[Marxism] Proportional Representation, ex-BPP, and Democratic Party ... and Fulani

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Thu May 12 18:30:08 MDT 2005

With Proportional Representation [to build an independent labor or 
black party} and Instant Runoff Voting [if he ran for mayor], this is a 
present Democratic Party candidate that many of us could support.

RAIL: Okay, let’s go back a little further in terms of American history 
and talk about reparations. I went to a tribute to W.E.B DuBois last 
month at the New School, where two leading left-wing scholars agreed 
that reparations may be a good idea, but that in practice it would be 
too divisive a political issue.

BARRON: That’s ridiculous. Left-wing scholars say that? We’re in 
trouble. (Laughter) Divisive? What does that mean, that everybody 
doesn’t agree? You name me an issue that everyone agrees on. That’s 
anti-intellectual. That’s anti-common sense. What we’re saying is that 
we came here in 1619, and from 1619-1865, there were 246 years of legal 
chattel slavery. And from the 13th Amendment in 1865 to the Civil 
Rights Act of 1965, there were 100 years more of Jim Crow. We’ve been 
here for just over 383 years, and we’re talking about 346 years of 
racist discrimination. Collateral damage has been done. From generation 
to generation, the psychological and economic oppression of that 
experience lingers with us today.

Let’s say you can’t handle slavery because it happened so long ago. 
Then fine. How about the fact that through the 1960s, we paid taxes for 
schools that we couldn’t attend? Or that we paid taxes for hospitals— 
public hospitals— that we couldn’t be treated in because of racism? 
Then give us back our taxes. The reparations movement is saying that 
there’s a debt owed, which is not the same as calling for civil rights, 
which we fought for and won.

RAIL: Moving back to the present, how would you respond to Nat Hentoff, 
who’s been relentlessly attacking you for your position on Zimbabwe’s 
Robert Mugabe?

BARRON: I think that he woke up one day and said "Hmm, the budget’s not 
important, the war on Iraq’s not important, I’m gonna pick on Charles 
Barron and Zimbabwe." (Laughter) But first of all, he’s disingenuous. 
At the end of one article he said that he wished he could have been 
invited to question Mugabe when I brought him to City Hall. My response 
is "Nat, don’t you have the wire service?" New York 1 was there. The 
Times was there. We didn’t personally call anybody. And secondly, if 
you’re going do an article on me, interview me. Isn’t it interesting 
that he took quotes out of a 13-page report but never called me up? I 
was shocked that the articles even came out.


Here's Barron at yesterday's City Council meeting:

The day's drama, however, came at the hearing's end, when Councilman 
Lewis A. Fidler formally introduced a resolution condemning Lenora B. 
Fulani, a prominent member of the Independence Party, for comments that 
she made about Israel and the Jews during the 1980's.

"I believe that when a public figure utters words that are racist, 
bigoted, homophobic or anti-Semitic, we have an obligation as a body to 
stand up and repudiate it," Mr. Fidler said upon introducing his 
resolution, which has 20 other sponsors on the Council.

A few minutes later, Mr. Barron rose to respond.

"I'd like to see Council Member Fidler just one time in this City 
Council standing up and say that some of the things that Rabbi Meir 
Kahane, who is no longer with us, the racist, bigoted things that he 
said about the Palestinians, that we should condemn them," he said, 
referring to the controversial founder of the Jewish Defense League, 
who was killed in 1990. "How about standing up and talking about Ariel 
Sharon, and some of the racist, bigoted things that he's doing?"

The debate degenerated from there, with the two councilmen trading 
sharp words as Betsy Gotbaum, the city's public advocate and the 
presiding officer at Council hearings, tried to impose some order. 
Eventually, Ms. Gotbaum gained the upper hand.

"Gentlemen, gentlemen, let's behave like gentlemen," she said firmly. 
If they wanted to step outside, Ms. Gotbaum suggested, she would "ask 
the women on the Council to be referees."

The matter ended there.


from Brian Shannon

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