Black Conservatives Reject Jesse Jackson's Comparison of Occupy Wall Street Efforts to Civil Rights Movement
Washington, D.C. - Members of the Project 21 black leadership network are criticizing Jesse Jackson for comparing increasingly violent Occupy Wall Street events to the civil rights movement. Project 21's black conservatives say the Tea Party movement more closely resembles civil rights-era activism.
"Some people don't want to acknowledge this, but Tea Party members express their frustrations with the government and are working for change in the same manner as the civil rights movement fought for freedom," said Project 21 spokeswoman Lisa Fritsch. "They protest in peace. They protest in civility. And they translate their protest into power — not by being violent, disrespectful and blocking peoples' way or stepping on the little guy as the Occupy Wall Street protesters do."
In an interview with Politico, Jesse Jackson embraced the Occupy effort, saying: "The mass appeal of economic justice [and] economic security is a critical civil rights issue of our time." He added: "Dr. [Martin Luther] King planned to occupy the Mall in Washington, and planned to engage in civil disobedience to get... Washington to get their [sic] priorities straight." Jackson has also made supportive visits to Occupy campsites in cities such as Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia.
Project 21's Alveda King, the niece of Dr. King, in an interview with the Fox News Channel challenged Jackson's assertions, saying he should "revisit his 20th century history." She added: "My uncle, the whole movement, was founded in prayer, in crying out to God in a peaceful movement. And this [new] movement is not peaceful."
Jackson's visit to the Occupy D.C. campsite came just days after approximately 500 protesters descended on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to disrupt a Tea Party-related event sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. In the melee, several AFP event participants were injured and several Occupy D.C. protesters were arrested. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said about the assault in the Washington Examiner: "That is no longer a peaceful protest." Similarly, in Oakland, California, where banks and stores were vandalized by protesters, Jackson called activities emanating from the now-defunct campsite there (which was removed by the police over health and safety concerns) as "amazingly non-violent."
Besides Oakland and New York City, Occupy campsites in places such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Portland, Oregon have been shut down over concerns about health and safety and violations of city ordinances.
"Dr. King went to the mountaintop and saw the promised land, but it certainly wasn't Zuccotti Park," said Project 21 spokesman Stacy Swimp. "The Occupy Wall Street movement and its affiliates are not in any way, shape or form comparable with the civil rights movement in that the civil rights movement was focused on the rule of law. The civil rights movement also had clearly defined goals and leaders. It is also important to identify that Dr. King rejected anyone and anything that was anti-social in nature. The Occupy effort is not only anti-social, but it is clearly anti-authority and misogynistic. We've heard the stories of the abuse of women and heard the anti-Semitic rants at Occupy campsites. In the civil rights movement, people of every race, religion, gender and class were welcome and came together for a clear and common goal."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).