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From "Lorenzo Ervin" <komboa@hotmail.com>
Date Wed, 6 Dec 2000 02:15:59 -0500 (EST)


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THE REST OF THE NEWS
by Lorenzo Komboa Ervin

THE BALLOT OR THE BULLET?

There are no fair elections in America, certainly when the questions of race 
and political power are evident. It's interesting therefore to look at the 
presidential election of the year 2000. Many things have not been widely 
reported, which shows that this electoral race has come so close to 
political violence, if not outright fascism. The right-wing, including 
paramilitary militias in Florida and other states, have been planning for a 
civil war for quite some time. Now they have a genuine "excuse" for 
political violence.

For instance, shortly after the first recounts began in Florida, the most 
extreme elements of the Republicans, bolstered by gunmen began taking about 
"blood in the streets." Even the USA Todfay began to write articles about 
the high "state of tension" over the elections and threats of violence in 
Florida. After it seemed that Bush would lose because of ballots not counted 
in Palm Beach and other Democratic counties, they began to talk  about the 
possibility of a civil war. For instance, U.S. Congressman Ron Paul 
(R-Texas) stated on a Dallas-Fort Worth radio talk show if he thought all 
the Gore legal manuevers were a plot so that Pres. Clinton could remain in 
power replied that "...The people would come out and there would be total 
violence." In addition to this, there have been reports of accelerated 
widespread ammunition and arms sales in White suburban areas all over 
Florida.

These white Republicans had alleged widespread "voter fraud" by Democrats 
against their man George W. Bush, until it became clear that the Republican 
establishment had enough power to stave off Gore's legal and electoral 
challenges. It seems (as I'm writing this) that Bush has captured Florida, 
and overtaken Gore in electoral votes, if not the national vote total. (Hey, 
his brother is the Governor [!], who believes that that does not count for 
something? All the electoral and political officials in the State of Florida 
report to Jeb Bush.)

Although the white conservatives claimed "fraud" for mere tactical 
advantage. It really does appear that there has been widespread fraud 
against Black people in Florida and other Southern states. They have been 
disallowed the right to vote in thousands of cases, especially in those 
Southern counties where they have substantial numbers. In Florida, they 
voted in record numbers only to have their ballots massively disallowed. 
Even before the election, thousands of Black people in Florida, Tennessee, 
Mississippi, Alabama, and other Southern states were purged from the voter 
rolls without even so much of a notice of the action. Many Black people 
arrived at their voting precinct office to find it had "moved" or that they 
no longer qualified to vote. This interference by white racist voting 
registrars is the very sort of stuff that the Voting Rights Act of 1964 was 
designed to prevent.

There is no question that we are seeing a resurgence of the very sort of 
illegal racist activity which has always gone on down South, especially in 
many small towns and mid-sized cities. When Black people started to make 
inroads in the electoral arena, after the Civil War displaced the plantation 
owners and dismantled the slave system, they were subjected to poll taxes, 
literacy tests, and other illegal methods to deny them access to the right 
to vote. Now we are seeing the revival of these methods in the 2000 
elections. No doubt racist vigilantism is only a step away!

Most Black people understand that a Bush electoral victory means an outright 
hostile federal government to the national Black community. Possibly a 
government more hostile than the Reagan administration of the 1980's, who 
took actions that we are still suffering from. It is pointless to argue to 
them about the backwardness and treachery of the Democrats, who do not have 
our best interests at heart either. The 100,000 new cops beating down our 
community were hired by Clinton, the 2 million Black and poor prisoners were 
jailed by Clinton, the massive new poverty of millions was because Clinton 
signed legislation to destroy welfare, and you could point to other inimical 
actions. But the Demoratic "fox" (in sheep's clothing) is preferable to the 
Republican "wolf", even though both are eating us alive.

At times like this, it's important to think about Malcolm X's famous "Ballot 
or the Bullet" speech, given in Cleveland (OH.) over 36 years ago. Brother 
Malcolm talked about the American two party system as "a giant con game", 
and that both the Democrats and Republican were working together to oppress 
Black people in this country. He talked about Southern racists (Dixiecrats) 
and Northern Liberals (Demorats) controlling the political system of the 
day, and tricking Black folks out of their vote. He said if Black people 
could freely vote in the South then many of the racist segregationists would 
lose their seats in Congress, which has been somewhat true. That was in 
1964, well now the right-wingers have regrouped into the Republican Party. 
They are supported by the most reactionary wing of finance capital, under 
the guise of Christianity, which elected Reagan in 1980 and now Bush in 
2000. Some diehard racists like Strom Thurmond, Jessie Helms and others from 
the 1960's who opposed the civil right laws, are still in office, even to 
this day. How much political progress has truly been made by Black people in 
all this time? Our democratic rights which have been won with so much 
sacrifice are now being taken away.

The most important thing here is that we need to organize in the streets, 
not just for civil rights or American citizenship rights, but total 
political indepedence in whatever form that takes. We need to use whatever 
means of resistance is necessary to secure our freedom, and not be trapped 
into thinking that our entire future is bound up in the current fate of Al 
Gore. Whether he wins or loses, we will still be Black and have to deal with 
racism in the United States.


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