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Rev. Jesse Jackson Says that Obama Voters Need Jobs, Education, Opportunity

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke this week about the victory of President Barack Obama and the role that African Americans played in helping him to secure a second term.   Jackson, who hardily endorsed Obama in both terms, has been a strong advocate for the president for years, while being an even greater advocate for those who are suffering the most.

Jackson notes what the rest of us saw on that amazing night:  That the minority has become the majority in America, and that coalitions of black, brown, young and single people can change the political landscape.

In a recent article for the Chicago Sun-Times, Rev. Jackson gets right to the heart of the matter:  That these voters who supported President Obama are seeking support that will help them to recover from the most recent recession in the same way that big business recovered many years ago.

“The president’s vote directly tracked income levels. He won a large majority of those making less than $50,000 a year and lost a majority of those making more,” said Jackson.  “Romney was clearly the candidate of the 1 percent. Obama was the candidate of middle, working-class and poor Americans; those in the middle class and those aspiring to get there.”

Jackson, who is a strong advocate for the working class, says that these voters want action on jobs, and want help in raising the minimum wage.  They also want better educational systems and quality public transportation  systems that can be built as a way to further stimulate the economy

Rev. Jackson also says that these workers are not seeking cuts to social safety nets.

“An election night poll by Campaign for America’s Future and Democracy Corps found that 62 percent of voters would find cuts in Social Security benefits unacceptable as part of a deficit agreement, and 79 percent would oppose cuts in Medicare benefits,” wrote Jackson.

Finally, Rev. Jackson calls for the president to strengthen American cities and urban communities.

“The president’s real mandate — and his real opportunity — is to lay out a plan for revitalizing our cities. This will help get the economy going and put people to work. It will decrease poverty, despair and the hopelessness that feeds drugs and depression. And as people go to work, they start paying taxes and stop collecting unemployment insurance — and that helps bring deficits down.”

You can read more of Rev. Jackson’s opinion at this link. 

Rev. Jackson has been as consistent as a brick when it comes to intelligently advocating for those who are suffering the most in America.  In a fashion that shows strong political maturity, the reverend has put aside the family struggles resulting from his son’s challenges to remain focused on the well-being of black and brown people.  There is nothing wrong with what he’s asking the president to do, so it’s up to the rest of us to support Obama’s capacity to do it.

Does it involve showing up for the mid-term elections?  Yes.  Does it involve us demanding that Congress put aside partisan bickering?  Yes.  Must we demand that the Obama Administration return the favor of unprecedented African American support?  Yes.   As Professor Marc Lamont Hill recently said on BET, “When you give someone 93% of the vote and don’t ask for anything, you’re not a political movement, you’re a fan club.”

It is only when everyone does their part that we can make our country better.  Change is not easy, but showing up to the voting booth was not the end of our collective effort, it was just the beginning.  Cheering for the president is one thing, but we must also cheer for each other.  It’s time to make our country and our community better.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


22 Responses to Rev. Jesse Jackson Says that Obama Voters Need Jobs, Education, Opportunity

  1. DAD

    December 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    For All Black People in America & Africa Believing In and Anything The White Race Says & Does Along With Their Stealth Trojan Horse Black Helpers Like Obama & Many With & Long Before Him, Read the U.S. Memo Below Similar To Recent Ones Today Like It. Finally See & Understand The Danger We Are In By Refusal To Unite Ourselves Together Under & By Power of Almighty God To Organize & Resist White Race Evil Deliberately Ever-Seeking Our Total Weakness & Complete Destruction. Pls. Read, Copy, & Send This U.S. Memo To Every Black Person You Know on Earth. Peace!


    MARCH 17, 1978

    Presidential Review Memorandum NSCM/46
    TO: The Secretary of State
    The Secretary of Defense
    The Director of Central Intelligence

    SUBJECT: Black Africa and the U.S. Black Movement

    The President has directed that a comprehensive review be made of current developments in Black Africa from the point of view of their possible impacts on the black movement in the United States. The review should consider:

    1. Long-term tendencies of social and political developments and the degree to which they are consistent with or contradict the U.S. interests.

    2. Proposals for durable contacts between radical African leaders and leftist leaders of the U.S. black community.

    3. Appropriate steps to be taken inside and outside the country in order to inhibit any pressure by radical African leaders and organizations on the U.S. black community for the latter to exert influence on the policy of the Administration toward Africa.

    The President has directed that the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Africa perform this review. The review should be forwarded to the NSC Political Analysis Committee by April 20.


    Zbigniew Brezinski

    cc: The Secretary of the Treasury
    The Secretary of Commerce
    The Attorney General
    The Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff


    Objective of our policy toward Black Africa is to prevent social upheavals which could radically change the political situation throughout the area. The success or failure of our policy in the region depends on the solution international and internal issues whose importance of the United States is on the increase.


    A multiplicity of interests influences the U.S. attitude toward black Africa. The most important of these interests can be summarized as follows:

    If black African states assume attitudes hostile to the U.S. national interest, our policy toward the white regimes; which is a key element in our relations with the black states, may be subjected by the latter to great pressure for fundamental change. Thus the West may face a real danger of being deprived of access to the enormous raw material resources of southern Africa which are vital for our defense needs as well as losing control over the Cape sea routes by which approximately 65% of Middle Eastern oil is supplied to Western Europe.

    Moreover, such a development may bring about internal political difficulties by intensifying the activity of the black movement in the United States itself.

    It should also be borne in mind that black Africa is an integral part of a continent where tribal and regional discord, economic backwardness, inadequate infrastructures, drought, and famine, are constant features of the scene. In conjunction with the artificial borders imposed by the former colonial powers, guerilla warfare in Rhodesia and widespread indignation against apartheid in South Africa, the above factors provide the communist states with ample opportunities for furthering their aims. This must necessarily redound to the detriment of U.S. political interests.

    Black Africa is increasingly becoming an outlet for U.S. exports and investment. The mineral resources of the area continue to be of great value for the normal functioning of industry in the United States and allied countries. In 1977, U.S. direct investment in black Africa totaled about $1.8 billion and exports $2.2 billion. New prospect of substantial profits would continue to develop in the countries concerned.


    Apart from the above-mentioned factors adverse to U.S. strategic interests, the nationalist liberation movement in black Africa can act as a catalyst with far reaching effects on the American black community by stimulating its organizational consolidation and by inducing radical actions. Such a result would be likely as Zaire went the way of Angola and Mozambique.

    An occurrence of the events of 1967-68 would do grievous harm to U.S. prestige, especially in view of the concern of the present Administration with human rights issues. Moreover, the Administration would have to take specific steps to stabilize the situation. Such steps might be misunderstood both inside and outside the United States.

    In order to prevent such a trend and protect U.S. national security interests, it would appear essential to elaborate and carry out effective countermeasures.

    1. Possibility of Joint Action By U.S. Black and African Nationalist Movement.

    In elaborating U.S. policy toward black Africa, due weight must be given to the fact that there are 25 millions American blacks whose roots are African and who consciously or subconsciously sympathies with African nationalism.

    The living conditions of the black population should also be taken into account. Immense advances in the field are accompanied by a long-lasting high rate of unemployment, especially among the youth and by poverty and dissatisfaction with government social welfare standards.

    These factors taken together may provide a basis for joint actions of a concrete nature by the African nationalist movement and the U.S. black community. Basically, actions would take the form of demonstrations and public protests, but the likelihood of violence cannot be excluded. There would also be attempts to coordinate their political activity both locally and in international organizations.

    Inside the United States these actions could include protest demonstrations against our policy toward South Africa accompanied by demand for boycotting corporations and banks which maintain links with that country; attempts to establish a permanent black lobby in Congress including activist leftist radical groups and black legislators; the reemergence of Pan-African ideals; resumption of protest marches recalling the days of Martin Luther King; renewal of the extremist idea national idea of establishing an “African Republic” on American soil. Finally, leftist radical elements of the black community could resume extremist actions in the style of the defunct Black Panther Party.

    Internationally, damage could be done to the United States by coordinated activity of African states designed to condemn U.S. policy toward South Africa, and initiate discussions on the U.S. racial issue at the United Nations where the African representation constitutes a powerful bloc with about one third of all the votes.

    A menace to U.S. economic interests, though not a critical one, could be posed by a boycott by Black African states against American companies which maintain contact with South Africa and Rhodesia. If the idea of economic assistance to black Americans shared by some African regimes could be realized by their placing orders in the United States mainly with companies owned by blacks, they could gain a limited influence on the U.S. black community.

    In the above context, we must envisage the possibility, however remote, that black Americans interested in African affairs may refocus their attention on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Taking into account; the African descent of American blacks it is reasonable to anticipate that their sympathies would lie with the Arabs who are closer to them in spirit and in some case related to them by blood. Black involvement in lobbying to support the Arabs may lead to serious dissention between American black and Jews. The likelihood of extremist actions by either side is negligible, but the discord may bring about tension in the internal political climate of the United States.

    3. Political options

    In the context of long-term strategy, the United States can not afford a radical change in the fundamentals of its African policy, which is designed for maximum protection of national security. In the present case, emphasis is laid on the importance of Black Africa for U.S. political, economic and military interests.


    In weighing the range of U.S. interests in Black Africa, basic recommendations arranged without intent to imply priority are:

    1. Specific steps should be taken with the help of appropriate government agencies to inhibit coordinated activity of the Black Movement in the United States.

    2. Special clandestine operations should be launched by the CIA to generate mistrust and hostility in American and world opinion against joint activity of the two forces, and to cause division among Black African radical national groups and their leaders.

    3. U.S. embassies to Black African countries specially interested in southern Africa must be highly circumspect in view of the activity of certain political circles and influential individuals opposing the objectives and methods of U.S. policy toward South Africa. It must be kept in mind that the failure of U.S. strategy in South Africa would adversely affect American standing throughout the world. In addition, this would mean a significant diminution of U.S. influence in Africa and the emergence of new difficulties in our internal situation due to worsening economic prospects.

    4. The FBI should mount surveillance operations against Black African representatives and collect sensitive information on those, especially at the U.N., who oppose U.S. policy toward South Africa. The information should include facts on their links with the leaders of the Black movement in the United States, thus making possible at least partial neutralization of the adverse effects of their activity.


    In connection with our African policy, it is highly important to evaluate correctly the present state of the Black movement in the United States and basing ourselves on all available information, to try to devise a course for its future development. Such an approach is strongly suggested by our perception of the fact that American Blacks form a single ethnic group potentially capable of causing extreme instability in our strategy toward South Africa. This may lead to critical differences between the United States and Black Africa in particular. It would also encourage the Soviet Union to step up its interference in the region. Finally, it would pose a serious threat to the delicate structure of race relations within the United States. All the above considerations give rise to concern for the future security of
    the United States.

    Since the mid-1960s, when legislation on the human rights was passed and Martin Luther King murdered, federal and local measures to improve black welfare have been taken, as a result of which the U.S. black movement has undergone considerable changes.

    The principle changes are as follows:

    *Social and economic issues have supplanted political aims as the main preoccupations of the movement. and actions formerly planned on a nationwide scale are now being organized locally.

    *Fragmentation and a lack of organizational unity within the movement.

    *Sharp social stratification of the Black population and lack of policy options which could reunite them.

    *Want of a national leader of standing comparable to Martin Luther King.


    The concern for the future security of the United States makes necessary the range of policy options. Arranged without intent imply priority they are:

    (a) to enlarge programs, within the framework of the present budget, for the improvement of the social and economic welfare of American Blacks in order to ensure continuing development of present trends in the Black movement;

    (b) to elaborate and bring into effect a special program designed to perpetuate division in the Black movement and neutralize the most active groups of leftist radical organizations representing different social strata of the Black community: to encourage division in Black circles;

    (c) to preserve the present climate which inhibits the emergence from within the Black leadership of a person capable of exerting nationwide appeal;

    (d) to work out and realize preventive operations in order to impede durable ties between U.S Black organizations and radical groups in African states;

    (e) to support actions designed to sharpen social stratification in the Black community which would lead to the widening and perpetuation of the gap between successful educated Blacks and the poor, giving rise to growing antagonism between different Black groups and a weakening of the movement as a whole.

    (f) to facilitate the greatest possible expansion of Black business by granting government contracts and loans with favorable terms to Black businessmen;

    (g) to take every possible means through the AFL-CIO leaders to counteract the increasing influence of Black labor organizations which function in all major unions and in particular, the National Coalition of Black Trade Union and its leadership including the creation of real preference for adverse and hostile reaction among White trade unionists to demands for improvement of social and economic welfare of the Blacks;

    (h) to support the nomination at federal and local levels of loyal Black public figures to elective offices, to government agencies and the Court.

    This would promote the achievement of a twofold purpose:

    first, it would be easier to control the activity of loyal black representatives within existing institution;

    second, the idea of an independent black political party now under discussion within black leadership circles would soon lose all support.

  2. Joyce

    November 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

    The subject of jobs, healthcare, equality, and list goes on starting back to the beginning of the 20th Century. I have listened to Jackson and others asking someone else to create yet I have never seen this opportunist create.

    The job market, Jackson should know, is based now on skills to which many Black do not have in S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

    For those that have found time to berate the President (West, and Jackson) are really doing nothing. After the ‘great migration’ from the south Black knew that having their own was most important; even more, ensuring that their children had values, higher education, and ownership of their own lives.

    Our children are not ‘Special Ed’ but some teacher, councilors and often parents tell our future leader that they are unable to reach higher.

    The President has to kiss some butt’s in order for jobs to be created in our communities by the PARTY OF NO CONGRESS.

    It never ceases to amaze me how everyone can find fault, blame, and be critical while they do nothing. There are 222-million Caucasians to 45-million Blacks in this country. We are often considered collateral damage and not worth saving because we like begging for handouts (a lie of course). As one know history repeats itself, so looking back just 60-yrs they (Blacks) personal wealth, children that graduated from high school and college. Look at the age of the older leaders and modify their plan that works.

  3. bernice

    November 15, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Trubeliever, that was very hard to read. I won’t make excuses for some of our young people. Black and white. America has offered black people no hope. We have the worst schools, Children sense that they are not wanted by a society. How do you expect them to act like the more favored children who know that they have almost everything. As far as the young going to jail, Yes, they go to jail early, most of their mentors went to jail early also so they followed suite. Which means they had no one to look to. Jail ia a bussiness. It is a slave block. The girls are lost. No home teachers. But don’t think that we are hopless. Many good people have come through what this country has offered them. Live in the shoes of a person who lived in the ghetto. They did not elect to be there. They were born there.

  4. truthbeliever

    November 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve been hoping for 4 years not what people think President Obama should do to make the lives of African Americans more palatable, and at the expense of all other races. Start putting on roofs like many Mexicans and fix your own poverty. Black men can stay out of prisons if they stop breaking the law. Young Black women could get an education if they didn’t have to stay home with 2 or 3 kids for which they couldn’t buy a week’s worth of infant formula. I busted my butt to get an education and a decent job. While I have much compassion for the truly needy and infirm, I have no absolutely no empathy for entitlist. Good luck with your dope-peddling and house full of kids.

    • dbarber

      November 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Truthbeliever and Joyce, I could not have said it better myself. As my mom has always said, you can lead the horse to the water but, you can’t make it drink it.

  5. Toni

    November 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm