by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The Democratic Party acts like it owns Black America. It certainly owns most of the Black political (Misleaderhip) class, who “have used their local, state and national offices to facilitate the mass Black incarceration regime at every stage of its deployment.” These servants of the police state and war need to be challenged by candidates that reflect the left-leaning politics of Black America. The Black Is Back Coalition is seeking candidates.
Don’t Give the Black Misleaders Your Vote (They’ll Just Cash It In)
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“This Black Misleadership Class is bereft of any vision for national social transformation, or genuine Black self-determination, or a just world order.”
The Black Is Back Coalition, having last year produced a 19-point National Black Agenda for Self-Determination, is now exploring ways to field or support Black radical candidates willing to run for office on a self-determinationist platform. To kick the project off, the Coalition will hold a two-day Electoral Candidate School on April 8 and 9, in St. Petersburg, Florida. The event is also in sync with discussions taking place at the Black Left Unity organization. I’ll be one of the presenters at the Black Is Back electoral school, and will emphasize the importance of contesting the hegemonic influence of the Democrats -- a Wall Street party of austerity and war – in Black electoral politics. Blacks are the most left-leaning, anti-war ethnicity in the U.S., but you wouldn’t guess that by tallying the voting records of their representatives on Capitol Hill.
However, that’s not strange. U.S. duopoly party politics is in general disarray, a reflection of the crises of capitalism.
The Democrats point fingers a world away, at Moscow, as the source of instability in the U.S. political system. Donald Trump persists in claiming to fight for the little (white) guy, while gathering around him the richest Cabinet in the governmental history of the planet.
“The two corporate parties have nothing to offer the people.”
Electoral politics in the United States has become more removed from reality than at any time in living memory. The two corporate parties have nothing to offer the people, because their corporate masters are determined to strip mine the public sector of everything that can be turned into profit, and to concentrate all effective decision making in the hands of the Lords of Capital. In the corporate game plan, those public functions that are not directly privatized will be placed under the control of quasi-public boards and agencies led by business executives whose mission is to tailor the infrastructures of cities and whole regions in the service of capital. That means moving resources and populations across the landscape -- or out of the region, entirely -- at the whim of the moneyed classes.
You should recognize important aspects of this scenario, since, to a very large degree, it already exists. Blacks have been expelled from U.S. cities in huge numbers since the dawn of the 21st century.
To the extent that the Rulers feel compelled to justify their capital-centric engineering of society, they will describe the dictatorship of the One Percent as “rational governance” – when, in fact, this period represents the final triumph of the irrationality of late stage, casino capitalism, with the fate of whole nations and peoples riding on the roll of the dice on Wall Street. Inevitably, Wall Street will crap out, but at every stage of the game, through speculative highs and lows, the impoverishment of the masses will increase in more or less direct proportion to the concentration of power and wealth among the ruling circles.
“Blacks have been expelled from U.S. cities in huge numbers since the dawn of the 21st century.”
The Lords of Capital know full well where their system is heading. It’s not a runaway train, but an omnivorous engine of what evil men call “creative destruction” that amasses fantastic riches for the ever-dwindling few at the controls. (An Oxfam report shows the world’s eight richest men control as much wealth as half of Earth’s population. At least five of them are identified with the Democratic Party.) It is no wonder that the rulers have gone apoplectic in denouncing “fake news,” since all of the facts point to a bleak future for everyone but themselves under the global capitalist yoke.
The corporate imperative in the 21st century is, therefore, to eliminate all vestiges of effective democracy. Nobody is to be allowed to tamper with the rich man’s infernal machinery -- not in Sao Paulo, Damascus, Pretoria or Detroit. In the United States, overlapping layers of bourgeois law -- the legal sediment of more than two centuries of rich man’s rule – render voters all but helpless to affect fundamental change in relationships of power. Property is sacred; corporations are people; checks and balances are designed to keep democracy in check and maintain the balance of power to the moneyed classes’ advantage. Yet, vestiges of suffrage rights remain. More importantly, the capitalists cloak their dictatorship in the rhetoric of “We, the people,” to legitimize their rule. They are compelled to invoke “national security” emergencies (Russians, Muslims) and crime and drug threats (Blacks) to justify their escalating assaults on the very limited democratic rights that remain.
“The impoverishment of the masses will increase in more or less direct proportion to the concentration of power and wealth among the ruling circles.”
9/11 provided an excuse/opportunity for a sweeping rollback of civil liberties and democratic rights and for vastly expanded global surveillance and social mapping systems. The rulers have every intention of making the hyper-security regime permanent and further shrinking democracy. However, they are compelled to describe the steady loss of democratic rights and civil liberties as domestic “emergency” or “wartime” measures, in order to maintain the legitimacy of actual corporate governance. This is a central political contradiction of the Ruler’s project. The people continue to feel entitled to the social space and democratic rights, including an effective franchise, that are purported to make the U.S. an “exceptional” country -- the national mythology. The Lords of Capital must maintain the fiction that capitalism is the nurturing and necessary environment for government “of the people, and by the people,” while constantly creating “emergencies,” including structural shocks that demand suspension of democratic rights and the destruction of public institutions. (For example: Detroit’s “bankruptcy” and the wholesale charterization of public schools in Black and brown districts -- near-instantaneously in New Orleans after Katrina.) The steady march towards direct corporate rule is depicted as a series of anomalies, exceptions and emergency measures, rather than the logic of the system, itself. This duplicitous game unfolds, in ways big and small, across the nation and the world, as rapidly consolidating cliques of capitalists scheme to eliminate all impediments to their accumulation of wealth, by any and all means available.
“The capitalists cloak their dictatorship in the rhetoric of ‘We, the people,’ to legitimize their rule.”
The socialist’s job is to tell the truth about the nature of the capitalist system, to point out its most salient contradictions and weaknesses, and to build a people’s movement to overthrow the class that is creating the disaster -- also by any and all means available. That includes taking advantage of those electoral possibilities that are useful to the ultimate destruction of the capitalist class, whose continued rule threatens all life on Earth.
The revolutionary Black nationalist -- who must also be a socialist, or she is no revolutionary, at all -- fights for achieving self-determination for Black people in the United States and for the emancipation of all humankind from the rule of organized capital. She is fully aware that any socialist movement that does not address Black self-determination is doomed to fail, as is any Black self-determinationist movement that does not seek socialist transformation of society.
White supremacy -- the founding principle of the white settler colony that became the United States -- has always been the greatest impediment to the development of a genuine social contract among the peoples of the United States. Simply put, white majorities reject a social contract (solidarity) with Blacks -- which is why white “backlashes” are a permanent part of the American political cycle. Over the centuries, white refusal to accept a social contract with Blacks resulted in the African American population becoming a separate and distinct polity -- a “nation within a nation” with its own institutions and worldview.
As descendants of people who were denied all human rights, Blacks hunger for every stitch of democracy they can get -- social, economic, and the narrower electoral political variety -- a history that has made them the most progressive ethnicity in the U.S., and the most prone to rebellion against the political order.
“Blacks hunger for every stitch of democracy they can get -- social, economic, and the narrower electoral political variety.”
More than two generations ago, Blacks in the U.S. won recognition of their citizenship (“civil”) rights,” allowing them to elect local and national representatives to government. However, the struggle for Black self-determination -- the autonomous, collective power to shape the communities in which Black people live, including providing security for those communities -- was brutally crushed by the U.S. State, which imposed a mass Black incarceration regime that has devastated every aspect of Black life and created the world’s biggest Gulag. In the intervening decades, a Black political class firmly allied with the Democratic Party has come to dominate political discourse in Black America. This Black Misleadership Class is bereft of any vision for national social transformation, or genuine Black self-determination, or a just world order. Most damning, these Black politicians have used their local, state and national offices to facilitate the workings of the mass Black incarceration regime at every stage of its deployment. They are, in sum, the Black representatives of the white ruling class -- the internal enemies of Black liberation and self-determination.
The legitimacy of this Black Misleadership Class must be contested at every opportunity, and in all forums, including in the electoral arena. The Black Left must wage the most intense internal Black ideological struggle, a contest for political supremacy in Black America between advocates of true social transformation, Black self-determination, and anti-imperialism, versus accommodation with the capitalist oligarchy and its domestic police state and global war machine.
There can be no successful U.S. revolution against capitalist rule without the fullest participation of Black people, the most left-leaning ethnicity in the country. And Black self-determination is impossible except on socialist terms. To the extent that Black radical electoral activity can weaken and, ultimately, defeat the Black Misleadership Class and its poisonous influence, it should be enthusiastically encouraged.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].