Between The Democrats And Republicans We Must Select The “Lesser Evil?” You Can’t Be Talking To Black People! (2020)

neoliberalismFor the past year, the NABPP has maintained the line that people should boycott the elections, and not vote for either Democrat or Republican candidates. Voting either way only validates the imperialist power structure and status quo and the pretense of ‘political choice’ for the people.

Individually I’ve had several ongoing debates and exchanges with people on the Left, including longtime allies and supporters like Marxist professor Victor Wallis, refuting their positions that the people, people of color, in particular, should be encouraged to vote for the Democratic candidate as the “lesser evil” to get Donald Trump out of power, because, they argue, he represents a more reactionary and overtly fascist political tendency than his Democratic rivals.

 

Blacks As A Political Football

As a matter of basic sense, it should be most telling to us Black folks that even during the worst stages of our post-slavery exploitation and abuse here in Amerika, (during the Jim Crow era, the lynching era that was endorsed by the federal government, when white mobs were routinely rioting, raping, and killing in Black communities, and so on), we were being appealed to vote Democrat or Republican. We were told to vest our hopes for the future in the very parties that have never done a thing to remedy our problems, and that serve the white supremacist ruling class that’s the cause of our suffering. In fact, we still endure many of the same problems.

Hubert Harrison, one of our most clear-sighted revolutionary thinkers from a century ago, pointed out that we’ve been manipulated into playing the political football between these parties for ages and never benefitted from it. As he wrote in 1920:

“For many years the Negro has been the football of American politics. Kicked from pillar to post, he goes begging, hat in hand, from a Republican convention to a Democratic one. Always is he asking someone else to do something for him. Always is he begging, pleading, demanding, or threatening. In all these cases his dependence is on the goodwill, sense of justice, or gratitude of the other fellow. And in none of these cases is the political reaction of the other fellow within the control of the Negro.”

During the same period, W.E.B. DuBois expressed the same sentiments: “…the two parties have combined against us to nullify our power by a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ of non-recognition, no matter how we vote….May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either Republican or the Democratic parties.” Applying an overall class analysis, Karl Marx arrived at the same conclusion. “The oppressed,” he said, “are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing ruling class are to represent and repress them.” Yet today, we have avowed Marxists and people who proclaim to have the interests of the oppressed and marginalized people of color at heart, telling us to engage in yet another futile round of voting for a ruling class politician. With each election season, a new or recycled set of rationalizations are laid out telling us to vote our racist class enemies into power and validate their vile system, while invalidating our own mission to organize our own forces to seize power from them.

 

Show Them A Wolf And They’ll Vote For A Fox

Today’s argument imploring us to vote Democrat is that the Republican rival Donald Trump is a monster who will do untold harm. You can’t be talking to Black folks! Haven’t we been here before? Matter of fact, we were presented with the EXACT SAME “dilemma” back in 1964, when the Black liberation struggle and other disgruntled groups were rising in sharp contradiction with the power structure, which was angling to suppress them. At that time Barry Goldwater and Lyndon B. Johnson, both agents of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class, were pitted against each other in the highly publicized race for president. To frighten the disillusioned masses back into legitimizing and supporting the status quo in the form of choosing the “lesser evil,” the 1964 race pit an extreme reactionary, Goldwater, against Johnson, a ‘moderate.’ Malcolm X exposed the scheme in a Nov 23, 1964 conversation with the Pan Afrikan magazine, PRESENCE AFRAICANE. If we but replace Johnson’s name with Biden’s, and Goldwater’s with Trump’s, Malcolm X would be speaking directly to the 2020 election. Here’s Malcolm:

“If Johnson had been running all by himself he would not have been acceptable to anyone. The only thing that made him acceptable to the world was that the shrewd capitalists, the shrewd imperialists, knew that the only way people would run toward the fox would be if you showed them a wolf. So they created a ghastly alternative. And it had the whole world — including people who call themselves Marxists — hoping that Johnson would beat Goldwater.”

 

Biden—Architect Of The New Jim Crow

Although Trump is certainly a racist power-hungry degenerate who is unacceptable in any position of power, especially one that impacts the lives and livelihoods of people of color, the poor, and workers, Biden as relates to Black people especially is definitely NOT a “lesser evil.”

Biden has been instrumental in developing the legal framework surrounding all the racist government abuses suffered and resisted by Blacks in Amerika today. From mass incarceration to the 100-to-1 crack-to-powder cocaine sentencing ratio that targeted Black people for imprisonment at astronomical rates compared to whites after the U.S. government itself dumped crack and assault weapons into poor Black communities creating the crack epidemic and attendant gang wars, to enlarging the federal death penalty under the 1994 crime bill that has again disproportionately impacted Black people, from creating the civil forfeiture laws that allow police to steal valuable property (cars, money, homes, land, etc.) of people arrested on drug-related charges, even if the person is never convicted or the charges are dropped—again targeted particularly at Blacks, to the expansion and militarization of the murderous cops in our communities, and so on.

Biden led in crafting a combination of racist policies and laws that civil rights attorney and past Supreme Court law clerk Michelle Alexander exposed in her groundbreaking book to constitute a new system of Jim Crow.[1]  As Biden himself stated in 1993 in a speech before the Senate, “The truth is, every major crime bill since 1976 that’s come out of this Congress, every minor crime bill, has had the name of the Democratic Senator from the state of Delaware: Joe Biden.”

He went on to add that the then existing policies of George H. W. Bush, who initiated the racist War on Drugs and crack cocaine laws, “[d]on’t include enough police officers to catch the violent thugs, not enough prosecutors to convict them, not enough judges to sentence them, and not enough prison cells to put them away for a long time.” In a 1994 Senate debate he expressed his views on increasing criminal laws and aggressive policies: “lock the S.O.B.’s up!” Long before Hillary Clinton uttered the words against Black people, Biden characterized urban Blacks in 1993 as “predators on our streets.”

Since 1973, when he was first elected to the Senate, Biden has been a major proponent of expanding police forces in urban communities of color. He wrote into the 1994 crime bill the biggest federal death penalty expansion in U.S. history and then stripped all U.S. prisoners’ access to review their convictions on habeas corpus with the 1996 Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). Thanks to the legal structure Biden helped create, Trump has now executed more federal prisoners in 4 years than all the presidents of the last 57 years combined. Biden led the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, under which the civil forfeiture laws were supported and which expanded federal drug penalties. He helped draft the infamous 100-to-1 crack cocaine sentencing law and increased other drug crime sentences; which were enhanced by the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which also extended life without parole sentences to minor drug convictions and the death penalty to drug dealers. He also co-wrote the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Prison Litigation Reform Act and Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which created the legal framework for mass incarceration and stripped prisoners of the means of effectively challenging their sentences and prison conditions. It also gave billions of dollars to states to build new prisons and induced them to change their sentencing laws to have prisoners serve at least 85% of their sentences, in order to receive federal funds. These laws directly impacted the Virginia prison system, where I’m from, where parole was abolished, good conduct credits were eliminated, and the 85% sentence rule was instituted in the mid-1990s, and several unneeded supermax prisons were constructed, around which scandals and reports of racist abuse immediately erupted and persist today (the notorious Red Onion and Wallens Ridge State Prisons).

Overall Biden led in structuring the New Jim Crow system and expanding the police departments that are under fire of massive public protests for continuing to murder unarmed people of color at rates higher than Southern lynchings at their peak under the old Jim Crow system. It wasn’t for no reason that Barack Obama and Biden were endorsed by every police and guard union in the 2008 election, and immediately after their victory, they sent billions of dollars to fund the expansion of police, prisons, and jails. Yet we have these white Leftists and Black and Brown petty-bourgeois “activists” inducing us to vote for Biden, holding him up to Trump as the “lesser evil.” There is clearly a racial and class basis to this.

 

Racism And Neocolonialism

Foremost, the arguments of the white petty-bourgeois Left reflect not a concern about what might happen to people of color under Trump, since EVERYTHING they fear from him is shit that’s been done to people of color within Amerika and abroad FOR CENTURIES by the U.S. ruling class. What they’re worried about is that they might suffer some of the same treatments themselves. In fact when they call Trump fascist, (failing to recognize, as George Jackson correctly observed, that Amerika has been fascist since World War 2), they identify things he’s done and promotes that fascists of the past did to so-called minority races and workers. And let’s remember, EVERYTHING Hitler did and tried to do in Europe—creating a race-based society, exterminating and enslaving racialized ‘minorities’ and the occupants of lands he desired to seize and expand upon, continental expansion, and so on—he learned from studying Amerikan history and its treatment of people of color and tried to replicate across Europe.

What made Hitler problematic, which is the REAL beef the white left has now with Trump, is his repressive policies threatened the privileges of other ‘white’ people. Then there are the opportunistic people of color and those promoted by the white Left, like Black Lives Matter and others, who join the chorus encouraging Blacks to vote Democrat. These people alongside the white Left take on a neocolonial role in prompting oppressed nationality peoples to seek salvation in imperialist country parties. This was the very point of expanding the Black middle class and a handful of Blacks in political office and business beginning in the 1970s; it was a strategy to create a neocolonial leadership here in the U.S. that could subvert the Black struggles against the system and steer us back into supporting the establishment political-economic system. As I discuss in my article, “The Democrats are Not Your Party” (http://rashidmod.com/?p=2756), the previously anti-Black Democratic party reoriented itself in the 1960s to pretend to speak to the concerns of Blacks to subvert our resistance against the system and the many racist abuses we suffered and continue to suffer today BECAUSE we were duped into looking to the ‘Democratic Coalition’ as a savior. As noted above, it has been the Democrats that constructed the “New Jim Crow” system we’re suffering under and battling now with Biden as a main architect. As the esteemed Afrikan revolutionary Amilcar Cabral revealed, for oppressed nationality people, neocolonialism intensifies class struggle and makes revolutionary struggle much harder than in the purely colonial situation, because it compels the oppressed people’s rejecting capitalist ties. Neocolonialism works by seducing the oppressed people into linking themselves to the imperialist ruling class and its political parties, exactly what the white Leftists and “get out the vote,” “Black lives matter,” “Black votes matter,” and such proponents are calling on the oppressed people of color to do in pressing them to vote for Biden and any other bourgeois politician. But this revisionist line of the U.S. Left isn’t new. Since the 1930s, in every election, the Communist Party-USA lent their cadre to supporting the Democratic party, under the same “lesser evil” line being touted today. Which led to their quickly abandoning the revolutionary movement. The party was ultimately liquidated and it ended in only lending its staff during every election to the Democrat’s field offices. What’s telling is when I challenge the Leftists who’d have everyone vote Democrat to build a mass-based revolutionary party and lend their support to the New Afrikan Black Panther Party and United Panther Movement, the response I get is this “needs to be done,” but they REFUSE to take on the genuinely revolutionary task to lead in doing it.

It’s no wonder these ‘Leftists’ have no working-class base—they gave it up to the Democrats decades ago, and now seek to use Blacks who have any level of influence to give up their own base to the Democrats too. This is revisionism and neocolonialism of the purest sort.

Marx spoke to the class tendency of the petty bourgeoisie that animates such revisionist positions and their refusal to commit class suicide and genuinely align themselves with the interests and struggles of the oppressed and workers. As he said, the petty bourgeoisie, “far from wanting to transform all of society in the interests of the revolutionary proletariat only aspire to make the existing society as tolerable for themselves as possible.” THIS is why they fear Trump—his policies threaten their privileges. Biden, however, threatens only to continue business as usual, which means repressing primarily Black folks. He is therefore the “lesser evil.” So, caring little about our plight, they seek to use us as always, as a political football to back the bourgeois candidate they prefer to see in office. Marx, Lenin, and Mao all emphasized that revolutionaries must relentlessly expose and combat revisionism. Cabral likewise emphasized for oppressed nationality people, the need to fight neocolonialism no less intensely.

 

Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!

 

Notes

 

[1] Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow (2004/2010).

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