Bill Fletcher Jr.ColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

Republicans 2015: A Trip into the Past

Bill Fletcher

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
NNPA Columnist

 

At this time of the year everyone is making predictions about the coming year and/or reflections on the past. Let me add a quick note, by way of a warning. The November 2014 elections, at the national and state levels, brought together some very conservative forces who, according to most opinion polls, do not represent the point of view of the majority of the population. They do, however, represent the views of about 15-20 percent of the population that voted for them on Election Day 2014.

The vast majority of the Republican Party has suggested, for many years, that their objective is to overturn the 20th century, that is, to reverse the various gains made by the average person in the 20th century. This means everything from the victories of the New Deal to the increase in voting rights in the 1960s. With majorities in the House and Senate, we should expect that these conservative forces will go all out, with no interest in compromising, to advance their agenda.

Added to this, of course, is the conservative hatred for President Obama even when they agree with him on matters of policy. As soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made clear in 2009, the objective of the Republicans was to make Obama a one-term president. Well, they did not succeed at that, but they have continued in their efforts to undermine all of his major efforts.

What we should expect to see, in 2015, is not about President Obama. It really is more about conflicting visions of the future of the U.S. That is what we should appreciate. As I am fond of saying, conservative forces in the U.S. are attempting to block the future. They are hoping to gerrymander our politics in such a way that despite a popular majority to the contrary, rich and conservative forces will continue to dominate society (this is what makes the census and who controls state legislatures so important).

Next year will be another year of struggle but with what we have seen in the upsurge of youthful, Black action in response to police lynchings, there are good reasons to be believe that passivity will have little place in our future. The activism and energy that emerged in response to police violence must be translated into fights for voting rights, healthcare, housing, education and jobs.  It must be translated into a recognition that the battle for justice in so-called post-racial USA is a battle to establish consistent democracy rather than any acceptance of a political and economic establishment that looks a lot like a 21st century Jim Crow or apartheid regime.

Happy New Year!

 

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English.  He is a racial justice, labor and global justice activist and writer.  Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.

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Bill Fletcher Jr.

Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.

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