one theme i'd like to pull out of the comments: you know, they fully enclosed jesse jackson, john lewis, and so on. but after that, people who were supposed to be 'black leaders', like julian bond, jesse jr, let's say marc morial, kwesi mfume just went back and forth from democratic party politics to the leadership of black organizations. they are not people who actually have much of any constituency in the black community, but they have a big constituency among democratic party leaders and donors. morial is appearing as a hillary surrogate as he serves as president of the urban league. now, i always had on board that these organizations were actually too moderate and compromising throughout, that they never really accomplished that much until driven forward by much more radical people. they almost had to be dragged. but, in hindsight, those early organizers and presidents (oh, dubois) were so fiercely independent, so suspicious of white control of their own organizations, so independent and representing their race as they saw it (well, the middle-class, light-skinned people of their race, was the criticism). what would they say if they saw 'black' organizations and black 'leaders' who were wholly owned subsidiaries of the clinton campaign=the democratic party=goldman sachs? what if they saw little else anywhere?
and, those are the only black voices democratic politicians are listening to, the ones they're stuffing into suits and setting up as mouthpieces. they are selected specifically to mirror this half-assed, dishonest white liberalism, and the actual concrete results in their own communities have amounted to a permanent disaster. (how many decades of miserable failure is it going to take for us all to draw the conclusions malcolm drew in 1953? one way he saw what was real was that he saw the situation from prison; that's the angle from which the truth is available, not from the veuve clicqot dinner with the board of citibank.) that i have to sit here imagining what marcus or malcolm or whomever would say about this is the saddest thing of all. they used to be there right in our faces. y'all surrendered; your leaders are white people, and they are racist white people, and you vote the way they say at approximately 90%. never too late to go all nat turner on their ass, though.
(sharpton is an interesting case, inside/outside with some legitimacy as a leader. it has gotten to where al sharpton is the most radical black voice most white people might ever hear. no wonder we're complacent. think about where he would have been on the spectrum of black leadership in 1967. cornel west is out there, and at least he knows this history. but i think he would like to be absorbed into the democratic party; he's more pissed that they won't, though to his credit he'd try to push them into something that would at least look vaguely egalitarian and would be connected with some passion to the actual radical civil rights tradition. ok i should be able to name twenty names to the more radical side of that. i've got none except some underground hip hop artists.)