Friday, June 16, 2006

Caving Against Corporate Power?: Passage of the COPE Act

Because I'm curious about the motives of those Members of Congress who voted for the COPE Act last week, I'm reserving my judgement on the matter. The Black Commentator Editor Bruce Dixon offers his take on the matter, which is more than just a black issue, but one of freedom and accessibility of information to those of all economic backgrounds:

The independence of black American leadership is under assault by a tsunami of cash. Unprecedented levels of corporate underwriting are subverting black civic organizations. Tens of millions in faith-based federal grants have been deployed to suborn black clergy. Rivers of charitable and campaign contributions have been invested in subduing or silencing the voices of African America elected officials. Predictably, the onslaught is taking its toll.

Last week the House of Representatives passed the COPE Act, which will turn the free and open Information Superhighway into a corporate toll road, and lift regulations that force cable and telephone companies to serve poor and minority areas. Only 46% of Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against it. But in a stunning repudiation of its own historic claims to be the “conscience of the congress” and the authentic voice of African America in national affairs, a mere 13 out of 40 voting CBC members in the House summoned the courage to buck the tide of corporate cash and stand up for their constituents. (The two delegates from Washington, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands cannot vote on the House floor.) Two-thirds of the Caucus capitulated to corporate power, a more shameful showing than Democratic members as a whole. As “conscience of the congress,” the Congressional Black Caucus is pretty much over.

Continue reading here.

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