Black American Politics in the 21st Century: Is It Time For A New Plan?

This of course, gives the absolute lie to the currently popular saying that “government can’t create wealth.” This was public wealth, created the same way as all private wealth, through labor, labor that put income in the hands of millions of families who promptly spent it and revived the consumer economy. The tax system of that time laid much heavier burdens on the wealthy and a much lighter tax burden on labor. But unlike today, when a huge proportion of people’s taxes go for corporate welfare and imperial wars, people could see where there taxes went, and they were more satisfied with the justice of it than anybody has a right to be in the early 21st century.

At a time when unemployment is at a sixty or seventy year high, and the gap between black and white unemployment is growing faster than ever, are Democrats delivering jobs for black America? Our First Black President claims that government just cannot create jobs, that only private industry can do that, a self-evident and self-serving lie. And the vice president said only last week that the administration has no plans to bring back any of the 8 million jobs lost by what he calls the “Great Recession.”

Is our political strategy delivering us justice?

The answer here has to be negative again. Over the last thirty-five years the nation has implemented a policy of blatantly discriminatory mass incarceration of African Americans and other minorities including Latinos and Native Americans. It’s a piece of national policy we’ve been calling attention to in Black Agenda Report and before that in Black Commentator for more than eight years, and what attorney and author Michelle Alexander eloquently describes in her book The New Jim Crow. In a single generation, from the 1960s when whites were a majority in the nation’s prisons, the black American one eighth of the US population by the turn of the century furnished roughly half the nation’s prisoners. No black drug or crime wave accounts for this policy shift. The nation, as Loic Wacquant puts it, simply decided to lock up five times as many people for the same amount of crime it had in say, 1980, and most of the locked up were black.

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