Progressive for Who?

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Since February 2017, a new “progressive” movement has been stampeding through Brooklyn politics like a Beyoncé concert tour. The so-called reformer groups know nothing about the context of our neighborhood, yet they think they have all the answers, and that they alone are the torchbearers of the Democratic Party.  

Mike Tucker

They state WE are progressive but for some communities progressive has two meanings. Our progressive is a living wage. Their progressive is bike lanes. They come to our doors with fake compassion when they have not even spoken with our elected officials about our community.

These groups created t-shirts with the black power fists yet they do not know anything about the blood, sweat and tears the fist represents. They say RESIST since Trump was elected. Where was this movement when Obama needed their backs? Where were they when Bush declared war on Iraq? Where were they when Eric Garner was killed? Where were they when the City let NYCHA residents get poisoned by lead? 

I was born resisting because I had no other choice. These self-described progressives hate many things, in addition to Trump. They hate people who have actually spent time working with immigrant groups, they hate people who have spent time dealing with victims of gun violence. They hate parents who volunteer in their schools, unless these parents are part of their agenda.

These so called progressives protested at the very thought of black and brown students sharing classrooms with their kids on the Upper West Side. The parents acted like Trump supporters, not NYC liberals.

In their attempts to be anti-Trump, they have turned into a tribal gang of tweeters that attacks anyone that does not agree with them.

At the Independent Neighborhood Democrat (IND) candidate forum (Park Slope based political club), a club member throws countless f-bombs and insults at Senator Jesse Hamilton. I have seen dogs treated better. As you can see in the video no one comes to the Senator’s defense. The club may have pretended to be offended by the hate speech, but they voted to endorse it with no apologies.

The last thing our community needs is outsiders telling us what is right or wrong. If you live in a low-income neighborhood you might never have met these self-proclaimed Progressives. We know that housing is the third most important issues, and the second most important issue, and THE most important issue. Yet, somehow these self-described activists are worried about some pipeline in Canada, and not what’s happening to our families. They will protest for #BlackLivesMatter, yet they will leave town when the Labor Day parade comes around.

Don’t try to discuss Andrew Cuomo or Jesse Hamilton with these folks. It is matter of faith that Andrew Cuomo is purely evil, and that Jesse Hamilton voted with Republicans. Senator Hamilton never voted for a Republican leader, or against Democrat-supported issues. He is endorsed by Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins who is a strong and vibrant visionary who broke barriers.  She will make history by becoming the first African-American woman Senate Majority Leader.

The election in September is about making history not spreading hate. Never mind that the IDC was abolished. Not any level of rhetoric against these groups is legitimate because it is necessary for their fake #Resistance. Threaten a black man with violence? That’s okay, because he joined the IDC. Ignore decades of public service? None of that is important, because all that matters is a black man left the plantation.

The ironies abound. These self-described anti-racist activists will jump on Cuomo for supposedly being a racist but support Zephyr Teachout over our sister Tish James. Yet somehow they don’t get so angry when a Park Slope school uses black face (literally) in an image for a fundraiser. What’s the reward for using racist imagery in a fundraiser? They get showered with public money in Brad Lander’s Participatory Budgeting vote.

But really the biggest irony is that they want “Real Democrats.” Black voters are the only Real Democrats, we have been loyal to the Democratic Party  for over 70 years. Black voters are ready for something more than a thank you and pat on the back, we want a party that understands us and values us. Black women get this. They are the backbone of the Democratic Party and the reason why Doug Jones won Alabama. But black women continue to be undervalued by the Democratic Party. Remember, the majority of white women voted for Donald Trump.

Black families who live in  low-income neighborhoods should be the first priority for the Democratic Party, Brownsville should not have an average reading score of 15%. A zip code should not decide your future.

Luckily, we have neighbors who are the real progressives in Brooklyn. They see that these “activists” are all talk with hidden agendas. They have seen the movie Get Out and know the game. Let these interlopers have their Facebook groups and Twitter storms. I will spend my time actually protecting my community from outsiders and organizing in neighborhoods to empower our black and brown brothers and sisters.

Yes I am angry at these self-proclaimed activists and bad actors. But I am more encouraged by the good work of people in the Community Boards, PTA and block associations. Neighbors that have been in our community before and after gentrification. Before the fancy coffee shops and trendy restaurants. Those people are the real fighters against Trump. We have been resisting for 400 years, our ancestors started resisting the day they stepped on the slave ship. They endured the pain and gave us life. We resisted before Trump and we will resist after Trump.

The anti IDC activists have made a fatal flaw: They have defined themselves as anti-Trump, and so they let him infest their activism with the same hate and racially charged attacks. There is a deeper activism in Brooklyn. I will follow in the footsteps of W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, Paul Robeson and Shirley Chisholm. The real progressives.

Editor’s Note: It is the KCP policy to post all op-eds we receive short of obvious derogatory and hate-filled diatribes, and even then, if we deem them as satire, they will be posted. The opinions expressed may or may not reflect the views of KCP.