Many of us go through the useless ritual of making New Year’s resolutions and proclaiming, “out with the old.”
Maybe that works for your eating habits or exercise routine, but 2023 news will be with us into 2024. From my perspective, these are the things we’ll be paying attention to in 2024.
- I’m an Economist, so my Top News Carryover is The Economy. Inflation is slowing, and unemployment rates are low. Good news, right? Some economists are still predicting a recession in 2024 and a “sharp hit,” not a “soft landing.” Either way, economic news will dominate in 2024, and the fact that it’s an election year means there will be “alternate facts” and interpretations. Bottom line – stack your money. Recession hits Black folks harder, and recovery helps us more slowly than it helps others. And don’t believe the hype that Biden didn’t help the economy. He did!
- Congressional Gridlock won’t go away until the election of 2024. Republicans have a narrow majority and can’t seem to get much done. A budget has to be passed in January, but neither side appears willing to compromise on immigration reform and border control, aid to Ukraine and Israel, and more. I don’t think Republicans are eager to shut the government down, especially in an election year, but their brinksmanship has left their party in tatters (who knew who Mike Johnson (R-LA) was a year ago)?
- While I Hate to Elevate the Narcissistic Former President, he dominates the news, and unfortunately, too many cover him uncritically. Look – he lost the 2020 election and inspired an insurrection. He’s been indicted 91 times and is unfit for public office, but his hard-right supporters, including many Congressional Republicans, are too afraid of his influence to speak up. Can he win in 2024? Unless we invest in record turnout, very possibly.
- Anti-Blackness in Education and Legislation. While the mainstream media won’t cover this much, it is alarming that 44 states have introduced legislation to restrict teaching about race. More than 1600 books have been banned, including works by luminaries like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Couple this with the efforts of Edward Blum to dismantle affirmative action, going so far as to sue the government, the private sector, and even African American women who have developed race-specific efforts. This effort isn’t going away. Conservative foundations fund Blum’s efforts. These very predatory capitalists used racism to build their fortunes and now want to eliminate the use of race in repairing the racial wealth gap.
- Additionally, there have been Constant Attacks on DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). Efforts at universities, government organizations, and private companies show that anti-blackness is alive and well. The struggle continues.
- Police Violence. Nobody covers police violence better than Roland Martin, who very frequently highlights incidents of police violence that don’t make the national headlines. Just because it isn’t on the front page of The New York Times doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Kudos to Roland for constantly lifting this up and to attorney Ben Crump for working with the families of those massacred at the hands of rabid police officers. Justice delayed is not always justice denied. Thanks to Assistant Attorney General Kristin Clark, many of these massacres are being aggressively investigated.
- Immigration Reform and Border Control have been unfinished business since 1986, but the former President has denigrated and misrepresented immigrants. There’s no easy solution to immigration. How do we deport millions who are now part of the fabric of our lives? How do we absorb the people at our borders who are only looking for a better way of life? How do we balance the needs of those coming in with those already here? Cities like Chicago and New York struggle to accommodate those whose putrid governors (like Texas’ Greg Abbott) are shipping people to those states. Jingoistic rhetoric doesn’t help a pressing issue. With Orange Man acolytes running the Congress, any solution seems grim, if not impossible.
- Israel. People in the United States are firmly divided on how our country deals with the Middle East. It goes without saying that Hamas was wrong in its attack on Israel, which resulted in between 1200 and 1400 deaths and the taking of more than 200 hostages. It should also go without saying that the attack was a function of the apartheid state Palestinians were forced into, the land loss that they experienced, and the desperation that many felt. Wading into this conflict is like touching kryptonite. If you say the wrong thing, you’re dead. But while it is essential to condemn Hamas, it is also important to acknowledge their motivation. There must be a cease-fire. The hostages must be released. The United States must be much more measured in our approach.
- Labor Power. Organized labor stepped up and showed out with strikes from the United Auto Workers, Los Angeles teachers and ancillary workers, and actors and writers in the entertainment industry. It’s essential to black folks because when we are organized, we make about a third more Black folks who aren’t organized. Economic issues have radicalized workers who thought they had no power. Now, as the economy tilts against workers, organizing tilts toward them.
Fasten your seat belts, y’all. 2023 left us with much in the trunk for 2024. May we use this election year to struggle for economic and social justice?
Dr. Julianne Malveaux is an economist and author. The second edition of Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History is available through mahoganybooks.com.