ALERT: Georgia’s Jim Crow (Black) Voter Suppression Bill Is Now Law... and a “Model” for Other States



On March 25, the Republi-fascists’ war against voting by oppressed nationality people of color took a major leap as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law a 98-page bill that throws multiple new obstacles in the way of Black, Brown, and poor voters—on top of obstacles they already face. The objective is to ensure Republi-fascist control of the state, to guarantee that Georgia will “vote Republican” in Congressional and Presidential elections to come, regardless of what the majority of people want, and to reduce Black people to second-class citizenship stripping them of fundamental rights.

Georgia Now Will Send You to Jail for Offering Water to Someone Waiting to Vote

This new law drastically restricts mail-in voting, thus ensuring that today’s hours-long voting lines in Black and Brown precincts will be even longer... and then makes it a crime to distribute food or water to people waiting on those lines. The law closes the polls at 5 p.m.—as the fascists know, many or most people of color hold low-wage jobs and cannot just “take the day off” to vote nor tell their boss “I need a few hours, I’ll be back.”

The bill allows any Georgian to challenge the voting rights of as many individuals as they want—a potential field day for white supremacists, a potential gauntlet of intimidation for Black people and other people of color.

Taken together, these measures are a cover, performing exactly the same role as the poll tax, literacy tests, “jelly bean counts”1 and open Klan terror performed for nearly 100 years—preventing Black people from voting in significant numbers.

And most ominously, the bill empowers the fascist-controlled legislature to appoint (or fire) the majority of the state election board, and to suspend local election officials. This means that the legislature can step in and “recount” (i.e., flip) any election result that doesn’t go “their way.” Georgia, as readers may recall, was one of the states that was majority-Biden in the last Presidential election, and Trump exerted unprecedented pressure to overturn the result, going so far as to make intimidating calls to the Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger.

“... A direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today”

As Bob Avakian has repeatedly pointed out:

There is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today, and a direct connection between their white supremacy, their open disgust and hatred for LGBT people as well as women, their willful rejection of science and the scientific method, their raw “America First” jingoism and trumpeting of “the superiority of western civilization” and their bellicose wielding of military power, including their expressed willingness and blatant threats to use nuclear weapons, to destroy countries.

And that link was on full display with the passage of Georgia’s new voter suppression law.

This bill was pushed through the legislature in a couple of days and sent to Governor Kemp for his signature. Kemp is notorious for illegitimately purging over 300,000 registered voters from the rolls, and preventing the registration of another 40,000 Black voters in 2018—when he was the secretary of state and in a close election race against a Democrat. Kemp gathered privately in his office with six white men to sign the bill into law.

And what was that painting hanging behind him as he sat at his desk to sign? It was a romanticized depiction of the Callaway slave plantation, on which at least 100 Black people were forced to labor, in a county where “runaways” were hunted with hounds. This picture is appealing to those who think that the times of outright slavery and then of open Jim Crow discrimination and terror were “the good old days.” The use of the painting as a backdrop to the signing is an all-but-open statement of intent as to the reshaping of society the fascists are trying to force through.

And to drive this home, when a Black woman state legislator had the audacity to knock on Kemp’s office door so she could bear witness to the criminal activity within, she was arrested, dragged away by a gang of pigs, and charged with a felony!

These Fascists Are Moving... We Must Move Too!

This is an extremely ugly assertion of white supremacy by a major political party. Stripping Black people of their right to vote is a statement that they are not equal human beings and not equal under the law. It is a signal and a sign of the reawakening of the horrors of the “old” Jim Crow, of open segregation, disrespect and terror against Black people. These fascists are not “going away,” and they are not kidding. This has to be taken extremely seriously.

Nor is this just “a Georgia thing.” Republi-fascists in 43 states—including over 20 where they have complete control—are racing to jam through similar bills. If successful in even a handful of swing states, that may be more than enough to ensure control of the Senate and White House in future elections.

Many people, including Democratic Party leaders, have rightly denounced this as “Jim Crow 2.0,” and some have evoked the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s that took on the original Jim Crow. They have offered a bill in Congress that would overturn much of what is in the Georgia law and other similar laws coming up in other states, and Biden has vowed to support that bill and fight these laws—but how hard they are willing to fight for this is far from clear.

More fundamentally, as Bob Avakian shows in his “New Year’s Statement, A New Year, The Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity” and elsewhere (go here and here), “The reality is that white supremacy is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, and neither of these ruling class parties could put an end to this, even if they wanted to.” And he goes deeply into the changes over the past 75 years internationally and within this country that have led to the dire situation today.

In that context, the attack on the voting rights of oppressed nationality people—Black people and other people of color—is part of a whole offensive that not only aims to re-impose the most suffocating and horrific forms of white supremacy, but has a definite genocidal thrust to it. The situation is urgent.

The defense of fundamental rights MUST be taken up in the days and months to come, and those who get the real stakes and the real sources of all this must do so boldly putting forward, fighting for and organizing people around the stand that only revolution can deal with this, once and for all.

1. In the “Old South,” sometimes Black people who were able to surmount all the other obstacles to registering would be told by white officials that “you can vote, if you can tell us exactly how many jelly beans are in this jar.” [back]

Voters in line in Augusta, GA, December 2020. Photo: AP

Bob Avakian on the direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today



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