Presidential Elections 2016
The U.S. State and Electoral Process are Divisive and Racist — Not the People
Election Shows Failure of Existing Set-Up
NO to Wars at Home and Abroad! Calls Grow for 'Sanctuary Campuses' for Undocumented StudentsA Poll Tax by Another Name

The U.S. State and Electoral Process are Divisive and Racist — Not the People

Every effort is being made to claim the election of Donald Trump for president shows that the country, or at least the majority of workers, are racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. The same monopoly media that promoted every racist, anti-people comment by Trump and spread it far and wide, that routinely portrays African American males as criminals and Muslims as terrorists, now is trying to portray itself as “inclusive.”

A Washington Post editorial instructed, “How each of us can help keep America inclusive, even under Trump.” A NY Times editorial similarly reads, “What does Trump's win say about us as a nation?” Another Times op-ed answers more directly “America Elects a Bigot” and we are all now to doubt “whatever faith you had in the country itself.” Numerous pundits and commentators professing to be progressive are themselves expressing the racist stand of the U.S. state by blaming the people for Trump and labeling them as racist and sexist.

What is the aim of presenting the people of the country, especially white workers, as racist? And of promoting the notion that simply voting for Trump makes all those who did racist or supporters of racism? What is the aim of emphasizing that the election represents the “mandate” of the people on such issues as poverty, inequality, immigration and war? The aim is to divide the working class and discredit it as the only social force capable of actually taking the country in the pro-social, anti-war direction desired by the people. It is to hide the racist nature of the U.S. state and the dangerous direction it is headed in — which is the direction of eliminating a government of laws and making a government of police power, with all its violence and impunity, omnipotent.

It is also to promote guilt by association, with no basis in fact, something very much needed by a government of police powers bent on criminalizing the people. Workers are to target each other and treat each other as things to be labeled, not as human beings with common concerns. The various actions by KKK and neo-nazis taking place since the election are not to be blamed on the racist U.S. state, which backs and arms such forces, but on individuals who voted for Trump.

We are also told to rely on the state, when it is the source of the problems. Using guilt by association, the U.S. state will impose more criminalization of those resisting, under the guise of prosecuting “hate crimes.” Even before Trump there were efforts, for example, against those defending Palestine to have organizing on campuses branded as “hate crimes.” Now with the need of the government to impose a government of police powers, one can anticipate that guilt by association will more broadly be used against those resisting state attacks and defending rights. Only it will be blamed on Trump the individual, not Trump the representative of the oligopolies and their rule.

The U.S. state has been racist from its origins, founded on the genocide of slavery and against indigenous peoples and continuing today, with mass incarceration and including the many electoral laws blocking African Americans from voting. Voter suppression, especially of minorities, remained a problem this election yet it is barely mentioned.

A state that organizes for the widespread impunity for racist police killings and brutality and government profiling cannot be relied on. The efforts to blame the people are to hide this reality, at a time when state organized racist attacks will increase.


Election Shows Failure of Existing Set-Up

A huge cacophony has followed in the wake of the U.S. election that paints voters as racist. This serves as a means to ignore the many indications that people are rejecting the existing set up and demanding something different, including candidates that do actually represent them and not the imperialist rich.

Among these facts are the estimated 100 million who did not vote. Many, especially among the youth, said that they did not do so because they felt insulted by both candidates and were preparing for things to get worse whoever won. They were concerned with how to build up resistance, not voting for candidates they rejected.

Overall, Clinton got about 60.5 million votes, Trump about 60 million. Neither represents even close to half the electorate, with eligible voters now numbering about 232 million. The 100 million eligible voters who did not vote represent a far large number — but they are not to be counted when these generalizations about a racist electorate are made. Additionally, if one puts those who did not want to vote for either candidate, 6 in 10, of the estimated 132 million who voted, together with the 100 million eligible voters who did not vote, plus the estimated 6.1 million people convicted of felonies who are not permitted to vote, one gets a very large majority against Trump (and Clinton for that matter). And what this majority holds in common is that its decision does not count in the U.S. polity — it is disenfranchised — as well as the underlying repudiation of an electoral process that produced such unwanted pro-war, racist candidates.

The problem lies not with individuals, but with the Trump presidency, which is representative of a racist state bent on unleashing even greater police powers against the peoples at home and abroad. To advance the fight against racism and for equality, it is necessary to target the racist U.S. state and refuse to submit to its diversions and efforts to divide the people.

Numerous demonstrations, petitions, meetings, and more show the people want an end to war, want peaceful relations of mutual respect internationally and want the budget directed to defending rights, like education, housing and healthcare, not imperialist war. They want a different, new direction for the country. All this is to be denied and hidden. Everyone is to remain stuck in lining up for or against Clinton or Trump and targeting how people voted, even now when the elections are over. Everything is being done to divert discussion from development of an alternative political process that empowers the people and enables them to enforce their drive for an anti-racist, pro-social, anti-war direction for the country. By targeting the racist U.S. state and defending the rights of all abroad and at home the people can build up their fighting unity and provide for their own security.


NO to Trump and his Racism

NO to Wars at Home and Abroad!

We stand in solidarity with all oppressed people under attack at home and abroad! We urge full participation in the anti-Trump demonstrations!

In reaction to Donald Trump's election victory, tens of thousands of people, most of them youth, have taken to the streets across the country in militant protests to condemn the racism, sexism, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant bigotry that Trump represents. Many are fearful, especially immigrants, Muslims and LGBT people. Their rage and that of their supporters signify the movement that needs to be built to end racism, wars and the attacks on working people endemic in the U.S. today.

As thousands have protested, the corporate news media, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other leading Democrats who expected their party to continue in office now tell us we must make friends with Trump, that maybe he is not so bad after all.

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) planned post-election protests regardless of who won the election. Our view has always been that all social progress – for labor's rights, civil and democratic rights, women's rights, immigrant rights and against all U.S. wars – has been the product of working people and their allies among the oppressed mobilizing in democratic, united and massive movements that challenge the institutional powers and parties. In these struggles everyone is needed and welcome.

It was clear from the start that the antiwar and general progressive movements could not win in this election.

On the one hand was the war hawk Hillary Clinton, who has aggressively supported all U.S. military actions during her entire political life. She promoted the mass bombing of Libya, cheered the lynching of its president, supported the right-wing coup in Honduras and called for a no-fly zone in Syria that would put the U.S. military in direct confrontation with a nuclear-armed Russia. Here at home, she supported the 1994 crime bill that led to mass incarceration of the people she called "super predators." She supported "welfare reform" that took food from the mouths of poor children. She has loyally served Wall Street, sat on the board of Walmart and supported globalization schemes that have cost millions their jobs.

On the other hand was Donald Trump, a racist, misogynist, crooked billionaire who spouted venom toward people of color, undocumented workers, Muslims and women, has a history of supporting anti-labor policies and has raised the specter of the U.S. actually using nuclear weapons.

The Wars Have Come Home

For years, the 1 percent that runs this country has been ratcheting up its war against working people here at home. Income inequality has never been greater. Wages have been stagnant for many years. Many of the unionized industrial jobs have been automated or moved overseas. Police killings of Black and other people of color has become endemic. The prisons are bursting with workers, most of them people of color, for whom this system no longer has any jobs.

There was no way for working people, youth, the Black community or antiwar activists to win in this election. Clinton represented the establishment. Trump was projected as anti-establishment, but he reserved his fiercest attacks for people victimized by that establishment. Too many were sucked in by his demagogy showing deep divisions, much of it caused by racism. The antiwar movement and all fighters for justice must fight against this racism.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have worked hard over the years to create an atmosphere in which Trump's racism, Islamophobia and immigrant bashing are acceptable. Under Obama, more undocumented workers have been deported than at any time in U.S. history. Under both Bush and Obama, mosques were infiltrated and Muslims framed in schemes wholly invented by the FBI to brand them as terrorists and justify their wars against Muslim countries. Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, killer cops are left on the streets instead of being sent to prison.

If there is a silver lining, it is that the electoral system, as a whole, along with the corporate media have been exposed before millions. As tens of thousands have risen up in actions, we can see the future fight-back that UNAC along with many others will help to organize to end this system of exploitation and war.

NO to the Wars at Home and Abroad!
Come to Washington in January to protest Trump's inauguration!
Money for human needs, not war!
Support our undocumented sisters and brothers in their fight against deportation and for human rights!


Calls Grow for 'Sanctuary Campuses' for Undocumented Students

Students and professors across the country are calling for their schools to become "sanctuary campuses" for undocumented immigrants, in a creative form of resistance to the policies of the incoming Trump administration.

Inside Higher Ed reports that thousands of people have signed petitions urging their campuses to protect undocumented students, who will likely be at increased risk of deportation… Trump has promised to deport 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants and to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which grants temporary relief to hundreds of thousands of undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children.

"Immigrant youth who had a dream fought for and won DACA against all odds, and our communities won't be intimidated by Trump even as he threatens to take it away," said Thais Marquez, an undocumented student and organizer with Movimiento Cosecha (Harvest Movement), in a statement Tuesday. "We're calling on our classmates and our neighbors to stand for what's right and grow a network of support for immigrants on our campuses and beyond. Millions of immigrants do crucial work that makes the American economy run, and we need the support of our country's churches, community centers, and homes as places of sanctuary against deportation too."

A petition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) made these requests:

Guarantee student privacy by refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of our students and community members. Refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations or raids. Assign a specific office and specific administrators who will assist our DACA students and other students who lack the privilege of citizenship on a strictly confidential basis. Guarantee that this same office shall be charged with pursuing funding for all students who lack citizenship. Guarantee in-state tuition to students previously awarded DACA recipients. Assure that all students receive a campus, classroom, and community experience free of hostilities, aggressions, and bullying by publicizing the campus-wide anonymous reporting mechanism, training all staff and faculty in de-escalation intervention techniques, and expanding the Safe Rides and Safe Walks program (training all assistants in bias events).

"Given what is on the horizon...there needs to be a clear message sent to our immigrant students that UIUC is going to be a sanctuary," Gilberto Rosas, an associate professor at the university and a co-author of the petition, told Inside Higher Ed.

María Blanco, executive director of the University of California Undocumented Legal Services Center, spoke with the news outlet:

"There are at least three kinds of different things that could fall under a sanctuary policy," Blanco said. "One is a university saying that ICE will not come on their campus to do immigration enforcement without warrants unless there's an exigent circumstance." A second, she said, is developing a policy that says a university police force will not act on behalf of federal agents to enforce immigration laws. A third, she said, involves information sharing—"to the extent that universities have any records that identify the immigration status of their students, to protect those if there were a request from ICE for those records."

"I think that what the students will be requesting are actually things that are doable, that don't put the university at any kind of risk in terms of their federal funding," Blanco said.

A similar petition making the rounds at Oberlin College in Ohio read, "Making Oberlin College a sanctuary campus supports these local efforts and demonstrates our commitment to support some of the most vulnerable members in our community."

Oberlin itself became a sanctuary city in 2009.

Shelley Lee, an associate professor at Oberlin College, who helped organize the letter, told Inside Higher Ed, "We wanted to take a moral stand on this issue very quickly and to urge the administration to take the steps to make a meaningful institutional response to this very uncertain situation in which very vulnerable members of our college and university community could potentially be targeted."

Meanwhile, students throughout the state of Indiana are planning walkouts for Wednesday afternoon to show their support for initiatives at their campuses. The walkouts are set to take place at Indiana University (IU) at South Bend, Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis, the University of Notre Dame, Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana State University, and DePauw University, local media reports. […]


A Poll Tax by Another Name

Professors Charles Stewart III, of M.I.T., and Stephen Ansolabehere, of Harvard, estimate that long lines at the polls discouraged between 500,000 and 700,000 would-be voters from casting ballots in the 2012 general election. This year, long lines, some of them a half-mile long in Cincinnati, snaked outside too many urban polling places. In Brooklyn, some voters had to wait almost three hours to vote because of unreliable voting machines.

This is hardly a new problem; reports of excessive waiting times to vote also arose in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 general elections… No citizen should have to wait for hours to exercise the fundamental right to vote; would-be voters should not be forced to choose between significant lost work time (and hence pay) and voting. Yet this is precisely the choice confronting a significant number of urban voters.

The investment of time required to vote clearly constitutes a significant disincentive to voting — a kind of modern-day poll tax. The fact that it seems to happen more often in urban and lower-income areas only underlines the need for a strong federal response.

It is difficult to know with confidence whether shorter wait times in urban precincts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would have resulted in a different president-elect. In part, this is because, as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found, 78 percent of jurisdictions do not even bother to collect data on waiting times. Even with the limited data available, however, the GAO found that the polling places with the longest reported waiting times are mostly located in urban locations with “higher proportions of residents who are non-white and speak English as a second language.”

My 72-year-old father lives and votes in a predominantly African-American precinct in Moss Point, Mississippi. Although he knew that his vote would probably not make a difference, he waited for over an hour in a line stretching down the block.

But how many people made a different choice on Election Day? For many of them, it was not even a real choice. As between voting and paying the rent, many citizens were simply unable to spend an hour or more queuing to vote. The outcome of a presidential election should not potentially turn on votes not cast out of a combination of frustration and economic necessity.

We amended the Constitution to abolish poll taxes for federal elections in 1964, and two years later the Supreme Court extended this principle to state and local elections. “Voter qualifications have no relation to wealth nor to paying or not paying this or any other tax,” the court ruled. When a voter has to wait in line for hours in order to vote, that is effectively a form of poll tax. […]

At the very least, one person, one vote means that in a participatory democracy, the temporal burden of voting should be evenly distributed among all citizens. In the United States today, it is not.

(Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr. is a professor of law at the University of Alabama.)



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