THE U.S. GOVERNMENT CREATED AND/OR PERPETUATED SEGREGATED HOUSING – WITH MALICE AND FORETHOUGHT

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The original HOLC map of New Orleans. High “risk” black areas in red.

A Book Review

by Ellen Isaacs

“Racial segregation in housing was not merely a project of Southerners in the former slaveholding Confederacy. It was a nationwide project of the federal government in the twentieth century, designed and implemented by its most liberal leaders….Until the last quarter of [that century}, racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments defined where whites and African Americans should live….The policy was so systematic and forceful that is effects endure to the present time.” These quotes are from the preface to The Color of Law, a new book by Richard Rothstein, that presents a wealth of evidence in support of his thesis. The general ignorance of the history of de jure (by law) segregation is so profound that Chief Justice John Roberts could get away with saying that since residential segregation “is a product not of state action but of private choices, it does not have constitutional implications.” Such ideas inhibit legal remedies for the consequences of housing segregation, such as segregated education. The author also shows how racist housing laws contributed to income differentials, the large differences in wealth between blacks and whites, and prevented interracial cohesion. Continue reading “THE U.S. GOVERNMENT CREATED AND/OR PERPETUATED SEGREGATED HOUSING – WITH MALICE AND FORETHOUGHT”

RACISM IS A SCOURGE ON THE PUBLIC’S HEALTH

by Ellen Isaacs

CAN THE U.S. AFFORD TO REMEDY THE RACIAL DIVIDE?

            Most articles verifying the effects of racism on health attempt to suggest solutions, ranging from combating provider bias, to changing the insurance system, to reducing income inequality. However, we start by asking a fundamental question: Is it possible to erase the racial differences in health and health care in our capitalist system? Continue reading “RACISM IS A SCOURGE ON THE PUBLIC’S HEALTH”

RACISM IS THE BASIS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN THE U.S.

by Bill Sacks

While pointing the finger at terrorists as wanton murderers (which they are), the US is among the one-sixth of the world’s nations that still use the death penalty, almost exclusively against the working class; five out of six nations have abolished it. Besides those whom the courts officially execute, US police unofficially (extra-judicially) execute even more – far more than in any other country. Police act on the street as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner, all within seconds.

In contrast, following judicial sentencing, official executions occur decades later, with most spending their entire lives on death row without execution. This varies wildly across the US. Twenty states have abolished the death penalty, and, of the other thirty, many execute maybe 1%, while others execute as many as 70%. This alone indicates the unfairness of the death penalty that, along with public sentiment opposed to capital punishment in the early 1970s, prompted the US Supreme Court to abolish the death penalty in 1972, only to bring death back to “life” in 1976.

Capitalism, particularly in the US, aims the death penalty almost exclusively at the working class, and at men. White collar crime often has far greater consequences – for example, the tobacco company executives who lied for years about the deadly effects of smoking, the politicians who sent working-class soldiers to kill and be killed in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq, and even the bankers’ responsible for the 2008 crash that wiped out pensions and better- paying jobs. But rarely does white collar crime result in an indictment, let alone end in conviction – and never in execution.

The unequal application of the death penalty, confined only to the working class, also occurs largely along racial lines. This is traceable to the US history of slavery, Jim Crow racism (slavery by another name), and rampant lynch mobs in the 1900s. Such extrajudicial lynchings were only terminated by the government’s saying in effect to the racist mobs, “You can end your vigilante practice, since we (the state – federal and state governments) are going to take over the practice officially.” Cops, however, are the lynch mobs by another name, still permitted to kill with impunity.

From 1882 to 1964, the more than 4,700 lynchings killed far more black than white (mainly) men – roughly 3 to 1 – with many whites lynched for associating with black friends (http://law2.umkc.edu/Faculty/projects/ftrials/shipp/lynchingyear.html). Judicial executions, on the other hand, victimize far more white workers than black – 56% have been white, and 35% have been black since 1976. But in proportion to their respective portions of the population, a white worker is only one-eighth as likely to be executed as a black worker, though there are roughly equal numbers of black and white men on death row awaiting executions that may never take place. Workers of Latin, Native American, and other ethnic groups suffer fewer executions.

Until execution for rape was outlawed in 1977, almost 9 out of 10 of the 455 men executed for rape between 1930 and 1967 were black, almost all for raping white women, with undetermined numbers innocent of the crime. When black women were the rape victims, regardless of the color of the rapist’s skin, rarely was the death penalty applied.

Continue reading “RACISM IS THE BASIS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN THE U.S.”

A REVIEW – I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

by Ellen Isaacs

This new film expressing the views of James Baldwin is an emotionally wrenching one. From the scenes of lynched young people, to the beatings of civil rights activists, to the murders of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers, it makes you angry and tearful at the same time. Surely the historical wrongs of racism and the police murders of the present have rarely been presented in such a concentrated and affecting way. Neither black nor white viewers can fail to feel the agony of such injustice, eloquently depicted in Baldwin’s words. Continue reading “A REVIEW – I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO”

AS THE WORLD MARCHES, BIGGER STEPS ARE NEEDED

170121143229-womens-march-london-0121-exlarge-169by The Editors

Last weekend one out of every hundred Americans demonstrated against the new administration and for women’s rights. We were at the Washington DC march, which was truly overwhelming in its size, dwarfing the inauguration crowd. One could only wonder how powerful these marchers would have been had they been united around a program of fundamental change. Continue reading “AS THE WORLD MARCHES, BIGGER STEPS ARE NEEDED”

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION –A WAR TO PROTECT SLAVERY

by Ellen Isaacs

Was the American Revolution really a noble fight for liberty and justice as we are taught in school? Or was the major reason behind the revolt that England, the mother country, was trying to limit slavery in the colonies by increasing taxes on those in bondage and limit westward expansion onto native lands? In Gerald Horne’s book, The Counterrevolution of 1776:Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, he makes a powerful case for this explanation. “Ironically, the founders of the republic have been hailed and lionized… for-–in effect–creating the first apartheid state(p3).” Continue reading “THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION –A WAR TO PROTECT SLAVERY”

IMMIGRATION POLICY IN THE US: IT’S ALL ABOUT RACE

Tanya Golash-Boza

The current debate over immigration policy in the United States revolves around how many immigrants we should let in and what we should do about those immigrants that are here without authorization. Continue reading “IMMIGRATION POLICY IN THE US: IT’S ALL ABOUT RACE”

ELECTORAL COLLEGE FOUNDED ON RACISM

The Editors

Although we believe that both candidates for President endorse racism, exploitation and war, we don’t deny that they represent different wings of American capitalism and divergent tactics. It is also true that for the second time in the 21st century, 2000 and 2016, the candidate with the largest popular vote lost. (Of course, the real winner was the none of the above vote, made by nearly half of the potential electorate.) The irony is that the long-dominant arm of finance capital, represented by the centrist Democrats like the Clintons and Obama, has twice been a victim to this rigged system. Donald Trump’s overt racism and sexism is not the language they prefer to use, even as they continue mass incarceration, police violence, deportations and resource wars. Better to speak nicely and try to hide the reality from white workers. However, downtrodden unemployed and dispossessed white industrial and agricultural workers could take it no more, and so they either welcomed or were willing to tolerate overt racism in a (futile) search for economic revenge. And the Electoral College, which was invented to guarantee the dominance of the white elite, helped them along. By giving weighted votes to each state on a winner-takes-all basis, this Electoral College system decreases the value of votes in states with a large majority voting one way, ie currently states like New York and California with lots of minority, immigrant and liberal voters. Continue reading “ELECTORAL COLLEGE FOUNDED ON RACISM”

DON’T VOTE — ORGANIZE

The Editors

eagle-flight-planWe don’t have to choose between a racist war-monger or a racist wall-builder in November. Let’s build movements instead. Either candidate means disaster for workers and students. Trump is clearly a racist, xenophobic, megalomaniacal loser, and we needn’t fear that any of our readers will vote for him. However, Clinton may be even more dangerous. She represents the main liberal wing of American capitalists and has supported the wars in Iraq and Libya and wants more aggressive action in Syria. She has a long history of racism and sexism, supporting mass incarceration, NAFTA, ending welfare for poor women, and opposing health benefits for new and undocumented immigrant families. Continue reading “DON’T VOTE — ORGANIZE”

UNITE TO FIGHT THE SPECTER OF WAR

 

The Editors

Is World War III around the corner? From 60 Minutes to the journal of the Council on Foreign Relation(CFR), Foreign Affairs, a recent focus has been on the likelihood of war, even nuclear war, between the major powers. We must not let that happen. Continue reading “UNITE TO FIGHT THE SPECTER OF WAR”