Fighting racism builds class unity
Published Nov 24, 2010 10:12 PM
WW photo: Alan Pollock
Following are excerpts from a Nov. 13 talk at the Workers World Party
national conference given by Monica Moorehead, member of the WW Secretariat, a
WW managing editor and editor of “Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle.”
This unprecedented global capitalist economic crisis is devastating the lives of
workers not only in the poorer, developing countries but also in the rich,
capitalist countries including the U.S. Almost daily some study is released on
how workers are being impacted by unemployment, underemployment, home
foreclosures, debt, lack of education and health care, attacks on pensions. The
list goes on and on.
Just reading all these statistics can easily be a downer and a source of
tremendous demoralization and desperation, especially for the masses who right
now see no way out of this morass. But for the movement it should have an
opposite effect because as Marxists, our duty and responsibility is not just to
interpret and analyze the world’s problems but to change them.
Revolutionaries must be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
The experts never view these deteriorating conditions within the general
framework of the decadent, archaic nature of the capitalist system, which is
driven insanely to make profits at the expense of providing human needs.
The workers, as exploited wage slaves, continue to be a tremendous source of
profits for the corporate bosses. This exploitation has laid the basis for
globalized solidarity as the growing poverty in the capitalist countries is
moving quickly in the same direction as the poverty in the oppressed
But because oppressed nations or people of color exist inside imperialist
countries based on centuries-old super-exploitation and the white supremacist
attitudes that flow from it, there is a greater degree of suffering in
disproportionate numbers among people of color that cannot be ignored. There
has been a lot written about the plight of African Americans and the current
economic crisis. Consider these devastating numbers: The richest 1 percent of
the U.S. population owns close to 40 percent of its wealth. The top 25 percent
of U.S. households own 87 percent.
A recent Brandeis University study shows that a white family has five times
more wealth than a Black family, amounting to a difference of about
In a recent CNN documentary called “Almighty Debt: Black in
America,” it was stated that 81 percent of Black college graduates have
outstanding loans. One out of 10 Black families is losing their homes to
foreclosure due mainly to the predatory subprime loans which singled out Black
According to the Graduate Employment Gap: Students of Color Losing Ground
report, the unemployment rate for 16-to-24-year-old African-American high
school graduates increased 11 points since the beginning of the recession in
2007 to 31.3 percent. The unemployment rate for white high school graduates, at
21.4 percent, is the lowest among Black, Latino/a and Asian graduates.
African-American college graduates have an unemployment rate of 15.4 percent,
up from 8.4 percent at the beginning of the recession. Almost twice as many
Black workers are unemployed compared to whites.
This current crisis for Black people is rooted in the legacy of slavery, the
counterrevolution known as the demise of Reconstruction, Jim Crow and current
This economic crisis has caused a political crisis as well, especially since
the 2008 election of President Obama. Millions of people, especially people of
color and young people, were hoping that the election of the first
African-American president would be the answer to good-paying jobs, the
eradication of racism and the end of endless war. But just the opposite has
happened — the economic assaults have intensified and so have racism and
other forms of reaction. President Obama, like every president before him
whether Democrat or Republican, serves the interests of the bourgeoisie, since
the U.S. president is the head administrator of the capitalist state who must
maintain class rule.
In “Almighty Debt,” the intervention of the Black churches was
raised as a viable solution to foreclosures and layoffs. Our party would
certainly support any source of immediate economic relief. But this kind of
relief is like a bandage trying to cover a growing cancer. It’s not the
No matter how many trillions of dollars the government hands over to the banks
in bailouts, the present capitalist crisis will remain permanent. Capitalism
cannot be reformed. The capitalists are appendages to an irrational system, not
the other way around. Capitalism must be uprooted tooth and nail.
All revolutionaries must put aside all ideological differences to unite to
build a united front for socialism, a system that puts peoples’ needs
before profits. The material conditions are more than ripe to do this. What is
missing is the political will to do this. Unity is crucial to reaching our
class sisters and brothers in an effective way with a political program of
fightback and struggle. Oppressed workers are taking bold actions like the
immigrant-led sit-in by the Republic Windows and Doors workers in 2008, which
won back wages for them. Black Workers for Justice and UE 150 are organizing
public sector workers in the low-wage, racist state of North Carolina, and the
Black-led ILWU Local 10 recently shut down the docks on the West Coast to
protest the police killing of Black youth Oscar Grant.
Help us to abolish capitalism! Help us to build a socialist future! Help us to
build a Workers World!
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