The Whitewashing of Economic Justice

I recently wrote a new article on Medium that my readers should check out. I think it's time to question many of the things we've been told and taught to believe. We should also be wary of voices in the community who attempt to distract us away from seeking economic justice in all of its various forms.

In their attempt to turn black voters away from Bernie Sanders' economic message, there were those who labeled his message as a "white issue" and some continue that rhetoric to this day. Understand when game is being ran on you and ask yourself why some people in the community are fighting so hard to get Black people to focus solely on social progress and not economic progress. I personally believe we need both...especially economic progress. Economic empowerment is one of the most important things the black community needs right now. The last thing we need are more symbolic gestures.

Here's an except from the article...

Hubert Harrison (pictured to the left, 1883–1927) is a name you may not be familiar with. He was a West Indian-American writer and political activist who worked out of Harlem and is directly credited with giving rise to the New Negro movement and directly inspiring radical intellectuals from A. Philip Randolph to Marcus Garvey. Among many things, he advocated for class consciousness, secular humanism, social progressivism — and he was also a socialist. For a couple years he was deeply involved on an organizational level with the Socialist Party of America (1912–1914)before moving on to other things.

I start this article off with him to show those who may not know that many of the ideas that are attributed to later individuals and groups were actually being advocated for many, many years earlier by radical progressives who have long been forgotten. Ideas that need to be brought back to the forefront due to an attempt by many in the community to dismiss the call for economic justice as a “white issue.”

In 1917, Harrison wrote an article entitled ‘What Socialism Means To Us.’ I advise everyone to read it. In it, he makes comparisons between chattel slavery and wage slavery —

To-day, fellow-sufferers, they tell us that we are free. But are we? If you will think for a moment you will see that we are not free at all. We have simply changed one form of slavery for another. Then it was chattel-slavery, now it is wage-slavery. For that which was the essence of chattel-slavery is the essence of wage slavery. It is only a difference in form. The chattel-slave was compelled to work by physical force; the wage-slave is compelled to work by starvation. The product of the chattel-slave’s labor was taken by his master; the product of the wage-slave’s labor is taken by the employer. 

— Hubert Harrison, 1917

Harrison talks about how during the Civil War, Southern capitalists (a.k.a. Planters, a.k.a. slave owners) profited off of chattel slavery, but that the Northern capitalists profited off of wage slavery. He says that the Civil War was fought by the South to maintain the chattel slave system, but that it wasn’t fought in the North for some moral belief in black equality. Lincoln himself in a letter to Horace Greeley in 1862 stated that the goal in the war was to save the Union, but was not to either save or destroy slavery!

Under the old system the capitalist owned the man; today he owns the tools with which the man must work. These tools are the factories, the mines, and the machines. The system that owns them owns you and me and all the rest of us, black, white, brown, red, and yellow. We can’t live unless we have access to these tools, and our masters, the capitalists, see to it that we are separated from what we make by using these things, except so much as is necessary to keep us alive that we may be able to make more — for them. This little bit is called wages. 

— Hubert Harrison. 1917

Read the rest by clicking the link above!

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