Greenfield Responds To Delgado’s Washington Post Op-Ed, And His Statement Denouncing Trump’s Use Of Force
Let me open by sharing, as I have in the past, my heartfelt sympathy to Congressman Delgado for the racist attacks he has endured, and will endure, and for the inequality that leaves large portions of our population, which includes me, with opportunities, access, and security that we did not earn. I do as much as I can individually, and through organizations, and civil disobedience, to expend my privilege in anti-racist efforts, always seeking to do better, and more. As a Jew, while I, too, have borne the brunt of bigotry throughout my life, it does not compare in scale or scope, although it does leave me with elevated empathy towards others, and with cultural DNA incorporating the acute awareness of the evil of white supremacy, and a mission to fight it, as befits our tragic history.
In 2018, the mailboxes and airwaves of voters in New York’s 19th Congressional District were indeed filled with racist postcards and attack ads, put out by Republicans, dehumanizing Antonio Delgado as sexually threatening to white women,and even children. It seemed like something from 1950s Alabama, but it was happening in our own Union state of New York, and not because of people in robes and hoods, but people in suits and ties — who were always the people financing, and at times wearing, the robes and hoods, something with which we as a nation still refuse to reckon because of our McCarthyist inculcation — only “communists” identify and challenge the role of profit. The only person who took an aggressive, public action to directly confront Rep. John Faso on the damage done to Mr. Delgado, his family, and all of us in this district, and demand his renunciation of the racist material was me — on live TV and radio at the WAMC debate. The confrontation drew immediate applause — but also a stern warning from Alan Chartock, the CEO of our region’s public radio network, and controller of its content, and ardent social liberal and Democratic Party supporter, that if the audience applauded again, they would be stopped, and the debate halted. And why? Because among the elites controlling access to channels of public information, Nobody. Fucking. Cares. The censorship of the public on this matter was ordered and enforced by a Democrat gatekeeper. Racism and public behavior control against grassroots efforts to overcome it are rampant in both major parties. It is present in your op-ed, and your legislative record.
Eleven months ago I sent out a report to the entire Hudson Valley media, including “liberal lion” Alan Chartock, and his entire news staff at WAMC, that the City of Poughkeepsie, which is only 40% white, and is highly impoverished, was hiring almost exclusively white police officers, and mostly from outside of Poughkeepsie, where they would be patrolling people, property, and culture they did not know — a recipe for disaster, not to mention that policing is the highest-paid public job in this substantially impoverished city. I offered to provide documentation of the hiring, as well as the awarding of Poughkeepsie’s most substantial municipal infrastructure contracts to businesses that were not just white-owned, but had no people of color in their management team. You know how many media outlets chose to look into that? None. Five days ago, after a Black Lives Matter rally in Poughkeepsie attracted 2000 people, I resent it. You know how many outlets responded this time? Yeah — none. Nobody. Fucking. Cares.
And you undoubtedly recall that the last time you and I met face to face, and I and a few others were confronting your own support for the expansion of fracking, I was taken away in handcuffs, with no objection from you or your academic sponsor, after which I was permanently banned from stepping foot on campus, despite it being public property — not even to pick up a child from a school event, or answer a fire call, let alone exchange ideas of social, economic, and environmental import as befits the academy, under threat of arrest and criminal charges. That, sir, is state violence — in service to you, and to the fracking industry you serve that is destroying the climate, and all that depends on climate stability — which is everything in our lives.
I will mention, but not dwell upon, that at the time of the 2018 campaign you were not being attacked “as a threat to the very community (you) come from,” as you wrote in your op-ed. Prior to your candidacy you had never lived a day of your life in this district. This is only part of why the subheadline of this deliberately unprintable op-ed is “and you are full of shit.” There is much more.
Firstly, contrary to your assertion to the contrary, fits of rage over gross injustice and oppression unquestionably do good. They’re the only things that do, and this week, they already have. Only one example is the announcement by the Mayor of Los Angeles that $150 million is being cut from his proposed police budget and being devoted to programs of uplift in communities of color. That was done to quell mass rage. You, personally, were the beneficiary of an entirely appropriate fit of rage on my part for the harm Faso’s backers had done to you, our community, and most especially its substantially disenfranchised African-American residents. The applause for its expression came from your supporters — none of mine were in the room. But had they been there, unlike your supporters, mine would have made their defiance of Chartock’s censorship plain — an act that was as necessary as my direct confrontation of Faso. So much more benefit for our district could have been accomplished on that stage, and in front of those cameras and microphones, and throughout the campaign were it not for the media edict that candidates and audience keep their emotions in check — and that despite there being four candidates, only the two whose backers were spending $15 million on each of them would be heard. Access to the media was granted on the basis of the amount of money candidates had, not on the quality of our ideas, or even the extent of our public service experience inside the district, or anywhere else.
You know from your years as a Wall Street lawyer that power is powerful — and it can only be matched and defeated with equal and greater power. For those of us without the kind of money provided to you by the corporate establishment to purchase power, the negative consequences of which are disproportionately borne by communities of color, in our district as well as throughout America, rage over injustice is the strongest motivator of acting with that degree of power, and with necessary haste and persistence. Rage is not the same thing as randomly lashing out with violence. It’s high-octane fuel to motivate and sustain action. No, Mr. Delgado, you are wrong — rage is not the opposite of love. In matters such as those once again at hand, rage and love are one. They are two sides of the same coin. If we do not feel rage right now, and act upon it, something is woefully insufficient in our love. This can be observed throughout all progress in our history. The Colonists felt, and acted upon, rage after the Boston Massacre, and became Patriots who would not stop until independence was achieved. John Brown felt, and acted upon, rage at Harper’s Ferry; and abolitionists felt, and acted upon, rage at its outcome and aftermath, and would not stop until slavery was abolished. The labor movement felt, and acted upon, rage at their pay and work conditions, and would not stop until fair wages, work conditions, and legal protections were established. The United States felt, and acted upon, rage after Pearl Harbor, and would not stop until worldwide fascism and genocide were not merely defeated, but crushed and laying in ashes.
If you do not find random acts of violence to be productive, as I do not, then just say that, as I and all proponents of non-violent resistance do. But do not deny anyone their entirely justified, and highly motivating rage, and do not divorce it from the love that produces it. We should feel that rage, from our heads to our feet, in our hearts and minds, and act powerfully upon it, repeatedly, persistently, and not stop until racism, and all the institutions that sustain it, and profit from it, are eliminated and replaced with new ones — BECAUSE we love, to protect those we love, now, and in the future, and to honor all who have been oppressed and destroyed from the moment the first European colonists set foot in the western hemisphere until this very day, who in number and suffering rival and exceed the great genocides of the 20th century — a great, incontrovertible, horrifying truth that did not find expression in your statement, the absence of recognition of which is the greatest driver of why we are never a day closer to atoning for it, without which we will never transcend it.
I am keenly aware of the political risk of being honest about this — just as I am aware of the political risk you did not take in confronting Faso yourself, and why you felt you could not. I am sympathetic to that, as I said to you in the lobby that day in Albany. But that is why I do not belong to a major party, as both depend upon the surplus revenues of our major racist institutions, including the lion’s share of your own campaign war chest, and all of the PACs and party treasuries supporting your election efforts. You have to live with the limits on expression they set because of your choice to serve them, first in your years with Wall Street law behemoth Akin, Gump serving its clients of vast wealth and power for a hefty cut of the action, and since then in Congress doing the same. I made different choices, because it is those very limits that, by design, prevent progress against racism, and so many other critical institutional oppressions of our times, including foreign invasions; poverty; malnutrition; fracking; rising sea levels, and floods and fires; suppression of wages; denial of health care; monopoly; and the absence of emergency preparedness and safety nets, all of which have killed millions, and under your highly profitable brand of politics, will continue to do so.
You may recall that at that same debate, I lashed out at the media panel for asking us to take a position on your brief foray into music, instead of on both major parties having once again forced the public to choose representation between two corporate lawyers and lobbyists. I do so again. You are now the incumbent, and remain on the corporate payroll, and legislate to provide substantial returns to your donors on their investment. Whichever of the two primary candidates emerge as the Republican nominee will also be on that payroll, and promising those paymasters high returns. If there was ever a moment in modern history in which the damage of delegating the power to govern what our nation’s “DNA,” as you call it, tells us is supposed to be by, for, and of the people only to people who can raise millions of dollars per election from Wall Street, this would be it. America lays in ruin, and you have no proposals for its resuscitation. And why? Because any functional proposals would not be in the interests of your sponsors, whose surpluses pay for your campaign, and therefore must be guaranteed to continue, even has hundreds of thousands of us die, and a hundred million of us are in, and have newly fallen into, poverty. If, as you claim, this nation really is committed to the ideal that ordinary people can govern themselves, then why are we governed by you — a Rhodes Scholar, a Harvard Law graduate, a lawyer at one of the world’s largest global corporate firms, who moved here on an ocean of their money to govern us on their behalf, and against our own interests? How is it that no other kind of candidate, no matter how demonstrably beneficial and operational their policy proposals may be, can be deemed “viable,” or worthy of coverage in the interest of informed voting, by the press?
Again, it’s because nobody fucking cares, and because you are full of shit.
As to your conclusion, about voting for people who will change oppressive law enforcement and judicial systems, you conveniently neglect to mention that that’s what most of us believed we’ve been doing by voting for you, and your party, even though that has never brought about any such changes, and your party does not bring forth candidates who will bring them, because doing so will raise objections by the competition and interfere with the influx of money you need to be “viable.” So we must settle for only “incremental” change, you tell us, not rapid and sweeping change, even though in the matter of racist brutality, or poverty, or denial of health care, or eviction, or wildfires, delay literally means suffering and death will go on indefinitely. George Floyd’s Minneapolis is a blue city. Freddie Gray’s Baltimore is a blue city. Tamir Rice’s Cleveland is a blue city. Eric Garner’s New York is a blue city. Rodney King’s Los Angeles is a blue city. All have, and have had, substantial African-American leadership in their City Halls, councils, law enforcement, judiciary, and state and federal legislative delegations, and nothing has changed. You, personally, have submitted no legislation to break down institutional racism and develop new anti-racist public institutions. The truth is we can’t vote our way out of this, and you and the system that brought you forth are among the top reasons for that.
Speaking of which, this week you also strongly denounced Trump’s use of rubber bullets and teargas to dispel protesters outside the White House. But you did not denounce the use of rubber bullets and teargas, and so much more, in all the Democrat-governed cities in America where all of that is taking place every day and night, which is where the vast majority of it is happening. Nor have you denounced your fellow Democrat freshman Congressman Max Rose’s call for the armed forces to be deployed in New York City. If you’re not against rubber bullets, teargas, mace, stun grenades, and physical beatings except when a Republican is in charge of it, then you’re not against police brutality, but only against Republicans.
Our voices will not be heard, and our votes will not bring about change, until we stop listening to, and voting for, Democrats, Republicans, and the racist, warmongering institutions that bankroll them in return for assurances, like the ones you gave them when you moved here, that under no circumstances would their revenue streams be treated as anything less than paramount. Our major parties are the two cheeks of the same butt — the butt of that massive, snarling, Wall Street Bull, working in tandem, left-right, left-right, to bury us in bullshit while the beast rampages, engorging itself on the fruits of our labor, and even our very lives, while trampling everything we hold dear into dust — including our ability even to envision a better future for our children, let alone devise a way to vote ourselves into it.
But for now, nobody fucking cares, including you; and you and your party, along with the Republican Party, are full of shit.
Green Party Candidate for Congress
New York’s 19th District