Racism Implodes Tea Party

Man, what a short weekend! On Thursday the Tea Party was setting up a bigger tent. By Sunday their center pole was cracked in half. Suddenly we live in a country where the NAACP is on the rise — again.

Naturally the racist framing of the past month was drawn and squared by Rush Limbaugh who charged that the President had only his race to offer as the reason for his political success. Limbaugh forgets how much the Obama factor was empowered by a widespread social yearning to get out of the frame that Limbaugh, Fox News, and Bush had locked us into. Perhaps Obama’s Black heritage lent some credibility to the hope that he could lead us out of that cave instead of right back into its depths.

Limbaugh’s ability to profit commercially from racism as “entertainment value” probably had some mentoring influence upon Mark Williams. When NAACP President, Benjamin Jealous, dared the Tea Party to repudiate its racism, Williams decided to try a little minstrel style mockery which, come to think of it, pretty much connects Williams to the commercial history of American radio as well. The main mistake Williams made according to the culture code of contemporary social reality is that he forgot to go into show biz before he acted out.

Williams is guilty of what up North people call “stupid” racism, because right up until he put on his blackface the Tea Party had been playing its racism “smart”. Of course, nobody should be taken in by the Tea Party’s rehab. Their economic model is practically racist as was the Reaganomics upon which it is built.

Now is the time for the NAACP to step into the opportunity that it created and offer some workable disaster relief plan that even the President can’t evade. It’s been at least a decade since we’ve seen any real vision with half a chance of winning anything but a ballot count on election day. And, of course, odds could be better this time around.

Progressives have pretty much stranded themselves in the shallow waters of the Democratic Party, exactly where the ballast of the NAACP is lodged. Just as we can’t afford to be fooled by the Tea Party’s vapid denials of racism, neither can we afford to believe that the NAACP has this week made a significant dent in the racist structure of the economic crisis or the racist paralysis that prevents all progressive advance.

Whether, or how much, progressives can afford to waste on another round of Congressional balloteering is a dandy question. But it would be too cynical to bet the movement on the iron weight of the system’s internal contradictions crashing. Yes, that crash is upon us. And as it continues to thunder down, the NAACP could stake ground for that other tent city, the one where those of us who have never trusted the Tea Party can gather for some badly needed refreshment.

Greg Moses is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net. Read other articles by Greg, or visit Greg's website.

3 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on July 19th, 2010 at 9:28am #

    Damage control damage control warning warning warning and let’s see how Glenn Beck handles this one well Fox New’s as the greatest minds in human history are this very second planing some grand illusion. I know make the dress code mandatory black suit one size to small white shirt and small black tie with of course wraparound dark glasses short hair a must.

  2. lichen said on July 19th, 2010 at 4:50pm #

    I remember when Obama made his big address to the NAACP, in the course of which he expressed that basically ‘if young people of color living in the ghetto don’t magically overcome circumstances and become a part of the elite, it is their own fault; no excuses (but plenty of prisons.) To this, the audience erupted in applause. I don’t think there’s much to rescue in that.

  3. Deadbeat said on July 19th, 2010 at 8:15pm #

    Here I agree with lichen’s critique of the NAACP. The NAACP has always had an internal contradiction — class vs race. This was pointed out clearly during the public exchanges between Huey Newton and Roy Wilkins in the early 70′s. Clearly the articulation of class weaken with the demise of the Panthers and the 60′s radicals. Liberalism, alignment to the Democrats and “identity” politics won out.

    The attention giving by the Left to the Tea Party IMO is part of the “Left’s” narrative to place the main issue on identity politics and avoid the class question as well as the Left’s avoidance of its own failures that help to create the political vacuum now being filled by the Tea Party.

    In addition Jeffery Blankfort has articulates Zionism effects on black politics. The NAACP could not survive without “foundation” money and the NAACP is not alone such dollars. DN!, Bill Moyers, and Code Pink all are on the take and disrupt and distract the Left from any real anti-Capitalist and anti-Zionist formations.

    If the Tea Party is as small as many writers here suggest by claiming that its coverage is falsely magnified by FOX then why bother with them.

    It makes more sense to spend energy articulating an anti-Capitalist critique and construct ideas of a post-Capitalist society and help educate with intellectually radical information about Capitalism being at the root of their problems.

    Unfortunately no. We are still seeing Keynesian Liberals offer the same bromides as solutions alongside fear of “brown shirts”. This strategy is not going to reconstruct the Left. The vacuum will consequently only enhance the reactionaries.