Workers Rights? No, Africans Unite!

The protests in Wisconsin have been impressive in size, and have been hailed in many progressive circles as comparable to the revolutions happening in Africa and the Middle East. However, several questions have been raised by some: "Why hasn’t the black community in Wisconsin been more involved in the massive protests?" "Clearly this legislation and budget cuts will affect them disproportionally. Can’t they see that?" "They should show solidarity with the workers."

These are very curious questions, given the fact that these workers who are protesting have never shown any sincere solidarity with the black community.

Black people in Wisconsin, particularly in Milwaukee, have caught hell since they have arrived. Most recently, statistics for the African community are staggering. The black community makes up six percent of the state population, but 48 percent of the prison population.

Black unemployment for men aged 16-24 is 69.2 percent and overall unemployment for black men in the city is 53.3 percent. Compare that to white males who find their unemployment rate at 22.3 percent. Of course these numbers do not take into account the incarcerated or people who just stopped looking.

Black infant mortality rates in Milwaukee are more than double that of whites. These are just small snapshots into the lives of the African community within the city of Milwaukee.

What makes these questions crass is the fact that they do not take into account the conditions of the African community. Progressive writers and black journalists love to cite that Africans are over represented in union jobs as in relation to their population. They do not detail that even in unions Africans are not equal in pay or benefits as their white counterparts.

The statistics focus on the facts that black union workers make more than non-union workers. Still, in many sectors of unionized work, Africans are forced into less skilled, more dangerous positions. In addition, in the recent economic downturn Africans have lost more union jobs than their white counterparts. The white left and black progressive writers seem to forget these points somehow.

Another underlying issue is how these same forces (white left and black progressives) are skewing the issues to the black community. The media and reactionary democrats want to frame this issue squarely on republicans as if there is any difference between the two.

Wisconsin has a long history, particularly in Milwaukee, of black leaders misleading the people for their own personal benefit. From City Council, sheriff, police chief, church leaders, community organizers to media peoples, many have made lucrative careers into marginalizing the people. They might be the worst actors in this horrible play as they continue to benefit themselves and not the people they supposedly represent.

What needs to be done!

All hope is not lost for the Africans within this Northern Midwest state. Political education is needed about our situation and what we can do to combat these conditions that are imposed on us.

What the black community in this city needs to understand is that our social, political, and economic system was based on our enslavement and the genocide of the Indigenous population that many of our cities and streets are named after. So no matter what party is in office, they are not a friend to the black community.

We need to work in our interest as a whole and not seek individual success at the expense of our people. We are working to start a chapter of the All African Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) here in Milwaukee. We're also looking for people to help build a branch of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and the African People's Socialist Party USA (APSP USA) in this city, state, and region.

The only solution for our problems is to become self-determined people. That is done through organization and discipline. When we work collectively for the benefit of our people, we can win!! Then, budget cuts or workers rights will not be an issue.


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