Daniel — Black Radical Congress on NOV.2 Elections

Topic(s): 2004 Election | Comments Off on Daniel — Black Radical Congress on NOV.2 Elections

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Americans of African Descent and NOVEMBER 2nd The November 2 presidential
election is shaping up as a watershed in US history. Voters are confronted
with the prospect of four more years of George W. Bush, with his pre-emptive
war and imperialist empire-building abroad, and racist, anti-woman,
anti-gay, anti-environment policies at home. Or we will get the kinder,
gentler imperialist alternative in John Kerry. Those of us for whom the
choices presented by the nation’s seriously degraded electoral system are
deeply unsatisfying will participate in the process nonetheless, but we will
do so recognizing that the real work ahead of us, beyond November 2, is to
struggle mightily over the long term to bring about a domestic and global
agenda for peace, justice, employment, healthcare, education and
Defending the Black Vote — Before and After November 2? For the Black
Radical Congress, the main focus in this election season is defending the
voting rights of Black people in their communities across the country —
before, during and after the elections. Given African American history,
Black people know more than anyone the pain and outrage of vote manipulation
and vote suppression. As the sector of the population that, historically,
could always be expected to vote its interests, Black people remain the
principal targets of numerous tactics wielded by anti-democratic forces to
prevent our votes from being cast or counted. Today, in coalition with
others, we are in the field doing whatever it takes to try and avert another
fiasco such as occurred in 2000. At the same time, realistically, we are
prepared for history to repeat, in which case we will join with thousands in
the streets to demand, “No Stolen Election.” Here is the “No Stolen
Election Pledge: “I remember the stolen presidential election of 2000 and I
am willing to take action in 2004 if the election is stolen again. I
support efforts to protect the right to vote leading up to and on Election
Day, November 2nd. If that right is systematically violated, I pledge to
join nationwide protests starting on November 3rd, either in my community,
in the states where the fraud occurred, or in Washington, D.C.”
The Lesser of Two Evils or ABB (Anybody But Bush) The vast majority of Black
people understand clearly the necessity for regime change at home. We know
that the Bush Administration represents an array of the most right- wing
elements in this country — forces driven by greed and a reactionary
ideology of white supremacy and domination. Bush and company are allied
with the fossil fuels energy industry, which sees military aggression as a
legitimate means of insuring U.S. control over the world’s oil resources.
They are allied with weapons manufacturers, for whom endless war means
billions in the bank, and who are racking up more profits from the recent
lifting of the assault weapons ban. They are allied with all the economic
interests whose activities pose the greatest threats to the environment —
industrial polluters, exploiters of space, agribusiness, strip- miners, etc.
The Bushites are also allied with the Christian fundamentalist community,
which espouses virulent sexist, homophobic, racist and religiously
intolerant policies. These Christian „soldiers‰ have led the fight to:
outlaw a woman’s right to choose; re-imprison women in oppressive gender
roles within the family; dismantle affirmative action (which has benefited
white women, in addition to women and men of color), and roll back the gains
of the gay liberation movement. The voice of this entire constellation of
backward-looking forces has a powerful amplifier in the Fox Network, which
unabashedly trumpets their every cause in the guise of dispensing news.
Looking at this picture, most Blacks see their worst nightmare in George W.
Bush, who, if allowed four more years would institutionalize the
anti-democratic measures he has already enacted, with even more far-reaching
ones to come.
Democrats – What Have They Done for Us Lately?? While most Black people are
undoubtedly poised to vote for the Kerry/Edwards ticket next Tuesday, they
are unlikely to do so with anywhere near enthusiasm. The Black Radical
Congress shares with many the perception that a mere six degrees of
separation, if that, distinguishes Kerry from Bush. We are especially
disgusted that Senator Kerry’s campaign has failed to take the high road of
unequivocal opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq; that he has said
nothing inspired about the catastrophic Israel/Palestine situation; that his
health care proposal falls far short of the single-payer plan the country
obviously needs.
? Indeed, from where we sit, Senator Kerry like Bill Clinton before him, is
a creature of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the group that arose
in 1988 to contain any leftward shift within the Democratic Party after
Jesse Jackson’s electrifying 1984 presidential campaign. The DLC presented
a challenge to the Democratic Party, “one hostile to the grassroots (it
favored the term ‘special interests’) and determined to make the party safe,
or safer, for white men.” (The Nation 8/2/04). The DLC rightward push
brought us Clinton, and his neo- liberal package of mandatory minimum
sentences and three-strike laws, rationalized by an intensification of the
“war on drugs”; so-called welfare reform, which shredded the social safety
net for women and children; NAFTA and other globalization offspring of
free-market fundamentalism, as well as a health care re-do that allowed for
the inception of the horrendous, profit- hungry system called “managed
Across several decades, Black people have consistently supported the
Democratic Party and voted for its candidates. Despite the party’s shift
away from the needs and concerns of their Black constituents, in 2000 9 out
of 10 Black voters favored Al Gore over Bush. If Kerry wins on Tuesday, the
Black vote will have done it. In which case, Black people must intensify
pressure on Kerry‚s administration to heed our demands for an immediate end
to the war in Iraq, and a substantive and meaningful response to the needs
of our communities.
? Third Parties? The Black Radical Congress believes that the two-party
electoral system has come to constitute a de facto one party state. This is
evidenced, among many other signs, by the Democratic Party’s easy
acquiescence to the fraudulent results of the 2000 election — which
revealed that its true colors are the same as the Republicans’: white and
dollar green. We, therefore, strongly support the proliferation of
alternatives to the Democratic and Republican parties. We feel that local
politics, especially, can be enriched by the presence of the Green Party and
the Labor Party, whose progressive agendas intersect with our own.
Challenges at the local level to the electoral status quo are a critical
ingredient in the struggle for real democracy in the U.S., and such
challenges lay the necessary groundwork for a third party like the Greens to
field viable candidates at the national level.
? Electoral Change: We Need a Direct Democracy? In addition to all of the
above, the Black Radical Congress calls for fundamental changes in our
un-democratic, winner-take-all electoral system. A true democracy requires:
? * a system established in federal law that entitles and encourages all
citizens and legal residents of the U.S. to vote. [In Brazil, law requires
that citizens vote.] Election day should be a national, paid holiday that
frees people from having to report for work.
* All states should be required by law to meet a single federal standard for
state-of-the-art, tamper-proof voting machines [again, such as those used in
Brazil], which print out receipts verifying voters’ choices.
* Full voting rights for both the incarcerated and ex-felons.?
* Abolition of the Electoral College and replacement of the winner-take-all
system with a one person, one vote system, run-off elections and
proportional representation.
* Independent watchdog groups and international observers to monitor
* Year-round, community-based “voter education” and organizing around
important issues, not just in the couple of months leading up to November
In The Long-Term ? Regardless of who wins in November, Black people seeking
fundamental change have work to do. We must continue building an
intergenerational movement and developing long-term strategies to fight
racism, end wars of aggression, defend reproductive rights, expand and
protect the rights of working people, dismantle the prison/military
industrial complex, support our brothers and sisters of the diaspora, and
support the rights of gay/ lesbian/bisexual/ transgender people.
demand: Peace With Justice Endless war is not an option. The USA must scrap
its own WMDs and help resolve the inequities that, left to fester, foment
war. End occupation of Iraq ˆ Free Palestine Abolish nuclear weaponsˆ No
military tribunals No draft ˆ No police state
We Demand: Economic Democracy Every person able to work should be assured a
job at a family-supporting wage. Jobs at living wages Guaranteed annual
income for the ill and disabled
We demand: No Death Penalty The death penalty, a legacy of slavery,
discriminates by color and class. It has been used, judicially and
extra-judicially in the case of lynching, to terrorize Black people. Abolish
the death penalty End imprisonment for all but violent criminals Make police
misconduct and brutality federal crimes
We Demand: Schools NOT Jails The U.S. over-funds prisons, under-funds the
public schools, criminalizes youth of color and then tracks them into the
world‚s largest prison population ˆ more than 2 million. This process must
be reversed. Education NOT incarceration
We Demand: Universal Health Care The USA is the only developed nation
without a universal health care system. Fund healthcare NOT “Star Wars” and
other new WMDs
We Demand: Reparations The USA must acknowledge its role in the
centuries-long human rights abuses perpetrated against people of African
descent in the Americas, Europe and Africa. throughout slavery and the slave
trade. Compensate Black people for their unpaid labor, pain, suffering and
economic under- development
We Demand: Electoral Change Democracy is not served by our winner-take-all
electoral system. The Electoral College must be abolished and a multiparty
system adopted that gives voters real choices and real representation.
Establish a one-person-one-vote system with proportional representation
VOTE … but the struggle will continue [To report voter intimidation,
election fraud or to ask questions ˆ up to and on Election Day ˆ call
1-866-OUR-VOTE] ? for peace NOT war ? jobs NOT homelessness ? education NOT
incarceration ? safety NOT police brutality ? equal opportunity NOT global
exploitation ? for Peace with Justice in the 21st Century