California: Vote No on Prop 54!

Reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 810, 26 September 2003.

California has long been a springboard for racist crusades nationwide—from the passage of Proposition 187 in 1994 denying education and health care to undocumented workers, to Proposition 209 in 1996 banning affirmative action and Prop. 227 in 1998 scrapping bilingual education. This fall another reactionary proposition, Prop. 54—cynically called the “Racial Privacy Initiative” but also known as CRECNO (Classification by Race, Ethnicity, Color, or National Origin) —is on California’s October 7 ballot to recall the governor.

In essence, this proposition would ban the gathering or publication of statistical evidence of the brutal racial discrimination endemic in racist capitalist America. Prop. 54 further supplements Prop. 209’s ban of affirmative action, denying the state or other “public entities” the ability to ask about race, while allowing for exceptions in medical research and treatment, law enforcement and prison management.

Prop. 54 is being introduced by the notorious Ward Connerly, a black conservative member of the University of California Board of Regents who led the campaign for Prop. 209 in 1996. Connerly and his supporters have been cynically marketing Prop. 54 as a way to supposedly introduce a “colorblind” society where race is “becoming less relevant” and would signify “an end to the indignity of classifying people.” In fact, only vile apologists for racist poison try to deny that the racial oppression of blacks and other minorities doesn’t exist, and that’s precisely why they need to ban the evidence with Prop. 54.

From education to social services, the rights of the working class as a whole are always attacked by playing the race card first. We seek to mobilize the integrated working class to fight for jobs and free, quality education for all, particularly reaching out to the masses of unemployed minority youth and women with special union recruitment and training programs. But racial oppression can only be banished with the overthrow of private property. Our perspective is one of revolutionary integrationism: the full integration of black people into an egalitarian socialist society. Vote no on racist Proposition 54!

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