Thursday, August 26, 2010

Union del Barrio on the U.S. Presidential Election (Nov. 2008)

November 5, 2008

Real change will only come from those who struggle for dignity,
justice and self-determination.

With the historic election of Barack Obama as President of the United
States we can say with certainty that there has been a paradigm shift
in the mythology of capitalist white rule. Without a doubt the
backwards concept of race superiority has suffered a blow, but the
transfer of political power from one capitalist party to another
should not be taken lightly. Race relations has entered a new level of
discussion in an empire that has built its existence on the genocide
of indigenous people, the theft of African labor and the premise of
expansionism under the ridiculous assertion of divine intervention to
settle land and conquer people. The significance of the 2008 U.S.
presidential election is that for the first time in the history of
capitalism, the most powerful country in the annals of human history
will be led by a black man. This phenomenon signals a decline in the
ability of white power capitalism to rule openly and viciously as it
has since its inception; but more importantly it signals the need for
those that financed the Obama campaign to promote president elect
Obama as the beacon to keep alive this unjust and decadent capitalist
system. In short, president-elect Obama was formed by the elite and
will rule with the elite, but the historical feat of a black
politician winning the presidency of the United States cannot be taken
for granted.

The election of the first black president of the United States signals
for us as well a new paradigm of struggle. Certainly the triumph of
Obama cannot and does not mean that our struggle for
self-determination, justice and dignity is now over. Quite the
contrary, our struggle must be intensified, it must be unyielding. For
in a time in which the empire finds itself in the midst of the worst
economic crisis, a crisis that has propelled the rest of the world
into a certain global economic depression. In a time in which endless
war is a failed and only remaining strategy for the empire to plunder
the resources of the peoples of the world. In this time, in which our
communities are under siege, raided, persecuted, deported by one of
the most sinister campaigns ever launched by the empire within its
boundaries. In this time in which the wall of death has been built all
along the borderlands as a damming monument erected by the empire in
order to reassure its theft of our lands. That horrendous monument not
only destroys communities, divides our people, wounds our collective
memory, but it kills with impunity.

In a time of crisis for those in power, we offer our commitment to
struggle, our willingness to be free, our hope for a better tomorrow.
In a time of the elite’s crisis we must seize the moment and
transform their crisis into our victory, their weakness into our
triumph, their hesitation into our steadfast movement forward, change
only comes when we, those who have been persecuted, exploited,
incarcerated, marginalized, disenfranchised, stand together and say
enough, and demonstrate our ability to resist. For the empire is more
dangerous when it is wounded, when its ideals are shattered, when its
economic systems are in turmoil, the United States and its capitalist
system has an outstanding ability to be resilient. It has risen
triumphant and empowered on many occasions out of multiple crises, for
such is the nature of the empire. It must self-degrade to gain
strength. Their crisis will not become our victory until we build a
movement with enough political strength to once and for all rid our
people of the yolk of oppression.

Apologists of the empire, and those scrambling to hold on to the now
dilapidated notion of white power will say, that Obama as president of
the United States signifies the end of class and race relations in the
United States. The end of history, the triumph of the Civil Rights
Movement; nothing can be further from the truth. Race and class
differences have been taken to never-before seen levels, while for the
first time the white minority ruling elite must address race relations
when addressing the political superstructure, the system however is
still very much entrenched in white power, it is still resilient, it
is still powerful and it will not concede much more political space.

This is precisely why capitalism was in need of a facelift and the
reason why the Democratic Party has won the contest for control, not
only of the White House, but also for Congress. It is based primarily
on the capitalists’ prospects and ability to confuse poor working
class people into believing that some change has occurred and that
this “change” will represent their interests. We don’t believe this
for a minute. Capitalism by any other name is still capitalism,
oppression by any other means is still oppression, and colonialism by
any other face is still colonialism.

For these reasons the results of this election should not be an
assertion that change is coming. We have always stated that both the
Republican and Democratic parties are representatives of the ruling
class, therefore their interests lie in keeping the wealth produced by
the working poor. Obama, who was criticized by his opponent for his
comments on wealth distribution, reaffirmed his stance by stating that
all he wants is to go back to the tax structure of the 1990s. This
point is best illustrated in the open thievery which took place last
month, as the largest bailout packages in the history of capitalism
were negotiated by Congress- of which both McCain and Obama were a
part of. The bailout was a safety net for some of the largest
corporations and was paid for at the expense of poor people the world

There is no evidence to suggest that the election of Obama will
fundamentally change the economic problems faced by the great majority
of people living within and outside of the political borders of the
United States. After all, Obama attended the elite places of learning
of the United States; his candidacy was supported by the ruling class
of the United States. Obama as president, by itself, does not signify
a fundamental change to the reality of working people and oppressed
people within the boundaries of the United States, on the contrary,
everything points towards the need for the United States to continue
the theft of resources of the people the world over in order to rescue
and maintain the economic system known as capitalism.

The triumph of Obama, over the war criminal McCain, must be viewed as
a weakening of the socio-political understanding of class and race of
the empire. But this feat, by itself does not guarantee change,
although we recognize that the election of a black man to the White
House is of historic proportions, now is the time for people of color
and working people who live within the boundaries of the United States
to unite
The struggle we have before us, beyond the Presidential election, is
the need to articulate what we mean by change. Our immediate task is
to organize ourselves in every community, in every school, in every
field, in every factory, hotel, prison, and wherever we may find
ourselves; for one thing is true, that while the economic crisis
continues to escalate, those in power will continue to fire workers,
all the while more and more people continue to have their homes stolen
by banks in the form of foreclosures.

This is why we support the efforts of those that call for a moratorium
on foreclosures, those who call for a halt to the raids and
deportations, and those that call for reparations for the African
community as well as support for cleaner sources of energy and the
elimination of green house gases, and finally the rights of people to
determine who they want to marry regardless of gender.

To all workers we say that your struggle to build unions and
independent associations at every worksite, free from ICE raids and
intimidation by the bosses signifies change. The struggle of women for
inclusion and equality in our society, to combat all forms of gender
violence is and must continue to be part of our change. To all
educators: your struggle to infuse class-consciousness in the
classroom despite the criminal budget cuts is our struggle. The
struggle of the youth and students for education, cultural, social and
political participation is our struggle. The struggle for relevant
education and access to higher learning is our change. The struggle
for human rights by grass-root community organizations that document
migra and police brutality and have organized themselves to promote
raids-free communities is the change that we need. To all non-profit
workers: your struggle to provide the necessary tools and resources to
help grassroots organizations build a movement from the bottom and to
the left and rid social movements of the paralysis generated by the
non-profit industrial complex, is the change that we are building. To
the intellectuals and academia: your struggle to generate ideas, write
our history and analyze our social conditions despite the restrictions
of bureaucracy of think tanks is the change that is coming. For
artists and cultural workers: the canvas, the mural, the musical
instrument, spoken word, their body, their written word, la flor y el
canto, and to those who continue to use culture as the most beautiful
tool against oppression, this is the change that we must build. To the
environmentalists who have struggled tirelessly against degradation,
pollution, health rights, toxic-free communities, yours is the change
we must build.

We must unite for self-determination of all oppressed people no matter
the nationality; we must unite as a working class people; and our
struggle must be an anti-imperialist struggle, based on the struggles
of all of us, when that happens then change becomes possible. Ours is
not a change based on empty hopes for a better future; it is based on
a need to ensure that all of us build a better community, a better
society, a better world.

¡Concientizació n!

Union Del Barrio!
www.uniondelbarrio. org

No comments: