do not even exist. Tens of billions every year going into PR, dark money, shady nonprofits/charities, funneling from superPACs go into adrenaline fueled smear campaigns, focusing on the traumas and grievances of the targeted groups that must be excited to action- whether its black lives matter, the ‘tea party’, metoo, the ‘alt-right,’ LGBTQ- all of these groups have some basic legitimate concerns which have been targeted and blown way out of proportion, creating a mass hysteria, dividing people at all levels, creating a culture of delusional outrage that has only served to boost the credibility of both hucksters and the mainstream media, ironically. The right sees the left as a bunch of social justice warriors, anti-white/european marxists out to use government to control their every move- because these uprisings by fringe liberal arts students and ‘hashtag resistance types’ have now become clickbait in major publications, and the left thinks the right is composed of ‘nazis,’ which is not only a gross misunderstanding of the word, but also of what the right is actually composed of- Christians- people reading the Bible, and not Mein Kampf. Not only that, but many have made heroes out of the very fed that assassinated Fred Hampton- who also sent us into Iraq- just because they hate Trump and any form of complexity. As long as our entire society is obsessed with purging itself of ‘evil men’ by constructing straw men before anyone can get a word out, without having a calm, healthy skepticism toward media and political figures/rhetoric in general, the notion of incremental change, of building relationships like this is a lofty ideal indeed. It takes the existence of some social/cultural liberalism to embrace the tensions existing between groups, and right now, both the left and the right are self-righteous puritans.

    • October 20, 2018 at 11:50 pm

      AA – Nice response. Balanced. I will chime in and add that what if these groups and others (“whether its black lives matter, the ‘tea party’, metoo, the ‘alt-right,’ LGBTQ”) are being funded by deep-pockets to create unrest within the nation as opposed to healthy debate?

      It appears to have gone beyond discussion and forces have now squared off in the streets to fight it out. There’s even been bloodshed… we’ve had shootings… the republican baseball practice, the guy shooting cops in Dallas I believe… it isn’t slowing down, it’s ramping up and being used as ammo by the news media who is owned by deep-pockets who for all we know aid in the funding of radicals.

      We need to follow the money and find out who is financing all this and purge them from our shores. Likely to happen? Nope.

      This situation is kind of like the real-estate crash of 2008. Loopholes were created to allow this huge mismanagement of low quality mortgage backed securities. The regular folks in the industry, lower level just kept making money and doling out these ARM loans to people who had poor credit ratings, etc. Eventually we could see how this was unsustainable but professionals kept it up and it all fell to pieces… even on homeowners who aimed to flip the property before their ARM loan kicked in a couple years down the road.

      The point is that once a economic or societal trend begins and it becomes too easy, things will eventually right themselves with a crash. And just as many on the left or the right have gotten lazy from thinking logically and instead scream with reckless emotion… US society may just crash as well.

    • October 22, 2018 at 7:25 am

      Yep

  15. Drew Hunkins
    October 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    The struggling working class across the nation (which alas does obviously include some of the beleaguered white folks, some of whom have been brainwashed by racial distortions) must come together soon or we’re doomed; massive solidarity is the only hope. The struggling working class now makes up roughly 85% of the population and it’s growing, even many upper middle class folks shudder at the thought of a serious health concern.

    Of course the racist filth coming out of certain sectors of the right make this a tall task. But Nader, among others, has often written about politico-economic issues in which common ground can be reached among hard pressed white workers and our brutally exploited black and latino sisters and brothers.

    Some of the guys in the “Proud Boys” were the exact types who were helping to form the populist labor movement of the 1930s. Now they’re deluded and confused, with their antics and goals bordering on a dangerous fascism. This never had to happen.

    Lastly, illegal immigration must be addressed forthrightly and humanely. Despite what you’re hearing, the genuine under-employment rate is an abomination and wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living (if the min. wage was set at its 1969 equivalent it’d be $21 per hour), this obviously means immigrants arriving at our borders and shores stress the employment market further. It’s not racist to urge a humane approach to all of this, especially when it’s still essentially an employers market out there. Firstly, putting a halt to Washington’s empire abroad and Wall Street’s gouging of the livelihoods of indigenous communities in Latin America would be one of the most appropriate places to start.

  16. October 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Both republicans and democrats have a hand to play in all this and they both should be placed in a timeout for new political ideas like adding a citizen’s branch to the executive, legislative and judicial —> http://globalproject.is/forum/showthread.php?t=3473

    “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.” – John Maynard Keynes

    If the media quit giving the David Dukes a soapbox and airtime… maybe we could focus on other things; such as being a good neighbor.

    If we could recognize that Americans have many common goals for family but are also different in ways (differences can be accepted and respected) then we could be an honest nation assimilated to succeed.

    The key is to follow the money and see who is dividing America, sowing division, financing violent activists, funding politicians… then we could see how we are being torn to pieces based upon racial lines, economic lines, etc.

  17. Jeff Harrison
    October 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    If the Democrats want to really return to the halls of power they need to return to their original power base – the non-elites in this country. This should not actually be all that difficult. After decades of Republican rule, the middle class is ravaged and shrinking fast and the non-elites are, I would imagine, around 90+% of the population. How do you lose under these circumstances? Easy. Be a Democrat. Today’s Democrats are actually Republican lites who fled the Republican party after the Reagan revolution. Look at the last two DINOs we had in office – Slick Willy and his co-president and Obama.

    I would like to know how someone who passes sentencing “reform” that is a extremely thinly disguised load of “throw the book at poor people” legislation can be seriously considered a Democrat. Ending welfare as we know it. This was done under the Republican theory X ideology that poor people and blacks “just want free things”. It also completely ignores the reality of trying to implement LBJ’s Great Society. The USG had people going out into the poverty inflicted parts of the country working to get people to take the Great Society’s help. People were just too damn proud. Personally, I think Americans still are. And finally, in an outright gift (that kept giving) to felonious plutocrats, he repealed Glass-Steagall. Citi Bank was literally in violation of Federal law (a felony) when Slick Willie repealed the law they were violating. Sweet.

    Obama was no better. He inherited Slick Willie’s screw up when his mise en scene arrived just as the economy was tanking as a result of irresponsible bank behavior that Glass-Steagall was intended to prevent. The meltdown wasn’t Obama’s fault but what happened next was. The banks got bailed out by the US taxpayer. Handsomely. The people who’s lives were badly damaged or destroyed by the banks? Not so much. There was money in the original bill that was approved for the actual people but there was one asshole in the Treasury from Shrub’s regime who stopped any and all payments for that part of the program and Obama didn’t have the balls to fire the son-of-a-bitch. Of course, Obama got Obamacare. One might think it would be great except it wasn’t. It was a give away to the insurance companies who then, as always, played hardball. It never had a “government option” (read government controlled medical system) which would have given the US a health care system on par with the rest of the industrialized world. The only defense for Obama is that the Republicans whom he deferred to at every turn were such monumental assholes that they refused to work with him. This is what I call damning with faint praise. Somebody needs to remind our politicians that they are elected to run the country and solve its problems, not play partisan politics.

    If the Democrats actually offered a vision of leadership to help the 99% and restrained their urge to tell everybody what to do, they could win again.

    • michael
      October 22, 2018 at 7:58 am

      Basically agree, but Obama and the Democrats had full control of the House and Senate in 2009 and 2010 when he worked his magic with the Bailout (and $trillions in government guarantees) and RomneyCare/ ObamaCare. The do-nothing Republican assholes came later (and possibly that was better, since Bill Clinton and the “Democrats” worked with the Republicans to give us massive incarceration, mass media control by a handful of owners, negation of the Reagan/ Gorbachev accords (moving NATO to Russia’s borders and interfering with their political and economic system), NAFTA, and building up China with our technology and jobs for political donations, among other “improvements”).

  18. John Wright
    October 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    The people of color that I know who voted for Trump did so because of their irrational fear of Muslims, which he stoked endlessly.

    The vast majority of Americans have the same needs, wants and desires…but the divide and rule tactics of the two corporate parties have been extremely effective in keeping us isolated and distrustful, and the corporate media reinforces the divisions with both their emotionally charged “news” and violent “entertainment” programming.

    COINTELPRO is alive and well, and presents another hurdle for those working to recreate a true “Rainbow Coalition”.

    The truth shall set us free.

    LOVE is the only way forward.

  19. October 20, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Fred Hampton and his work in forming a true “Rainbow coalition” obviously struck real fear in the corridors of power. His assassination by Chicago police and the FBI was one of the most blatant and egregious acts of State sponsored terrorism of that era. How ironic that as the U.S. propaganda machine was telling us endless stories of the terrible repression of political dissidents in the Soviet Union, here in the U.S. the State was simply assassinating everyone from a sitting president, to our major civil rights leaders MLK & Malcolm, to radical activists like Fred Hampton and dozens of members of the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement. All such blatant political murder carried out under the shining Madison Avenue advertising banner of – “with liberty and justice for all.”

    This is why some of us, knowing too well this sordid carefully repressed history, can only manage a wry smile when we hear phrases like “reform the democratic party.” Effective alternative political resistance requires organizing the disenfranchised, and the State has absolutely no qualms about killing such organizers should they appear to present a danger to establishment politics and the status quo. I don’t expect that any Democratic Party organizers will have their names added to the list of COINTELPRO murder victims any time soon.

    • dave
      October 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out, Gary. I don’t know how you can get through a whole article about Fred Hampton and the Panthers and not mention his assassination.

      • William Rood
        October 31, 2018 at 12:51 am

        Dave, especially after calling attention to “his short time as a Black Panther leader.” The author should have pointed out that anybody who was truly a unifying voice needed to be eliminated because the elite plan was divide and rule. MLK died when he reached out beyond civil rights to embrace both anti-war and labor movements, threatening a poor people’s march on Washington. Malcolm X was also reaching out beyond racial bounds after his hajj, which he described in his autobiography. Fred Hampton was clearly a threat, and his murder was clearly premeditated and well planned. Even the Wikipedia article makes that abundantly clear. Even RFK was talking about stopping the HUD policy of segregated public housing. All were killed because the were forces of unity rather than division. The same divide and rule strategy is being used today with elite funding of Antifa and local police standing down, refusing to keep them away from conservative demonstrators in Charlottesville and Portland.

    • Bob Van Noy
      October 20, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      Thank you Gary Weglarz, excellent in depth search here at Spartacus Educational.
      https://spartacus-educational.com/USApantherB.htm

    • Jill
      October 21, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      Very well said Gary.

    • Dwight Brown
      November 2, 2018 at 12:14 am

      Your point is well-taken. One has to have his/her mind made up move forward in an effectively.

  20. DFC
    October 20, 2018 at 9:57 am

    This is why it is so important to go after people like Kayne West:

    To the Left of Black Americans

    “In fact, white liberals are well to the left of the black electorate on some racial issues.

    Take the issue of discrimination as a factor holding back African-American advancement. White liberals are to the left of black Democrats, placing a much stronger emphasis than African-Americans on the role of discrimination and much less emphasis on the importance of individual effort.

    Among blacks, 59.9 percent identified discrimination as the main deterrent to upward mobility for African-Americans, and 32.0 percent said blacks were responsible for their condition — in other words, blacks are more conservative than white liberals on this issue.”

    h**ps://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/democrat-electorate-left-turn.html

    Uneducated attitudes like Kanye’s, and now a significant number in the Black Community it appears, are becoming a thorn in the side of the Social Justice Movement. So possibly, this needs to be addressed at the “grass roots level” before alliances like the author describes can be made? Otherwise progress will be sabotaged from the inside. IMHO

    • Jeff Buffington
      October 21, 2018 at 2:13 am

      Kanye is rich. For him, Trump has been a great president. The fact that the Dems only offer the same policies with a nbit of window dressing guided in identity politics offers the same nothing that the republican’ts have been serving up.

  21. michael
    October 20, 2018 at 6:39 am

    “A core question moving forward for social justice advocates and the Democratic Party is how they can move beyond identity politics and attract working-class voters of all races, building stronger coalitions among disparate groups.”
    The biggest problem with Democrats is they focus on capturing votes rather than doing work and helping people, particularly the poor and working class who have been abandoned by the Third Way Democrats. Clinton passed essentially Republican policies with bipartisan support (the 1994 Crime Bill aimed at super predators without conscience or empathy who must be brought to heel, was a naked racist ploy for votes; the increased violent crime wave of the 1980s was falling and the resultant mass incarceration had only negative effects on the poor, particularly Blacks, where one in three males will become a felon.) Obama gave much more to Wall Street, over $10 trillion in government guarantees, than he gave to the poor (a Republican insurance-based RomneyCare/ Obama/Care) when he had the power for universal health care. The Democrats ever increasing involvement in military adventurism, police state expansion and corporate free-riding under both Clinton and Obama was less expected and more disappointing than what Bush did (maybe worse, but no surprise; his rehabilitation by the Democratic elite is telling). “By their fruits ye shall know them”.
    America is hurting. 60% do not have a $1000 in savings for an emergency. This is not a recent development under Trump, it has been building since Reagan. If the Democrats switched away from their pet projects of greed and war to helping people, there would be no need to strategize on how to get more votes.

    • Eddie
      October 20, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Exactly michael, this is a long-time problem*, essentially structural at this point, going back to the late 70’s at least, and really accelerating when Reagan was elected. But Reagan didn’t elect himself TWICE, nor did Nixon nor Clinton, nor ‘W’, so the problem is way deeper than just the yahoo who is currently in the White House.

      (* I can seriously entertain the idea that it’s always been the norm in the US, with the exception being the years from ~1930’s thru maybe mid 1970’s, and those weren’t periods of benevolent humanitarianism by any means, but at least there was putative concern about these issues by most Democrats and occasional progressive legislation passed)

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