Obama, African Americans and War on the Working Poor

Miah, Malik
Date Written:  2013-11-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2013
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20273

Malcom X's speech given nearly 50 years ago still remains valid today even in the age of the first African-American president and a sizable Congressional Black Caucus. While much has changed legally and socially -- upper-class African Americans can work and live almost anywhere if qualified -- much hasn’t changed for the working poor who are Black.



Obama avoids even talking about racism and discrimination, except in special circumstance like the murder of Florida teen Trayvon Martin and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. But he never outlines an action plan using his executive power to bring justice.

Obama knows that civil rights groups will never press the government to take action while he is office. He knows the Black community will support him no matter what he does or doesn’t do. The right understands that too, which is why their counteroffensive on voting rights is in full gear.

A clear-eyed look at Obama's policies shows that he is at best a "compassionate right of center liberal." His failures to speak up for the working poor and African Americans' interests are not an accident.

His taskmaster, the ruling class, doesn't care about Obama's skin color. It is concerned that Obama is unable to contain the far right that uses racism to whip up racial hatred. Those rulers with some foresight know that attacks on basic government functioning hurt their short-term and longterm interests. It fears that the widening gap between the haves and have-nots (the deepest in some 90 years) can lead to mass protests and challenges to the system itself.

Malcolm's speech "The Ballot or the Bullet" is prophetically relevant to our current divisions. Less than a year after the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, Malcolm argued that Blacks and those who support full equality and jobs must not wait -- the people themselves, he said, had to take their rights and not rely on politicians.

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