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Nafta Democrats

recorded 3/5//08

1) 2:28 Radio Essay - short - Mp3

2) 3:03 Radio Essay - long - Mp3

NAFTA Democrats

[col. writ. 3/5/08]  (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

    Elections are always events that surprise.

    That's because, like much human activity, it doesn't follow the rigors of logic, but often turns on the whims of emotion, the fires of feeling, and the vagaries of vibration.

    For, by what logic does a working-class voter select one who supported the one act that, above all, decimated the nation's manufacturing sector, threw hundreds of thousands of jobs away, and made the workplace a bitter battlefield?

    I speak, of course, of NAFTA (North America Free Trade agreement)

    Few championed NAFTA more than William Jefferson Clinton, who promoted it as good for business, good for workers, and good for the American economy.  Of course, it pleased business, for it opened up cheap labor pools in Mexico, and enabled scores of maquiladores  to open up shop on the other side of the border, pay Mexicans a pittance of U.S. labor costs, ignore environmental and safety regulations, and ship finished, cheaper goods back to the U.S. Market.

    Of course, the loss of manufacturing jobs also meant the loss of the best-paying jobs, and the growth of the service industry, which traditionally pays for less.

    JoAnn Wypijewski of The Nation magazine, toured Ohio's working-class towns days prior to the recent primaries, and heard white workers express their political views unmediated by the corporate press.

    In an all-white veterans' bar in Springfield, a middle-aged guy exclaims, "I love Hillary", repeatedly.  The man explains that if Hillary didn't get the nomination, he'd support Republican nominee John McCain's campaign, even though he added, "I hate McCain."

    A questioner asks, "Why not Obama?"

    The man offers more an excuse than an answer, until the question is repeated, and he then answers matter of factly, "Because he's black."

    Moments thereafter the debate hits pay dirt, and he loudly proclaims, "I'm not going to vote for the nigger!"*

    So much for sticking to the issues.

    Of course, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has surprised many by his ability to attract voting percentages in some of the whitest states in the Union (like Vermont, the one state he's won most recently, with a 97% white population), but early in the primaries few seriously gave him a shot at actually winning.

    Things have changed.  As his chances of winning got better, the road got steeper, and the politics got dirtier.  Photos appeared of him in African garb (with its headwrap visually suggesting he was a -- gasp! -- Muslim!').  Right wing talk show hosts went on "Hussein" rants.

    It's almost like, the closer he gets, the BLACKER he gets.

    If we looked at this race logically, it would seem that any candidate who was, even remotely, linked to NAFTA, would be a political goner in a state as economically hard-hit as was Ohio.

    But why worry about NAFTA, when it's so easy to worry about niggers?

    --(c) '08 maj

[*Source: Wypijewski JoAnn, "Postcards From Ohio", The Nation (Mar. 17, 2008), p.14.]

 

[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================


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[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.] 

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

For additional information and to order Mumia's new book We Want Freedom,

visit: southendpress.org

Check out Mumia's NEW book:
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com