On Our Own
The year 2020 continues to be a time where the world is on fire both figuratively and literally. You’d be silly to think it wasn’t. In the United States, people have finally realized that ‘we the people’ are on our own. No saviors are coming to make everything better. I’m sure the #Resist crowd will have you believe that every social ill in this nation started with “Russia” and “Donald Trump” circa 2015. They are dead wrong. The problems that plague American society have been with us since this nation’s inception. Countless cities are in a state of rebellion, in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, mass unemployment, and the continued rising death toll. This lethal combo all added fuel to this raging fire. It can all seem overwhelming. This is the time for solidarity across class and racial lines. We need BlackLivesMatter, the Anti-Fascists, immigrant rights advocates, and the labor movement to join forces. We must prepare for a fight on all fronts, in the streets, the courts, at the ballot box, in the media, and in our communities.
The enemy we face is powerful, they’re well funded and have access to military might. They are the fascist Trump regime, the neoliberal corporate wing of the DNC, the corporate elite, and the billionaire class. They will exploit our differences to pit people against each other. The upper and middle-class status quo bootlickers and Twitter Blue Checkmark Brigade will defend the “powers that be” to maintain their tiny slice of the economic pie. They’ll accuse protestors of being looters, trouble makers, or Russian agents. All while, some asswipe like Jeff Bezos is poised to become the world’s first trillionaire. Yet he pays his Amazon workers peanuts. So, Bezos and his ilk are the real looters.
The Fight Back
The good news, there has been resistance to the economic and racial inequalities in our society. There have been countless gig economy worker strikes since the pandemic kick-started. Nurses and other healthcare professionals on the front lines have been fighting for proper protective equipment and hazard pay. Instead of us calling frontline workers heroes, we should demand fair compensation and protection during the era of COVID19. As I write this post, mass protests across the country have ensued in the name of racial justice, an ending to the police murder of black civilians. Immigrate, and labor rights groups are organizing strikes nationwide in the wake of unsafe work conditions in meatpacking plants, detention centers, and growing fields in the shadow of COVID. Both major political parties failed to put economic and racial justice at the forefront of their agendas. Labor and racial justice groups need to work hand and hand to overcome the odds that are stacked against everyday people of all racial backgrounds in the United States.
A union between black lives Matter, immigrant rights, and labor could be the most potent force in the wake of a Great Depression-like downturn. Coming together as a united front could lead to a greater chance of holding powerful corporations and government officials accountable. There’s more of us than there are of them. The U.S. Federal Government has given major corporations a massive corporate bailout, which totaled $500 million in taxpayer dollars and counting. While stimulus checks and the small business loans where basically pennies were giving to the working and middle-classes people during the COVID pandemic.
Both political parties joined in this significant handout to the billionaire class. The people must demand a People’s Bailout for individuals and actual small businesses. Including a $2000 per month stipend for all citizens, indefinite extension of unemployment benefits, and 0% interest small business loans to small business owners throughout the time of the Coronavirus crisis.
We must hold the political and corporate class accountable for their roles mass incarceration, income inequality, lack of healthcare, affordable housing crisis, student loan debt, and the climate crisis. The burden has been placed on individuals to do their part while the ‘powers that be’ tout personal responsibility to the masses. All while not taking responsibility for their actions that have caused mass harm to the economy, people, and the planet. Let’s start by taxing the rich for one! The government and these corporations are run by people. No Matter how much money and resources they have at their disposal, it’s still more of us than them. And they’re just people too! (Amoral people, but human none the less).
The Ballot or the Bullet
Almost sixty years ago, Malcolm X gave his infamous “Ballot or the Bullet” speech. He knew that the United States could have a bloodless revolution. He also understood that the enemies of social justice will use violence to protect their power at any cost. Fast forward a few decades later, and black people are still murdered in the streets by cops. Perhaps we can take a page out of history to learn from community organizations that sprung up in the 1960s. Where the black community took to their 2nd amendment rights seriously and armed themselves for protection against racist cops and civilians. The Black Panthers and Deacons for Defense come to mind. The Panthers also engaged in political education classes, opened free health clinics, and provided youth free breakfast programs. This was black folks, in essence, uplifting their communities. They made a lot of mistakes, but we can still learn from what they did correctly. Policing the police should be the first step towards justice.
Black guns do matter, but folks need to know who to use weapons and obtain them legally. For now, it’s much easier to get a gun than it is to get healthcare. I’d encourage, if possible, for black homeowners to get guard dogs as well. Get those dogs protection training if you can afford too or get a dog with natural guarding instincts. German Shepards and Rotties come to mind. If you can, take self-defense and gun safety courses. Read the works of Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton, Malcolm X, MLK, Alice Walker, and James Baldwin. The struggle still continues.
Finally, organize with allies and vote. Voting is useless if the choices you have are just corporate-controlled politicians. If so, then vote the third party for politicians with progressive platforms and policies. Organize with allies across different communities. Look to our brothas and sistas in arms across the globe who also fight against authoritarian regimes. Solidarity between international human rights, labor, immigrant rights, and black lives matter could prove to be a powerful force for real justice. As I stated earlier, racial and economic justice go hand and hand. The powers that be and their status quo legion will work overtime to discredit and demonize the movement. But it’s either the ballot or the bullet. Because last I heard, the American Revolution wasn’t so peaceful.