“Ajamu Baraka is a powerful, eloquent spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come,” Stein said in a public statement. “An agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice.”
Before hitching his political horse to Stein’s wagon, Baraka made a name for himself serving on boards for Amnesty International, coordinating the Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs, and serving as the executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network.
While those outside of the far-left activist community might not be all that familiar with Baraka’s politics, for the past six years, the vice presidential hopeful has maintained a fairly active personal blog where he’s written about race, international affairs, and current events. (Neither Baraka’s or Stein’s teams returned requests for comment.)
Each page of Baraka’s blog opens with a very appropriate bell hooks quote describing itself as a “site of radical possibility, a space of resistance.” Baraka resists and he does so radically on a number of topics, including:
On Muhammad Ali, Dylan Roof, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton:
In a post lamenting people’s attempts to downplay the roles that Muhammad Ali’s race and religion played in his politics, Baraka takes issue with the fact that President Bill Clinton was invited to speak at Ali’s funeral this past June.
“With the passing of Muhammad Ali, we are witnessing a phenomenon similar to what we saw with Dr. King when the family allowed the state to define the meaning of Dr. Kings’ activism and the movement that created him,” Baraka wrote.”The announcement that Bill Clinton, the rapist and petty opportunist politician, had been chosen to deliver the eulogy at Ali’s funeral suggests that his family is heading down that same path.”
Baraka goes on to posit that the Department of Justice’s move to push for the death penalty as punishment for Dylan Roof’s murders in Charleston is proof of the government’s attempts to brainwash black people.
“Unlike Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch and the other members of the black petit-bourgeoisie who have become the living embodiments of the partial success of the state’s attempt to colonize the consciousness of Africans/black people,” Baraka argues. “The life of Muhammad Ali and the black liberation movement that he was a part of in his early years and our movement’s moral positions on state violence in the form of the death penalty stands as counter-narratives to those attempts by the state to ‘Americanize’ the Africans in the territory called the U.S.”
On Bernie Sanders and his supporters:
To say that that Baraka opinions on Bernie Sanders were somewhat less than charitable would be something of an understatement. Sanders’ campaign, Baraka wrote, was less concerned about actual political reform and more interested in a tacit “commitment to Eurocentrism and normalized white supremacy.”
Sanders supporters, Baraka explains, are basically just naive shills.
“As much as the ‘Sandernistas ’ attempt to disarticulate Sanders ‘progressive’ domestic policies from his documented support for empire,” Baraka said. “It should be obvious that his campaign is an ideological prop – albeit from a center/left position – of the logic and interests of the capitalist-imperialist settler state.”
On Beyoncé, “Formation,” and black pop culture commentary:
Similar to bell hooks, Baraka doesn’t really see it for Beyoncé or her newfound, more explicit commentary about police brutality against black people that has worked its way into her music. By Baraka’s measurement, Beyoncé isn’t engaging in the conversation about systemic violence in a real way, but rather a form of pandering to capitalist interests.
He knows this, you see, because of the color of her dancers’ skin and their outfits.
“I cannot for the life of me understand how Beyonce’s commodified caricature of black opposition was in any way progressive,” Baraka said. “I didn’t see opposition; I saw the imagery and symbols of authentic black radicalism grotesquely transformed into a de-politicized spectacle by gyrating, light-skinned booty-short-clad sisters.”
Now this is the type of candidate the people can get behind.