Politcs Mondays: Question Of November - Black Radicals, Activists and the 2004 Elections by Horace Campbell
The Black Radical Congress adopted a motion at the National Council Meeting in March 2004 that all Black Radicals, activists and decent human beings should work to defeat the George Bush regime. The International Caucus of the BRC supports this position and call for all decent humans, but especially members of the left to intensify the work to defeat the group that is now entrenched in power and is fighting against humanity in wars at home and abroad.
The 2004 election is taking place in the midst of the deepening militarization of the planet. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Columbia, on numerous fronts and the war at home makes this an election one component of the war. Hence, opposition to the Bush regime should be an element of the peace movement’s opposition to war, racism and repression. The election propaganda of the current administration is one aspect of the psychological war to intensify the climate of fear and insecurity. Black Radicals have been opposed to this war and it is important that all sections of the movement intensify the efforts to connect with the campaign to defeat George Bush without tying ourselves to the alternative.
In the main, the Kerry campaign and the Democratic Party have been unresponsive to the increased exploitation and racism of the current system. In many respects, the Black Congressional Caucus, except for the courageous women such as Barbara Lee and (hopefully Cynthia McKinney) has been a silent force and these elements must be pushed in their electoral districts to centralize the issues of health care, relevant and transformative education, sustainable peace, affordable housing and reconstruction of the urban infrastructure... These issues have been simplified in the slogans of “education, not incarceration,” “books- not bombs,” and the campaign to end the war. The Kerry camp has turned its back on the anti-war movement and is representative of a section of the Democratic Party that wishes to better manage the war and win allies for the imperial mission of occupying Iraq.
The Kerry/Edwards team believes that in affirming One America, this slogan will paper over the deep social, racial and class divisions in the society. It is most significant that the Democratic Party has not raised the military- prison -industrial complex in a serious way. The lawyers of the Democratic Party are quite willing to work to ensure that the votes of Black, Latino/Latina and First Nation peoples are counted without taking up the issue of political disenfranchisement of millions of poor and black people. The BRC has been involved in the National Campaign of Fighting for Voter Security. In all parts of the country, the BRC has signed on to the Racism Watch 2004, especially the vote for racial justice campaign.
In every locality, individuals and local organizing committees have been finding their own modest way to engage the process of raising questions that are central to the concerns of the oppressed. It is from the ranks of Black Radicals and from the prison reform movement as a whole, where the links between militarism abroad and the prison industrial complex have been made. It is this cross-section of the society that continues to raise the question of the fate of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier. Black Radicals have been on the streets opposing the war and challenging the color coded climate of fear that has been orchestrated by the George Bush regime. In many ways, these forces have helped to shift the nature of the discussion and reinforced the point that the Abu Gharaib was not an aberration but based on practices that have been well developed in the United States. The isolation of the Bush regime over the question of the violation of International Law on all fronts must continue. The current administration is opposed to engaging the International Criminal Court because it knows full well that it is breaking international law. The BRC is calling for a full disclosure of the military crimes committed in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
For these reasons, the opposition to Bush does not mean a blanket endorsement of the alternative. The most important task of the moment is to act against the further entrenchment of the neo-conservative (some would say neo-fascist) forces. The Black Radical Congress wants to make it clear that this is a tactical move in times of war and hence the BRC will call on all to support the Democrats so that the neo-conservatives can be removed from the control of the Presidency. This call means that the BRC’s opposition is not a call for a blanket engagement in the electoral process, but it is a call to build a coherent position so that the radical forces will be in touch and will be in conflict if necessary with any new government after November 2.
The mobilization for the elections must be part of a call for the creation of the pre conditions for organizing African Americans, oppressed immigrant groups, gays and lesbians, Latino/Latina, First Nation peoples, poor whites, the unemployed, and all peace loving peoples. Black activists must expose the duplicity and immorality of the Bush campaign to make inroads into the black community on the basis that this neo- conservative government is a regime of faith upholding the values of the religious right. With regard to the questions of same sex marriage and the right of women to have control over their bodies, this government has sought to mobilize a stratum of conservative blacks who will conveniently forget the millions of ordinary citizens, especially peoples of color who do not have access to affordable health care, and the basic rights of a decent livelihood. It is a testament to the depth of the moral crisis of the society that the most materialistic and capitalistic elements who will kill for the oil wealth of other nations have been seeking to invoke a brand of religion (called faith) to further their case for repression and war.
All those who have the opportunity to vote on November 2, must go out to vote to remove Bush. The contradictions of the massive debt, unemployment, underemployemnt, environmental racism, and the tenuous nature of the dollar as the currency of world trade cannot be solved by the Democratic Party. The challenge will be to defeat Bush and build a movement that is based on reversing the priorities of the militarists so that the society can make a break with the traditions of racial genocide.
Horace G. Campbell of The
International Caucus of the Black Radical Congress is Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Syracuse University
Horace G. Campbell
Monday, November 1, 2004