Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
Campaigns & the Great DuBois
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Short version: mp3, 3.34
Democrats won't have us and the Republicans don't want us. Is
there anything to do but impotently wring our empty hands?"
Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, "An ABC of Color" (1969)
It is somewhat
painful to look at the emerging election campaign, especially when
one thinks about the concerns of the African-American community
and the American working class.
Both have been
virtually ignored, or, if noticed, talked to like they are idiots.
Few are the politicians who want to truly tackle and engage the
state of Black America, and the state of workers in America.
in the present world of political politeness, one does not really
want to unsettle one group, by promising another group something,
and, in the case of the workers, most politicians have conceded
the field to that social force that can amass the most dough
the business class. With the exception of the former 'Boy Mayor'
(and now Senator) Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.), to speak of NAFTA is
a no-no. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has done
more to demolish U.S. labor than the planes plowing into the Trade
Centers on Sept. 11th!
Because of NAFTA
and similar pro-business pacts, the jobs in America which pay the
best, manufacturing, are fleeing to warmer climes, where workers
are paid a tenth, sometimes a hundredth of what American workers
are being paid. Most candidates out there today, Democrats and Republicans,
owe their campaign monies to such corporate interests, and have
no intention of cutting off their lucrative flow. They're bought;
and they'll stay bought, thank you! Any idea which points to that
problem is dismissed as "class war."
who are over-represented in the working class, the economy is in
virtual free-fall, with millions (if they are lucky enough to have
a job) living one paycheck away from disaster. For them, an American
economic recession spells a Depression. This, in a time when schools
are doing worse than in several generations. This bodes ill for
the generations coming up, for if education is a failure, what of
one's life options?
Way back in
the 1920s, the great scholar-activist, W.E.B. Du Bois decried both
political parties, for being unworthy of Black political support.
Writing for "The Crisis" Journal, Du Bois wrote:
We are invited
not to support either of the old, discredited and bankrupt political
parties. In other words, we are being compelled to do what every
honest thinking American wants to do namely, support some
third party which represents character, decency and ideals. Just
as the two old parties have combined against us to nullify our power
by a "gentleman's agreement" of nonrecognition, no matter
how we vote in the same way they have agreed to nullify the
vote of every forward- looking, thinking, honest American. The revolt
against this smug and idiotic defiance of the demand for advanced
legislation and intelligence is slowly sweeping the country. ...
May God *write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting
our trust in either the Republican or the Democratic Parties.* [Du
Bois, "An ABC of Color" (Int'l Publ., 1969), pp. 124-125]
Du Bois wrote
these words over 80 years ago. How true they sound today!
On the most important issues facing the nation, war, peace, social
justice, the death penalty, NAFTA, ... how similar so many of the
candidates sound, regardless of their 'party'!
At bottom, most
of them are members of the 'Corporate Party', for those are the
interests that they represent.
The poor, the
working class, the urban young, urban and rural seniors, they are
on their own.
issues are not just the stuff of the business pages; such issues
are the stuff of most of our lives, as we live in the shadow of
economic recession, and something that the business press praises
as 'the jobless recovery!' Isn't it time for a real third Party?;
One which doesn't have its umbilical cord tethered to Wall St.?
Isn't it time for a real Labor Party, that addresses the real bread
and butter issues in the interests of the People?
Let us begin to think about solutions, or 80 years from now, we
will still be reciting Dr. Du Bois' insights.
2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
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Reprinted by permission of the author.