WHY I WON’T VOTE, by Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, The Nation, 20 October 1956

Dubois 2

On October 20, 1956, W. E. B. Du Bois delivers this eloquent indictment of US politics while explaining to Nation readers why he won’t vote in the upcoming Presidential election. Du Bois condemns both Democrats and Republicans for their indifferent positions on the influence of corporate wealth, racial inequality, arms proliferation and unaffordable health care.

Since I was twenty-one in 1889, I have in theory followed the voting plan strongly advocated by Sidney Lens in The Nation of August 4, i.e., voting for a third party even when its chances were hopeless, if the main parties were unsatisfactory; or, in absence of a third choice, voting for the lesser of two evils. My action, however, had to be limited by the candidates’ attitude toward Negroes. Of my adult life, I have spent twenty-three years living and teaching in the South, where my voting choice was not asked. I was disfranchised by law or administration. In the North I lived in all thirty-two years, covering eight Presidential elections. In 1912 I wanted to support Theodore Roosevelt, but his Bull Moose convention dodged the Negro problem and I tried to help elect Wilson as a liberal Southerner. Under Wilson came the worst attempt at Jim Crow legislation and discrimination in civil service that we had experienced since the Civil War. In 1916 I took Hughes as the lesser of two evils. He promised Negroes nothing and kept his word. In 1920, I supported Harding because of his promise to liberate Haiti. In 1924, I voted for La Follette, although I knew he could not be elected. In 1928, Negroes faced absolute dilemma. Neither Hoover nor Smith wanted the Negro vote and both publicly insulted us. I voted for Norman Thomas and the Socialists, although the Socialists had attempted to Jim Crow Negro members in the South. In 1932 I voted for Franklin Roosevelt, since Hoover was unthinkable and Roosevelt’s attitude toward workers most realistic. I was again in the South from 1934 until 1944. Technically I could vote, but the election in which I could vote was a farce. The real election was the White Primary.

Retired “for age” in 1944, I returned to the North and found a party to my liking. In 1948, I voted the Progressive ticket for Henry Wallace and in 1952 for Vincent Hallinan.

In 1956, I shall not go to the polls. I have not registered. I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no “two evils” exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say. There is no third party. On the Presidential ballot in a few states (seventeen in 1952), a “Socialist” Party will appear. Few will hear its appeal because it will have almost no opportunity to take part in the campaign and explain its platform. If a voter organizes or advocates a real third-party movement, he may be accused of seeking to overthrow this government by “force and violence.” Anything he advocates by way of significant reform will be called “Communist” and will of necessity be Communist in the sense that it must advocate such things as government ownership of the means of production; government in business; the limitation of private profit; social medicine, government housing and federal aid to education; the total abolition of race bias; and the welfare state. These things are on every Communist program; these things are the aim of socialism. Any American who advocates them today, no matter how sincerely, stands in danger of losing his job, surrendering his social status and perhaps landing in jail. The witnesses against him may be liars or insane or criminals. These witnesses need give no proof for their charges and may not even be known or appear in person. They may be in the pay of the United States Government. A.D.A.’s and “Liberals” are not third parties; they seek to act as tails to kites. But since the kites are self-propelled and radar-controlled, tails are quite superfluous and rather silly.

The present Administration is carrying on the greatest preparation for war in the history of mankind. Stevenson promises to maintain or increase this effort. The weight of our taxation is unbearable and rests mainly and deliberately on the poor. This Administration is dominated and directed by wealth and for the accumulation of wealth. It runs smoothly like a well-organized industry and should do so because industry runs it for the benefit of industry. Corporate wealth profits as never before in history. We turn over the national resources to private profit and have few funds left for education, health or housing. Our crime, especially juvenile crime, is increasing. Its increase is perfectly logical; for a generation we have been teaching our youth to kill, destroy, steal and rape in war; what can we expect in peace? We let men take wealth which is not theirs; if the seizure is “legal” we call it high profits and the profiteers help decide what is legal. If the theft is “illegal” the thief can fight it out in court, with excellent chances to win if he receives the accolade of the right newspapers. Gambling in home, church and on the stock market is increasing and all prices are rising. It costs three times his salary to elect a Senator and many millions to elect a President. This money comes from the very corporations which today are the government. This in a real democracy would be enough to turn the party responsible out of power. Yet this we cannot do.

The “other” party has surrendered all party differences in foreign affairs, and foreign affairs are our most important affairs today and take most of our taxes. Even in domestic affairs how does Stevenson differ from Eisenhower? He uses better English than Dulles, thank God! He has a sly humor, where Eisenhower has none. Beyond this Stevenson stands on the race question in the South not far from where his godfather Adlai stood sixty-three years ago, which reconciles him to the South. He has no clear policy on war or preparation for war; on water and flood control; on reduction of taxation; on the welfare state. He wavers on civil rights and his party blocked civil rights in the Senate until Douglas of Illinois admitted that the Democratic Senate would and could stop even the right of Senators to vote. Douglas had a right to complain. Three million voters sent him to the Senate to speak for them. His voice was drowned and his vote nullified by Eastland, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was elected by 151,000 voters. This is the democracy in the United States which we peddle abroad.

Negroes hope to muster 400,000 votes in 1956. Where will they cast them? What have the Republicans done to enforce the education decision of the Supreme Court? What they advertised as fair employment was exactly nothing, and Nixon was just the man to explain it. What has the Administration done to rescue Negro workers, the most impoverished group in the nation, half of whom receive less than half the median wage of the nation, while the nation sends billions abroad to protect oil investments and help employ slave labor in the Union of South Africa and the Rhodesias? Very well, and will the party of Talmadge, Eastland and Ellender do better than the Republicans if the Negroes return them to office?

I have no advice for others in this election. Are you voting Democratic? Well and good; all I ask is why? Are you voting for Eisenhower and his smooth team of bright ghost writers? Again, why? Will your helpless vote either way support or restore democracy to America?

Is the refusal to vote in this phony election a counsel of despair? No, it is dogged hope. It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest. Yet if we protest, off the nation goes to Russia and China. Fifty-five American ministers and philanthropists are asking the Soviet Union “to face manfully the doubts and promptings of their conscience.” Can not these do-gooders face their own consciences? Can they not see that American culture is rotting away: our honesty, our human sympathy; our literature, save what we import from abroad? Our only “review” of literature has wisely dropped “literature” from its name. Our manners are gone and the one thing we want is to be rich–to show off. Success is measured by income. University education is for income, not culture, and is partially supported by private industry. We are not training poets or musicians, but atomic engineers. Business is built on successful lying called advertising. We want money in vast amount, no matter how we get it. So we have it, and what then?

Is the answer the election of 1956? We can make a sick man President and set him to a job which would strain a man in robust health. So he dies, and what do we get to lead us? With Stevenson and Nixon, with Eisenhower and Eastland, we remain in the same mess. I will be no party to it and that will make little difference. You will take large part and bravely march to the polls, and that also will make no difference. Stop running Russia and giving Chinese advice when we cannot rule ourselves decently. Stop yelling about a democracy we do not have. Democracy is dead in the United States. Yet there is still nothing to replace real democracy. Drop the chains, then, that bind our brains. Drive the money-changers from the seats of the Cabinet and the halls of Congress. Call back some faint spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln, and when again we can hold a fair election on real issues, let’s vote, and not till then. Is this impossible? Then democracy in America is impossible.

 

EITHER UNALIENABLE RIGHTS OR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

 

Declaration_of_Independence_draft_(detail_with_changes_by_Franklin)

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Its publish date is July 4, 1776. Therein it states four simple propositions: 1. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, 2. that all men are created equal, 3. that they are endowed by their Creator with certain un-alienable Rights, 4. that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These four propositions evidence an extra potential in all human beings.

There are moments however few they may be when some men and some women have extra dimensional inspired moments which unfetter their minds; moments when they are raised above their egos, their selfish concerns, their worldly ambitions, and their desire for worldly immortality. They rise above desires for what is impossible to what is possible…and what is inevitable.

They briefly peep Transcendent Magnificence; they peep ‘What it is’; ‘What is above all’, yet ‘What is inclusive of all’.  It takes them awhile to understand the significance of what they have seen. But eventually they do come to understand what it is.

Yet, sometimes those same men and women who are enraptured in deep inspired thoughts and who do express transcendent propositions do not themselves fully comprehend their own thoughts in their own times and circumstances.

Their own comprehension is cancelled out by hundreds of moral contradictions inherent in their lives, by the thought constraints imposed upon them by their cultures, and by natural resistance itself. We know for instance that many of Thomas Jefferson’s moral contradictions are manifest in his book: ‘Notes on the State of Virginia’ and in his relation with his slave Sally Hemings and the five children they sired.

But even simple biological acts such as eating and sleeping cut their inspired moments short and in so doing makes them limp along, …just another wretched of the earth… here for a while to live and then to die.

For all those reasons they are preoccupied; therefore, it should be of no surprise to anyone that they miss the fine profundity of their own inspired thoughts and expressed propositions. When that happens the train of history jumps a track.

The United States has jumped its tracks many times since the implementation of the 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, and 19th amendments to the U.S constitution. It is jumping it’s tracks today.

Driven by primitive sentiments of misguided white people and fanned by white supremacists’ propaganda media like the Fox Television Network, every non-white ethnic population in the United States has been a target of or is targeted now by their social and economic frustrations. For example, Asian Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Buddhists, Muslims, and Catholics have all been at one time or even now the target of some white people’s anger and violence.

National derailment occurs when some white people fail to understand simple cause and effect relations or deny the facts in front of them that state unequivocally that other white people are stealing from them, too.

They conclude wrongly that Mexicans or African Americans or Muslims are the causes of the collapse of their middle class status and their debt enslavement, but they are wrong. For example, African and Latino Americans own approximately a combined 4% of the total national wealth compared to white Americas’ ownership of 85% of all national wealth. Thus, they are not an immediate threat to the white upper and lower middle classes. 

median-net-worth-by-race-2007

The truth is that middle and lower class whites have always been tricked and exploited by people of their own ethnicity, i.e. other white people, and the evidence supports that premise. For instance, in a recent article entitled: ‘The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us’, it states that there are 20 United States citizens whose combined wealth is greater than the bottom half of the American population or 152 million American citizens. Those 20 people are white people not African, Asian, and Latino Americans.

IncomeWealth

Failing to logically comprehend what those facts suggest some white people become frustrated and then angry. Angry because they are not getting a share of the loot promised to them by rich white people when the United States was founded under the canopy of white supremacy and articulated in Article 1, section 2, clause 3 of the United States Constitution.

They were promised that their ‘whiteness’ is all that matters. Now they know that they exchanged their allegiance to the myth of white supremacy for a false premise because ‘black lives matter’, too. But they don’t want to accept that truth. They are resisting that truth. They think as though they live in the year 1915 instead of 2015.

Tragically, that ‘stinking thinking’ must lay around until future generations of young and passionate souls are awakened by their own inspired thoughts.

Such young people, though always a minority in the masses, are eager to learn and to make the world a better world than what they inherited; to discover, unravel, and intellectually explore those words anew for themselves. For each generation is a fresh psychic force pushing against the pendulum of human affairs farther away from tyranny and ever closer to justice for all.

Justice is in their sight.  Justice is standing with a collection of all inspired truths in one hand but with a sword in its other hand. That is to remind us that in order to insure the continuity of inspiration through us there will be times when we must fight and sacrifice against all opposition to our persons and to our storehouse of inspired literature whether it be the Psalms of David, the Gospel of Thomas, or the Holy Quran. That must be done in order to preserve them as treasures for all humanity. But there is more.

We should not only fix our gaze upon supernatural hope; we must also resolve ourselves to make a living here in the world. Thus there are political, social, and economic ideological treasures which must also be preserved. Democracy is not oligarchy; society is not exclusive; and economy is not predisposed to concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few hundred or thousand out of hundreds of millions of We, the people. We will not allow those treasures to be buried.

Jefferson went on to write two other propositions: “… 1. whenever any government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter it, 2. and to institute new Government…”. So, now, what are you waiting for? “The point is to change it.”

VARNA MEANS COLOR, By Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Aryans_entering_India

The idea of white supremacy has a long history. Five thousand years ago nomadic tribes of south Europeans out of the Caucus Valley region began to move south and finally into north India which was called Palan. When they arrived they came into confrontation with the great Indus Valley Civilization.

The Aryans were pressured by climate change to move out of their habitat. They moved because the great North African monsoon rains which had lasted for 20,000 years had come to an end.

One of the collateral effects of the end of the North African monsoon cycle was that their ancient homeland could no longer support their growing populations because of severe climate change.

One of the Hindu books was written by a man named Manu. In that book the laws governing racial purity were laid down. The superior race of Aryans were called Golden or those of Golden or ‘blonde color’ by the word ‘Su-varna’.

Varna is a Hindi word which means ‘color’. The language of Hindi belongs to the Indo-European language family. It is a term used in the religion of Hinduism to describe the social and economic model of the Hindu religion. It is the most ancient system of white supremacy. It dates back 4,500 years or to 2,500 years B.C.

One assumption of the Hindu religion is that skin color determines whether a person is good or bad and thus their caste status for life. That assumption derives from a myth which tells how the different castes of India were created.

The Hindu Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda narrates that the first man named Purusha destroyed himself so that a human society based upon hierarchy could be constructed out of his body parts. 

The myth narrates that the high caste called the Brahmans were created from the head of Purush; the K-sha-trias were created from his hands; the Vai-shia were created from his thighs; and the Sudras from his feet. This myth is similar to the Torah myth in the book of Danial when in a dream he saw the various castes of the Kingdom as Gold, Silver, Bronze, and iron mixed with clay. Each denoting a different race caste. 

After many years of war the great Indus Valley Civilization was destroyed and its people enslaved. The original people had lived in Palan or India for over 50,000 years. They were descendants of Black African people who migrated out of Africa more than 70,000 years ago.

Enslaved under Hinduism they were called Sutra or outsider. They came to be the untouchables because the qualities associated with them in the Hindu religion were those of stupidity and lack of creativity as well as carriers of disease, and filth.

One thousand years later the idea of White Supremacy would be expressed through the Greek thinkers Plato and Aristotle. Plato sketched a social hierarchy which he divided into four castes. The castes were based on the idea of race; the Golden, the Silver, the Bronze, and the Iron. He warned against the mixing of the races and argued for racial purity. His racially divided society corresponds to the Hindu caste system outlined by Manu in his book: Manu Smriti.

Plato and Aristotle planted the seed of white supremacy deeply in Europe and the Middle East and over time the idea of white supremacy would grow to become entwined with religious beliefs and anthropology.

You might ask at this time: ‘but what does that have to do with us here in the United States?’ It has much to do with us. That answer to your question leads us to the most important document in the United State. The United States Constitution is what we must turn our attention to now because in it we will find the Varna ideology of White Supremacy.

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution defines a class/caste hierarchy by gender and race. It first defines free persons as those who are citizens. As citizens they are the full beneficiaries of the Bill of Rights. But the definition of who could be a citizen was not without its controversy.

The phrase ‘Free Person’ was identified as being vague and so when congress met it specified who a free person was. The Congress specified that a ‘Free Person’ was a ‘Free White Person’.

But even more specifically only white males could be free because white women could not vote nor if married own property in their name. So, even within the highest caste there was a division by gender giving all political and economic power to white males.

The second group is a caste/class. They were ‘those indentured for a term’. They were contract laborers who sold themselves out to do work for payment for passage from Europe to the newly founded United States.

Once an indentured servant completed their contractual obligation they were free to apply for and be granted citizenship as long as they could prove that they were white.

The third caste identified ‘those not taxed’ were Native Americans. They at that time were recognized as sovereign nations and thus outside the scope of rights and privileges granted by the Bill of Rights.

The last and bottom caste is that of ‘3/5ths all others’. That famous phrase refers to African slaves who were then defined as chattel property. As such African slaves had no constitutional rights, nor human rights which a white man had to recognize. That idea was expressed by Thomas Jefferson.

No doubt Thomas Jefferson was influenced by the Varna ideology when he wrote his only book, Notes on the State of Virginia-Query 14. In that book his description of African people corresponds exactly to that given in the book of Manu and the role of the ‘untouchable’ black people of India.

The hierarchy which I have described from the U.S. Constitution overlaps perfectly with the Varna caste system defined in the Book of Manu which governs Hinduism to this day.

The fact that the color caste system established 4,500 years ago by the Aryan tribes in the Indus Valley and long before the Christian era and over two thousand years before the advent of Islam proves that the ideology of white supremacy is a global movement equivalent in nature to a religion which demands in its dogma the belief in the superiority of the white race and the inferiority of Black people and all other people of ‘color’ wherever they may be found.

Another unavoidable conclusion is that every post-Christian and Arab cultural institution was influenced more or less by the race caste ideology of Hindu White Supremacy. Thus global enslavement and economic exploitation based on skin color emanated from the centers of Europe and the Middle East.

Today, we face the problem that no Black labor is needed in the United States. I mean that in the absolute sense.  Yes, influence peddlers will continue to hustle votes for either the Democratic or the Republican parties. But the fact is that African Americans are in more danger now than they were during the era of chattel slavery.

 I say that because even though white supremacists don’t need to exploit Black labor it does not necessarily follow that racism or white supremacy will go away. It won’t go away because even though the idea of white supremacy is no longer used as a rationalization to economically exploit Black people, White Supremacy is a religion or a belief system passed down from generation to generation  and which is now integral to Western Culture everywhere. 

I will leave you with this quote from a forward by Staughton Lynd in the book: Who Needs the Negro? He wrote: “…if the white American no longer needed the black American’s labor, he might feel free to express his racism fully; not merely to exploit the black Americans, as in the past 300 years, but to kill him.”

I recommend that you research the domestic demographic statistics on African Americans and add to that Labor Department annual reports. You do the math. You draw your own conclusion.