What are the underlying reasons this could take place?
One is legal disenfranchisement. State law varies widely when it comes to crime and voting. According to the group, Human Rights Watch currently 3.9 million Americans are disenfranchised. Forty-six states deny prisoners the right to vote. In 32 states felons on parole aren't allowed to vote, in 29 states someone on probation isn't allowed to vote and in 10 states (mostly southern) impose a lifetime ban on convicted felons. Such is the case for Florida and Alabama where 31 percent of African American males are disenfranchised for life.375 In four states (Maine, Massachusetts, Utah and Vermont) felons in prison are allowed to vote. Thus in the deciding state of Florida over 361,681 African-American males were legally disenfranchised in the November 2000 election. Two and very important, was the fact according the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights founded in 1957; investigating voting irregularities during the 2000 presidential election in Florida stated widespread voter disenfranchisement and clear violations of the Voting Rights Act disenfranchising African-American voters was the central feature in the outcome of the Florida election. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights collected more than 30 hours of testimony from more than 100 witnesses – all taken under oath and reviewed more than 118,000 pages of pertinent documents. It subpoenaed a cross section of witnesses including Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Hams, members of Governor Bush's Select Task Force on Election Reforms and Florida's Attorney General.
It is impossible to determine the total number of voters who were turned away from the polls or deprived of their right to vote. It is clear that the 2000 presidential election generated a large number of complaints about voting irregularities in Florida. The Florida attorney general's office alone received more than 3,600 allegations 2,600 complaints and 1,000 letters. In addition, both the Democratic and Republican parties received many complaints from Floridians who either could not vote or experienced difficulty when attempting to vote.376 The disenfranchisement of Florida's votes fell most harshly on the shoulders of African-American voters. The magnitude of the impact can be seen from any of several perspectives:
Statewide, based upon county-level statistical estimates, African-American voters were nearly 10 times more likely than non-black voters to have their ballots rejected.
Estimates indicated that approximately 14.4 percent of Florida's African-American voters cast ballots that were rejected. This compares with approximately 1.6 percent of non-black Florida voters who did not have their presidential votes recorded.
Statistical analysis shows that the disparity in ballot spoilage rates between black and non-black voters is not the result of education or literacy differences. This conclusion is supported by Governor Jeb Bush's Select Task Force on Election Reforms, which found that error rates stemming from uneducated, uninformed, or disinterested voters account for less than 1 percent of the problems.
Approximately 11 percent of Florida voters were African-American; however, African-Americans cast about 54 percent of the 180,000 spoiled ballots in Florida during the November 2000 election based on estimates derived from county-level data. These statewide estimates where corroborated by the results in several counties based on actual precinct data.
Poor counties, particularly those with large minority populations, were more likely to possess voting systems with higher spoilage rates than the more affluent counties with significant white populations. There is a high correlation between counties and precincts with a high percentage of African American voters and the percentage of spoiled ballots, that is, ballots cast but not counted.
Nine of the 10 counties with the highest percentage of African American voters had spoilage rates above the Florida average.
Of the 10 counties with the highest percentage of white voters, only two counties had spoilage rates above the state average.
Gadsden County, with the highest rate of spoiled ballots, also had the highest percentage of African American voters.
Where precinct data were available, the data show that 83 of the 100 precincts with the highest numbers of disqualified ballots are black-majority precincts.
Three, the stopping of the recount and the partisan voting of the U.S. Supreme Court determined the outcome of the election. Because Bush's lead over Gore in the initial count was less than one-tenth of one percent, Florida law mandated an automatic recount. With the margin between Bush and Gore down to 537 votes, the election hinged on whether or not the undervotes (ballots that showed no vote for president) would be examined by hand or not. The Gore campaign pointed out that in counties that used punch-cared systems (such as Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward) that 1.5 percent of the ballots showed no presidential vote whereas only 0.3 percent of the ballots in counties that used scantrons were recorded as blank. The reason offered for this difference was that some people do not punch holes all the way through the card, thereby not fully removing the indentation – the now-famous "chads". It just so happened that the counties that used punch cards favored Gore than Bush. The Bush campaign realized this and opposed any manual recount. They argued that such a review of the ballots was inherently arbitrary and subject to manipulation and differing standards.377 Bush's lead over Gore had dwindled to less than 200 votes and further recounting would have most likely erased his lead entirely.378
The Florida Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of Gore's request to have any ballots that did not register a vote for president recounted by hand. The U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v Gore (2000) overruled the Florida Supreme Court and held that although a recount was legal, the same (and more precise) standards for evaluating ballots would have to be applied in all counties. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there was not enough time to recount all the ballots in an orderly fashion by the time the electors were to vote on December 12.
After the court ruled 5-4 (on partisan lines) against a vote recount in Florida, Justice John Paul Stevens, in a sharply worded dissent wrote:
"Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidences in the judge as an impartial guardian of the law".
Jesse Jackson said :
"To me the issue, one, is the court so political that its mind was already made up; that's a real question. Justice Scalia's son is a lawyer who works for Bush, and Justice Thomas's wife is recruiting staff members for Bush who works for the Heritage Foundation. I had hoped that the Court could rise above the political partisanship".379 The fourth factor was the third party candidate of the Green Party, Ralph Nader. Although Nader's support dropped from 5 percent in some pre-election polls to about 2.7 percent on election day, it seemed likely that he cost Gore the election in some states. In Florida, Nader received over 97,000 votes or nearly 200 times the 537-vote margin between Bush and Gore.380 With such results it seems like this is a good time to seek a constitutional amendment to provide for direct election of the president.
2001 A World Conference on Racism in Durham South Africa was convened where slavery and continual racism were declared crimes against humanity. Europe, the United States and Israel were indicted. This event was purposely overshadowed by 9/11.
2004 The Philadelphia Board of Education announced it would make African-American Studies mandatory and inclusive in its curriculum by 2009.
The Million Workers March was called in response to the attacks on working families and to the millions of jobs that were lost during the Bush administration. The “Real Clarence Thomas”, a leader of the International Longshore Workers Union Local 10 based in San Francisco, California was a co-chair of the march.
2005 There was much struggle on the local levels for Minister Louis Farrakhan to present a tentative program and to broaden his perspective for the Millions More Movement march. Farrakhan did by inviting everyone, calling for a third party of the poor and demanding reparations for African-Americans
Impact of the Scientific-Technological Revolution There is a deep, material connection between the upheavals in the Soviet Union and East Europe, the temporary postponement of full-blown crises in the capitalist centers, the intensifying North-South conflict, and the worsening conditions faced by African Americans. That connection is the
revolution of productive forces taking place worldwide.
This scientific and technological revolution centers on a profound shift to electronic, computer-based production of goods and services ("electronic industrialization"). It has been taking place in the capitalist West for the last 30 years, and is reshaping social and political as well as economic relations across the globe.
Western transnationals have proved most flexible at adapting to and utilizing the scientific and technological revolution for their own profit-seeking aims. Their course of electronic industrialization has increased labor productivity and simultaneously produced a high rate of unemployment. Hundreds of thousands — millions — of workers have been displaced and the standard of living of the working class has been reduced.
Outside the main capitalist centers in the U.S., West Europe and Japan, flexible use of the scientific and technological revolution by the transnationals helped bring a category of "Newly Industrialized Countries" (NICs) into being. The rapid growth of the NICs expanded the circulation of commodities on the world market, as well as within the NICs themselves. These nations began to compete for spheres of influence in a restructured world capitalist market. The rapid increase in the standard of living in NICslikeTaiwan, South Korea and Singapore helped aggravate the contradictions within the countries previously under the socialist system.
The present crisis in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union stems from two main factors. One is the failure to implement socialist democracy after the defeat of fascism in World War II. The second is the failure to concentrate on making maximum use of the scientific and technological revolution in the civilian sector.
Surrounded by U.S. imperialism and a hostile capitalist world, the Soviet Union was forced to develop a military-industrial complex in order to develop parity with the U.S. In the 1960s the Soviet leadership underestimated the potential impact of computer technology in enhancing the economic level of society. Instead of concentrating on internal development of computer technology, the Soviet government thought it could buy this technology on the world market. But Washington initiated a worldwide technology blockade against the USSR. As a result, even though the Soviets achieved military parity with the U.S. between the 1960s and the 80s, its economy began to stagnate seriously.
Meanwhile, driven by the scientific and technological revolution, major changes were going on elsewhere in the world. The economic power of, and standard of living in, the NICs was increasing. Japan and Germany were on the rise, competing for economic leadership of the capitalist world. "High tech" production and information methods in the West were developing rapidly.
But, due to their economic lag, the standard of living in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was stagnating. Even though these societies had free university education, medical care, etc., their general standard of living (food, housing, clothing, transportation, etc.) began to decline according to industrial world standards.
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union also lacked democratic political processes. Because of this, and also because of Western subversion-intelligence operations, mass discontent developed among their populations.
Still, the underlying basis for the rapid changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (and their current fascination with the West) was the urgent need for scientific and technical rejuvenation in the productive forces.
Capitalism also faces a structural crisis. Due to its ability to produce more with fewer workers, it displays a consistent pattern of overproduction, underconsumption and high unemployment. But the actual emergence of a crisis has been postponed. A main factor in the delay is the degree of profit made by transnationals off of economic booms caused by military ventures into the Third World. But despite the delay, a crisis will soon break loose.
In order to survive capitalism must expand. Yet capitalism has been rapidly exhausting its avenues of expansion. So the capitalist West needs the markets of Eastern European countries and the Soviet Union - and those countries in turn need the technology of the capitalist West. This mutual need has produced an interdependence of economies of all nations. The Gorbachev policy since 1985 had been to move to "market socialism" and reduce regional conflicts. This as resulted in several negotiated settlements and the withdrawal of Cuban and Soviet oops from Ethiopia, Angola, Namibia and Afghanistan. Democratic revolutions or counter-revolutions were allowed to occur in Eastern Europe in 1989.
The decision of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to establish "market socialist" economies and their interdependence on the technology of the capitalist West shifts the major revolutionary contradiction in the world. Today that contradiction has U.S. imperialism leading (militarily) the capitalist West in opposition to the interests of the peoples of the Third World. Put differently, it is the industrialized countries, both North and South, standing against the underdeveloped countries of the South, a contradiction fraught with racial overtones.
Without the opposition of a strong internationalist, non-racialist, humanist Soviet Union, the possibility of racial stratification of the international labor market increased. The door was opened for a more sophisticated form of racism to manifest itself. The mainstay for anti-imperialism falls on countries like Cuba, Libya, Vietnam, China and North Korea, which are now the real examples of socialism in the world today. The concentration of technology in the North helped shove the underdeveloped South into further dependence on the North.
IMPACT ON AFRICAN AMERICANS
Economic restructuring within the U.S. has impacted all sectors. But African Americans have been particularly hard hit.
Because African Americans were already the marginal sector of the industrial working classes, they are being displaced in greater numbers as transnationals go high tech and/or flee overseas. There is also a highly conscious dimension to this process: the capitalist class is doing its best to construct a homogeneous, stable and docile working class and purposely is displacing African Americans' from the most strategic sectors of the economy.
This process lies behind the relegation of a significant portion of the African American community to the status of a permanently unemployed "underclass."
"At a structural level alone, the extraordinarily high and sustained unemployment level among African American youth is a function of such converging factors as the movement of capital to foreign soil, from the cities to the suburbs, and from northern cities to select areas of the Sunbelt. Other factors are the changing character of work reflected in the decline of manufacturing and the increase in advanced service sector occupations....and changing immigration patterns of the last decade that have produced a certain kind of competitive employment. "(Troy Duster, "Social Implication of the 'New' Black Underclass", The Black Scholar, May/June 1988, page 3.
One out of five African Americans aged 18-21 do not have a high school diploma — the precondition for obtaining most entry-level jobs, entering military service or gaining admission to most apprenticeship programs, not to mention going to college. As a result, many African American youth are being turned' into a permanent unemployed "underclass" and often turn to selling and using drugs as a means of economic survival. This increased illegal activity makes more African American youth victims of criminalization as their numbers swell the prison population. With the jobs left in the public and commercial sector requiring job retraining or technical training, many African American youths, especially males, are left out of the process. The few jobs available are often low-wage paying jobs, which reduces the median income of the African American family and forces the community into a state of underdevelopment. All this takes on genocidal aspects for the African American community.
Amid worsening conditions, a fightback on the part of all oppressed sectors is sure to develop. The African American sector of the working class is still strategic to any fightback movement; the key to effective fightback strategies is the development of a progressive independent movement based on the working class in general and African American workers in particular. And a key objective of such a movement must be no organized the unorganized South.
African-Americans and Globalization: The New Stage of Capitalism Nations and nation states still exist but the sovereignty and autonomy of the nation state is rendered subservient to the strata of trans (multi) national capital of the capitalist class. The hegemonic nation-state of trans-national capital becomes one of global empire or a trans-national state.
The nation state of the hegemonic transnational capitalist power in the present era of globalization often comes in conflict/contradiction with the national aspirations of the people (working/underclass) of the nation including capitalists who are not big enough to reap benefits from globalization. Therefore, there is a basis in the core countries and especially in the hegemonic center of a broad united front against trans (multi) national capital, capitalist class and the ruining effects of globalization. As Samir Amin has often stated, the goals of the transnational capitalists is to lower the working wages of American and other core country workers to the level of Third World (developing) countries. This gradual deterioration of a livable working wage with guaranteed health benefits and social security represents the waning power of the U.S. hegemonic section of the transnational capitalist class. It can no longer or is no longer willing to concede "fringe material" benefits to U.S. workers for supporting imperialism. The struggle for hegemony over the world (global empire) economy by U.S. transnational capital is a tedious one; one in which the U.S. has sought and fought to maintain since 1945. Dominance over a global empire is one which the U.S. inherited since 1990 (with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European Socialist bloc) and one which has severe contradictions.
The U.S. workforce in 2004 was 131.5 million with 24.2 million of it being part-time employees.381 About a tenth of Toyota Motor Corps U.S. production labor force is temporary workers.382 In 2003 there were 111,278,000 households in the United States. One percent of the households, 1,112,780 households, control 40% of the wealth in the U.S. As of 2003, African-American men made the median income of 73% of that of white men. African-American women made 92% of white women's median income and 86% of white men's median income.383 So the racial and economic hierarchy in terms of wages is:
This change of racial economic apartheid has occurred in the last twenty-five years. This is significant because African-American females are paid less for equal work of white males or white females; because wages are based on male wages. According to the Congressional Black Caucus Agenda for the 109th (2005) Congress, focusing on employment and economic security,
unemployment rates for African-Americans are consistently almost double the rates for white (Caucasian) Americans; the median weekly earnings of full time African-American workers is consistently over $130.00 dollars less than white workers who are similarly educated and situated; the poverty rate for African- Americans is almost double the national poverty rate (24% vs. 12.5%) and more than triple (33% vs. 9.8%) for children under the age of 18. The average African-American household has 7% of the wealth of the average white household.384 So, in the period of Globalization the capitalist class is extracting more surplus value (profit) from African-American workers as the entire American proletariat (working class) is being reduced into a non-productive service sector proletariat.
African-Americans have achieved only 57% of the economic status of whites according to an Urban League report "The State of Black America 2005". In 2001, 13.1% of white households had zero or negative net worth, while this was true for 30.9% of African-American households. The median financial wealth holdings of stocks, bonds, cash and the like of African-Americans was $1,100; for whites (Caucasians) it was $42,100.385 According to Dr. Manning Marable, for baby boomers, people born between the years 1946-1956, African-Americans will leave their children upon death in debt while whites will leave their children 11 trillion in wealth born between the same years.386 At the same time, profits of U.S. corporations soared by a third to 102 trillion in 2003 from $767.3 billion in 2000.387 Since 2000, the U.S. has lost 821,000 jobs.
Michigan has lost 223,900 jobs since January 2000 and the unemployment rate has climbed from 4.6% to 6.9%. In Ohio, 222,600 jobs have been lost and the unemployment rate has risen from 3.9% to 5.7%388
America's 350,000 small manufacturers account for over half the total value of the U.S. industrial production.
20% of Northeast Ohio's employment base is devoted to making parts for cars and trucks. In 10 years the auto supply industry will probably toss 20 to 25% of its jobs...most of the downsizing will result from productivity improvements. (Cybernation and automation)...parts account for 70% of a vehicle's cost.389 Since the end of World War II approximately five to six million or over thirty percent of the African-American labor force became concentrated in the industrial core center of the American labor process. By the 1980's there were three million African-American union members. Among the industrial core of the American working class, African-Americans represented the most militant sector. The policy of the Global-multinational (Transnational) capitalists to concentrate on a homogeneous "WASP" industrial core concentration labor force is the deliberate policy to dislocate African-Americans from industrial concentration. This declasses and lumpenizes African-American workers especially male youths who are unskilled or semi-skilled and limits African-American social dislocation power or the ability to halt the economic system through a general strike. The building of a homogeneous "WASP" labor force maintains the racist white skin privilege of the white workers, stratifies, splits the working class on racial lines and keeps the most backward sectors of the American working class loyal to the interests of the Global-multi-national (Transnational) capitalists. This leads to accelerated development in white America and continuous underdevelopment of minority communities leading to unequal development as long as capitalism exists.
There are approximately 2.5 million African-American trade unionists in 2005.
Barbara Ransby in her article, "US: The Black Poor and the Politics of Expendability" stated that 30% of the manufacturing jobs eliminated by downsizing in 1990 and 1991 were jobs held by “African-Americans."390 African-American unemployment remains stagnant at 10.8% while white unemployment dropped to 4.7%, making African-American unemployment more than twice that of whites."391 The move to the right politically of the United States ruling class has led to the criminalization of African-American males particularly, due to the lumpenization caused by semi-skilled jobs in industry exported overseas which is the economic cause of many inner city males to participate in the drug traffic. Also with the industrialist policy of retaining few older African-American workers extracting greater surplus value from their labor through speed ups often due to robotics (increased labor productivity) and the conscious policy of hiring few young African-American male workers is making the African-American male an endangered species. The criminalization of African-American males will continue to increase the longer monopoly capitalism exists. As this form of genocide takes place a conscious policy of mis-education by the capitalist media structure is being waged against working class communities of color in particular. The media warfare is to dis-orientate the African-American and Third World proletariat inside the United States from its national, class and social tasks of carrying the struggle for democracy through to a socialist revolution. In the descending line of development of United States monopoly capitalism when the major area of expansion at the base (electronics, technological, micro-chip) is reproducing less real value and the class contradictions are increasing and the rate of expansion is contracting, the superstructure (government social programs); the politico-ideological takes on greater importance of interjecting false class consciousness into the working and oppressed masses of the American empire.
The dis-education process helps continue and increase black on black self hate that takes the form blacks killing blacks usually over control of the drug traffic. This becomes a form of self destruct genocide.
Downsizing (de industrialization) and outsourcing symptoms of globalization grossly affect the African-American community because it eliminates a living wage for unskilled, non-college African-American males in particular who have no alternative but to participate in the drug traffic which leads to criminalization and neo-slavery by the prison-industrial complex. According to Robert L. Allen,
...Equally ominous was the rise in the 1980's of the prison-industrial complex and with it the wholesale criminalization and incarceration of African-Americans especially young black males. The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world, currently over two million prisoners. With only 5% of the world's population, the U.S. has 25% of the world's prisoners. Some 50% of U.S. prisoners are African-American.392
There are 2.2 million prisoners in U.S. prisons and 7 million in the criminal justice system.
African-Americans are three times more likely to become prisoners once arrested and an African-American's average jail sentence is six months longer than a white person for the same crime: 39 months versus 33 months.393 In ten southern states conviction and imprisonment for a felony results in disenfranchisement.
It was estimated that as of 1998, 1.4 million African-Americans (including nearly 13% of all black males) had been barred from voting. (New York Times, 10/23/98)
Currently 3.9 million Americans are disenfranchised. In 32 states felons on parole aren't allowed to vote; in 29 states your right don't change, someone on probation isn't allowed to vote and in 10 states (mostly southern) impose a lifetime ban on convicted felons.394 Thirty one percent of African-American males of voting age in the state of Alabama have lost their right to vote and 31 percent also in the state of Florida.395 In 2005, the number of African-American males who have lost their right to vote was 15 percent.
Due to globalization and the failure of the Northeast manufacturers to compete with overseas cheap labor, unemployment in Cuyahoga County and Cleveland was gross.
Cuyahoga County unemployment rose to 6.6% in January, from 5.7% in December. Cleveland's climbed to 8.7% from 7.6%...In January 2005 Ohio State lost 8,200 non-farm jobs. January's decline followed losses of 7,500 jobs, in December, 2,500, in November and 6,600 in October (of 2004).16396 Excess production capacity (a tendency of capitalists to flood or over saturate the market) creates falling profits for corporations which produces a glut of commodities on the world market from under-consumption due to downsizing, increased part-time labor, unproductive service labor with reduced wages in most western post-industrial nations and unequal development of workers in third world countries (Africa, Asia and Latin America); who don't make enough wages to consume the products they now manufacture from the raw materials extracted from their nations.
The global glut of commodities makes reliance of consumption of commodities (consumer market) the basis to the stability of the world economy.
The world uses about 80 million barrels of oil a day...U.S. consumption alone is expected to grow nearly 50% in the next 20 years.397 Oil tankers transport nearly forty billion gallons of oil the world consumes on a daily basis. Because of the global competition for oil between the U.S., Western Europe, Canada, Britain, Japan and China with a short supply ready for refinement the price of oil increases. Gerald Horne in "Imperial Intrigues", says,
The scramble for oil and other resources and the collapsing dollar are the major economic weaknesses of the U.S.398 Horne goes on to say that "oil is the glue that is binding Cuba-China-Venezuela and Brazil."
Simultaneously a "major new alliance is emerging between Iran and China," according to the Washington Post of November 17, 2004. The two allies
Signed a preliminary accord worth $70 billion to $100 billion by which China will purchase Iranian oil and gas and help develop Iran's Yadavaran oil field, near the Iraqi border. Earlier this year, China agreed to buy $20 billion in liquified natural gas from Iran over a quarter century... in turn China has become a major exporter of manufactured goods to Iran, including computer systems, household appliances and cars.399 China is the world's fastest growing economy and is buying raw materials, such as oil, natural gas and other materials at a phenomenal rate. For instance, China as of October 10, 2004 was consuming 40% of the world's cement supply.400 There are approximately 200 million cars in America. 1 2 million cars are sold in the United States every month.401 High gas (oil) prices hit the U.S. consumption rate, which is 2/3's of the perpetual accumulation of capital globally because people living in the suburbs have long ways to travel going back and forth to work and to malls and their homes.
What produces the world glut? Cybernation (a complete automated production process) and automation in the workplace world-wide (through new technology) takes fewer workers to produce more commodities (increased productivity). In the drive to increase profits, the capitalists establish plants and invest wherever there is the cheapest labor (low wages-third world, particularly China) and reduce wages in post-industrial western countries subjecting them to become high-tech service workers of a global world economy thus rendering those societies into non-productive labor economies. Unions are smashed and benefits are lost for many workers in the U.S. who now work two or more non-unionized part-time jobs with no benefits or job securities. As a result, those part-time workers go further into debt and cannot consume at the rate they did before. Americans are $663 billion in consumer debt. Because U.S. consumers make up two-thirds of the profit of the world economy when they can no longer consume at the rate they did before, the global capitalist system enters into a major structural crisis as it now is teetering on a world-wide (concentrated in the U.S.) depression.