The late El Haj Malik el-Shabazz, Minister Malcolm X, had always advised us about the ideological outlook of the “field Negro” in contradistinction to that of the “house Negro.”
The “field Negro” identified with and expressed solidarity with his co-slaves; he was progressive, militant and unapologetically wanted to destroy the system of slavery.
The “house Negro” on the other hand identified with his master, despite him having to eat the master’s leftovers or being degraded and humiliated. The fact that he was allowed into the master’s house was good enough for him; it enabled him to escape the brutal heat and sun all day, not to mention the floggings inflicted on the others enslaved.
The “House Negroes”
Although chattel slavery has been abolished in the United States for 157 years, the pathology of the “field” and “house” Negroes still continues in the 21st century.
Some in corporate America, middle income and even elected office are afflicted with this severe, divisive and politically debilitating sickness.
Its most telling symptom is when we support and participate in policies and actions that contribute to our own demise, thus weakening the struggle for Black Liberation.
The newest victim of this affliction is the Urban Empowerment Action PAC, a group comprised mostly of Black and some Jewish business and community leaders and their prominent supporter Bakari Sellers, a lawyer, CNN commentator and former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing the 90th district from 2006 to 2014.
Another is Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, now serving her fifth term in office. Winfrey has indicated that she intends to challenge Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) for the newly formed 12th Congressional District, which includes areas of Wayne County including Southfield, Dearborn, and Detroit’s West Side.
The Plot to Unseat Representative Tlaib
First elected to Congress in November 2018, Rashida Tlaib is a democratic socialist and Palestinian-American who has helped give voice to the Palestinian cause in the halls of power in Washington. Along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), she has sought to reinvigorate the progressive wing of the Democratic Party along with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
The “vehicle” spearheading the challenge to Tlaib is Urban Empowerment Action, a newly formed Political Action Committee (PAC), which announced that she is their first target. The PAC plans to spend up to $1 million in TV, digital, mail, radio and print ads to unseat the congresswoman.
Urban Empowerment Action says publicly that they are “dedicated to empowering urban communities to narrow the wealth gap between Black and White Americans.” The narrative goes further to say: “UEA PAC believes in part that creating real economic opportunities for African Americans requires the adoption of smart public policies and…reversal of harmful public policies.” [Emphases added.]
To date, the UEA PAC has not stated what they mean by “smart” or “harmful” policies. The comment seems noble but the backgrounds and stated positions of the parties betray these misleading and self-serving utterances.
In reality, the Urban Empowerment Action PAC’s main “aim” is to have pro-Israel African-Americans elected to office. The largest contributor and “influencer” to this group is Daniel Loeb who, according to Forbes magazine, is worth $4.2 billion and is founder and Chief Executive of Third Point LLC, a New York-based hedge fund started in 1995.
According to Wikipedia Third Point, up to the end of June 2019, managed $14.8 billion in assets; opensecrets.org has reported that Third Point has contributed $75,000 so far to Urban Empowerment Action, making Third Point its largest contributor.
Daniel Loeb is identified as a top influencer and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations—“Wall-Street’s think tank.”
Loeb is also a major donor to the Republican Party—an indication that the group is intent on putting forward more right-wing Democrats—like Winfrey.
Deep Ties to the Israel Lobby
As student body president at Morehouse College, Sellers first attended an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting, and subsequently served on AIPAC’s national council and helped the Israel lobby push back against prominent Black supporters of Palestinian rights, such as Cornel West.
AIPAC is a pro-Israel lobbying group that aligns primarily with the right wing of the Israeli and U.S. political establishments.
According to a report in The American Prospect, AIPAC has become more aggressive in setting up Super Pacs and is on pace to spend nearly $20 million in the 2022 Democratic primary cycle alone, making it by far the most influential individual political group in Democratic electoral politics.
Among its targets is Andy Levin (D-MI), the president of his synagogue, Congregation T’chiyah in the Detroit suburbs, who authored the Two-State Solution Act, which funds peace building initiatives and would prohibit the use of American military aid for the demolition of Palestinian homes or the further Israeli annexation of the West Bank or Gaza, and aims to reverse a handful of Trump administration decisions to sever diplomatic ties with Palestine.
After college, Sellers was elected as a state representative in South Carolina. There, he worked with anti-Palestinian Republican Alan Clemmons.
They were instrumental in 2011 in passing a “Standing with Israel” resolution, since copied in more than a dozen other states.
That resolution turns history and reality on their heads by supporting “Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others.”
In 2016, Sellers authored a letter that was signed by 60 like-minded Black politicians, asking the Democratic Platform Committee to keep a statement that excluded reference to Israel as an “occupying” force in Palestine.
Israel of course is an occupying force—this is undeniable.
The state was founded in 1948 by the forceful takeover, displacement and occupation of existing sovereign territory.
Award-winning investigative journalist Alison Weir, in her book Against Our Better Judgment, writes: “While Zionists considered such places as Argentina, Uganda, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, and Texas, they eventually settled on Palestine for the location of their proposed Jewish State, even though Palestine was already inhabited by a population that was 93-96 percent non-Jewish. The best analysis says the population was 96 percent Muslims and Christians, who owned 99 percent of the land.”
Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey who is now in her fifth term, had previously challenged the late Representative John Conyers.
Michigan’s redrawn 12th Congressional District is heavily populated with Arab residents—giving Tlaib a strong advantage.
In an interview with the Jewish Insider, Winfrey said that she believes the city of Detroit “is not being represented.” She went on further: “When you don’t support the one ally that we have in the Middle East, then I feel you have another agenda, and that agenda is not conducive to the citizens of the 12th Congressional District.”
Janice Winfrey goes further in invoking her African-American heritage as a basis for aligning with Israel.
She told the Jewish Insider that, “as an African American woman, it angers me to my soul that you hate another group of people just because they are.”
However, neither Tlaib nor the overwhelming majority of her supporters “hates” Jews or the State of Israel “because they are.” The opposition to Israel is because of its illegal, immoral and inhumane occupation of Palestinian territories and mistreatment of the Palestinians, expressly “because they are.”
Israel has never complied with any UN resolution regarding its occupation of Palestine or treatment of Palestinians; Israel had provided technical and material support to the apartheid regime of South Africa, which carried out military invasions in neighboring states, to destroy the anti-apartheid struggle for National Liberation.
Palestine has always supported and expressed solidarity with the Black Liberation and Civil Rights struggles on the continent of Africa and here in the United States; these facts, of course, have conveniently been ignored by the Urban Empowerment Action PAC, Bakari Sellers and Janice Winfrey.
It is not customary to bite the hand that feeds you. Representative Rashida Tlaib is a person of color and a person of African descent, according to her opponent’s definition. That makes her qualified to represent Michigan’s 12th Congressional District.
It is narrow and fanatically nationalistic and culturally divisive to suggest that, because she has Palestinian roots, she is someone else and not “Black.” Since Reconstruction we have had thousands of “Black” elected officials including a president; nevertheless, the socio-economic condition of Black people in the U.S. has not improved all that much.
There is still an inadequate stock of affordable housing; access to quality and affordable health care is still beyond reach of many; the income and wealth gap between Whites and Blacks continues to widen; there is still under-funding and a lack of resources for quality public education; police harassment, profiling and murder are commonplace throughout the country; mass incarceration afflicts the Black community in a disproportionate way compared to our numbers in the population; and the effects of the pandemic are worse in the Black Community because of historical neglect and racist public policies.
Tlaib Stands Strong
Though voting for Biden’s huge military aid package to Ukraine with all the other Democrats, Tlaib has lived up to her progressive rhetoric during her time in Congress for the most part.
Recently, Tlaib has introduced an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to increase civil rights, civil liberties, and due process protections in the law, aiding whistleblowers who have been unfairly prosecuted under this act.
Tlaib also supported the Build Back Better Act—which aimed to lower prescription drug prices for seniors, expand Medicare, and invest in affordable housing, environmentally friendly transportation infrastructure, and clean energy along with historically Black colleges; but voted “no” on a bipartisan infrastructure bill because she wanted to see more social spending for human welfare purposes.
Rep. Tlaib unwittingly earned the ire of her detractors not just because of her dissenting vote but mainly because she has consistently taken principled and enlightened positions on the Israeli/Palestinian issue.
She has repeatedly been accused falsely of being an anti-Semite and endured constant harassment—but stood strong.
Tlaib has stood up to the monied interests, bullies and their stooges, including Bakari Sellers and Janice Winfrey, who will sell out their own people for access to power while poisoning the political environment further.
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About the Author
Richard Dunn is a retired construction professional, trained in Architecture and Energy Management.
He’s been a social justice activist since 1968 and was particularly active with the Walter Rodney defense demonstrations.
Richard is an author, a contributing columnist to newspapers, an editor for a music industry magazine and operates a social justice website.
Richard can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why not call a spade, a spade? Once again the Jews are at it…
Janice Winfrey is a very respectable candidate. The writer portrays her in a very negative way and provides no reasons to justify his negative portrayal of this fine human being.
The Managing Editor of Covert Action Magazine is Jewish and many of the employees of Covert Action Magazine are Jewish. I am curious if they all agree with everything that is written in this article.
[…] Right-Wing Plot to Unseat Rashida Tlaib — First Palestinian American Elected to U.S. Congress, by … […]
That pretty covers it and thanks for the info