Sunday, July 20, 2008

Adolph Reed on Obama

Adolph Reed is, in the words of my advisor, a smart cat. His collection Class Notes, one of my first introductions to modern Marxist polemic, contains brilliant chapters on the rise of Louis Farrakhan, the myth of "blackantisemitism" (one word), and above all, his devastating critique of the ebony tower, "What Are the Drums Saying Booker?" Of late I've been lamenting his failure to produce anything noteworthy on the Obama phenomenon. His only contribution to the debate that I'd seen before today was an essay for the Progressive (sic) "Obama No," for which the sole point of substance is that Obama is an opportunist (not exactly a surprising thing to accuse a politician of).

Today, however, I checked the Black Agenda Report and found that my dolor over Reed's lack of output could now end. He's posted a very long essay on Obama that goes right for the jugular. It's masterful in how it situates Obama within the larger retreat of the organized Left. My favorite passage is below (on Obama being praised for being "politically unorthodox" with his Father's Day speech):

this is the "Obama we want to see more of," the one who takes positions that are "unorthodox" and "not politically safe." Since when has it been unorthodox or unsafe politically to malign black poor people in public? Who the fuck has been doing anything else for at least twenty years?