No Jobs for Black Men?!

Revolutionary Worker #1244, June 20, 2004, posted at

The RW received the following correspondence from a comrade:

"In every corner of the globe, including inside the U.S. itself, the system of imperialism has proven to be a complete catastrophe."

Draft Programme of the RCP

This point was brought home to me once again when I was reading the New York Times (2/28/04) and saw the headline, "Nearly Half of Black Men Found Jobless." The article was announcing a recent study that has been done by the Community Service Society, who, according to the Times , is a "nonprofit group that serves the poor." The study found that only 51.8% of all Black men in New York City, ages 16-64, were employed. The math isn't hard to do-- almost 1 in 2 of all Black men are currently without work!

The Times article pointed out that these findings are in keeping with trends among poor men of all nationalities in cities across the country, "where manufacturing jobs have disappeared in recent decades." The article went on, "Some [researchers] said factors that might have made the problem worse since 2000 could include welfare reform, high rates of incarceration producing gaps in job histories, and competition with immigrants for low-skill jobs."

Why is it that they are throwing people off of welfare when there is ABSOLUTELY NO WORK TO BE FOUND?! Why are they incarcerating and criminalizing a whole generation of Black youth? Why are they shipping industries overseas to exploit people in oppressed nations even more brutally? And what's going on that forces all these immigrants to leave their countries of origin to come to the U.S. (if they make it here alive) and work in devastatingly exploitative conditions?

The New York Times is never gonna answer these questions, but the Revolutionary Communist Party and its Chairman, Bob Avakian, have answers! The bourgeoisie can't find work for all these people, but the proletariat can! And not the mind-numbing and soul-stifling work that people are forced to suffer through today, but the ability to engage with and transform the world around them.

There are millions of things that need to be done for our planet--many dire problems to solve and urgent needs to be met. We have to stop the deadly pollution of our planet and clean up our natural resources, we have to build and fix housing for the millions of people who don't have any place to live, or whose conditions are far below "substandard," there are diseases killing millions of people that we must urgently cure. We have lots to learn and discover about the world around us, new scientific discoveries to be made, art and beauty to create and much, much more! But to be able to solve these problems, we need to prepare the ground for communist revolution in this country to seize state power.

See, the fact that the motherfuckers who run this country can't find work for so many of our people is itself an indictment of their rotten-ass system!

So why is it that so many people, especially Black people and others from oppressed nationalities, can't find work? There is a lot to this answer and I won't attempt a full explanation in this short correspondence. But basically, there is the fact that the oppression of Black people is an integral part of this system--politically and economically. The fact that right now, the capitalist ruling class is forced to more and more deeply exploit the most oppressed sections of society (which we also see in the super-exploitation of immigrants in this country, and the push for a new level of planetary control). And most fundamentally, they can't put all the work that needs to be done together with all the people who want to work because it would not be profitable for their system.

After reading the article and sharing my outrage with comrades from the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, I heard Chairman Avakian's voice ringing in my ear, from a taped speech he gave in 1979, The System Is Doomed, Let's Finish It Off:

"They say that they don't have any work for one out of two of these Black youth, and for a good number of these other youth out here. And they're telling them straight up, slapping them in the face and saying, `This is the way it is, what are you going to do about it? You don't have a future under this system, much as we lie and talk about the land of opportunity. You don't have a job and you don't have a future.' Well, we've got news for you, we've got a job for them, and we've got a future for them! We've got a job and a future--a revolution to turn this whole world upside down, and there ain't no unemployment lines in the ranks of the revolution!"