Barack Obama and the Ruling Class Target the Black Vote to Smother Sanders

Source:  Black Agenda Report

November 28 2019

Barack Obama and the Ruling Class Target the Black Vote to Smother Sanders

Obama’s principle task is to ensure sure that Black Americans do not vote in the direction of single-payer healthcare and housing for all.

The ruling class needs Obama as an adviser and bully of the Black vote.”

Not a month after condemning “call out culture,” Barack Obama was once again the prized speaker at an event held by Democratic Party “mega donors”  (Wall Street) in Atlanta, Georgia. Seated next to Obama protégé Stacy Abrams, Obama warned Democratic Party candidates of going too far left in their policy proposals. “The average American doesn’t think we have to tear down the system,” Obama said , adding, “They just don’t want to see crazy stuff. They want to see things a little more fair, they want to see things a little more just. And how we approach that I think will be important.”

Related article: Obama approves airstrikes against Libya

Obama’s remarks are just the most recent demonstration of his role as a weapon of counterinsurgency warfare employed by the ruling class to dampen the expectations of workers and oppressed people. His two-term presidency particularly targeted the Black polity. Black America has historically been the most progressive constituency in the United States on the issues of war and economic justice. The ruling class has not forgotten that Black rebellion pressured the formal end of chattel slavery in the American mainland or that Black rebellion overthrew slavery on the island nation of Haiti. Even in the so-called post-slavery period, Black rebellions such as those witnessed in cities across America in the 1960s signaled to the U.S. ruling class that something had to be done to protect the Empire from the transformative aspirations of Black America.

“Obama is a a weapon of counterinsurgency warfare employed to dampen the expectations of workers and oppressed people.”

The Black liberation movement that emerged from the Black rebellions in American cities inspired a ruling class project to craft a misleadership class  which could properly manage the affairs of neoliberal capital. This project was part of a broader two-pronged assault on the world socialist revolution. Black freedom struggles were deemed cells of a communist conspiracy or outright domestic terrorism. Revolutionary movements were violently undermined by the intelligence and military state from Oakland to Vietnam, Detroit to the Soviet Union. Neoliberalism sprouted from the war on socialism and national liberation to eviscerate the last vestiges of social solidarity in the United States. Wholesale economic deprivation provided fertile ground for Black political leaders, fully backed by the Democratic Party, to act as willing accomplices in the immiseration of the toiling masses in the Black community.

Barack Obama is the highest expression of the ongoing counterinsurgency war on the Black left. By targeting the very diverse , and significantly Black , Sanders base, Obama is striking two targets at once. Medicare for All and similar universal policies are “crazy” only to rich white Americans and their Black collaborators. Obama believes in a different kind of universalism, otherwise known as American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism assumes that the poor, especially the Black poor, only want their lives improved “a little” because there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the American system of racism and capitalism.

“Black freedom struggles were deemed cells of a communist conspiracy or outright domestic terrorism.”

Related article:  Obama Endorses Hillary Clinton as His Successor

Obama’s remarks are a warning to Black American voters who may be contemplating whether Bernie Sanders is in fact the most electable candidate in the 2020 Democratic Party. Black voter conservatism was massively intensified during the Obama period and gave credence to a decades long trend of Black Americans voting for any Democrat seen as capable of defeating the White Man’s Republican Party. Polls still show that Joe Biden’s relationship to Obama gives him an overwhelming edge with Black voters  over Sanders and the rest of the field. Obama’s condemnation of Sanders and so-called left Twitter feeds certainly sends a false message that Black Americans should be satisfied with business as usual. However, Obama inspires little confidence that such an approach will lead to the nomination of a corporate friendly candidate capable of defeating Donald Trump.

The truth is that the ruling class needs Obama as an adviser and bully of the Black vote because the rest of the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is mired in a crisis of legitimacy. Many Democratic Party voters now want social democracy and Bernie Sanders’ economic agenda most resembles the class struggle orientation of Black America. Black Americans have always been overrepresented in domestic movements for socialism. Two of the most popular leaders in the Black struggle, Malcolm X  and Martin Luther King Jr ., both advocated for a socialistic economic transformation of U.S. society by the end of their lives. After eight years of rightwing political retrenchment under Obama, the ruling elite understands perfectly well that its political system has lost the legitimacy it once enjoyed with workers in the United States, especially Black workers.

“Obama sends a false message that Black Americans should be satisfied with business as usual.”

That’s because Obama’s two-term presidency absolutely worsened the forty-year long assault on the conditions of the working class. Black wealth suffered the most from Obama’s bank bailouts , which rewarded the very criminal enterprises responsible for the economic crisis. For decades, Wall Street devalued Black property and then sold what Wells Fargo financiers called “ghetto loans” to “mud people.”  Obama not only let the racist bankers walk free, but he also implemented new and more innovative forms of austerity. His administration enforced trillions in deficit reductions and went so far as to place Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block in the name of bipartisanship.

A new study shows that the number of poor people in America has drastically increased when inflation is accurately factored into poverty measures . The study found that inflation is .44 percentage points higher for the bottom 20 percent of income earners than for the top 20 percent of earners. In 2018 alone, 3.2 million more people would be considered impoverished in the United States. The report calls this phenomenon “inequality inflation.” A great number of workers in the U.S. do not qualify for state and federal programs and thus pay a far higher cost of living within a capitalist economy that caters to the consumption patterns of richer Americans.  Furthermore, poverty would be three times higher  than the official measure if the median debt in the U.S., which outpaces the median income in the U.S. by over $10,000, was also factored into the statistical analysis.

“Obama not only let the racist bankers walk free, but he also implemented new and more innovative forms of austerity.”

Obama’s tenure in the White House only exacerbated the great race to the bottom that the U.S. ruling class is smothering Sanders to protect. This explains why Black Americans in cities like Milwaukee  decided to stay home rather than vote for arch-neoliberal Hillary Clinton in 2016. The situation has not improved in the 2020 election. Expert education privatizer and loyal servant of big pharma Cory Booker remains at the bottom of every major primary poll published to date. Mass Black incarceration advocate Kamala Harris has fallen so far from contention that even corporate outlets such as Politico  have described her campaign as being in a state of meltdown.

Neither Booker nor Harris has been able to apply Obama-mania toward their own presidential success. The waning electability of the Black misleadership class in the presidential circus has forced the ruling class to call on Obama to smother the social democratic aspirations of Sanders supporters. Obama’s principle task is to ensure sure that Black Americans do not vote in the direction of single-payer healthcare and housing for all. Of course, Obama is not alone in his crusade to smother Bernie Sanders by way of the Black vote. The “Stop Sanders” movement  is stuffed to the brim with the same big, nasty tent of militarists, Wall Street donors, and corporate media outlets responsible for Clinton’s losing bid in 2016.

“Neither Booker nor Harris has been able to apply Obama-mania toward their own presidential success.”

Former military intelligence operative and mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg has emerged from this tent to become one of the most favored candidates among rich Democratic Party donors. However, Buttigieg is unpopular among Black Americans, especially among Black South Bend residents who have been direct casualties of his support for racist policing  and gentrification . “Mayor Pete” recently released the Douglass Plan for Black America to assuage the concerns of Black voters in the critical state of South Carolina. The Buttigieg campaign was obviously lacking confidence in mustering genuine Black support for the plan and felt compelled to make up such support out of whole cloth. According to Ryan Grim of The Intercept , Buttigieg’s campaign flaunted the support of three prominent Black representatives in South Carolina: Columbia City Councilwoman Tameika Devine, state representative Ivory Thigpen, and chair of the state’s Black Caucus, Johnnie Cordero. None of them had endorsed Buttigieg or the plan, and it is unclear whether the rest of the 400 supporters (half of whom were white) listed on the plan had merely failed to “opt out” of their support as directed in a campaign email.

What is clear from the Buttigieg’s Douglass Plan blunder is that the ruling class has every reason to be nervous over how Black America will choose to behave in the Democratic primary. Deval Patrick’s late entrance into the race hasn’t offered any comfort, either. Patrick is a talentless corporate hack with extensive experience in stealing the wealth of working class people, especially Black people, during his time in prominent positions  at Texaco, Bain Capital, and Ameriquest Mortgages. Ameriquest Mortgages was the largest retailer of subprime mortgages in the U.S. before it was sold to Citigroup in 2007.  This career blemish alone has rendered Patrick’s campaign dead upon arrival.

“The ruling class has every reason to be nervous over how Black America will choose to behave in the Democratic primary.”

Obama, Buttigieg, and Patrick’s recent blunders reflect the crisis of legitimacy currently plaguing the U.S. political apparatus. A large section of the Democratic Party’s base is hungry for social democratic reform while a large section of the world’s population is hungry to free itself from the grip of U.S. imperialism. U.S. imperialism backed a coup in Bolivia, for example, to eradicate a direct threat to its rule abroad. Bernie Sanders and his millions of working class supporters currently represent the gravest threat to the domestic tranquility of the rule of the rich. The ruling class understands that leadership from the Black left is vital to the success of any movement for social transformation in the United States and is once again placing its hope in Barack Obama to save the American Empire’s political apparatus from itself.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News–From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). He can be reached at wakeupriseup1990@gmail.com, on Twitter @spiritofho, and on Youtube at The Left Lens with Danny Haiphong.

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A (Re)Born National “Black and Left-led” Organization Fights for Community Control of Police

Source:  Black Agenda Report
November 28 2019

A (Re)Born National “Black and Left-Led” Organization Fights for Community Control of Police
A (Re)Born National “Black and Left-Led” Organization Fights for Community Control of Police

On the momentum of Chicago’s vibrant anti-police movement – the most advanced in the nation – the city’s Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has gone national after a highly successful conference.

“This movement will be ‘black-led and left-led.’”

Eight-hundred organizers from 28 states gathered last weekend at the Chicago’s teachers union hall to “re-found” the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, an organization initially launched in 1973  by Angela Davis and fellow Communists to resist state destruction of what remained of the 1960s radical movement. Davis, a university professor who became a fugitive and political prisoner when the FBI attempted to entangle her in the 1970 Marin County shootout , was on hand to help restore the Alliance to national status. “We might say that we have acquired more complex approaches to issues of repression that refused to go away,” said Davis, age 75, in her keynote to a spirited rally of mostly young, overwhelmingly non-white activists.

As reflected in the multi-racial and heavily female faces in the crowd, the movement is no longer a primarily Black and heterosexual male-led struggle. And these activists, like Davis, are committed to abolishing the police and prison system, altogether.

“I remember when Huey Newton and Bobby Seale began that process of patrolling the community with a gun and a law book,” said Davis. She called on the new organization to “address the causes of harm rather than rely on the failed institutions of punishment.” People shout the demand: “’indict killer cops.’ I totally understand,” she said. “It makes people feel powerful,” but that means “using the very structure and strategies that are responsible for what we are fighting against.” It’s a contradiction – but life is filled with contradictions. Abolition is the goal, but in the meantime, the police must be brought under the control of the communities that they have always brutalized and sought to suppress.

“We might say that we have acquired more complex approaches to issues of repression that refused to go away.”

The fight to make the Chicago cops accountable to a democratically elected board of community residents began in 2012, the year Trayvon Martin  was killed by white vigilante George Zimmerman and two years before Mike Brown  was shot down by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, ushering in a “Black Lives Matter” movement. Frank Chapman, now 77, had kept the Chicago chapter of the Alliance going after the dissolution of the national organization in 1991; the chapter in Kentucky also hung on as an independent organization. The campaign to establish CPAC, the Civilian Police Accountability Council, began with 150 supporters that met “in a small room in the Englewood section of Chicago,” said Chapman. CPAC eventually amassed 60,000 supporters, the result of years of organizing against police atrocities, culminating in huge protests against the “16 shots” Laquan McDonald murder, the attempted cover-up of which led to Rahm Emanuel foregoing another run for mayor, the resignation of the Cook County state’s attorney, and a murder conviction of the cop.

The campaign to establish CPAC began with 150 supporters eventually amassed 60,000.” 

Chapman and his comrades thought the army of protesters could be strategically converted into an electoral force to push CPAC through the 50-member city council (Board of Aldermen). Before last February’s elections, only eight city council members even paid lip service to CPAC, and only one — Carlos Ramirez-Rosa – could be counted on in a crunch. Chapman recounts how CPAC supporters ran 80 candidates; 63 got on the ballot, and 19 won. “They used to call us the ‘lunatic fringe,’” Chapman chuckled.  “Well, the lunatic fringe is now 40 percent” of the city council.

Jazmine Salas, who co-chairs the Alliance with Chapman, believes that “if there had not been big demonstrations” the Alliance might not have mounted a huge electoral push for CPAC.

City Council passage requires a 26 vote majority, but 34 votes are needed to override the veto that is expected from Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s first Black woman mayor. As a former head of the city’s Police Board, Lightfoot was a staunch defender of cops and the status quo, although she now mouths words favoring police accountability and reform. “The Police Department cannot do its job effectively if it’s not viewed as legitimate in the community,” Mayor Lightfoot told  a Chicago Police Board meeting, last summer.

If there had not been big demonstrations” the Alliance might not have mounted a huge electoral push for CPAC.”

CPAC bears no resemblance to the numerous – and wholly ineffective – community police review boards that have existed in cities around the nation since the late Fifties. The CPAC handout puts it succinctly:

“Democratic civilian control of the police means the community tells the police what to do. It means empowering the people to hold the police accountable for crimes. It means enhancing true public safety through authentic police accountability to our people. And this can only happen when the community writes the rules and regulations governing the police.”

The actual legislation calls for :

A Police Control Council consisting of elected representatives from each of the Wards in Chicago, emphasizing that the Council should represent the racial, ethnic, and economic structure of the City of Chicago,  All Council meetings will be public.

§   Establishing a budget for the Council in order to compensate councilors and meet Council expenses and administering the Police Department budget.

§   The Chief of Police will be appointed by the Council.  Affirmative action will end racial, gender, and ethnic imbalances in the ranks of the Police.

§   Standards for police conduct and proscription of acts of Excessive Force, Assault, Battery and Homicide by a police officer, as distinct offenses will be adopted and enforced by the Council.  There will be a ban on racial profiling.

§   The Council will be the final authority regarding discipline in the Chicago Police Department.

§   The Police Control Council shall have a General Counsel, who will establish an Excessive Force Review Panel.  The General Counsel will have authority to receive, investigate and litigate, all complaints concerning the operation and functioning of the Chicago Police Department. The General Counsel will investigate each complaint and report on its investigation to the Police Control Council within 30 days.  It will have full subpoena power.  All hearings on all complaints will be public.  The Council will also pay for at least two investigators in every police district.

§   Simple complaint forms will be available to anyone at City Hall, all public libraries, and all Police Department District Headquarters.

§  The Council will be empowered to act to secure the appointment of a Special Prosecutor and a Grand Jury limited to investigating and prosecuting brutality and civil rights violations charged against Police Officers.  The Special Prosecutor can be made a permanent position upon request of the Council, charged by the Court to notify the Police Control Council about Information, or indictments, regarding Police Officers recommended for criminal prosecution.

Residents would cast votes for candidates for the Police Control Council, regardless of citizenship status.

“The Council will be the final authority regarding discipline in the Chicago Police Department.”

The Alliance sees “stopping police crimes as a vital strategic facet of the struggle for the abolition of penal slavery and the liberation of Black and Brown communities.” The cops view (Black and Brown) civilian intrusion into their behavior and prerogatives as anathema, and have wielded the huge political influence of the 346,000-member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) union to ban elected police boards in a growing number of states. Organizers from Utah at the Alliance re-founding conference reported that their Salt Lake City Civilian Police Accountability Council was thwarted by FOP-led legislation .

Unperturbed by legislative pitfalls, the conference moved with the velocity of energized organizations (see a partial listing, here ), for whom voting is but one “strategy,” not the be-all and end-all of struggle. Mass action is what brought them to the teachers union hall in Chicago, and mass action would fuel the movement to abolish mass incarceration, root and branch. “Now we’re fighting for a complete change in who runs society,” said Mike Sampson, of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee.

“The system will refuse to shrink itself, so we have to shrink it,” said Tanya Watkins, of Chicago’s Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL). “Police have virtually been trained to kill Black people and terrorize our community. They act as an occupying army. They have bamboozled us into believing that these slave camps keep us safe. The only path forward is community control of the police,” with the goal of Abolition.

“Now we’re fighting for a complete change in who runs society.”

Solidarity was the watchword. “Zionism is white supremacy, a colonial offshoot,” said Nazel Sankari, of the US Palestinian Community Network. “There is no way that you could be for Black liberation if you’re not for Palestinian liberation, because we’re all connected.” In the same way, said Sankari, “How can we talk about Palestinian prisoners and not the two million prisoners in the United States?”

All the delegates spoke the language of anti-imperialism, as inherent in global solidarity.

This movement will be black-led and “left-led,” as delegates repeatedly emphasized. And the political prisoners and unjustly incarcerated will never be forgotten. “We can’t build a movement if we allow them to kill or imprison or deport” our leadership, said Jess Sundin, a grand jury resister and anti-war activist from Minneapolis.

The Chicago formula for community control of the police calls for an elected board of police overseers. However, the conference also heard from organizers from Washington, DC that are pushing for civilian boards selected randomly in every police precinct. Max Rameau, of Pan-African Community Action (PACA), contends that elections are vulnerable to corruption by money-power under capitalism. As Rameau explained, PACA has begun the first phase, “winning people over to the concept of power over the police.” The goal is to hold a referendum on a community control board with powers “substantially” like Chicago’s CPAC. He believes people will be eager to “vote out the police,” and defends the random selection of board members: “If randomly selected people cannot choose which people should be walking around our neighborhoods with guns, then we should immediately empty the prisons,” because juries are randomly selected.

What’s most important, is that people take ownership of, and responsibility for, their community – and not rely on the cops. Folks must envision how an empowered community would provide its own security. “We ask people to imagine that we had 100 organizers with cars and walkie-talkies. What would you do” with them to make your community safer?

“People will be eager to ‘vote out the police.’”

There was no bickering over the various approaches to the eventual abolition of policing as we know it, and of prisons. “Let a thousand flowers bloom,” said Mike Sampson of Jacksonville’s Dream Defenders. “Whatever works, let’s go with that.”

As the conference closed at midday Sunday, Frank Chapman, the grand old man that had kept the Alliance going over the years, told the crowd of mostly young people, “You are the new leaders of this movement. I’m going to use this position to ‘pass-on.’” He warned against sectarianism (without using the term). “You cannot unite people into a mass organization if you’re just talking about ideas,” he said. “Don’t call for a united front and then start fighting with people about their ideas. We need united action to defend our ability to fight this system.”

The re-founded National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression sees itself as a fighting united front. By acclamation, it was decided that a continuations committee meet by early spring with the aim of organizing a full convention the following year.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

This article previously appeared in Portside .

 

Socialism must be anti-racist

Source:  Granma

November 22 2019

Work by Cuban artist Raúl Martínez. Photo: Granma

Sitting on a book fair shelf, the writing on a t-shirt caught my attention: Races do not exist; racism yes. In 1946, Fernando Ortiz wrote The Deception of Race, a key essay in the evolution of anthropological thought that led him to describe the Cuban ethnos in terms of full integration. He scientifically and conceptually dismantled the application of racial standards to classify human beings, and attempt to justify the superiority of one over another on the basis of skin color.

Half a century later, when the vanguard of the scientific community deciphered the human genome, the precocious assertion made by Ortiz was once again confirmed: there is only one race, the human race. External physical traits are determined by only 1% of our genes, thus it is absolutely unscientific and fallacious to attribute intellectual abilities or aptitudes to women and men of a certain pigmentation.

By that time, genetic studies of the Cuban population had advanced in the investigation of factors that affect human health. A rigorous investigation, led by Dr. Beatriz Marcheco, yielded, beyond the proposed initial objectives, a revealing result: “All Cubans,” emphasized the doctor after reporting the irrefutable data, “without a doubt” are mixed race, regardless of the color of the skin we have.”

Racism is a cultural construction that, in the Cuban case, is based on the heritage of a colonial past and the exploitation of African slave labor, forcefully brought to the island. The European white, who occupied the apex of the social pyramid, in the plantation economy, not only exploited and oppressed slaves, but also promoted the myth of racial inferiority of Blacks and their descendants. A myth that was accepted by most light-skinned Creoles and marked social practices during the colonial era, and later in the years of the neocolonial republic, a phenomenon linked to class divisions.

In a 1950 lecture, Ortiz also said, “In Cuba the most serious racism is undoubtedly against Blacks. Racisms are more aggravated against Blacks, in places where they are, or were, socially suppressed and some want to perpetuate this dependent condition. The blackest thing about being black lies not in the darkness of one’s skin, but in one’s social condition. The definition of black as a human type, as it is generally known and considered as the target of prejudice, departs from anthropology to enter politics. This must be done more for its social impact than its congenital nature. Blacks owe their blackness less to their dark ancestors, and more to their white contemporaries. Black is not so much about being born black but rather about being socially deprived of light. Being black is not only being black, but eclipsed and denigrated, as well.”

The revolutionary transformations that began after the January 1959 victory addressed this situation and largely reversed it. Many of the measures taken in those years dealt a devastating blow to the structural supports of racism.

On several occasions, Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro publicly aired the issue. On March 29, 1959, when speaking during an event in Güines, he said: “We are a people of all colors and of no color; a people constituted of different racial components; how are we going to commit the stupidity and absurdity of harboring the discrimination virus? Here, in this crowd, I see whites, and I see blacks, because this is our people. The people are white, black, yellow, and this must be Cuba. This is what should prevail among us.”

However, the destruction of the foundation that gave rise to institutionalized and structural racism in the pre-revolutionary era was not accompanied by a transformation of subjectivity. It is not enough to proclaim equal rights and equal opportunity, to condemn acts of discrimination, if work is not done to change the mentality.

There are two discriminations

The historical leader of our Revolution, in the essential book One Hundred Hours with Fidel (2006), stated much later to Ignacio Ramonet: “We were naive enough to believe that establishing total, absolute equality before the law would put an end to discrimination. Because there are two discriminations, one that is subjective and one that is objective… The Revolution – despite the rights and guarantees achieved for all citizens of any ethnicity or origin – has not achieved the same success in the fight to eradicate differences in the social and economic status of the country’s black population. Blacks do not live in the best houses, they are still performing difficult and sometimes lower paying jobs, and fewer are receiving family remittances in foreign currency than their white compatriots. But I am satisfied with what we are doing to discover the causes, which, if we do not resolutely fight them, could tend to prolong marginalization in successive generations.”

The other great battle is to utilize educational and cultural methods that contribute, sooner rather than later, to this new subjectivity. At the same time, we cannot live with attitudes that, consciously or unconsciously, reveal the persistence of prejudices, evident in various areas of daily life, from work environments to television programs.

It is not possible to allow, for example, that in the essential non-state service sector, the hiring of young white women obviously predominates. In this case, sexism and racism join hands.

Nor is it possible to ignore, in a dialogue broadcast on television, that a black dancer is referred to as “blue” or that the presence of dancers of various skins colors in the country’s principal companies is described as “mulattocracy,” because when such things are taken lightly – irresponsibly, without thinking -sensibilities are injured.

The road is long, we know this, but it must be traveled step by step, without pause. On more than one occasion, over the years, Army General Raúl Castro has addressed the need to stimulate and promote the role of women and blacks and mixed race Cubans in the political, social and economic life of the country, and in the improvement of our social model. In the constitutive session of the National Assembly of People’s Power Ninth Legislature, April 18, 2018, after noting progress, he insisted that work must continue, and made a call to definitively resolve inherited problems related to the issue: “Things must be thought out,” he stated, “not just said and left to God’s goodwill. They are implemented or they are not implemented, insisting, looking for new methods, avoiding mistakes so we are not criticized in such a noble effort, and going back to think again and again, about another solution when we fail to solve the problem.”

Let us think and act accordingly. Let us recall a central concept expressed by that remarkable revolutionary intellectual who was Fernando Martínez Heredia: “The struggle for the deepening of socialism in Cuba must be anti-racist.”

MLK: “Capitalism has out-lived its usefulness”

Source:  People’s World
January 18 2018

MLK: “There’s something wrong with capitalism”

Racist violence and economic injustice were among the problems Dr. Martin Luther King laid at capitalism’s doorstep. Here, King looks at a glass door of his rented beach cottage in St. Augustine, Fla. that was shot into by someone unknown on June 5, 1964. | Jim Kerlin / AP

 

Throughout his life, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke often and with vision about the nature of capitalism and the kind of changes needed to replace it. The following quotes reflect some of King’s key thoughts on the subject. The power of his words speaks as much to the present day as they did to the turbulent times he witnessed.

“I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic… [Capitalism] started out with a noble and high motive… but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today, capitalism has out-lived its usefulness.” – Letter to Coretta Scott, July 18, 1952.

“In a sense, you could say we’re involved in the class struggle.” – Quote to New York Times reporter, José Igelsias, 1968.

“And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society…” – Speech to Southern Christian Leadership Conference Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.” – Speech to the Negro American Labor Council, 1961.

“We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power…. This means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”- Report to SCLC Staff, May 1967.

“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.” – Speech to SCLC Board, March 30, 1967.

Dr. King speaks in Atlanta in 1960. | AP

“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective—the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income… The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.” – Where do We Go from Here?, 1967.

“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.” – Speech to his staff, 1966.

“[W]e are saying that something is wrong … with capitalism…. There must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.” – Speech to his staff, 1966.

“If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.” –  Speech at Bishop Charles Mason Temple of the Church of God in Christ in support of the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike on March 18, 1968, two weeks before he was assassinated.

MLK Global

Michelle Obama Slanders Black Men in Her Book, Adds to the Obama Family’s Long Anti-Black Tradition

Source:  Black Agenda Report
December 19 2018

obama in barMichelle Obama Slanders Black Men in Her Book, Adds to the Obama Family’s Long
Anti-Black Tradition

The Obamas are cashing in on their lifelong project to further the destruction of Black people, while blaming the victim.

“When it comes to imperialism, it pays to be anti-Black.”

Black Agenda Report has spent over a decade analyzing the numerous manifestations of the Obama family’s hatred of Black America. Michelle Obama is currently on a book tour of her latest release, Becoming. The overpriced book is but another addition to the post-Obama Presidency family fortune. Barack and Michelle Obama have been busy building a billionaire brand with book deals and speaking arrangements with Wall Street. As Paul Street noted, the Obama Foundation is putting the donations of Wall Street corporations to good use by opening a “library”in the heartland of Black Chicago. Just as during its tenure in the White House, the Obama family is profiting from the promotion of white supremacist policy and ideology directed against Black America.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the very words that have come out of the mouths of both members of the Obama “power couple.” At a recent speaking event at the Barclay’s Center in New York City, Michelle Obama had this to say about Barack Obama:

“I had never met a black dude like Barack Obama. Not only his background and where he had traveled and who is parents were and he was always very introspective and he had been a community organizer. I hadn’t met a Harvard black dude who had been a community organizer in neighborhoods on the far south side where most people in the firm didn’t know those neighborhoods, he had been all up in those neighborhoods and those churches. So he understood the community in a full way but he was not arrogant, he was humble. I also liked the way he treated others.”

“The Obama family is profiting from the promotion of white supremacist policy and ideology directed against Black America.”

Michelle Obama uses her husband’s falsified credentials as a weapon against all Black men. Her statement that she had never met a “black dude”like Barack Obama represents but another racist dog whistle to please white America. The former First Lady of the United States has met plenty of Black men; she was raised for a period in the South Side of Chicago after all. However, as the Obamas have so plainly demonstrated, it isn’t where you are from but who you serve that matters. Few things please white America and its allies in the Black political class more than the criminalization and demonization of Black men. True to U.S. history, Michelle Obama invokes the image of the pathological, criminal, and lazy Black male who could not possibly live up to the standards of her “cultured” yet humble husband.

Texas A&M professor and scholar Tommy Curry is fighting for the creation of Black Males Studies precisely because the demonization of Black men is central in the shaping race, class, and gender politics in the United States. Curry argues quite convincingly that contemporary theories about race and gender are formulated around the extermination of Black men , especially poor Black men. Black men suffer from disproportionate rates of intimate partner violence, state violence, unemployment and incarceration but are often considered to be sexual deviants and criminals who possess “toxic masculinity.” Black men hold progressive views on gender and poll higher on these views than white women but are often thought to obsess over the patriarchal power of white men.

“As the Obamas have so plainly demonstrated, it isn’t where you are from but who you serve that matters.”

The legacy of mass Black enslavement, now manifested in the incarceration regime, is the foundation from which anti-Black attitudes against Black men and all Black Americans are nourished. One of Michelle and Barack Obama’s signature achievements for the ruling elites of the United States was the creation of massive amnesia in the Black polity around this fact. Black Americans as a group became more pro-warand pro-state surveillance than at any point in its history. Black Americans were further unable to muster any demands on the Administration around issues like forcing the Justice Department to indict murderous police officers or for the state to address the theft of Black wealth, even at the height of the Black Lives Matter insurgency. Not only were the Obamas able to move Black America to the right, but they were able to insult Black America every step of the way.

Michelle Obama’s racist dog whistle against Black men wasn’t the first time that the Obama duo attacked Black people. In 2008, then Presidential candidate Barack Obama castigated Black men as absentee fathers . Obama didn’t mention that data suggests Black men are the most committed fathers of any other group studied in the nation. But Obama’s comments are not about respectability. The myth of the absentee Black father is but a trope for the criminalization of Black men, where massive levels of exploitation and oppression by way of discrimination, police violence, incarceration, and poverty faced by Black people can be erased in favor of the Reaganite mantra of personal responsibility.

“Not only were the Obamas able to move Black America to the right, but they were able to insult Black America every step of the way.”

Once in office, the Obama Administration made it clear that it was the Presidency of all people, not Black people. Of course, what Obama meant was that he was the President of Wall Street, the ruling elites, and the white Americans who do their bidding. In a 2013 speech at Morehouse College, Barack Obama lectured Black men about personal responsibility. He told new graduates to stop blaming slavery for their problems and focus instead on being good fathers. Thus, the Obamas are no stranger to hurling insults at Black people whenever the opportunity arises. This was an especially useful skill during the Black insurgency that developed in the wake of the police state murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Obama made sure to repeat the mantra of demonic Black men by criminalizing the victims as violent, drug-induced thugs and labeling the righteous rebellion of Black people as “excuse making” and “criminal behavior.”

White supremacy is the fuel that drives the imperialist system. U.S. imperialism is a system of extermination that relies upon the dehumanization of Black Americans, indigenous peoples, and non-whites in the formerly colonized world to justify the capitalist exploitation of the ruling elites. Obama expanded the tentacles of imperialist destruction and the world awaits as to whether Trump will receive two terms to outdo his predecessor. However, the consequences of the Obama Administration’s policies live on into the Trump period. Black Americans were repeatedly insulted during the Obama period all the while the so-called “first Black President” expanded U.S. wars abroad and oversaw the massive theft of Black freedom and wealth through Wall Street and the mass incarceration regime. In a word, Obama helped facilitate the further destruction of the Black condition while placing the blame on Black people.

“Obama told new graduates to stop blaming slavery for their problems and focus instead on being good fathers.”

A diseased politics of respectability gave Obama clearance to do the bidding of the ruling class without any protest from the majority of Black Americans and other “progressive” sections of the population. Because Obama was considered Black, the fact that he spoke and acted like a ruling class white supremacist oligarch was given little attention. Obama gave the ruling class a gasp of air from the political and economic crisis of imperialism by painting the system with a darker hue. The Democratic Party solidified its position as the “diverse” face of Wall Street and war. The politics of respectability gave Obama, Clinton, and the rest of the Democratic Party brass a thin layer of legitimacy that has quickly eroded in the era of Trump. The Democratic Party is struggling to defeat an arch racist billionaire and neoliberal partners such as French President Macron and German President Merkel face a similar fate to the Democrats in their respective imperial nations.

An old dog has trouble learning new tricks, especially if that dog is on the leash of the monopoly capitalist class. Michelle Obama continues to insult Black men because it is advantageous to the family. Barack and Michelle Obama are raking in hundreds of millions from books, speaking tours, and investments in gentrification in cities such as Chicago. When it comes to imperialism, it pays to be anti-Black. Ant-Black tirades are profitable, especially for a family currently building a post-Presidential fortune for diligently serving and directing the forces that incarcerate, murder, and impoverish Black Americans across the nation.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the forthcoming book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). He can be reached at wakeupriseup1990@gmail.com

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Indigenous Groups in Brazil Rise in Opposition to Jair Bolsonaro

Source: Internationalist 360°

https://peoplesdispatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/EleNao-Brazil.pngIllustration by @nana/ Twitter

  • A number of indigenous candidates from various political groups from the Amazon region called for the creation of an Indigenous Parliamentary Front

Ahead of the first round of the elections in Brazil on October 7, indigenous communities openly declared their opposition to the right-wing candidate, Jair Bolsonaro. A number of indigenous candidates from various political groups from the Amazon region called for the creation of an Indigenous Parliamentary Front to resist the possibility of the formation of a right-wing government under Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s racist remarks and stances have been a major reason for such a development.

Bolsonaro, the candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), had earlier said that he would not give an inch to indigenous reservations. He also regards the current area under reservations for indigenous nationalities to be too high and has vowed to scrap it. According to certain reports, Bolsonaro has been endorsed by big business ventures which want to scrap sovereign land rights given to indigenous communities over 118 million hectares, especially in the Amazon region. These rights prevent such capitalists from exploiting the resources in these areas. The agribusiness lobby (large landowners, cattle ranchers and producers of grains for export markets) too is targeting the indigenous land demarcated by the 1988 constitution for the expansion of their industries. The 2010 census in Brazil shows that there were 896,917 indigenous people in Brazil (0.47% of the population of 190.7 million in 2010) and they occupy around 13% of the national territory, which the powerful agribusiness lobby is eager to exploit.

Bolsonaro’s vice-presidential candidate, Antonio Hamilton Mourao, a retired army general, has also evoked protests with his racist remarks against indigenous communities. These comments by the candidates come at a time when violent attacks against indigenous activists are high in the Amazon region. This has been among the factors that have prompted members of the indigenous communities to propose a clear political line against Bolsonaro.

Cuba in Africa: Solidarity in the face of brutality

Photo: Juvenal Balán

The Cassinga massacre was the worst air attack perpetuated against the adherents of SWAPO, the political organization opposing South Africa’s domination and occupation of Namibian territory.

Some 600 refugees, the majority women, children, and elders lost their lives at the hands of the apartheid forces.

The efforts of Cuban military forces that continued their advance toward

Cassinga, despite the bombing, forced the attackers to retreat and saved the lives of some 3,000 refugees in the camp.

Cuba’s contribution

Cuba’s contribution was not only military, but also humanitarian, with vital assistance provided to the victims, many of whom went on to study on the island.

Although the apartheid forces achieved their military objectives, the massacre was a political defeat, with the United Nations approving Resolution 435, supporting the independence of Namibia.

Africa is a continent with important historical roots in Cuba, key to the development of our national identity.

Cuba’s efforts on the continent after the Revolution are also a tribute to the African slaves who with their sweat, blood and spirit of resistance contributed to our country.

Cuba has always been guided by the principles of solidarity and cooperation in its relations with Africa, as the internationalist legacy of our Comandante en Jefe dictates.

Our historic cooperation continues, with thousands of collaborators supporting socio-economic development in countries across the continent.