Green Party’s Baraka: Obama has been ‘moral disaster’

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Detroit — Voters who want to fight against racial profiling, human rights violations, war and the two-party system should cast their ballots for the Green Party, vice presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka said Tuesday.

Baraka, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s running mate and a self-described socialist from Atlanta, spoke to about 55 people at Wayne State University in a campaign stop. A Glengariff Group poll released last week to The Detroit News and WDIV showed the Green Party ticket receiving 4.6 percent of support from 600 likely Michigan voters, trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

A Stein-Baraka presidency, he said, would be focused on using executive powers to create an “emergency jobs bill” to address inner cities and rural areas, notify the “right-wing” government in Israel “that we’re no longer going to allow for them to have unfettered freedom to expand settlements and undermine the rights to Palestinians” and reverse the attempt at regime change in Syria.

In a separate Detroit News interview, Baraka had harsh words for Trump, Clinton and President Barack Obama when asked to assess them, calling Obama a “moral disaster.”

During his campaign speech, Baraka said the Green movement has the potential to grow like the Democratic presidential primary campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the self-described democratic socialist who is actively campaigning for Clinton. But he complained the “corporate media” have kept him and Stein out of the major news headlines.

“We really don’t have to tailor our message, what we need is access,” Baraka said in an interview with The Detroit News after his hour-and-half-long message that touched on poverty, jobs and other topics. “We don’t believe people are as blood thirsty as what they might appear based on the kind of responses that we see getting reflected in the corporate media when Donald Trump will make a comment or Hillary Clinton will make a comment.”

The 62-year-old associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies said there are “significant numbers” of Americans who oppose war, “who have some some serious concerns about strategies that appear to result in a reintroduction of U.S. forces back into the so-called Middle East” and who are disappointed about the “connection between the kind of war mongering and violence being advocated” against black Americans.

“The problem is that those voices don’t get a chance to be heard,” he said. “It’s getting access to the people and allowing us to be able to amplify those alternative voices cause they do exist.

“There are more and more people who understand that they have a responsibility to stand up to police brutality, that they have a responsibility to reject militarism. We say that the American people have the right to hear alternative visions, alternative voices.”

Trump, he said, “represents the “politics of confusion, of anger, of hate, of exclusion” and that Clinton “represents the politics of paternalism, of war and fear and that the American people deserve more than those two choices.”

“It’s understandable that we have a Donald Trump because Donald Trump is speaking to the kind of anxiety and fear that many people are feeling who have been left out of the neoliberal policies of the last few decades, policies that have resulted in real pain and anxiety for large numbers of working class people,” Baraka said.

The black Green Party candidate saved his harshest words for Obama, saying he has been a “moral disaster” and one of “the worst things that has happened to African-American people” because black issues have moved more to the right and the president hasn’t been keen on seeking justice for wronged blacks.

Joanne Warwick, 52, of Detroit and a self-described former Democrat, said she is leaning strongly toward supporting the Stein-Baraka ticket because they are speaking her political language.

“I’m just tired of compromising my values,” Warwick said.

Warwick said she is tired of “holding my nose and voting for the lesser of the two evils, meaning voting for the Democratic candidate so that the Republican wouldn’t win.”

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