Fighting Trump with local power politics
Assemblymember Charles Barron | 12/22/2016, 11:17 a.m.
Hey Black leaders, don’t join the Donald Trump Black gravy train line, trying to secure funding for yourself and your pet programs. The masses of Black people are suffering from poverty, unemployment, mass incarceration, inadequate health care, miseducation, homelessness, high crime rates, gentrification (land grabs), police terrorism, powerlessness and hopelessness. Your meetings with presidents, governors, mayors, etc., usually benefit you and your personal agenda, not the people and their oppressive conditions. If there is going to be a meeting with Trump, let it be with a collective coalition of Black leaders who have a comprehensive Black agenda demanding that our tax dollars go to improving conditions in the Black community. We don’t need individual Black leaders meeting privately with Trump for photo-ops, personal aggrandizement and fulfilling personal agendas.
Let’s keep it real! Trump is a racist, right-wing, misogynistic (sexist), xenophobic (fear of foreigners), egomaniac, who called for the death penalty for our innocent Central Park jogger case brothers and said Black people were too incompetent to handle his money. Trump is looking to gain credibility in the Black community by meeting with popular Black leaders to silence them by giving them some crumbs from the table. Already, some Black leaders are speaking positively about Trump.
One of the best ways of combating the impact of a racist Trump presidency is by use of local power politics and mass uprisings. All politics is local! We live in the most powerful and wealthiest city and state in the world. New York State has a nearly $150 billion budget and New York City has a budget of more than $80 billion. That’s an incredible combined total of $230 billion. Our real immediate challenge when it comes to these budgets is Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. So then, if Trump cuts Medicare (federally funded), then we must fight Cuomo to increase funding and change regulations for Medicaid (state funded). If a national struggle can’t get Trump to federally fund desperately needed anti-poverty programs in economically oppressed Black and Brown neighborhoods, then we must locally keep the heat on Cuomo and de Blasio to create and develop a multibillion dollar anti-poverty program for our communities.
The poverty rate in the South Bronx is more than 40 percent, in Harlem nearly 30 percent, in Brownsville more than 30 percent and in Bedford-Stuyvesant more than 30 percent, just to name a few examples. These poverty numbers equal the numbers in poor struggling developing nations around the world that led to revolutions, such as the one in Egypt. Yet, in last year’s New York State budget, Cuomo wouldn’t give more than a measly $25 million out of the nearly $150 billion state budget for fighting poverty. All of that money went upstate. And this neglect happened with a Democratic Party executive branch. That is a shame and a disgrace! It is unacceptable and unconscionable!
Trump’s racist, negative economic and social impact will be less devastating if we unite locally and demand our fair share of the state and city budgets to increase funding for education, housing, health care, economic development, job creation, cultural and recreational programs and funding for our youth and seniors.
My message to local Black leadership is please don’t sell us out. Our community is in a state of crisis. We can pressure local government to take care of the needs of our people, despite Trump.
On Jan. 15, 2017, we will be celebrating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. Many of you will be attending programs in his honor and speaking highly of him. Remember, Black leadership attacked King for criticizing President Lyndon B. Johnson while they were trying to get funding from him. King replied by saying, “What you’re saying may get you a foundation grant, but it won’t get you into the kingdom of truth.” Black leaders, speak truth to power and fight the powers that be, on behalf of our suffering people.
Ultimately America needs a revolution, a radical systemic change in this racist capitalist system. And/or perhaps, we need to separate and form a nation within this nation. This racist Trump presidency just might be the catalyst to unite us and bring about the ultimate change we desperately need. Food for thought. Remember, our struggle may be long, but victory is certain. Forward ever!