The Democrats for Blacks? A Cruel Trick
It’s an election year and the Democrats are busy attempting to woo the Black vote. One wonders how we’ve forgotten that not so long ago the Democrats were the party of lynching, Jim Crow segregation, and—right alongside the Republicans—the political arm of the Ku Klux Klan. And before that it was the party of slavery, founded in 1828 by Andrew Jackson—one of the largest slaveholders of his day and a notorious, genocidal Indian killer.
And not just that, it was the Democrats who, having won an 80 seat majority in the Senate in 1874, led the overthrow of Black Reconstruction in the South (kicking Blacks out of political office, destroying Black businesses and churches, schools, reducing us back to slave-like conditions, etc.), and afterwards organized untold numbers of white riots against Back communities that saw hundreds of Blacks raped and murdered by white mobs.
Jewish people the world over now never forget the crimes of the German Nazi party against their people.
So how has the original Nazi party (namely, the Democrats) that was the root of so much anti-Black terror, suffering and death come to be identified as a representative party of Blacks in Amerika today, so that every election season we see Black voters almost unanimously endorsing its candidates?
There had to have been a cruel trick involved. And there was!
This state of affairs literally happened overnight during the early 1960s. It was done actually to subvert and redirect the grassroots struggles of Blacks against segregation, police abuse and murders, poverty, racism and all the other evils we suffered then, because those struggles were threatening to really end our abuse. In fact, we continue to suffer the very same abuses today, exactly because we were tricked into joining the ‘Democratic coalition’, believing it would solve our problems, when as said the Democrats had the exact opposite intentions in mind.
Real Politricks—Jacksonian Democracy
To understand what happened and how, we should begin with the party’s founder, Andrew Jackson, and the deceptive form of politics he popularized that came to be known as “Jacksonian Democracy.” This form of politics came to replace the old system of unconcealed monopoly on power by wealthy white male property owners to serve their own interests. It became necessary to disguise their self-serving monopoly on power because of growing struggles by the lower classes for recognition of their needs and a proportional share of political of power.
Of course people of color and women had no rights then and were suppressed by all males, rich and poor, so no concern was given to placating them.
Jackson’s political method was to pretend to care about, to speak for, and to promise change to the lower class white males, but to actually do nothing to benefit them except implement minor token reforms, all to preserve the established order—while violently repressing efforts of the lower sectors to go beyond the reforms Democrats were willing to offer. He also played to the middle classes.
As a result he won a wide range of professionals and businessmen and even organized labor to support the Democrats, even as he sent troops to break workers’ strikes.
As historian Howard Zinn noted, “Jackson was the first President to master the liberal rhetoric to speak for the common man.” A method that was two-faced by nature. “The Jacksonian method,” Zinn explained, “was to achieve stability and control by winning to the Democratic party ‘the middling interest, and especially … the substantial yeomanry of the country’ by ‘prudent, judicious, well-considered reform.’ That is, reform that would not yield too much. These were the words of Robert Rantoul, a reformist, corporation lawyer, and Jacksonian Democrat. It was a forecast of the successful appeal of the Democratic party—and at times the Republican party—in the twentieth century.”
So the essence of Jacksonian Democracy was to pretend to give a voice to disempowered people, to lull them into submission to the oppressive status quo, while remaining prepared to violently suppress those who seek more than token reforms that change nothing.
Which brings us to when and why the notoriously anti-Black Democrats suddenly become the pretend party of Blacks.
Democrats Subvert Black Liberation
During the 1950s-60s the Black struggle against Jim Crow segregation, lynching, etc. went into high gear. Blacks began fighting back and uniting on a national scale to upset the status quo.
These efforts culminated in a planned mass siege on the capital, where hundreds of thousands of Blacks from all over the country planned to converge on Washington, DC in 1963 to shut the city down, and not leave until their concerns were resolved.
THIS was the event that prompted the Democrats and their sitting President, John F. Kennedy, Jr., to suddenly pretend to care about and give a voice to Blacks. Their actual concern, however, was simply to gain control of the Black struggle, and stop the planned siege which would have been a PR and political nightmare for Kennedy and Co., who were busy portraying the US to the world as a racial and cultural melting pot of democratic freedom for all.
The US was engaged in an image war with the USSR in efforts to sway the newly liberated nations of color away from Communism and into alliances with Amerika, so the US could gain preferential access to and exploit their natural resources and labor power in place of the recently expelled Europeans.
Images of US Blacks fighting against oppressive conditions much like those these nations had just fought to break free of themselves would certainly alienate them from Amerika, and prove exactly what the USSR was reporting to the world about Amerika—reports US officials were dismissing as false Communist propaganda.
Suddenly, the Democratic Party became the party of Black civil rights, and brought the most prominent voices of the Civil Rights movement, (the so-called Big Six, which included Martin Luther King, Jr.), into the ‘Democratic Coalition.’
The Big Six were in disputes over money needed to fund their work, so Kennedy had his financial backers offer them huge sums and give them access to the mainstream media, if they would bring the Black movement and planned siege under control. It was pure Jacksonian Democracy.
The Big Six went for it, literally selling out the movement. The planned grassroots siege was subverted and transformed into the August 1963 event that came to be known as the March on Washington, where King gave his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” Malcolm X witnessed the entire affair and criticized it in his Nov 1963, “Message to the Grassroots” speech. He described it as follows:
“The Negroes were out there in the streets. They were talking about how they were going to march on Washington…. That they were going to march on Washington, march on the Senate, march on the White House, march on the Congress, and tie it up, bring it to a halt, not let the government proceed. They even said they were going out to the airport and lay down on the runway and not let the airplanes land. I’m telling you what they said. That was the revolution. That was the black revolution.
“It was the grass roots out there in the street. It scared the white man to death, scared the white power structure in Washington, DC to death; I was there. When they found out that this black steamroller was going to come down on the capital, they called in… these national Negro leaders that you respect and told them, ‘Call it off,’ Kennedy said. ‘Look you all are letting this thing go too far.’ And Old Tom said, ‘Boss, I can’t stop it because I didn’t start it.’ I’m telling you what they said. They said, ‘I’m not even in it, much less at the head of it.’
“They said, ‘These Negroes are doing things on their own. They’re running ahead of us.’ And that old shrewd fox, he said, ‘If you all aren’t in it, I’ll put you in it. I’ll put you at the head of it. I’ll endorse it. I’ll welcome it. I’ll help it. I’ll join it.’
“This is what they did with the March on Washington. They joined it… became part of it, took it over. And as they took it over, it lost its militancy. It ceased to be angry, it ceased to be hot, it ceased to be uncompromising. Why it even ceased to be a march. It became a picnic, a circus. Nothing but a circus, with clowns and all….
“No, it was a sellout. It was a takeover…. They controlled it so tight, they told those Negroes what time to hit town, where to stop, what signs to carry, what songs to sing, what speech they could make, and then told them to get out of town by sundown….”
Malcolm pointed out that the people knew they’d been duped and it would lead to a “long hot summer” of Black revolt. And true to his predictions Blacks rose up in city after city in revolts beginning during that following summer of 1964, and continuing every year until 1968.
His description is the literal truth of how the Democrats subverted the Black struggle for change. In his book A Thousand Days, Kennedy’s White House advisor Arthur Schlesinger gave the same account as Malcolm, but as an inside witness to the 1963 scheme with which “Kennedy moved to incorporate the Negro revolution into the democratic coalition.”
But that’s not the end of the story.
Kennedy Stacks the Deck to Ensure that Black Civil Rights Fail
Not only did Kennedy use the Civil Rights movement to subvert the genuine Black struggle against racism and economic oppression, he also made sure that newly enacted civil rights laws would not work to benefit Blacks. The Democrats thus doubly tricked Blacks.
Remember, Kennedy’s whole purpose for pretending to back Black civil rights was to stop our independent efforts to end our intolerable conditions. As Malcolm X said, he, like the Democrats in general, was a “shrewd fox.”
So, while Kennedy put on a public face of promoting Black civil rights (a bogus image that persists ’til today), he packed the federal courts of the South with the most notoriously racist judges who he knew would not enforce the new federal civil rights laws, refused to enforce these laws himself, had Justice Department lawyers and FBI agents stand by as racist Southern police brutalized Black voters in federal buildings, and so on.
This was two-faced Jacksonian Democracy used now against Blacks, to stop us from resisting segregation, lynchings, police murders and abuse, terror and violence at the hands of white racists, and endemic poverty and discrimination of every variety. And it’s still used against us today by the Democratic Party.
I make only passing mention of the Republican Party because it has never made any credible attempts to pretend to represent Black interests during or since the civil rights era. In fact, when Kennedy and the Democrats suddenly switched horses in 1963 to pretend to support the Civil Rights Movement, their huge white Southern base was vocal about feeling betrayed. The Republicans promptly moved to win them over, which was accomplished under the “Southern Strategy” devised by Richard Nixon. Their white constituency is the ‘silent majority’ that today still forms Republican’s largest and most loyal base, and has been so blindly supportive of Donald Trump and his open appeals to traditional racist sentiments.
MLK Wakes Up to the Democrats’ Game
In the aftermath of the government-controlled March on Washington, the “long hot summer” that followed, and Malcolm X’s scathing criticism, King came to realize that he’d been manipulated and used by the Democrats to betray and mislead his own people’s struggle.
He came out against the Civil Rights movement and rejected its pro-capitalist leadership, including such notables as Jesse Jackson. He was revealed to have embraced socialism and opposed Black integration into capitalist Amerika. His agenda changed to one of fundamentally changing the entire capitalist edifice and status quo, and supporting workers and all oppressed peoples. He further criticized Amerika as not a peacemaker but as a warmonger and “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
Finally, to amend for his having misled the 1963 march on Washington, he organized to lead a “Poor people’s encampment” to lay siege to DC in the summer of 1968.
King’s stance exposed the establishment’s pretensions of promoting equality, indeed its role as a source and defender of economic and racial inequality. In turn the establishment, under both parties’ administrations, saw him as a threat to their existing order, and subjected him to increasing government surveillance, harassment, and ultimately assassinated him.
The roles of the numerous government agencies under both parties that were involved in King’s murder, its cover-up, and the unpublicized lawsuit the King family filed AND WON against the federal government in 1999 for his assassination, are detailed in attorney William Pepper’s book, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (2003).
The Democrats Are Still Playing Jacksonian Democracy With Us
What most don’t know is not only did the Democrats use the Civil Rights movement and its leaders to subvert Blacks struggling against oppression, but both parties devised and have acted to create false government-controlled Black mis-leaders to misguide and keep us in this state.
This scheme was first laid out in 1967 by FBI assistant director William E. Sullivan. The plan was to destroy King and other influential independent Black leaders, including Malcolm X, and replace them with mis-leaders created and approved by the establishment.
Sullivan wrote of the intended implementation and outcome of this plan: “When this is done, and it can AND WILL BE DONE, obviously much confusion will reign, particularly among the Negro people…. The Negroes will be left without a national leader of sufficiently compelling personality to steer them in the proper direction.”
As I’ve detailed elsewhere, Barack Obama was just such a Black mis-leader groomed and used by the establishment, (and foisted on us by the Democrats), who tried to disarm our struggles with promises of false “hope” in the status quo, while selling us a false bill that racism no longer existed in Amerika so our fight was over. (4)
Remember, he publicly denounced his own minister, Jeremiah Wright, for speaking out against government neglect and abuse of Blacks.
Under these banners he did absolutely nothing to address Black oppression nor that of any other groups. And when he was forced to acknowledge the continued prevalence of racism by worldwide reactions to social media exposures of the murder of unarmed Black youth Mike Brown by a white cop in Ferguson, MO, his body being left lying for hours on public display in the street by cops (as an obvious lynch-style terror tactic against the Black community), and the militaristic police response to community protest, all Obama did was excuse the cop and make a token appearance in a Black church to lead the congregation in singing “Amazing Grace.”
Just as the Democrats used him and Bill Clinton in 2005 to stage token visits to hospitalized victims of Hurricane Katrina with major media coverage, to quell Black and international outrage with the government’s mistreatment and neglect of Blacks during that crisis. While nothing was done to address the official racism that produced this crisis, what has ended was one of the largest mass gentrification and Black displacement moves on record.
But Blacks were so emotionally intoxicated with seeing a dark face in the White House (a genuine House negro), they overlooked the fact that Obama cared nothing about their plight nor doing anything to remedy it.
So, our rush to the polls every election season is nothing but a futile exercise in chasing false leadership, that’s put before us to keep us in the same rut we’ve been in for generations. It’s no irony, as many seem to think, that we still suffer brutal abuse, official neglect, police terror, systemic economic disadvantage, and racist oppression in the 21st century. It’s been by design of a duplicitous system meant to keep us misinformed, confused and contained by organized deception and violence.
It’s time we wake up and develop a genuine revolutionary leadership of our own making and with our bosom interests at heart. Cuz the Democrats definitely ain’t it!
Black people have no political power under Amerika’s two-party system. Like Comrade George Jackson said, choosing between these parties is like picking which of two ways we prefer to suffer and die.
What we need is a revolutionary party drawn from our own ranks, based in our communities, and answerable to us.
It’s time we organize for fundamental change and stop being a political football kicked from pillar to post between the Democrats and Republicans, who ignore us until election season rolls around and then only makes opportunist token appeals to us to help put one or the other of their candidates in office, while between elections our needs and suffering continue to go ignored.
Build and support the New African Black Panther Party and the United Panther Movement!
Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!
 Howard Zinn, A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES-1492 TO PRESENT (NY: Harper Perennial, 2003), p. 215
 Ibid, pp. 457-58
 See, Howard Zinn, S.N.C.C.: THE NEW ABOLITIONISTS (Boston: Beacon, 1964), pp. 203-06
See, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, “Uncle Sam in Blackface: Barack Obama and the Designs of US Imperialism” (2009) http// rashidmod.com/?p=995; see also, PANTHER VISION: ESSENTIAL PARTY WRITINGS AND ART OF KEVIN “RASHID” JOHNSON (Montreal: Kersplebedeb, 2014), pp. 335-50