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Now Is the Time For A New Abolition Movement

September 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Frank Joyce, AlterNet

Until racism is addressed, a more humane social contract is unattainable.

The first abolition struggle arose to oppose slavery. For the most part, it did not challenge the idea of white supremacy. It did not advocate for racial equality. It sought the end of chattel slavery. Period. The second developed to abolish the Jim Crow version of apartheid that replaced slavery.

Despite the heroic efforts of blacks and whites to end slavery and Jim Crow, the system of racism and white privilege kept right on going. Like a virus, it evolved and adapted. How do we know that? Racially measured inequality in health, income, wealth, education, incarceration, housing and other measures still define our society. Many disparities are as big now, or worse, than they have been in the past.

Never yet has there been a movement to abolish racism itself. Now is the time, not just because there is a crisis. Surely there is a crisis. But while it might not seem obvious, there is also new opportunity.

Many whites continue to believe that racial disparities persist because African-Americans are inferior and therefore deserving of their “second-class” status. That view is racist pure and simple. The more “liberal” perspective is that inequalities persist because of the “legacy” of slavery. That’s not accurate either.

Why? Global race-based capitalism is not a system of the past with lingering effects. It is a living, breathing organism of the present. White racism is as much a part of our structure in 2014 as “free markets,” private property, the jury system, cable TV, Major League Baseball, representative democracy and the Second Amendment.

Thanks to the work of historian Gerald Horne, especially his most recent book, The Counter-Revolution of 1776, we have a much better understanding of how thoroughly the creation of the “first apartheid state” set the course we are still on more than 200 years later. Well beyond the nefarious “three-fifths of a man” so-called compromise language in the Constitution, the nation’s core document institutionalized white privilege.

White racism will not just “wither away.” It surely will not disappear just because whites become a minority. …read more


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