From Mon Feb 19 04:44:14 2001
From: Mike Brand <>
Subject: [BRC-NEWS] African Americans are the Key to Democracy
Precedence: bulk
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 04:12:31 -0500 (EST)

African Americans are the Key to Democracy for All

By Nelson Peery <>, People's Tribune/Tribuno de Pueblo, Vol.28 no.2, February 2001

The Supreme Court’s appointing George W. Bush as president of the United States threw the Democratic Party and the independent political organizations into an uproar. President Clinton stated that if all the ballots had been counted, Al Gore would have been elected. The majority of Americans, it seems, had no idea that people could be turned away from polling places or not have their ballots counted. Few African Americans were shocked by the accusations of fraud. In 2000 as in 1900, fraud and denial of the ballot to African Americans is key to the political control of white Americans. Never has this been more clearly demonstrated than in the recent election. Attacking the problem of electoral fraud directly and not dealing with its historic foundation of racism will not work.

The politics of African American equality and freedom are changing very rapidly. As one philosopher observed, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Bush nominated African Americans to three key posts, including the all- important secretary of state. While some are quick to declare that blacks have arrived at the promised land, many are quick to shout window dressing or Uncle Tom! Both sides are wrong. The African American designees have several things in common. They are exceptionally well- educated, qualified, wealthy and dangerously reactionary. Incidentally, they are black.

What has changed is that the upper stratum of African Americans has joined the upper stratum of white Americans to defend their new wealth and privilege. What hasn’t changed is the legacy of nearly 400 years of discrimination and racial oppression. That legacy chains the majority of African Americans to a life of dependency and poverty. The civil rights movement that opened doors for the black bourgeoisie did little for the African Americans in the new class of poor. President Clinton made an art of elevating the black bourgeoisie while pushing the black poor, and consequently all the poor, deeper into the ditch of poverty.

In November 2000, that legacy meant a majority of Americans was denied its electoral right. Every day, that legacy means that the American poor of all colors are unable to break out of poverty. How can this legacy be abolished? The laws upholding segregation and discrimination are gone, but the reality persists because no law written by politicians can overturn the basic principles of the economic system. In order to change the economic principles that keep us politically impotent, we have to change the system. The path to changing that system is to understand that every act of discrimination against African Americans is an attack on the rights and aspirations of all of America’s poor.