Monday, January 31, 2005

Debate over Obama, Rice & Hardball vs, Dems

Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Revolted but unsurprised 27 Jan 2005

Yup, that's right. Barak Obama, the darling of the liberal set, voted with the Republocrats in confirming Condi Rice as the new ambassador of U.S. imperialism.

For what it's worth, Illinois' 'senior' senator Dick Durbin voted against this venal shithead's appointment. What's wrong with this picture? Everything. What's surprising? Nothing, since in his first official senate vote, Obama voted to certify the November 2 electoral college votes -- including in Ohio, New Mexico and Florida, where massive irregularities are increasingly being cited as having wrongly tipped those states to Bush.

Even 'opposition' pro-war candidate Kerry mustered the spine to vote against Condi ... but not Barak. Wonder if he'll continue his pattern of craven administration support by putting meat on his pre-election bone of contention with Iran, when he asserted in a television interview that he had no problem with a 'pre-emptive strike' against same. He sure as hell is not building a track record that suggests that he'll be anything but a Democratic Leadership Council stooge.

Comments Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by marat 27 Jan 2005

Well, it looks like many of the "peace voter" types who lined up uncritically behind Obama as the best hope for the future have been taken to the cleaners once again -- this time by a slick political huckster with long range ambitions, renewed ties to the Democratic Leadership Council and few scruples -- particuarly when it comes to bamboozling local progressives.

Most Chicagoans generally expect to wade knee deep through the manure spread by aspiring politicians on the make in an election year. But that's a far cry from actually buying the campaign hype. PT Barnum was right.

With the full Senate confirmation vote on Alberto 'Torture's Okay Dokey By Me" Gonzales as Attorney-General looming next week, maybe it's time to take up a public collection to help Senator Obama buy a spine.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Carl Davidson

Are we shocked that Obama is a liberal? He hasn't sold out to the liberals, he's been one all along, and you'll noticed that liberals divided and waffled on the Condi vote, as they do on a good number of things. That's why they're liberals.

There is one point that needs to be made, though. How would it look to his core base for the only Black man in the Senate to vote against the first Black woman to be Secretary of State? It might be easy for while radicals or even a few white liberals, but politicians, first and foremost, know how to count...

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out by argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jesus Christ Carl Davidson...What does it take for you to give up your irritating and annoying boot licking and excuse making for the Democratic Party. Enough!!! What's next your apologies for why Jan urged the schoolboard ahead with turning Senn into a military outpost...rationaliing Obama saber rattling directed at Iran...raationalizing Hillary Clinton's speech this week about reaching out to Pro Lifers...enough from the likes of you. Your shilling for the Dems is pathetic. and clearly you have learned nothing from this past election. Stop making excuses and start building the fucking movement

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by assdfg

27 Jan 2005 i am a black man and i am pissed that he voted for condi. get over your paternalistic bullshit with black people carl.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Carl Davidson

27 Jan 2005 I'm glad Senators voted NO on Rice as a repudiation of the war, and I urged Obama to do so, too. And likewise urged Schkowsky to oppose the Naval academy at Senn. I'm just say you have to analyze things a bit in context. Your allies don't always do your exact bidding; that's why they're allies of your camp, and not part of your camp itself. That's why we maintain our independence, and criticize and pressure them as needed. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. But I still would have voted for Obama, if for no other reason than to put a dent in the lily-white Senate. Call it patronizing or anything you want, but it was better than voting for Keyes or not voting at all.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Egads 27 Jan 2005

I am baffled. By Carl's logic, Blacks should vote for Blacks, women should vote for women, Latinos should vote for Latinos, GLBT people should vote for out queers (or maybe closeted ones, for that matter)... and maybe Germans should vote for Germans, Serbs should vote for Serbs, and the Romani should vote for nobody, because they never have candidates. Maybe Asians in the U.S. shouldn't vote either, since not too many Asians run for electged office, although there was a South Asian fellow who ran for the Republican slot in the governor's race, on an unbelievably reactionary economic platform that included the usual short shrift for immigrants. Should Asians have voted for that guy, or only South Asians?

By this logic, Barak Obama should never have run against Bobby Rush for congress. Come to think of it, he shouldn't have run against Rush anyway, since Rush remains far less odious as an elected official than Obama in his short tenure in the Senate.

Come on, Carl. Since when have we jumped on the 'tokenism' bandwagon in abeyance of all of our political principles? Oh, wait. I forgot. The regime currently in power has been masterful at tokenism, seeking always to appoint cabinet loyalists who don't look like pink people, but back policies that are embued with the most pernicious characteristics of white supremacy.

My friend, it's ok to admit that you mistyped and want to retract the atrocious suggestion that Obama just couldn't bring himself to vote against a Black woman -- despite the fact that that willing token fuckhead clearly has complete contempt for the core interests of Blacks and just about everybody else on this planet.

The core assumption in an assertion like that is that Black people are dumbasses, too stupid to distinguish between a vote against a Black woman and a vote against a person who happens to be Black and female who stands against the interests of both of those constituencies.

What a great fucking way to encourage people of color to renew their alliegance to the Democratic Party...not.

What the fuck.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by curious

Just curious Carl. Exactly what would it take for you to stop pandering to the Dems--"liberal" wing and all??? What have your liberals done to show they are our "allies". This ally business, as far as you are concerned, seems to be a one way street. You make all the excuses and they give us nothing in return. Your liberal friends in the Dems have sold us out on gay marriage, on ending the occupation, on abortion rights. No betrayal from your liberal Dems seems too much for you. Do you have a line that you draw when you stop supporting the other war party. Just curious.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by two questions

hmmmm. you counseled Obama to vote against Condi. You counseled JAn to vote against the Navy at Senn. Looks like you are losing your influence around town. And how exactly are you planning on "pressuring" Obama and Jan??? You have exposed yourself repeatedly in this last election that you don't really have any standards and that you'll vote for a democrat before you do anything else. So how are you going to pressure them when on softball issues, ie vote against the war monger who told us that if we didn't go iinto Iraq there would be muchroom clouds; and isolate the liberal who says she's against the war but wants Senn to be turned into a navel academy????What are you not going to vote or stump for them. Fogive us if we don't beleive you.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by J.27 Jan 2005

I don't know, Carl. I mean, as a leading African-American, the impact of him voting against Rice would have been tremendous. Bush, to a certain extent, is engaging in the worst sort of tokenism with Rice (much worse with Gonzales.) Obama was uniquely situated to vote against Rice.

It wouldn't have hurt him with his base in the African-American community. They know the difference between someone who shares their concerns, and someone who merely shares their skin color. And Obama's vote against Rice would have given cover to some of the white politicians who voeted for Rice because they didn't want to be seen as opposing the advancement of an African-American.

Sadly, I think Obama's vote here is better understood as an effort to broaden his base, beyond what he gets in Illinois. It's sort of like Kerry's vote for the war -- he figured that was the safe thing to do if he wanted to run for President. Obama's aiming for higher office, and is willing to move to the center to do it. It would have cost him little to vote against her, and it would have done a lot.

Another good progressive sacrificing what he believes in for personal advancement. It happens all too often.

Don't get me wrong. I'll almost certainly vote again for Obama again, whatever he runs for. But this is a disappointment, and bad sign for his future as a progressive.

There was no good reason for Obama to vote for Rice.

Obama and Condi
by marat

Sorry, Carl but it won't wash. Folks in the African American and Latino communities recognize the Bush ploy with Rice and Gonzales for what it is - a transparent attempt at tokenism that is fundamentally racist to the core.

As for Rice, check out the latest edition of the Black Commentator at: for their take on her appointment.

BTW, the BC was the publication that first outed Obama for his membership in the Democratic Leadership Council.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Egads 27 Jan 2005

You know, unlike some of my anarchist purist friends, I am not catagorically opposed to playing in the electoral sector. I am, however, catagorically opposed to allowing misguided souls with a painfully long learning curve like Carl Davidson to play in same.

Why? Because folks like Carl just don't get it. Obama didn't vote for Condi in order to pander to sentiments in the Black community, except perhaps for the rare conservative wingnut like paid Bush apologist Armstrong Williams. Those pro-Condi sentiments don't exist in the community. No, to understand why Obama has set himself on this voting trajectory, you need to do one thing: follow the money...and by default, plot his political ambitions for higher office.

Obama has no compunction about going against Black politicians -- including relatively progressive Black politicians like Bobby Rush. That was a great scenario for the up-and-comer. Do da mare a favor by punishing the candidate who had the audacity to challenge his hold on the kingdom of Chicago, and cut a bunch of side-bar deals to grease the wheel for mayoral support in Springfield and points beyond.

Obama is in many ways no different than another 'liberal' sell-out, Carol Mosely Braun, who as a one-term loser, by the way, ultimately paved the way for Obama’s rise through the ranks. And he's looking to secure his current AND potential donor base, largely from the class of corporate heavies that tend to back Democratic Leadership Council candidates and don't think an expanded empire in the Middle East is necessarily a bad idea.

The problem with all of this, of course, is that delusional 'thinkers' like Carl believe that eager stooges like Obama may occasionally throw the rest of us a bone. Not lately, and increasingly on the crucial issues, not ever if you look at the voting trajectory of the vast majority of Senate Democrats.

My father, a hardline New Deal Democrat, used to have a saying. How do you tell a Democrat from a Republican? The Democrats will occasionally throw you a bone, while the Republicans will pick your bones. Sadly, increasingly, that's not even true, as corporate Democrats chase their corporate Republican comrades down the path to the corporate trough.

At the same time, misguided apologists like Carl continue to believe that somehow, somewhere, we are not playing a zero sum gain game. Carl believes that we can sway the Democratic Party and Democratic politicians by directing mass opinion â€" and voter support â€" their way. But Democratic politicians know that, in the end, 'we'll' vote for them because ‘we’ have no choice. It's like tic-tac-toe. The only winning move is not to play that game.

Instead, if we MUST play in the electoral sector as one strategy amongst MANY, we should be boosting grassroots candidates who see a bid for office as a chance to shake things up on behalf of a base to whom they’re accountable, instead of running as a career move. Increasingly, that means backing truly independent candidates, because this inside/outside strategy is doomed to fail. Look at the changes in the core dynamics of the Democratic Party, for pity's sake. The left HAS no option in the Democratic Party, or hadn't you noticed, Carl. Instead, we should be running truly insurgent campaigns designed to hurt the people that hurt us -- and that means the fucking Democratic Party infrastructure, which has in the last three decades shut us out of even a minority voice in its conventions, and increasingly marginalized and taken for granted its base constituencies in its quest to out-corporate the Republicans.

Elected office has always been a career and a springboard for even higher office for Obama. He's never been the people's man, and his voting record to date in the Senate, as abbreviated as it is, underscores that. There ARE a few alternatives that remain in the DP, but very few. A notable example is Cynthia McKinney, who ran an insurgent grassroots campaign to seize back her congressional seat -- as much from the Democratic Party operatives who sold her out as from the Republican who defeated her two years ago.

Over the longer term, however, we need a new party and a party with a platform and some fucking principles. And we really, really, really need to refuse to allow naive player wannabee's like Carl to misdirect our energies into the electoral sector bait-and-switch, and instead ratchet up resistance through street actions, boycotts, LOCAL electoral work against Republicrats like King Daley, and increasingly aggressive popular campaigns against those who would step up our growing disenfranchisement. Not every campaign is an ˜electoral campaign. Where might we be if thousands of local activists hadn't followed the liberals' appeal to peel back from public protest and instead focus on a presidential and congressional election -- within a larger strategic framework that was doomed to fail? At least our fucking movement would be stronger. Instead, playing the loser electoral game has simply weakened, misdirected and undercut what had been a burgeoning anti-war movement that increasingly drew core connections between our misadventures in Iraq and the larger imperial agenda of the plutocrats who back the Bush regime.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

By Carl Davidson 27 Jan 2005

My goodness, my little point about why Obama might have voted for Condi Rice seems to have stirred up a hornet's nest. Why not just ask the man his reasons?

But what disturbs me--maybe I'm just old fashioned--is the pure venom that's spewed by white radicals against Black liberals in these discussions.

One of the things I learned from Lenin in studying the "national question" back in the 1960s during the Black Revolt was that the beginning of wisdom was to make a distinction between oppressor and oppressed nationaties--and that there was a "division of labor" between the radicals of the oppressor ( read white) nation and those of the oppressed (read Black) nation. The white radicals were to aim their main fire at their own "white chauvinists." If they did a good job at this, it made it easier for the Black radicals to take on the opportunists or backward nationalists in their own community in a way that helped multinational unity.

Lenin especially warned that for the radicals of the dominant nationality to make it their business to attack non-radical or opportunist elements in the oppressed community, whatever their class standing, was not only ineffective, but made matters worse, not only for the Black radicals, since coming from the whites, it would be seen by many in the oppressed community as chauvinism with a left veneer, even if well intentioned. Multinational unity would be undercut.

Does this mean that Condi shouldn't be taken on? Of course not. Only that as whites, we have to have some sensitive restraint in how we put things. But more important, the better job we do taking on Bush and his neocon cabal, the more effective it is for folks like the Black Commentator to take on Condi and others like her with tough polemics within the Black community.

And whoever thinks Condi has no sympathy in the Black community better go and talk to some people. I teach computer literacy to CHA residents, all Black working class folks 30-50 years old. I took a straw poll one day. Out of a class of 10, 8 women strongly admiring and supporting Condi, one guy undecided and one guy against--and they were all opposed to the war.

Inconsistent? Yes, but the point, especially for WHITE radicals, is to be sensitive to these things, especially when the dominant order is white supremacy, white monopolies and white exclusiveness. Remember your part in the "division of labor."

That why I cringe whenever I hear WHITE radicals running off at the mouth about Uncle Tom here or Aunt Jemima there, or even worse language, about Black leaders.

It has nothing to do with the Democratic Party (which I would like to replace as much as anyone) but everything to do with right and wrong on "the national question."

It's an old lesson, but sometimes new generations unfortunately have to learn it all over again.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

By marat

From Davidson's last post, it's apparent he didn't bother to actually read what the Black Commentator had to say about Condi Rice.

It figures. Why would he? After all, it's simply much easier to retreat into a discussion of the classics - Lenin on the national question - than actually have to react to what real live Black progressives are saying about Condi's absymal role in the Bush Administration. And much less problematic as well...since their views don't exactly jibe with his paternalistic view of what the Black community actually thinks. So given a choice between BC's insightful commentary and analysis and Carl's pithy observations about opinion in the African American community - formulated from a position of relative privilege - a white instructor polling his students - sorry folks, but I'll take the Black Commentator hands down.

Still, Davidson's point about taking on white chauvinism in the progressive movement is on target. White radicals do have a responsiblity to confront this head on. And one of the first things they need to do is listen to what progressive voices from oppressed communities are actually saying. Would that Davidson take his own advice.

Here's one place to start:

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by egads 28 Jan 2005

Unbelievable. One shouldn't criticize Obama and his already deplorable senate voting record if one is white -- that's effectively what Carl Davidson is saying. And he backs this up with his 'vox populi' straw poll of students in his class, Blacks who Carl says deeply admire Condi.

Huh. Sorry, but in my own informal straw polls, I've never met a Black person who supports Condi's politics or political allegiences. That's very different than asking people if they 'admire' her for getting ahead in a nation that is racist to the core.

If we extend Carl's logic, poor Clarence Thomas really did get the shaft for being called out on his sexism, even if it was a Black woman who called him out, because, dammit, whites can't criticize that particular Black man's politics either.

I have to say that I don't think I've ever seen such a cynical exploitation by a white man -- Carl Davidson -- of the race card on this newswire. All this so Carl can continue to try to mount some defense of his pal Obama. Carl, let me ask you -- just when is Obama going to take a vote that's not about screwing the rest of us, Black, white, Latino, men, women, children? And while we're at it, how about the call in an earlier comment to take on local republicrats like Daley? Where do you stand on that, buddy? Or is that grooving a little too close to a local gravy train for you?

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by bac ho 28 Jan 2005

Another telling benchmark will be Barak's vote during the full Senate confirmation session on Alberto "Torture Boy" Gonzales as Attorney-General next week.

The leading Latino civil liberties organization MALDEF has openly condemned this nomination, along with the NAACP, the full Black Congressional Caucus, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups. Will Obama stand with these groups -- and his own Latino constituents -- or vote with the Senate Republican majority?

Anybody wanna lay odds?

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

By Carl Davidson
28 Jan 2005

I guess I have to repeat things several times before they get through here. I wonder why.

1. I support those who voted against Condi Rice and the war in her Senate confirmation. I wish the whole damn Senate voted against her, including Obama.

2. I'm for criticizing any and all politicians of whatever nationality, except that when whites take on minority politicians, they have to be sensitive to white exclusiveness and privilege in how they put things, and that their main task is to take on white opportunists or white adversaries. If you think that's paternalism, I plead guilty.

3 I will and have supported any decent canditate against Daley. It seems Jesse Jr is getting a challenge together. Are you guys on board, or is he to much of a sellout liberal for you?

4. I have no illusions about reforming the Democratic party; it has to be replaced with a real progressive electoral alliance, but in a way that weakens rather than strengthens the far right at the same time. I also believe in not voting or 'lesser evil' voting from time to time; I never voted for Clinton, but did vote for Kerry over Bush. If that makes me a shill for the Democrats, then I also plead guilty.

5. I read every issue of the Black Commentator and have posted their stuff to our web site, in past 'articles of the month.' It's a fine publication with view much in tune with my own. I suggest you read their stuff on Dan Swinney's work and see if you're in tune.

6. There are a good number of DSA types or reform Democrats who do have the politics you are attacking. If you want to do polemics with that line, why not do it with them? If you want to do polemics with me, I've got plenty of documents out there that actually state my real views, why not take them on instead of playing 'gotcha' with straw men? Doing so reveals your weaknesses more than mine to anyone who really bothers to think about it...

7. Finally, I think the politics of the Black community are a lot more complicated than any of us think. I present some counter examples to some of the more outrageous claims that seems to think they're all in tune with the far left. I'm neither in a position, nor have the ability or desire to try to represent the views of the Black community as a whole. I'm just urging radicals to actually talk with a wider variety of people in their actual diversity so our own views aren't based on wishful thinking.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by marat

OK, Carl, what did you think about the BC editorial, now that we've received public assurances that you've actually read it? You might consider forwarding it on to Barak as well.

While we're on the subject of white activists relating supportively to the black liberation movement, let me point out that one of BC's gifted writers is Chicago's own Bruce Dixon - former Black Panther Party member and community housing organizer, with literally decades of experience working in the Chicago electoral arena - including Harold's campaign. It was Dixon - who currently lives in Georgia - who researched the expose that first revealed Obama's ties to the DLC, and forced the candidate to fess up contritely in a public letter to the BC and their readers.

Dixon's BC article was also republished here on Chicago Indymedia, which BC editors gave a nice heads up to -- praise indeed coming from such a great publication.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by clarifying the record

Carl, this debate erupted because you suggested that Obama may not have wanted to go on record as a Black man voting against the appointment of a Black woman, suggesting that to do so might have alienated his base in the Black community.

Specifically, you said: "How would it look to his core base for the only Black man in the Senate to vote against the first Black woman to be Secretary of State? It might be easy for while radicals or even a few white liberals, but politicians, first and foremost, know how to count..."

Well, increasingly, politicians don't need to count. Recall the sweeping strategy of voter suppression in states like Ohio last November, as well as Florida, New Mexico -- and even the south side of Chicago, where lines were much longer and problems in the polling places were much greater than in bastions of white conservative voters in many DuPage County precincts. Barak Obama chose note to vote against the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of Black voters, in his first official senate vote.

Republocrats like Daley have used the tactic of voter suppression effectively forever. People tout the 'huge margin' by which Daley won his last election -- but they forget to point out that actual voter turnout was in the tank, and that Daley got fewer actual votes than in any previous election.

Yeah politics are complex in the Black community. They're comlex in every community. It would just be so great if the liberal tendencies in the anti-war movement would actually recall this the next time they ask their base to sit on their hands while they shill for a pro-war candidate like Kerry and then wonder why more of their people didn't turn out to vote for their guy.

One of those 'complexities' comes from both Blacks and whites who supported Obama, and now wonder why he didn't stand up for disenfranchised Black voters in states like Ohio when the electoral college results were certified -- unlike members of the Black Congressional Caucus, who mounted vigorous objections to the Republicrats' voter suppression strategies but were barred by congressional rules from voicing their opposition with a vote...unlike their lone Black compatriot in the Senate.

When will Obama stand up for progressive initiatives? He's had plenty opportunity so far, and has failed on every count. Why do you persist in reaching for rhetorical florishes (grounded in paternalism) to justify Obama's support for Condi, when progressive groups throughout the Black and Latino and white communities in this nation are condemning support for her? Why, Carl? Why?

And re your crack about whether progressives would support Jesse Jr. in a prospective bid for the mayor's seat against Daley -- well, duh, yeah, people would support his bid. I have yet to hear one credible peep about a serious bid from Junior to throw his hat in the race. He'd certainly ratchet up his political stock across a range of constituencies if he'd throw in his hat, but I'd be stunned if he would. There ARE a number of rock-solid progressives who are considering a bid against Daley -- and who would be strong, viable candidates. Will you support them? Would the ABB -- anybody but Bush -- strategy apply to a local race against a Republicrat like Daley, or is that a strategy you reserve only for national races that pit two pro-war candidates against one another?

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Carl Davidson
28 Jan 2005

Clarifying says: 'When will Obama stand up for progressive initiatives? He's had plenty opportunity so far, and has failed on every count. Why do you persist in reaching for rhetorical florishes (grounded in paternalism) to justify Obama's support for Condi, when progressive groups throughout the Black and Latino and white communities in this nation are condemning support for her? Why, Carl? Why?'

First of all, I am not 'justifying' Obama's stand on anything; I speculated about what might have been one of his reasons. To get more reasons, read Lynn Sweet's piece today or call him up and ask him yourself, or go to one of his consituent meetings and ask.

In the end, he may very well end up with both feet in the DLC camp; right now he's playing footsie with them.

The man claims he's making veterans benefits his first main target. How long has the man been in the senate? A month? Let's see a bit more of what happens before you dump him in the garbage can.

By the way, Jan Schkowsky is now campaigning for the Congress to vote against Bush's new war appropriations. Can we now drag her back out of the garbage can?

This is all getting rather tiresome. As I said in the beginning, these are liberals, and they waver and don't agree with us on many things. But if this day and age, we need, along with other forces, some liberal allies, however wavering, if we are ever going to bring this war to an end and defeat the right. Is that so complicated?

Finally, you don't think Jesse Jr is gearing up for a run? We'll see...

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by cripes, Carl
28 Jan 2005

Cripes, Carl, you miss the point completely. If we must play in the electoral sector -- one movement strategy among many -- we have to play hardball, as does the opposition. That means extracting real costs and benefits from elected officials when we offer them our sweat equity and valuable support in campaign mode.

That means holding them to some minimum standards on core political points. If Schakowski supports a military academy at Senn, then the portion of her base that opposes this decision needs to let her know, by their voices and their votes. This is the essence of power politics, and while I am not a fan of Alinsky-style organizing, it has been deployed to great effect by Alinskyite groups like National People's Action, which played a core role in the passage of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) -- the latter which has directed an estimated $117 billion into community reinvestment over the years.

NPA's done this by employing a range of tactics: providing congressional testimony, lobbying elected officials, organizing in local neighborhoods -- and putting their people on the streets to kick the shit out of the assholes that oppose their goals. They are not a direct democracy group, but they are deeply grounded in the strategy of direct action -- and historically they've sure as hell understand how to mobilize against the opposition, whether that means picketing the homes of federal cabinet members or tarring their elected 'friends' when they go soft on their agenda. While ultraleftists may write off their strategies as reformist, this approach has won some powerful legislation...which of course the current administration is eviscerating as quickly as possible.

There is often great utility in working the inside/outside strategy. So, as an insider yourself who moves in highly leveraged insider Democratic Party circles, I'm wondering what sort of steps you and your cohorts have taken to register your acute disapproval to Obama of his pro-Condi vote, and his anti-enfranchisement vote when he supported certifying the electoral college results. How will you hold his feet to the fire?

This is not a rhetorical question. When Black Commentator correspondent Bruce Dixon outed Obama nationally for playing footsie with the Democratic Leadership Council before the election, Obama rushed to publicly distance himself from the scumsucking fuckwads in the DLC. Now you note that he's playing footsie with them once again. Can we not again employ the strategy of public outing -- and public outrage -- to redirect the man's interests?

Smart campaign volunteers are not automatons. But locally, it seems our liberal pals in projects like CAWI have simply forgotten that when you throw down the resources in time and effort, you get to ask for -- and yes, when necessary, demand -- payback for those efforts. And when it's not forthcoming, why, you make the sucker sweat. That's the core of organizing.

But I fear that CAWI's leadership -- but not CAWI's base -- may have forgotten this. I was stunned to see your response to the notice for this Saturday's organzing meeting about staging a local protest this March on the two-year anniversary against the war. (See link here: Basically you wrote that CAWI feels outnumbered by more militant progressive voices at these meetings, reducing you-all to mere 'observer' status. Jesus, Carl, have you ever heard of fucking organizing? Could CAWI not come up with 20 people from their base who could participate in this discussion, or are you and Marilyn Katz the only people empowered to dictate CAWI's policy. I would LOVE it if more CAWI people would come to these meetings, because I thoroughly dispute your assertion that your base is not on the same page as the 'left'. Far from it. CAWI's base -- if not CAWI's leadership -- has always turned out for anti-war events, including those staged by those uppity radicals who support a connect-the-dots approach to the issues and don't think politicians are sacred cows. I think every one of CAWI's base members should come to this meeting. Maybe they'd like the experience of organizing democratically amongst themselves instead of being handed marching orders by their 'leaders'.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out by C. J. Laity (No verified email address) Current rating: 0
28 Jan 2005 Here's what obama voted for:

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out
by Carl Davidson
28 Jan 2005

CJ Laity:

All I can say is take a look at CAWI's noiraqwar listserv on You'll see plenty of action by our folks getting on the case of Jan, Barack and plenty of others.

We criticize and pressure them as best we can; we just avoid throwing them into the trashcan of history at every wrong turn.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by C. J. Laity Jan 2005

Hey, take a chill pill, Carl, don't know who you are or what you stand for, and wasn't trying to make any kind of statement about you, all I was saying (with a link) was that this is what Obama and all those other toothless, sell-out, back-stabbing, two-faced, spineless, weak, jargon talking, rhetoric flinging, selfish, wheeling and dealing Democrats voted for.

Jan Schakowsky Can Stay in the Trash Can
by Bob Schwartz
28 Jan 2005

I was present when Jan Schakowsky intoned that she was "our peace representative in Washington" but that she backed the naval base at Senn HS. Funny, but that was what Boss Daley and his minions Mary "Admiral" Smith and Arne Duncan wanted, and the object of Dick Durbin's largesse.

Jan (and Obomb'em for that matter) continue to back the Israeli terror regime. But Carl's camp has never had much of a problem with that.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Anne 28 Jan 2005

In the final analysis, Chicago voters will measure Barak by his voting record, and not the image the DNC spinmeisters want to manufacture. And right now, that voting record looks pretty dismal.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by up the ante against the dems (
29 Jan 2005

we gotta play hard ball with the dems and make them realize that their are consequences for betraying the left.sure we can play the electoral game a bit, but if they do something we don't agree, they have to feel pain and political pressure for it. They are not our allies.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Carl Davidson
30 Jan 2005

So the far left is going to play "hard ball" with the Dems? How, pray tell? Not that someone can't, but how can you folks do it?

You've never voted for them, at least openly, or publically urged anyone else to vote for them. In fact a good bunch of you are against bourgeois elections altogether. So there's no threat there.

You say there's no difference between them and the Republicans, and it doesn't matter if they lose to Republicans? No threat there either. At best, you tell people who mostly don't vote anyway not to vote, which hardly has them quaking in their boots.

You can disrupt their public meetings, I suppose, or demonstrate outside their offices, but since you don't consider yourself their constiutents, it doesn't much matter to them. In fact, it might build more sympathy for them among the liberals or the center who are among their constituents. Not much threat there.

You are not building any independent electoral organization that might challenge them or, heaven forbid, even the GOP right, and usually oppose the efforts of those who do as revisionist or Stalinist sellouts, so you're no threat there either.

So where's the "hardball?" More street actions denouncing all politicians surrounded by ninja turtles and occaisionally breaking through and disrupting traffic, over and over, until we have the mythical general strike? (But let's make sure there are no left 'authoritarian' or 'vanguardist' political parties to lead it)? I suppose there's some threat to public order and the Bush regime here--which is not a bad thing and worth supporting--but not much that will specifically hurt the Dems. In fact, many of them will backhandly support it and some even openly.

Campaign for a Green or Socialist party that aims its main 'class line' fire against the Dems and capitalism? You might get 1% to 5% of the vote, most of which wouldn't have voted Democratic anyway. Not insignificant if you can pull it off, but still not much of a threat. Even if you do get ballot status, not much of a threat here either unless you can reform the electoral system first, which is probably too reformist for you to work on with the rest of us sellouts. So there's another fizzle.

Your biggest threat, such as it is, is backhandedly helping to elect more Republicans, but the DLC is already doing that to the Dems all by themselves. Your help won't add that much, but it will certainly isolate you even more from the progressives who do vote Democratic or the few progressives who run and get elected as Dems. So you can both be furious with each other out on the margins while the GOP and the Christian right rule the roost.

Sorry folks, but your far left "hardball" amounts to little more than nasty rhetoric on indymedia, nasty leaflets and little newspaper articles that are usually barely readable, and nasty remarks in speeches to people who mostly already agree with you.

Even when the Dems you hate so much are speaking on the same platform with you, like Joe Moore or Jan Schkowsky, do you think your rhetoric hurts them much? Do you really think that you're conferring legitimacy of them before the masses? If you do, you're more deluded that even I imagined. If anything, they give legitimacy to you. So not much of a threat here, either...

We can develop a serious hardball strategy, and I'll willing to work with anyone who's serious, but not this way. Been there and done that, and it goes nowhere....

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by still curious
30 Jan 2005

Look Carl you can get indignant if you'd like, but if you think your strategy is winning I think you are the one who is deluded. You have yet to explain how your strategy is effective. While you lament about the lack of influence the left has because we don't vote democrat in the first place--what influence do you and people like you have. For all of your influence the Dems ran the most conservative Democrat they could have--opposed to gay marriage, for the war, against immigration, et al. Moreover, the liberals you keep referring to as our allies don't even attempt to offer our side a bone. In fact most of the time in the last election period the left was told to shutup about gay marriage, the war and any other thing that could have held Kerry accountable. Those of us who supported Nader as aan alternative to the prowar antics of the Dems were denounced summarily by liberals like you and others on the left.

You condemn the left as being hopelessly utopian for arguing against the Anybody But Bush strategy and yet it seems that your strategy of "pressuring" the Democrats into being progressive is the most utopian of all. Can you describe to us a period in the history of this country where the left has been able to cajol the Democrats--or even in your logic the "good" Democrats--into doing the right thing? Moreover you are proposing that the Dems will shift in a period in which there is no social movement to put pressure on them to "do the right thing." That is utopian at best naive and silly at its worst.

Instead of making a caricature out the left--from my knowledge only tiny sects call for general strikes out of nowhere and revolution out of nowhere--you should take what other sections of the left are saying seriously. Namely that leftwing and progressive forces will never break out in an influential way in this society until we are truly independent of the Democratic Party. We cannot continue to afford to put the movement on hold every four years so we can elect a Dem who is not as bad as the sitting Republican or GOP running. The past year was a shame. When we had all the moment of 10 million people around the world protesting Bush's bloody war it was all put on the back burner because of ABB. You argued the movement was being made stronger because so many people were being activated on a local level because of voter registration. You argued that these people were going to be right back on the streets on Nov. 3rd. Once again Carl you and your strategy were wrong. In fact, people were deeply demoralized by hte election. Not just because Bush won, but because people like you spent months telling the rest of us that a Bush victory was tantamount to fascism becoming the rule of law. This was supposed to be the most crucial election of our lifetime--and still more than 60 million people didn't vote. That is demoralizing to people. As demoralizing as telling Blacks to vote for Kerry when he refused to mention any issues critical to Blacks; telling gays to vote for Kerry when he refused to come out and support gay marriage, etc...So far from millions of people hitting the streets on Nov. 3rd. Two attitudes prevail because of the collapsing liberals in this country. One, we have to wait and see. You have already expressed this--Obama has only been in office for a month. REally Carl, what bold positions do you expect Obama to take anytime soon and what are you basing htat hope on. And so people are now expected to give these folks the benefit of the doubt and wait. The second is the idea we can't do much until the next election or at lest spend the next few years trying to get a Dem in. And so the vicious cycle continues of thinking the elections are the main thing that matters. That is clearly what you think as you degrade and minimize the attempts of activists to organize protest and look for some other political vehicle than the hopeless Democratic Party.

Carl, it is you who are the utopian.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out
by Wrong again, Carl
30 Jan 2005

Carl, it is a mistake to paint with a broad brushstroke every person who is horrified by Obama's vote for Condi. You suggest that people comnplaining about that vote on this thread are mouthpieces for the usual suspects who opt out of electoral politics anyway.

Wrong. Many of the posters to this thread have done and continue to do electoral work, as one tactic among many. And millions of voters, actual and prospective -- peace protesters, 'minorities', advocates of women's control over their bodies, et al -- are turned off more and more each day by an 'opposition' party that increasingly stands for nothing except their own security as corporate-sponsored elected hacks.

40% of the eligible electorate did not show up at the polls on November 2. At least thousands of those 'non-voters' tried to vote, but were denied that right in states like Ohio. That's OK with your boy Obama. Surely millions among those non-voters didn't show up because they fail to see the choice between a pretty-pro-war candidate and a very-pro-war candidate, both of whom are deeply dependant on the corporate power that bankrolls both their election funds.

The root problem here is that you have little confidence -- and apparently great contempt -- for the growing number of Americans who are revolted as much by the Dems' craven lack of spine as the Republicans' craven agenda. Bush won by a margin of roughly 2 million votes -- the extremist Christian rightwing voters who did NOT turn out four years ago. What platform, what program did the Democratic Party and its lead candidates present to bring out similarly estranged Democratic Party-leaning voters? And when those voters did turn out to vote and were turned back, the Dems totally failed to support them in the Senate by refusing to certify bogus results in states like Ohio and New Mexico.

Projects that you support like CAWI have been arguing for some years now that the anti-war movement is too militant, and that the message and the strategies need to be sanitized and dumbed down to appeal to a greater 'mainstream, middle-of-the-road mass.' BUT YOUR OWN BASE came to a city-wide open planning meeting this weekend and voted democratically in huge numbers not to cave into the City's attempts to ghettoize the upcoming March 19 protest to the second anniversary of the war to some empty sidestreet.

You're out of touch with your own base. How can you possibly presume to have the political wisdom to speak for the rest of us -- and please note that the 'rest of us' are not a handful of anti-electoral 'militants', but a growing number of your own base who are as disgusted by Obama as the militants. Read the Black newspapers and the Black commentators, for crying out loud. They're not giving Barak Obama a pass on his deplorable vote for Condi. Why the fuck should the rest of us?

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

30 Jan 2005
Oh, and Carl, your assumption that everyone posting against your opinions here is necessarily white is wrong. Just FYI.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by marat 30 Jan 2005

Davidson writes " Sorry folks, but your far left "hardball" amounts to little more than nasty rhetoric on indymedia, nasty leaflets and little newspaper articles that are usually barely readable, and nasty remarks in speeches to people who mostly already agree with you".


Carl, you might take a look at what well known and widely respected Chicago black activist Bob Starks had to say about Obama's vote on Condi in the latest edition of InDigo. ( not quite a 'little newspaper article that is barely readable' but one of the most popular mainstream journals read in the Black community. )

Very interesting commentary from someone who has done considerable local electoral organizing in this town...most notably around the Harold Washington campaign. You might learn something here.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Carl Davidson
30 Jan 2005

Goodness, from what this "Davidson" guy sounds like, I'm against him too!

He's supposedly for pressuring, shifting and refoming the Democrats, looking to them every four years as our saviours, and so on.

Well, I'm also against all those delusions!

I'm for replacing the Democratic party, but in a way that strengthens the progressive forces rather than strengthening the GOP and the right. Do you hear that? REPLACING not "reforming, etc."

So how do you replace it? You have to build independent organizations from the grass roots upwards and network them nationally and internationally. Who do you do it with? Progressive grassoots forces inside and outside of the parties, united around core values and an independent program, not only stating what you are against, but stating how you would run things so they serve the masses of people, rather than low-road parasites.

What are the necessities? Changing the electoral laws, state by state, to allow for instant runoff, fusion, proportion representation, etc. Until you can do that you still are stuck, on a case by case basis, with lesser evilism, to defeat the worst with the less worse from time to time.

You also have to encourage progressives in the Democratic party to sharpen differences and build their own organizations in anticipation of when the party implodes. That means you might help some of their candidates from time to time as an ally with that candidate or grouping, but not the entire party. That way you have something for your independent organization to merge with, at the appropriate moments, to create a larger force to defeat the main danger on the right.

It's called buiding a counter-hegemonic bloc by waging both a war of position and war of manuver with the most dangerous of you enemies, and defeating them in a way that strengthens the self-rule capacities of the progressive and moderate popular forces at the grassroots, the working class and its allies especially.

If all you can do is throw around slogans and dogmatic rules--"never vote for a Democrat"--you might find all this a little to rough going for your mode of thinking. But if you can emancipate your mind from dogmas a bit, its's not so hard to figure out.

Indepdendent of the Democrats? I've got news for you. The radical left already independent of the Democrats; it already has no real connections or influence with them. So that should put you in great shape to forge ahead with your plans! What's more, the radical left is practically independent of the entire electoral process altogether. Except for a few scattered Greens, it doesn't have any elected officials anywhere.

And you're worried about being co-opted by Democrats? You should be so lucky as to be suffering from that danger. Right now, there's nothing in the way of ongoing electoral organization or voting blocs you have that's worth co-opting.

By the way, Obama is not "my boy", as one of you put it above, and I hope we're aware why we shouldn't refer to Black leaders of any sort as the "boys" of anyone. That's what I meant a few posts back about needing to be sensitive about how you put things when criticizing positions taken by Blacks or other minorities, and here's a fresh example of what I was talking about.

I voted for Obama because he spoke out against the war and to end the lily-white monopoly in the Senate. I'd do it again, even though he's a liberal-to-center politician, rather than a left progressive like, say, Kucinich. Hopefully, he'll stick with us on the war on the key votes, and we'll do what we can to make it happen. CAWI's folks in Hyde Park already took out an open letter ad to him in the local press on the issue, and others have contacted him in other ways.

But if you're someone who thinks the main danger is liberalism and the Dems, rather than the Bush regime, the neocons, the corporate low-roaders and the right, then we're not on the same page. Except for tactical moments around this or that action, we don't have much common ground, and probably should not waste each others time until we can get on the same page.

Also, I'm not hot on the gay marriage issue, even though I'll give it critical support, because my belief is that everyone, gay or straight, should equally get the same CIVIL UNIONS and benefits at City Hall. If any couple wants the sacrament of marriage, they should go to a church that offers it to them. The government should not be in the marriage business for anyone, gays or straights. That's a real secular left position, but unfortunately, no one is fighting for it, having been co-opted by the more reformist gay marriage option.

There are a number of good starting points for building the grassroots nonpartisan alliance agaist the right--the Walmart campaign, ending the war in Iraq, school reform, economic development projects to grow jobs, and so on. As I said, serious people are working on them, and anyone else who's serous is welcome to get involved. But leave the left posturing behind...

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by gay
30 Jan 2005

Wow Carl, gays and lesbians of Chicago will be glad to hear that you're not "hot" on gay marriage. Stop the fucking presses, CArl Davidson's not hot on gay marriage. For one its not up to straights like yourself to define the agenda or political tactics of GLBT people. Gays have made equal marriage the centerpiece of our struggle in the coming months and year. Civil unions were a radical position a few years ago, now we are not interested. We want full marriage rights. Should the government be involved in teh marriage business--no,but they are and if you are GLBT you have to deal with reality and not with what should be. The fight for GLBT rights is centered around equal marriage and that's where people who genuinely support equal rights for gays ;should be lined up as well.

Davidson your response is troubling to say the least. But it does provide a little more clarity into your support for Kerry and the Democrats.

You are truly a pathetic excuse for a progressive.

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

By db
31 Jan 2005
To Carl:

I got a question, since we're REPLACING the Dems with something completely different than the Dems, do we still have to call them Dems? Can't we replace those fuckers with socialists or something new? I mean, if they're so fucked up that we have to replace them, who the fuck needs them?

Re: Barak Votes for Condi, Confirms Status As Liberal Sell-Out

by Carl Davidson
31 Jan 2005

Reply to 'Gay':

Since you agree with me that government shouldn't be in the marriage business, but as long as they are, we have to go the equal gay marriage route, we're actually on the same page, depite your hyperbole. I just wish we had made getting the government out of the marriage business, and strictly in the civil union business, part of the battle, which it's not.

Reply to DB:

You can call them, the Dems, whatever you want, but for clarity's sake, both they and ordinary people call them the Democratic Party. What I want to replace them with is an electoral alliance that includes, at the core of its program, Economy Democracy, the variant on market socialism outlined in David Schweikart's book, 'After Capitalism,' a review of which I posted here a few months back and you can also look up at It's a long term project with a number of intermediate steps, but now is a good time to start.

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