Karl Marx Was Black?!
At the risk of beating a dead horse of no specified color, one byproduct of this campaign will be to rob the word racism of what’s left of its power. Lewis Diuguid, a Kansas City Star columnist of whom I’ve never previously heard, is getting significant blogospheric attention for a piece titled “Shame on McCain and Palin for using an old code word for black.”
The “socialist” label that Sen. John McCain and his GOP presidential running mate Sarah Palin are trying to attach to Sen. Barack Obama actually has long and very ugly historical roots.
J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality.
Those freedom fighters included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led the Civil Rights Movement; W.E.B. Du Bois, who in 1909 helped found the NAACP which is still the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization; Paul Robeson, a famous singer, actor and political activist who in the 1930s became involved in national and international movements for better labor relations, peace and racial justice; and A. Philip Randolph, who founded and was the longtime head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and a leading advocate for civil rights for African Americans.
Now, I’m not sufficiently familiar with the economic philosophies of the highlighted folks to comment on whether it was fair to describe them as socialist and insufficiently interested to do the research. Jules Crittendon believes Dubois, Robeson, and Randolf “were socialists” and King “had a fondness for socialist ideas.”
The fact of the matter is that, as I noted in a much Googled post entitled “Barack Obama the Socialist,”
Obama’s a liberal Democrat who wants more government regulation of the economy, more redistribution of wealth, more deference to international institutions, more nationalization of medicine, and so forth and so on. Some of his policies — although probably none of his goals — are indeed “far to the left … of mainstream America.” He’s as close to a socialist as it gets in serious contenders for the presidency; but that’s not very close.
Of course, I wrote that before George W. Bush signed into law, with John McCain’s backing, the biggest government bailout of the financial system in history. We’re all socialists now.