The Rise and Spectacular Fall of the Black Political Establishment In St. Louis

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Black political leadership in St. Louis is weak. They are hell bent on subscribing to ageism, patriarchy, classism as governing mechanisms for our city. Their understanding of these critical times that we are living in is deeply rooted in a philosophy that died when Darren Wilson was deemed not guilty of Mike Brown’s murder.

The times have changed and many of our politicians are operating from a manuscript that is no longer accepted by the people. This stands true for both Black and white progressive voters. Moving forward, I predict the general public will become far more aggressive against their ignorance. Lyda Krewson, who won the Democratic primary, used this to her benefit and defeated each and every Black candidate on the ballot as she becomes the presumptive winner in the mayor’s race next month. (A Republican has not been mayor of St. Louis since the 1940s). The lack of sophistication and overall common sense showcased in this election by the Black candidates was positively criminal.

Frankly, these seasoned veterans in the sphere of St. Louis politics ignored the consequences of their errors. They refused to coalesce around one candidate as if nothing else mattered except their egos. Black political leadership in this city bows down to its white counterparts and shoves the pool stick up our backsides relentlessly, time and time again. A vote for police on the streets is a vote in favor of anti-Blackness. When you turn down on the minimum-wage increase, you are turning up on anti-Blackness. Any form of attack against the homeless community is an attack against poor people, and most attacks against poverty are actually measures of war against Black people. We have come to the conclusion that many of the Black political leaders in St. Louis are mindless idiots when it comes to addressing these issues.

There is no ruling class of Black elite government officials with the intention to fight the white establishment in St. Louis. We have an overflow of powerless Black faces in white spaces posturing as if they know how to address these issues. Anything pertaining truly to the science of Black politics is primarily irrelevant to many of them. We must fight crime without circulating jobs in our community. If we talk about jobs in our community, they’ll suggest these jobs will come in the form a 1970-styled jobs program. There is no coalition of Black elected officials working together to solve these issues. They function with a separatist agenda that is deeply rooted in pushing forward their very own isolated vision for the city. The people of St. Louis are still viewed as mindless sheep to many of our Black politicians.

There is no actual strategy rooted in boosting the morale of Black people in St. Louis, as any sense of general collectivity does not exist amongst them. We are looking at a pot of men and women that scramble for Democratic crumbs while leaning into liberal narratives that devalue the contributions of our Black citizens. If you disagree with them publicly, it is perceived as a personal attack, with political consequences. This is maybe the only time any true form of political sophistication plays a role in their decision-making process.

We have a bunch of mindless intelligent Negroes on our hands who believe working with the police will solve our problems. Through these election results, we must bear witness to the true receipts that have resurfaced by their actions. What was witnessed from the other Black mayoral candidates Antonio French, Lewis Reed and Jeffrey L. Boyd during this election season was nothing short of irresponsible behavior. The Black vote was split and in order to prevent Lyda Krewson, the moderate Democrat from succeeding, we needed these men to unite behind Jones. Instead, the direct opposite happened and a historical opportunity to move the city forwarded was fumbled.

According to the St. Louis American, Tishaura Jones said the following about this debacle: “Everyone kept saying, ‘Why don’t all the Black people get together? Why don’t you have a meeting?’ Well, you know what, we did. And you know what happened at that meeting? The women decided to come together and support each other.”

The Black male candidates did not. When I read something like this, all I’m seeing is pure stupidity and male ego on steroids being used to screw over the entire city. Our critiques are political and not personal, but I’m assured there will be some form of retaliation for these opinions. The Black political status quo in this city is as unforgiving as its white counterpart.  

By proxy, French, Reed and Boyd became the three-headed monster that set up the win for Krewson. She wasn’t elected, she was selected. If just one of the Black candidates had dropped out the race, the outcome would most likely have been different. If just one of these men had infused a strategy that put the people ahead of his own desire to be mayor, Krewson would’ve lost. If just one of these men had said, “Today, I choose the community over myself,” the outcome would’ve been different.

The Black vote was viciously split as Jones rocketed to the forefront as the candidate the general public selected to champion the concerns of St. Louis. Her campaign manager was able to obtain notable donations from Regina King, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tracee Ellis Ross and Issa Rae to name a few. It became apparent that key people were in support of Jones and, therefore, a tactic amongst Reed, Boyd, and French to prevent Krewson from winning should’ve activated itself. Less than 10 percent of all registered voters in the city voted for Krewson. This win was paper thin and capable of being derailed.

The No. 1 rule for Black organizers to survive in St. Louis politics is “follow the people.” Why is it not the same for our politicians? If we sincerely hope to see change in our communities, the people will almost always provide us with sensible answers. Instead, we have a flank of weakness hovering over the ranks of Black leadership in St. Louis. Black politicians were responsible for the curfew in Ferguson, which gave the police leeway to use live ammo on unarmed protesters. Black politicians were the strongest opponents of the minimum-wage increase in our city. Black politicians reaffirmed the values of our current dictator, oops, I mean mayor, Francis Slay, who has now served four terms.

The activist community has organized itself into a loosely calibrated muscle capable of pooling resources and collaborating in honor of Black power. Since 2014, the revamping of Missouri’s local political power has showcased this in several cases. But, on the flip side, we have yet to see Black political leadership in St. Louis do the same in the name of protecting, uplifting and feeding Black people. They are weak and inadequate by all standards. Moving forward, we have no other choice but to be cautious and undermine their stupidity from every angle.

Our white political establishment fears the progressive organizing community far more than it fears its Black co-workers. The same way Trump was gifted the United States, Lyda Krewson was gifted the city of St. Louis. The narcissism of Boyd, French and Reed gave our city to her and she accepted it.

Krewson didn’t have to run a comprehensive campaign rooted in the values of the people. Our energy was spent primarily organizing around the fact that these men had their own vision for the future and rejected anything else. Boyd was basically a useless punching bag throughout this entire process. He is, in fact, the guiltiest culprit on the ballot. Reed got 9,775 votes, French 8,460. Boyd finished with 1,429 votes (2.7 percent). If he had tapped out the race, history would be drastically different today.

Reed believed he was the forerunner, but if you had asked any young voter, that wasn’t the case. These three went against the progressive activist community and partnered with our enemies in the name of obtaining victory against Jones. Hands Up United, our organization does not endorse candidates and didn’t endorse Jones, but our underlying rule is to support progress at whatever benchmarks the people provide us. The fact that these candidates did not support Jones has to be addressed because this was a mistake that set us all back, and, now that the election is over, many of the candidates won’t feel the burn. The times have changed and many of these people are out of tune, not just these men but almost every damn Black politician involved in city government. They believed the Black progressive vote could be substituted for the white progressive-conservative vote.

They played into the narrative of predatory policing being a realistic means of protection against crime. They didn’t pander for our votes and our platform, they moved with impunity and made decisions based on their own desires. I’m usually more hesitant than most when it comes to publicly slandering Black people in positions of power. But, this election was a circus and the men are the co-conspirators, whether indirectly or directly.

The Black vote during the mayoral election is strained and restricted through tactics like this every election season. This stands true despite the fact that some of the most grassroots radicalized organizing in the country is currently taking place in our city. The true question is why do these individuals continually refuse to acknowledge Black grassroots organizers and our seat of power? The same people who supported Kim Gardner in her victory to become the first Black woman Circuit Attorney (prosecutor) in Saint Louis over the white establishment rallied resources in this effort.  Jones lost the mayoral race by 888 votes, so inevitably this is an issue of political science at the end of the day.

These were not political vices or issues of the people but their very own selfish intentions being vividly displayed in real time. So, now, we will no longer bite our tongues and will move forward with the true agenda of the Black progressive brigade, which must concentrate on exposing the weakness of Black political leadership in St. Louis. These are the same individuals that allowed the police to run rampant with zero checks and balances. Many of them back-door pandered to Hilary Clinton during her failed run for the presidency and used the mayoral campaign to bounce back after her loss. In a post-Ferguson world, coalitions of activists/organizers working together despite our differences is now a common occurrence among many progressive groups. We do not cater to the same agendas, we do not work in the same areas of the city and our values differ collectively. But, we do have an understanding of what it means to actually work for the people.

Many of our local Black politicians are older than us and supposedly more experienced than us, as well. They openly flaunt a sense of arrogance that has been their downfall for far too long. They are not prepared to deal with the sophistication of politics in 2017 as it pertains to the values of politicized progressives in our city. They are dinosaurs that are focused on driving us to the brink of extinction much like their decaying careers. They are weak and immature in their governance. Hence, I suggest they deserve to be treated accordingly. Our personal interactions with them will be limited — and channeled into the interests of our liberation. We are not friends with you Negroes and you are not our allies, as we have been once again sold out for chicken change.

The Democratic party uses the pitfalls of democracy to its benefit during times like this. An electoral loss is supposed to be perceived as a moment of power or an incremental push toward change. This incremental push for us occurred in 2014 when the people decided to stand up against the system. The aftermath of this has been an intentional battalion of politicized people from all backgrounds and races combining powers to work together. The only place this doesn’t currently exist in St. Louis politics is amongst our Black political leaders.

These Negroes will take no real comprehensive risks in favor of the people when it comes to legislation. They will come up with excuse after excuse to pardon their actions and they will work with the same people we deem our enemies. Many of them will even read this article and criticize my voice vs. pulling back their ego and applying some sort of universal understanding to my logic. Their logic is as flawed as their track records and the truth remains evident that the largest attacks against Black organizers and activists in post-Ferguson St. Louis has stemmed directly from the hands of Black elected officials involved in city government.

At this point, we the people are nothing short of fools ourselves if we continue to be merciful with these weaklings as they run our city into the ground. Black political leadership in St. Louis has no sophisticated agenda by which the issues of the city’s Black residents will be addressed. This is an act of anti-Blackness and must be treated accordingly.

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Tef Poe is a hip hop artist and a co-director of Hands Up United, a community-based political organization that was founded in 2014 following the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.” His latest album, “Black Julian,” was released February 14 and can be purchased on iTunes.
Go to www.handsupunited.org or http://www.handsupunited.org/huudonate/ for more information or to donate to the cause.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views, policies or position of Atlanta Black Star or its employees
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