• September 19th, 2021
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Poverty and Racism as Pre-Existing Conditions to Revolution


Ramón Del Castillo, PhD

 

Communities of color suffer from higher rates of physical and mental health issues than their Anglo counterparts. This has been further highlighted during the pandemic that Americans are facing as the numbers affected by the coronavirus in these communities, soar high above other groups. Unhealthy diets, food desserts, lack of insurance and a variety of other social determinants are precursors to illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, cancer and diabetes just to name a few.  These ailments, identified as pre-existing conditions result in poor communities contracting viruses such as COVID-19.  However, they are not new phenomena for People of Color communities—whose historical familiarity with poverty and racism has kept them in bondage to these destructive forces and how they infiltrate the physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being of a group. The aforementioned pre-existing conditions are rooted in poverty and racism—arguably evil functions of capitalism.

The reinvention of new concepts that omit or dance around the actual social conditions in our communities are used to keep blinders on the populace. Euphemistic nomenclature that obfuscates the nature of what truly exists, is used to downplay human tragedy. You can call it marginalization, inequity, structural inequality, micro-aggressions, unconscious bias, stereotype threat or other creative concepts that are essentially rooted in poverty and racism. Even journalistic commentators and opinion writers often shy away from speaking truth to power. Poverty is on the up rise as we sink deeper into a depression—something that many believe is already here. Since the Trump administration has taken hold of the American consciousness, racism has entered the fray. Hurling racial slurs at others has become common practice in América. It too, is not a new phenomenon in these communities.

Poverty and racism are pre-existing conditions to something bigger than the COVD-19, they are social determinants leading to rebellion.

Through the lenses of the intersection of economics and racism, forms of double oppression become even stronger predictors to the deteriorating physical and mental health conditions that continue to promote the continued class wars we have so ingloriously engaged upon. They complement each other in a well-rounded formula that has kept People of Color in states of perceived powerlessness.

President Trump has become his own worst enemy; his craziness is fomenting social revolution. He shouts invectives to states that refuse to open the marketplace amidst the threat of death. In an attempt to salvage what is left of the middle class, he doesn’t realize that its erosion is key to revolution. His continued contradictions are the precursors to class warfare. The federal government’s $1200 handout is not going to eradicate poverty. The middle class in American society moves closer to extinction and may soon disappear if drastic measures to ameliorate the social conditions in all communities in general and in oppressed communities in particular are not addressed.

Like other extreme capitalists, Trump and company fear the loss of wealth, prestige and power. He indiscriminately abuses his authority to divert attention away from his lack of leadership. An old political philosopher by the name of Karl Marx argued that capitalism breeds its own contradictions and its demise. Trump continues to feed his own trough, and in the process, is stoking the fires of revolution—furthering the polarization of the classes—middle class people have nothing to hold onto. In his style of governance, Trump emulates some of the characteristics of Vladimir Putin, a communist and a Russian dictator.  Mimicry of Vladimir Putin, his secret unconscious hero, does not resolve the inherent contradictions—but it does widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

In Trump’s hodge-podge style of leadership—or lack thereof, he mixes characteristics of capitalism and communism that collide. His totalitarian fetish coupled with a mix of monarchial and dictatorial decisions is contradictory. He claims ultimate dominion over his constituents, misinterpreting the US Constitution according to his own whims and desires. His theatrics, particularly his purported love for the working class is farcical. He needs the working class in order to control the means of production, he needs their labor for he and his cronies to sell goods in the marketplace. However, the working class needs capital to spend. Capitalism has bred its’ contradiction—a space where the wealthy can mask their shame and greed.

Bernie Sanders can attest to this. He began a movement that stood up to the corporate powers—bold enough to criticize the sacred cow—causing capitalists undue consternation. But he sank based on nomenclature that did not fit the current American social order; namely his persistence on being a Democratic Socialist. The new world order mechanistically pushes the poor to the lowest levels of poverty. Sanders paid the price. Introducing a form of government that is perceived as antithetical to capitalism— translated into an early death for he and his followers. He was ostracized by the 1% who used their money and power to inflame the political machine—denigrating Sanders and his followers. I applaud his courage, but courage in and of itself did not catapult him into the Democratic nominee for President.

Poverty and racism are pre-existing conditions to something bigger than the COVD-19, they are social determinants leading to rebellion.

 

Ramón Del Castillo, Ph.D. is an Independent Journalist. © 4-20-2020 Ramón Del Castillo.

 

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