Muslim Press has conducted an interview with Danny Weil to discuss the issues that African-Americans face in the United States and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The following is the text of the interview:
Muslim Press: How does inequality play a role in today's racism in the United States?
Danny Weil: The wreckage left behind by deindustrialization has created a dilemma for the corporate state. There are now vast pools of ‘surplus’ labor or that we call ‘redundant labor’ (people who will never work again). This means that the old form of social control no longer works. To subjugate the population of America to the level of human ‘refuse’ or ‘disposability’ new forms of harsher mechanisms are needed.
A look at recent statistics shows that: Those on probation or parole or in jails or prisons grew from 780,000 in 1965 to 7 million in 2010. The length of prison sentences tripled and quadrupled. Laws were passed to assure inner city communities would be turned into miniature police states.
MP: What's your take on the recent protests in the US and the recent killing of an African-American man by the police?
Danny Weil: The recent protests and killings in Oklahoma reveal the harsh measures stated above which the corporate state needs to maintain order. Especially using these measures against Black people.
MP: How effective the Black Lives Matter movement has been in fighting racism?
Danny Weil: I think the Black Lives Matter movement must turn into an anti-capitalist movement for it is the failure of capitalism, and its burden on African Americans that is the cause for racial uprising. Capitalism and racism go hand in hand.
The corporate state is counting on counter-violence against the police, and this is inevitable as capitalism destroys communities. Further acts of domestic terrorism, real or false flags is also inevitable. Acts of violence demonstrated against the corporate state, including the sock puppet corporate press, are being used to create a culture of fear and intimidation. The plan is to deify the police and demonize the oppressed, the majority of which are people of color. Black Lives Matter should be aware of the role of capitalism in creating the necessity for counter violence.
However, I am also concerned that the Black Lives Matter movement is receiving large funding from George Soros, a capitalist globalist.
MP: Do you think affirmative action has been successful in the US?
Danny Weil: Affirmative action has been the source of controversy for about as long as it has existed, but its positive impact is undeniable. The anti-discrimination and recruitment policies that fall under the umbrella of “affirmative action” have opened up opportunities for women and racial minorities in fields that had been largely closed off to them by either formal or informal barriers.
Affirmative action policies have also contributed to making the workplace fairer for everyone since fear of contract forfeiture and litigation has compelled even non-union employers to establish formal guidelines for hiring, promoting, and firing employees. Moreover, white men actually account for the bulk of those filing age discrimination lawsuits.
Still, those who seek to defend affirmative action — and I am among such people — would be wise to situate it in a broader historical framework than recent controversies and consider the labor origins of anti-discrimination measures. Thus, tying racism and lack of opportunity to the failure of capitalism is what is needed.
In the 1960’s we went from fighting for civil rights to identity politics. What was needed and is needed now is to bring the movement started so many decades ago into the arena of participatory democracy and the full on assault on capitalist policies responsible for the New Jim Crow.
MP: Could you give us some examples of the effects of white privilege in America?
Danny Weil: Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege. In other words, it is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.
Take the following:
For instance, even though young blacks with college degrees are twice as likely as similar whites to be unemployed, regardless of their field of study, most white Americans don't appear to see much of a problem (or actually continue to insist that it is we who are discriminated against in employment).
Despite the fact that white male high school dropouts between 18-34 are more likely to find work than black men that age with two years of college, most white Americans don't see much of a problem, or again, insist that "reverse discrimination" is the real issue when it comes to racism.
Despite the fact that the typical white family has about 16 times as much wealth as the typical black family -- and that even white households headed up by a high school dropout have, on average, twice the wealth of black and Latino households headed by a college graduate -- most white Americans don't see much of a problem.
Despite the fact that black children are about three times as likely as white children to be suspended or expelled from school, even though the rates of serious school rule infractions are largely the same (contrary to popular belief), and despite the fact that black children are about twice as likely as white children to be taught by the least experienced teachers, most white Americans don't see much of a problem.
According to the survey, whites are also far less likely to believe the Voting Rights Act is still needed, even as several states have moved to create impediments to voting that will disproportionately affect voters of color.
Today, it is not just that whites fail to see the obstacles still faced by persons of color; rather, too many of us apparently believe the tables have turned and now it is we who face those obstacles. What is true is that both Black people and white working people are in the cross hairs of failed capitalism. And this will be very useful for white people to then blame Black Americans, as they have always done.
Danny Weil is a writer for Project Censored and Daily Censored. He received the Project Censored "Most Censored" News Stories of 2009-10 award for his article: "Neoliberalism, Charter Schools and the Chicago Model / Obama and Duncan's Education Policy: Like Bush's, Only Worse," published by Counterpunch, August 24, 2009. Dr. Weil has published more than seven books on education in the past 20 years. His new book, an encyclopedia on charter schools, entitled: "Charter School Movement: History, Politics, Policies, Economics and Effectiveness," 641 pages, was published in August of 2009 by Grey House Publishing, New York, and provides a scathing look at the privatization of education through charter schools.