Don’t let the suit fool you: poverty pimps, government thugs, and the case of Tony Herbert-Ignite-NYC

Anthony “Tony Tune” Herbert, a Brooklyn club promoter turned politician, is a poverty pimp who thinks he can pull a fast one on the people of New York City. Herbert has framed himself as a “legitimate” and “respectable” community leader while attempting to discredit the recent organized outrage against the police murder of 16 year old Kimani Gray in Brooklyn. He characterized the militant marches against the police in East Flatbush as “non-sense” in an interview with CBS NY. The respectability which he tries to project is a BOURGEOIS (capitalist) respectability, a self-serving ethic which reflects the image of a snake oil salesman. This trickster embodies all of the notions of what it means to be successful in the greedy culture of Amerikkka. The case of Tony Herbert should be exposed to the masses because it is an example of the wolves in sheeps’ clothing lurking around every oppressed community, searching for a way to cash in on the pain of the people.

As early as 5/08/09 Herbert was called out for being a community hustler by Norman Graham of “On the Spot” for raising funds without being a registered candidate. If we look into Herbert’s background, we shouldn’t be surprised that his political motivations are about getting money and power for himself, at the expense of the people he claims to serve. Herbert’s career background includes time as a business concierge with North Fork Bank, a consultant and VP of Government Affairs for a marketing and advertising firm. He also worked for an investment banking firm on Wall Street.

His own explanation of how he got into politics is so disingenuous that one can’t help but laugh when reading it. In his own words, he tells how he simply moved from one hustle to another: “I fell into politics during my search to get sponsors for my parties and events. I believed that if I hung around politicians, I would meet the major players from corporate America, and obtain sponsorship money for all the great event ideas I had. But one day, I was asked by the congressman whom I was volunteering for, to travel around during the weekends with a colleague of his who was running for re-election. I didn’t know too much about electoral politics or how a campaign was run, so I said – yes, I would… in summary, I developed in a community advocate after working for a congressman, the City Council and the New York State Senate.” Herbert’s claim that he “got hooked on helping people… and decided that I want to make a career out of it” sounds like a bad joke after knowing his history. He is clearly trying to make a career, but helping people is the last thing on his mind.

In addition to his corporate capitalist background Herbert is also in bed with other enemies of black and brown communities, shown by his endorsements from police-state organizations such as the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Correction Officer’s Benevolent Association. These are two groups whose sole purpose is to serve the interests of police and prison guards and defend nearly every single case of violence they commit, no matter how outrageous their actions may be.

Recently Herbert has gained attention by threatening activists who work against police brutality. It all started when a video emerged of Herbert at a Kimani Gray vigil, where he tried to divert attention away from the racist and brutal police state. He can be seen in the video confronting activists, saying “I don’t see you here when black brothers are shooting each other” and telling angry protesters “this is a vigil…quiet down”. When that failed, he baits the activists for supposedly being outsiders and trying to advance an “agenda”.

Herbert does nothing to place blame on the thugs in blue, but has instead shamelessly encouraged the community to snitch on each other to the cops and emphasizes that we must “build better police and community relations”. On the surface it would seem that maybe there would be better relations with the police if they weren’t beating, killing, and arresting black and brown people in mass numbers. But to expect that would be an illusion: the NYPD wouldn’t be doing their job if they weren’t terrorizing us. Herbert must know this, which is why he tries so hard to distract us from the brutality of the police.
Herbert’s discourse is a classic tactic of diverting blame away from the police by switching the conversation to the topic of inner-community violence, and black on black crime. Of course violence within our communities and among oppressed peoples is a major problem, but what Herbert and those like him conveniently neglect to mention is that the source of this street violence is the political system itself.

It is this same political and economic system that Herbert is so desperately trying to gain power within – white supremacist Amerikkkan capitalism – which leaves black and brown and other oppressed peoples without a means of sustaining ourselves. Capitalism leaves our communities without jobs, or limits us to jobs without living wages. Herbert has done his part on this front, including his work in 2011 trying to bring Wal-Mart, a company notorious for its low wages, anti-union and anti-worker practices, to NYC. Without opportunities for us and our families to live and prosper, our youth are often funneled into gang activities. Seeking a sense of community, protection, and a way to sustain themselves economically, these young people fuel what often becomes a self-destructive lifestyle, fighting and killing each other for power and money in the black market.

Herbert promotes the same system whose schools miseducate us, whitewash our histories and struggles, and doesn’t prepare us to be positive members of our communities or serve the needs of our peoples. It is the same capitalist system whose media makes millions peddling glorified images of criminal life to youth with no other opportunities. The same system that would rather set police on our communities like slave catchers, targeting us with the so-called War on Drugs, mass incarceration, stop and frisk, and outright murder at the hands of the Pigs.

Without an educational system that serves our needs, without a way to defend ourselves from the racist police thugs and eventually put them and their bosses out of power, without real solutions and a new way of living we cannot expect our communities to start healing the wounds of centuries of white supremacist violence and exploitation. Without these things we cannot expect people in our communities to unite, stop fighting each other, and engage in a real struggle for liberation. But these are all topics that people like Herbert would rather not talk about because they have sold out their communities in exchange for a token part within the enemy system.

After the video was circulated on the internet, some of the activists involved followed Herbert’s advice to google him. After discovering his political ties he was called out for the house slave that he is, and declarations were made by some to politically expose him. Herbert retaliated by making various threats against them, which can be seen here:


Herbert’s recent internet ranting is instructive, because he did something that most politicians (or wannabe politicians) wouldn’t be stupid enough to do: he broke character in public and admitted that he really is nothing more than a thug with even more thugs behind him. We should apply this lesson to the other government thugs in suits like Bloomberg, Ray Kelly, bankers, CEO’s, and others portrayed by the media as “respectable” and “successful” within the capitalist power structure. We should use the example of Herbert to better understand how the power structure employs people who look like us to redirect our anger against each other, and away from the capitalist class, their police force, and the political system overall.

 We have already been through this in 2008 and 2012 with the Obama campaigns and his empty promises of hope and change. 5 years after that first election day, the rich are still getting richer, the mass incarceration of black and brown people in Amerikkka continues, the war machine of the u.s. Empire expands, and Obama urges us to find common ground with those who suck the blood of the world’s oppressed masses.

This vicious system of capitalism has nothing to offer us besides continued misery. The youth of our communities must be trained not to become thugs or gangsters, but to become soldiers of socialist revolution! Like the comrades of the Black Panther Party and other ancestors who have sacrificed everything to fight for our liberation, we must engage in the struggle for a new world: we must ignite a spark, and fan it into a great fire!!

-Comrade Trip

Via Ignite

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