Go to Home page Go to Past Issues Subscribe Go to Links
book cover Editor’s note: This column is excerpted from the book, “The Future Is Up To Us: A Revolutionary Talking Politics with the American People,” by Nelson Peery. Send your thoughts to info@peoplestribune.org. To order the book, send $12 to Speakers for a New America Books, c/o People’s Tribune, P.O. Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654-3524.

There is no economic or historic reason that the African American should remain an exclusive community. The two most important Black institutions are the church and the schools. The schools have, to some degree, been integrated and there is a broad and important movement especially in the south to break the rigid de facto segregation in religion. White and Black ministers are beginning to preach to one another's congregations and some churches have merged.

At the same time, the white ruling class still has the power and connections to appoint most of the Black "leaders." The rest are murdered, jailed or demonized so as to be rendered ineffective. The seeming rallying around Black "leaders" is mostly an expression of justified fear of the man.

As we look at history we see that, as slavery ground to an end, the strivings of the ex-slaves were to enter American life according to economic status. As the Southern elite regained the upper hand, they legally and ideologically imposed the segregation that forced this weak Black bourgeoisie to organize and depend upon "their" market. At that point "all Black unity" again emerged.

Black migration to the north was just another migration. Take away the color factor and you will see that the Blacks improved their economic status in the North at exactly the same rate as other immigrants. They were probably a little better off than the Italian immigrants. The improvement of their economic and eventually social conditions proceeded normally. Education, the emergence of the Black woman as a wage earner and her struggle for equality within the Black family, were all moving ahead as with any other immigrant. At a certain point of Irish immigration suddenly there was Irish domination of politics; similarly for the Italian or the Norwegian. Likewise, there was an emergence of Black politics as the Blacks moved into these ghettos. The difference is that in the main, the Black politician's influence was limited to the ghetto, while the ethnic white's influence became national.

[Actually, I hate the use of the term ghetto, because it's really not a ghetto.To get out of the ghetto all a Jewish person had to do was to publicly renounce the Hebrew religion and he could leave. The Black doesn't leave by renouncing being an African American. He gets out when he has the money to leave. The Blacks didn't have any choice. It is not a ghetto; it is a segregated slum.]

The concentration of Blacks in these inner cities created the conditions for the rise of Black politics and a Black politician whose interest lay more and more with the segregation and isolation of his constituency. Do you think Richard J. Daley's Chicago machine could have existed for ten minutes without the most loyal support by the Black political criminals -- the political criminals who were ripping off the city right along with the Daleys? The Black politicians were the ones who sold the idea of public housing high rises such as the Robert Taylor Homes.They knew the only reason for these projects was to permanently segregate the Blacks. They also understood that permanent de facto segregation with de jure integration was in their economic interest.

So Blacks went into the factory the same way that the Irish or Italians did, as immigrants. That is to say taking the simplest jobs at the lowest wages and then begin working themselves up. Little by little they inched ahead. Then suddenly, in came automation that wiped out the unskilled and semi skilled sector -- the sector where they worked.

Robotics, or electronic production, like anything else develops from simple to complex. Wiping out huge sectors of the unskilled and semi-skilled was just the beginning. Today, every sector of production and service is hit. The result is a whole new class of once financially stable but now impoverished workers is forming internationally. They are the fighting edge of the new worldwide movement against poverty.

This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 773-486-3551, info@peoplestribune.org.
Feel free to reproduce unless marked as copyrighted.
Please include this message with reproductions of the article.