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This Is Not the 'Dream' Martin Luther King Had

James Clyburn, D-S.C., at a news conference on Capitol Hill with other Congressional Black Caucus members. (Zach Gibson / AP)

Hundreds of times this week, as at every yearly commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, local preachers and politicians will cite the swelling ranks of the Congressional Black Caucus as proof that Dr. King’s “dream” has borne great fruit. Black representation in the U.S. House has grown from just nine members in 1968, when King was assassinated, to the current lineup of 44 full-voting House Democrats. But the majority of today’s Black denizens of Capitol Hill are in league with the very “triple evils” that King identified and struggled against: racism, extreme materialism (capitalism) and militarism. Under the leadership of the Democratic Party, they have perverted the electoral franchise of the nation’s most progressive constituency to the service of a global war machine and an all-pervasive national security state—the antithesis of Dr. King’s vision.

According to the first motto of Congressional Black Caucus, as formulated by Detroit Rep. Charles Diggs, “Black people have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, just permanent interests.” The slogan was coined to signal the fledgling Black Caucus’s intention to pursue an independent Black politics in the wake of the dismantling of official apartheid. Instead, in the absence of a mass, grassroots movement, the emergent Black political class embedded itself in the corporate structures of the Democratic Party. Dr. King’s “dream” has been flipped, renovated, gentrified, and weaponized.

Since 2011, when a majority of Black lawmakers voted to continue the First Black President’s unprovoked bombing campaign against Libya, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has become a “permanent friend” of the worst enemies of mankind, culminating in a majority CBC vote for the bipartisan $700 billion Trump-Schumer-Pelosi war budget, last July. Most damning and ominous was the behavior of the newest members of the Black Caucus, all five of whom supported the biggest military expenditure in the history of humanity. They are:

Al Lawson (FL)

A. Donald McEachin (VA)

Dwight Evans (PA)

Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE)

Anthony Brown (MD)

Fifty years after Dr. King’s death, the Black Caucus Class of 2017 is wholly aligned with the War Party, a hydra-headed beast whose enabling budget was authored by Donald Trump and endorsed by Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

The rookie Black House members have also embraced the darkest forces of the national security state. Last week, the five novice warmongers joined with seven more senior CBC members in support of a bill to extend the National Security Agency’s powers to spy on Americans without a warrant. Most Democrats, including CBC members, voted “no,” but the 12 Black lawmakers followed House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s lead in siding with Republicans to pass the measure. In addition to the five members of the Class of 2017, the other Black Pawns of the Spy Machine are:

Sanford Bishop (GA)

Andre Carson (IN)

James Clyburn (SC)

Gregory Meeks (NY)

David Scott (GA)

Terri Sewell (AL)

Marc Veasey (TX)

Representatives Bishop, Meeks, Scott, Sewell and Veasey consistently earn the lowest scores on Black Agenda Report’s CBC Report Cards. The addition of the five new warmongers and spy-lovers effectively doubles the slime at the bottom of the Black Caucus barrel.

Back in 2003, only four members of the Congressional Black Caucus supported George Bush’s request for War Powers to invade Iraq: William Jefferson (LA), Harold Ford, Jr. (TN), Albert Wynn (MD) and Sanford Bishop (GA). They were a tiny faction, exercising little influence over the larger Caucus—which is why I called them “The Four Eunuchs of War” in my writings in The Black Commentator. Fifteen years later, it is the anti-war faction of the Black Caucus that is tiny and ineffectual. The descent into Russiagate madness has reduced the handful of dependable Black Caucus anti-war votes by two, with the defection of Maxine Waters (CA) and Bobby Scott (VA). Soon, the pro-peace members won’t be numerous enough to rate the term “faction.”

The Democratic Party is a corporate machine that is busily producing a Black misleadership class to serve the Lords of Capital and their global empire. The CBC Class of 2017 is a poison in the Black body politic.

Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected]

Glen Ford / Black Agenda Report

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