ink was barely dry on the Supreme Court affirmative action decisions
when, from sea to shining sea, there was a collective sigh of
relief by civil rights activists and organizations. For months,
many have been on the edge of their seats, fingernails gnawed
to the nub, waiting for what they were certain would be a dreadful
moment in history. Thus, when a right-wing court declined to eliminate
affirmative action, there was surprise, if not shock, in many
quarters. However, for we revolutionaries, these rulings came
as no surprise. Once we observed the most elite elements of the
military-industrial complex lining up to support affirmative action,
it became clear to us that the cases could have only one outcome.
this period, there is real danger in assuming that the battle
is won. The truth is that the real fight has just begun. To understand
this, one must look beyond the gentle smiles of corporate executives
and military generals who stand
before cameras expressing their delight with rulings that allow
them to pursue their supposedly noble goal of "diversity."
If one understands the history and dynamics of the corporate and
military worlds, one understands that, in these worlds, there
are no circumstances which occasion acts of pure benevolence.
In every case, there is an ulterior motive that is driven by a
never-ending quest for power and profits.
before dozens of multi-national corporations filed briefs in support
of affirmative action, their executives explained quite frankly
that as the globalization scenario continues to unfold, people
of color will be needed to represent big companies in the southern
hemisphere. It is much more likely that, in Africa, the Caribbean
and Latin America, it will be possible to negotiate agreements
that allow for exploitation of resources and markets if a corporation
can send a "brother" as its spokesperson. The pool of
people to play this role would certainly diminish if affirmative
action could not facilitate the matriculation of people of color
at major universities.
for the military, it works hand-in-glove with the corporations
to secure control of vital resources like oil – by force if necessary.
The invasion of Iraq was only one chapter in a continuing saga.
As we witness the quiet, but growing
presence of the U.S. military in Africa, we need not speculate
long about the future combat locations. Affirmative action ensures
the possibility of putting a face of color on U.S. attacks by
providing a steady stream of future military policy makers and
spokespersons. If, for example, the U.S. decides to effect a "regime
change" in Zimbabwe, how can it be racist if Colin Powell
is the primary spokesman? All of this undermines a long history
of international solidarity of the oppressed. In 1979, when the
Sandinistas took power in Nicaragua, one of their first acts was
to declare Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday because of
their strong identification with the struggles of African people
in the U.S. In that same year when militant Iranians took hostages
at the U.S. embassy, Blacks were released almost immediately for
the same reason. How much solidarity will remain if people of
color become the face of U.S. imperialist aggression?
to military careers
the task that lies squarely before us is to compete with the military-industrial
complex for the hearts and minds of young beneficiaries of affirmative
action. For its part, the National Conference of Black Lawyers
(NCBL) has resolved to steer young people away from careers in
the military. The organization’s resolution calls for: "...an
educational campaign that uses historical data to demonstrate
the misuse of people of African descent by the U.S. military and
to promote the proposition that U.S. military service of any kind
is highly undesirable and should be avoided by descendants of
enslaved Africans." The resolution also pledges the organization’s
assistance with identifying and developing alternative career
opportunities. This is a mammoth, but essential task that NCBL
is determined to perform. The organization invites assistance
by all persons and organizations willing to help throw a monkey
wrench in the military-industrial complex’s affirmative action
P. Fancher chairs the National Conference of Black Lawyers’ Section
on International Affairs and World Peace.
e-Mail address is [email protected]