Socialist Alternative leaflet distributed at the protests against the KKK and neo-nazi’s in Memphis, Tennessee on March 30
“You Can’t Have Capitalism Without Racism” -Malcom X
Racism is alive and well in the United States. From housing bias to discriminatory hiring practices, inadequate public education and mass imprisonment, it is clear that we don’t live in a “post-racial” society. While the official overall unemployment rate hovers around 8%, the jobless rate in mid-2012 for African Americans was 14.1% and 10.2% for Latinos. People of color make up 30% of the country’s population, but account for 60% of those imprisoned. Racism is built into the fabric of US capitalism.
The Right-Wing Connection
As the economic crisis continues and seems to deepen worldwide, people are looking for solutions to the uncertainty of unemployment, crumbling social services and home foreclosures. While some people will draw correct conclusions about the richest 1 o/o and corporations being to blame, others will look for scapegoats. The racist right wing will capitalize on this uncertainty by combining anti-establishment rhetoric and putting blame on African-Americans, union members, immigrants and other working people.
Right-wing populists in the Tea Party throw words like “liberty” and “freedom” out like candy, but what kind of freedom can one find in the throes of poverty? When these right-wing populist groups speak of freedom, what they mean to say is “freedom for those who can afford it” and nothing more.
While there are differences between the Democrats and Republicans, they both loyally serve the interests of the corporations and the capitalist system. When Democrats carry out budget cuts and bank bailouts, they provide a potential base for right-wing populist rhetoric. Racism (like sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia) is actually encouraged by the capitalist system in an attempt to divide workers, pitting them against one another.
Many white workers who end up buying into the racist blame-game went to similar low-quality public schools, drive beat-up old cars, and now work the same dead-end jobs as black and Latino workers. We need to unite working people around our common interests for good jobs and services and put the blame where it really belongs on the 1% – who constantly seek to maximize profit through layoffs and decreased wages. It’s well past the time for us workers to realize this, but again, the problem is systemic.
Join the Socialists!
We can’t rely on the two parties of big business to end racism, poverty and war; we must build a movement of mass protests and political independence for working people. We need not just a movement against “hate” but clear demands to better our lives that strike at the root cause of all of our problems. We need a movement with candidates that stand up for working and poor people as a step towards a new mass party.
Socialist Alternative is a national organization fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day. We are community activists fighting against budget cuts in public services; we are union activists fighting for living wage jobs and democratic unions; we are people of all colors speaking out against racism and attacks on immigrants, women and men fighting sexism and homophobia.
Socialist Alternative is a growing organization that is in political solidarity with the worldwide movement, the Committee for a Workers’ International, organizing in over 40 countries for fundamental change. Join us in the struggle to bring about an end to the tyranny and discrimination of capitalism and build a truly free and democratic, equitable, and sustainable future for all people on this planet.