Jesse Jackson: Wall Street stooge

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Dec 27 10:24:13 MST 2000

Village Voice, December 27 - January 2, 2001

Jackson-Watchers Claim Wall Street Contributors Arranged His Phone Call to

Is Jesse for Sale?
by Peter Noel

Downcast Wall Street investors whose fears had been focused on a slowing
economy demanded that Reverend Jesse Jackson curtail his blistering attacks
on George W. Bush. These financiers arranged the controversial phone call
that Jackson made to the "president-select" shortly after Al Gore conceded
the race, key business figures told the Voice.

Corporate moguls contribute heavily to Jackson's Wall Street Project, an
economic-development program intended to persuade New York's financial
leaders to steer big-business bucks to minority communities and
entrepreneurs. The Project is, in fact, the Wall Street office of Jackson's
Rainbow-PUSH Coalition. "These guys on Wall Street aren't Democrats or
Republicans—they're capitalists," says one investor. "When they saw the
tide turning, some of Reverend Jackson's top contributors put a call in to

Jackson did not return Voice calls for comment.

Even before the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in favor of Bush on the night
of December 12, Jackson was promising to "take to the streets" with a
"civil rights explosion." Prior to his phone call, Jackson had compared the
Supreme Court's ruling to the 1857 Dred Scott decision in which the Court
declared that blacks, slave or free, did not have the rights of citizens.
After the Supreme Court ruling, Jackson said he rejected Bush as the
successor to President Clinton "with every bone in my body and every ounce
of moral strength in my soul." He also said that "to lose by racial
targeting is dishonorable."

With Wall Street having factored in a Bush victory, sources in the
financial community say, it was only a matter of time before major movers
and shakers muzzled Jackson and other Gore loyalists crying thievery.
"These contributors told Reverend Jackson, 'You better hold this down
because we won't back you anymore if you are adverse to the new
administration in Washington,' " a financial insider claims. "They said,
'We certainly can't give you the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and
all these other perks if you are out there taking shots at a president we
now have to lobby to get what we want.' My understanding is that they told
Reverend Jackson, 'You better call Bush.' "

The source adds that one business figure also told Jackson he would call
Bush "and tell him to take your call." On December 14, Bush took a call
from the civil rights leader. They talked about "healing the nation and
bringing it together," according to a Bush aide. Bush offered to meet with
Jackson "for further discussions on election reform" in the aftermath of
allegations that black voters were unfairly treated in some Florida voting
precincts. The next day, Jackson, appearing on NBC's Today show, said of
Bush: "It is his burden to bring some closure to that [allegation] in some
fair and open way."

That Jackson could be pressured by Wall Street investors to scale down his
rhetoric intrigued a civic leader who is a close associate. "Why would
Jesse make the call? Why would Bush accept the call?" he asks. Without
confirming that is exactly what happened, this Jackson supporter adds,
"There must be somebody who is bigger than both of them to put that

Some in the black activist community are steaming over Jackson's phone
call. They use words like "sellout" and "race merchant" and "two-faced" to
describe the nation's best-known civil rights activist. One even asked,
"Who's betraying Dr. Martin Luther King?" Jackson, one incensed black
leader declares, believes that the civil rights movement marches to his

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Louis Proyect
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