The Role of the Black Bourgeoisie in Coopting Our Movements

Source: Internationalist 360

September 3 2020

An initial bold militant action from Elite sports personalities

The Milwaukee Bucks, arguably the best team in the NBA, boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday in protest at the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Photograph: AP

This past week there was an extraordinary demonstration of bold militant action from professional athletes to speak out against police terror against the African masses.  The National Basketball Association (NBA) called off its playoff games.  Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), individual tennis players, and even the National Hockey League (NHL) called off games, matches, and practices.  As Sekou Ture told us years ago, these things happened because the athletes, being nothing more than conduits of the desires of the masses of people, felt compelled to act because the masses of people are acting.  In other words, its pretty safe to say that if there were no mass demonstrations against police terror, the actions from the major sports leagues would never have happened.

And, those mass protests themselves always start out with a strong and uncompromising militancy.  That spirit was felt at the 57 year commemoration of the original March on Washington held on August 28, 2020, just like it was felt at the first march in 1963.  Despite the spreading of false narratives to define these protests as exercises in “rioting and looting,” by the capitalist system’s propaganda mechanisms, millions of people are apparently willing to openly support these protests.  This is good because it proves that most people are refusing to accept the backward analysis that murdering protesters to protect property is OK, while damaging property to protest murder is an unforgivable act. 

Carefully hidden moves taken whenever there is mass resistance to oppression

Still, there is a very insidious, almost invisible to the naked untrained eye, process taking place that always takes place whenever there is mass resistance to oppression.  In the 1963 March on Washington, the spirit was one not very different than the spirit being articulated today.  Two hundred and fifty thousand people descended upon D.C. in August 1963.  Up until the Million Man March in 1995, that 1963 event was the largest ever held on the Washington D.C. Mall.  People sold their belongings in 63 to get to that march.  The reason they did this was because they had an uncompromising desire to see freedom resonate everywhere that we as human beings take breath.  And, the original make up of the march was designed to ensure that mass militancy had voice.  The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had a very militant speech planned that contained clear references to the class question of “the haves and have nots” being the primary contradiction in perpetuating white supremacist policies and actions in this country.  For any public speech, especially by an African organization, to express an open challenge to capitalism in 1963, during the height of the cold war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, was unthinkable.  Yet, SNCC was prepared, as they always were, to step into that historic role.  Writer James Baldwin was to be touted as one of the main speakers.  And, calls from all over the country were being made louder and louder for the march to focus on challenging wealth disparities and a plan for the disruption of systemic white supremacy.  This was in 1963.  And, the question many will be asking is “if we were talking about the exact same things 60 years ago, why are we still talking about those same things today?”

A fundamentally sound response to that question can be found in looking at the role of the African bourgeoisie/petite-bourgeoisie.  By Bourgeoisie we mean those class elements within the African community who serve as either the spokespersons for the capitalist ruling classes (bourgeoisie) and/or the classes of African people who serve as capitalist’s middle level managers (petite-bourgeoisie).  These elements of African people benefit from aligning themselves politically with the capitalist system, but this system of class struggle is extremely complex.  Its actually quite common for many of these bourgeoisie spokespersons, for example, to speak regularly about African upliftment, even to have programs allegedly committed to achieving this objective, while in actuality, their primary focus is on integrating as many of us into the system as possible.  What doing this accomplishes is to preserve the sanctity and security of capitalism by eliminating militant action that would potentially threaten the ability of the capitalist system to continue to function unabated.

Weakening the resistance through the house slaves

For the 1963 March on Washington what happened is the Kennedy Administration, being the liberal voice for that branch of the capitalist bourgeoisie class, became increasingly concerned about the moderate elements of the march planning process losing control of the message.  As a result, the administration scheduled a series of meetings with the national Black bourgeoisie civil rights leadership to “order” them to get the march under control.  By national Black bourgeoisie leadership we mean Roy Wilkins, the then Executive Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Whitney Young, the National Director of the National Urban League. (NUL).  Although each organization, particularly the NAACP, have reputations for the local chapters being often much more militant than the national leadership, in the case of Wilkins and Young, neither ever saw a statement for African self-determination that they liked unless it was endorsed by the capitalist class leadership.

So Young and Wilkins led the charge, at the orders of their puppet masters, to strive towards influencing Dr. Martin Luther King and others to submit to changes in the march format designed to soften the message.  By others, we mean primarily the so-called “big six” i.e. the leaders of the major civil rights movements of that time.  Those six were Young (NUL), Wilkins (NAACP) King (Southern Christian Leadership Conference – SCLC), John Lewis (SNCC), A. Philip Randolph (several organizations over the years), and James Farmer (Congress of Racial Equality – CORE). 

A number of meetings were held, some of which reportedly had participation from members of Kennedy’s administration.  And, ultimately, the six leaders came to a point where several compromises were made.  I say compromise because what we know is there was resistance offered against smashing the militancy of the people made by Lewis of SNCC and even King, but eventually, as the threat of sponsors pulling out and losing the support of the Kennedy administration, these reductions were accepted.  As a result, those 250,000 never heard the militant message of challenging and potentially dismantling the capitalist system.  Instead, they heard a vastly censored speech by Lewis that, despite the deep cuts to the spirit of his speech, ended up being by far the most militant statement of the day.  James Baldwin, a person of integrity who would never accept censorship of what he wanted and needed to say, was removed from the program at the direct request of the Kennedy administration.  He was replaced by the moderate put you to the sleep speech given by actor Burt Lancaster.  And, today, what is most remembered about a day originally designed to showcase the determination of a quarter of a million people to express the demand from the masses for a complete overhaul of this backward system, is a tame speech by Dr. King i.e. “I have a Dream!”  For anyone who actually studies Dr. King, and by study I mean reading his books and studying his work in the SCLC, you know that speech was easily one of his lightest. 

Yet today in 2020 and beyond, that speech King delivered has been paraded in front of us for the last almost 60 years as the groundbreaking statement of the civil rights movement.  Countless multi-national corporations will include portions of that speech in their advertisements.  And, today, people who 100% opposed everything King stood for during and after his lifetime, readily mischaracterize his words and actions to serve their anti-people agendas.  And, central to their ability to accomplish this is us understanding the role these Black bourgeoisie like Young and Wilkins played then, and continue to play today, in selling out the militant and justified aspirations of the people. 

The prince of Black bourgeoisie politics – Barack Obama

And, those NBA players, who came very close to voting to cancel the entire rest of their season, something that would have been an overwhelmingly powerful act, instead will presumably resume playing this weekend or soon.  And apparently it was that prince of Black bourgeoisie politics – Barack Obama – who helped convince these NBA players such as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, etc., to return to the court.  So, thanks to Obama’s influence, instead of a militant direct action, what we are left with is NBA arenas being set up as voting centers.  Centers that give us the option of choosing an ignorant fascist or a neo-liberal.  Centers that ask us to accept that a former prosecutor, who has played a hand in incarcerating countless numbers of African and other poor people, is now going to do something to bring us closure to police terrorism against us.  Maybe those people believe locking us up is progress beyond just killing us on the street?

The original comment in this piece about the Black bourgeoisie is that their primary loyalty is, and will always be, to the capitalist system.  Their job is to continue to convince us that the only problem we have is that we just have not worked hard enough, or even received enough support and incentives, to properly integrate ourselves into the capitalist system.  As a result, the Black bourgeoisie preside over programs and actions designed to further facilitate us putting into place mechanisms to supposedly quicken our capacity to just buy that piece of capitalism that has eluded us for 500+ years.  From Young and Wilkins to Obama, the snake oil being sold to us is that our acceptance and ability to function effectively in capitalism is just around the corner.  That same corner we have been turning for centuries.  They are the rabbit in front of the dog racers.  And, they will never entertain the reality that all the wealth here exists on stolen land with stolen resources, meaning even the few of us who will advance on personal levels through this system still do so while stepping on the necks of African people in other parts of the world.  This Black bourgeoisie is trained well enough by this system to understand that in squashing our militant spirit, they will effectively wipe out our continued political maturation, thus eliminating any chances of us stumbling towards the type of international analysis of imperialism just mentioned. 

Watered-down resistance

After months of militant protests, what we are primarily left with today is reliance on the bourgeoisie neo-liberal Democratic Party of mass incarcerators and international terrorists.  And, this is supposed to be the platform that will bring us forward progress?  And, for the most part, the only rationale being offered for why we should support this sham is to prevent a fascist from remaining in office.  From a dialectical analysis, it can easily be argued that we would not have this level of political unsettledness if the current fascist was not where he is.  People would not be seeing these contradictions at all if smooth Obama was still there, despite the fact police weren’t murdering any less of us during the Obama years. 

Kwame Ture’s statement that true liberation only happens through “the power of the organized masses” is ill refutable.  We have to get people to see that freedom is not like Uber Eats.  It cannot be delivered to you.  To achieve it, you have to be engaged in that process.  It won’t happen until you happen.  Until we can get people to recognize that reality, the Black Bourgeoisie, including the next generation of them after Obama, will continue to derail us with their empty promises of inclusion, all while they make sure to play their house slave role in ensuring that the rebellious slaves remained contained on the plantation.  

CIA Covert Operations: The 1964 Overthrow of Cheddi Jagan in British Guiana

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Source:  Internationalist 360

Cheddi Jagan speaking Declassified Documents Explore Little-Known Political Coup in Latin America Washington, DC, April 6, 2020 – Cold War concerns about another Communist Cuba in Latin America drove President John F. Kennedy to approve a covert CIA political campaign to rig national elections in British Guiana, then a British colony but soon to be independent, […]

via CIA Covert Operations: The 1964 Overthrow of Cheddi Jagan in British Guiana — INTERNATIONALIST 360°

U.S. President can modify blockade of Cuba

Source:  Granma
February 10 2016

by Sergio Alejandro Gómez | informacion@granma.cu

The same powers used by John F. Kennedy to establish the blockade can be used today to dismantle it

President Obama can use his executive powers to substantively modify the blockade.

kennedy signs blockade against cuba.jpgFifty-four years ago, February 3, 1962, the signature of President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office was enough to order the complete blockade of Cuba, which went into effect four days later.

bay of pigs us defeatedExecutive Order 3447 was based on foreign aid laws and the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act, and cut all ties with Cuba, where an unstoppable revolutionary process was underway – one which had already defeated the mercenary troops dispatched by Washington at Playa Girón on the Bay of Pigs.

Kennedy authorized the Treasury Secretary to adopt measures and draft regulations to implement a ban on all imports from Cuba, and likewise ordered the Commerce Secretary to continue and intensify efforts to restrict U.S. exports to the island, including food and medicine.

Washington’s aggression toward the Revolution

Washington’s aggression toward the Revolution had begun much earlier, practically since its very beginning January 1, 1959. The country’s sugar quota was eliminated and diplomatic relations broken in 1961, with legal manoeuvring giving way to military operations, like the Bay of Pigs, and undercover efforts to undermine the government, like the so-called Operation Mongoose.

oas logo 2A few days before Kennedy’s executive order, meeting in the Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este was the Organization of American States’ Foreign Ministers Council, where the U.S. exerted pressure for the approval of a resolution to exclude Cuba from the established inter-American system.

Attempting to isolate Cuba

The U.S. made clear its strategy of attempting to isolate Cuba in the international arena, while at the same time making every effort to cause hunger and desperation internally.

Half a century later, the President himself admitted that this plan had failed.

Moreover, regional forces are now aligned in a very different way. An end to the blockade of Cuba is a unanimous demand across the region, reiterated at the most recent Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Summit, held in Quito.

CELAC 11At the same time, the entire world, especially the countries and peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, celebrated, as a victory of their own, the announcements made December 17, 2014, when Presidents Ba­rack Obama and Raúl Cas­tro revealed their intention to reestablish diplomatic relations and move toward normalization.

Condemned by 191 countries in the United Nations

191 - 2 cAfter the reopening of embassies in Havana and Washington, global attention has shifted to ending the economic, financial and commercial blockade which was condemned by 191 countries in the United Nations, and supported by only two, the United States and Israel.

Although much of the legal and pseudo-legal fabric which constitutes the blockade’s framework has been codified into law over the decades, in particular with approval of the Helms-Burton law, the U.S. President still maintains broad executive powers to modify its implementation.

Just as President George W. Bush utilized his prerogatives to increase economic aggression toward Cuba during his administration, Obama has been doing the opposite, since December 17, 2014.

Following the blockade modifications announced earlier, a new series of measures was made public January 27, mainly regarding the granting of credit to Cuba for specific purchases of authorized non-agricultural U.S. made products, as well as permission for U.S. companies to establish certain commercial relations with Cuban state enterprises. (A 2000 law remains in effect requiring Cuba to purchase agricultural products with cash and in advance.)

Obama has the power to go further in dismantling the blockade

These latest changes were made by the Departments of Treasury and Commerce, which are part of the executive branch and therefore under the authority of the President, thus confirming the reality that Obama has the power to go further in dismantling the blockade.

Left intact were prohibitions on Cuba’s use of the U.S. dollar in international transactions; on exports to the United States of products made by Cuban state enterprises; and on investments by U.S. companies in other sectors beyond telecommunications (which have been approved). These elements represent the basic core of the blockade and remain in full force.

The President’s authority is limited by law in just four areas. He cannot allow travel by U.S. citizens for the purpose of tourism; permit subsidiaries of U.S. companies in third countries to do business with Cuba; lift the prohibition on commercial relations with former U.S. properties which were nationalized; or end the requirement that agricultural products be purchased in cash, in advance.

Beyond these issues, he has a broad field of action.

obama signs 2c.jpg

If Kennedy used his executive prerogatives in 1962 to close a door which would stay locked for more than 50 years, the current President has the key to reverse the situation, and consolidate a new chapter in his country’s relations with Cuba, making it part of the legacy he leaves of his years in the White House.

Robert Kennedy Jr.’s 25 Truths on the Secret Negotiations between Fidel Castro and President Kennedy

Source:  Global Research
June 25 2015
By Salim Lamrani

Al Mayadeen

fidel y kennedyMore than half a century ago, Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy conducted secret negotiations aimed at normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba. Robert Kennedy Jr., nephew of the assassinated President, recounts these events and praises Obama’s policy of rapprochement, which is making his uncle’s “dream” a “reality(1)”.[1]

  1. After the October 1962 missile crisis, a conflict that almost led to a nuclear disaster, and its resolution that included the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba and US missiles from Turkey, President John F. Kennedy decided to undertake a process of normalization of relations with Cuba.
  2. During his trip to the Soviet Union in 1962, Fidel Castro spoke at length with Nikita Khrushchev about Kennedy. According to the former president’s nephew, “Castro returned to Cuba determined to find a path to reconciliation” with the United States.
  3. In 1962, Kennedy commissioned James Donovan, a New York lawyer, and John Dolan, an advisor to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to negotiate the release of the 1500 Bay of Pigs invaders held in Cuba. During his meeting with the Washington emissaries, Fidel Castro made clear his desire to normalize relations with the United States and maintain links based on sovereign equality, reciprocity and non-interference in internal affairs. “My father Robert and JFK were intensely curious about Castro and demanded detailed, highly personal, descriptions of the Cuban leader from both Donovan and Nolan. The US press had repeatedly caricatured Fidel as drunken, filthy, mercurial, violent and undisciplined. However, Nolan told them: “Our impression would not square with the commonly accepted image. Castro was never irritable, never drunk, never dirty.” He and Donovan described the Cuban leader as worldly, witty, curious, well informed, impeccably groomed, and an engaging conversationalist.”
  4. The two visitors were also impressed by the popular support the revolutionary government enjoyed: “They confirmed the CIA’s internal reports of Castro’s overwhelming popularity with the Cuban people following their many trips with Castro [throughout the country] and after witnessing the spontaneous ovations he received as he entered baseball stadiums.”
  5. John F. Kennedy was aware of the Cuban people’s desire for independence and dignity and “understood the source of the widespread resentment against the United States.”
  6. During his meeting with US journalist Lisa Howard, Fidel Castro expressed his “desire” to come to a friendly understanding with the United States.
  7. For his part, “JFK began thinking seriously about the resumption of relations with Castro. Any initiative in this direction, however, would find him navigating in troubled waters. The mere mention of détente with Fidel would have the effect of a political bombshell during the run-up to the presidential elections of 1964.”
  8. In September 1963, Kennedy charged William Attwood, former journalist and US diplomat to the United Nations with opening “secret negotiations with Castro.”
  9. The same month, President Kennedy established “another secret communications channel with Castro through French journalist Jean Daniel.” Before traveling to Cuba to interview the Cuban Prime Minister, Daniel met with JFK in the White House, where he was charged with delivering a message to Castro.
  10. “I think Kennedy is sincere. I also think that this expression of sincerity could have political  significance today,” Fidel Castro is said to have replied to Jean Daniel. “He still has the possibility of becoming, in the eyes of history, the United States’ greatest President, the leader who finally understood that coexistence between capitalists and socialists is possible, even on the American continent. This would make him an even greater president than Lincoln.”
  11. Fidel Castro, in response to the criticisms of Kennedy who had denounced the alliance with Moscow, pointed out that the US hostility toward the island nation had begun well before Cuba’s rapprochement with the Soviet Union and “well before the appearance of the pretext and alibi of communism.”
  12. Nevertheless, the CIA was resolutely opposed to any policy changes vis-à-vis Havana. “For the CIA, détente was nothing less than perfidious sedition.” Adlai Stevenson, then US ambassador to the United Nations, warned President Kennedy: “Unfortunately, the CIA is still in charge of Cuba.” In his opinion, the agency “would never allow a normalization of relations.”
  13. “The CIA was aware of JFK’s secret contacts with Castro and sought to sabotage these efforts at achieving peace.”
  14. Thus, in April 1963, “CIA agents secretly sprayed a deadly poison on a wetsuit that was supposed to be offered to Castro by James Donovan and John Dolan, JFK’s emissaries. In so doing they hoped to assassinate Castro and accuse JFK of the murder, thereby completely discrediting him and his peace efforts.”
  15. According to William Atwood, “the attitude of the CIA was to hell with the President it was pledged to serve.”
  16. “Many leaders of the Cuban exile community had expressed their disgust at the ‘betrayal’ of the White House, accusing JFK of engaging in ‘coexistence’ with Fidel Castro […]. A small number of  hard, bitter homicidal Castro haters now directed their hatred towards JFK and there is credible evidence that these men and their CIA handlers might have been involved in plots to assassinate him.”
  17. On April 18, 1963, José Miró Cardona, former Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Government, but by then leader of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, an exile organization created by the CIA, accused Kennedy of treason and warned of the consequences: “There is only one route to follow and we will follow it: violence.”
  18. “Santo Trafficante, the Mafia boss and Havana casino czar who had worked closely with the CIA in various anti-Castro assassination plots, informed his Cuban associates that JFK was about to be hit.”
  19. The day of  John F. Kennedy’s assassination, November 22, 1963, Fidel Castro was meeting with Jean Daniel, one of JFK’s secret channels to Castro. Upon hearing the news, the Cuban leader turned to the French journalist and said, “Well, it’s the end of your peace mission.”
  20. “After the death of JFK, Castro persistently pushed Lisa Howard, Adlai Stevenson, William Attwood and others to ask Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy’s successor to resume the dialogue. Johnson ignored the requests and Castro eventually gave up.”
  21. Robert Kennedy, then US Attorney General, also pressured Johnson to continue the talks with Havana, however without success.
  22. The brother of assassinated president also criticized the ban on US citizens traveling to Cuba: “The present travel restrictions are inconsistent with traditional American liberties.”
  23. Dean Rusk, then Secretary of State, made the decision to exclude Robert Kennedy, too favorable to an agreement with Cuba, from foreign policy discussions.
  24. According to William Attwood, “if it were not for the murder, we probably would have opened negotiations and normalized relations with Cuba.”
  25. Fidel Castro paid tribute to JFK: “At the moment Kennedy was assassinated, he was changing his policy toward Cuba. To a certain extent, we were honored in having such a rival. He was an outstanding man.”

25 vérités de Robert Kennedy Jr. sur les négociations secrètes entre Fidel Castro et le Président Kennedy, June 1st, 2015

Translated from the French by Larry R. Oberg.

Doctor of Iberian Studies and Latin American University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, Salim Lamrani is a senior lecturer at the University of La Réunion, and a journalist specializing in relations between Cuba and the United States.

His latest book is: Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2015; Foreword by Eduardo Galeano, translated by Larry R. Oberg.

Contact : lamranisalim@yahoo.fr ; Salim.Lamrani@univ-reunion.fr

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

[1] Robert Kennedy Jr., “JFK’s Secret Negotiations with Fidel”, IPS, January 2015.http://www.ipsnews.net/20155/01/opinion-jfks-secret-negotiations-with-fidel/ (Site consulted April 21, 2015); Robert Kennedy, Jr, “Sabotaging U.S.-Cuba Détente in the Kennedy Era”, IPS, January 6, 2015. http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/01/opinion-sabotaging-u.s.-cuba-détente-in-the-kennedy-era/  (Site consulted April 21, 2015).

Source: Robert Kennedy Jr.’s 25 Truths on the Secret Negotiations between Fidel Castro and President Kennedy  Global Research