NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – The newly formed Freedom Party sent rumbles throughout the New York State political establishment by filing 43,500 signatures to qualify NYC Councilman Charles Barron as a candidate for Governor in the upcoming mid-term elections.
His running mates are Eva Doyle and Ramon Jimenez for Lieutenant governor and Attorney General respectively.
New York State law requires that in order to certify a political party with it’s own ballot status; a new organization must qualify a gubernatorial candidate with 15,000 valid signatures. And garner 50,000 votes in the November election.
The Freedom Party leadership sees the 43,500 signatures submitted Aug. 16 as an important victory in itself in that it demonstrates a significant vote of confidence from New Yorkers throughout the state in response to the Freedom Party’s call for a break from politics as usual with the creation of a new major independent political organization.
Viola Plummer, who co-chairs the Freedom Party with Jetu Weusi, said, “There is a state of emergency in New York State that has gripped our people like a mugging. Statistics tell a truth about our situation that can no longer be submerged under media lies and distractions, political double talk or a stiff drink.
“Our lives have been marginalized,” Plummer continued, “and our existence downgraded by unparalleled unemployment, destruction of public education, vigilante police behavior and poor to non-existent health care, clearly traditional club house politics has not served us well at all.”
In an open letter to the Black and Latino community, the Freedom Party said, “We are asking you to think differently about the political process. Like all other groups, Blacks must play to win, symbolic victories will no longer suffice. Consider this, other leaders want immigration reform in return for 68 percent of the Latino vote, a woman Supreme Court judge who is committed to woman’s rights, and more attention given to protect the rights of gay Americans. However, in the absence of a strident Black voice, the legitimate unresolved issues still confronting Black Americans become obscured.”
The Freedom Party has an interesting challenge ahead. Currently, everything Black is being denounced as inappropriate and unnecessary, party officials argue. And in order to avoid a backlash that would be directed toward President Obama, many of the most courageous Black voices have chosen to be silent, they add.
It is in this political environment that the right wing becomes emboldened: White talk show host Glenn Beck called for a White march at the Lincoln memorial on Aug. 28, the anniversary of the historic civil rights march on Washington in 1963 led by Dr. King, in order to strip the civil rights march of its moral authority, they continued.
“Mr. Beck felt that the mood in the country and the silence in the Black community made his move plausible. A Black president as well as Black governors, Black mayors, Black heads of two or three major corporations and highly visible entertainers and athletes may have many Blacks to conclude that African Americans are making sufficient progress, and, as a result, they may have become apathetic if not satisfied,” said Freedom Party leaders.
At the same time, there does seem to be a quiet rumble of discontent building in the Black community particularly among the working classes as some Blacks have begun to express a dissatisfaction with the way Black concerns and interest are being ignored by government, as well as private institutions. This feeling of powerlessness and inactivity is new to the Black community, said national radio personality and Freedom Party campaign manager Bob Law, who points out that it has always been the Black political presence in this country that has been America’s moral compass. It was the Black movement alone that drove America to “put bright eyed justice back on her rightful throne,” he added.
Without that strident Black voice, a distorted political perspective begins to prevail, said Mr. Law.
Co-Chair Viola Plummer echoes a similar view when she says that as the Sweet Honey In The Rock song says, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest, and more importantly we who believe in freedom are indeed still on the journey.”
Councilman Charles Barron, the party’s candidate for governor, says the only thing people understand is when you have power.
“You better be able to influence power or actually have it yourself. When they think they can do things to you and we are just going to go along to get along, that’s when they are encouraged to continue to oppress us,” he said.
Ramon Jimenez who is the party’s candidate for Attorney General in explaining further the vision of the Freedom Party said, “This time, the party is not about the candidates running, we are the standard bearers. This time, this party is about you. This time it is to empower us.”
The New York State Freedom Party is the re-launch of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party organized by Fannie Lou Hammer in 1964 as a response to the all White electoral slates presented by the Mississippi Democratic Party of that era, and the blatant attempts to disenfranchise that states Black population, said leaders.
Freedom Party co-chair Jetu Weusi made the point that the New York State Democratic Party’s decision to run an all-White ticket headed by states attorney general Andrew Cuomo “takes us back to the White supremacy rule of the Dixiecrats of the old south–a status quo the Freedom Party is eager to challenge.”
While the Freedom Party cherishes it’s historical legacy, Lieutenant governor candidate Eva Doyle placed it all in context while speaking at a Brooklyn rally this summer.
“Afrocentricity is the center of our history, our culture, and our future. At the same time we are fully aware of the social economic and political issues devastating our communities throughout the state and nation. Those of us who stand up to lead shall not be creatures of the past but full fledged men and women of the present, and a power to be reckoned with in the future,” she said.
The Freedom Party has set out to reestablish a Black political presence in New York, and ultimately throughout the nation. If the authentic voices of Blacks and Latinos are silenced, said Mr. Law, then we will always be offered inadequate responses that are emotionally gratifying but leave us without power or substance of any kind.
Charles Barron said the Freedom Party is “building a movement to insure that Blacks and Latinos are included in the growth and development of New York City and the entire state in a meaningful way.”
To organize an independent Black and Latino lead political party in this current growing right wing political environment may be just what the progressive community is in need of, an independent Black and Latino lead political organization willing to take the lead in the push back against the growing tide of racism building in this country. The Freedom Party bears watching.
(For moere information, you can visit www.freedompartynys.com)
An Open Letter to Black Americans from Latinos (FCN, 09-09-2003)
The Basis Of Black-Latino Unity Is Not Political (BEC, 07-24-2001)