Patrick Buchanan’s Ezola Virus

Against the Current, No. 89, November/ December 2000

Carina Bandhauer

AMIDST ALL THE turmoil of the Reform Party this summer, Pat Buchanan named Ezola Foster as his running mate for his third bid at the presidency. For a man who has openly questioned the holocaust, and battled to save white America, choosing a Black woman is a little puzzling.

And for that matter, why does a Black woman from Watts want to associate with a white man who called for a “culture war” against her people? Strange bedfellows?

Actually, Buchanan spent a good long time courting several Black women for the job. Plotting continuously for the current presidential election since his last bid, Buchanan first named the controversial Lenora Fulani as his campaign co-chair back in November `99.

The appointment of Fulani, a lefty wannabe New York politician and supporter of the Farrakhan camp, upset many of Buchanan’s loyal followers, including Ezola Foster who herself had been Buchanan’s co-chair in 1996.

“It just makes no sense whatsoever! What is he thinking? I just do not understand it!” said Foster in a January interview during which she claimed she was forced to abandon him at that juncture.

Foster had been a long-time follower of Buchanan. But little did Foster know that she soon would take Fulani’s place and end up joining hands with Buchanan in his bid for the White House.

Strange Mix

Why Fulani? At first glance Fulani seemed to reject everything Buchanan supported. Both, however, saw through the promises of free trade and globalization and the stronghold corporations have over the Democratic and Republican Parties. But that just wasn’t enough to solidify their unnatural bond.

Fulani resigned a few months later, declaring Buchanan wasn’t as open to people (such as herself) as he claimed. Meanwhile, Buchanan forces found in Foster a new co-chair and subsequent running mate, and managed to wrest $12.6 million in federal matching funds from the Perot wing of the party.

Who is Ezola Foster? She isn’t so mysterious in Los Angeles — more like notorious, particularly amongst her former students who she says make up “a school in which the enrollment was predominantly illegal alien students, or children of illegal aliens.”

When Foster revealed her animosity towards Latinos on PBS News Hour in 1996, students joined with a few of her co-workers and various immigrant rights organizations in protest, successfully ousting her from her eleven-year term at Bell High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

It seemed Foster’s days as a school teacher were numbered all along, given her political ambitions. Early on at Bell High School she formed “Black Americans for Family Values” (though she now is leaving out the “Black” part).

Foster admitted, “we actually came together as `Black Americans for Family Values’ actually for two purposes. Number one, if you put the word `black’ in front of your name you have the media come out when you have press conferences. [Secondly] we  … from the Watts community formed ourselves at that time to challenge the State Board of Education’s inclusion of the teaching of homosexuality to children in grades Kindergarten through 12 …. [Subsequently] many of the parents living in Watts also began to recognize the influx of illegals into the community and so illegal immigration became a big issue for us also.”

Foster is a networking queen. A leading advocate for the anti-immigrant Proposition 187 in California in 1994, she allies herself with a bastion of like-minded conservatives in California who have carried California’s crusade against Latinos, immigrants and immigration.

Foster minces no words about her feelings on immigration. “Mexico wants America, they want to annex America — certain states to their own country. So they don’t want America to control America’s borders … I don’t know what we could do for Mexico except to get tough …  send them back and if they come over a second
or third time, triple the fines and if that doesn’t work, put the troops on the borders. Let them shoot it out. We’re going to come to that; we really are,” she asserted in January.

“I would say that we began to notice [illegal immigration] in the mid `70s and it really became an issue in the `80s because many of the people living in the housing projects in the area, wake up one morning and all of the sudden they have Spanish speaking neighbors   … and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that these people just came in overnight.”

Political Economy of Paraqnoia

Indeed, global economic and structural shifts in the last thirty years have led to increased immigration. These shifts moved, down-sized or eliminated production sites (such as automobile plants, clothing manufacturers and the aerospace industry) hitting resident people of color disproportionately –especially in Los Angeles.

Many of the employment opportunities were replaced by non-unionized, “flexible” and often sweatshop jobs. Consequently, the demand for immigrant labor increased leaving little for the already established communities.

Foster exploits this loss by driving a wedge between Blacks in poor neighborhoods and the mostly middle class led mainstream Black organizations like the Urban League, the NAACP, and the SCLC.

Foster (not to mention the rest of us) is certainly right to disown the Democratic and Republican parties which effectively guarantee the continued imprisonment of many people of color in our major cities. However, the answer does not lie in the nationalism and xenophobia sported by herself and Buchanan.

The discrimination they promote effectively reproduces and maintains racial, national and international divisions which ail our nation and world.

In the end, Foster and Buchanan are not strange, but rather appropriate bedfellows. As a running mate, she enables him to demonstrate his allegiance to a color blind America. It certainly doesn’t hurt that she agrees with most of his views either. She is anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-ma/paternity leave, anti-ebonics, anti-affirmative action, anti-multiculturalism, and anti-public schools.

Foster even dismisses needle exchange programs, though AIDS hits her own community the hardest of all. She supports the flying of the Confederate flag, school prayer, the police officers who beat up Rodney King, and is a member of the John Birch Society.

She has run for California State Assembly, losing twice to Democrat Maxine Waters in 1984 and 1986, and appeared on numerous television programs from Larry King Live, to the local evening news.

The perfect puppet serving best those who gain most from racism and sexism, Foster has served for years as a conservative stalwart within the Los Angeles Black community, while the surrounding white right wing has used her at every turn. Needless to say, Pat Buchanan is more than happy to do the same.

ATC 89, November-December 2000