Category Archives: democracy

The Virgin Islands today cannot be compared to America’s 13 colonies…

The issue: Do Virgin Islanders have anything in common with the Original 13 colonies?

Back in October of 2019, Delegate Stacey Plaskett, Democrat of the Virgin Islands, made the following statement in support of vacating the Insular Cases:

“Our territorial status is eerily similar to the status of the original 13 colonies to the British government. Today, the unequal footing of the territories in voting power, proximity to the mainland, funding formulas and resources of our country continue to keep the Virgin Islands from becoming all that we can be much as it kept colonial America from realizing its full potential. How can we herald the actions of our Founding Fathers while simultaneously depriving fellow Americans of the same rights those Founding Fathers fought so hard to achieve? Just as the colonists, we are subjected to the laws of an un-representational government. But just as the colonists, we will not stop fighting for the same representation that every other great American enjoys. A people who have made great contributions to this country — including Alexander Hamilton, Denmark Vessey, and Tim Duncan — still do not have equal citizenship. Democracy is not complete.” — Stacey Plaskett

Delegate Plaskett’s statement is driven by the struggle the Virgin Islands of the United States has been in for over a century over its status as an unincorporated territory of the United States.  The statement also captures the emotional conflict within many Virgin Islanders; the conflict between embracing what we really are and the delusion we wish to hold on to.

The majority of Virgin Islanders are not descended from colonists …

According to the CIA World Factbook, approximately 76% of Virgin Islanders are black, likely descendants of slaves imported from Africa between the 17th and 19th centuries.  They did not come to the West Indies with a charter from a monarch promising them land and religious freedom in exchange for their willingness and ability to extract resources and ship them back to their mother lands.  This distinction is important because it helps us assess the mindsets of Virgin Islanders; a mindset not seeped in reality and continuously fed by a flawed “unrepresented colonist” model.

The unrepresented colonist model assumes that black Virgin Islanders in particular have some economic skin in the game i.e. ownership of the process and/or entities that allow for extraction and packaging of natural resources that are sent back to the metropole, in this case the United States.  People of European descent are the major stakeholders in the Virgin Islands’ prime commercial industry, tourism.  Given little to no ownership stake in this industry, black Virgin Islanders have no say in how this product is “packaged” and exported.

America’s “founding fathers” are not our founding fathers …

Virgin Islanders have such a need for belonging that they incorporate a narrative totally alien to their history and lineage into their view of themselves.  To be American is to give short shrift to Virgin Islands or Caribbean history while immersing ones self in another’s history.  Proximity to the U.S. mainland, tourism, and the infiltration of news and entertainment media have Virgin Islanders believing the United States is the best and only game in town, even though some surrounding independent island nations are doing better economically than the Virgin Islands.

There is an irony that Virgin Islanders would seek continued allegiance to a society that, won’t allow its administrative state and judiciary to vacate the Insular Cases race-based decisions to not extend full constitutional rights to the unincorporated territory that is the Virgin Islands of the United States.  What type of “father” would do that to his children?

Conclusion: Persuade them or lead them …

What is often overlooked in US history is that the majority of American colonists were either indifferent or opposed to independence from Great Britain.  In the last Virgin Islands referendum on status held in 1993, approximately 4.93% of voters supported independent status for the territory with the vast majority supporting the status quo i.e. unincorporated territorial status.  As University of the Virgin Islands professor Malik Sekou noted in a paper written after the 1993 referendum on status, “The vast majority of the population has been staunchly pro-American, and any discussions that have involved losing or questioning U.S. citizenship have not been very fruitful.”

A political strategy that moves Virgin Islanders off of their staunch status quo position will have to involve major, unique, nuanced work on the mind.

 

Race is a lie …

I know I am beautiful and love my phenotype and genotype.   I love the skin I was born in.  It makes me unique.  I honor my lineage, appreciating my parents, grandparents, and great grand-parents.  I try my best to maintain my household, to keep my son safe and hopefully teach him the things necessary for him to survive this Matrix.  I don’t run away from my Caribbean culture and am always ready to embrace someone whose own lineage parallels mine.

I am not, however, a race.  The notion that people are permanently lumped together based on the color of their skin runs counter to human behavior.  Humans are always touted as tribal, social.  Academics will tell me that genetics meeting environment spawns various racial groups and the desire to create collectives for security and economic purposes.  I beg to differ.

Similar looking people who develop language and customs do so for temporary strategic reasons.  Maintaining and expanding my household today as well as 140 years ago in the Caribbean and 500 years ago in Africa required entering into security agreements with neighbors to ensure a prosperous hunt.  Maintaining order required agreement as to how disagreements would be settled.  But no household wanted to be blindly allied with an association of households based on skin color where the well-being of the household would be negatively affected.

This notion of a mass collective, of a nation-state, is derived from a few individuals wishing to use masses of people, whose lineages run closely together, as a platform for expanding their own vision.  The masses when successfully programmed to abide by rules, mores, and values published by a visionary few are enabled to bear the brunt of the cost of the visionary’s programs of expansion including the execution of war and trade.

Race is but one of the collective creation mechanisms used to help expand the wants and desires of the visionary few.  For example, as Europeans expanded into the western hemisphere, it was the construction and deployment of the race mechanism that facilitated the recruitment of people needed to colonize the Americas.  The masses paid the taxes, mined the gold mines, planted the tobacco plantations, and cleared the land of inhabitants generating benefits that flowed mostly to political, military, government, and commercial elites.  In exchange the masses took as payment access to credit and land upon which to settle.

Collectives, races are organized for a purpose.  Masses of Europeans were organized to conquer a land.  What are masses of African descendants in America organized to do?

In the American political economy today, “blacks” are organized to help extend the political visions of the leaders of America’s political parties.  Aiding in the organization are America’s black political elite who yearn for the prestige, power, and pensions the political industry offers.  The black political elite mines the black vote and brings masses of black voters to the polling places.  In exchange for their votes, “blacks” hope to receive programs that grant access to credit, employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and affordable housing.

The model is basically the same mass exploitative model used on those earlier masses of Europeans that colonized the Americas.  The difference is that while those Europeans, as a collective, were granted access to wealth creating/capital accumulation opportunities, Africans, as a collective, have been offered what I term “renewable wardship”, where the safety nets negotiated by the black political elite are only as good as the legislation that renews the availability every budget season of these social safety nets.  In other words, the European or white exploitative model offered access to liberty after an indentured period while the African or black exploitative model has offered offered continuous wage slavery where today masses of blacks are still relying on the benevolence of government.

The exploitative model, where blacks are massed and seduced for their votes in return for political packages that offer no capital return, does nothing for the uplift of the individual.  He or she is kept in constant beggar mode, petitioning government to pursue policies such as “closing the digital divide” or “closing the wealth gap” or “raising the minimum wage”; policies that government was not designed to implement.

The visionaries, the black political elite, are doing well off of this model where race is manipulated and operationalized to facilitate that black political elite’s ability to offer up masses as coal for America’s political engine, having no concern for the erosion it brings to self-determination and consciousness.

Race is a tool.  Race is a plantation that limits and enslaves.  Race is a lie ….

Tell your sons and daughters not to have kids for your grandchildren are out of luck: The art, physics, and calculus of the future political economy ….

During the 2024 election, Democrats will be blaming Donald Trump for the slump in the economy. What Democrats will not tell you is the slump will be due to the falling prices of assets as Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, who have been deemed as useless and/or unemployable, will be forced to sell off assets on the cheap to make up for lost and non-replaceable income. As prices for bonds fall because of their increased availability in the market, interest rates will rise causing increased difficulty in long term, credit based purchasing and education. Those who started hoarding cash after the last so called great recession will be able to buy these assets on the cheap while enjoying the income derived from increased interest rates paid on the hoarded cash and cheap assets purchased.

Whoa onto the man or woman running for office during this period. They will not be able to use the old, “It was the last administration, stupid” argument. By this time the current growing frustration with “democracy”, on the rise now for the better part of the last decade, will reach its breaking point as market-driven democracies find themselves unable to deliver. Elected officials will have to make hard decisions as their tax bases shrink due to falling incomes and the ability of people with excess capital to build moats around themselves by replacing traditional police and community services once provided by government with the same services provided by private contractors and artificial intelligence.

As government finds it more difficult to implement effective public policy for alleviating the burdens of increased prices, it may seek more draconian approaches to reining in monetary practices while implementing more burdensome fiscal policy. Government only knows how to tax and inflict violent police action. I “pray” for the unborn and curse the current mentality that just because they have a car, a job, and can take a vacation that life is good. That delusion will have to be paid for and very soon.

My response to those who feel Sanders supporters should stick with the Democrats …

Hostage takers don’t hang around with the police and have coffee if the cops foil the hostage takers’ attempts at collecting ransom….What we are seeing is an emerging willingness to let the system burn if things don’t go your way. Why would Sanders supporters acquiesce to a system that they believe is failing them just because their candidate comes up short in an election?

The best move for them would be to go “off grid” and determine alternative solutions to their political problems should Sanders lose. It is high time that Americans get brave enough to realize that the “lesser of two evils” concept is bullshit.  If I am a Sanders supporter, and he loses the nomination, why would I support the other bastard? That means entertaining the farcical notion that “anyone but Trump” is a viable result.

Democrats are hypocritical when criticizing political action committees

The eye-catcher …

After a long week of work, impeachment acquittal votes, and the jobs report, I came home last night prepared to chill out and maybe watch a little television.  My mother, the family’s original political analyst, shot me out a text asking if I was watching the Democratic debates.  I thanked her for letting me know then switched to ABC to check it out.

The last debate prior to the New Hampshire primary and the first one post the U.S. Senate’s acquittal of President Donald J. Trump, I expected the debaters to get in a few zings on Mr. Trump.  The debaters had to bring him up since the Democratic Party will need the candidates to spearhead the campaign not only against Mr Trump but against Republican senators up for re-election this fall who voted to acquit the President.

I also heard the unsurprising attack on corporate donations to campaigns.  U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, went all in on former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, former businessman Tom Steyer, and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, for, in Mr Buttigieg’s case, accepting donations from billionaires, and Messrs Steyer and Bloomberg, for attempting to buy elections with their wealth.  Mrs Warren and Mr Sanders reminded Americans that they were not going to be on the dole for donations from corporate PACs.

Two strategic takeaways.  First, will candidates want to continuously expend energy talking about a failure to pass articles of impeachment against Donald Trump when energy should be spent crystallizing the policy differences between candidates?  Second, are these candidates being disingenuous with Democratic voters when they criticize the existing campaign donation mechanism?

Wasting energy talking about impeachment …

Voters do not have long memories.  While Democrats are still fuming that the President survived impeachment due to votes along party lines, the more important independent vote will need to be swayed by a more effectual campaign tactic.  Mr Trump still has robust jobs numbers and stock market valuation increases to work with.  This week’s 225,000 increase in non-farm payrolls capped off a victory lap for the President and even though talk of recession persists, if he can positively spin his achievements on the economy, enough independents may decide to ignore his behavior and vote with their pocketbooks.  Talking about a failed removal attempt won’t outweigh stock market numbers sitting in the positive zone.

Nor will black voters, a block that Democrats constantly harp on as important, be swayed by calls for impeachment.  In the bigger scheme, beyond the emotion of getting rid of someone deemed as rude and bigoted, the type of person blacks are well equipped to handle due to historical experience to deal with, a focus on impeachment is more evidence that the Democratic Party is further de-emphasizing the immediate and medium range needs of blacks in America.  Independent thinking blacks, already questioning the allegiance their community has to the Democratic Party, need concrete political packages to stay on board.  I don’t see the Democrats delivering that at all.

The political markets are like any capital market. PACs are their private equity firms ….

The attempts on the part of Mr Sanders and Mrs Warren to create a negative view of political action committees and the donations they generate show a continuous practice of poorly educating constituents about how the politics matrix works.  Political action committees are the private equity firm equivalents for political markets.  They pick candidates they believe can help provide returns on and to the public policy positions that PACs take.

While they cannot manage a candidate’s campaign, a PAC can indirectly influence where that candidate should deploy political capital by providing the public with messages that influence voters to contact and persuade candidates to consider positions important to PACs. Like a private equity firm, PACs influence how well candidates perform in providing the products they should be good at providing: messaging and political packages.

A well informed voter will appreciate that this PAC apparatus is an organic outgrowth of the unique American political economy.  Democracy has created a market for votes and like any market there will be information seekers on the lookout for the best investment toward which capital should be deployed.  What candidates who disparage the model tell me is that they may not be viable enough to attract funding from information seekers such as PACs and prefer to hide that lack of viability by making the tired arguments about how bad taking PAC money is.

Conclusion….

So far Democratic candidate tactics for winning the presidency do not look effectual.  Talking about impeachment signals to black voters in particular that a party that wastes time on non-relevant issues or tactics should not be getting their vote.  Their views on campaign financing tells independent voters that they are disconnected from the realities of how markets for anything in America, including votes, actually work.

Whether Iowa is the first or last during primary season makes no difference to black political capital…

Aimee Allison, founder and president of the advocacy group She The People, wrote an interesting piece for The Hill.com where she asserts that the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary have an unsubstantiated influence on the Democratic Party’s choice for a nominee.  Ms Allison states the following:

“The Democratic Party’s decision to allow Iowa and New Hampshire to dominate the nominating process for president is hurting the party’s ability to win. Women and candidates of color have been harmed by the myth of ‘electability’ and whiteness of early states deemed vitality important to attracting donors, endorsements and volunteers to win.”

Ms. Allison goes on to argue that instead of focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire, the state of Nevada should be setting the tone for the selection of a Democratic candidate to beat President Donald Trump. Ms Allison states that:

“For that reason, Nevada should be top of mind right now for everyone from pundits to donors to voters who want to know who can gain the momentum needed to take the White House. Women of color are a fundamental pillar of the national party’s base, a quarter of all Democrats nationwide, and a similar 26 percent of the Democratic electorate in Nevada. The state was pivotal in the 2008 and 2016 presidential primaries, but it should have even more sway as such a clear mirror of Democratic demographics nationwide.”

The problem I have with the analysis is that Ms Allison assumes that black voters will tag along with the “people of color” posse in Nevada because of the state’s more diverse make up when compared to the whiter states of Iowa and New Hampshire.  The “people of color” label severely dilutes the historical concerns of blacks given that the other major groups within the people of color spectrum, Asians and Latinos, do not share the black experience of racial discrimination.  Rather, blacks may view these groups as current and definitely future competitors for capital, employment, and credit access especially as the Asian and Latino populations increase.

In addition, to make Nevada’s “people of color” choice have a greater impact on black voting, “people of color” in Nevada will have to communicate to blacks in other states the reasons for following their lead.  I think that the “people of color” reasoning will fall on deaf ears, particularly in the states of Georgia and Maryland.  Blacks in Nevada make up approximately 8.93% of that state’s population. When you throw in other races and ethnic groups, the total “people of color” population in Nevada amounts to approximately 28.99%.

Blacks in Georgia make up approximately 31.6% of the Peach State’s population while blacks in Maryland make up approximately 29.78% of the Free State’s population.  I don’t see black Georgians living in Albany, Atlanta, or Columbus, where their economies are driven by agriculture, fintech, and logistics, or blacks in Annapolis, Baltimore, or Prince George’s County, where their economies are driven by federal government employment, finance, and international trade, being influenced by a smaller black or “people of color” population living in Nevada, a state driven by tourism that imports just about all of its food or other resources.

Bottom line, blacks will look at their immediate household needs and local political economy environment when determining which candidate for president will provide the political packages that brings them any relief.  They will not follow the lead of Nevada based on its supposed diversity.

 

Why I align with BLEXIT …

BLEXIT is a movement that asks black Americans to think critically about their relationship with the Democratic Party.  The movement’s primary premise is that the Democratic Party has taken the black voter for granted, offering nothing of substance in exchange for the decades of significant support the black electorate has provided to Democrats.

Like most blacks I have been put off for years by the brush off Democrats impose on blacks especially during and after election season.  You always know when it is election season when a politician of the white, Democratic hue drops by a black church in search of good optics, electoral support, and donations.  You have to wait two, four, or six years before most of them come around and visit again.

The usual push back from Democrats is, “If you blacks leave us, who are you going to turn to? The Republicans? The GOP hasn’t done anything for you.”  Of course the GOP has not done anything for blacks.  Blacks haven’t received anything from the GOP because blacks haven’t offered a vote in exchange for anything from the GOP.  That is how politics works.  Besides being a blood sport, politics is about an exchange.  If blacks want something from the GOP, they will have to offer the vote or some other thing of value, i.e. donations, in exchange for a political package.

But the aversion blacks display to the Republicans should now be spread to the Democratic Party.  The Democrats and the Republicans have a duopoly on the electoral process having secured their positions as the two most dominant parties and grantors of political packages in America’s politics industry.  They have successfully kept third parties from mounting significant challenges to their market dominance, but as in any consumer society, the rational move for black voters should be to play off the two competitors against each other.  Make the parties compete for the vote and donations.

With 13% of America’s population, BLEXIT has to take on more meaning than just walking away from the Democrats.  BLEXIT should be about holding the vote back until one party decides to offer something of greater value that the other party cannot match.  Effective BLEXIT will require rank and file voters and black political leadership to design a strategy and implement tactics that keeps blacks relevant in a changing political environment.

It is doable, and my intent over the next few weeks is to demonstrate how it is doable.