Friday, July 6, 2012

Charles Barron post-mortem

This article from Workers World, recapping Charles Barron's defeat in the Democratic Party primary on June 26, still expresses less than the truth: that Barron ran as a Democrat, the candidate of an imperialist party at war with workers and oppressed peoples at home and abroad.

Will Barron run as an independent for the seat in the fall?  I hope so.  Or better yet, Workers World Party should field a candidate for the seat and bring the campaign for revolutionary socialism to the 8th Congressional District. 


How they kept Barron out of Congress
By Stephen Millies
New York
Published Jul 5, 2012 7:51 PM

The billionaire class couldn't tolerate Charles Barron going to Congress. That's the real story about the June 26 primary election in New York's redrawn 8th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens.

While trying to overthrow Syria's government and survive the European banking crisis, the super-rich were also determined to defeat Barron. They can't stand a single anti-imperialist voice in the 435-member House of Representatives.

After being outspent by 10 to 1, and having the entire Democratic Party establishment and capitalist media mobilized against him, Charles Barron lost. "You know you're good when you made the governor do a robocall for a primary," Barron told his supporters at Sistas' Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. (Amsterdam News, June 28)

"Bar Barron from Congress" was the title of a Daily News editorial that appeared two days before the election. The New York Post and New York Times also attacked Barron.

These press lords condemned Barron for demanding reparations for descendants of African Americans who endured centuries of slavery.

Brooklyn Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries got 25,000 votes to Charles Barron's 10,000. But these figures don't tell the whole story.

Walking on Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant — the main street in that historic Black neighborhood — this writer saw signs for Barron on almost every store.

Barron actually got between 3,000 and 4,000 more votes there in 2006 when he ran against incumbent Congressperson Ed Towns. Towns endorsed Barron in 2012.

However, thousands of Black voters were thrown out of that congressional district when it was redrawn in 2012. Added to it were overwhelmingly white areas like Howard Beach, where Michael Griffith, an African American, was lynched on Dec. 20, 1986.

Jeffries got 98 percent of the votes in almost all-white Brighton Beach. (Daily News, June 28)

But some whites voted for Barron, who campaigned in white areas, condemning foreclosures and demanding jobs.

Interestingly, Jeffries got three times as many votes as did Queens Congressmember Gregory Meeks in another district. In the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Barack Obama supposedly got almost no votes in several Harlem precincts.

The Board of Elections may have "helped" Jeffries win.

People's voice vs. charter school advocate

Both Jeffries and Barron are African-American elected officials. Charles Barron represents Brooklyn's East New York district — one of New York City's poorest neighborhoods — in the City Council.

He's really a people's warrior, speaking in defense of oppressed people everywhere.

Barron was attacked for welcoming Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to City Hall. Mugabe is a liberator who has distributed land to thousands of Black farmers. That should have been done here following the U.S. Civil War.

Charles Barron was also attacked for denouncing NATO's colonial war against Libya. Barron defended African leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was tortured to death by U.S.-NATO mercenaries.

Barron was a Black Panther Party member — or, as he put it, "always a Panther." Whenever the police kill another innocent person, Barron comes forward to comfort family members and demand justice.

For several years, Barron has been the only one of 51 City Council members to vote against billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg's cutback budgets. That's how the 12th richest person in the U.S., according to Forbes magazine, cracks his whip over the city's elected representatives.

Hakeem Jeffries is Brooklyn's version of Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Both are for charter schools. Their campaigns are lavishly supported by the financial elite who seek to privatize education. Jeffries even attacked an NAACP lawsuit against unfair subsidies for private charter schools.

That's a reason why American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 37, with over 100,000 members, endorsed Barron. So did the Amsterdam News and Black Star News.

The December 12th Movement played a key role in Barron's campaign. Workers World Party is proud to have supported Charles Barron.

Anti-imperialist, not anti-Jewish

The Big Lie used to mobilize the white racist vote against Barron is that he's "anti-Jewish" for defending the oppressed Palestinian people.

Along with former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, Barron led the "Viva Palestina" convoy from the U.S. to occupied Gaza in 2009. Among the convoy's Jewish members who delivered aid was Sharon Eolis, one of the earliest members of Workers World Party.

The capitalist media never reported that progressive Jewish people were supporting Barron's candidacy. Instead they publicized a news conference of racist politicians who gathered at the Museum of Jewish Heritage to denounce Barron. Among them was former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who attacked Barron as a "snake" and a "viper." (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 12) Isn't that how Nazi propaganda described Jewish people?

Koch was elected mayor in 1977 on the racist plank of restoring the death penalty. Koch's 12-year reign in City Hall was marked by his cops killing more than "a hundred people.

Among them was the Black grandmother Eleanor Bumpurs, who was killed by two shotgun blasts fired by police officer Stephen Sullivan on Oct. 29, 1984. Bumpurs' "crime" was owing $417.10 in back rent.

Also attacking Barron at that conference was Assemblymember Dov Hikind, a former member of the racist Jewish Defense League and a follower of convicted terrorist Meir Kahane.

This smear campaign culminated in a phony "endorsement" of Barron by the neo-Nazi David Duke. As the June 25 Black Star News suggested, this was a ploy to discredit Barron. "Isn't it more credible that Duke got a call from someone who told him: 'I will make it worth your while if you endorse Charles Barron?' "

In 1991, 60 percent of white voters in Louisiana voted to make David Duke their governor. Only the mobilization of the Black community prevented this neo-Nazi from being elected.

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


  1. "Will Barron run as an independent for the seat in the fall? I hope so."

    Why would you want someone who has proven himself a dupe of the Democrats to run independently? Would you have supported Henry Wallace in 1948?

    1. Stephen:

      Thank you for the note. I will do my best to answer your question, as it raises some questions that are very important for communists today.

      I don't think Barron is a dupe of the Democrats. Clearly he and his wife [also an elected politician in the NY State Assembly] ARE Democrats. Their existence in that party is one way the DP maintains its credibility and resilience as it fulfills its role as a capitalist/imperialist political party.

      Hoping he runs as an independent is not an endorsement, but still I retract the comment. After the recent Democratic primary run, it has become clear to me he is a Democrat whether he runs as one or as a candidate of another, 3rd party.

      Barron now seems concerned, based on post-election interviews, in securing the election of a like-minded replacement for his City Council seat in 2013, since term limits prevent him from running again.

      As far as Henry Wallace, no, I would not have supported him.

      Voting for candidates, promoting candidates, is for me part of the process of building a communist party. If this is not accomplished, all the votes for the Wallaces, Barrons, or Cynthia McKinneys in the world won't make a difference, and actually do more harm than good.

      There are three communist parties with presidential campaigns worthy of workers' attention this year:

      All these parties are using their campaigns correctly to spread the word about revolutionary socialism, recruit, and circulate their press in cases where they produce a regular paper or other printed material.