Barack Obama as president symbolises change

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Barack Obama as president symbolises change and finally something I'd consider a revolutionary transformation.

People often see revolution as being an event where people have picked up guns and have seized the state. That is certainly one manifestation of it, but revolution is also a process and not necessarily a conclusion.

This would not have happened but for the struggles that preceded Obama. Certainly our own organisation, the Black Panther Party, made great sacrifices, giving up more than 20 of our lives for the struggle. Some 40 of our members are still in prison, others are in exile, and lives were lost in the civil rights struggle in this country. All of that helped pave the way for Obama's victory.

Racism still exists. The system has not been transformed. I don't see this as being some revolutionary politburo. We've elected someone we'd consider much more progressive than the president who's been booted out. This is a positive trend but not the end of racism. That is something that we will be confronted with for many years to come.

Activists should take advantage of this situation. There's a lot that can be done if we organise people to put some pressure on the ruling class. To give $700 billion for the ruling class and fat cats is absolutely criminal. So are the trillions of dollars spent on the war.

If we consider ourselves as organisers, and have these movements that are supposed to be progressive left movements, we would be irresponsible if we didn't organise around this particular time in history.

Everyday people should be mobilised to bring pressure to bear on this president about jobs, about giving a voice to poor working class people and to young people, who voted like never before in the history of this country to get him elected.

This is a beginning step in the process. Now it's time to really begin to do the work.


David Hilliard is the former chief of staff of the Black Panther Party.