In 30 years (2042) demographers forecast that the population of the U.S. will no longer be majority white. The ruling class has recognized this for some time and has been working feverishly to blunt the potential change in the balance of forces that this portends.
In 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled against segregated education and in favor of integrated education, the ruling class launched an all-out battle on all fronts, including violence, to block enforcement of the court’s decision. As they put it then, they had a policy of “interdiction and nullification.” Their policy was finally defeated when President Dwight Eisenhower ordered National Guard troops to enforce federal court orders to integrate schools in Arkansas. The troops defied the racist governor, Orville Faubus, to stand aside of the school entrance and thus the schools were integrated.
A new turn has taken place in the ongoing racist offensive. We are faced today with another profound crisis in the struggle for equality and democracy against the onslaught of the U.S. ruling class. The offensive began with the announcement by Barack Obama in 2007 that he would be a candidate for president of the U.S.
Obama was subjected to but endured a racist primary campaign and presidential campaign. He was elected president despite this protracted racist attack
Failing to block Obama’s election, the ruling class launched its modern day version of “interdiction and nullification.” The keystone of the policy was put in place by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He said his most important job was to make Barack Obama “a one-term president.” On inauguration night a secret conclave of Republican leaders and members of Congress met to discuss the strategy of “interdiction and nullification.” They decided on a plan of creating total gridlock in Congress so that no Obama plans to overcome the recession and rebuild the country could be passed. Their aim was to place the blame for the resulting quagmire in government on Barack Obama as being unfit to govern as president. That is exactly the campaign being waged by Mitt Romney today – i.e. “Barack Obama is a good guy but not a good president.” In fact, every idea or legislative or programmatic proposal President Obama puts forth is belittled as being useless.
During the whole Republican primary process, the racist offensive against Barack Obama was accompanied by a withering racist offensive against African Americans and Latinos as being the cause of the economic recession.
Desperate to maintain control of the reins of economic, cultural and political life, the ruling class nullification policy is being used against the working class and middle strata who are coming together in broad coalitions to fight for people’s needs programs. The expression “We are the 99%” is a frightening idea to the ruling class. They understand the demographic developments and they are determined to smash the people’s resistance movement. Three main components are the trade unions, the women’s equality movement and the growing and “rebellious” youth.
In a number of states, tea party candidates were elected as governors and state legislators on a program of jobs, jobs, jobs. Every single one of them double-crossed the people, including those who voted for them. Instead they passed union-busting, job-killing, pension-stealing, wage-cutting laws against public workers. They effectively nullified public education in their states and are in the process of privatizing education and building an educated elite. They attacked, curtailed and eliminated women’s rights to health care. They cut health care for children. They reduced and eliminated welfare. They made college education too expensive to achieve. They repealed or ignored environmental laws. They have refused federal job monies for reconstruction and transportation. In Michigan, they have seized control of the cities by diktat of the governor. Elected mayors and city councils are removed arbitrarily by the governor and replaced by the governor’s henchmen.
Other significant attacks on the people’s movement are the hate campaigns against undocumented workers and immigrants in general, shoot-to-kill gun laws in 25 states and growing numbers of voter suppression laws to thwart the electoral process.
A key divide and conquer tactic is to continue shipping jobs abroad, keeping high unemployment rates, pitting the unemployed against those still working and blaming the whole mess on the president. In the past 10 years, 50,000 manufacturing plants were shipped abroad with a loss of 3 million jobs; Apple alone has 800,000 jobs overseas and growing.
All of these efforts aimed at pauperizing the people economically, culturally and politically are being spiced with the poison of anti-communism. The latest gambit to divert and divide the people is the spurious charge by Florida Congressman Allen West that there are 78-81 communists in Congress. He knows that’s a lie; but it’s a lie with a purpose. Indeed, I believe if there were that many communists in Congress, there would be no quagmire in Congress; we would have real recovery programs.
The most important tactic at this moment to defeat ruling class efforts to nullify the historical process is the re-election of Barack Obama and defeating the ultra-right Republican cabal in Congress. Additionally, the process of electing working people, African Americans, Latinos, women, trade unionists and other members of the people’s coalition to office, from City Hall to Congress will be expanded and speeded up. The continuing process of changing the balance of forces to pass control of society from the capitalist ruling class to the people starts now and continues until the majority is effectuated. In that process, people will be elected to public office based on service to society and not to corporate profits.