Political Resistance

Introduction

            This page will focus on using politics (public policies to be more specific) in order to promote resistance. I find this particular mode of resistance extremely important to the resistance movement because it is something we the people can change now. Our tool for this mode of resistance shall be our most important and basic right: the right to vote. We are able to elect officials based upon their policy choices and political views, and we must use this right to vote for policies and political elites who support our resistance movement.

Public policies have a large and often overlooked and underestimated effect on the way our society functions. If we were to manipulate these policies, we would be able to resist racist policies (even if they do not look racist on the outside) and support political changes which would help rid our society of its racist demeanor.

On this page I will go into detail about some of the history of political resistance including the civil rights movement, I will describe current political movements based on resistance to racial oppression, I will list some of the elements of racism which political resistance is targeting, I will provide my own analysis and recommendations on the subject including specific strategies, plans, and goals of political resistance, I will list scholarly references I used to make this page, and I will provide links to news articles, organizations, and other helpful material associated with this topic.

The goal of this page is not to merely point out the obvious flaws in our current political system, but to show how these flaws can be fixed through political participation. Political mistrust and anarchy is not the answer to the problems with the system, the system must be changed in order to obtain a fair and equal society and the changes necessary to achieve racial equality is not impossible. The changes I shall propose are changes which any person can help to create.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
– President Barack Obama

Speech following Super Tuesday results, Feb 5, 2008

History

            For the history of resistance in public policies I will focus on organizations and movements which created political change. The organizations I will focus on are CORE, the NAACP, and the Black Panthers. The movements I will focus on are the Abolitionist movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the Desegregation movement.

CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) is an organization founded in Chicago in 1942. Their goal was to use nonviolence to fight against segregation and job discrimination, and to fight for voting rights. Their influence came from the nonviolent political movement of Mahatma Gandhi. CORE’s main campaigns included the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, and Freedom Summer. The Freedom Rides’ purpose was to desegregate interstate transportation and CORE helped to achieve this. CORE was also one of many organizations which attended the March on Washington. On this eminent march, Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The march demanded equal justices for all races under the law. Freedom Summer was a campaign in which CORE, the SNCC, and the NAACP sought to end the political disenfranchising of African Americans in the South. They also built Freedom Schools in the South; schools which taught African American history and the goals and methods of the Civil Rights movement.

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is an African-American organization founded in 1909. They are the oldest and largest civil rights organization in history. The largest campaigns the NAACP were involved in include the March on Washington, Freedom Summer, and the campaign for the right of African Americans to serve as officers in World War I (which doesn’t have a snazzy title). The NAACP is one of the most politically involved civil rights groups. They have been involved in legislation, lobbying, and political running. They utilized their political involvement to help combat the Jim Crow laws, racial segregation, political disenfranchisement, lynching, and the “white primary” system in the south.

The Black Panthers are an African-American revolutionary group founded in 1966 with the goal of combating police brutality. They, unlike CORE and the NAACP, used guns and legitimate force to complete their goals. Because of this, the group is known as one of the most extreme civil rights groups to exist in the United States. They helped African Americans defend themselves in a time when African Americans were physically taken advantage in colossal numbers. They also promoted African American nationalism and women’s equality.

The Abolitionist movement was the movement to end slavery in the United States. This movement started in the North, and after the Civil War moved to the South. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation described the gradual end of slavery for all states in the union. With the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”, slavery was permanently abolished in the United States in December 1865.

The Civil Rights movement was a movement with the goals of combating racial discrimination and fighting for voting rights for African Americans. Some of the most important events and campaigns during the Civil Rights movement include Rosa Parks’ bus protest, the Freedom Rides which were organized by CORE, the March on Washington, the Freedom Summer, and the Poor People’s March. The Civil Rights movement mainly used nonviolent mass protest in order to gain recognition, even though many of these nonviolent protests were met with violence and unnecessary force. In the end, the most important victories during the Civil Rights movement were the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed any means of refusing a citizen of their right to vote. Before this was passed, many states in the South required literacy tests and other racially oppressive means in order for a citizen to vote. This act, in addition to the fifteenth amendment which states “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”, gave every American the freedom to vote.

The Desegregation movement was a movement to end the separation of people based on race. This movement was a part of the larger Civil Rights movement, but its impact was so profound that it must not be ignored. After the Abolitionist movement, even though African Americans were no longer slaves, there was complete separation between races. African Americans were not allowed to go to school with Whites, go to certain White businesses and areas, serve together with Whites in the United States military, and were not allowed to sit in the front of public buses. The movement sought to desegregate every area of society, and with the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 they succeeded. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed major forms of discrimination based on race or gender; which included racial segregation in public settings.

Current Movements/Organizations

            For the current movements/organizations part of this page I will focus on current political movements and organizations which are focused on dealing with the political issues I believe the resistance movement needs to focus on. The current movements I will focus on are the Human Rights movement and the Progressivism movement. For current organizations I will focus on are the NAACP, CORE, and the New Black Panther Party.

The Human Rights movement is a movement which fights for the basic and equal rights of all humans. They fight for the statement “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” (United Nations Universal Declaration or Human Rights, Article I) With the aid of the United Nations, the movement has been involved in many of the largest human rights cases in recent history including any major human rights violation such as genocides. The movement is extremely politically involved, and they even have a ‘Human Rights Council’ in the Unites Nations dedicated to any human rights issues which may occur.

The Progressivism movement is in support of many changes which would come to the aid of this resistance movement. The types of changes this movement fight for are changes in the education system, health care reform, and welfare reform. The movement believes that progress and social well-being stems from education, so they fight to improve and expand public education at all levels, including fighting for more public school funding. The movement is also in favor of universal health care and providing increasing welfare to families in poverty.

As I previously stated, the NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in history, and they are still involved in civil rights issues today. “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.” (NAACP, ‘Our Mission’) They fight for all contemporary issues with the goal of social and political equality.

Targeted Elements of Racism

×          Institutional Policies

×          Color Blind Racism

×          Every Day Racism

My Analysis and Recommendations

            My first public policy change proposition is to change the current system of education funding. The current system works by having every school take a standardized test, and with the results of the test the government decides where to give more or less, or even sometimes zero, funding. Those schools who score high on the test receive the highest amount of funding, while those who score the lowest receive the lowest funding. The idea is to force schools to do well on the test, giving the best schools the biggest reward. However, the effect that this policy has on schools is extremely negative. Inner-city schools, who have historically scored lower on tests than urban schools receive less funding even though they are the ones that need it most. If we changed the system to give ample funding to all schools, and not base it off of a test, then the level of education will increase for inner-city communities.

My second proposition is to change the application process when getting a job. It has been shown that employers are less likely to hire an employee due to race, but if the employer has no way of knowing the applicant’s race until after the application process then the risk of employee bias is gone. Simply change applications to no longer including any race. Also, I would suggest getting rid of the address section of applications as well. Many businesses are also biased towards those from the inner-city, and removing this section will get rid of this bias as well.

My third proposition is to change the way low-income housing is provided. In the current system, giant groups of low-income families are all put together in a small area, usually in the inner-city. These housing projects start off clean and well-kept, by over the years they become dirty and broken-down. The inhabitants have little to no hope for escaping the life of the projects, which usually includes drugs, little emphasis on education, and few morals. This creates a trap for those born into these places, with the majority of them never truly bettering themselves in their lifetimes. I propose that instead of grouping these low-income peoples together where society can simply ignore them, we make an honest attempt to bring them into society. We do this by having low-income housing in all neighborhoods, especially in suburbs. Instead of having a project system of housing, we can simply have low-income multi-family buildings. This would allow the children of these homes to interact with other children in different parts of society, and it would allow these children to have a better education at these suburban schools.

In order to change these current policies, our first action is to start lobbying to politicians. Once we start lobbying to politicians currently in office, we can look at candidates who may be running for future offices and lobby to them. These politicians, the ones who are looking for future votes, will be the key to actual change in the political system we are currently in. once we get some politicians on our side, we must force the issues which we want to change into the media. This includes writing to newspapers and news stations and simply writing comments on the web. Once these objectives are completed, growing support from the people of the United States is all that is needed in order to change the current political system. The goals of this resistance technique are to simply create more racial equality within public policies and to show people that racial inequalities are not due to skin color, but they are due to the system which forces the inequalities to occur.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Scholarly References

×          Race and Public Policy, Edited by Makani Themba; http://www.arc.org/pdf/185pdf.pdf

×          A Different Vision: Race and Public Policy, by Thomas D. Boston http://books.google.com/books?id=_wiOT7y8stwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=race+public+policies&hl=en&ei=RrvjTunODMHo0QHf1OTJBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CD8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=race%20public%20policies&f=false

×          The Politics of Exclusion: The failure of race-neutral policies in urban America, by Leland T. Saito http://books.google.com/books?id=tpe8wVRBmtgC&pg=PA2&dq=race+policies&hl=en&ei=F7vjTq-dHefa0QH4pIDYBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=race%20policies&f=false

×          Race, Law, and Public Policy, by Robert Johnson http://books.google.com/books?id=LRYDK0baMa4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=race+public+policies&hl=en&ei=RrvjTunODMHo0QHf1OTJBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=race%20public%20policies&f=false

×          Race and Public Policy, by Shammit Sagar http://www.gowerpublishing.com/pdf/tis/9781856280976_ROW.pdf

×          The Three Stories of Education Reform, by Michael Fullan http://pil.numplus.com/SchoolLeadership/04-fullan/Resources/The_Three_Stories_of_Education_Reform.pdf

×          The Politics of Public Education, Health and Welfare in the USA, by Arnold J. Heidenheimer http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=C37D5813D90A0AB661D1C839582F62CA.journals?fromPage=online&aid=3332356

News, Organizations, and Other Helpful Links

News Links:

×          Branstad’s education reform plan causes conflict: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_51e07bda-2169-11e1-ad03-001871e3ce6c.html

×          What real education reform looks like: http://www.salon.com/2011/12/09/what_real_education_reform_looks_like/singleton/

×          Gove signals exam board reform: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hRPVuGdjgmbmqUhTPUl6NSP8ciKQ?docId=N0372491323485347202A

×          Safeguarding the children: http://www.news-register.net/page/content.detail/id/562838/Safeguarding-the-Children.html?nav=509

×          Clergy speak out on welfare reform: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/clergy-speak-out-on-welfare-reforms-16089409.html

×          Massachusetts plans to double tax credits for low-income housing projects: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/12/massachusetts_plans_to_double.html

×          Barney Frank on Congress, the Crash, Why Huntsman is Like Dorothy in Oz: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/12/massachusetts_plans_to_double.html

Organization Links:

×          The NAACP: www.NAACP.org

×          CORE: www.CORE-online.org

×          The Black Panthers: www.BlackPanther.org

×          The SCLC: www.SCLCNational.org

Other Helpful Links:

×          Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-X9JkM9Bgo

×          Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELOuc2XHQLM

×          Race and Ethnic Policy Issues: http://www.newsbatch.com/race.htm

×          Obama Hangs Racial Painting in White House: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8DbE1hoqzk

×          Daniel Beaty’s “Knock Knock”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTZrPVqR0D8

×          Black Ice’s “The Ugly Show”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=544OsCoIIjI&feature=related

×          Changing Education Paradigms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

One Response “Political Resistance” →
  1. This is fantastic information!

    Reply

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