What Does the Obama Victory Mean for the US Food Justice Movement?
By Eric Holt-Giménez, executive director, Food First
Huffington Post Editorial, November 9, 2012
Read the original.
In a word? Mobilize!
Here’s why: Mitt Romney lost the elections because he won the vote of the shrinking majority but lost the vote of the growing minority. Though he won 59% of the white vote, President Obama carried 93% of the Black vote and 71% of the Latino vote. The power of the Latino vote was decisive, and will continue to be. Over the next 20 years, 500,000 Latinos will come of voting age—each year.
Bill O’Reilly fumed on Fox News: “Its not a traditional America anymore... The white establishment is now the minority.”
Well, not quite yet. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2042 “minorities” (any race other than non-Hispanic, single-race whites) will be more than half the population.
But the lesson from this U.S. Presidential election is that “minorities” do not have to be the “majority” in order to determine political outcomes. They just have to come together in a decisive political moment.
Which brings us back to President Obama.
If the Food Justice Movement expects a second Obama administration to help us rebuild local food economies in underserved communities, then we will have to make our voices heard—politically. This means we need to go beyond focusing our efforts on the shrinking shares of project funding to build strong collective platforms to advance political demands: for land, financing, fair prices, fair markets and fair jobs in the food system.
The recent Food + Justice = Democracy gathering in Minneapolis produced a strong set of draft principles for Food Justice that are being discussed in communities around the country. These principles can lead to common political platforms—and these platforms need to lead to local, regional and national policies and actions for food justice.
The next four years will be decisive only if we make them so. An advantage is a terrible thing to waste.