by Clay Wadena and John Leslie
On Nov. 7, a national demonstration, called by the Black is Back Coalition, will be held in Washington, D.C. There will be a march and a rally in Malcolm X Park. People are marching under the call, “Resist U.S. Wars and Occupation in the U.S. and Abroad! Reparations Now!”
Some additional demands are “Free all political prisoners!” “Single payer health care/Medicare for all!“ “Stop police violence and Black community containment policy!” “Stop gentrification, home mortgage foreclosures! Bail out the victims!” and “No AFRICOM!”
Endorsers include the African Peoples’ Socialist Party, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Mumia Abu Jamal, the hip-hop group Dead Prez, Pam Africa, Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report, Rosa Clemente (2008 Green VP candidate), the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, Larry Hamm of the Newark, N.J., Peoples’ Organization for Progress, and others.
For Black people of various political viewpoints to state their opposition to the policies supported by both major capitalist parties is only natural on the heels of eight years of the reactionary and racist policies of the Bush administration, including the criminal neglect of New Orleans both during and after Katrina. For many, however, the election of Barack Obama increased illusions that somehow U.S. capitalism might be humanized by his administration and the Democratic Party.
Obama’s record in power is now clear: he is continuing the policies of the Bush regime with the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. And again following in Bush’s footsteps, Obama has been quick to bail out the banks and big business with subsidies while leaving working people floundering in the economic crisis.
Black people have borne the brunt of the recession. Black unemployment, now 15.4 percent by official figures, has surged much more drastically than that of whites (9 percent). Continuing as victims of Jim Crow’s legacy, Black people continue to be the “first hired and the first fired.”
Recently, ultra-right mobilizations in opposition to Obama’s proposed (far from adequate) health-care reforms have taken on a racist, and at times proto-fascist, character. Anti-reform reactionaries raised the slogan of “take our country back”—their code for calling for the removal of the first Black president. This racist reaction to Obama’s policies has served to reinforce the tendency of reformists to take an uncritical stance towards Obama.
As the Black is Back “Call To Action” states: “Many well-meaning people in this country and around the world are afraid to take more progressive political positions for fear of being seen as anti-Black. … The political paralysis now being experienced by anti-war and other progressive movements suffer from the lack of a Black-led anti-imperial movement to off-set the traps set by Obama’s so-called ‘post-racial’ politics that perpetuates the same oppressive militarist agenda well known during the Bush regime.”
Revolutionary socialists recognize the need for a multi-racial fightback against war, racism, and oppression. We also understand that the racist dynamics of U.S. society may require the self-organization of oppressed people into fighting organizations of their own.
Black workers have traditionally played a vanguard role in the U.S. class struggle—from the formation of the CIO, to the civil rights movement, to the auto strikes of the 1960s (i.e.,Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement). Black is Back can be a step toward a revival of those goals. For more information go to http://blackisbackcoalition.org/