Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
Media Portrays Buchanan As Racist
Those in the big media and other critics who defame Reform Party presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan as a "racist" are hard-pressed to explain the endorsement of Buchanan by Dr. Lenora Fulani, a veteran black activist who has run for president and who, in recent years, has been involved in the Reform Party.
Dr. Fulani cannot be dismissed as some sort of "conservative" or "token" who does not represent the interests of the black community. On the contrary, she has been active in black political affairs for many years. Like Buchanan, Dr. Fulani has been bitterly attacked for daring to question the power of the special interests at the highest levels.
Now, with Dr. Fulani endorsing Buchanan's presidential candidacy, there appears to be a genuine opportunity for grassroots American populists to forge an alliance against the plutocratic elite behind Buchanan's campaign.
What follows is the complete text of commentary by Dr. Fulani first published just shortly before Buchanan bolted the GOP and entered the race for the Reform Party nomination.
There are many things that stunned the political establishment about my meeting with Pat Buchanan to discuss his interest in the Reform Party nomination for president.
Mr. Buchanan is a right-winger; I come from the left. Mr. Buchanan has been criticized for being racist. I'm black. Mr. Buchanan is a lifelong Republican, a consummate political insider. I am the ultimate outsider, an African-American independent at odds with the black leadership's insistence that we stick to the Democrats for our political and economic survival. In most respects, Pat Buchanan and I are like oil and water -- chemical opposites that can never successfully mix.
Yet, in spite of those extreme differences, there is something that Pat Buchanan might be able to help us do, if he decides to seek the Reform Party nomination: liberate black America.
Before you start screaming that I've lost my mind, let me assure you that I am aware that Pat Buchanan is not Malcolm X. But Pat Buchanan -- as an independent -- could turn out to be the impetus for a major breakthrough to the empowerment of ordinary Americans by helping to bring the black working class and the white working class together again.
Mr. Buchanan and I both have a deep connection to working class people in America. His anti-corporate populism -- his protests on behalf of blue-collar Americans who have lost jobs and economic security as a result of government policies that undercut America's manufacturing base -- has made him a popular figure within the white working class, nowadays known as Reagan Democrats. This blue-collar constituency has been more politically mobile than most, swinging between the Republicans and the Democrats, but aggrieved by both. The Reform Party may turn out to be just the ticket for them.
My political agenda for the last 20 years has been to give the black work ing class community some new political tools -- independent tools like the Reform Party -- that enable it to break out of its poverty-stricken relationship with the Democratic Party. Un like blue-collar white America, black America has been immobile politically. It has remained loyally Democratic as the party has catered to an increasingly white suburban constituency, allying it with middle class voters whose economic and social interests are often opposed to theirs.
During the Great Depression, black and white working people, beset by an unprecedented economic collapse, were joined together in a mass movement. Segregation was still the law of the land at the time. But in the 1930s heyday of industrial unionism, the color barrier was broken as black and white Americans joined together to resist the economic exploitation of factory owners and industry giants. But the labor move ment would undergo rapid changes as it forced its way into Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal Democratic party coalition. These unions (consolidated as the CIO -- which later joined with the more conservative and racist AFL) became less independent -- and less racially mixed. As industries like steel, auto and defense grew, the jobs went to whites. Blacks remained under employed, unorganized and poor. The unemployed councils -- which had organized the lower strata of Americans, including many poor African-Americans -- were shut down, creating a further schism. Later on blacks and other people of color would break into the service sector, precipitating a divide within the union movement itself.
Today black and white working people have increasing interests in common, but we are politically alienated from one another. Race and the manipulations of racial antagonisms have certainly played their part. The race card remains a powerful card in American politics. Nonetheless, there is more to connect us than to divide us. Both need new coalition partners to advance their class interests. Neither can create such a coalition inside the Democratic and Republican parties. And neither can significantly impact on governmental policy making, absent the kind of sweeping political reform that opens up the pro cess and transfers the power to develop and enact economic policy from the hands of the special interests to ordinary Americans. By leading a movement for political reform and self-governance, the Reform Party has the opportunity to bring working people of all races together. Insofar as Pat Buchanan helps to propel this kind of populist alliance, black Americans will be better off for it.