One of the results of the last election is that there is a stepping up of the struggles against racism. The quick reaction all around the country to the racist anti-Obama cartoon in the NY Post showed a new level of alertness and militancy. I think millions have become more sensitized after experiencing the attacks against President Obama during the election.

There are many calls now for big demonstrations and marches coming from labor, civil rights and all kinds of progressive movements.

The mood now is starting to resemble the 1960s but only at a higher level.

The Obama election in itself calls for a higher level of struggle against racism. White youth, workers and white middle-class people voted more for Obama than for Al Gore, Kerry and Clinton.

Obama spoke to their concerns and more than ever white voters responded, especially youth. Most voters wanted change. Electing the first Black president was a historic change.

But more than race was involved.

I don’t think the response to Condoleezza Rice or even a Colin Powell would have been as great especially if they ran on the Republican ticket and program. It was Obama’s message that won the day. The fact that he was Black gave an added boost to the democratic nature of his campaign. It injected a strong anti-racist character into the whole election debate and struggle. For the democratic forces it was a powerful motivation to make an all-out effort to make him the 44th president

During the primaries and especially in the general election the Republicans as they have done for years organized a virulent racist campaign aimed at defeating Obama.

But his message resonated with voters of all races and nationalities. People liked the way he keep his cool and answered the attacks based on the issues. He made an appeal for unity and understanding. He appealed to the class interest of working-class voters and rejected the attempts to divide along racial lines. People of all races could see that Obama was an extraordinary human being, a fine leader with enormous political skill and ability; a leader who would make a great president.

Now that Obama and the new Congress are in place they are fighting for the most ambitious democratic domestic agenda since the New Deal and a less dramatic but no less important move away from Bush’s policies internationally.

They aim to put the US on the right side of ending global warming; legalize stem cell research and keep abortion legal; weaken the right-wing Supreme Court majority; start a green revolution and move our country away from dependency on fossil fuels.

For those on the left that think there is no difference between Bush and Obama, I say you are not honestly looking at the effects these policy changes will have on working people especially at this time of economic crisis. These are life-and-death issues.

In these circumstances, the fight against racism is even more important and must be stepped up. The stakes are very high.

There must be strong affirmative action and provisions for democratic people’s control in the implementation of the stimulus package.

There must be new efforts to repeal the draconian laws that have put over 2 million mainly Black and other minorities in prison.

We need new laws to end police brutality and racial profiling.

Without an all-out offensive against racism, the extreme right opposition could gain the upper hand.

Really, this is an epic battle between right and wrong. There must be more street action big and small, at the local, state and national level to break the chains of structural racism. There must be a massive dialog on race which Obama called for in his historic Philadelphia speech. There must be more ideological discussions, conferences and debates on the campuses and in union halls, churches, temples and mosques.

This is no time to rest on victory’s laurels — now we must take the struggle to its logical next step and step up the fight against racism in all its manifestations. The potential for very broad multiracial unity is much greater now then before the election.

It’s already beginning to happen.

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