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Racism Still Achilles Heel of U.S. Capitalism

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31 December 2023 256 hits

Racism remains the Achilles Heel of U.S. capitalism. Black workers, and youth in particular, see the hypocrisy of the U.S. bosses. While the ruling class wages war for oil under the guise of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," bringing "democracy" to the Middle East, for most black workers "democracy" and "freedom" at home are one gigantic racist joke.

Fascist U.S. Prison System: Black/White Ratio is 7.5 to 1

With a U.S. prison population of 2,019,234 last year, the Bureau of Justice Statistics calculated that 28% of all black men will be Imprisoned sometime in their lifetime. Right now, 12% of all black men between 20 and 34 are in jail, compared to 1.6% of white men in the same age bracket.

The largest number of convictions stem from drugs, two-thirds of which are non-violent crimes. (In Texas, possession of 4 ounces of marijuana gets up to two years in prison.) Federal law mandates five years without parole for possession of 5 grams (one-sixth of an ounce) of crack cocaine. But for POWDER cocaine, 500 grams — one hundred times as much — is required for a 5-year sentence. The overwhelming majority of crack users are black and Latino. The overwhelming majority of powder users are middle- and upper-class whites. This "war on drugs" is a essentially a racist war on black and Latino workers and youth.

This combination of long prison terms for non-violent offenders possessing an ounce or two of crack cocaine, the zeroing in on the predominantly black areas of big cities by racist police forces, and the framing of tens of thousands of black youth by corrupt racist cops (as in LA and Miami) has resulted in HALF the inmates in this country’s prisons being black (although they constitute only one-tenth of the total population).

Illegal drug use among white men is approximately the same as for black men. Yet because of the above racist factors, "black men are five times as likely to be arrested for drug offenses" as are white men. (Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 1998, p. 57)

Black men — 10% of the male population in the U.S. — are imprisoned at more than FOUR times the rate of black men in South Africa, where they constitute 75% of the male population! And once in prison, inmates — half of them black — are subjected to slave labor, producing goods for big corporations at "wage" rates of 23в an hour.

The Civil War presumably ended slavery for black people in 1865. Now U.S. capitalism has succeeded in re-introducing slavery into the largest prison system in world history. (For a complete analysis of this slave labor prison system, see PLP pamphlet: "Prison Labor: Fascism U.S. Style," available on our website —http://www.plp.org)

Capitalist Killer on the ‘Home Front’ — Racist Mass Unemployment

While U.S. imperialism is killing workers in Iraq, capitalism is killing workers’ jobs here. The government reports — themselves suspect — 108,000 jobs were lost in March. That’s 2.4 million jobs gone in the last two years, the longest stretch without job growth in 20 years.

While the unemployment rate "remained" at 5.8%, that figure (conveniently) omits five million jobless workers who have given up looking for non-existent jobs but are NOT counted as unemployed.

Add those 5 millions to the 8.5 million "officially" unemployed plus:

•the several million working part-time who want but can’t find full time jobs;

•those on welfare who also would work if there were jobs available;

•the one million in prison for non-violent crimes who in most other countries would not be incarcerated.

If all these were correctly counted as unemployed, the amount of jobless would approach 20 million and the rate would more than double, to about 14%.

Meanwhile, black and Latino workers suffer double the jobless rates of white workers because of racist discrimination — first fired, last hired.

All sectors of the economy showed job losses. For manufacturing it was the 36th consecutive month. And the March figures do not include recent airline layoffs nor state and city cutbacks like the 5,400 getting the axe in New York City. Businesses have shown increased sales but have cut jobs anyway because they can get the remaining workers who fear layoffs to work harder, increasing productivity — for the boss.

Why the continued job losses? "Businesses simply aren’t sufficiently profitable to fuel new hiring," says Richard Yamarone, New York economist for Argus Research. "Why would you," he answers, "when you have slipping demand, skyrocketing productivity and global overcapacity?" (New York Times, 4/5)

So there it is. Capitalism in crisis "solves" its problems on the backs of the working class, again and again. To Iraq’s workers and all workers we say, if this is the "democracy" U.S. rulers plan for you, watch out! Only international working-class unity to dump this inhuman system can solve perpetual unemployment.