Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III

By Clint Confehr

Long term plans are being laid by civil rights leaders as they’re dismayed by complacency and mistakes.

“The Democratic Party is probably going to lose the next national election if they continue the way they are going,” Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III says. 

Rivers, pastor at Azusa Christian Community Center, an independent Pentecostal church in Boston is “talking about the next presidential election.” President Donald Trump could be re-elected, “or somebody worse.” Vice President Mike Pence? “Or somebody worse,” Rivers said.

“The black community has to develop a domestic development program that focuses on 2038,” he said. “If you’re not talking 2038, you’re not in the game…

“The economy is going to be radically restructured in the next 10 years. Thirty percent of the black labor force will be knocked out and these unions may consist primarily of robots,” Rivers said.

He spoke with The Tennessee Tribune April 4 at the National Civil Rights Museum in the Lorraine Motel on Mulberry Street, Memphis

Joseph B. Trotter

Joseph B. Trotter, a founding father of the union that represented sanitation workers in Memphis 50 years ago, says now union members don’t realize the 2016 election was a tragedy.

“I don’t think so,” Trotter said. “I don’t think they care.

“The membership is dropping off. The people are not going out to see what is going on and what they need to do to get the jobs and other things raised, and that’s not happening.”

Union members don’t see their leaders doing what they should do, he said.

“They need to be out saying ‘Here I am,’ and show the members how to get out here and do things they need to do,” Trotter said. “They need to pick out people who need to be voted in and vote them in.”

As Trotter points to union leaders, Rivers said, “Some candidates [in 2016] didn’t go to some crucial states because they didn’t think they needed to deal with the working class white people.

“There’s a whole forecasting thing that has to happen,” Rivers said. “If they’re not planning for at least 2038 in the U.S. … they’re not in the game.

“On one level,” in the 2016 election, he said, “people who were not playing the real game, sadly got what they deserved,” partly because they didn’t vote.

Furthermore, Trump’s border security rhetoric is just that because immigrants aren’t taking as many jobs as those being replaced by robots. “Right,” Rivers said.

Clint Confehr

Clint Confehr — an American journalist since 1972 — first wrote for The Tennessee Tribune in 1999. His news writing and photography in South Central Tennessee and the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical...