Foreshadowed by his roots and bottle-rocket-like rise, Barack Obama’s legacy is one of betrayal and what might have been,… From the outset, he courted and was courted by the pillars of counter-revolution, his very blackness a cloak for his Manchurian mission.
by Jon Jeter
Part 4 - The Empire fights back
The assassination of Martin Luther King, coupled with the twilight of American industry’s global dominance, ratcheted up both working class militancy, and the elites’ crackdown on it. Mineworkers in Appalachia and autoworkers in Detroit were fighting to reclaim their trade unions from a reactionary leadership that was in bed with management; communists were on the march in North Carolina, Black Panthers in Oakland; militant white college students protested the war in Berkeley, and black parents and teachers fought for community control of their school curriculums in Brooklyn. Fred Hampton was organizing black street gangs and black professionals, Latinos, poor alienated white youths, and college students and blue-collar workers of all races into a Rainbow Coalition intent on socialist revolution. Black voters capitalized on white flight following the season of unrest that began with the Watts riots to elect black mayors in Detroit, Newark, Cleveland, Gary, and Atlanta, and Puerto Ricans joined with Blacks and Italians to force the City University of New York to guarantee admission and free tuition for every New York city public high school graduate.
It took all of three months.
With Blacks accounting for a third of the country’s unionized workforce and taking on leadership responsibilities to boot, organized labor’s demand for a bigger share of the pie was causing wage inflation to spike and, combined with the Arab world’s demands that the West pay more for its oil, slicing into the oligarchs’ profit margins.
Something had to be done.
The Empire began fighting back. Nixon’s southern strategy, the FBI’s counterintelligence program, and an infamous memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by Lewis Powell, whom Nixon would later appoint to the Supreme Court, got the ball rolling, isolating the radical black polity from polite society. New York City’s bankers and corporate executives doubled down on polarizing racial narratives in executing a takeover of New York City’s finances in 1975 — scapegoating the pensions, wages and subsidies won by public sector unions for a financial crisis triggered by an overheated real estate market. That same year, the publisher of The Washington Post, Katherine Graham, broke the pressman’s union to fatten profits for Warren Buffett and other shareholders.