If you were not convinced that MoveOn.org is an organization for, by, about, and on the side of white liberals, now you have proof. Just a few moments ago I got this email from MoveOn.org, saying that NYC Councilmember Charles Barron “does not belong in elected office,” as he is running for the the Congressional seat of Rep Ed Towns. The main reasons they list are his opposition to same-sex marriage, his statements that Israel is a racist/imperialist state, and his support of deposed Libyan dictator Qadafi and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
Now, I may not agree with Barron on SOME of the aforementioned issues. But I know, as an advocate around social services for people in NYC (including people with HIV/AIDS), public education (and the whitening of the CUNY system), and against gentrification and policy brutality, Charles Barron has been one of the few councilmembers Black and Latino NYC can rely on.
Furthermore, why would MoveOn.org take him on, given a range of other MAJOR issues in NYC happening right now? My theory is this. Barron currently represents majority Black Brownsville and East New York, Brooklyn. If he got Ed Towns’ Congressional seat, he’d be representing a district that includes Bed-Stuy, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill–all neighborhoods that are rapidly becoming white when they’ve been majority Black for decades. I wonder how many MoveOn.org staff live in this section of Brooklyn (and I don’t mean that there are none, I mean that given how rapidly these neighborhood have gentrified, there are potentially several.). I don’t know if this is the sole reason why MoveOn would take this on, but I really cannot see any other reason why this would be something they’d make a decision, as a so-called “progressive” online organizing website, to make an effort to challenge Barron. Clearly many Democrats are worried what a radical like Barron would mean in the halls of Congress (especially with the un-radical Barack Obama as sitting President, and all the ways the Right-wing will make Barron a national target).
I know Hakeem Jeffries is also running for this seat. I have no opinion about Jeffries one way or another. I know he’s young, has been very present and good some issues like “stop and frisk” and people seem to dig him. But I think we’re seeing evidence that white progressives (and their aficionados) are trying to replace Civil Rights (and in Barron’s case, Black Power) generation Black leaders with Black people they’re more comfortable with (which in 10 years will simply lead to running white candidates in central Brooklyn, Harlem, and the likes). No shade, Jeffries, I don’t know you, so I am not suggesting you’re THAT Black dude. But I am saying MoveOn.org are THOSE whites.
Here’s the email they sent:
Dear MoveOn member,
There are some people who don’t belong in elected office. Charles Barron is one of those people
Barron is running for Congress from New York’s new 8th District, and with very few voters expected to show up for the primary on June 26, he has a legitimate chance of winning. Retiring corporate Democrat Ed Towns has endorsed Barron to spite his political enemies and Barron is furiously working to hide his inflammatory record.
But what Barron doesn’t want you to know is that rather than actually trying to fix problems, he’s spent his career specializing in divisive, offensive, and just plain outrageous statements and behavior. Here’s just a sampling:
- “Out there, they don’t know that [Libyan leader Muammar] Qaddafi was our brother. People say ‘Didn’t he kill all those people?’ I say, ‘I don’t know anything.’”1
- When asked about the gay rights movement, Barron said, “I don’t consider it a civil rights issue of our time.”2
- “The biggest terrorist in the world is the government of Israel.”3
- “I want to go up to the closest white person and say, ‘You can’t understand this, it’s a black thing’ and then slap him, just for my mental health.”4
- Barron explained his opposition to gay marriage by saying, “I believe simply in an institution of marriage between a man and a woman. My wife and I believe that. We support every other thing regarding gay rights and we support everything but the marriage thing. We don’t want to have people impose their values or beliefs on us and we’re not imposing ours on you.”5
- Barron invited Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe to speak at City Hall despite the fact that, “Amnesty International holds President Mugabe and his government responsible for the attacks against opposition politicians, against members of civilian society, against African farm workers and for creating an environment of fear and intimidation.”6
This is the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from the most offensive tea partier. Those tea partiers, frankly, don’t belong in Congress. And neither does Charles Barron.
Can you pass on this email to make sure no voter in the 8th District is fooled by Barron’s recent attempts to whitewash his record?
Thanks for all you do.
–Daniel, Levana, and the rest of the team
1. “Qaddafi Eulogized in Bed-Stuy,” The Brooklyn Ink, November 4, 2011
2. “Charles Barron opposes same-sex marriage, fake entries on his Wikipedia page,” Capital New York, November 28, 2011
3. “Backgrounder: Charles Barron,” Anti-Defamation League, Accessed June 13, 2012
4. “Vote for Hakeem Jeffries,” New York Daily News, June 10, 2012
5. “Charles Barron opposes same-sex marriage, fake entries on his Wikipedia page,” Capital New York, November 28, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=276370&id=43645-17193658-N1t1%3DHx&t=5
6. “Metro Matters; Mugabe’s Visit Has Council Speechless,” The New York Times, September 16, 2002