Sunday, September 18, 2011

African Community Refuses to Participate in Neo-Colonial Elections in Baltimore

Baltimore, MD – On Tuesday, September 13, 2011, voter turnout for the primary elections for Baltimore city local government officials hit an all-time historic low for the city. Only 17% of eligible voters in the city bothered to participate in the elections that would pick Democratic Party and Republican Party candidates for Mayor and 14 city council positions. Despite the attempts by the bourgeois media and pundits to cast the low participation numbers on voter apathy, the lack of participation in choosing between contending elements of the two ruling class parties represents a continuation of the breakdown in the people’s perception of the legitimacy of the state and its leadership.
Baltimore is a city of nearly 630,000 people with 64% of the population being Africans. the African working class is the largest sector of people in the city; but with 21% of all families living below the poverty level  African workers are also some of the poorest. Baltimore is a city with an overall unemployment rate of 11.4% which is higher than the 9.7% national average. Take into account that nationally 16.7% of African people, 19.4% of African men and a whopping 45% of African youth ages 16-24 are unemployed, the economic situation in the city of Baltimore for African people is critical.
The Democratic Party attempts to project itself as the liberal party in the United States and a friend of the African and other minority causes. Simultaneously, it has vilified the Republican Party as the party of the rich and the enemy of African people. However, in the face of all this, the Democratic Party has ruled the Baltimore city government for over 44 years and in that time, the economic, educational and health conditions of African people have steadily declined. It has not been the policies of the Republican Party which has failed the African community in Baltimore but the policies and leadership of the Democratic Party. The fact is both the Democratic and Republican parties are capitalist-imperialist parties that serve the interests of the white ruling class in the United States. Both parties are united in the philosophical and ideological belief in maintaining the domination of parasitic white power over all the oppressed peoples and nations of the world. Practically, they really only differ in the tactics and strategies they implement in order to achieve these goals.
Elections are non-violent contests between contending elements of the ruling class to determine which sector will have control of the state apparatus for a specific period of time. Once they have control of the state apparatus, they begin the work of implementing and maintaining policies that advance the economic and social agenda of their supporters. Elections legitimize the authority of these sectors of the ruling class even as they operate in opposition to the needs of the electorate.As a result of the large African population in Baltimore, there is also a large Black middle class that functions as gate keepers in the administration of resources and services. This Black middle class has proven itself to be visionless and traitorous to the interests of the general African population. Therefore it can only be recognized as performing a neo-colonial function in relationship to the masses of African and poor people in the struggle against the U.S. parasitic white ruling class.As a class, the Black petite-bourgeoisie can not be counted on as a social force to transform the poverty and disenfranchisement experienced by African people. As a class, it has attempted to consolidate its gains off the backs of African workers, the youth and other poor people.

The mayoral campaign was contested by 6 Africans and one white man. With the exception of one lone, under funded African worker in the campaign, all the other class elements were middle class African people who refuse to raise the issues the masses needed to have addressed.The mayoral election was won by the incumbent mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, an African woman with a long history of serving the Democratic Party machine and only ascended to the mayor position when her fellow Democratic Party crony, Shelia Dixon, was kicked out of office for a scandal in which she stole monies allotted for poor families and made backdoor deals with capitalist developers.

Other petite-bourgeoisie African forces in the race were Catherine Pugh, a current Democratic State Senator and former Baltimore City councilmember and former chief of state to the former mayor Dixon Otis Rolley. Despite being African, neither of these candidates dared to speak directly to the issues of the masses of African and poor people in this city. Neither was able to make a class distinction between themselves and the incumbent mayor. Many feared the lone white candidate, Jody Landers, a former city council member and local businessman would be able to steal the election with so many African candidates splitting the Black vote. However he finished a distant fourth in the election and could not inspire working class white voters to come out to support his campaign.
Ultimately, the refusal of the vast majority of people to participate in the local election is a key indictment of the current political process. The people when inspired have shown they will come out to vote and can be energized but when given the choice of one neo-colonialist agenda against another, they would rather stay home

Now is the time to put forward a party and candidates that take the issues of the people and make them primary to their campaigns. Now is time to build a political machine that is connected to the interests and needs of African workers and poor people in the region to expose the class orientation of the current crop of misleadership that rules local politics.

Brother-Comrade Nnamdi Lumumba, UPP State Organizer 

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