A panel of activists, researchers, community members, and other volunteers on Monday unveiled a new report with 189 "calls to action" to address the scourge of racial inequity in and around St. Louis, Missouri, illuminated by a year of protests following the police shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown last August.
This issue shines a light on America's myopia. Race and class are two separate issues, and there is no question that our middle class have waged a hell of a class war against the poor. What we weirdly refuse to address is that while black people are disproportionately poor, the majority of truly poor are white. Our homeless are overwhelmingly white. Americans regard poor black people as "disadvantaged," and poor white people as "white trash," and treat them accordingly. Either way, our middle class demand, "No crumbs for the poor!"
Of course there has been good reason for the years spent pitting poor people against each other by race. It's the classic "divide and conquer" strategy. It has been successful. This generation is deeply divided and subdivided by class and race.
Does anyone not know that it has virtually been open season on our homeless poor for years, the majority of whom are white, as they've been beaten, even killed, by citizens and police alike? We don't regard them as humans at all. There is no liberal outrage, no weeks of liberal media coverage, no concern whatsoever.
It is admirable and necessary to keep this issue on the front burner. When the Black Lives Matter turn their focus on black-on-black violence it will bring together all Black folks in a strong show of solidarity and make it more difficult for racists-overt and covert ones-to oppress.
I'm only halfway through the report, but think it's worth noting that the first sections explaining the mission and process are fascinating. It strikes me that they implemented a process very much like Peoples Movement Assemblies (used most notably in Nigeria, Mexico, Brazil and the Social Forum) to arrive at their demands, seasoned with expert testimony, and that they have created a path forward for the St. Louis region beyond the report itself. They called it a "problem-solving machine."
There's nothing stopping ordinary citizens from coming together to create problem-solving machines in their own communities. In fact, it's a necessity, if we ever want to have a working democracy. We the People need to find our common ground together so the divide and conquer tactics of the corporatocracy and two-party electoral monopoly fall on deaf ears. We need to inform ourselves and act collectively against the forces of racism and economic injustice because the corporate elite--and their elected minions--are pretty happy with the status quo and see real democracy as a threat to the new world order.