This is excerpted from the Black Commentator. The article shows how "radicals" are sifted out very carefully to ensure that any except marginal change will occur even under those who stand for change. Of course real change in the intensity of illusions is quite OK and very much a plus. However, the illusions had better be continually renewed or fade away slowly rather than be shattered or there might be some unrest.
<http://www.blackcommentator.com/ 263/263_represent_our_resistance_activist_obama.html>Community Activist, Obama and theFew Bad Apples on the Night ShiftRepresent Our ResistanceBy Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhDBC Editorial Board[...]Senator Barack Obama seems to have thrived during the Reagan years. As I read of his “community organizing” and “community activism” in Chicago, I am remembering those Reagan years well. The Black communities in Chicago were undergoing change - not good change. Guns and drugs were pouring into the communities and people were paid to burn as many buildings as possible to make room, first for desolation and the flight of the middle-class Blacks, but ultimately for progress - called gentrification. Whites came back into the city. Middle-classed Blacks purchased buildings and become landlords. Some remained in Southside neighborhoods like Bronzeville or Chatham while others moved to suburbs. If, as a Black American, some of us opted to remain focused on the conditions of Black Americans, the poor, and working class, we were treated with utter distain by whites and Black bourgeois alike. The latter capitulated to the materialism of the Reagan era and submitted to the re- education process. They talked about the price of their clothes and the purchase of rehabbed homes in the Black community. At the time, the façade of “upward mobility” for the Black bourgeois in Chicago was pretty much the "in" thing.I came across a Chicago Reader article entitled, “What Makes Obama Run,” written in 1995, and I am left with many questions. What did Obama do in the Roseland and Altgeld Gardens neighborhoods in Chicago? What kind of rebel was he? Was his perspective an issue with those in authority? Was Obama considered by them to be a troublemaker or confrontational? Was he, as Mumia Abu-Jamal writes of Bill Clinton, someone whose lifetime “coincided with the rise and emergence of the Civil Rights Movement,” but who stood to gain by exploiting Black people?Mike Papantonio, host of Air America’s Ring of Fire, is furious with Obama because the latter does not “get mad.” Papantonio argues that Obama has this “get along” attitude with the “criminals” in political power instead of pursuing accountability! Why won’t Obama SHOUT to the rooftop against these criminals?Well, Mike, they’d have him in prison; Obama is not mad! He knows what happens to Blacks in America - the land of the free and the home of the brave! A Black American rebel, a radical, would hold criminals accountable for the deaths of over one million Iraqis and nearly four thousand (at this writing) U.S. soldiers. A Black American rebel, allowed to be and to speak on behalf of the suffering Black Americans in New Orleans or those losing homes because of sub prime predatory lending, would SHOUT. But that AIN’T Obama, Mike! He can’t be a likable African American man and “get mad” about Black life in America too!Let’s-make-friends-Obama came back to Chicago in 1991 and he didn’t “get mad.” In his memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, he presented an image of 1990s Chicago that offered little hope for Black Americans because everywhere he looked, it was desolate. But he didn’t “get mad.” Did he roll up his shelves and get to work in some grassroots organization, advocating for better education and educating to transgress? No, Obama purchased a lakefront condo in Hyde Park, I said, in Hyde Park! Then he worked his way through foundations - (the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation)! The climber was rewarded with a position as executive director at the Annenberg Challenge Grant Foundation. Wow! I missed this version of “community organizing” in Chicago.So, how does a twenty-something Black man on Chicago’s Southside leave behind “community work” in Roseland and in Altgeld Gardens neighborhoods and enter Harvard’s Law program in the 1980s? Where was the money coming from? Did he earn a scholarship or fellowship? How does a twenty-something come back to Chicago in 1991, purchase a condo on the lakefront in Hyde Park? How does work with established foundations connect to lip service about “organizing ordinary citizens into bottom-up democracies that create their own strategies, programs, and campaigns and that forge alliances with disaffected Americans”? - as if Black Americans don’t possess grassroots organizing and alliance skills running in our veins!No, Mike, you and Black America shouldn’t expect Senator Barack Obama to change! Rather than working in the trenches with the people themselves and making the city of Chicago accountable for the conditions Black Americans have to endure, Obama has always invested his efforts with the authorities, whether it was with the Daley Machine or with the moneyed foundations. He made a conscious decision to climb the ladder to civic leadership and perhaps his decisions benefited him and his family but it did little to help the Blacks he found in dire straights on his return to Chicago in 1991. To use Mumia Abu-Jamal’s words, “with a ‘brutha’” like Obama who needs enemies?And no, Mike Papantonio, all Baby Boomers didn’t leave the streets and grassroots organization or activism to acquire high salaries on Wall Street or on Rodeo Drive. People like Obama thrived in the 1980s and beyond. While some Black American residents nearly froze in apartments with no heat in the winter of 1997, Obama received a financial donation from Antoin Rezko, landlord of these buildings in the Englewood Black community in Chicago where Rezko supposedly couldn’t afford to pay the heating bills! (“Obama Surfaces in Rezko’s Federal Corruption Case,” Chicago Sun-Times, January 20, 2008). It’s also alleged that Obama worked for a firm that gave some forty-three million dollars to Rezmar Corporation, Rezko’s business. There’s more “community activism” of this nature. Check it out.[...]