Like many others, I too found Donald Trump to be a clown and his idiotic and ignorant statements ridiculous and laughable, when not downright racist, misogynist and offensive, ever since he announced his candidacy, in a most narcissistic and, true to form, ridiculous way. But, now that we’ve had our laughs and amusement at the expense of women and Hispanics, it’s time to stop and ponder what it means for such an openly racist and misogynist, bombastic, big mouth idiot to be the front runner of one of the two main corporate parties, vying for US presidency.
The fact that people flock to his campaign rallies and express support for him in polls speaks volumes of where we are in the history of this country. While his decision to announce his candidacy may have been influenced by his love for attention, he soon realized the conditions were ripe for an openly anti-immigrant, racist, misogynist and pro-war candidate to run on a platform of “making America great again”, which to him and his white supporters, especially white men, means going back to the times when whites felt more powerful and didn’t fear that immigrants, Blacks and Hispanics were taking their jobs away, possibly even back to the days when Blacks were lynched or enslaved and women didn’t have as many rights.
He’s seen what many people like in him and he’s capitalizing on it, using and inflaming the fears and insecurities among the whites. While he never boasted before about being religious or a fan of the Bible, now, he uses every opportunity to mention how much he loves it, even though he can’t cite a single verse or story that he likes in it, when questioned by reporters. He’s also more pro-war now than ever. He’s increasingly presenting himself as a true fascist, taking on all the requisite characteristics of fascism, even if artificially and opportunistically and the “right people” are responding. There were reports of people screaming “white power” during his campaign rally in Alabsma. When asked about it, all he had to say was that they’re “passionate” just like him. Although he’s always been racist and misogynist, he wasn’t exactly a fascist. Actually, many on the right have been complaining that he’s been liberal about many issues, such as advocating single payer universal healthcare.
There are many adjectives you can use to describe Trump with, and I just used many myself, but opportunist must definitely be one of them. His use of religion to more convincingly deceive people is typical of the wealthy elite, who couldn’t care less and don’t give a “damn” about religion, but are quick to use it for political purposes.
Decades of anti-communist propaganda and pro-war nationalism drilled into people’s heads, coupled with the frequent crises, chaos and insecurities brought on by capitalism and persistent racism has created fertile grounds for the rise of fascism, which Donald Trump is capitalizing on, acting as a catalyst for it. And many are saying: bring it on. Call me crazy, but this is where the complacency of liberals and their “lesser of two evils” has brought us to.
You may have noticed by reading or watching the videos when they’re released that almost in all cases when a black individual gets arrested, no matter how minor and insignificant the infraction they’re accused of and even at times when there is nothing to charge them with, there is invariably a charge of “resisting arrest” and sometimes even “obstruction of or interference with police work” tacked onto any other possible charges, if there is any.
There are a few things that must be understood about this: 1. whites aren’t stopped, questioned, searched or arrested without a reason as frequently as blacks; 2. Whites aren’t charged with resisting arrest as commonly as blacks when they question the arrest; 3. Whites trust the system and the arresting officers much more than do blacks – with good reason, since they’re not beaten while in police custody as often as blacks are.
And lastly, and most importantly, due to a persistent racism within the police departments, questioning by blacks as to why and for what probable cause or suspicion they’re being questioned or arrested is interpreted as a challenge to the authority of a white superior by someone who has no right to challenge that authority. That same challenge when made by a white subject doesn’t seem as outrageous to the officer and doesn’t invoke the same kind of anger, as does when made by blacks. With the latter group, even the questioning of the reason for stopping and interrogating seems like an outrageous act of stepping over the boundaries of their rights, which in the eyes of white officers are practically nonexistent. Since they feel entitled to their unquestionable authority, any challenge of that authority is outrageous to them and an encroachment of their own rights as superiors, not only as officers with power backed with their gun and the judicial system, but also as white individual whose superiority is being challenged by someone who should never do the challenging.
There is a parallel to such racism with the entitlement that comes with it and the anger it invokes when that authority and supremacy is challenged and “attacked” and that is in sexism. What happened to Sandra Bland, when she was stopped for changing lanes without signaling and was ordered to put out her cigarette, was the confluence of both racism and sexism added to the sense of entitlement in the officer, stemming from his given power as a police officer. There is reason to believe that had she been white, she probably wouldn’t have been stopped and even if she were, she’d probably be let go with a simple warning or at most a ticket.
When he told her that she seemed “irritated”, to which she replied “yes I am irritated” (and who wouldn’t be?), what he meant was that she had no right to be irritated. It’s the mentality left over from slavery. If a slave questioned an order by the master or even an adolescent offspring of the master, no matter how unfair or outrageous that order, the slave wasn’t supposed to show irritation because irritation means displeasure which means you have something to say about what you’re being told. It means you want to protest and that can’t be tolerated because you have no right to talk back, question or to protest. It’s this that most whites, including many progressives don’t understand. Slavery is no more, but the mindset persists. What Sandra Bland was trying to do was to not act like a slave anymore and to teach the officer that she was an equal human being (although I’d have to disagree that the officer was equally human).
But, is there a connection between this racist and bloated sense of power and entitlement among police officers and the socioeconomic system? Yes, there is. Although the economic system of capitalism recognizes blacks as free and equal individuals and gives them the legal right to own property and business and to accumulate wealth when possible within the system, the ruling class is nevertheless weary of them as a social grouping and community. Part of the reason for it is historical and goes back to black radicalism of the past, which has roots in the slavery and part of it is socioeconomic and stems from the fact that blacks are mostly poor and the ruling class is always weary of the poor. The biggest threat to the power of the racist white ruling class of 1960’s was realized when Martin Luther King began speaking out for unity between Blacks and white poor, which sounded the alarms and prompted the FBI to move into action.
The ruling class has an interest in keeping blacks suppressed, intimidated and beaten down to break them and prevent their empowerment. This interest coincides with and further feeds into already existing racial prejudices among the police who are ultimately tasked with keeping the “order” for the system and its beneficiaries. As Malcolm X said when speaking about the treachery of white liberals, “they want order more than they want justice”. I’d say: they want order without justice. An economic system that’s by nature unjust, cannot have order with Justice. To keep the order in an unjust system, you have to commit even more injustice.
There are different understandings of the U.S. – Israeli relations, which is unlike any other, in its mutual interdependency, in the scope and depth of their military and intelligence cooperation and convergence and concurrence of long and short term geopolitical and strategic goals and objectives in Middle East and beyond. While some of these understandings or explanations put Israel in the driver’s seat as the one calling the shots and leading the way, with the U.S. being the follower, especially in regards to military adventures, what leaves no room for debate is who pays whom – $4 billion a year – in addition to countless advanced fighter jets, helicopter gunships, tanks, warships and other weapons and equipment. There is also no arguing which of the two ruling classes – multinational corporations and their wealthy shareholders and billionaires – make away with most financial gain, either by selling weaponry to an ever increasingly unstable and war prone Middle East, Asia and Africa or through oil and other resources or through neoliberal policies of imperialist exploitation, insured by endless wars and militarism. What’s also indisputable is that U.S. imperialism as the representative and agent of U.S. corporations and their long term plans for world domination predates Israel.
While it is true that Israel has a very strong lobby in the U.S. and an unusually high influence on US politicians, and while it’s also true that most within the entertainment and mass media business who have a say on what to broadcast into American people’s livingrooms and what to censor, hide or lie about, are strongly pro-Israel and Zionists, neither the lobby, nor the Zionist filmmakers, writers, producers, artists, pundits and top media and entertainment managers and CEO’s are the determining factor in the nature of the relations between the two states. The determining factor is rather the fact that the state of Israel is considered the most important and vital asset of US imperialism, bar none.
No other state within the region or anywhere else in the world can be relied upon to cooperate and assist with long term goals of US imperialism, as can Israel, not Saudi Arabia, not Turkey, not Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, UAE, Indonesia, Colombia, South Korea – you name it – none. The reason for this is that none is like Israel. All of these and other states are organically created within millennia with natural boundaries and inhabitants that go back at least hundreds, if not thousands of years. Israel, on the other hand, is a colonial settler state founded on a racist ideology and on ethnic cleansing and settled by foreign settlers acting as an occupation army of paid mercenaries. This has made the very existence of the settler state dependent on US and European imperialism and their support. The only other state that resembled Israel was the apartheid South Africa, which is no more. Take away that support and the whole thing falls apart, unless Israel can blackmail the entire world with its nukes, which the West chooses to ignore.
The unique nature of Israel makes it dependent on the U.S. and its allies and the Palestinian people hostage to US imperialism. This is why, unfortunately for the Palestinians, their liberation is tied to the defeat of US (and European) imperialism. This is why any serious and genuine anti-imperialist person must have the liberation of Palestine at the top of his or her agenda. Take away Israel and you’ve taken away the most valued asset of US and European imperialism and source of endless wars and instability in the region. Likewise, take away US and European imperialism’s support for Israel and you’ve made it hard for the apartheid to continue to exist. It’s this interdependency between US imperialism (and by extension, European imperialism) and the settler apartheid state that makes the relations what they are.
Palestine has fallen victim to imperialism like no other in recent history. Palestine is also what unites the people of the world in all four corners of the world, irregardless of their governments’ policies. No other international cause has garnered as much solidarity and unity among the peoples of the world, the vast majority of whom have no say in their government’s decisions, but are united in their commitment to the cause of the Palestinian people.
Black Lives Matter Activists Get Lectured by Hillary Clinton and Walk Away Defeated and Humiliated: A Lesson for All Activists on What Not To Do
You don’t have to know much about the meeting that took place on August 11 in New Hampshire between Black Lives Matter activists and Hillary Clinton, after the completion of her campaign rally, which the activists were prevented from entering. This picture, which shows BLM activist, Julius Jones of Massachusetts and others being forcefully and authoritatively lectured by Clinton, tells you all you need to know and you don’t even have to be an expert in body language to understand it.
Mr. Jones, who sheepishly stood facing the seasoned politician at a time and place of her choosing, like a slave trying to find the courage to express a grievance to his master, started his “respectful” conversation by expressing gratitude and by saying how it was “an honor” to talk to her. That set the tone and got worse as it went on.
Trying to win sympathy, he gave a vague, general and timid explanation about the suffering of blacks, which he indicated she was “partially responsible for”, without saying how she actually contributed to it. He left her role in enacting laws that resulted in mass incarceration of Blacks so vague and unclear that one of the sites that posted the video of the meeting had to cut the video and insert a sentence explaining about her role in the mass incarceration, so the viewer could understand what he was trying to say.
After trying to play it fair by saying that he understood that “there were unexpected consequences” to those policies (that she was “partially responsible for”), he says: “now that you understand the consequences, I genuinely wanna know what in your heart has changed that’s going to change the direction of this country” and “how you feel that’s different from before?”, which gave Clinton the opportunity to lecture them as to what he and others in BLM needed to do. I wish she would’ve also taught him to cut the crap about “heart” and “feel” and told her what he wanted her to DO.
First, she told them about her “focus on kids, including Black and Hispanic kids”, followed by her taking credit for supporting the Civil Rights movement. Then, she told them how she had to find a way to sell a new policy because if she can’t sell it, she said, “it would sit on the shelf” – a reminder that it’s not so simple or easy to implement new policy (so don’t expect much), although she had no problem selling the laws that put hundreds of thousands in jail for minor and non-violent violations.
I hate to admit it, but, regretfully, I must agree with a part of what she said, namely that “you’re gonna have to come together as a movement and say this is what we want done about it”. In other words, have specific and concrete demands to push for, rather than asking politicians how they “feel” in their “heart” and if they’ve changed.
What’s clear from the video of the meeting is that the approach of the activists in this instance was not to expose and hold accountable a savvy and two-faced politician who represents and is herself a part of the ruling white supremacist elite, but to ask as a journalist or even as a voter or supporter why they should vote for her! The approach these activists chose was to give her a chance to tell the voters, which by all accounts seem to include these activists, how she will be different this time, what she is going to do to win black votes and how she is going to make things better for them – all invitations to make some campaign promises! Suppose she says: “yes, black lives matter”, which she has said, after initially saying “all lives matter”. And suppose she makes promises that she’s going to propose laws and that she will not let it “sit on the shelf” and will try to “sell it”. Then what? We all go home and wait until November of next year and vote for her?
Wasn’t it obvious before the meeting that she was going to use the opportunity to appear sympathetic to the cause, while reminding folks of her accomplishments, without accepting any responsibility for her contribution to the problem? Wasn’t it obvious that she was then going to treat the activists like little kids and lecture them as to what they needed to do? What exactly was the purpose of that cordial and “respectful” meeting? What was accomplished by it? What is to be expected of a millionaire cutthroat politician running for high office for the ruling class? A genuine and sincere conversation about how she “feels” “in her heart” and how she’s going to be different now? What are we, 5 year olds?
Radical situations require radical action. What we need to do is continue marching on the streets and try to get into candidates’ campaign rallies. If we’re stopped, we need to picket and demonstrate, not ask for a meeting and ask how they now feel and then be lectured by the same bourgeois politicians who are the problem.
Though Black Lives Matter movement rose up in response to the killing of Michael Brown and other unarmed Black men and women in the hands of the police, I believe, if continued, it will, by necessity and by the logic and laws of motion of such a popular movement, go to the very heart of the current socioeconomic system in the U.S., with the potential to turn into a bona fide revolutionary movement for systemic change. I believe a Black liberation movement which rises up in response to state terror, whether it be this or any other movement, won’t be only about police brutality and murders, but also about the unjust “criminal justice”, as well as the economic system. Such a movement, I believe, has much better chance at “reforming” the economic system than a liberal Democrat like Bernie Sanders can ever deliver. Let’s look at some facts:
Of the 716 people killed by police so far this year, 346 were white, 184 were black, 101 were Hispanic and 85 were of other races. Since whites make up 77%, blacks 13% and Hispanics 17% of the U.S. population (2013 figures), this means there are 6 times as many whites as blacks, but for every black person who’s killed by the police, less than 2 whites are killed. That’s a deviation of 300%. We also know that blacks are in general arrested and jailed for phony and made up charges and often no charges, stemming from illegal and warrant less stop and searches, are given higher bail amount, are convicted at a higher rate and are given longer sentences for the same infractions or violations.
According to Dallas News (August 17, 2015), a new study to be released Monday, shows that in Louisiana’s Caddo Parish, “prosecutors used peremptory challenges three times as often to strike black potential jurors as others during the last decade”.
“Caddo Parish is 48% black, whereas 83% of the defendants were black, according to the study. And although almost half the population are black, they were less than a third of potential jurors, due to a variety of financial, hardship and other reasons. On top of that, “still, prosecutors here used peremptory strikes against 46 percent of the black potential jurors who remained”, further reducing the number of Black jurors, whereas their rate of peremptory strikes against others were only 15%! On average, “in 93 percent of trials, prosecutors struck a higher percentage of blacks” than of other racial groups. This obviously isn’t limited to Louisiana and goes on nationally.
But, all this should be changing with the new generations of Blacks going to college and getting good paying jobs. Right? Wrong! “From 1992 to 2013, the median net worth of blacks who finished college dropped nearly 56 percent (adjusted for inflation). By comparison, the median net worth of whites with college degrees rose about 86 percent over the same period, which included three recessions — including the severe downturn of 2007 through 2009, with its devastating effect on home prices in many parts of the country” (New York Times, December 24, 2014).
“Among recent graduates ages 22 to 27”, continues the report “the jobless rate for blacks last year was 12.4 percent versus 4.9 percent for whites, said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
“While there has always been a gap between black and white college grads, this 7.5 percentage point difference was far greater than before the recession burned through the economy. In 2007, for example, there was only a 1.4 percentage point difference, with 4.6 percent of recent black graduates out of work compared with 3.2 percent of similarly educated whites.
“This is very different from the past,” said Mr. Schmitt, a co-author of a study of employment among recent graduates published by the center. “You’d have to go back to the early 1980s recession to see that pattern.”
“Historically, the periods during and immediately after downturns have been harder on blacks than on whites. But in this current cycle, the trend has been even more extreme.
“In fact, the unemployment rate in 2013 was lower among whites who never finished high school (9.7 percent) than it was for blacks with some college education (10.5 percent).
“Black graduates are suffering from a version of last hired, first fired, Mr. Darity said. The effects of discrimination are blunted when the work force is expanding, but in harder times minorities are much more vulnerable, he said.
“Even degrees in science, technology, engineering and math — so-called STEM fields where the demand is high — have not immunized recent black graduates against job search difficulty. From 2010 to 2012, the average unemployment rate among young black engineers was 10 percent, the center reported, while the underemployment rate was 32 percent.
“A new report from the Century Foundation found that regardless of education, age or job, blacks continue to be almost twice as likely as whites to be unemployed.
“William A. Darity Jr., a professor of public policy at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, points out that a family headed by a black college graduate has less wealth on average than a family headed by a white high school dropout.
The report concluded: “Persistent discrimination and the types of training and jobs minorities get have played a role. Another central factor is the heavy debt many blacks and Hispanics accumulate to achieve middle-class status”. Needless to say, the debt stays with them for years, further insuring that they remain in poverty.
Such “persistent discrimination”, which even one of the main papers of the empire and its white supremacist elite admits to is woven into the very fabric of the U.S. socioeconomic system of capitalism, which has its own unique American flavor and characteristics. Racism, is in other words, one of the constituent parts and ingredients and part of the very foundation of the American capitalist system. Challenge that and you’re challenging the very core of the socioeconomic system.
The ruling class, though fully aware of it and the problems it creates for the system, has no solution for it. Try as they may, liberals too can’t smooth over it, ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist, so that they can go on and attend to their regular “reforms” to cover the holes of the system and make it more palatable and last longer. The issue of racism, though built into the system, is also their Achilles heal. The answer of the ruling class is the same as their answer to similar vulnerabilities in foreign nations they exploit: continued and relentless repression. Is there any wonder the police in US cities look like an occupation force?
Black Lives Matter is therefore an opportunity for the left to challenge not only state terror, police brutality and racism, but also the very system of capitalism that exploits and oppresses the poor of any color. That’s where the potential for real change is – not in the promises of another liberal Democrat.
I must say at the outset that I don’t believe and won’t claim that there are no differences between any two given candidates. Ronald Reagan whose election in 1980 paved the way for empire to consolidate and expand its power and reach and take a much more aggressive posture versus both domestic and international working class was obviously different from Jimmy Carter. The ruling class saw an opportunity to get more aggressive and it grabbed and made the most of it. Keep in mind that Reagan ran for the office twice before and won only when the subjective and objective conditions were ripe for such a shift or rather a decision by ruling class for such a shift.
Elections in capitalist societies aren’t exactly meaningless, fake or inconsequential shows that have no bearing on the policies and priorities of the ruling class, but are rather an opportunity for the class to pick its best representative and servant for given conditions and balance of forces on the ground. They actually do evaluate their options, opportunities and risks and choose the candidate they believe will best defend, protect and advance their interests for the next four years.
So, elections are real and do have consequences, but they’re only by and for the ruling class. The masses are not accounted for or considered. And, how could it be otherwise? The class in power is the one running the show and would only be interested in maintaining its power and privilege, so naturally, they’ll use their vast money and power to have someone elected who will protect their interests, which are diametrically opposed to those of the millions.
But, does this mean that bourgeois elections make no difference on the lives of the millions? Of course not. How could they not? Reagan’s presidency marked the beginning of a much more unbridled capitalism and profiteering at home and abroad and more militarism and military intervention for empire, as well as union busting and cutting of social programs and stagnation of wages, which continued to this day. So, someone who is anti-union and for less regulations and less taxes for corporations and for less spending on the poor, on education and on healthcare and is for more wars and more policing will obviously be worse for people than someone with opposite political views. But, here is the thing: the ruling 1%, due to their power and influence, will not let someone with political views totally opposite theirs win the elections, and even if that were to happen, they and their lobbies and governmental organs and institutions that remain and don’t change after elections, such as the military, the National Security Agency, the CIA, the Supreme Court, the Congress and others, as well as the political establishment in the two corporate parties, will push him or her to do what they want and will render him ineffective, that is if they don’t manage to kill his chances before that.
The history of elections in capitalist countries such as this shows that regardless of who wins the elections, the power remains in the hands of the wealthy elite and the policies continue uninterrupted. So, yes, we should take whatever small victories we can get, whenever we can get them, but we should not forget who’s ultimately in charge and what they seek with the vast power and influence they have accumulated. We should not forget that while we may seek to change the rules of the game, they own the casino, the table, the cameras over the table and are the ones paying the salary of the dealer, the pitman and the security guards and are the ones sitting at the offices watching our every move. Even if we were to succeed in changing those rules within the system, they’ll change them back the first opportunity they get, if they’re not removed from power. Again history is full of such examples.
Though we should welcome them, what we need to strive for is not those small concessions that we may or may not be given by those who in the best of their intentions have to work within the current system and against the current power structure to give them to us. What we need to work for is to have our own true representative government that’s set up to meet our needs and answer to us, rather than the current 1% who is currently in power and holds all levers of power, from the media to courts to law enforcement to the military to the legislative bodies, etc. What we need is not a simple change in president within the current power structure, the current economic system and the current set of values and priorities, which places corporate profits over people’s needs, but a complete overhaul of the system and set of values and priorities it operates in. What that entails is literally taking the power out of the hands of the corporations and giving it to the people. That means dismantling all government organs and firing all its functionaries, advisers, lobbyists, judges, representatives and agents and replacing them with people with the new set of values, principles and priorities.
But, winning concessions are one thing and taking the state power quite another. That’s why the latter would take nothing short of a revolution, which is nothing but an act of war on the ruling class and naturally they’re not going to sit by and give up their power without a fight. That understanding is what distinguishes the revolutionary left from the liberal left.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: we’re not anywhere near making or even building for a revolution. And you’re absolutely right about that. But, here is the difference: true, we’re not anywhere close to building a revolutionary movement, but we must understand and educate ourselves that that’s what it will ultimately take and secondly educate others who time and again vote for the lesser of two evils and see that once again nothing has changed. We must educate as to the reasons why things don’t change. If we don’t do that, during one of these severe recessions and high unemployment periods, the rightwing will win the masses over to an anti-immigrant, anti-minoritirs, anti-working class platform and bring in fascism.
I’ll say it agin, lest I get misquoted: I’m not against winning concessions within the current economic system that’s designed and built to maximize profits for corporations at the expense of the working poor, even as it’s waging multiple wars, making the world a more dangerous place and moving towards a de facto police state and paves the way for fascism. Even under these conditions, we must fight for any small victories, including those Sanders’ supporters are wishing for. But, such concessions when won have been shallow and insufficient at best and mostly fake and elusive at worst. That’s because the power structure remains intact and corporations continue to set nation’s policies. To say otherwise is to distort the truth.
Now, I can’t argue with those who say Bernie Sanders is what we need. I can’t argue even with those who say Obama was a good president. I can’t because those who say that are looking at the world from their own point of view, which may not be the vantage point of poorest and most oppressed. After all, everything is relative. This is why we see a conflict between some Black Lives Matter activists and Bernie supporters. What’s important to liberals isn’t the most pressing for the most oppressed. Obama too did things that are considered positive. He pushed for and signed the Affordable Care Act, made a deal with Iran on its nuclear program and supported the marriage equality. So, if those are the kinds of concessions and victories that liberals tell us we should strive for, then they’re right: we should vote for Democrats and accept the police killings, thd mass incarceration, the domestic espionage program, the imprisonment of whistle blowers, the wars, the corporate greed and influence on policies, the ruining of the environment, the income inequality and so on as fact of life until we find a candidate within the system who will have the political will, intention and ability to change whatever he or she can, however small.
To give one small example, most would agree that you have to have no compassion or humanity to do what they do to prisoners in Guantanamo, but this is not an isolated case and it’s not just a matter of firing couple of commanders. For another example, consider the fact that even when the U.S. was about to leave Viet Nam, it went on a massive and relentless carpet bombing of Vietnamese villages wiping out entire villages and killing anything that moved. Or consider US support for brutal dictators throughout the world or its unconditional support for Israel that’s committing genocide. These inhuman war crimes and crimes against humanity are the result of the whole military industrial complex and its worldwide plans for world domination for the sake of multinational corporations, which elections do not change; therefore, the government you hope to give you your concessions will continue to be made of psychopathic criminals. The question is: do we want such an inhuman and criminal government to ask concessions from?
Vote for Sanders if you must, but understand too that as long as corporations remain intact and their owners in power, we can’t have fundamental change. Even with Sanders in the White House, the U.S. will still have the 800 military bases, it will still have the secret CIA prisons and probably even the Guantanamo prison. It will still spend an obscene amount of the national budget on the military and aid Israel in its genocide. It will still continue to surround Russia and encroach on China. Ir will still continue its wars and military interventions and regime changes. It will still continue to build its nuclear arsenal. It will still continue its vast domestic espionage program. The media will remain in private hands. Banks, chemical, pharmaceutical, weapons, insurance, oil and other companies will continue to make their billions of dollars of profit, while making life intolerable for millions around the world. They will continue to make the world a more dangerous place, while ruining the Earth and the police will continue to kill the poor and people of color on the streets.
Even Mr. Sanders himself will tell you that he’s not for changing the system or anything fundamental. So, at least, what we on the left can do is to get involved with grassroots progressive movements on the street, rather than spend our energy on another candidate within the system. Personally, I wouldn’t vote for any party, no matter how progressive, whose main focus is to run a candidate every four years, and ignores the task of movement building and organizing on the streets against racism. police brutality, wars and imperialism. I would shun any party or organization that doesn’t put its active effort and focus on combating racism, wars and the U.S. imperialism, not in the form of slogans prior to every presidential elections, but on an ongoing basis.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting we should never vote, but if we’re serious about change, we need to work towards and educate and agitate for building a movement that will take the state power from the ruling 1% and their corporations, rather than box ourselves within the electoral process that’s owned and controlled by those in power who pick the candidates for us and dictate or limit what he or she can do for us when in office. Yes, it’s true, believing in making fundamental change and changing the whole value system as Dr. King suggested is tantamount to being ahead of our time, but isn’t that the point or is the point to remain where we’re at?
The interruption of Bernie Sanders campaign rally in Seattle by Black Lives Matter activists has thrown into the politics of elections discussion of a life and death issue for the Black population that’s long been ignored. Not surprisingly, many liberal whites opined that blacks aren’t helping “their” cause by such “uncivil” actions. Some wondered why an issue important to blacks, who are only 13% of the population, should be forced upon the whites. Honestly such comments are painful to hear or read because they show an incredible degree of – I was going to say lack of understanding and insensitivity, but no, I’ll be more frank – pure, unadulterated racism.
Some wonder what Malcolm X and Dr. King would say about any of this: about Black Lives Matter and their interruption of a white Democrat’s rally or about the reaction of white liberals to those interruptions or better yet about Democrats and liberals in general and if we can put our hopes in them again to bring about real change.
Here is Dr King’s take: “I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ’I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ’more convenient season.’”
And here is the Great Malcolm X: “The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox. One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.”
After the Democrats got the black vote and won the presidency and then failed to deliver on their promises, knowing the party could still count on their blind support in the next election, Malcolm said, speaking to blacks: “…You’re the one who put the present Democratic administration in Washington, D.C. The Whites were evenly divided. It was the fact that you threw 80% of your votes behind the Democrats that put the Democrats in the White House. Democrats have been in Washington, D.C. only because of the Negro vote. They’ve been down there 4 years and all the legislation they wanted to bring up they brought up and got it out of the way, and now they bring up you [in regards to the Voter Rights Act – S.S.]. You put them first and they put you last”.
The political landscape then when Malcolm was speaking was similar to the first two years of President Barack Obama’s presidency when the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, in addition to the White House. So, Malcolm goes on about the Democrats: “In Washington, D.C. in the House of Representatives there are 257 who are Democrats. Only 177 are Republican. In the Senate there are 67 Democrats, only 33 are Republicans. The Party that you backed, controls two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate and still they can’t keep their promise to you …”
“Anytime you throw your political weight behind a political Party that controls two-thirds of the government and that Party can’t keep the promises it made to you during election time, and you are dumb enough to walk around and identify yourself with that Party, you are not only a chump but you are a traitor to your race”.
Speaking of traitors, President Obama won the presidency as the nominee and with the support of the Democratic Party with over 90% of the black vote and right at the peak of police killings and after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which spawned arguably the first anti-establishment black national movement, he signed into law the “Blue Alert System” to “protect police officers” who might be the target of frustrated and angry people who might decide to take vengeance on them.
Obama’s presidency was a Godsend for the white supremacist billionaire class With several simultaneous wars overseas, killing brown people in the thousands, banks relieved of all accountability for their actions, Monsanto and other multinational corporations defended and represented rigorously, weapons, drug makers, insurance and oil companies making billions, whistle blowers jailed and threatened, civil liberties curtailed in the name of “war on terror”, NSA ramping up its vast spy operations against the citizens and the police going wild on the streets, while the rich got richer and poor poorer. The poor and the black community could not have been overlooked and ignored by a Republican administration which blacks and their white liberal “allies” wanted to avoid at all cost, any more than they were during Obama’s presidency.
Now, liberals want to try another liberal Democrat and are angrily admonishing blacks against pushing their life and death issue of police brutality and mass incarceration into the center stage and want them to put their trust in another liberal. In other words, just as they did with the Occupy movement, Democrats want to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement into the Democratic Party and integrate and dissolve it and render it impotent and ineffective. Let’s here it from the great teacher, Malcolm X, again: “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”
Now, I know this is going to anger many white liberals, but it’s time to say it: I believe, in the long run, liberals and particularly the Democrats are the most stubborn, resilient and intransigent defenders of the status quo and the most dangerous and the most formidable enemy of the working class, including the oppressed minorities. Paraphrasing Malcolm, it’s better to face the snarl of a wolf than the smile of a fox because as Dr. King added: “the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate”.
I’ll let Malcolm give the conclusion: “The government itself has failed us, and the White Liberals who have been posing as our friends have failed us. Once we see that all these other sources to which we have turned have failed, we stop turning to them and start turning to ourselves”.