[B]lack radical politics … has never recovered from the systematic assault on our movement from the ‘70s onward. An assault that was not only military, but as a centerpiece of its strategy, pushed for a cultural and ideological assimilation of the Black/African working class and the artificially created middle-class. Understanding the power of ideas to shape consciousness, the objective was to “Americanize” the African American. Saner people would call that process genocide, but in the U.S. it is called racial progress.
The success of that strategy – the elimination of the “us,” an emerging “people” committed to radical transformational politics with a healthy psychological and emotional distance from “them,” the U.S. state, its racist and colonialist/imperialist history – was on display in Selma at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the march. In Selma, Barack Obama, the living personification of that strategy, delivered a version of the American narrative that was infused with all of the racist jingoism of bold settlers and the marginalization of genocide and slavery. But instead of Obama being run off the stage and out of town, his rendering of the story of white manifest destiny, U.S. exceptionalism and black advancement within the context of capitalism, was warmly embraced and praised by the new Negroes of empire.