Fifty years ago, I became a registered voter in Georgia but I refused to enroll in a political party. I was aware that the Democratic Party was established by slave holders. This is a right under the First Amendment which allows a person to be associated with like-minded persons. I had no intention of returning to the plantation. Thus, I enrolled as an “independent”.
Forty years ago, I was graduated from law school. I chose to join the “War on Poverty” in Harlem as a poverty lawyer. Cong. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. had authored theAnti-Poverty Bill. Most Black law graduates were running away from poverty. I chose to dedicate my life to fighting it.
Thirty years ago, I decided to go into private practice because there were too many legal restrictions in legal services programs. For starters, it was nearly impossible to initiate a class action to fight injustices that are commonly suffered by a class with common issues of facts. Blacks, who were fleeing poverty, were put in charge of administering legal services programs.
In private practice, I had no “immediate” bosses. My only concern was a state disciplinary committee. To maintain any credibility, I would not take any money from whites including money that I would be entitled to as an 18-B lawyer. I also would not accept attorney fees that I was entitled to under certain statutes.
The funding for pro bono litigation would only come out of my pockets. This would make me as independent as any attorney could possibly be in the United States. I also fought for a requirement that all attorneys in New York must provide pro bono representation to the poor. New York finally made this as a condition for practicing law in the state last year. I will not enjoy any credit for it, however.
Throughout nearly two decades of pro bono litigation, no one ever offered me a legal defense fund for any case. Many of these high-profile cases would have never been sustained without my pro bono representation. In other cases, Black activists would “bark” until white supremacists gave them a bone.
Fifteen years after I had graduated from law school, I became a co-founder of United African Movement. It was Black-led and Black-financed with Hon. Marcus Garvey as the spiritual leader. Because Blacks in 1988 believed that “freedom is free” it was practically impossible to sustain a Black-led and Black-financed organization without a “sacrificial lamb”. Blacks fail to appreciate “fair share” in a political organization.
In 1990 and under the tutelage of attorney Joseph Mack, United African Movement formed the United African Party. In 1994, I decided that the most important political goal of Blacks should be the creation of an independent, political party for Blacks. Neither bargaining nor the exercise of political leverage is available to Blacks.
A political party has to be state-wide since the minimum number of signatures on petitions must come from half of the state’s Congressional districts. At least 300 signatures must come from each of half the Congressional districts. This is not a small feat and it requires substantial funding.
Activists from throughout the state met in Harlem to consider the need for a Black political party. Support would be needed from Long Island to Buffalo. There are 62 counties in New York. At the end of the day, no activist was willing to put a red penny in the hat for a Freedom Party. Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Charles Barron had refused to attend the meeting. This was not surprising.
In New York, a Black activist is defined as a person who receives financial support from the Democratic Party. No one is willing to bite the hands that feed him or her. To be an activist requires money. Black activists will not financially support their freedom. They must seek hand-outs from whites. Blacks spend their money on “wants” and not “needs”.
This is a carryover from the Civil Rights Movement. If you connect the dots and think outside the box, you can conclude that the Rockefeller family backed the Civil Rights Movement and for good reason. Jim Crow was bad for business and as President Calvin Coolidge said, “The business of America is business”. The Rockefeller family foresaw a global economy and diversity in the United States.
In 2010, no one in the Black community, except Alton Maddox, foresaw the need for a Freedom Party. I knew that the best choice for a gubernatorial candidate would have to come from 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. This organization chose Michael Greys who conditionally agreed to make the gubernatorial run.
His “condition” for running as a gubernatorial candidate left a hole for a saboteur to enter and destroy the 2010 gubernatorial bid. Barron, Viola Plummer, Bob Law, Jitu Weusi and Al Sharpton, for some years, have been on the same team. They have no independent means of financial support except for the Democratic Party. Sharpton has worked for every mayor in New York City from Ed Koch to Michael Bloomberg.
Unfortunately, most Blacks in New York are unable to distinguish between “friend or foe”. During the “Day of Outrage” trial, I was able to get Judge Albert Koch to release the list of snitches in New York City. This official list would settle the question of snitches in the Black community but the Appellate Term: Second Department would intervene to protect the identity of all snitches in New York City.
For the past two years, the Freedom Party has gone underground to enhance the political education of its members in addition to acquiring an air game. Friends of Like It Is is an appendage of the Freedom Party. A political party must have access to the airwaves. The Democratic Party, for example, has access to MSNBC. The Republican Party has access to Fox News Channel.
While the Freedom Party will acquire ballot status in 2014, if not sooner, it will run candidates for all municipal offices in 2013 including mayor of New York City. Blacks will be asked to vacate the slave party –the Democratic Party– by March 10, 2013 which is the date that Harriet Tubman made her transition in 1913. All Blacks on any “political plantation” will become an “endangered species” in 2017.
President Barack Obama has stated that he only represents the middle class. Since most Blacks are impoverished, they have no political representation even though most of them are enrolled in the Democratic Party. Political and legal representation are necessary for any group to be free. Whites fought for it during the American Revolution. Blacks simply fought.
The 2010 gubernatorial campaign in New York was prophetic. Whites saw the need for a Tea Party to hold the members of the Republican Party accountable to conservative values and principles. On the other hand, Black selected officials are resisting any effort by the Freedom Party to hold them accountable to their Black base.
Blacks in New York went over the media cliff after the demise of “Like It Is”. On New Year’s Day 2013, the flood gates were open for poor Blacks to go over the fiscal cliff after the debt ceiling debate in 2013. If Blacks remain on the Democratic plantation after Harriet Tubman’s birthday, all Blacks, en masse, will go over the fiscal cliff.
This article, “On the Left, Seeing Obama Giving Away Too Much, Again” by Peter Baker in the January 2, 2013 edition of The New York Times is instructive of our need for a Freedom Party to make Black selected officials accountable to Black voters. With nowhere to go and Black voters unable to exercise some semblance of political leverage, Black selected officials can still continue to listen to “whites only”.
If you believe that freedom is not free and you are disenchanted with the Democratic Party, you should start 2013 right by being at the Cotton Club, 656 West 125th Street in Harlem on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. A political agenda for 2013-2014 will be unveiled. On the other hand, you should be at the National Action Network in Harlem at the same time if you believe that “freedom is free” since whites will finance