By Carlito Rovira
The demand for reparations for centuries of African chattel slavery has always been dreaded by the capitalist ruling class and argued against with contempt by every form of white supremacy, both hidden and open. Bernie Sanders who makes every attempt to project himself as a “socialist” can very easily be proven a complete hypocrite on just the topic of reparations.
Socialists who truly uphold their convictions for an uncompromising struggle against capitalism can not speak of ending capitalist oppression without fighting for reparations for African Americans, Africa and the entire African diaspora.
The unimaginable colossal wealth in the hands of the capitalist class today was initially created by enslaved African labor centuries ago. The racial injustices that exist today in this country against African Americans, Latinos and all Third World people is rooted in this question.
For Bernie Sanders to speak of reparations with indifference only brings to light why his campaign rallies continue to be just as predominantly white as his fellow contenders in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Reparations for the historically super-exploited sectors of the population is a fundamental matter for those who call themselves socialist.
Reparations will not just mean economic compensation, its implementation will also require incarcerating those who inherited wealth and their position of social privilege at the expense of Black people. Reparations can not avoid also addressing putting an end to white privilege and white entitlement by decree. A theme that the followers of the Sanders campaign as well as Bernie Sanders himself are by their very nature unable to grapple with.
Bernie Sanders’ “sincerity” or “insincerity” is irrelevant. There are many things which he has critiqued about this system which are true, such as the greed of the banks and the entire capitalist class. However, Mr. Sanders is embedded in the surroundings of white privilege. The progress and salvation of working class people, especially people of color, can not co-exist in this society with tyrants, exploiters and racists.
Changing the circumstances of capitalist oppression, including reparations for the victims of this system, will require a mass movement capable of launching revolution. This is the line of departure between revolutionary socialists and Bernie Sanders apologists who speak of a harmless kind of socialism acceptable to our oppressors.