Baltimore Mayoral Candidacy Of Deray Mckesson

The very good Alternet article provides (<;) a host of specific issues about McKesson – VERY MUCH worth the read!!! Also see my “comments” re: such strategies as Town Halls to wrest accountability and exposure of the likes of McKesson.


Some thoughts on the Mayoral Candidacy Of Deray Mckesson:

McKesson must be KEPT ON NOTICE that his mayoral run is but a step in the march to justice and lieration in Balitmore. McKesson (and all other candidates) -need to hear every day that if his campaign is a trojan horse that will come to light SOONER-than-later. All politicos must get unremitting street and organizational input and direction EVERY DAY — moving to elections AND EVERY DAY there after – that there are folks who are going to engage in the HARD WORK of CONSTANT organizational, infrastructural PARTICIPATION in EVERY move and policy the city administration attempts to make.


The BLM, Et Al, in Baltimore can provide the lead in an early step to getting accountability from candidates, such as sponsoring Candidate Town Halls at which all candidates will be GRILLED as to their CONCRETE visions and plans for mediating / decreasing / bringing to screeching halts – the ills plaguing Baltimoreans: ending the criminalization of babies in schools; moving to providing anti-racist, human-rights–based EDUCATION to children; immediate advocacy for parole, pardon / clemency of non-violent drug incarcerees; economic development; police policies and practices, and training, etc. — that have the greatest potential of achieving decreased police racism, continuing the message that criminal cops will be prosecuted; ETC., ETC., ETC. ………………………………………………


The <……alternet-DOT-org/news-amp-politics/why-deray-mckessons-plan-baltimores-schools-looks-it-comes-right-out-teach> article is a must read especially for Baltimoreans



Token “leaders” / electoral candidates WILL BE EXPOSED for what they are. ……………………………….


Town Halls (and social media) would be a most efficient and democratic method to dissect candidates’ backgrounds, motives, future policies, etc. McKesson claiming that his (BLM) travels were funded by unnamed “family and friends” will be exposed as the bunk that tit is at candidate town halls. Town Halls and social media will further expose such unacceptable postures as refusals to discuss subjects like campaign personnel or outside donors. “No comments” to questions like whether he was harvesting emails gathered by Campaign Zero to promote his mayoral campaign – are VERY troubling. …………………………………..



Insights such as those from Baltimore activist Duane Davis’s tweet addressd toMcKesson, that “[W]e crossed paths. On more than one occasion….you never engaged in conversation. [Y]ou were more focused on media attention”; founder of the organization that initiated the protests in Ferguson,Taureen Russell’s, withering assessment; …… – are VERY cautionary.


McKesson’s (and Brittany Packnett ‘s) neo-liberal TFA–school-privatization roots are VERY TROUBLING. If McKesson is unwilling to acknowledge and renounce the DISASTROUS INJURIES from primary school privatization and its leading charlatans like Michelle Rhey, that will be very telling. McKesson’s reputed designation as a “ruthless administrator,” for whom firing teachers was always in the best interests of children,’ will be easily documented from those who have worked with him!!! – and again, is very troubling.

It is such venues as Town Halls and social media where McKesson must be publicly tasked to renounce TFA’s low-keyed mission to train a corps of individuals to be political operatives in order to direct public education policy toward privatization, and the further skeletonizing of public education, along with TFA’s shell company, Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). These are the deleterious tropes through which every level of government around the u.s. has been infiltrated. McKesson has refused to discuss TFA and such details in media interviews.

It is such forums as Town Halls and social media where Mckesson has to DEFEND a campaign pledge to “… repurpose closed schools” – IN CONTEXTS of reasonable class sizes (15 to 20 students per class), full complements of physical and arts education curricula, etc.’ There must be EXPLICIT rejection of “repurposing” as meaning the disastrous mass closings and classroom super overcrowding that Rahm Emanuel, TFA protégées, Rethuglican governors, et. al. — have visited upon Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit, and so many other cities. Candidates MUST articulate plans and implementation strategies that are centered in community-based approaches to education reform.


McKesson’s responses to the Alternet interviewer on this CRITICAL issue have been MOST UNSATISFACTORY!!!!

Nice-sounding proposals to create “an online hub of academic enrichment” programs and to “collaborate with local technology entrepreneurs and innovators to launch computer and coding opportunities” – while necessary and important — but IN THE ABSENCE OF community and parental control / COLLABORATIONS, and consciously—implemented anti-racist, explicit human rights curricula — WILL NOT DO. Replacing good instruction and expert teachers with technology has no support in the research literature.

The only documented benefits of such schemes as Common Core and high-stakes tests have been technology and software companies and test-making corporations. Any benefits to students are nebulous at best.


Political candidates and activists who claim commitment to Justice-Liberation agendas have decades-long models of Community-control, Parent-led Justice-Liberation organized Education Fightback Reform in such organizations as NY’s Coalition for Public Education and Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence (BNYEE) and National Black Education Agenda (NBEA), among other groups like those in Chicago where parents went on hunger strike to retain their high school.

A public commitment from Mckesson to support maintaining Baltimore’s unionized teaching force and operation UNDER substantial oversight from the city school district – might be an indicator that he MAY be on true Justice-Liberation path.

The lack of transparency in the DeRay For Mayor campaign is UNACCEPTABLE. It is likely that funding of this campaign includes many of the same financial interests that have waged assaults on public school teachers and students across the country. This does not translate into a city administration that sees The People of Baltimore as peers, as equal partners – INDEED determiners of THEIR CITY.

Campaign Zero’s relationships with tech giants and hosting a presidential forum on racial justice with Twitter – cannot be allowed to be tools of manipulation and control.


Candidate Town Halls WILL be where the rubber meets the road – where some 300,000 Twitter followers, that are interspersed with commercial-style promotions of corporations like McDonald’s and Spotify will be turned into REALITY for Baltimoreans!


It would be very informative to get a reading of McKesson from leaders from the Baltimore-based ‘Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle’ (<….bsbaltimore-DOT-com/tag/black-lives-matter/>, and from like the ‘Dream Defenders’s’ Phillip Agnew (Florida-based).


That McKesson and other BLM personalities emerged and front-and-centered themselves is not the problem. That some of these people are neo-liberal trojan horses is the ever-present efforts to turn back and divert Liberation-Justice movements. We know these tactics.

Such phenomena can be thwarted and countermanded. Folks CAN STOP opportunists in their tracks. To be legitimate said opportunists must acknowledge and renounce any neo-liberal motivations and DEMONSTRATE willingness and ability to WORK WITH original grassroots, indigenous activists and true liberation-justice progressives.

This commentary was submitted to the web site of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle’




In the context of the L-O-N-G Struggle for Black Liberation ahead, this is an attempt to contribute some thoughts — In the context of Cornel West’s critique of Ta-Nehesi Coates (last month) on Facebook, entitled: ‘In Defense of James Baldwin’

One the most BRILLIANT analysis!! on West’s Facebook page was from Lynwood Walker.  In short Walker pointed out that Coates’ “argument for Reparations was strong, helped many to start to understand the nature of the plunder in black communities and possibly influencing some of the recent focus on police brutality.” Yet, (Coates) “avoids discussing” slavery, Jim Crow in its 1860s—to—present manifestations, etc. – “in the context of colonialism and empire.” This is a MAJOR shortfall – at best.

The following 4 paragraphs are my deconstruction of one paragraph from Coates’ essay, ‘The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration’ – a paragraph that is placed deep into the part 4 of Coates’ essay, entitled ““the crime-stained blackness of the negro”:

Coates: “The principal source of the intensifying war on crime was white anxiety about social control. The staggering rise in incarceration rates in interwar Louisiana coincided with a sense among whites that the old order was under siege. In the coming decades, this phenomenon would be replicated on a massive, national scale. In 1927, the Supreme Court had ruled that a racial-zoning scheme in the city was unconstitutional. The black population of New Orleans was growing. And there was increasing pressure from some government officials to spread New Deal programs to black people. “At no time in the history of our State,” the city’s district attorney claimed in 1935 , “has White Supremacy been in greater danger. ……………….”

The construction / phrasing of the first sentence of this paragraph achieves several things. It gives an ever-so subtle impression of tacit approval / “understanding” / acceptance of – the white-supremacist fictional world view – i.e:   1) that white definitions of “crime” are appropriate / correct / fair / balanced / “understandable;”   2) that Black folks “made-them-do-it” – made the “intensifying war on crime” “necessary.”   Such phrasing avoids explicitly acknowledging that the “white anxiety” is PRECISELY about its loss of virulent control over Black people’s lives, and not really about “crime” — that this “anxiety about crime” is nothing more than a cover for real white anxiety about its loss of virulent control over Black people’s lives. Such sentence structure takes the ‘sting’ out of the reality of whites’ inherent RACISM. Indeed, such phrasing conveys that “the intensifying war on “crime” just happened – that whites are not really responsible – ‘they brought it on themselves.’

 Yes, Coates includes the damning quote by a bigot: “At no time in the history of our State,” the city’s district attorney claimed in 1935 , “has White Supremacy been in greater danger” – one sentence from the end of the essay’s Part 4.   This paragraph – with this powerful quote  that begins after  – about a third of the way through the essay — follows about 30,000 words that generally avoid explicit blame on the white collective. Such narrative maneuvers significantly denude the impact of powerful facts like the racist’s quote.

 Had Coates made this quote the fulcrum of the entire essay – instead of the meanderings through the weeds of Daniel Moynihan’s stuff – the essay would surely have 10 times greater impact and resonance – with African Americans who see CLEARLY.

Linwood Walker said  that“Coates states things that read beautifully but mean absolutely nothing. For instance, he (Coates) has argued that The New Jim Crow is ‘not a precise enough term.’ ” ….. But Coates omits acknowledgement that mass incarceration is “what is as close to perfect continuity as can exist between the two” eras / policies. 

Lynwood Walker reports that he made Comments to Coates’ Mass Incarceration’ article in the Atlantic, and that Coates persisted in the ‘rightness’ of his relatively milktoast presentation of some kind of real difference between Jim Crow—1st generation and James-Jane Crow, Esq. (the ‘New Jim Crow’) even when given an opportunity to disavow such a narrative by Walker. …….. Coates does not discuss the core motivation of James-Jane Crow, Esq  (i.e.,‘the New Jim Crow’) — largely “to build products for WalMart for 25 cents an hour.”Lynwood Walker.

In his response to Cornel West’s critique of Coates, Walker notes that (Coates) “responded pretty immaturely, and the next day wrote a blog entry making a similar argument without reference to the New Jim Crow, only to the plunder of bodies which abstracts and makes moderate the more radical and true assertion that the continuity is truly a continuity between chattel slavery” (and mad incarceration). Walker wonders “how could he ignore the cultural reality that black Americans have been characterized as two things in Americas history : [1] a slave race [2] a criminal class. What changed between [1] and [2] was that he 13th Amendment outlawed slavery — for all but criminals.”  “And in spite of having read Michelle Alexander’s ‘New Jim Crow’ Coates also does not acknowledge how deeply rigged the ‘New Jim Crow’ “/James-Jane Crow, Esq. is.  

Granted, Coates goes into much detail – and needed detail – of the destruction of families of incarceration. But this Coates essay does not seem to have looked at the fact that incarcerated people are counted for the purposes of calculating political representation, yet are denied the vote franchise!!!!.  But somehow Coates choses to not discuss the denial of the vote franchise (at least not by the Part 4 of the essay)  The franchise is part and parcel of citizenship, as much as a job, a profession, licensing, housing, etc.

Lynwood Walker has aptly noted “how media works to establish the axioms, unspoken assertions, and vocabulary that we use to advance political discussions, propaganda, or political ideas, and ultimately uses this power over our language to dissipate mass-consciousness around specific ideas disfavored by the ruling class to convince us the debate is very broad when the policy implications are actually narrow, and to remove the vocabulary necessary to ponder alternative solutions to our problems.”

Walker noted that Cornell West’s critique of Coates “provided a list of the concrete forms of plunder of colonial expansion and empire.” For ‘high-information’ readers, “the substance of West’s critique reflects a despair at noticing the hand-picked black intellectuals we are told to adore DON’T know this history, HAVEN’T studied dependency theory seriously, and were obviously placed near power for this reason. There are many brilliant” Black intellectuals “who … write as well if not better than Coates, and whose analysis is more well-rounded…more all-encompassing of the global struggle and more conscious of both class and caste. But the operative reason that they aren’t writing for the Atlantic is “because their ideas offer neither flattery nor security for western institutions.” I agree with Lynwood Walker – “all West was trying to do is make sure we don’t read Coates instead of Baldwin, or this inflection point in h………………………

Much of Coates’ linguistic tactics lull readers into acquiescing to the notion that Blacks are resigned to “being a perpetual servant underclass to the white caste” and that this state will “persist into infinity.”  This “leads to acceptance of those loyal to the Western project into the fold; tokenism in the wielding of empire.”  At best this is a detour toward Black liberation,

Coates is “provocative and accessible” – to the liberal white / whiteness eye. “What actually attracts many moderates to him is his refusal to engage in analysis from outside the system.”

Coates is intelligent enough to have figured out that niche that corporate media would accept as “radical” ………………. Direct, explicit narratives startle and discomfort embracers of white supremacy.

For me, deeply felt devestation of racism does not come through from Coates ……..  Liberation-committed phrasing would be something like: “Racists are so committed to white-supremacy that they repeatedly reinvent malevolent, sadistic, evil pretexts to come up with new ways — new definings of more and more Black behaviors as ‘crimes’– to rationalize destroying more and more Black people’s lives.”

Coates’ use of such phrases as (the) “sense among whites” and “our carceral state” leave me wanting greatly ……. This is writing …. from whites’ perspectives of things. It is NOT ‘our’ carceral state; it is the u.s. carceral state.

This critique is based on incomplete readings and skimmings of Coates’ writings, along with that “sixth sense” I get from watching and reading interviews of Coates, and Coates’ general absence from the ‘thick of’ – the ground of collective Black liberation work. More complete readings MAY produce slightly different critiques.

Whites can read Coates and walk away and pat themselves on the back they are “informed.” The dangers in this mindset are apparent.

Yes, Coates captures “Black male oppression.” And Yes, Coates is AN important voice, especially since he has access to popular media.

And Yes, we are starved for substantive comprehensive discussions of African american realities – in the corporate media. And too few of us have the linguistic / writing, time, etc. wherewithal participate in these kind of dialogues, nor are able to take the few extra minutes to pull up the penetrating and expansive works of Robin DG Kelley, Imani Perry, Gerald Horne, Eddie Glaude, Belle Hooks (aka belle hooks). I could be mistaken, but I don’t recall that Coates has evidenced awareness of these authors of what could be called capitalism-critique genré

But we need far, far more expansive analyses than what Coates has embraced in his critiques to date.  Hopefully such commentaries as this will spur deeper, broader explorations way beyond Ta-Nehesi Coates.

West is right. ………. A writer of James Baldwin’s epic genius comes once every 100-200 years.” Coates is a l-o-n-g way from ‘epic.’ Yes, Coates deserves praise; equating him to Baldwin:  NO,  NO, NO, NO, NO – not now.

Another West–Facebook commenter said:  “Notice that Dr West has nothing to say about what Obama has done on say…..Cuba, Iran, START treaty with Russia, LGBT rights, Women’s rights, Native American rights(cracking down on sexual assault of native women as well as giving more tribal sovereignty to their courts for prosecution), continuing PEPFAR in Africa which in conjuction with UNAIDS that has cut HIVAIDS infection for African youth by 50% as well as raising America’s image in world(69% of people love America because of Obama and 74% in Africa do) as well as ……I dunno……his groundbreaking speech the other day tackling mass incarceration (as well as a bill to back it up with the Smarter Sentencing Act)……..but of course…..Obama hasn’t done anything and he is a sellout….please.

My response to this comment:   NONE of this challenges the FUNDAMENTAL predatory capitalism that has 95% of the planet’s population in economic chokehold!!   BO’s VICIOUS promotion of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) – a measure that would exaccerbate the corporate-military-media–big pharma destruction of life for all 10-fold — is a sound example of where BO’s head, heart and soul is.

What Coates’ writings omit is that Obama is nothing more, nothing less than his 43 predecessors in blackface. That Cornell West’s assessments of the Coates’ of the world is clearly colored by some personal stuff, his basic ideological critiques are on-point.

PS:  The Obama-is-“not-Black-enough” meme is a such long wearing diversion ………………


istory will look more like Reconstruction than many of us desire ….”

To:  ‘News One Now w/ Roland S. Martin’ – (2015/Sept.03):

RE: the “humor” segment on the “slave tetris” “game :” Placing this issue in the context of a comedy phase of ‘News One Now’ was severely wrong-headed. A REPEAT segment on this issue – with a SERIOUS, INTELLIGENT panel of child psychiatrists and human rights spokespersons — is the only way to TRY to mediate the SEVERE DAMAGE done by belittling the GRAVE, LONG-TERM DAMAGE!!! To African-Descended children and youth, as well as reinforcing the IGNORANCE of the MILLIONS of Blacks who are mired in ignorance of, and committed to deepening their ignorance of — u.s., European and world history of PERSECUTION, OPPRESSION, REPRESSION, EXPLOITATION, etc. of Black and Brown Peoples. A REAL, meaningful hashtag is #SeriousGamesInteractiveShouldCollaborateWithAfricanScholars_CounterEgenfeldtWhitePrivilege.

(Yes, the RACIST game has been pulled. But immediate swift, EFFECTIVE comeback is critical to counter and mediate the inevitable RACIST white-privileged corporate conceivers of future such trash.)