The contradiction owes itself to the reactionary revolution that began in earnest with Hampton’s state-sponsored assassination. By the time Washington dropped dead at his desk in City Hall in 1987, investors were launching the next step of their insurrection to counter grassroots movements led by figures such as Washington and Hampton with neoliberal black candidates propped up by corporate cash, think tanks, and the academy.
In a 2006 Harper’s Magazine article, Ken Silverstein quoted former White House Counsel Greg Craig saying that he “liked the fact that Obama was not a racial polarizer on the model of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton,” and a lobbyist Mike Williams saying that he was “soothed by Obama’s reassurances that he was not anti-business.”
Only months before his death, Hampton seemed to predict the rise of Vichy black politicians like Obama, while explaining why education was integral to the struggle:
If the people ain’t educated, one day, we’ll have Negro imperialists.”