al calloway.jpgWhile listening to a top-rated black-orientated (not black-owned) radio station recently, I heard a black educator lament black people’s lack of monetary support for political candidates. I found myself shouting at the radio, “No! No, Professor!”

As I see it, the key political solution for black people everywhere is twofold: Initially, the black so-called “talented tenth” have got to organize black communities. (The reality is that a significant majority of black people reside in stratified inner city and rural neighborhoods.) Organization has to include all institutions and groups along political and economic spheres, enfolding them into one another as one.

Blacks everywhere must become conditioned to the reality that politics and economics are together like fingers to the hand, they are inseparable and interdependent. They must know that that mathematical truth eliminates serious divisiveness within the black social dynamic — a divisiveness born of learned behavior due to longterm dehumanization, including from slavery to so-called freedom.

The black vote must be understood as a collective power that generates economic and social equity when organized and utilized cohesively.

Secondly, it is collective power — not money itself – that ultimately generates the vote, maintains and grows more power by locking in the accountability factor so that ownership of the political and economic process always remains with the people, the voters, and never, in any way, with external forces.

Now, if that’s not “Democracy,” either the system’s got me in a trick or it (“Democracy”) just ain’t there. But is that what black leaders want? And, if so, where are they and what have they been doing?

It has become widely known that there are now 37 states that have implemented some form of voter suppression through legislation and/or fiat. What makes no sense at all, given the vaunted so-called “democratic process,” is how  more than 10,000 black elected officials of school boards, city and county commissions, state legislatures and congress could stand by during the last two years and do absolutely nothing?

Where were the civil rights organizations, educators, including the black churches, Greek-letter groups, black lawyers, accountants and public administrators, beauticians, entertainers and athletes, homeowners groups and block associations, ad infinitum? The truth of the matter is that most black leaders do not believe that they must be accountable to black people.

Entertainers and athletes don’t get checks from black people, irrespective of black support. Black politicians habitually seek and find financial backing from downtown sources and eschew organizing black power. Organizing from the bottom up is the only way to curtail the politics of containment and ultimately supplant it with a community-based democratic process. 

Suddenly, with less than three months left until the 2012 general election, a move is being made to educate the black electorate relative to almost nationwide voter suppression edicts that are actually 21st century poll taxes designed to block the black and non-Cuban Latino vote for Obama.

What black politicos have done is wait for money from the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign before showing a modicum of activity in some black communities around the nation. Hey, fools! It’s not about that chump change money. It’s about black power. It’s about that which overpowers and supplants that conditioning process I call the politics of containment, replacing it with the politics of access. True democracy.

Florida’s voter suppression pogrom targets 87 percent minorities (see Marco Cupoto, Miami Herald, June 6, 2012). I think that it is nowhere near possible or likely for a majority of Florida’s 60,000-plus black Republicans to be in accord with this political pogrom against people of color. However, like most black Democrats, what they will do about it is up in the air.

A Postscript:

Mitt Romney is a political klutz and a terrible liar. I’ve got Obama in a landslide given some righteousness from the courts on voter suppression laws. If not, democracy is over, everywhere.

Al Calloway is a longtime journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle. He may be reached at