Volume 13, Number 5 August 9, 2010
Sharecropping, White Sheets and the USDA
By Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad
In our previous article dealing with the “High Tech Lynching of Mrs. Shirley Sherrod” we put forward what we called the “New Black Codes” which included: 1. All whites are deputized to keep Blacks in their place, 2. Blacks must know their place, 3. Blacks have no rights that a white person has to recognize, 4. Doing business while Black is illegal, 5. No one shall help Blacks, 6. Blacks shall not organize except to sing and play and 7. Blacks shall own no land. In this article we will highlight the New Black Codes “3”, “5” and “7” and the old Jim Crow Black Code taken from “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Volume 2” (TSR-2): “Blacks were prohibited from buying or renting farmland except in designated all-Black (but white controlled) areas.”
The reason that we must look at the issues of Black farmers in light of these codes is that once you have these “codes” in the back of your head you can then make sense out of events that on the surface make no sense. The USDA is not a “rogue” organization acting alone without guidance and support from all three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
What we must understand is the Civil War is still being fought and the gains made by Blacks during Reconstruction are still being systematically reversed but under the guise of “law and order”. The old “white sheets” which hid the identity of those who terrorized Black people in the countryside of the South has been traded in by the “white sheets” of paper that the more slick afflicters of Blacks use to hurt Blacks while hiding their identity and intent.
Many people had heard over the airways that Black farmers received $1.25 billion in what is called “Pigford II”. The Black farmers’ lawsuit against the USDA that was filed in 1997 was called “Pigford vs Glickman” (Pigford I). Dan Glickman was the Secretary of Agriculture under the Clinton administration. As bad as that lawsuit was handled it still left out thousands of plaintiffs’ who applied too late to get in on this botched attempt of addressing Black farmer complaints as a class. So those who filed too late were given a second chance under “Pigford II” which President Obama endorsed to the tune of $1.25 billion. The President was able to use the 2009 Farm Bill to get $100 million to cover this commitment, but he needed Congress to appropriate the balance of $1.15 billion. Here is where the “white sheets” shuffle games began.
The Black farmers’ $1.15 billion was not brought to Congress in a separate stand-alone bill. Instead those who seemed to want to get this money to the Black farmers developed a strategy to attach authorization for payment within other bills that they thought would pass. One of these bills was the “Extenders Bill” which was to extend government unemployment benefits to millions of American workers out of a job. However, that bill was held hostage until the Black farmers’ money was taken out of that bill. The “Extenders Bill” was held hostage by the Republicans in the Senate and finally rejected on June 24, 2010. Rep. Coble then moved the Black farmers’ money from the “Extenders Bill” to the “War Supplemental Appropriations Bill”.
Once the Black farmers’ money was taken out of the “Extenders Bill”, that bill was passed on July 21, 2010. The Republicans punished those who might help Blacks by withholding benefits to thousands of white and Black Americans (New Black Code 5). On July 22, 2010 the Black farmers’ money was taken out of the “War Supplemental Appropriations Bill”. Immediately that bill passed the Senate and went on to the House for approval. The Republicans held the military hostage until they “took the Blacks out” or took their money out of their appropriations bill. They were being punished for breaking code “5”: No one shall help Blacks.
One can ask, “Why don’t they produce a separate bill to pay the Black farmers?” Answer: If they produce a separate bill, then one could plainly see who the racists were by their voting against the bill. Instead they chose to use the “white sheets” of shuffling papers around within other bills so that the public will not see who the racists are. Just like in the days of Jim Crow where the racist whites hid under white robes to hide their identity from Blacks who might retaliate.
However, they did finally bring the Black farmers’ settlement up for approval as a stand alone bill, but on Thursday, August 4, Sen. Harry Reid had to sadly report that the measure failed because of “partisan politics”. Defenders of the Democratic Party like to argue that the Black farmers’ money got caught up into “partisan politics”. The last time that I checked, the Democrats held 60 seats in the Senate, which means that they can pass anything that they want without one Republican vote. However, some Democrats have switched over to help the Republicans when it has come to paying Black farmers any money. The issue is not “partisan” politics, but anti-Black political tricks.
In my struggle to "pin the tail on the donkey" or find the agricultural policy "smoking gun" pointed at the Black farmer, I finally came to the "Committee on Economic Development" 1962 report entitled "AN ADAPTIVE PROGRAM FOR AGRICULTURE." This report was used to shape agricultural policy for the last half of the 20th century.
A few quotations from this 1962 report are in order:
"Net migration out of agriculture has been going on for 40 years, and at a rapid rate. Nevertheless, the movement of people from agriculture has not been fast enough...The adaptive approach utilizes positive government action to facilitate and promote the movement of labor and capital where they will be most productive and will earn the most income."
This "adaptive approach" recommended that vocational agriculture courses in rural areas be scrapped, agricultural prices be substantially lowered and temporary income programs be instituted to protect the most suited for survival. In addition, more surpluses should be dumped on developing nations, consumer prices should be kept low, rural electrification should be slowed down and rural workers moved to be factory workers in the cities. These measures, according to this report, would "Reduce Farm Labor Force by One-third in Five Years."
Remember this was in 1962. What this report failed to tell us was that the "income protection programs" were to be administered by the USDA on local levels by "county committees" consisting in the South of anti-Black white landowners. Therefore as the prices and resources were being lowered for all farmers, white farmers in the South would be able to determine who would survive this war of attrition by controlling the government hand-outs. In other words the USDA decided to give the enforcement of the law to anti-Blacks which was like throwing the chickens into the fox’s hole. So when disaster hit or prices fell, the Black farmers would be left out, but still owing money to local lenders or the USDA. Now the white “foxes”, farmers, could buy the Black farmers’ land on the courthouse steps the same way that Blacks were sold on these same steps.
The book, TSR-2, goes into detail to show how “sharecropping” was used to deprive Black farmers of the rewards of their sweat and toil. TSR-2 points out that the Jewish money lenders would not loan Black farmers money to grow food stuffs, but only for cotton production. Even when they produced the cotton, at the end of the season they would find that their bill payable to these lenders was more than the value of the cotton that they had to sell back to these same dealers. They could not sell their crop to anyone else because the Jim Crow Black Codes prevented them from selling commodities independently on the open market. They had to sell it to those who lent them the money and supplies to produce the crop.
“The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Volume 2” has cleared up for me why the USDA required Black farmers to grow only certain commodities like cotton, field corn, tobacco, wheat and peanuts and not others, like fruits and vegetables. The USDA also required that the Black farmers sell off their little livestock operations which they used to feed their families and provide a flow of income during the crop growing season until harvest. These little livestock operations were their “bank” which they could cash in at any moment to pay bills. However, the USDA claimed that the farmers must get rid of these enterprises because they would take away labor and management time from the production of the commodities that the loans were given to produce. The USDA would lend the Black farmers money too late for them to make an adequate yield. Therefore, at the end of the season they would owe more than they could pay back. Sounds like “sharecropping” to me.
One last piece of information, the Pigford lawsuit, out of court settlement, is geared to continue the loss of land by Black farmers. Even if some Black farmers win the settlement of $50,000 or less, they still have to pay state taxes. The Black farmers did not go to court to get $50,000 in the first place. They went to stop the foreclosure of Black farm land by the USDA. They proved that the USDA had caused them to default on their loans because of how the USDA allowed anti-Blacks to administer those loans and other government programs.
However, if a Black farmer owed, let’s say $50,000 in 1984, but could not pay the debt back because of natural disaster or falling crop prices, by the time of the filing of the lawsuit in 1997 he may now owe $120,000 due to the accumulation of interest on the debt (usury by the USDA). Now if he is one of the 60% who were lucky to prevail in Pigford I, his debt was forgiven. However, the IRS would consider the $120,000 write down on the debt as “income” even though the farmer did not get an additional $120,000. The IRS would then send the Black farmer a bill for $37,000. Now if you subtract state taxes and the $37,000 in Federal taxes from $50,000, what is the take home pay to the Black farmer?
I was a part of a delegation of Black farmers who in 2006 met with then House Representative Cynthia McKinney to discuss the historical relationship of the USDA and Black farmers. At that time she said that she was in communication with a “whistle blower” at the USDA who reportedly had documents to prove that the USDA had conspired to help southern whites steal the Black farmers’ land. Cynthia McKinney lost her bid for reelection in 2006 and the whistle blower never surfaced.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has made the distinction between “devils” and “Satan”. One can say that “devils” are overtly evil, while “Satan” acts like your friend to get close, then leads you down the wrong path, then leaves you again in the lurch. The devils stick you with a hot pitchfork while Satan tricks you with his pen. “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Volume 2” will help you develop “X-ray vision”, so that you can see through the modern “white sheets” of legal paper and follow the slimy trail of an arch-deceiver, no matter what he calls himself.