" Black Leaders to Discuss Fiscal Cliff," reads the press release for a forum staged by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and labor's A. Philip Randolph Institute, in Washington, November 14. The notables "will also discuss tactics to keep their people engaged in the political process so they hold elected officials accountable and increase black voter turnout in the 2014 mid-term election." You can bet Romney-money that not a word will be uttered in favor of publicly warning Obama not to sell out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, the notables will pat each other on the back for beating down the Republican electoral challenge to" Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It's in the script -- reality be damned!
In October of 2010, the usual misleadership suspects among Black organizations and labor staged a One Nation rally on the Washington Mall. It was a pep rally for Obama, although his austerity initiative was already well underway, having targeted entitlements for slashing even before taking the oath of office. He followed through with his Deficit Reduction Commission, which recommended draconian cuts, mostly to domestic programs.
Wars had proliferated under Obama's watch, but there was no complaint from the One Nation speakers, with the exception of Harry Belafonte . As we wrote at the time: " After spending millions to assemble a multitude, Big Labor, the NAACP and the usual Black entertainers - Reverends Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - could not fix their trembling lips to utter one demand to the Power in the White House, whose disfavor they fear even more than they dread the white nationalist hordes of the Tea Party."
Two months later, Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts. By the summer of 2011, the president was offering the Republicans $4 trillion in cuts: the "grand bargain" that he last week reminded us was essentially what "I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time."
Somehow, none of this computes for the Black and labor leadership classes. They are trapped in a loop, oblivious to the rubble that surrounds them as they stumble through the last days before the austerity hammer drops.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .