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Subject: "We ask the question, "Who speaks for us?", Bob Johnson answers." This topic is locked.
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tha8thjewel
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Thu Feb-24-05 11:07 AM

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"We ask the question, "Who speaks for us?", Bob Johnson answers."


  

          

I chopped about half this article in order to make it digestible. My question is, with the "hip-hop convention" behind us, and no widespread knowledge of the outcomes of that (multi-racial) event, the changing make-up of the Black community in North America, and rapidly altering political, economic, and social circumstances, how can we come together to figure out what our next steps as a people are? There ain't been a Pan-African Congress in 60 years, and a Black Political Convention in almost 30. What's up folks?

http://blackcommentator.com/127/127_cover_bob_johnson.html

What's Bob Johnson Up To?

In a transparent bid to boost Republican fortunes among Blacks, billionaire Bob Johnson attempted earlier this year to convene a secret meeting of prominent African Americans at BET headquarters in Washington, DC. BC obtained a copy of the invitation to the “retreat,” scheduled for January 13 and 14 and ostensibly designed “for the purpose of brainstorming ideas as to how we as African Americans can best confront the political and demographic realities of the 21st century.” None of the invitees were told the identity of the others and the press was scrupulously kept in the dark, but we have learned enough to report that the mix was high-powered and politically diverse. (Click to view the Johnson invitation letter to the retreat. The page may load slowly for dial up users due to the large size of the image.)

The stealth gathering was postponed for lack of a quorum, but Johnson’s intentions were made clear in his eight suggested talking-points, not one of which dealt with issues such as jobs, health care, housing, social security, civil rights or war and peace. Instead, the BET founder, who was an early backer of Social Security privatization and organized fellow wealthy Blacks in support of George Bush’s bid to repeal the Estate Tax, crafted an agenda designed to peel African Americans away from the Democratic Party – his clear assignment in Bush’s second term. “It seems to me he was suggesting more cooperation with Republicans, or at least, less friendship toward Democrats,” said one invitee, who asked for anonymity.

With great cynicism but little guile, Johnson taps into the near-universal desire among Blacks for actions that will lead to greater operational unity and effectiveness – and attempts to channel these aspirations in Republican directions. Of the eight Johnson “questions” listed below, all but three implicitly urge collaboration with the GOP or a boycott of Democrats. The remainder – on forming a Black political party, running “favorite son” candidates, and fundraising over the Internet – are window dressing to create the impression of a broader agenda.

1. Should African Americans continue to vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party?

2. Should African Americans, in concert, make overtures to the Republican Party?

3. Should African Americans seek to form an independent party and vote accordingly?

4. Should African American-elected officials be encouraged to run as favorite sons in national elections?

5. Should African Americans holding elected offices be asked to vote according to a multi-party system by using their voting power to leverage the Democrats against the Republicans and the Republicans against the Democrats in the best interest of African Americans?

6. Should African American voters be encouraged to vote for Republican or Democratic officials based upon the negotiated agreement with the respective candidates rather than based on party affiliation?

7. Should African Americans demonstrate our political cohesiveness, and therefore political power, by withholding votes from a particular candidate in a selected election?

8. Should African Americans invest in an Internet-based fundraising effort to form a totally independent source of political financing?

Bob Johnson doubtless kept the invitees in the dark as to each other’s identities, the better to control the direction of the slanted discourse by curtailing opportunities for pre-meeting discussions among invitees, such as, What is this guy up to? and, How was this list put together? or, Why aren’t there any talking points on the issues?

BC obtained, from a third party, a copy of NAACP Chairman Julian Bond’s response to Johnson’s invitation. Bond declined to attend “for scheduling reasons,” congratulated Johnson for his efforts, then offered a valuable, point-by-point critique. On the question of whether Blacks should “continue to vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party,” Bond responded:

”This strikes me as the wrong question – the correct one is ‘what party should we vote for, and what standards should we apply to choose the beneficiary of our votes?’ In every election in my lifetime from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush (with one exception in 1956) we’ve chosen the Democratic Party by large majorities. That choice was rationally made between two competing and general political philosophies – one which promised an aggressive defense of civil rights and the prospect of economic growth and security, the other offering the vicissitudes of the marketplace and less vigorous federal protection of – and in many cases a retreat from – civil rights. Using that general standard, we’ve consistently voted for Democrats, and I expect that pattern to be followed for the foreseeable future. In recent elections, our choice has also been a matter of the Republican Party repulsing us rather than the Democratic Party attracting us.”

Bond agreed that Republicans should be rewarded with votes if they “adopt policies deemed favorable” to Black interests. “It would be the height of idiocy, however, to suggest that having given our votes to one party for so long we ought to give them to the other for no reason except that we could,” said Bond. “The old mantra, ‘taken for granted by one party; ignored by the other’ isn’t remedied by giving our votes to a party that doesn’t make any rational appeal for them.”

The former Georgia state lawmaker engaged all of Johnson’s questions, and suggested there should be discussion on subjects such as the lack of urban issues in the recent election campaign, the folly of holding the first primaries in the unrepresentative states of New Hampshire and Iowa, and the unfairness of the Electoral College. But the crucial question, says Bond, is: “Who decides?” Who decides how monies raised for Black political campaigns are disbursed? Who decides who is to “negotiate” agreements between African Americans and the two major parties? Bond has confirmed the letter obtained is his. (Click to view the letter. The page may load slowly for dial up users due to the large size of the image.)

When BC asked Johnson’s executive assistant, Michelle Curtis, about the status of the “retreat” we were met with a harsh, “Were you invited?” Informed that we were not, but that we thought the meeting to be of interest to the Black public, Curtis stated, repeatedly, “You weren't invited, so we have nothing to say.” Bob Johnson has not responded to our inquiries. However, he has done Othello-like service to George Bush’s state, parroting and even shaping the Republican political line at critical junctures since the beginning of Bush’s presidency.


"Alphas are that good high...stick witcha, you can't shake that shit...like heroin. You'll always be addicted."
--OKP novembersgift

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
RE: We ask the question, "Who speaks for us?", Bob Johnson answers.
Feb 24th 2005
1
It's only laughable if you take things at a surface level.
Feb 24th 2005
2
      RE: It's only laughable if you take things at a surface level.
Feb 24th 2005
4
      I don't think it's either-or
Feb 25th 2005
7
           I implore you to read the entire article.
Feb 25th 2005
8
up
Feb 24th 2005
3
what's with the secrets?
Feb 24th 2005
5
didnt he sell B.E.T. to Whitefolk?
Feb 25th 2005
6
tell me what u want to know about the convention
Feb 27th 2005
9
what was the 5-point agenda?
Feb 27th 2005
10
      RE: what was the 5-point agenda?
Feb 28th 2005
11

sunngodd
Member since Feb 20th 2003
8324 posts
Thu Feb-24-05 11:43 AM

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1. "RE: We ask the question, "Who speaks for us?", Bob Johnson answers."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


>how can we come together
>to figure out what our next steps as a people are?

I think Johnson is trying to answer your question. He's trying to push for Black political independence. The need for it is so obvious that it's laughable to try to attack him for it.

In a transparent bid to boost Republican fortunes among
>Blacks, billionaire Bob Johnson attempted earlier this year
>to convene a secret meeting of prominent African Americans
>at BET headquarters in Washington, DC.

It seems to me that what he was talking about was political independence, not necessarily voting Republican per se. It's not as though the Libera Agenda and what's best for Blacks goes hand in hand anyway, IMO.
------------------------------

“All the scared niggers are dead” – Stokely Carmichael

"...and once we control at least the economy of our own community, we will actually be in a position to provide employment for the people of the community. And this will eliminate the necessity of us acting ignorantly and disgracefully boycotting and picketing some cracka somewhere else trying to beg him for a job. Anytime you have to rely upon your enemy for a job, you're in bad shape.” - Malcolm X


  

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tha8thjewel
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Thu Feb-24-05 11:47 AM

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2. "It's only laughable if you take things at a surface level."
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

Yes, "black political independence" is desirable, and dialogue towards that is good, but what's the basis for the dialogue or the discussion?

If you're asking the wrong questions, how can you come up with the right answers? How can you begin a discussion about strategy without an initial discussion about what your philosophy, ideals, and goals are in the first place?


"Alphas are that good high...stick witcha, you can't shake that shit...like heroin. You'll always be addicted."
--OKP novembersgift

  

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BISON CLASS of 97
Member since Oct 19th 2004
7295 posts
Thu Feb-24-05 05:14 PM

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4. "RE: It's only laughable if you take things at a surface level."
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

Glad to see you use your Howard education.

"I'm one of the world's great survivors. I'll always survive because I've got the right combination of wit, grit and bullshit."

© Don King

  

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sunngodd
Member since Feb 20th 2003
8324 posts
Fri Feb-25-05 04:29 AM

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7. "I don't think it's either-or"
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

>If you're asking the wrong questions, how can you come up
>with the right answers? How can you begin a discussion about
>strategy without an initial discussion about what your
>philosophy, ideals, and goals are in the first place?

What you mention as well as what Johnson is doing are both part of the conversation that we should be having. I don't agree that we necessarily have to agree on some philosophy before we begin to start talking about strategies, because it's not like we'll be able to agree on one philosophy anyway (example: the black political convention that you mentioned).

We could debate philosophy, etc. for a hundred years and still not be any closer to having an empowered black commmunity than when we started. I think we can talk about overall goals and discuss new strategies at the same time. Which brings me back to my original point: It seems like Johnson is trying to have a productive dialogue about moving in new directions, and the author is attacking him as if he's doing something harmful.

------------------------------

“All the scared niggers are dead” – Stokely Carmichael

"...and once we control at least the economy of our own community, we will actually be in a position to provide employment for the people of the community. And this will eliminate the necessity of us acting ignorantly and disgracefully boycotting and picketing some cracka somewhere else trying to beg him for a job. Anytime you have to rely upon your enemy for a job, you're in bad shape.” - Malcolm X


  

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tha8thjewel
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10004 posts
Fri Feb-25-05 04:49 AM

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8. "I implore you to read the entire article."
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

It's all well and good to try to approach these types of things with rose-colored glasses, but if you don't contextualize what is going on, then you run the risk of getting caught up in an agenda that is not consonant with your own.

<-- Slicka than ya average.

"It's a war in the streets tonight
And nobody's really feelin alright
I got a blunt for my chronic
A juice for my tonic
I know now
That I'm feelin right if it goes down"
-- Nas, "War"

"perky breasts go with anything....its like the black shoe."
-- my nigga my bruh, OKP thashadow


"Alphas are that good high...stick witcha, you can't shake that shit...like heroin. You'll always be addicted."
--OKP novembersgift

  

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FireBrand
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145739 posts
Thu Feb-24-05 04:23 PM

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3. "up"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


______________________________



Instores Feb. 8th NothernArc's very own Black Bill Gate's Hosted By John Legend.


Feb. 25th: Groove Theory (Final Fridays) @ Djangos OKP's Nabi and spinning downstairs, Upstairs. Free with RSVP before 1am.





_________________
Inaug'ral Member of the OkaySports Hall of Fame.


"Slaves got options...cowards aint got shit." --PS
"Once upon a time, little need existed for making the distinction between a nigga and a black—at least not in this country, the place where niggas were invented" -- Donnell A

  

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HueyShakur
Member since Aug 22nd 2003
18030 posts
Thu Feb-24-05 05:47 PM

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5. "what's with the secrets?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

seems like a failed (thankfully) attempt to hijack the language of Black autonomy with no intention to strengthen communities for the masses of Black ppl.

---------
<= "Tomorrow" Romare Bearden

  

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blaXXX
Member since Dec 01st 2004
1649 posts
Fri Feb-25-05 01:59 AM

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6. "didnt he sell B.E.T. to Whitefolk?"
In response to Reply # 0


          

IF so, that should have been the preview then...for what he esteems. I'm certain he couldn't have possibly thought that Whites would make the networks' broadcast obj. more "genuinely veracious" toward Blackness-----missing in the other 399 channels.

So, to get informed that his agenda really does feature advancing GOP-xenophobia toward anything Black that IS VOCAL about Inequality...no longer surprises me.

Great article 8th...

____ _____ _____

*--> www.soundclick.com/blaXXX <--*

*~* Go ahead! EXPERIENCE the latest non-Profit joint!*~*

____ _____ _____

blaXXX' breviaries: 2005---And we coulda saved more...if they ONLY KNEW they were Slaves
____

  

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naame
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21007 posts
Sun Feb-27-05 05:54 AM

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9. "tell me what u want to know about the convention"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

they 5 point agenda was crafted, then all the local organizing committees went back to their respective states with the charge to get out the vote. now the national body of the convention will be expanding to move the politically charged atmosphere that young people have now.

Nowadays silence is looked on as odd and most of my race has forgotten the beauty of meaning much by saying little."

-- From Toni Morrison's new book, "Love"

--------------------------
in the West, when you see a chick who is prostituting you start thinking of all the things she could have done rather than hookin': UPS is hiring, McDonalds is hiring, they're hiring at the mall. you think she's either fucked in the head, cracked out, a freak or addicted to "easy" money

in most parts of Africa, ain't NOWHERE hiring. i mean people with degrees go for years without being able to get a job at some fast food joint. everybody's just hustling with whatever they have to make something out of nothing
-afkap

http://profiles.myspace.com/users/3900079

silver spoon in mouth having , light skinned mutherfucker, fuck a proper upbringing

America has imported more warlord theocracy from Afghanistan than it has exported democracy.

  

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tha8thjewel
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10004 posts
Sun Feb-27-05 09:35 AM

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10. "what was the 5-point agenda?"
In response to Reply # 9


  

          

and beyond getting out the vote, what are the next steps that are supposed to be being taken?

<-- Slicka than ya average.

"It's a war in the streets tonight
And nobody's really feelin alright
I got a blunt for my chronic
A juice for my tonic
I know now
That I'm feelin right if it goes down"
-- Nas, "War"

"perky breasts go with anything....its like the black shoe."
-- my nigga my bruh, OKP thashadow

"I've spoken to women that said they deserved men that made 6 digits, when I asked what they were bringin' to the table, they ran their hands down their malformed bodies, like that's enough."
--OKP Grand_Royal, on chickenheads


"Alphas are that good high...stick witcha, you can't shake that shit...like heroin. You'll always be addicted."
--OKP novembersgift

  

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naame
Charter member
21007 posts
Mon Feb-28-05 08:04 AM

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11. "RE: what was the 5-point agenda?"
In response to Reply # 10


  

          

5 point agenda here - http://www.hiphopconvention.org/issues/agenda.cfm

>and beyond getting out the vote, what are the next steps
>that are supposed to be being taken?

next steps are going to be
1) building the infrastructure of the organization
2) working for the issues stated in the agenda
3) Convention 06 in Chicago

America has imported more warlord theocracy from Afghanistan than it has exported democracy.

  

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