Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 5:31 p.m.
It is official: City Councilman Charles Barron has just announced that he is going to run for governor. In order to defy what the former Black Panther called the "Republicrats," on Thursday, June 17, Barron will throw down the gauntlet to the Democratic Party and gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Evidently, it's on!
"We are forming the Freedom Party, and I am running for governor. This is first and foremost about our self-determination," Barron told the AmNews. "We are forming a new party to represent our interests. Don't waste your vote on Cuomo. They say he's going to win any way, so you might as well vote for us so we can form the Freedom Party to push through our issues and continue the strong legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer and Rosa Parks," said Barron.
One point, he said, is to put issues affecting the Black community on the table and make demands of the process and state government to address crucial topics, such as inadequate housing, high unemployment, and inner-city and police violence. The second point is to challenge the media crowning of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who seems to not even have to campaign since the mainstream press already speak of former Gov. Mario Cuomo's boy as the gubernatorial candidate-select.
To hear Barron and his supporters tell it, New York State is about to welcome the rebirth of the Freedom Movement. It's self-determination and self-preservation meets agitation propaganda meets political theater meets stark social reality.
Causing grassroots political contention is Cuomo's all-white ticket with his pick of Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy as his lieutenant governor and his pushing of controversial Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice as the next attorney general.
A meeting two weekends ago saw Rev. Al Sharpton call together noted Black leadership to demand inclusion in Cuomo's gubernatorial administration--should he end up getting one.
Last week, a small, like-minded group met at Alton Maddox's weekly United African Movement meeting. There, the idea germinated and was followed up on Tuesday by an expanded meeting at Sistas' Place Coffee Shop, also in Bed-Stuy. There, grassroots mainstays like members of the December 12th Movement, such as Viola Plummer, and Operation Power's Brenda Walker, Roots Revisited's Michael Hooper, the Black United Front's Jitu Weusi and CEMOTAP's Dr. James McIntosh thrashed out the plan of creating a third party, the Freedom Party.
"We support him 100 percent!" declared resilient activist McIntosh.
"Fannie Lou Hamer was disrespected by the state of Mississippi and started the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and in the same way now, we've been disrespected by the state of New York," said Barron. "The Democrats basically told you to go to hell, so vote for your dignity and self-respect. Don't be mad and stay home. Come out in November and vote for your Freedom Party and Charles Barron."
"I think the Freedom Party is an idea that corresponds to the realities and necessities of Black people in 2010," said Roger Wareham, human rights attorney and December 12th Movement member. "We are in a very precarious position and we should develop an agenda to defend our interests locally, nationally and globally."