The capitalist system requires colonies from which to extract resources such as minerals and human labor. In classic colonialism such as in India, the invading country controls native resources through violence, ideology, and a native middle-class known also as the comprador class. This comprador class created a well-paid buffer between the masses of colonized and the foreign colonizer. Under neo-colonialism, native elites run governments where they continue to serve foreign elites to the detriment of the native population. All the while, they reap massive rewards. Internal colonialism such as we have in the United States, involves the colonial elite stealing the resources of subordinate ethnic groups or people of color. Here also the colonizers require an educated, self-aggrandizing native elite to control the masses of the Black and Brown working classes.
In graduate school in Texas we referred to them as the Black and Brown managerial class. As we militantly struggled for educational opportunities for people of color, nicely suited ‘community leaders’ and university personnel urged us to be calm and ‘respect’ the institution; “the very same institution that disenfranchises us and many others like us,” we thought. They urged patience. While my friends were being arrested, they were ‘negotiating’ (i.e., ‘making deals’) over lunch with the university and government elite in Austin. They secured their place in academe. When we began to ask questions about their involvement, they advised prudence. "We wouldn’t want our enemies to take advantage of our ‘family’ disagreement," they counselled.
This was the same year that political operative, Ward Connerly, worked tirelessly as the Black voice of the anti-affirmative action movement and was paid handsomely to speak all over the country. After shouting him down on his visit to the campus of the University of Texas, we became the First Amendment villains for not allowing this member of the Black petit bourgeoisie to spread his message in favor of the educational disenfranchisement of people of color. He was paid well to encourage policies that kept people of color from having a voice but we were the First Amendment villains.
Everywhere we looked the Black and Brown men in suits traded us in for self-gain and to curry favor with the colonial elite. We lost those battles against Hopwood v. The University of Texas Law School, the undermining of Ethnic Studies (in particular, Asian Studies) at UT, and the entrenched Texas elite and their Black and Brown managerial class. Black and Latino enrollment at Texas universities dropped precipitously the very next semester. ‘Race’ could no longer be considered for admissions. In addition, many accepted to Texas universities simply could not afford the tuition since millions of dollars of scholarships could no longer be earmarked for members of subordinate ethnic groups.
It has been over fifteen years since I have witnessed such crass racist and classist behavior. While the daily signs of racism are everywhere (just drive down my block or almost any in the Roseland neighborhood where CSU is located), glimpses into the machinations of colonialism and the role of the comprador are rare. So, I was taken off guard on Friday, March 8, 2013 at the Board of Trustees meetings as the comprador class reared its ugly head in the guise of the Preacher-Politician. They turned out in droves to support Wayne Watson, millionaire member of the Black managerial class who has been paid handsomely to fleece public institutions in the form of corny hires and contracts (see, for example, the recent blog post “Seventy-eight Million Reasons to Party” or any of the news stories re-posted on the facebook page, “Watson Must Go”). They did not come to defend the thousands of working class people of color, the students, staff and faculty, victimized over the years by Wayne and his class but to ensure Black petit bourgeois control over ‘their Southside institution.’
While objectively unqualified FOWs (Friends of Wayne) and FOFOWs (Friends of Friends of Wayne) make outrageous sums to do damage to the university (see enrollment numbers down, outrageous policy coming out of legal), the Black working class who attend CSU are denied the respect of functioning facilities and the resources that students at PWIs (predominantly White institutions) take for granted. Their education suffers when what little resources we get go to hires and raises for an incompetent, greedy, and, ultimately, racist managerial class.
Race is most assuredly a part of the story of the dirty politics being played at CSU. But, it is not the story of the Black leader, the King figure, fighting for the civil and human rights of the Black masses up against a small group of powerful Whites trying to take down the Black man. It is the story of the comprador class, the Black and Brown managerial class, the Preacher-ticians, attempting to claim their prize for years of loyal service to the ruling class and a big "screw you" to the Black, Brown and other working class groups on this campus who work and learn here.