By Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report
There really is no more to the clap-trap about a Black electoral “strategy” than attempting to figure out which way the white folks are going and then circling the Black wagons, accordingly.“Blacks have been convinced by corporate media that white folks will hold Sanders’ socialism against him and allow Trump another mandate.”
With his victory in the Blacktropolis of Detroit, the clueless corporate champion Joe Biden has definitively won the “Black” Democratic presidential contest. Unlike South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi, where collaborationist preachers have always held sway over huge sections of the Black electorate, Detroit was once home to the Marxist-oriented League of Revolutionary Black Workers and sent avowed socialist John Conyers to Congress for 52 years, from 1965 to 2017. Detroit isn’t afraid of people that call themselves socialists – actually, very few Black people are socialism-phobic, and young Blacks are even more socialist-friendly than their white counterparts.But this is the election cycle when Blacks circle their wagons around the Democratic establishment, perceiving it as the only refuge from Donald Trump and his marauding White Man’s Party.
The difference between 2016, when Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in Michigan, and this year’s primary is simple: the experience of four years of Donald Trump. Black people want desperately to sweep the Orange Menace and his Amerikaners from power, and have been convinced by corporate media that white folks will hold Sanders’ socialism against him and allow Trump another mandate.
“Very few Black people are socialism-phobic, and young Blacks are even more socialist-friendly than their white counterparts.”
Black people don’t vote their own political convictions in Democratic primaries; they give their votes to candidates they believe are the best bet to defeat the White Man’s Party. With such a “strategy,” Black folks almost never win — in terms of getting an officeholder who thinks as they do — but are content to avoid losing catastrophically to the worst “crackers.”
Black voters are aware of Biden’s many transgressions against them — but that’s what white “moderates” do, and older Blacks have convinced themselves that a white moderate is needed to flush the overtly white racist Trump from power. Black voters support Bernie Sanders’ agenda, which very much resembles a Black political center of gravity that decades of polling has shown is far to the left of the white political spectrum. In fact, majorities of the very voters that awarded sweeping victories to Joe Biden in the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries told exit pollsters they “support a single government health insurance plan for all?” – the very definition of Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All. Sanders’ signature program won the primaries, hands down – but Bernie lost to the corporate hack that opposes Medicare for All. Indeed, all of Sanders’ core issues – Green New Deal, a living minimum wage, cancellation of student debt – are supported by super-majorities of Democrats (and huge numbers of Republicans).
“Sanders’ signature program won the primaries, hands down – but Bernie lost to the corporate hack that opposes Medicare for All.”
These should be winning issues in general elections, not just primaries, but Black folks, especially, fear to back candidates that champion these issues, assuming that white folks will not tolerate candidates that are too “radical.” Whites appear to have the same fears about each other.
The corporate media is the culprit that spreads mass disinformation on the political opinions of all American constituencies, creating a counter-reality that conforms to the interests of its ruling class owners. In short, they lie for a living. With constant, 24-7 repetition, it works.
In the last four years the tempo and intensity of corporate media lies has been absolutely astounding, as the Lords of Capital scrambled to reclaim the political narrative in the face of systemic disarray, the relentless decline in general living standards, the visible decay of physical infrastructure, and the unstoppable economic eclipse of the U.S. by China. Bernie Sanders threatened to end the austerity “Race to the Bottom” regime (although not its interlocking foreign policy component, endless wars) with a fistful of new health, education and labor entitlements plus a Green New Deal (a concept, not really a bill) that would force the Lords of Capital to cede some control of the heights of the economy to the people. This was unacceptable to the rulers, who told their corporate media to make Sanders unacceptable to the electorate, by hook, crook and massive disinformation. Joe Biden is the wholly undeserving beneficiary of this coordinated corporate media campaign.
“Bernie Sanders threatened to end the austerity “Race to the Bottom” regime.”
Black voters’ failure to support the candidate they most agree with in the Democratic primaries, is nothing new, of course. Half the Black electorate, and the vast majority of Black officeholders, resisted the urge to support Barack Obama as the 2008 primaries approached – until the white Democrats of Iowa gave the Black candidate their OK, after which Black voters deserted Hillary Clinton en masse. There really is no more to the clap-trap about a Black electoral “strategy” than attempting to figure out which way the white folks are going and then circling the Black wagons, accordingly.
As I said earlier, Black folks (and working folks in general) never win through such mental gymnastics, but may avoid catastrophic electoral loss. In today’s reality, however, the crisis of capital in general, and the climate crisis in particular, is so acute that any political outcome that does not alter the trajectory of society will result in catastrophe — inevitably, and soon, on all fronts, whichever of the two corporate parties is in power. Capitalism is failing of its own contradictions, and the more folks in the centers of empire cling to it, the worse conditions will become. For African Americans, there looms an ever-deepening bottom.
“Black voters’ failure to support the candidate they most agree with in the Democratic primaries, is nothing new.”
Younger Black people are looking into the abyss, and see nothing in their elders’ flailing machinations that would prevent descent into powerlessness and utter precarity. There is no Black “strategy,” and young Blacks know it. There is only fear — plus the desire of Black elites to preserve and serve the Democratic Party structures that have provided their grasping little class with a degree of status and some limited authority to help manage their own people’s oppression. Joe Biden offers nothing more, and the Black Misleadership Class dares not demand…anything.
As I discussed two weeks ago, the impending failure of Sanders’ primary challenge will not cause Michael Bloomberg and his fellow oligarchs to cancel their plans to make the Democratic Party a much more hostile environment for even mildly radical politics. The rulers consider Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as infestations to be eradicated. This oligarch-enforced narrowing of the Democratic Party’s parameters of political tolerance will reach down to the local level. If even a fraction of the tens of millions of Sanders supporters reject their leader’s expected call to go all-in for a nominee and party that is determined to suppress them, a mighty and independent mass movement can be built in a relatively short space of time. Indeed, that was always the best outcome of the decade’s resurgence in anti-capitalist, anti-racist politics. The Democrats were always a dead end, but folks had to get their asses kicked TWICE to learn that you can’t turn a ruling class party against the ruling class.
“The rulers consider Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as infestations to be eradicated.”
It may be that it is impossible to mount a successful national anti-corporate electoral campaign at this stage of monopoly capitalism, with mass communications under the firm control of ruling class propagandists. It is certainly clear that progress depends on mass action in the street that changes popular assumptions of what is possible.
Demands for community control of the police are gaining traction, notably in Chicago, where activists are figuring out how to build people’s counter-structures to fight the Democratic Party, not join it. The Black Is Back Coalition holds another of its yearly Electoral Schools , April 10 through 12, in St. Louis, devising ways to build alternative Black voting opportunities in support of grassroots movement political activism. The cops keep killing; Democrat-supported U.S. sanctions starve and sicken millions; Democrats argue in Congress that Trump should keep U.S. soldiers on occupation duty in Africa and protecting jihadists in Syria; sea levels keep rising; good jobs pass into extinction; affordable housing no longer exists; higher education equals perpetual debt, and high school in Black cities is prison. There’s plenty of work to do for disbanded Sandernistas and “woke” Black youth. Here’s a slogan for you: “Power to the People.”
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
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Leading public intellectual Glen Ford is a founding editor of Black Agenda Report (BAR), where he serves as executive editor. He can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com
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