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FROM THE BELLY OF THE BEAST - NOTE NO. 4 by Godfrey Vincent

posted 20 Jun 2020, 07:53 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 20 Jun 2020, 08:14 ]
1. Amid the COVID 19 pandemic, Police Murder and Brutality, Lynching, and Economic crisis, there is a major struggle for ideas as it relates to the future of the United States of America. This struggle is currently being played out in the streets in Urban, Suburban, and Rural America between the forces in the suites and the forces in the street.

2. Representing the forces in the suites are the Trump Administration, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and the one percent that is represented by the various business groups.

3. In the streets, there exist groups such as Black Lives Matter, NAACP, Color of Change, Occupy Movement, Anarchists, LBTGQ, Latino Immigrant groups, the Black Alliance for Peace, People’s Strike, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, Feed the Streets LA, Chicago Alliance against Racist and Political Repression, Radical College students, BYP 100, the Navajo nation, the Poor Peoples Campaign, Women Rising, and other radical and progressive groups. It must be noted that Black Lives Matter is leading the protests in the streets.

4. In terms of its ideas on the future of America, the Trump administration is doubling down on its policy of “Law and Order.” Even though, the president signed an Executive Order on Police Reforms, it failed to acknowledge that Systemic Racism exists in America.

Before he addressed the attendees, he once again signaled to his base that “people want Law and Order.” Additionally, the future of America for the Trump administration is one where the one percent continues to obtain massive tax cuts at the expense of workers and the working poor. Moreover, even though the administration sent the military back to the bases, President Trump wants to use the army to crack down on the autonomous zone that the people of Seattle liberated.

Furthermore, the administration is no longer addressing the COVID 19 pandemic as it focuses on re-opening the economy. Its main concern is the health of Wall Street rather on the total health of the US population. Riding on the slogan “Make America Great Again,” the administration is counting on its minority White Nationalist base to vote it into office for another four years. The goal is to maintain a system based on White Supremacy that continues to disenfranchise Black and Brown people, and immigrants. Additionally, it wants to maintain the capitalist system that excludes trade unions, allows right to work states, pays minimum wages, cuts health care, underfunds the social safety net, pollutes the environment, and promotes privatization.

5. The GOP, in the Trump era, has ceased to be an independent party and has become the party of Trump. All members in the Senate and House of Representatives have abandoned their principal positions and have become ardent supporters of the President. The party refused to impeach the president in the Senate and has rubber-stamped every legislation that supports the Trump agenda.

6. On the topic of policing that has now come front and center in the discourse, the GOP bill 1. Requires data collection on use of force and no-knock warrants; 2. Incentivizes state and local police to ban chokeholds; 3. Calls on state and local departments to document police misconduct; 4. Directs Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish de-escalation training guidelines; 5. Establishes a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys; 6. Sets up grant programs for body cameras; 8. Makes lynching a federal crime.

How Trump Will Make America Great Again? InfographicWhile it appears that the GOP wants to see the bill becomes law, critics say that the bill does not include defunding the police. Additionally, the GOP is backing Trump’s position on Law and order. On the question of the economy, the GOP does not want to support another stimulus package that will bring relief to some 30 million unemployed workers. Known as the party of “Big business,” the GOP views the various stimulus packages as a form of welfare. Their position is to pass economic bills that will give more tax cuts to Big business.

As to the protests in the streets, a CNN report has confirmed that top Republican senators defended the use of force to clear out peaceful protestors near the White House that allowed the President to
The Making of a Conservative Superstar - The Atlantic
Senator Tom Cotton wants Trump to send in the troops
take a photo-op near a church holding a bible (See CNN News, June 2, 2020). Moreover, Senator Tom Cotton, in a New York Times OP-ED, Send in the Troops in which he made the case that federal troops are needed to stamp out "anarchy" caused by the protests sweeping the United States that he claimed recalls "the widespread violence of the 1960s” (See CNN News, June 4, 2020). Cotton, who is a militarist, and a strong supporter of President Trump, wants to see the movement in the streets crushed. It must be noted that Cotton’s position represents the position of the GOP.

7. With mass protests in the streets, the one percent, and Corporations facing a backlash from the protesters are doling out millions of dollars to Black and Brown communities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to appease these communities. Recently, Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix and his wife gave $120 million gift to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) (See Chronicle of Higher Education, June 17, 2020). Moreover, Michael Jordan and his Jordon Brand gave $100 million to organizations that are engaged in fighting racism (See CNBC, June 4, 2020). On June 11, 2020,

TeenVogue, reported that forty-four fashion and beauty brands have pledge hundreds of million dollars in support of Black Lives Matter. Moreover, facing product boycott by shoppers, The Quaker Oats Company, manufacturer of Aunt Jemima, has announced a name changing, citing that the brand has deep roots associated with slavery (See NBC News, June 17, 2020). Compared to 2014 when only Black people took to the streets, the CEOs of these major corporations are seeing a broader coalition of Blacks and Whites who are not only angry but have not forgotten the Corporate Bailout Wall Street received during the Great Recession.

8. What is the position of the Democratic Party? It depends on which fraction of the party from which one is seeking an answer. The Democratic party is made of different coalitions: New Deal Democrats, Conservative Democrats, Third Way Democrats, Progressive Democrats, and Black Caucasus Democrats. The New Deal Democrats want to see government playing a greater role in the economy by pursuing policies that the FDR administration pursued from 1936/37 to address the socio-economic problems caused by the Great Depression (1929). Moreover, they also want to tackle the problems of systematic racism that has plagued Black people since Slavery was instituted.

Conservative Democrats are those politicians who seek very slow incremental changes to the society. The Conservative democrats resist defunding the police and support the maintenance of racial hierarchy, and capitalism that provides minimal welfare benefits.


Bill Clinton dismantled the welfare system
Third Way democrats or “New Democrats” are those politicians like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama who support Neo-liberal economic policies. While they talk about Opportunity for all, and “Hope and Change,” their positions are aligned with Wall Street executives. Remember, it was Bill Clinton who dismantled the Glass/Steagall Act. It was under his administration that Welfare as we know it came to an end. While they talk a good game about police reform, voting rights, Health Care for all, this wing of the party is anti-working class.

The Progressive wing of the Democrats are pushing for a New Green Deal, $15-20 hour living wage, comprehensive health care for all, comprehensive immigration, cancellation of student debt, comprehensive police reform, regulation of Wall Street, comprehensive voting rights, gay rights and women’s rights.

9. So far the protestors have been able to force the Democratic party in general and Democratic mayors and governors in particular to make concessions like making Juneteenth a State Holiday and City holiday (NY and NYC), pursuing police reform, removing significant funding from police departments (LA), prosecuting police officers for the murder of George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks, and firing officers charged with these crimes, painting entire streets and plazas dedicated to BLM, removing confederate monuments, and passing a comprehensive Police reform bill in the House of Representatives and an anti-Lynching Bill in the Senate (GOP senator Rand Paul is blocking this legislation). Additionally, the Democratic party is trying to co-opt the movement by encouraging the protestors to throw their support for Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential election.

10. While the Democratic party is trying to wrest control of the protest, the forces in the streets, mainly led by BLM, are calling for reparations, defunding the police, total reorganization of policing with greater community involvement, a living wage with health care, paid sick-leave, maternity and paternity leave and other work-related benefits.

They are also calling for federal, state, and local government spending and investment in black and brown communities, student loan debt forgiveness, total dismantling of all confederate flags and monuments, an end to voter suppression, an end to stand your ground laws, citizenship for all DACA people, the creation of autonomous zones, banning of the KKK, ending of all forms of racial discrimination, greater funding for all Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), an end to military interventions, end to poverty, end to red-lining and gentrification, women’s reproductive rights, LBTGQ rights, and union rights. In sum, the movement is demanding an end to systematic racism and the creation of an America that works for most of the people.

11. Currently, there are thousands of people in the streets celebrating Juneteenth. The protest is continuing because it has gone beyond the issue of police murder and brutality. On Saturday, low-income
How Chicagoans Are Celebrating Juneteenth | WBEZ Chicago people from about 40 states are protesting in Washington, D.C. Led by the Poor People’s Campaign, this march will “demand action on a specific policy agenda that brings the fight against poverty, racism and over-militarization together with campaigns to protect the environment and make it liveable for all.

Grounded in a 2020 report entitled The Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America, the agenda focuses on five core justice issues: "systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and a distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism” (See Triple Pundit, June 19, 2020). Speaking on MSNBC on Thursday night, Reverend William J. Barber II stated that both political parties have neglected the poor and only focus on the middle class and the movement will use the march to make the plight of the poor a major policy debate in the US.

12. While the political pundits are mainly focusing the protests as a race issue, a few local unions have intervened in the struggle. In California, the International Longshoremen’s, and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) in general and ILWU 10 in Oakland California have joined the protest by taking to the streets for Juneteenth. (See CBS FS Bay Area, June 19, 2020). Writing in the Jacobin, David Ward makes a passionate call for trade unions to embrace Black Lives Mater. According to Ward, “Black lives do not just need allies who condemn what happened to George Floyd — they need comrades who are prepared to do the work to make change happen. Martin Luther King Jr spoke about “four catastrophes”: militarism, materialism, racism, and poverty. We must ensure that we fight in his memory, within working-class communities, to take up his challenge of confronting these evils.”

13. The late James Brown said that we are living in critical and crucial times. This column states we are living in times of Class struggle that is intensifying as capitalism is plunged into deeper crisis. Some years ago, the Fatback band sang “who is gonna take the weight, not me.” Writing in the same vein some years later, the Poet, Abdul Malik, wrote, More Weight, More Weight and we ‘pon the ground. More Weight, More Weight, and dey kicking we down. Man, we have to fight to survive to survive. Man, we have to kick to survive.” From their various perspectives, both Fatback Band and Abdul Malik sighted up the need for people to engage in class struggle. What is emerging in the streets of America is class struggle that is why the forces supporting President Trump is calling for “Law and Order.” Watch this space!
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