Originally Posted by PogueMoran
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTCNK7v3J6w"]YouTube - Obama's "Redistributive Justice:" 2001 NPR interview[/ame]
Barack Obama, in 2001:
You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil-rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, Iíd be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.
And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasnít that radical. It didnít break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution ó at least as itís been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states canít do to you, says what the federal government canít do to you, but it doesnít say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
And that hasnít shifted, and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.