By John Beacham – Sep 19, 2020
The supreme court is undemocratic. The senate is undemocratic. The president is not elected by popular vote.
These are not abstract statements. The constitution is constructed in a way to allow a ruling class to rule. When the document was drafted it was drafted in secret by some of the richest men in the world in a way which would protect their property and institutionalize the protection of slavery.
It took a war to end slavery.
Mourning is political
Ruth Ginsburg died. It is understandable considering the deeply reactionary character of the judicial institutions of this country that people are mourning a human being in a position of power who said some progressive things. Afterall, she was not an arch-racist and war criminal like McCain.
But change doesn’t come from the bench. It comes from the streets. Roe v Wade, desegregation, the striking down of sodomy laws and so much more were a result of struggle. The composition of the bench and the person in the white house mansion are not even close to the deciding factors in the struggle for change.
Roe v Wade was a conservative court. Johnson escalated the war. Nixon ended it. FDR rounded up Japanese people based on their ethnicity. Ronald Reagan enacted amnesty for immigrants. Obama deported more people and prosecuted more whistle blowers than any president. KKK Trump, unlike his predecessors, has started no new wars.
Whatever the makeup of the court, things have gotten worse. For things to get better, we need new priorities and we need to see things clearly.
Ginsburg called Kaepernick an idiot for protesting and rapist Kavanaugh a very nice person. She had one black law clerk in her over 27 years on the court!
Again, struggle is the key. Besides, thinking that the sexist enabler of Clarence Thomas Joe Biden will change the court significantly is wishful thinking at best.
The reality of the supreme court, the constitution and the system of american government
A white supremacist president who was not elected by the people of the United States — remember, Trump lost the election by 3 million votes — has already placed two reactionary judges on the Supreme Court and dozens of judges throughout the federal judiciary with only token resistance from the democrats. Federal unelected justices rule for life!
Let me be clear. I am opposed to Trump picking Supreme Court justices. I am against racists being in power and I am against reactionaries and hard right ideologues ascending to seats of power. We should join hands and put a stop to the rising and very dangerous coalition of billionaires and ultra right-wing extremists increasingly making decisions in this country.
In fact, the future of the planet depends on us developing militant political fronts that can not only defend oppressed people and workers from a reasserted white supremacy, but that can also start asserting the right of the majority of working people to govern in our own interests. We must build a movement for Power.
I am also, however, against the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not a people’s court. Not even close. If you are a worker or an oppressed person in this country, the Supreme Court is and always has been — your enemy.
The Supreme Court is not only fundamentally undemocratic — it is — in fact — set up in a way that favors those that would thwart progress. The Supreme Court was designed to protect slavery, to protect the slave owners and as a vehicle to oppose demands for justice and equality. It was set up as an oppressor of working and oppressed people and that has not changed. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight in the courts. It means we must have a correct understanding of the battlefield.
The Constitution of the United States was written in secret by a small group of men dominated by extremely wealthy slave owners. The constitution does not allow you to vote for President or the Supreme Court. It didn’t allow anyone to vote for Senators until 1913. It did not allow women to vote until 1920. Black people have been fighting for the right to vote for the entire existence of this country.
Get this: George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789. Only 1.8% of the population voted in that election. In order to vote in most states you had to own substantial property, belong to certain sect of christianity and speak English. Four out of the ten participating states held no election at all!
So, the President is elected by the electoral college. The president nominates Supreme Court justices who serve for life and the Senate decides whether or not to seat the nominated justices. The Senate, because it is made up of two senators from each state, has always represented the interests of rich white men.
Most people of color live in a handful of the most populous states. This means that if you are Black or Latino you are in no way represented in the Senate. Black people, for example, live in larger numbers in just a few states.
In the 2018 election, 58.4% of voters voted for democrats. 38.8% of the people voted for republicans. The republicans got slaughtered at the polls and still gained two seats!
The principal framer of the constitution, James Madison, saw the Senate as the body that would secure the interests of the minority of the opulent against the interests of the majority. Madison believed that human society was naturally a class society in which the rights of people like the slave owners must be protected. He envisioned the senate as the body that would prevent any redistribution of wealth and maintain the class order.
Alexander Hamilton, another champion of the constitution, was a lawyer for slave owners and opposed voting entirely.
To this day, the Senate is controlled by a handful of committee chairs — mostly rich white men. The rules of the Senate mean that these men — who are not beholden to the entire country and who either are in or hob knob with the ruling class — in reality control U.S. law and control who sits in the Supreme Court.
In the entire history of the Senate there have been 1,302 senators. There have been 10 Black senators, 2 currently. There have been 13 Latino senators, 4 currently. There have been a total of 57 women senators, 26 currently. In order to sit in the Supreme Court, you are expected to uphold a system that is purposefully stacked against working and oppressed people.
The Supreme Court only makes decisions in the people’s favor when we force them to do so.
The Supreme Court ought to be abolished. The Senate ought to be abolished. We should build a movement to remove the 1% from power, author a new constitution and build genuinely democratic institutions that enforce equality and subordinate the economy to the needs of the people.