“A Black Thing”—The Likes and Dislikes of Radical Congressional Candidate Charles Barron

From dictators to Hillary Clinton, Caitlin Dickson runs down the controversial councilman and Congressional candidate’s loves and hates.

Clockwise from top left: AP Photos; AFP / Getty Images; AP Photos; AFP / Getty Images

Clockwise from top left: AP Photos; AFP / Getty Images; AP Photos; AFP / Getty Images

Radical City Council member Charles Barron has set his sights on retiring Representative Ed Town’s seat in Congress in next week’s special election. The prospect of Mr. Baron, the flame-throwing former Black Panther, going to Washington led a slew of New York politicians—including former Mayor Ed Koch and Congressman Jerrold Nadler—to call him out for his inflammatory anti-Israel rhetoric over the years and his support of a bevy of dictators. The Daily Beast runs down the eccentric politician’s likes and dislikes, from Robert Mugabe to Wal-Mart. 

Jeskesai Njikizana, AFP / Getty Images

Like: Robert Mugabe

Barron has called notoriously repressive Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe one of his heroes. In 2002, Barron invited Mugabe to visit the Council, where the strongman gave a speech in a conference room to a small group, mostly members of the Black and Hispanic Caucus, as other politicians kept their distance. “In the year 2000, when he said one farm, one farmer, he was vilified,” Barron later told the New York Observer. In South Africa, whites “still own 80 to 90 percent of the land. That’s why they like Mandela. That’s why they like Bishop Tutu. They let whites keep the land.”

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photos

Dislike: Hillary Clinton

“I don’t think Hillary Clinton should be an option for black people. She is a conservative Democrat, said Barron in 2008, while announcing his endorsement of Barack Obama. She and Bill Clinton have “done absolutely nothing for the black community but come to our churches on Sundays and get a[n] amen from some of the churches… She will not take on racism… She’s going to protect white interests.” He added that then-presidential candidates John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich also couldn’t be trusted “because we’ve seen none of them in the black community.”

Leo Ramirez, AFP /Getty Images

Like: Hugo Chavez

In 2008, Barron tried to invite Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to make a similar visit to the city council, but this time was thwarted by local politicians. Koch, a long-time critic of Barron’s, said at the time, “Barron has a right to invite anybody he wants and everybody else has a right to moon him.” Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. from Queens told The New York Daily News, “If he wants to invite despotic dictators, he should invite them to his own house. They don’t belong at the home of democracy in New York City.”

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Dislike: White People’s Inability to Understand the Need for Slavery Reparations

At a rally for slavery reparations in DC in 2002, Barron said, “I want to go up to the closest white person and say, ‘You can’t understand this, it’s a black thing’ and then slap him, just for my mental health.”

Rogelio V. Solis / AP Photos

Like: Louis Farrakhan

Barron has defended Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, against accusations of racism. Farrakhan, who once explained that “white people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet,” and has regularly assailed Jews and homosexuals. Barron also allied himself with one-time NOI leader and then New Black Panther Party Chairman Khalid Muhammad, a Holocaust denier who’s railed against the “hook-nosed” Jews who control the “Jew-nited Nations in Jew York City,” as well as calling the Pope John Paul II a “no-good cracker.”

Emile Kouton, AFP / Getty Images

Like: Muammar Qaddafi

“Out there, they didn’t know that Qaddafi was our brother,” Barron said after Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was killed last year. People say ‘Didn’t he kill all those people?’ I say, ‘I don’t know anything. The man was a freedom fighter.’” He then asked the crowd to chant “Long live Muammar Qaddafi.” Before Qaddafi’s death, Barron has called the NATO bombings that helped uproot him a "racist imperialist" move. Asked by the Daily News about the toast, he explained: “One person’s horrible person can be another person’s hero,”

Don Emmert, AFP / Getty Images

Dislike: Israel

Charles Barron has made no secret of his disdain for Israel, and has repeatedly compared Israeli Jews to Nazis, as well as complaining about the power of the “Jewish lobby.” “Gaza is a virtual death camp, the same kind of conditions the Nazis imposed on the Jews,” he told the Amsterdam News in 2009 At a rally outside the Israeli Consulate in New York the next year, he said that “the biggest terrorist in the world is the government of Israel!”

"I am tired every time you criticize Israel, you are anti-Semitic,” he said the same year at Brooklyn’s House of the Lord Church, “Well technically my pastor taught me about the Semitic people, the Semites are black.”

Stephen Chernin / AP Photos

Like: Nehru Suits

The U.S. House of Representatives has a pretty strict dress code (remember when Representative Bobby Rush got kicked out for wearing a hoodie?) The “appropriate attire” required of Representatives pretty much means a jacket and a tie, which could pose a problem for Barron, who has long been a fan of wearing a Nehru jacket, especially to public gatherings. When asked whether he’d hang up his Nehru for a traditional suit and tie if elected, Barron told the Daily News, “I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it might incriminate me. That’s going to be an interesting moment in Washington, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photos

Dislike: When the Congressional Black Congress acts like a bunch of “Political Punks”

On his journey to Capitol Hill, Barron has made no secret of his disdain for the black lawmakers there now. During a campaign speech in East New York last year, Barron pledged, “I’m going to put some fire under the Congressional Black Caucus and say, ‘Come on, brothers and sisters, our time has come for us to stand up and be the voice for our people.’ Even if you don’t win the vote, say something. Don’t sit there like some political punk….Don’t try to calculate to see how much you can give into the right wing, racist conservatives, stand up to them.” During that same speech in East New York last year, Barron also said, “I can’t wait. Guess who’s coming to dinner! I can’t wait. I’m going to sit and meet with everybody. Going to everybody’s office. And I don’t care what they say; I’m still not saluting the flag!” (Barron does not believe in salutin gthe flag, or saying the pledge of allegiance, repotedly telling Fox News’ Paula Zahn in 2001 that the pledge is a “life.”

Nicholas Kamm, AFP / Getty Images

Like: The First Amendment

"I have a right to dissent," Barron said earlier this year after his council colleagues took away his committee chairmanship on a 47-1 vote, with Barron as the only “no” vote. "I have a right to be black, to be bold, to be radical, to speak my mind, to be a revolutionary, to be socialist - whatever I call myself, I have a right to be that. ...I have a right to be all that and speak my mind in a body without being punished. That is my First Amendment right."

AP Photo

Dislike: Thomas Jefferson

“Like you think George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are heroes, I think they’re slaveholders who sold African people,” Barron told the Daily News last year while explaining his toast to Qaddafi . “Jefferson raped an African child. He’s a slaveholding pedophile.”