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by: JARVIS TYNER
This story is reposted from Political Affairs.
Where we have come from
Government policy of racist oppression and brutality goes back before capitalism, but with capitalism came modern American slavery. Our history as a nation shows capitalism and slavery are an especially toxic mix. It has taken tens of millions of lives over centuries.
Turning human beings into commodities to be bought and sold, with no rights and basically worked to death meant a level of viciousness, brutality, and suffering that humanity had not before experienced. Maintaining this system required a long reign of terror to try to prevent people from pursuing freedom. The system of chattel slavery was defeated but racism and racial oppression remains a cornerstone of capitalist rule in our country up to today. After the defeat of the old Jim Crow (U. S. apartheid) in the 1960’s, new forms of Jim Crow were created. The majority of African Americans remained segregated and unequal in most vital areas of life.
Jim Crow extended the reign of terror to keep millions of African Americans and other people of color trapped in poverty, ill‐housed, ill‐fed, poorly educated, brutalized by the police and incarcerated at the highest rates in the world. All of this was not possible without systemic, structural racism, including a policy of racial exclusion, to make it to work. Racial profiling in law enforcement and in private and public employment has a central place in a system of oppression that penalizes people of color with double and triple unemployment rates, poverty rates and incarceration rates that far exceed any other racial group.
To hold Black folks in deep poverty and oppression, to keep the people-‐especially working class people‐-racially divided and antagonistic remains a basic part of U.S. capitalist rule. It is a central and strategic reason why the ruling 1% can maintain their power and their privilege. Most African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian and Pacific peoples who find themselves and their families trapped in a super exploited, racially oppressed crisis state of existence are there not because they are inferior or lack initiative and discipline, or because they are lazy and unintelligent, criminal, violent or childlike. It is the system of racial oppression and terror that’s primarily responsible and that is what must be challenged. That should be the historic mission of all people of good will who want a democratic and humane society with economic and social equality and justice for all.