By Kali Akuno
The racist and utterly reactionary Republican legislative majorities that dominate the South are on an aggressive march this legislative session. From Texas to Florida, Arkansas to Virginia, and all the states in-between, they are employing cut-throat strategies and tactics to pass a package of regressive, exploitative and outright anti-human legislation drawn up by the likes of ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) and other right-wing think tanks. They are attacking the right to vote, Black voting districts, the right to education, access to housing, workers rights to organize themselves, wage protections, alternative energy plans, marriage equality, and the list goes on.
While reactionary legislative initiatives are nothing new to the South, the moves being made in 2016 are rather exceptional. In many respects, the Republican initiatives of 2016 are reminiscent of their “Redeemer” predecessors from the Democratic Party from the 1890’s, when they systematically replaced all of the reconstruction based constitutions of the Southern states and formally instituted legally based “Jim Crow” regimes. This reactionary assault is being driven by desperation in part. The settlers that form the base of the Republic Party are utterly terrified by the demographic trends projected for the US over the next 50 years. They are scared of the day when the US is no longer a “white man’s country” that it will translate into the end of their social dominance and “way of life.” These reactionary initiatives are therefore maneuvers of position in preparation for long-term trouble, a “battening down the hatches” as it were, to secure their social rule and ability to exploit and oppress non-white people for as long as possible.Read More