We thank the 10,090 voters who had the courage to vote for Charles Barron on June 26. We have the utmost appreciation for the more than 200 volunteers on our June 26 street teams. We cannot fully express our gratitude to our donors, who contributed $100,000 to this campaign fund. Many thanks to the stalwarts of the Freedom Party (all chapters), the members of the December 12th Movement, the National Black United Front New York Chapter, Hip Hop Stand Up and Vote, Operation Power, District Council 37, Rep. Ed Towns, AFSCME DC 1707, CSEA, the Sierra Club of New York, the Amsterdam News, Black Star News, Caribbean News and scores of tenant leaders and block association presidents who were not afraid to endorse this campaign. We are planning a celebration in the weeks to come and we want everyone to attend.
The statistics stated that our opponent had 28,000 votes, 72 percent of the total vote. Thus, we needed 22.1 percent of the vote or 8,000 more votes to be victorious. What started as a choice between two able-bodied candidates was drowned in the final three weeks by a massive anti-Barron movement!
This anti-Barron movement was spearheaded by national Democratic Party officials who enlisted members of Congress, senators, the governor of New York State, the mayor of New York City, county leaders of the Brooklyn and Queens Democratic Party, current and former state Assembly and Senate members, borough presidents, the City Council speaker, the public advocate and members of the City Council. Our opponent’s funds were supplied by hedge fund executives and white shoe law firms. Why was all this firepower necessary?
We must not forget the role of what some call the fourth branch of government, the media. Barron was attacked viciously and relentlessly by white media outlets in this town. News articles were not about the opponent’s credentials but clearly a part of the “Stop Barron Movement.”
In a speech given over 50 years ago in 1964 to a political group in Detroit, Mich., Malcolm X pointed out the bankruptcy of the American two-party political system. He illustrated how we would be going back and forth between Republicans and Democrats until we realize the value of our own votes. It is ironic that today in 2012, the age of Obama, as African-Americans have awakened to their political power, there is a rising tide in both parties to muffle aggressive outspoken voices.
Considering the anti-Barron onslaught, garnering 10,000 votes, almost 30 percent of all votes cast, was a formidable achievement. If Barron was elected, could he alone have forced them to tax the rich, end the wars, establish free health care and tuition, save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, end racial profiling, free political prisoners, give reparations to African slave descendants, reduce poverty, employ our youth and protect our seniors? One person could not make them do these things alone, but a people’s movement can, and that is what they fear. They also fear Black leadership that is outspoken, fearlessly speaking truth to power and who, as our late brother Gil Noble said, will tell it “Like It Is.” They fear Black leadership that cannot be bought or bossed.
We will not be stopped! Our voices will grow louder and wider. We will not let media sensationalism and sound bites take the place of intelligent discourse on complex foreign and domestic policy issues. We must prioritize the people over the party and human need over human greed. The struggle may be long, but the victory is certain.