Monday, January 10, 2005

Rove and Core

CORE, the Congress on Racial Equality, was once one of the great civil rights organizations, so many have been surprised, if not alarmed, to learn that Karl Rove is being honored by CORE on January 17.

But CORE isn't what it used to be. CORE took a black nationalist turn in the 1970s and has been for many years little more than a soapbox for Roy Innis, who took a sharp turn to the rightt, even to the point of joining the Libertarian Party and associating himself with an assortment of far-right causes and figures. The Austrian neo-fascist Jorge Haider was an honored guest at a recent CORE MLK banquet.

In a New York magazine article a few years back, Michael Tomasky detailed some of Roy Innis's positions

* Referred to the fight against apartheid as "the so-called anti-apartheid struggle," which has "no honest base" and is "a vicarious, romantic adventure."

* Testified in a federal court that he'd seen no evidence of anti-Semitism in the Lyndon LaRouche organization, well after LaRouche's Holocaust denial was a matter of public record.

* Invited to previous MLK dinners such widely known admirers of Dr. King as Georgia Republican Bob Barr and garbage-talk host Bob Grant.

* Said of Idi Amin's Uganda that "Ugandans are happy under General Amin's rule of Africa for black Africans," presumably meaning those who remained after the slaughter of some 300,000; hailed Amin's decision to expel 50,000 Asians from Uganda as "a bold step" because "a country's economy is too important to be left in the hands of foreigners"; honored Amin with a lifetime membership in his organization; and added, apropos Amin's hatred of Jews and praise of Hitler, that "we have no records to prove if Hitler was a friend or an enemy of black people."

Black American journalists Glen Ford and Peter Gamble describe CORE as "a tin cup outstretched to every Hard Right political campaign or cause that finds it convenient - or a sick joke - to hire Black cheerleaders". They report that James Farmer, the former head of the Congress of Racial Equality confronted Roy Innis on TV for turning "the organization into what Farmer called a 'shakedown' gang."

So it's actually rather fitting that Karl Rove should be receiving an award from a far-right group which has a long history of making a mockery of the ideals of Dr. King.

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