"President Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People. . ."


Revolution #018, October 16, 2005, posted at revcom.us

When Kanye West dared to tell the truth on national network television, people like Laura Bush were scandalized. . . but the rest of us were inspired. For the oppressed and for those who hate oppression, for all enemies of racism and hypocrisy, it was a great moment.

But, without taking anything away from Kanye West, the whole truth goes a lot deeper than "doesn’t care." George W. Bush has a whole program for Black people that fits into his overall fascist agenda. This program has strong genocidal implications and people within it who support genocide for Black people. The outrages around Hurricane Katrina provide a glimpse of that progam--and why it is so urgent to stop it. The Bush Regime must be driven out.


First off, Bush allowed all the death and misery after Katrina to go down the way it did. He was fine with the people trapped in the city, he was fine with the bodies floating in the water, and he was fine with masses of poor and working people--in their great majority Black--forced into truly desperate and traumatic conditions. Bush knew damn well what was up when he told his head of FEMA, Michael Brown, "you’re doing a great job, Brownie"--and just because he had to dump Brown a few days later in the face of mass outrage doesn’t change that.

In fact, the whole government knew for years--both from their own studies and from hundreds of scientific studies and journalistic investigations--exactly what would happen. They predicted that the Black neighborhood of the 9th Ward, and the mainly working class neighborhood of St. Bernard, would be flushed away . . . and that the industrial districts and the wealthy neighborhoods would make it through. The levees were built and reinforced in such a way as to make that all but inevitable. In fact, if New Orleans had been hit with the "Category 5" storm that people were expecting, it’s estimated that 85,000 to 100,000 people would have been drowned. Think about it--100,000 people. But what did they do with all their advance knowledge? Congress actually slashed the funds for the levees, and then Bush cut them some more!

And what has gone on since? Masses of Black people have been driven out of New Orleans, herded into shelters and now dispersed all over the country. In an outrage recalling slavery days, many people are still separated from their loved ones. Some have been put in jail, as old warrants get run on them when they check into the shelters. Some have even been deported when they went to the shelters. People have been put into what are in fact refugee camps, far from the family ties and social networks that sustain them, where the only jobs are minimum-wage and where the authorities fan suspicion and hatred against "the newcomers." Within all this, the level of repression and control is huge and intense--from the soldiers with bayonets patrolling the streets of New Orleans to the atmosphere in the shelters, where no criticism of the government is allowed and where government agents snitch and spread lies.

At the same time, Bush has funneled money into extreme right-wing religious groups in the form of "helping them do charitable works," developing "charter schools," etc. He has suspended any affirmative action regulations in handing out contracts in New Orleans, and he has overruled federal laws that mandate a living wage for workers on federally funded projects.

Meanwhile the master plan for New Orleans--to rebuild it as a Las Vegas on the Mississippi, with just enough Black people to service the bars and casinos and the rest dispersed to who-knows-where--goes forward at warp speed. Louisiana Congressman Richard Baker let the cat out of the bag when he said, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did."

Under Bush, the floodwaters in New Orleans got harnessed to "ethnic cleansing." But again, it was and is more than that: it is a preview of the future he has in mind.

An Overall Attack

To understand this, we have to step back a bit. Despite the struggles of the ‘60s, and despite the growth of the Black middle class, the conditions for the masses have either remained the same or actually become much much worse. This is connected to changes in global capitalism and in society as a whole. (See "The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy...And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer," by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Worker #1255 [October 17, 2004].) In the face of those changes, the ruling class as a whole--both the Democrats and Republicans--have over the past 25 years agreed on a certain agenda to deal with African-Americans. The key elements have included flooding the inner cities with drugs while unleashing police terror; massively imprisoning Black youth (from under 100,000 in 1970 to over 1 million today!); slashing social services; and then systematically blaming the masses of Black people themselves for the very situation created by the rulers.

Again, both the Democrats and Republicans agree on the key elements of this--but Bush has carried some of this further. These have included:

the further cuts in public housing andhealth care, and the plan to destroy Social Security;

the "No Child Left Behind" program, which in essence aims to drive a huge section of youth out of school and shut down public education in large parts of the inner cities--what Jonathan Kozol calls called "The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America";

the systematic elimination of any form of Black political organization not under Bush’s direct control, extending to systematic attempts to deprive millions of Black people of even the right to vote, through legislation, police intimidation, and fraud--both disguised and shamelessly open.

Again, Bush’s plan for the aftermath of Katrina illustrates all of this. Rebuild public housing, but in a way that actually provides decent shelter and support for people? Hell no, says Bush; instead, promise people free land and the chance to own your own homes, while in reality give the land to the big real estate interests. Increase funding for public schools, but in a way that would actually educate our children for something beyond a life in the army, low-wage jobs, prison, or all three? Hell no, says Bush; instead pour money into the "charter schools", in which kids get the same lousy education but with forced religious--and political--indoctrination added to it. Immediately find the ways to reunite families and enable people to return to their homes, and the friends and relatives who sustain them? Hell no, says Bush; promise them 2000 dollars and then disperse them to "east-hell-and-gone," where they are totally isolated--and therefore unable to speak out and act with any effectiveness.

The "Armies of Compassion," and The Buildup of a Christian Fascist Core

All this is part of a larger agenda. Bush represents forces in the ruling class of this country which wants a much more openly imperialist policy toward the world, and a fascist form of rule within the U.S. They have a built up a Christian fascist movement to serve as a battering ram for this program, and this movement has become a driving force inside the Bush Regime. Christian fascists are no ordinary Christians. They are dangerous fanatics who aim to make the U.S. a religious dictatorship and to force this upon the world. And these Christian fascists are not going to be satisfied, as Bob Avakian has written, until this country is ruled as "a Biblically based, militarized, patriarchal and male supremacist, and yes, white supremacist society--that is in essence the Christian Fascist program." (See Revolution #1, May 1, 2005, "Changes in the World and the ‘Clash of Civilizations’–Within This Civilization.")

The racist and even genocidal edge of this program can again be seen in what went down after Katrina. What does it mean when a Republican Congressman says that the flood was god’s attempt to get rid of public housing? What does it mean when fascists and racists are given control of the radio, as well as TV outlets like FOX News, to spread lies (like the baby-raping rumor) and incite backward white people to vigilante, Klan-type violence? What does it mean when a commander of troops in New Orleans says that he is preparing for a "little Somalia?" What does it mean when the president’s own mother says that the ordeal of the hurricane, and the diplacement that followed, was good for "these people?" What does it mean when William Bennett, a former cabinet official in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, and a major "player" in the Republican Party, feels that he can and must float the idea that "if you wanted to reduce crime . . . you could abort every Black baby in this country?"

And what does it mean when Bush himself refuses to comment on any of these things, other than to mildly label--through a spokesperson, yet--Bennett’s outrageous call for genocide "inappropriate?" It means that the Bush regime has seized on Hurricane Katrina to justify and even call for extreme and even genocidal measures against Black people, whipping up its social base and trying to make these ideas acceptable in society broadly.

What does it mean when Bush uses Katrina to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to "charities" that are nothing more than fronts for Christian Fascist organizations? To take just one example, FEMA put Pat Robertson’s charity as the number three recommended fund to give to. Robertson is not a nobody, but a major figure in the Republican Party and in the Christian Fascist movement in particular. He has called for replacing the current penal system with public whipping and the execution of people who "defile the land" and "destroy the fabric of society" through "unseemly acts." As Bob Avakian has pointed out:

"It is necessary to place this in the context of American society today, in which, through conscious governmental policy as well as the "normal operation" of the laws of capitalist accumulation and competition, whole sections of people are being consigned to the ranks of "unemployables," people for whom the only viable alternative within this system may be participation in the undergound economy. With this in mind, we cannot avoid recognizing that the logic of Robertson’s call for applying "the biblical model" for crime and punishment involves an unmistakable suggestion of a "final solution" against the masses of people in the inner cities..." ("The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy...And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer,"

Revolutionary Worker #1255 [October 17, 2004].)

It’s important here to remember that things in Germany didn’t just jump from Hitler’s election in 1933 to the gas chambers in 1941. There was a process and there was, to quote Richard Pryor, "a logic to the logic." And part of the process was for Hitler to let his minions get out there with the open calls to kill the Jews, while he himself played at being "above it all."

Sound familiar?

Betrayers From Within

But the Bush Regime is also building up a fascist social and political machine within the Black community. In particular, through his faith-based initiative program, as well as the machinery of the Republican Party, Bush has built up a political machine of reactionary preachers. These preachers get big financial grants to "provide services." But their main services are spreading ignorance and bigotry, and snitching for the powers-that-be.

Again, Katrina provides a good idea of what this is all about. First, Bush drew on a number of Black preachers--some who were solidly in his machine, some who were "independent"--to meet with him and even to travel with him in the shelters, as "political bodyguards." Mind you, this at a time when Bush was finally standing naked before the entire world as the smirking racist criminal he really is. But, in the words of Malcolm X, "these Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee"--and in doing so, they provided Bush with invaluable political camouflage. This was an act of political treason to the masses.

Second, these preachers have been trying to blame the masses themselves for the hurricane. . . and to get the Bush regime off the hook! Party members and supporters around the country tell of preachers who are claiming that "God did this to punish the people of New Orleans" for--take your pick--gambling, abortions, drugs, Mardi Gras, gay pride days, or even voodoo.

This is nonsense, but it is dangerous nonsense indeed. When people question why this happened, these prostituted preachers tell the people that they brought this on themselves and somehow deserved it. When people want to struggle, these puppets instruct them to "pray to the lord" and even to "give thanks" for "new opportunities!" These bootlickers have actively organized to prevent people from struggling or even questioning, including through snitching on the people who are organizing to resist.

All this has confused and misdirected some people, it has helped the authorities in their repression, and it is nothing less than CRIMINAL BETRAYAL. There was no "divine hand" in Katrina. It was a very un -mysterious natural disaster, easily explained by science (which is another thing the Bush Regime has been attacking). What happened after it hit is also explainable: the "earthly powers" that run this system first abandoned the masses and then used the disaster to push their agenda of exploitation, oppression and fascism.

WAITING TO FIND OUT WHETHER TO PULL THS OUT OF THE ARTICLE SINCE IT’S ALSO A BOX: We would like to ask you respected gentlemen (and ladies) of the cloth: did Black people "bring slavery on themselves"? Was this too a "divine punishment?" And did Black people pray their way out of it? Or was slavery brought on by the needs of this depraved capitalist system, and ended only through a civil war in which the slaves themselves rose up and went to the very front lines, dying out of all proportion to their numbers? [Alan--I suggest taking the above paragraph and put it in a box, under the headline: "Some Questions For Those Who Say Katrina Was ‘God’s Punishment’"; it would need to be edited so that after "of the cloth" it said "who have said that Katrina is god’s punishment".]

These people remind us of nothing so much as the Judenrat under the Nazis--Jews who were given special perks and power by the Nazis and who convinced themselves that things would go better for everyone if they rounded up their fellow Jews, instead of forcing the Nazis to do it. These Judenrat also told people not to resist and worked against and even snitched on those who did. Of course, by the end, the Judenrat betrayers also ended up in the Nazi gas chambers. History has judged the Judenrat harshly, and will likewise judge their present-day counterparts.

Drive Out the Bush Regime!

All this comes on top of a host of other outrages: the war in Iraq, the use and legitimation of torture, the systematic attempts to force women and gay people further into positions of oppression, and so on. The fact is this:


And there IS something to do about this. In this paper, there is the call for massive political mobilization on November 2 to actually drive out the Bush Regime. That is a day in which everyone who opposes this regime MUST act, with unity and daring. It is a serious call designed to get things to a whole other place in this country--to unite tens and then hundreds of thousands, and then millions, to actually OUST this regime. We are not putting our hopes and energies into some politician. Instead, we must rely on ourselves to draw forward the millions and tens of millions who really do hate where the society is heading and to change the whole political direction of this country. November 2 will be the beginning of that, the Day that history starts to change--"a giant first step in forcing Bush to step down and a powerful announcement that we will not stop until he does so."

Katrina tore the mask off the "compassionate conservative" and showed the real ugly face of the Bush regime. Bush is now trying to recoup, to seize on Katrina for his own reasons and with his own agenda. He is desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.

But Katrina also unleashed something else--serious outrage, serious questions and a serious new spirit of resistance. Take that outrage and spirit to the next level.


Many of you reading this will have gotten this paper at the Millions More events in Washington, D.C. You have come out in opposition to the oppression now going on and in the hope of a positive program. There is nothing more positive right now than getting rid of the Bush Regime. There is nothing more urgent right now than joining with the movement to do that, taking the word back to where you live and work and go to school, and mobilizing others. Read the Call to November 2 in this issue, and take hundreds of them home with you. Go to the worldcantwait.org website every day, finding out the news and getting connected to this movement. Find the people in your community who are building this . . . or start your own group. Make your plans for November 2, and organize others to go with you.

Some Questions For Those Who Say Katrina Was "God’s Punishment"

We would like to ask you respected gentlemen (and ladies) of the cloth who have said that Katrina is god’s punishment: did Black people "bring slavery on themselves"? Was this too a "divine punishment?" And did Black people pray their way out of it? Or was slavery brought on by the needs of this depraved capitalist system, and ended only through a civil war in which the slaves themselves rose up and went to the very front lines, dying out of all proportion to their numbers?