by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Jackson was supplanted by Al Sharpton, who surpassed him in crookedness and politically prostitution.”
If a picture is worth 1,000 words the photo above proves the old adage to be true. This image encapsulates so much that is wrong with the so-called leaders of the black political class. Each of the three men depicted make a mockery of any claim to be allies of black people.
For decades Jesse Jackson’s seal of approval was enough to quiet or excite the masses to action. As a young lieutenant of Martin Luther King and then as leader of Operation PUSH he became in effect the leader of what was left of the civil rights movement old guard. His presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988 mobilized millions of people to vote and brought election victories to progressives across the country. His history is part righteous and part mercenary, as he sought and received tribute from corporations around the country eager to curry favor with him and by extension the masses he sometimes did represent.
Jackson was supplanted by Al Sharpton, who surpassed him in crookedness and politically prostitution. Sharpton made a name for himself first in New York, where people hungry for justice turned to him for redress against white mob violence and police brutality. That reputation follows him even now and the shady reverend still lives off of his glory days.
He is now and always has been King Rat. Sharpton has taken money from right wing dirty tricksterRoger Stone, helped Newt Gingrich promote public school privatization and declared that it is in the interest of black people to silence themselves and give Barack Obama a pass.
The third man in the photo, attorney general Eric Holder, has a powerful position, but ultimately answers to the president. Jackson and Sharpton still jockey for position, hoping to maintain favor with the Obama administration. They all happily use one another. Obama needs them to give himself cover with black people, they need him as the conductor of their gravy train. This photo taken in 2013 in Selma, Alabama shows Sharpton literally outrunning Jackson to maintain his spot as the administration’s black point person.
“The shady reverend still lives off of his glory days.” Black people can’t be fooled by any of these men under any circumstance, but this juncture in history requires extreme vigilance. The governor and other officials in Missouri have declared “states of emergency” and have prepared for demonstrations should the grand jury deciding the fate of Darren Wilson choose not to indict him for the killing of Michael Brown. All three of the dubious characters have shown up in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the expression of mass outrage over Brown’s death. That fact should impress no one but should instead be a warning. When the White House sends Al Sharpton to Ferguson, the people there should call him the double dealing snitch that he is and turn their backs on him. After the grand jury verdict is announced, there is only one demand that these three should hear. The Justice Department must prosecute Darren Wilson. Jackson and Sharpton’s presence in Ferguson will be proof of presidential inaction and an attempt to evade and avoid doing anything that might bring justice to black people. There should be no worry, no anxiety if Darren Wilson, is not indicted. After all, we have a United States Department of Justice, and they have the authority and resources at their disposal to carry out their own prosecution. There shouldn’t be any doubt that the Justice Department will prosecute Wilson except for one very big problem. The Obama Justice Department has never seen fit to carry out a prosecution in cases of police murder. The police execution of Milton Hall in Saginaw, Michigan was caught on a squad car dashboard camera, and yet the Justice Department declined to prosecute. If there is no federal prosecution of Darren Wilson, the political disaster of the Obama presidency will be made crystal clear. Black people in this country have exulted over Barack Obama since his 2008 campaign and have nothing to show for their unrequited love. Demands went unmade, insults were overlooked, and the result is an escalation of the official violence that black people have always been subjected to. “The Obama Justice Department has never seen fit to carry out a prosecution in cases of police murder.” No excuse, no rationale should be accepted if Wilson doesn’t face federal prosecution. Obama can’t run for re-election, so there is no longer a need to appeal to white voters willing to vote for a black man as long as he isn’t too black. There will be no more mid-terms that require black people to disappear and take their demands with them. The president and attorney general don’t need Republican permission to use the powers they have under the law. It is time to make good on the often stated but phony intention of making Obama accountable to black people. Yes we need protest. There must be press conferences and actions and speeches but they all should have the same goal, pressing for federal prosecution of Darren Wilson. If the grand jury does not indict there will be that rare occasion where there is only one demand to be made. There is only hope of justice and that comes from the federal government. So Jackson and Sharpton can fight for favor all they want. No one should pay attention to them. All eyes should be directed at Obama and Holder, and the machinations of disreputable hustlers should be seen for entertainment purposes only.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as athttp://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.