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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Antiwar, equal rights: beyond dream to solidarity

150 years’ struggle amidst endless wars and global protests
Excerpt, minor editing by 
Carolyn Bennett

Maryland activist Steven Strauss reflects on present and parallels 50 years from Washington March.

Dream for justice and equality must go beyond fragile reforms; envision capitalism's replacement with the revolutionary integration of free people into a society that thrives not on [bigotry and racialism] ─ but on aid and human solidarity.

…Before the modern civil rights movement, political inequality was maintained through Jim Crow segregation according to race,” Steven Strauss recalls. “Economic discrimination in jobs, housing, education, and treatment by police and courts was [in America] the written and unwritten law of the land.”
Boston, Massachusetts
performs Jim Crow


Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States [America] enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure (in law) racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with, starting in 1890, a ‘separate but equal’ status for African Americans.

The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that tended to be inferior to those provided for Anglo Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages.

Lancaster, Ohio
makes its point

De jure (in law) segregation mainly applied to the Southern United States.

Northern segregation was generally de facto (in fact, practice, custom), with patterns of segregation in housing enforced by covenants, bank lending practices, and job discrimination, including discriminatory union practices for decades.

Some examples of Jim Crow laws are the segregation of public schools, public places, and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The U.S. military was also segregated.

Durham, North Carolina
makes its point
These Jim Crow Laws followed the 1800–1866 Black Codes, which had previously restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans with no pretense of equality.

State-sponsored school segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. Generally, the remaining Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. [Wikipedia note]

50-year commemoration
Marchers on Washington, D.C.
August 28, 2013
“The civil rights movement formally eliminated political Jim Crow but not the capitalist economy,” Steven Strauss observes; therefore, to the present day, “deep economic inequities persist.”

Profit takers and limp labor block century-and-a-half struggle

system rooted in supremacy of profit has historically been the brick wall blocking the political struggle for freedom. The post-Civil War Reconstruction program that strained to overcome monstrous consequences of slavery and the 1960s civil rights struggle hit that brick wall.
The 1963 March on Washington ─ shouting that liberation was yet a distant dream ─ was to the Reconstruction Era what the 2013 commemoration March on Washington was to the Civil Rights Movement: impassioned protests in the face of “inadequate progress in the pursuit of freedom.”

Big Labor is also stuck in backward ways.  Paralleling the 1963 era, Strauss says, the 2013 March on Washington found “limited mobilization of rank-and-file labor.”

What needs to happen, he says, is a sea change: “a U.S. labor movement” that launches a “full-out organization for full employment through public works programs and a reduction of the workweek to 30 hours without cutting pay”; a “revival of affirmative action policies to reverse generations of discrimination”; a “rebuilding of inner cities” by ensuring that corporations pay proper taxes, and a dislodging of the strangle hold imposed by the “war budget” of the Pentagon. 

Solidarity beyond the dream

“The dream for justice and equality,” Strauss says, “needs to go beyond fragile reforms and instead envision the replacement of capitalism with the revolutionary integration of free people into a society that thrives not on [bigotry and racialism] ─ but on aid and human solidarity.”

Sources and notes

“An unfinished revolution: 50 years after the March on Washington (Black America — Part III in a series)” by Steven Strauss, October 2013 Freedom Socialist, http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/?q=node/2581

Tens of thousands of spirited people, mostly African Americans, descended on the nation’s capital on August 24 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom ─ Dr. Martin Luther King’s epic ‘I have a dream’ speech still reverberating as were the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing segregation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 officially prohibiting voting discrimination.

Demonstrators gather in D.C. on August 28, 2013, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Photo: Steven Strauss / FS

Steven Strauss is a political activist in Baltimore, Maryland, who attended the 2013 March in Washington in D.C.

Jim Crow brief, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws

Stop the War Coalition

International Anti-War Conference: U.S. and allies pushing for another war in the Middle East; attack on Syria could cause a conflagration across the region. Antiwar action and opinion is making its mark but pressure for Western military interventions is growing; Obama is sending more military resources to encircle China; and while the Middle East remains the U.S.’s main preoccupation, the West is ramping up its military presence on the African continent. This conference is a vital opportunity to analyze and debate the fast changing and dangerous situation and plan how best to step up opposition to the West’s imperial wars: International Anti-War Conference, Stop the War Coalition 30 November 2013, Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW, 10 a.m.-5 p. m. http://www.stopwar.org.uk/events/international-antiwar-conference

Manchester demonstration: This Sunday 29 September tens of thousands will join the TUC march on the Tory Party conference in Manchester to defend the NHS and challenge austerity. Stop the War is organizing an anti-war block with CND on the demonstration. Here are five reasons why you should be there. The anti-war block will be assembling in block ‘J’ with the main demonstration at 11a.m., Sunday 29 September Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4FP. Look out for the ‘cut war not welfare’ placards. “Why Stop the War is marching to the Tory Party Conference this Sunday, Chris Nineham 25 September 2013: “Five reasons to march to the Tory Party Conference this Sunday” http://www.stopwar.org.uk/news/why-stop-the-war-is-marching-to-the-tory-party-conference-this-sunday

Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


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