[Marxism] Marc Cooper on Black Democrats

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 26 09:33:11 MDT 2004

July 25, 2004
Bombs Away: Black Dems and Lockheed Martin Together At Last

Take a close look at these two pictures I snapped tonight at the 
Congressional Black Caucus Institute's homage to Fannie Lou Hamer at the 
Massachussetts State House on Boston's Beacon Hill. That's right, the 
same Fannie Lou who led the Mississppi Freedom Democratic Party 
delegation into the 1964 Democratic Convention saying she was "sick and 
tired of being sick and tired" and --unsuccessfully-- demanded full 
racial integration of her state's Dixiecrat delegation.

We've come a long way, baby. In the photo on the left you can see Fannie 
Lou's portrait posted next to the co-sponsor of tonight's event, 
Lockheed Martin. Fourteen original and now aging members of the Freedom 
Delegation were flown into the event by the other corporate sponsor, our 
friends at Verizon.

The photo on the right features CBC co-chairs, Maryland Congressman 
Elijah Cummins and California Democrat Barbara Lee -- the only member of 
the House who refused to vote George W. Bush authority to retaliate 
after September 11th (not to be confused with the Iraq vote).

"I don't know anything about it, I'm just the co-chair of this," 
Congresswoman Lee said when I asked her what Lockheed Martin had to do 
with the legacy of Fanny Lou Hamer.

Congressman Benny Thompson of Mississippi was more enthusiastic. As he 
introduced Lockheed Martin exec Art Johnson to the crowd of several 
hundred, he said "We had to have someone step up to help us... Lockheed 
stepped up to the plate. They've been very supportive of our caucus and 
our activities."

Johnson reciprocated the comments saying his company is "pleased with 
the relationship we have with the CBC. We work together on a number of 
projects countrywide."

Lockheed is one of America's largest defense and war contractors. It 
also administers several outsourced and privatized computer programs for 
what used to be the federal welfare system -- the same one Comrade Bill 
Clinton dismantled in 1996. Lockheed has also recently been embroiled in 
accusations of employment discrimination.

The CBC is well-known for its alternative, liberal budget proprosals 
which traditionally call for a 30% or more cut in military spending. 
Indeed, Congresswoman Lee said tonite that the "CBC is the conscience of 
the Congress. It's the resistance movement inside the House of 

A dandy phrase, for sure. But apparently a posture that doesn't frighten 
Lockheed Martin...or Verizon.

There are, of course, two ways to look at all this. Either you believe 
that money permeates all politics and the CBC is only doing what 
everybody else does and, in fact, has no choice other than to wet its 
beak with all the others. Or, conversely, you believe that the CBC ought 
to be, indeed, the conscience of the Congress and that calling upon the 
likes of Lockheed and Verizon to sponsor an homage to Fannie Lou Hamer 
is, at a minimum, in bad taste.

We merely report. You decide.

The formal DNC opens Monday night with a speech by Mr. Clinton.


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