Cold Truth, Liberating Truth: How This System Has Always Oppressed Black People, and How All Oppression Can Finally Be Ended

Any Other Way Is Confusion and Illusion

No other program, besides the program of proletarian revolution, can possibly end the oppression of Black people, for one basic reason. No other program can fully isolate the problem--the capitalist system--and provide the solution through abolishing capitalism and everything that goes along with capitalism.

Dreamers and schemers keep coming up with "solutions" that demand "working within the system" to seek change. But what have these "solutions" brought? Nothing. Nothing but leaving the system in effect, with all the suffering it causes, here and worldwide.

One of the more recent versions of this has been the idea of so-called "Black empowerment" through getting Black people elected as mayors and other public officials. Well, over the past twenty or more years, thousands of Black people have been elected to public office, and many of the major cities--including Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.--do have Black mayors. But what has been the result? Have the conditions of Black people improved during the time that these Black officials have held office? Have the cities become better places for Black people to live where they have had Black mayors? No. As we have seen, the situation of the masses of Black people has become even more miserable.

It is really necessary to understand that elections in this society are controlled by the capitalist ruling class. This ruling class dominates and controls the economy and on that basis it dominates and controls political power. Regardless of who is elected to office, this ruling class keeps its control of the state--the police and armed forces, the government bureaucracies, the courts and the rest of the legal machinery (the "injustice system"). Elections are used by the ruling class to trick those they rule over. At most, elections give the oppressed the "choice" of selecting which group of oppressors will rob and torment them! This is a basic "fact of life" under this system. To be treated as "second-class citizens" and not even be allowed to vote is an outrage. But to be told that the oppressed can gain power--power to change society in their interests--through elections under this system: that too is an outrage and only helps the oppressors.

It is true that certain middle class Blacks have gotten jobs in government bureaucracies and have benefited in some other ways from the fact that there are more Black government officials. And in some cases, murders of Black people by police dropped, for a while, after a Black mayor was elected and more Black police were hired. But two things must be said about this.

First, this drop-off in murders of Black people by police is tied in with an overall strategy of the ruling class of penning Black people up in the inner cities, giving them, and especially the Black youth, no hope for a better life with dignity, and setting them up to murder each other. This serves the powers-that-be by making it look as if they are no longer responsible for the misery--as if Black people are doing it to themselves.

But second, police murders and all-around brutality against Black people are once again on the rise, including in cities where there are Black mayors. And let's not forget the MOVE massacre in 1985. After bombing a house, murdering Black men, women, and children, and burning down a whole Black neighborhood, in order to get "the radical sect, MOVE," Mayor Wilson Goode of Philadelphia said he would do it again! Let that stand as a reminder of what such Black mayors will do in the service of the ruling class--the real power for whom these Black mayors front and in whose interests they act. Let it stand as a symbol of the bankruptcy of these so-called "Black empowerment" schemes that promise results from "working within the system."

Those who hype this strategy of "working within the system" often claim to be following the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. And in reality, they are. King himself wrote in 1968 that

"The American racial revolution has been a revolution to `get in' rather than to overthrow. We want a share in the American economy, the housing market, the educational system and the social opportunities. This goal itself indicates that a social change in America must be nonviolent." (From Where Do We Go From Here, by Martin Luther King, Jr., page 130)

But what King is talking about is not really a revolution at all. He is appealing to the aspirations of middle class and upper class Blacks to get a bigger "cut" of the loot plundered by U.S. imperialism. But the violent revolutionary uprising of the masses blows away schemes like this. When King insisted on nonviolence, he insisted on it only for the oppressed masses. In fact, during the rebellions of Black people in the '60s, King openly declared: if blood must be spilled, let it be ours. And during the most powerful of these rebellions, Detroit 1967, King joined in the call for the government to send in troops to put down the rebellion--which they did--with vicious violence.

King's whole stand in the '60s was directly opposed by Malcolm X. Although he was a nationalist and not a communist, Malcolm was a revolutionary nationalist who called out the system for its crimes, not only against Black people but other oppressed peoples in the U.S. and around the world. Malcolm boldly took the stand that if this system would not give freedom and justice to those it had victimized for so long, then the system should be overthrown. Despite attempts today to distort the real story on this, Malcolm remained firmly opposed to the role played by Martin Luther King and all others who tried to collaborate with the system and cover up the reality of the so-called "American Dream"--which is a nightmare for the oppressed. It was for his uncompromising stand in giving a voice to the deepest feelings of the most oppressed that Malcolm X was hounded and finally assassinated.

Three years later, Martin Luther King was also assassinated. But unlike Malcolm, King was not cut down because he was a champion of the oppressed, standing up for them against the system that oppresses them. He was a defender of that system, who wanted to "improve" it but not overthrow it. He was cut down by infighting among the cut-throat rulers of that system--the same infighting that cut down the Kennedys, John and Bobby, who played King as their puppet. Thus, today, those who promote "working within the system," with such disastrous consequences for the oppressed, are indeed carrying out the legacy of Martin Luther King.

This applies as well to people like Jesse Jackson and his recent election campaigns. Jackson's claim to speak for the oppressed while seeking the position of top oppressor is ridiculous. You don't represent the oppressed by trying to be "President" of the system that oppresses them. That's like representing the fish by trying to be "President" of the sharks that eat them!

While he is at it, Jackson has declared himself "The General" in the "war on drugs." But Jackson knows that this "war on drugs" is in reality a war on the oppressed people, directed from the highest levels of the ruling class. If Jackson really wants to do some good for the oppressed, let him declare war on the system that is responsible for the situation where masses of people are poisoned with drugs and is using that situation to bring down the hammer of repression even more brutally. Let him stand up and say: The system is the problem--it is responsible for untold and unnecessary suffering for millions, even billions, of people, here and all over the world--and no change for the better can come about until this system is overthrown. But Jackson is not about to do that. He knows this system is the "hand that feeds him"--the same hand that brutalizes the oppressed masses, who do have every interest in declaring war on this system and fighting to finish it off.

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