Black Emancipation Poses Threat to White Supremacist Traditions at 2016 Superbowl

By Carlito Rovira

 

 

For the most part, no one ever expected such a barrage of condemnation against the super-star African American singing artist Beyonce for her performance during halftime at the 2016 Superbowl. It is an institutionalized extravagant sport event viewed by tens of millions of people throughout the United States.

 
The controversy began immediately after a dance troupe of about 50 women, with Beyonce at the helm, took center stage in a beautifully choreographed arrangement and dress attire that made references to the legendary Black Panther Party and Malcolm X. To many people nothing could have been a better tribute to the annual tradition of Black History Month (February) than to depict figures so symbolic in U.S. history.

 

But in order to understand why this performance became such a controversy we must first explore the causes that triggered it. Anyone who closely examines the norms of this violent “sport” will easily see how it tends to present itself as a feverish gladiator ritual. The definition of “sport” has been changed to mean inflicting bodily harm among high priced members of opposing teams and in some cases with permanent damage.

 

With military music bands playing and jet fighters flying high above the airspace of stadiums, the Superbowl has become an event that insidiously promotes a peculiar version of militarism. It accentuates sexism, white supremacy and big nation chauvinist arrogance – all of the not-so-hidden ideas that prevail in the general thinking of capitalist culture.

 

With this kind of historically rooted setting it came as no surprise when arch racists and notorious figures like New York State Representative Peter King and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani launched a barrage of attacks against the prominent Black female performer.

 
They were appalled that Beyonce would dare pay homage to heroic African American revolutionaries, even in the most minimized implicit manner. The vindictive outcry by these and other white supremacists has little to do with Beyonce or what they perceived as “offensive” during the halftime performance.

 
Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party and the mass upsurge that occurred during the 1960’s – 70’s, the height of the Civil Rights movement, continues to haunt the imagination of our oppressors to this day. Their apprehensions are attributed to the militant traditions of the African American masses which brought about the rise of Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party.

 
The lessons that came as a result of those experiences are indisputably applicable in our reality today – and that is precisely what these villains fear. Blacks, Latinos, Indigenous and other people of color continue to be brutalized and murdered by the police across the United States.

 
Unlike the lies asserted by Guilliani and King it was the police who attacked, imprisoned and murdered Black Panthers in a criminal campaign organized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) known as Operation COINTELPRO. However, both Malcolm X and the BPP boldly advocated and practiced the right to use armed self-defense against the racist terror of the police in the Black community.

 
What the representatives of the ruling class are most upset about at Beyonce is that her Superbowl halftime performance reminded everyone of a period in U.S. history when Black people defiantly posed a threat to this racist system by galvanizing many sectors of the general population. This phenomena presented the potential for revolution in this country under the impact of the Black liberation struggle.

 
The role Black people played in the events of that period in history is something the ruling class can not forget or forgive. They will naturally dread the mere thought of a revolutionary upheaval until the day of their final doom.

 

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The Black Panther Party believed in the right to armed self-defense from police terror.

 

This is why former Black Panther and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has stated: “The tyrants, oppressors and racists who continue to hold political power in this country by using the most ruthless means can not afford a repeat of the 1960’s.”

 

The plight of Black people, from the 300 years of slavery, Jim Crow discrimination and the mass incarceration and police brutality today, are facts that our oppressors and those who benefit from white privilege and entitlement would like us to ignore and forget.

 
Regardless what Beyonce’s motives may have been she touched upon a vulnerability of white supremacist America and because of that she merits our applause and praise. If her halftime performance were a projection of jingoism, militarism or a glorification of white supremacy she would not have received the flack that she is now a target of.

BERNIE SANDERS IS NO SOCIALIST IF HE IS NOT FOR REPARATIONS

 

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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.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/bernie-sanders-reparations/424602/

 

DONALD TRUMP, RACISM & CAPITALIST ELECTIONS

By Carlito Rovira

 

What may very well distinguish the 2016 Presidential race from others in many decades is the media sensationalism the Republican candidate Donald Trump has received. Many people, especially people of color, have been angered or distressed by Trump’s openly racist speeches at campaign rallies and comments made to the news media. African Americans, Mexicans and other non-white people, along with Muslims and immigrants, have been the targets of Donald Trump’s vile depictions and slanders disguised as “speaking truth” or “freedom of speech.”

As a real estate giant, Trump is clear where his social class interests lay. He is a member of the capitalist class. In the numerous hotels and condominiums he owns, many of the employees are Black, Latino and women. It is precisely these wage workers who are the ones to have created the $4.5 Billion net worth Trump has accumulated through decades of exploitation.

The way the media has featured Trump’s arrogant hate speech, one might easily believe that Donald Trump is the only racist among all of the 2016 presidential candidates, both Republicans and Democrats. If we were to take into consideration the overall picture of U.S. history and the role played by white privilege and entitlement today, we can then come to the conclusion of how there is so much more hidden behind Trump’s theatrical style campaign.

In a society founded on racist hatred and genocide centuries ago, where white supremacy came to define many habits, customs and traditions in which it operates in the general culture like an unofficial religion, can we honestly say that Trump’s remarks are the exception?

Whichever candidate wins the presidential election, the reins of political and economic power will continue to be in the hands of the various groupings of multi-billionaires. It is precisely the views and interests of these billionaires that decide the thinking and actions of these politicians.

Capitalist democracy is designed to hide the iron-clad dictatorship of these billionaires. Bourgeois politics consists precisely in fronting professional politicians—more or less reactionary, more or less populist—to convince the working class first of all that they have a choice in their oppression, and second that the outcome of the political cycle reflects “the people’s will.”

What a big lie.

No matter what happens on Election Day 2016 our oppressors will continue to rule. The police will continue to murder poor, working class youths, especially people of color; the prison system will continue to enslave Blacks and Latinos in prison industries; public officials (“elected”) will continue to pass legislation that allow the closing of hospitals, schools, daycare centers while granting landlords greater powers to increase the push to gentrify our communities.

Manipulating public concerns by projecting worst case scenario is one of the oldest psychological tactics the ruling class has learned to master. They have dominated this society with the politics of deception, especially when they present to us the “good cop-bad cop” scenario. Highlighting constantly the latest racist and misogynist comments made by Donald Trump serves this purpose.

Take for example the strategy government and transportation officials use whenever they wish to raise bus and subway fares, as well as bridge and tunnel tolls. They will announce outrageous and unaffordable fare hikes in order to scare the public into accepting a lesser increase amount.

Shamefully, many progressives, including some on the “socialist” political Left, have allowed themselves to be drawn into the widespread Trump panic. These are people who should be quite familiar with the purpose and nature of the bourgeois elections.

These political forces fail to realize how the rulers use extremist figures like Donald Trump as a ploy to divert attention away from the actual political strategy of the ruling class. Some have even characterized Trump as some sort of a representative of a new U.S. fascism, as if the other candidates were not subordinated to the wishes of the most exploitative and racist sectors of the ruling class.

 

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Of course, those who disrupt Trump’s campaign appearances to denounce his racist bigotry deserve our applause. So do the young Black Lives Matter activists who have disrupted “socialist” Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ events.

But “dump Trump” protests that focus on this one politician as “worse than” the others , however well-intentioned, fall into the pitfall of bourgeois electoralism. Absent a militant and class-conscious struggle, the political orientation of these protests leads directly toward the deception of bourgeois elections. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is quite conscious of the political trajectory, which is why she organized her own City Hall protest against the “disgusting, racist demagogue”—as she presides over a city plagued by racist police violence and abuses by billionaire landlords.

What is downplayed and kept away from the general public is the intricate mandate handed to whoever wins the presidential election. Whether it be Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jeff Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mark Rubio or Donald Trump, the winner in 2016 will be obligated to follow a strict set of protocols which are written into Federal Law and set-up to protect the capitalist system.

The Donald Trump campaign does not reveal anything new about the U.S. ruling class. It is not a turn toward fascism, where the ruling class mobilizes other class forces to do battle with the working class in the streets. Rather, the Trump campaign shows the inherent racism of the whole ruling class and the bankruptcy of bourgeois “democracy.”

The bottom line is this: the main objective of the bourgeois elections and capitalist politicians, from Trump to Sanders, is to provide oppressed and exploited people with the illusion of “democracy” in order to better exploit us. Fundamental change can only come about with the force of a people’s movement engaged in revolutionary struggle.