How has Jesse Jackson contributed as a leader since 1984? His Rainbow Coalition continued to be the banner for addressing the needs of the poor immigrants, etc. He had also become a roving ambassador and had successfully defused several sensitive hostage situations around the globe. Today’s news advised that he had gone to Africa to try to mediate hostage situation in Sierra Leon and in the Congo. He is considered of the most influential men in the country.
Jesse Jackson had contributed as a leader since 1984 by making two strong runs for the democratic nomination for president of the United States in 1984 and 1988. This was a great history making achievement for an African American.
Philadelphia Police bomb Move house in West Philly.
The formation of N’CORBRA (National of Blacks for Reparations in America, Inc.)
Network of African American Organizers formed.
Jesse Jackson, the People's Candidate: A Reply to Obafemi Senghor Jesse's Legacy Twenty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was supporting a strike for better wages/working conditions by garbage workers who were predominantly African American in Memphis, Tenn. This was to be a prelude for his intended Poor People's Campaign; a campaign that intended to unite all oppressed minorities of all races with poor whites, scheduled to be held in the spring of 1968 in Washington, D.C.
From sources who were close to Dr. King, it has been passed on that Dr. King was beginning to recognize the importance of class struggle and had to intended to ask the AFL-CIO to call a general strike in support of the Memphis workers. Of course, if this had happened, all sectors of American society would have been polarized. Not since the 1960's has an African-American leader become the focal point of American politics. Jesse Jackson, who marched, organized and struggled with Dr. King, now inherits that legacy. Some call Jesse an opportunist but when we criticize we must first start with ourselves; what have we done to contribute to the liberation of African-Americans, not just in words but also in deeds? Many of us who were revolutionaries in the 1960's criticized Dr. King because we were out on the "firing line" the most, suffering the most casualties and saw weakness in his strategy but still supported him because we knew he was progressive and was moving people towards a revolutionary transformation.
Much has transpired in the past twenty years during which time the conservative right wing of the capitalist ruling class waged a war of genocide against Black America.
One of the reforms won by the civil rights movement was the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. In 10 years following its (VRA) passage, voter registration among African-Americans doubled. The movement for African American political empowerment began to grow with the electing of African American mayors in major cities numbering approximately 303; 34 of them in cities with 50,000 plus population today. Between 1974 and 1980 the number of African-Americans holding public office doubled in six southern states. In Louisiana the number of African American elected officials increased by 143%; in North Carolina by 55%.
The idea of a African American presidential candidate seemed to have started as a symbolic protest to racial and political inequalities in the U.S. economic and political systems. The growth of the idea of a African American presidential candidate evolved along with the growth and maturation of the African American electorate and democratization of the political process in America. In 1960, Reverend Clennon King and Reginald Carter announced their candidacies for president and vice president on the Afro-American party ticket but the idea did not catch on. In 1964 Clifton DeBerry ran for president on the Socialist Workers Party ticket and in 1968 Charlene Mitchell ran for president for the Communist Party becoming the first African American woman to run for president. Eldridge Cleaver in '68, then Minister of Information of the Black Panther Party was candidate for president of t
he Peace and Freedom Party. Cleaver got on the ballot in over 19 states and won nearly 200,000 votes. Dick Gregory also ran for president and received almost 150,000 votes.351 The motion toward electing African American political officials took various organizational forms. In various communities African American political conventions were held endorsing candidates. In 1970 the Congress of African People (CAP) convened to harness the motion.352 As CAP degenerated more into cultural nationalism, the National Black Political Convention was held in Gary, Indiana. While many nationalist activists were calling for an independent black political party many veteran civil rights activists including Jesse Jackson were calling for building an anti-racist, progressive wing inside of the Democratic Party. The progressive resistance forces inside the Democratic Party have continuously challenged the racism internal to the Democratic Party and have strove to implement "Peace and Justice" issues into the Democratic Party platform.
The National Black Political Assembly (NBPA) grew out of the National Black Political Convention and raised a progressive program for African American candidates to address. An idea does not take root among the masses until it corresponds with the objective experience of the masses and is grasped by them consciously seizing upon the historical time.
Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm paved the way for the forward motion of running a black presidential candidate when she ran for president in 1972 inside ten of the Democratic Party primaries.353 In 1976 NBPA developed a campaign 76 strategy designed to run an independent black presidential campaign. The campaign called on Rep. Ron Dellums (D-Calif.) to run for president. Dellums declined and not much came of the campaign. In 1980 several hundred activists met to form the National Black Independent Party (NBIP). As a new black political movement began to take shape in the early 1980's, many African-American political activists began to see coalition building and cross ethnic alliances as the key to winning political victories.
The coalition built in Chicago around the election of Harold Washington for mayor and bucking the racist Democratic Party was used as a model for the progressive electoral strategy.354 The new political upsurge represents a new juncture in the black liberation movement.
The efforts to strengthen the resistance camp among African American elected officials and to forge broader alliances in the electoral process are promising developments for the progressive and working class movements more generally. They reveal the potential for the emergence of a serious left opposition within the Democratic Party, anchored firmly among African American elected officials. Such an opposition bloc is a crucial element in the long-term consolidation of a progressive coalition in the U.S. with the capacity to impact national policy.355 The democratization of the political process is pertinent to restructuring America because while African-Americans constitute 25% of the population in Alabama, only 5.7 of the elected officials are African-Americans. One third of Mississippians are African-Americans but only 7.3% of the elected officials are. In Georgia, three quarters of the counties with an African-American population of 20% or more have no African-American elected officials at all.
Between the 1980 and '84 elections, more than two million African Americans were added to voter rolls; an increase of 24 percent. African-Americans', between ages 18 and 24, registration rates caught up to Anglo-Americans of the same age in 1984 and passed Anglo-Americans in 1986 (46% for blacks and 42% for whites). In 11 southern states African-Americans added 695,000 voters to the rolls between '84 and '86, while Anglo-Americans lost 227,000. Even so there are only 12 million registered African-Americans out of a potential of 19 million voters.
istorically the stage was set for the emergence of a black progressive challenge within the Democratic Party. On November 3, 1983, Jesse Jackson announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The Jackson campaign came at a time when the black movement for national democratic rights was undergoing a transition. For 15 years the movement had retreated into accommodationist politics aligning itself with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. But beginning with the August 27th March on Washington in 1983 and culminating with the election of Harold Washington in Chicago and Wilson Goode in Philadelphia, a new motion of African American politics began to take shape.
Building on his base built in Operation. Push and African American churches, Reverend Jesse Jackson entered into an alliance with Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. With the charismatic speakers of the NOI and the eloquent Minister Farrakhan, the Jackson campaign was able to mobilize "the masses" of African-Americans even to overcome the neo-colonist opposition; "the toms of a new type," Andy Young of Atlanta, Coleman Young of Detroit, Wilson Goode of Philadelphia, and most of the traditional African American democratic office holders who were tied to the white liberal democratic machine. This remains exemplary, in fact, that in the 1984 presidential campaign 80-65% of all African Americans voted for Jesse in the primary; he received 17% of the Asian and Latin vote in California, and 33% in New York and 20% of the overall Democratic primary vote. Even with the Farrakhan factor, which we will discuss later, Jesse won some impressive victories in '84, winning over 3.5 million popular votes and over 60 Congressional districts, 30 of them in the South, winning most of the major urban centers, North and South, taking the popular vote in the states of Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Jesse Jackson came in fourth out of eight in New Hampshire which is 98% white, won almost 15% of the caucus votes in Vermont where less than 1,000 African-Americans live. Jesse won such places as Homestead, Pennsylvania, was endorsed by farmers in Columbia, Missouri, where farmers had to put sacks over their heads for fear of reprisal from the government. The Apache Nation in Arizona endorsed the Jackson campaign, and Jesse won every Hispanic district in New York City, even though all of the elected Hispanic leadership went with Mondale.
Jesse Jackson developed a new foreign policy of unity towards the Third World. He went to Syria and met with President Asaad and secured the release of American flyer Lt. Goodman. He went to Cuba, met with Fidel Castro and negotiated the release of political prisoners.
In February 1984 Milton Coleman, a Negro reporter released to his white colleagues that Jesse Jackson had made a racial remark about Jews referring to them as "Hymies" and New York as "Hymietown." This story broke in the Washington Post and was carried nationwide. The majority of the Jewish community made an all out attack on Jesse and Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. But the white establishment press did not talk about the basis of the attack. The majority of the Jewish community (6 million) who have risen to become the richest and most
powerful minority, who once were liberal and left being Zionist, supporting the state of Israel, have become conservative. This political transition of the Jewish community has occurred in the last 40 years, Jews who once were Black America's allies have in the last 20 years aligned themselves with the forces of reaction to become enemies on many occasions. Jesse, having a progressive position for the establishment of a Palestine state, is the reason for the attack. Minister Farrakhan recognized that the state of Israel is a racist white colonial settler state occupying the land of the Palestinian people, the same way the white racist colonial settler state of South Africa is occupying the national territory of Africans. Both states have no right to exist and should be destroyed. The existence of both states help maintain racism worldwide.
Minister Farrakhan's defense of Jesse and his further attacks on Zionism brought a barrage of white reaction to such a point that Jesse had to sever his ties with Minister Farrakhan in order to maintain the Rainbow Coalition. During the last four years Jesse Jackson has become a people's advocate going to so many picket lines, protest marches and strikes that its too many to account for. Beginning in 1983 Jesse led the get-out-the-vote for increasing voter registration which led to 2 million new voters which in 1986 provided the margin of victory for eight Southern Democratic Senators, not one of whom received the majority of the white vote in their state. This returned the Senate to a Democratic majority. And, when the African American electorate opposed the nomination of conservative Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court, their political clout was felt with his defeat.
Between 1984 and 1987 Jesse helped build the Rainbow Coalition into an embryo political organization with a membership of 20,000. Jesse Jackson has become the most articulate spokesperson for a coherent alternative to Reaganism or conservative reaction. The success of Jesse's populist message has helped slow the rightward drift of the Democratic Party. Jesse entered the 1988 primary season as the "progressive" candidate who speaks for an ever-widening sector of the American population who, by virtue of their class and social status, have become victims of the Reagan counter-revolution. The Rainbow Coalition, being a progressive political organization, which is attempting to unite the entire American working class to struggle on an 'economic common ground' poses to be an open challenge to the conservative right.
The polarization of political forces and the general political drift to the right in the United States makes it necessary to intensify the struggle against racism and imperialism.
The Republican party has become the political voice of the reactionary sector of financial capital. The Republicans though they have suffered a temporary setback in the November (1986) election have set the country (the majority of white workers) to the right by espousing a conservative philosophy that has been viewed as the only alternative to maintain the American standard of living (labor benefits of imperalism); have forced the liberal-democrats on the political defensive.
The traditional east coast/mid-west liberal democrats who have been previously the left center forces are capitulating to the rising racism in sectors of the white working class and are moving the political center towards the right [the support for fiscal cuts (social services, military support of the contra's support for the imperialist attack on Nicaragua, Libya, Grenada, etc.)], and the Democratic leadership council led by Nunn, Gephart, Babbitt and Robb, also want to take the Democratic party to the right.
The United States capitalist ruling class seems to be opting to align its forces (influences, capital and power) with the ultra right (open fascistic) political groups , are fanning racism in the white working class during the present structural crisis in order to keep it from uniting, reaching class consciousness and carrying out class warfare. The white United Front represented by its extreme nationalist wing, the KKK, Aryan Nations, Contra-De Posse and other paramilitary utlra-right groups represented a million plus Americans who are prepared to fight to bring in fascism and to be military counter-revolutionaries to stop socialism. These groups are in alliance with the legal religious ultra-right front groups, such as Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others who use Christianity as a cover to support the political motion (arena) towards fascism and aggressive military support of U.S. imperialism.
The social populist democrats now appear on the political stage as the new popular center forces in opposition to fascism/conservatism. The Rainbow Coalition as the progressive wing inside the Democratic party represents the most explosive political force to challenge the traditional democratic leadership at the next Democratic convention.
With Jesse's message of "economic violence," he has either been the front runner or the No. 2 contender in the 1988 Democratic primaries. Going against a negative image projected by a racist/conservative news media and having little money to spend for TV advertisements, Jesse Jackson's campaign in 1988 has been a historical phenomenon. Having the strongest message and less 'money, Jesse has won the minds and hearts of millions of Americans of all races, creeds, and strata. using the Charles Bibbs, Sr., formula of MMO--Message, Money, Organization., Jackson took 20% in the Minnesota caucus, which is about 96% white, 23% in the Maine caucus, and 27% in the Vermont primary. Jesse edged cut Paul Simon and Dick Gephardt early as Albert Gore hung in until New York. To show the impact of the Jackson campaign, Jesse received 10% of the vote in Iowa (a predominantly white state). In 1984 Jesse got only 1.5% of the vote in Iowa. On Super Tuesday, Jesse Jackson won five states and finished a strong 'second place in 11 states. Jesse took Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia. In the final count, Jesse captured 97% of the African American vote and 10% of the white. Jesse placed second in most of the rest of the states including Texas, Hawaii, and other contenders' home states.
It should be noted that African-Americans comprise almost one-fourth of the Democratic vote across the South, and they make up nearly half the electorate in such Deep South states as Alabama and Mississippi..
uper Tuesday: How They Voted
With the momentum from Super Tuesday, Jesse grabbed a first place in South Carolina and Alaska and then captured second place to Paul Simon in Illinois. But the turning point in the campaign showing its potential to transforming America was Jesse Jackson's stunning victory over Michael Dukakis in the Michigan caucuses. Jesse's resounding upset gaining 55% of the vote worried the U.S. capitalist class ruling circles, its political representatives, and the Democratic party establishment. They now felt they had to do something to stop a people's democratic revolt. The Democratic party establishment began to show its racist teeth and lined into a Stop-Jackson campaign. While Gov. Michael Dukakis is the liberal bourgeoisie's candidate, Mayor Ed Koch endorsed Gore and used him as a shield to launch his racist attack on Jesse in New York. Though Dukakis won in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio, while Jackson won in D.C., and California is up for grabs, the race is not over. In fact, the real politicking on a historical basis had just begun. Jesse will go to Atlanta to the National Democratic Convention in July with more political clout than any African American man or progressive has ever had in history inside of the Democratic party. Already the Jesse Jackson campaign has altered the issues Dukakis relates to. Jackson Action is setting the agenda for the entire Democratic party. Even many whites who did not vote for Jesse admit he is the best man for the job. For many of them they know they are voting against their class interests but cannot seem to help themselves because of the old racial blindspot. The Jesse Jackson campaign has pushed the entire Democratic party to the left.
Jesse will go into Atlanta with a well-organized voter base with a minimum of 1,000 delegates and more than twice the number he had in 1984. More than anything else, the Jesse Jackson campaign has set the stage for a new politics and reflects the present state of political consciousness of Black and progressive America.
Understanding the present state of political consciousness of Black America In attempting to understand the underpinnings of the present political consciousness of the majority of African-Americans, one must take a sober look at the state of Black America.
Though there were gains won in voting rights and equal access to accommodations from the civil rights movement, the general overall economic condition of African-Americans has qualitatively depreciated in relation to Anglo (white) Americans. The response of the African American electorate to the new African American politics represented on a national scale by the Jesse Jackson campaign and the Rainbow Coalition is an attempt to affect state (government) policy domestically and internationally to basically alter that condition.
While the percentage of African-Americans earning more than $35,000 a year rose in constant dollars, from 15.7% in 1970 to 21.2% in 1986 and 8.8% African-Americans now earn more than $50,000 a year, a two-prong gap is widening between African American America and white America and also between the African American middle class, the African American working class, and the African American underclass.
hree times as many African-Americans live in poverty than whites. On the average, the African-American medium income is 57% that of Anglo-Americans, a decline of about four percent since the early 70's. In 1980, 23.7% of all African American families headed by persons with at least four years of college earned less than $15,000 annually, while 26.1% of householders in white families who only had four years of high school received a comparable annual salary. In 1981, 54.8% of African American families had annual incomes of less than $15,000, while only 27.9 percent of white families were similarly situated. The income distribution overall of African American families whose heads have completed four years of college parallels the income distribution for white families headed by high school graduates more closely than it does white families headed by college students. Add the cost of sending children to college, educational capital and the black white gap totals where middle income whites make ten times as much as the majority of black America. While there was an increase in African-Americans obtaining professional, technical and craft positions, simultaneously unskilled labor jobs in industry have been exported to the Third World Newly Industrialized Countries (NIC's).
In 1960, 11 percent of African American workers were employed in professional and technical and craft positions; by 1980 their proportion had almost doubled to 21 percent. Between 1972 and 1982 the percentage of employed African Americans working in professional and technical positions increased from 8.2 to 11.8 percent. African American women professionals increased from 11 percent of all employed African American women in 1972 to nearly 14 percent of the total in 1980. Approximately one-fourth of African American workers employed in the public sector have federal government jobs, half work for city and county governments, and the remaining one-fourth are employed in state government. Between 1975 and 1984 African-Americans employed full-time by city government expanded from 260,254 to 302,726; and their median annual income rose from $9,342 in 1975 to $17,144 in 1984. The total number of full-time African American county employees was 95,727 in 1975 and 131,793 by 1984. During that period the median annual income of African American county workers grew from $8,260 to $15,004. One third (34 percent) of African American male managers and half (51 percent) of African American male, professionals work for the government. Similarly, two-fifths (41 percent) of African American female managers and two-thirds (69 percent) of African American female professionals have jobs in the public sector.4 This has gone along with a big increase generally in African American public sector employment for all classes, which rose from 1.6 million in 1970 to 2.5 million in 1980. African American women clerical employment expanded from 7.5 percent of employed African Americans in 1950 to 30.8 percent in 1970. The employment gains of African American women are not as impressive when one considers that clerical jobs are the lowest paid of the "white collar" positions, with annual income in 1980 of only $11,717 for full-time workers.
Though the African American middle class has experienced gradual progress, the African American working class which was expanding, gathering strength with 3.3 million in unions have been seriously setback with the
de-industrialization of America. There are approximately 9 million African-American workers not organized (non-union). Most of these non-unionized African American workers are in the south where there-still is domestic industrial growth because of low wages.
Between 1975 and 1984 alone, the Southeast gained 5.2 million jobs--a 32% rise--and it is projected that over the next thirty years, there will be another jump of 50%.356 Of the 12 million African American workers, 6.6 million are African American female workers. The de-industrialization of America is swelling the ranks of the hard-core unemployed strata of the African American working class nominally called the African American underclass. In 1983, 9.9 million African-Americans--approximately 36 percent of the African American population--lived in poverty, the highest African American poverty rate since the government began reporting data on African American poverty in 1968. Of all African American families headed by women, 56.7% are below the poverty level, as compared with 29.8% of similarly situated white families. Over the past couple of decades, between 1960 and 1982, the proportion of African American men not participating in the labor force rose from 7.0 percent to 28.1 percent, compared to an increase from 15.8 percent to 22.2 percent for white men.
As the civil rights movement began to falter due to the U.S. government's conspiracy (COINTELPRO-counter-intelligence program) against the black liberation movement and internal dissent over direction and who was going to lead; direct action (mass civil disobedience) as a strategy began to be replaced by the drive of African American electoral politics. In the 1980's African-American activity in the electoral arena has increased. The black liberation movement being a product of history does not skip stages; though its ultimate cumulative development will be towards an revolutionary program, this has not and will not occur without the black liberation movement exhausting the bourgeois democratic process.
. . . the current attempt to bring the political weight of Black America to bear in the electoral arena--and on the terrain of the Democratic Party--represents a significant maturation of the spontaneous Black liberation movement and signals a new stage in its development. And second, because the Black liberation movement starts at the intersection of the class and racial contradictions under U.S. capitalism, this new stage of development promises to have a profound impact in the decades ahead on the shape and direction of working class politics overall and in fact offers the best hope of leading a working class breakaway from the Democratic Party.357
his new development of political consciousness of Black America has several features; first, its base rests on the active mobilization of the African-American masses who have previously had a passive if not apathetic relation to the electoral process; second, it is evident with the Harold Washington and Jesse Jackson campaigns that an embryonic "people's" political program is beginning to formulate, one which clearly stands to the left of the bourgeois political spectrum, in opposition to institutionalized racism and encompassing social/political questions affecting the entire multi-national working class. Third, this new tendency in political consciousness is becoming a African American insurgency inside the Democratic Party that is challenging its conservative leadership, stimulating the labor movement and pressuring the accommodationist African American political uncle tom leaders.
There are now 6,625 African American elected officials in the United States, representing 1.5 percent of all elective offices. There is a potential for 55,000 African American elected officials. The South has 53 percent of the nation's African-American population and 63.8 percent of all African American elected officials. There are 4200-4500 African American elected officials in the South; 521 African American elected officials in the state of Mississippi. African American elected officials increased more than 300 percent between 1970 and 1982, and their numbers have continued to grow. African American mayors have increased from 48 in 1973 to 223 in 1983; ten of eighteen largest cities in the U.S., now have African American mayors--such cities as Detroit, Atlanta, Oakland, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
The institution that is the base of the drive for African American elective empowerment is the African American Christian Church. The church has approximately 10 million voters. As of 1984 there were 6 million African American registered Democrats. There are generally 8.5 million African American baptists, 3.7 million in the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, 2 million in the ASE, 1.3 million African American Catholics, most of whom live in Louisiana, and others in different denominations. So to understand to a very large extent the state of political consciousness of the organized majority of black Americans; 10 million out of 19 million potential African American votes and 30 million people, one has to take a serious look at the political consciousness of African American ministers, the theology of liberation and how that is manifesting as political clout in the Democratic party in order to determine how it can be transformed into a politics of liberation:
Jesse's message and the new politics "The workers of the world must unite because slave labor anywhere is a threat to organized labor everywhere."
One thing is clear in 1988 only one candidate, Jesse Jackson, is discussing the class, race, gender and political aspects of oppression affecting all sectors of American society. Since 1984 when Jesse Jackson's program for the Democratic party was abolition of runoff primaries, the end of the U.S. first strike option, normalization of relations with Cuba, a major cut in arms spending and support for affirmative action, Jesse has broadened his message and increased his activities as a people's advocate. In the last four years Jesse has been on almost every picket l
ine in support of union struggles against concessions. Jesse has not only opposed the government's imperialist intervention in Grenada, the bombing of Libya, U.S. South African policy, U.S. support of the right wing in El Salvador and support of military aggression (contras) against Nicaragua but also U.S. policies in the Middle East. Jesse Jackson has called for support of the right to self determination everywhere. He says he wants to raise the minimum wage, institute comparable-worth wages for women, build affordable housing financed from pension funds and "stop drugs from coming in, stop jobs from going out." This message now hits millions of people of all races that are known as the "working poor." Fifteen percent of America is in poverty--34 million people. Of the 34 million, 23 million are white, 11 million African American, Hispanic, Asian and youth. There are 9 million poor adults who work. Between 1978 and 1986, the number of poor adults age 22 to 64 who averaged 30 weeks or more of work a year rose 52 percent to include almost 7 million Americans. As of 1986, 2 million Americans worked full time throughout the year and were still poor which was an increase of more than 50 percent since 1978.
The working poor include members of households in which the wage earners who work part time or full time during the year but still have incomes below the poverty line--set now at $11,203 in annual cash income for a family of four. Most poor families in which one or more members who are white, and the majority are two-parent families.358 From 1981 to 1986 approximately 5 million Americans who had held their jobs for three years or more lost them through plant closings or layoffs. The increase in the working poor and the growing gap between the rich and poor is largely due to the overseas expansion of U.S. capital and the scientific and technological revolution which has underminded the status of the U.S. working class and its privileged position in the basic industries.
This new so-called industrial revolution which has been pushed by U.S. industrialists has leveled downward the living standards of the more privileged sectors of the workers to the status of the lower-paid workers, who have become more numerous with each new technological advance.
Accompanying this are plantoffice closings, runaway factories, out sourcing and the growth of a service sector composed of African-American, Latino, Asian and Native peoples together with women and the ever growing displaced workers resulting from the introduction of high technology.
his displacement has led to the deterioration in the position of men who did not graduate from college. In the early 1970's, a 30-year-old male college graduate earned only about 15 to 20 percent more than a 30-year-old male high school graduate. This 15 to 20 percent earnings gap held steady throughout the end of 1970. But the overseas flight of U.S. companies hurt non-college men badly. The gap between college and non-college graduates grew until it now stands at 40 percent--$26,250 for college graduates versus $17,250 for high school graduates.
High tech has reduced wages and has been used by the U.S. capitalist class to bust unions. This fact is beginning to breakout in the political arena with the Jackson candidacy.
Politics has a special place in social life, notably in economic life. Its special place is determined first, by the fact that in contrast to the other elements of the superstructure (law, art, ethics, etc.) politics most directly reflects the economics, the economic interests of classes. Second, politics reflects the main aspects of economic relations in a society, their class nature, and the character of property in the means of production. This makes it possible to regard politics not just as a reflection of economics, but as its concentrated expression.359 Jesse goes on to describe U.S. multi-national corporations' expansion into the Third World. Jesse says in the last seven years, 11 million new jobs were created under Reagan but six million pay 57,000 a year or less. The capitalists drove down the standard of living for workers and drove down prices for farmers. Jesse teaches Americans that "Your jobs didn't go from white to black, from male to female, from New York to South Carolina. Your jobs went to South Korea and Taiwan and South Africa and Haiti and Chile." At the same time Jesse Jackson says it is not the fault of workers in these countries that jobs went there but the U.S. multi-national corporations' and that workers in these countries should be paid equal pay of American workers and have the right to organize unions. While Jesse's program of workers' rights describe the situation, he does not call for a remedy to the problem; that is the nationalization of basic industries; the U.S. multi-national corporation with the resources going to the benefit of the working people. Though this may be an eventual program of a social democratic party, Jesse has given the outline for a workers Bill of Rights.
Rainbow Worker's Bill of Rights
Workers Have a Right to a Job: People need jobs and there are jobs which need to be done. We can build the housing, roads, bridges that we need as well as providing care for this nation's people. We can end plant closings without notice and unemployment without hope.
Workers Have a Right to a Union: All workers, including public employees, should be able to organize themselves into unions, have those unions recognized and work under a collective bargaining agreement.
Workers Have a Right to a Living Wage: People who work full-time should be able to rise out of poverty on their pay. American families need family wages. Young workers (youth) need opportunity.
Workers Have a Right to Fair Competition: International trade needs a level playing field. Recognition of the basic democratic rights of workers at home and abroad to organize, bargain collectively and to have enforced work place standards. Free labor cannot "compete" with slave labor.
Workers Have a Right to Freedom from Discrimination: Affirmative action for those locked out of better jobs. Pay equity for those locked into low wages.
Workers Have a Right to Education that Works: Basic education for basic skills. Vocational education for current jobs. Life long education for a changing economy.
(Excerpted from a presentation by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Labor Day 1987.)
Workers Have a Right to Respect: The contributions of workers, past and present, deserve a prominent place in the education of future workers. Those who give a life of labor deserve to have the companies for whom they work reinvest in their industry, in their community and in their country.
edefine Our Relationship to the Third World
Real Security requires a new direction in policy towards the Third World based on the three principles of the Jackson doctrine.
Support and strengthen the rule of international law. The Ayatollah is wrong when he mines the waters of the Persian Gulf and threatens world trade by preventing the free navigation of international waters. But President Reagan is wrong--and loses the moral authority to challenge him--when he illegally mines the harbors in Nicaragua. Because our interests are so broad the U.S. has the most to gain in a world that respects the rule of law in international relations.
Promote self-determination and human rights. The 130 countries of the Third World have different histories, cultures and economic conditions. They necessarily will have different social and political experiments. They have the right to choose their own destiny--to find their own ways to cope with poverty, illiteracy, and political representation. We must respect that right, confident that democracy and freedom are spreading in the world. We should condition our own aid and trade benefits on their respect for democratic rights, including the protection of the right of workers to organize.
Support international economic justice and development. Growth and prosperity in the U.S. requires raising the standard of living in the Third World, not lowering our own. We must work with Japan, West Germany, and other trade surplus countries to fund a new 'International. Marshall Plan' for Third World development. By our providing capital and debt relief Third World economies will grow, their standard of living will increase, and trade with the U.S. will be revitalized creating millions of jobs for Americans.
When we seek to determine the outcome of upheaval or revolution, we expend our resources and our reputation on an impossible task. Thus we should sharply reduce our military forces designed for i
ntervention abroad. We should cancel all new aircraft carrier task forces--saving $40 billion. We should immediately halt U.S. aid to the contras in Central America and to UNITA in Angola. We should implement full economic sanctions against South Africa while promoting the economic development of the Frontline states. We must support a comprehensive political settlement in the Middle East which benefits both Arabs and Israelis and thus ensures the long-run prosperity of all countries in the region.
Our military should not be used to prop up undemocratic governments abroad which provide a 'better' environment for multinational corporations to operate in. We should condition our foreign aid and trade benefits on other countries' respect for democratic rights, including the protection of the right of workers to organize. Slave labor anywhere is a threat to organized labor everywhere.
(Jesse Jackson campaign literature, 1988).
Issue Highlights from the Jackson Program Workers' Bill of Rights
The right to a job, to organize unions, to a living wage.
Affirmative action and pay equity
Affirmative action in education and employment Equal opportunity in access to jobs, job training and job mobility
Enforce the Voting Rights Act
Pass the ERA
Pass the Lesbian/Gay Rights Bill
Ban anti-gay discrimination in the federal government, in the military, in immigration policy
Double the federal education budget
Fund bilingual education
Adult literacy and education campaigns
Restore college grants and loans
Teen parenting services
Eliminate hunger by increased funding and more e
Meet the nutritional needs of Native Americans and immigrants
National health care program
Trade sanctions against drug-producing nations Block narcotic entry points
Expand drug education and treatment programs
Increase funding for AIDS research and education. Special AIDS outreach for drug users, prostitutes, prisoners and the homeless. Increase funding for medical and social support for people with AIDS and their families. End AIDS-related discrimination
Comprehensive national child care policy
Minimum poverty-line benefit for needy families Increase funding for family planning, prenatal and maternal health care
Restore Medicaid funding for abortion
Moratoriums on family farm foreclosures
Fair price to farmers to meet production costs Debt restructuring, soil conservation and affirmative action for minority farmers
Make foreclosed acreage available at long-term, low-interest rates
Respect international law and strengthen the U.N. and the World Court
Respect the right of nations to determine their social systems
Reduce U.S. forces in Europe/reduce the defense budget at least $100 billion
Moratorium on the testing and deployment of nuclear weapons
upport the economic development of the Frontline states
Respect the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, including an independent state. Respect the right of Israel to secure borders
End the U.S. military build-up in the Persian Gulf Restructure the international debt
Halt the IMF austerity programs
Jesse Jackson's populist message is setting the stage for a new "Peace and Justice" politics. Rather than concentrating on anti-communism which is reactionary "conservative" politics, the new politics centers around the real causes of the forms of oppression affecting the American people; drugs which are controlled by right wing "conservative" gangsters and politicians that prop up the capitalist system with its billions in illegal profit with laundered money, run-away corporations who set up subsidiary operations in Third World countries to control their economies through technological neo-colonialism (controlling the economy through technology produced by U.S. corporations), producing goods at phenomenally cheap wages, reducing the wages of workers in the U.S. by busting unions and selling the products back to American workers, rendering the American economy into a high tech service economy. What is happening through the scientific and technological revolution, is the capitalist class has developed a new social re-division of labor worldwide. By making the Third World the industrial base, they get profits from labor which has yet to become organized into unions and at the same time weaken organized labor (unions) in the western capitalist nations, super-exploiting the entire world. The only answer in the immediate future is to politically struggle to gain "people's" control of the corporations by writing a clause in the U.S. Constitution that every American worker has the right to a guaranteed job and adequate housing.
The political maturation of the mass of African-Americans will come through political/class struggle in the electoral arena, community and at the point of production. Much of this political maturation will develop around the struggle to advance reforms in the political system. The political radicalization of the majority of 6.6 million African-Americans who are registered Democrats will develop from political ruptures or polarizations over issues and principles that affect the historical relationship of African-Americans to the capitalist system.
Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition with its alliance with farmers, labor unions and oppressed nationalities, and the poor, poses to be the cataclysmic agent to raise advance democratic demands inside the Democratic party which may cause the rupture or polarization that will set the motion forward towards the development of a third labor/people's party. While many progressives have remained outside of the ranks of the capitalist party, many need to take the struggle inside the Democratic party to galvanize a progressive people's bloc to force the KKK and conservative racist imperialist politicians either out of the Democratic party or to a political showdown thereby impacting on the local, regional and national political arena. The progressive ''Rainbow" movement inside the Democratic party (more so than in the trade union movement as it c
urrently exists) promises to give rise to concrete programs, forms of organization, institutions, trained cadres, leading political figures, etc., that will sooner or later split the Democratic party and propel not only the black liberation struggle but the working class and people's movement more generally toward a political expression which is truly independent of the bourgeois political parties. The potential for the development of an independent working class party will require a protracted process of consolidation of a progressive wing in the Democratic Party and a series of polarizations with the forces of reaction over the forthcoming years.
The Jackson campaign represents a new trend in politics with a comprehensive progressive agenda:
Though Jackson's campaign is not organizationally independent of the Democratic Party, his politics do represent a serious challenge to the traditional alliances that have been at its core. In this sense Jackson's program serves as the basis for the development of a self-conscious progressive bloc, independent of the old liberal-labor power brokers, within the organizational context of the Democratic Party.360 Much of this new trend in politics will be acted out at the forthcoming Democratic convention and beyond.
The Challenge: Self Determination at Home: After ‘88 Which Road Forward?
Jesse has defined three basic political schools of thought in mainstream America:
There are three such schools: conservatives who want things to stay as they are; liberals, who want to reform what is; and progressives who want to change things. Our Rainbow represents the progressive school of thought.361 Jesse Jackson goes on to explain that everyone who went to jail in the South during the Civil Rights Movement and who marched with Dr. King was not progressive.
Not in 40 years, since 1948 when Henry Wallace ran on the anti-racist. anti-imperialist Progressive Party ticket for President has progressive politics played a major role in the electoral arena. At the turn of the century the Socialist party became a force to be recognized electing 1,200 local officials and fielding a presidential candidate five times.362 With Jesse going into the Democratic convention as the No. 2 contender, historical precedence has been set. Whatever the options, if Jesse becomes a vice presidential nominee or whether he brokers for various demands and serves as a people's advocate, the struggle will be advanced.
The Jackson campaign presents the possibility for the movement for people's empowerment of combining electoral work with other forms of organizing and of electing representatives who can articulate and fight for the concerns of the poorest sectors of the African American and working class community. The Jesse Jackson campaign has given rise to an embryonic political program which stands clearly on the left of the bourgeois political spectrum; one which causes a sharp polarization with institutionalized racism, but raises other political questions as well. This motion puts the neo-colonialist, uncle-tom-of-a-new-type, Negro accommodationalist politicians on the defensive and isolates them from the masses. The motion represented by the Jackson campaign represents a new stage of political maturation for the African American community. Though led by African-Americans, this new stage of development promises to have a profound impact in the decades ahead on the shape and direction of working class politics overall and in fact offers the best hope of leading a working class breakaway from the Democratic Party. It is important in this sense to see electoral politics as a crucial arena of the class struggle and a place where the political maturation of the working class movement also takes place. To have an ultra-left sectarian position of not taking up the struggle inside the bourgeois political arena is to isolate the progressive forces and become right-wing opportunists. With the absence of a genuine mass based-revolutionary party to represent their interests, revolutionaries need to utilize the electoral process, i.e., the Democratic party to attempt to stretch its apparatus as far as possible until there is a mass break (conscious) with the one-party capitalist system and create a working class people's party, representing the interests of the working class and other progressive strata. So the next stage of struggle legally will be to struggle through the electoral process to form a coalition government prior to socialist revolution.
he concerns of Obafemi Senghor and the 200-250 African American political prisoners now incarcerated in America's prisons to demand their immediate release due to the U.S. Government's unjust war against Black America can best be addressed if it is raised in the context of the legal political super-structure along with the question of African-Americans' right to self determination and reparations first.
The challenge after '88 for Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition is to organize the momentum of the '88 campaign whether a Democratic or Republican administration is elected. It is a protracted struggle of electing a Rainbow (progressive) government by the year 2000. Jesse and the Rainbow must also educate the hundreds of millions of Americans to the questions which will lead to a revolutionary transformation of America. Dr. King said, "White America must recognize that justice for African American people cannot be changed without radical changes in the structure of our society."
Political portional representation will be meaningless if it is not matched with economic equity. Reparations for Native Americans, Asian-Americans, who were put it concentration camps during World War II, Mexican-Americans and African-Americans are key to rectifying economic and political injustices which are the basis to political and economic inequality today.
A decade ago James Foreman raised the question of reparations for us in light of the African American experience in America. Many people reacted negatively and tried to dismiss the thought; but he was correct. We need to repair for the damage done to us because of slavery, segregation and discrimination. We need not apologize for seeking reparations. Creative justice demands reparations. If reparations are still being given to Israel by Germany for damage imposed on Jews under Hitler, and if because of an uneasy conscience America is. giving $5 million a day to Israel in reparations, then reparations are justified for us. Court cases clearly show the government can be sued for reparations when it is found to be abusive.363 In order to make Reparations real for the masses of African-American people, tactics must go from defensive political action "fightback" to the offensive, political revolutionary action. Mass revolutionary action means taking the political offensive. It means agitating both within and outside of the capitalist political structure to isolate and politically overthrow, vote out of office the racist-conservative politicians and to c
ause a political polarization/realignment of political forces inside the U.S. Though this may occur on a limited scale at first, it would serve tremendous educational value in raising the class consciousness of African-Americans and all workers. This can be done on the local levels by supporting the insurgent political parties, tickets, blocs, caucuses, that are anti-establishment and anti-macho. Also by uniting with the Rainbow Coalition, pushing the Rainbow to polarize the Democratic party, progressives should organize people's referendums and build a constitutional recall movement of conservative/racist politicians around their "anti-people" voting records. This could entail convening a "democratic" people's convention, people's courts, political tribunals and civil lawsuits for genocide. From below; that is outside of the electoral capitalist political structure, political "reparations" demonstrations by the "army of the unemployed" who demand full employment and workers who call for a general strike could convene teachings concerning racist-conservative-imperialist politicians' "voting records"/deals/conspiracies to crush the people's movement.