Black Liberation Movement

Black August

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

August is a month to assess and build upon the legacy of Black people’s resistance to the armed repression of the U.S. state and its agents. The author, the nation’s best known political prisoner, wrote this article August 4, 1993.

Arresting Development: The State Targets Activists to Derail a Movement

by Bakari Kitwana

The movement against police terror is spawning another generation of political prisoners, many of them virtually unknown and without organizational support. “Unknown numbers of people have slipped through the cracks and are still sitting in jail” in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities. “Local police are using arrests and felony charges to contain a resistance movement pushing to disarm, defund and abolish their departments.”

Coalition Declares Black Self-Determination Back on the Agenda

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford 

After two generations of “Black social disintegration, economic retrogression and political confusion” ushered in through the collaboration of the Black Misleadership Class, “Black people have rediscovered and revived the Black Radical Tradition, with self-determination at the core.” The Black is Back Coalition is promulgating a groundbreaking 19-point Black political agenda entirely “formulated through the prism of Black self-determination.”

Ready Or Not, the Black Movement Enters a New Stage

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Black youth in the U.S. have crossed a kind of Rubicon, and the rulers are fearful — and so are their henchmen in the Black Misleadership Class. “When a Black beauty queen calls Micah Johnson ‘a martyr,’ we know that the movement’s values have been internalized by a broad strata of the Black public.” Both wings of the duopoly are issuing dark threats of repression — a clear sign that those in power feel genuinely threatened.

Freedom Rider: Gavin Long’s Last Words

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

So-called “responsible” Black folks may dismiss the young Black veteran gunmen of Dallas and Baton Rouge as deranged, but who are really “the crazy ones” – those who believe the racist system will change under the pressure of peaceful protest, or those, like Gavin Long, who maintain that revolutions are won “through fighting back through bloodshed”? Black folks will have to wrestle with this question without interference from corporate voices.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 18, 2016

A “New Moment” in Black Struggle

The Black struggle in the U.S. is “approaching a new moment” when the country might “become ungovernable by the political class that is tried to Wall Street and the 1%,” said Duboisian scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro, an activist with the Black Radical Organizing Committee. President Obama is fond of claiming that Sixties-type politics is over. However, Dr. Monteiro thinks “it’s almost as though we’re starting up from the 1980s, and going forward from the militancy of the 1970s; rather than civil rights, the whole problem of human rights and self-determination is what you’re hearing on the streets, these days.”

Democrats Fear Embarrassment in Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia appears to be “starting to back down” on restrictions on protesting at next week’s Democratic National Convention, said Scott Williams, an organizer of the “Shut Down the DNC” march, set for July 26. The Democratic Party had taken over every public space in the Center City area for the entire convention,” Williams said. However, “the city, in some ways, is starting to back down, because they don’t want to see hundreds, or thousands, of Black people getting arrested at the Democratic Party National Convention, which is supposed to represent Black people.”

Armed March Set for St. Louis to Honor Slain Panther

The Revolutionary Black Panther Party will hold an armed march against genocide in St. Louis, Missouri, an open-carry weapons state, on August 5, to honor Angelo Brown, also known as General Houdari Juelani, the local party leader who was shot dead by police in nearby Belleville, Illinois, last month. The party also plans “to file human rights violations with the International Criminal Court and the World Court,” according to Chief General in Charge Dr. Ali Muhammad. Juelani died from a single bullet to the temple, but his face showed signs that he had been beaten before death. “Every time he was out he was harassed” by the cops, said Dr. Muhammad, a neurologist. “They assassinated him.”

Mumia Salutes Maroon Shoatz Court Victory

Russell Maroon Shoatz, the former Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army member who has been imprisoned since 1972, won an agreement from Pennsylvania prison authorities that they will never again place him in solitary confinement. Shoatz spent 22 years in solitary before being released into the general prison population, in 2013. Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, saluted Shoatz’s victory, which includes unspecified monetary compensation. “The struggle continues,” Abu Jamal said – “and, sometimes, you win.”

The Poor Suffer in Civil Court, Just Like Criminal Court

The nation’s civil courts process 20 million cases a year, some involving matters that are “the cutting edge civil rights issues of the day,” said David Udell, executive director of the National Center for Access to Justice, at Cardozo University. However, Udell said a survey by the center shows there is only one civil court legal aid attorney for every ten thousand poor people in the country. Although deficiencies in the criminal justice system get more media coverage, civil law is even more pervasive in people’s lives. “People are so often in court on debt collection matters, on family matters, on housing matters,” he said. The center operates a website at JusticeIndex.org.

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Why Did America’s Ruling Elites Declare War on the Black Movement?

by Abayomi Azikiwe

1966 was a watershed year, the historical juncture when the “civil rights” movement, which had been largely victorious in ending legally-mandated apartheid in the U.S., was overshadowed by the “Black Power” movement. Stokely Carmichael, later known as Kwame Ture, of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, was at the center of the transformation that led to the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense the same year.

Muhammad Ali and Dylann Roof: Contested Meanings and Contested Lies

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

In the space of a week, Muhammad Ali was eulogized by “the rapist and petty opportunist politician” Bill Clinton, and the U.S. government announced it would pursue the death penalty for the Charleston shooter. Nothing in America is innocent. The first event represents the rulers’ attempt to “Americanize” Black icons. The second cynically seeks to undermine opposition to the death penalty among Blacks, the group most opposed to capital punishment.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 9, 2016

Detroit Teachers “Browbeaten” Back to Work by National Union

The two-day teachers sick-out that closed Detroit public schools last week was about much more than paycheck issues, said Steve Conn, the former elected local union president who, along with activists from BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), has been leading teacher sick-outs since November. “It’s about fighting the governor’s plan to destroy the schools. Gov. Snyder wants to replace public education in Detroit with a charter model,” said Conn. More than half of Detroit students already attend charter schools, second only to New Orleans. The sick-out was popular among teachers and the public, but ended prematurely when national union president Randi Weingarten “and her local flunkies browbeat the teachers into going back to work,” said Conn. “They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Towards a National Black Political Agenda

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations plans to hold events in cities around the country in coming months to put together a National Black Political Agenda. The project grew out the Coalition’s national conference on the 2016 elections, convened in Harlem, New York, last month. “The timing is excellent,” given the turmoil in the duopoly parties, said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “We don’t have to settle for an outcome that’s determined by these folks who are tied to the ruling establishment. We can speak for ourselves and have an agenda of our own that will influence the political direction of Black people.” Yeshitela hopes the agenda can be completed in time for the Coalition’s annual march on the White House and national conference, in November.

Sawant Petitions for Sanders to Dump Democrats After Convention

Seattle city councilwoman and Socialist Alternative Party leader Kshama Sawant is circulating a petition that Bernie Sanders run as an independent to pave the way for a third electoral party. But, what about the Green Party, which expects to be on the ballot in most states in November? “If there is any possibility of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein running together on a Green Party ticket this year, I would support that wholeheartedly,” said Sawant. “Something like that could help build the basis of an independent party of the 99%, which is the most critical project we have to get started on.”

With GOP Help, Hillary Will Move Democrats Further Right

“Get ready for the whiplash,” said historian, activist and author Paul Street, predicting that an influx of anti-Trump Republicans will assist Hillary Clinton in pushing the Democratic Party even further rightward, once Bernie Sanders’ supporters on the left have been pacified. “The Democratic Party is about to go from being the party that allowed a self-declared democratic socialist to go very far in the primary process, to becoming the objectively truer and more fully explicit ruling class party in the country,” now that Donald Trump has split from the Republican corporate establishment. Street’s latest book is titled They Rule: The 1% Versus Democracy.

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Black Agenda Radio for Week of April 18, 2016

Elections are a “Distraction” – Take it to the Streets

A spokesperson for the group that confronted Bill Clinton on his mass Black incarceration and anti-welfare policies, provoking a 13-minute tirade by the former president, said Bernie Sanders’ campaign is “another distraction, another cop-out from getting in the streets to demand justice.” Megan Malachi, of the Philly Coalition for Racial, Economic and Legal (REAL) Justice, told BAR: “As a coalition, we will not and have not endorsed any candidates, because we believe that electoral politics will not liberate the Black and poor communities. But, we definitely want to take the politicians to task for constantly and consistently betraying the aspirations of poor people.”

“Renounce and Reject” the Black Misleadership Class

Pennsylvania holds its primary election on April 26. Veteran activist and scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro, a co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Black Radical Organizing Committee (BROC), calls it a contest between “Hillary Clinton versus the people.” Monteiro is “convinced that Black people in Philadelphia will express their opposition, not only to Hillary and her corporate 1% backers and her war plans, but they will renounce and reject the Black Misleadership Class.”

Coalition Will Craft a National Black Agenda

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations “intends to move our general struggle forward by initiating an independent Black agenda for self-determination,” said chairman Omali Yeshitela, speaking at a Coalition conference in New York’s Harlem. The process will “culminate with our traditional November rally, march on the White House and national conference, where we will unveil our own agenda, created independent of the participation and wishes of either of the bourgeois political parties.”

One of the Coalition’s principal demands is Black community control of the police. “There has clearly been an intensification of oppression of African people since the Ferguson rebellion, and since Baltimore,” said Diop Olugbala, of the African People’s Socialist Party, a coalition member organization. “Marching, demonstrating, protesting is extremely important,” but not “if it is separated from strategic goals and demands.”

Nellie Bailey, longtime tenants activist and co-host of Black Agenda Radio, told the conference that “housing activists are engaged in class warfare with finance capital for living space. We have to build a national movement that is a broad tent, that will bring in progressive forces” that can unite around principles of unity.

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Black Agenda Radio for Week of April 11, 2016

Mississippi Schemes to Dismember Tax Base of Black Capital City

The Republican-run State of Mississippi has moved to seize the City of Jackson’s two airports and a medical services corridor, and is maneuvering to take over the municipal water treatment facility that provides the bulk of the 80 percent Black city’s budget. “They have a full-blown plan for dismembering this city,” said Kali Akuno, of Cooperation Jackson and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. The GOP plan went into overdrive with the election of Chokwe Lumumba, arguably the most radical Black mayor in the country, in 2013. But Lumumba died after less than a year in office. If the state succeeds, “there will be very little left to actually govern and to deliver goods and services to the community.”

Blacks Should Stop Going Down the Democratic Party “Rabbit Hole”

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations packed St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, in New York’s Harlem, for a National Conference on the 2016 Elections and Black Self-Determination. BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley told the crowd that Black people have supported “Democrat after Democrat, demeaning and insulting and imprisoning Black people, none of them willing to fight on our behalf, and we pay the price of continuing down the same old rabbit hole, time and time again.”

“Dead End” Capitalism Can’t Provide a Recovery for Workers

Boston-based writer and activist Danny Haiphong said that fractures in both the Republican and Democratic parties are reflections of the general crisis of capitalism. The system is at a “dead end” and cannot “provide a recovery for workers while at the same time exploiting these workers for the surplus value – the profit – it is desperately needs,” said Haiphong, a regular contributor to BAR. “If Bernie Sanders were to win, his ‘New Deal’ program could never be implemented in such an historical epoch.” This creates “so many opportunities for revolutionary struggle.”

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Class Struggle and National Liberation in the Movement for Black Lives

by Benjamin Woods

The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) must recognize the dynamic relationship between race and class in Black America – contradictions that “can only be resolved through explicit, conscious class struggle” within the community. What’s needed is a socialist, mass-based Black Workers Party “that replaces the neoliberalism of the Black Bourgeoisie with the hegemony of the Black working class.” 

Black Study, Black Struggle

by Robin D.G. Kelly

Robin D.G. Kelley opened a debate published by the Boston Review. “The fully racialized social and epistemological architecture upon which the modern university is built cannot be radically transformed by ‘simply’ adding darker faces, safer spaces, better training, and a curriculum that acknowledges historical and contemporary oppressions.” But campuses can become resources “for anti-racist struggles ‘dedicated to the principle of thinking in order to act.’”

Blacks Have Always Had to Fight to Make Their Lives Matter in America

by Bryan K. Bullock

The simple, straight-forward assertion “Black Lives Matter” seems to jangle the sensibilities of millions of white Americans, who counter that “ALL lives matter” or “BLUE lives matter.” They feel assaulted by affirmations of the worthiness of Black life, yet claim to be non-racist. In the final analysis, they want Black people to “play nice with oppression and make no demands on society.”

“All Lives Matter”: More Stupid White Noise

by Paul Street

Mountains of statistics testify to the national disregard for Black lives. But white supremacists fire back that Blacks have “brought it on themselves” and victimize their own people through “Black-on-Black” crime, ignoring the core reality that “intra-Back violence takes places within a White-Imposed context of racially concentrated poverty, joblessness and hyper-segregation that White America simply refuses to acknowledge.”

Yes, I Said “National Liberation”

by Robin D.G. Kelley 

Peace is not just the absence of violent warfare; peace is justice: No Justice – No Peace. In Palestine and in the U.S., what we seek is a new and better world, not just a cessation of armed hostilities. So, “How did we move from a solidarity firmly rooted in the commonalities of resistance to one based almost entirely on the commonalities of oppression?”

Know Thyself? Why Individual and Internal Political Struggle Is Necessary in A Movement

by Danny Haiphong

The author traces his development as a “self-identified Asian-American” actively engaged in revolutionary politics. “It became clear that neither reactionary racist ideas nor the conditions that produce them could be eradicated without a transfer of power from the capitalist class to the oppressed.” Imperialism is in deep crisis. However, “there remains a great need to combat the politics of fear and open up room for debate and internal struggle” among those working to overturn the system.

Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

Beyonce and her dancers perform in pseudo-Panther gear, pretending that resistance to the state is a matter of fashionability.  “It is incredibly naive to think that anything subversive or even remotely oppositional to the interests of the capitalist oligarchy would be allowed expression on a stage that it controlled.” Assata Shakur is an example of “total resistance that can’t be co-opted by bourgeois culture.”

McKesson's Colbert Appearance is the Direction Imperialism Wants for the Black Lives Matter Movement

by Danny Haiphong

DeRay McKesson, the twitterist whose followers have met twice with Hillary Clinton, appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show to conduct what looked like another of Campaign Zero’s “racial sensitivity sessions.” Outrageously, McKesson has compared charter schools to the Black Panther Party’s free breakfast program. He relies on the very architects of the racialized order to keep “his career prospects safe and power snugly in the hands of the oppressor.”

An Unbroken Line: New Afrikan Resistance from 1619 to the Present

by Kali Akuno

The current upsurge in Black “movement”-type politics has been in the making for a decade. Katrina “reawakened the Black radical imagination” in 2005. Like a wave, the momentum built through the Jena 6 campaign and the Justice for Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin actions, culminating in the 2014 rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri. “This is a new moment where our people are learning more in a few days then they typically do in decades.”

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