of the Black Left:
A Major Task of
the Black Liberation Movement!
Black social justice activists and revolutionaries must actively oppose and educate about the racist Arizona law SB 1070. The fact that such a law is being enacted during the tenure of the first African American U.S. President, makes clear, the fallacy of a so-called "post racial" America.
This draconian legislation should remind the Black community of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which enabled and required law enforcement nation-wide to hunt down Black people, “whether slave or free” and “return them to slavery”. It should remind us of the racist Apartheid pass laws that segregated and restricted the mobility of Black people in South Africa.
It should also remind us of the massive police brutality suffered in our communities nation-wide everyday where racial profiling is routinely used by police to “stop and detain” any Black person (or other persons of color) under the pretext that they look “suspicious” of some criminal activity. Under the current racist and anti-immigrant climate harbored by many in this country, this is clearly an invitation for heightened abuse and brutality against all Latinos and ultimately all people of color.
This law promotes and relies on divisions among the working class. Amidst this severe economic crisis, the greatest challenge to corporate power is a anti racist, anti sexist, anti homophobic and internationally united working class.
African Americans and Latinos are the two largest nationally oppressed sectors of the U.S. working class. To divide them, is to weaken the basis for a critically needed alliance in the struggle for democracy, workers power and radical change. On Saturday, April 24th, in recognition of the importance of Black and Brow unity, the Black Worker Caucus at the Labor Notes Conference in Detroit, voted unanimously to support the call by the Latino Worker Caucus to fight the racist Arizona Law.
If Obama's response to this racist law, is lukewarm as it has been to the racist attacks on him and the Black masses from within the Democratic and Republic Parties and the growing Tea Party movement, it will encourage tensions and divisions between African Americans and Latinos .
This makes it ALL the more important for the voices of the Black masses to be heard opposing this unjust law. The Black masses must be mobilized to demand that the Obama administration use its powers to defeat this racist law. This speaks to the critical need for Black left unity to carry out the scope and depth of work needed to raise the voices of the national Black masses.
Black left unity in critical for shaping a Black working class and anti imperialist consciousness.
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The Black Liberation Movement must be more than the spontaneity of the Black masses. It must provide a national framework with an internationalist perspective and strategic organizing components that seek to unite the thinking and actions of the many struggles around a program for revolutionary change.
Thus, the Black liberation movement must have conscious activists that work together to give the spontaneous struggles a conscious program and direction; an assessment of the balance of forces on the side of the oppressor and the oppressed; and provide a global context for understanding their struggles for a better world.
The fragmentation of the Black Liberation Movement resulting from the U.S. government attacks and the ideological errors during the late 1960s and 1970s, and further impacted by the demise of major zones of socialism as the main bases of support for the anti-imperialist struggles worldwide, has made it difficult to forge unity among enough Black left forces to effectively intervene in crucial struggles like the political disenfranchisement of Black people in Florida and Ohio that installed Bush Jr. as U.S. president in 2000 and 2004 and Katrina in 2005.
When the forces in the Black Liberation Movement who make big demands for redress on the system for its crimes against Black people, are unable to give direction to the Black people’s spontaneous responses to such blatant acts of national oppression, it does not build confidence among the Black masses that a Black Liberation Movement can help to bring about the liberation of Black people. This also weakens the confidence of the national and intentional anti-imperialist forces in the Black Liberation Movement.
The forging of a unity of the Black left, must therefore be a conscious, continuing and serious effort of the Black Liberation Movement, if it is to become more than the sum total of the spontaneous local struggles, and the loose national networks that form to try and influence election campaigns and win basic reforms.
The Black Left Unity Network (BLUN), while far from the scope and depth of the unity that is needed, represents a conscious and active commitment and mechanism toward forging this unity. Through BLUN working groups like the Cuba Working Group, we seek to unite Black left forces in practical mass work and educational activities, as we try to figure out ways of widening an deepening a unity process.
We Charge Genocide!
Human Rights for All!
The Black Left Unity Network (BLUN) expresses our rage and refusal to accept the courtroom verdict of the murder of Trayvon Martin by white supremacist George Zimmerman and the failure of the Sanford, Florida police department and local government to immediately arrest and charge Zimmerman. We stand with the family of young Trayvon Martin in their continued grief over the unjust killing of their son and the prolonged injustice of a legal system that is unaccountable for the safety or justice for our communities.
We know that justice or answers to our many questions about this Verdict will not be found in the same criminal injustice system at the local, state or federal level. What we do know, is that this and other murders of many of our people are a crime against humanity and a violation of human rights that must be judge by the Black, oppressed and exploited masses in the U.S. and oppressed peoples throughout the world who are struggling against U.S. led Imperialism's injustices and for human rights.
Throughout U.S. history, Black life has never been fully protected by the legal, political or economic systems. US Imperialism at home has often meant the repression and violent social control of Black communities. The crisis of capitalism requires new forms of social control grounded in historic forms of oppression and the expansion of White Supremacy described by the 1857 Dred Scott Act - that Black people have no rights that whites are bound to respect.
Within one month after the U.S. Supreme Court declared open season for racist voting suppression symbolized by their verdict on the Voting Rights Act, the Sanford court declared open season for the whites to kill Black and Brown youth if they feel threatened by the way they dress, are in the wrong neighborhood, or play Hip Hop music.
As we saw at the time when Trayvon was murdered in 2012, we are again seeing the emergence of many networks as part of the spontaneous response of the outraged masses. There will be many mobilizations this time, involving and led by various class, political and ideological forces demanding justice from their various perspectives.
What was missing in the response to Trayvon's murder and the extrajudicial and white supremacist murders of Black and Brown mainly young brothers every 28 hours, that must be corrected this time, is a force united and strong enough and anchored by the unity of the Black left, to bring about the convergence of these mass actions and forces around a program of action.
The Black left must advance a program that fights for structural changes and for forms of people’s democracy and democratic governance, to restrain the repressive structures and policies of the state and capitalist elites as part of the struggle for radical social transformation of the system.
Part of what must define the Black left, must be a recognition that these atrocities are produced by the capitalist system where white supremacy, national oppression and patriarchy are its main pillars, and the willingness to find points of unity with others to fight against, and for the radical transformation of the capitalist system.
We call on forces within the Black Left to unite in our rage against this Verdict and stand together in our short term responses, and in longer term movement building strategies to mobilize the power of masses of Black and oppressed people... We refuse to accept or forget this injustice and the broader injustices it represents.
Our cry must be - Stop the War on Black America! We Charge Genocide!
Black Left Unity Network Continuations Committee
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Black Left Unity Network at the 2010 US Social Forum- Detroit, Michigan
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The Black Left Must Do More
Than Oppose Obama
National oppression has necessitated that the struggle for democratic rights as understood by the Black masses take its course. The question for the Black left, has been how it provides leadership to the Black masses in this struggle to help lead to the exposure of the capitalist system and the building of the revolutionary Black working class anchored and led infrastructure that moves the struggle forward on a sharper and more conscious anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist trajectory.
The fragmentation of the Black left and the Black liberation movement has prevented us from working together to build this revolutionary infrastructure and the mass political work to raise sharper Black national and working class consciousness.
Black left forces have not for the most part struggled against the contradictions of the capitalist ruling class and system from a base within the Black masses. This includes how some wage the struggle against Obama.
Most of the critiques from the Black left about Obama are correct. However, most send a message that the principle contradiction is between Obama and the people; not capitalism/imperialism and the people.
Over the years, since the decline of the alignment of forces giving expression to a national Black liberation movement, the struggle for democracy has changed from a struggle for mass based Black power and control over institutions, to a struggle for access and policy changes. This has given the struggle more of a civil rights character than one for human rights and self-determination.
Self-determination must be based on the struggle for mass based power; not just for the right to have access. This understanding and reorientation is especially important at this stage of the crisis of capitalism when the demand for redistribution of wealth and power is critical to a transition that favors the oppressed and the working class.
This struggle is both independent of and also merges with the struggles of other oppressed peoples and the working class.
Without the struggle for mass based Black power as a struggle for self-determination, the Black left projects the role of the U.S. president as the principle contradiction. This liquidates the need for mass based Black power as essential for altering the balance of power between capitalism/imperialism and the people.
This can have the effect of promoting the system of bourgeois democracy, instead of tactically utilizing it to build areas of power as part of the struggle for mass based Black power, and bases of contending power challenging the rule of the capitalist/imperialist ruling class.
How does the Black left advance the struggle for mass based Black power in the Black masses relationship to all of the main institutions that impact our lives with a vision of restructuring and redefining their roles in society?
There is no question that the masses of Black people are disappointed to say the least, about the Obama presidency. They expected to see a stronger president calling on the Black, Latino and working class masses to speak truth to power on the issues impacting our lives, which he hasn’t. When he did in the case of the demand for national healthcare, he back off and compromised with the insurance and pharmaceuticals and the populist racist right.
Yes, the Black masses are concerned about the racist right. Should we expect otherwise? The Tea Party showed that it was able to build a national movement and mobilize aspects of mainly white power. There are contradictions among the right. Some are neo-fascists, but they form a united front.
The Black left will not be able to counter this pull on the Black masses toward the Democratic Party by simply pointing out that actions are co-opting the OWS. We must unite to build and promote a mass campaign to give voice to the Black masses that expresses our main issues and demands.
This does not mean that the various tendencies within the Black left must stop putting forth our views However, it would show united around a strategic focus that seeks to position the demands of the Black masses against the issues, policies and line of the Democratic and Republican Party, including forcing Obama to have to oppose or side with the demands of the people.
Saladin Muhammad- Co-Founder, Black Left Unity Network and Member of Black Workers for Justice- North Carolina
Dear BLUN Listserv Readers,
Several weeks ago there were a number of postings to the Black Left Unity Network (BLUN) listserv by a veteran Black activist that were not only blatantly wrong and untrue, they were also uncomradely and disrespectful in language and tone and took on the form of an attack against the BLUN.
While there was an initial decision by the BLUN Continuations Committee (BLUN CC) to respond to these false charges with criticisms of the Black activist posting them and with a statement clarifying our actual views on the subjects raised, we later felt that the BLUN listserv should not be used to legitimize or promote this type of exchange, as it goes against the principle of Unity-Struggle-Unity which the BLUN believes must be an essential part of a Black left unity process. As well, the BLUN CC wanted to take the time to objectively examine all of the implications and issues raised through these postings and forthrightly state our unified position.
We recognize that there are differences among Black left forces. There is a need to discuss and better understand the tactical, strategic and ideological nature of these differences as part of a unity process and a comradely struggle for clarity. Sectarianism however, a tendency that seeks to find fault with every difference, and to project them as counter revolutionary and antagonistic without proper investigation or communication with other comrades in struggle, has no place in a unity process.
The BLUN is also clear that the question of patriarchy must be taken up in a serious and principled way as a part of the ongoing efforts to forge Black left unity, including having the necessary structures and principles for the BLUN to address patriarchy in all areas of work, and to help deepen political, ideological and social consciousness on the question.
On the issue of being supporters of Obama which was raised in one or more of the postings, this is not and never has been the position of the BLUN. The BLUN has never made support or non-support for Obama a precondition for joining the BLUN. The Obama campaign issue was debated at the BLUN founding in North Carolina in May 2008 reflecting various positions. However, BLUN has never called for support for Obama. BLUN CC members also have many sharp criticisms of Obama and his administration.
The entire incident has prompted the BLUN to post a Code of Conduct for using the BLUN listserv. We ask that our readers please comply with this Code of Conduct.
The BLUN CC feels that the listserv should encourage frank, honest, comradely and free flowing posting and discussion and not be filtered by a moderator.
On behalf of the BLUN CC…..the Struggle Continues,
Ashaki Binta, Sam Anderson, Saladin Muhammad
This listserv is a service of the Black Left Unity Network (BLUN). Opinions expressed on this listserv represent individuals and organizations posting to this list and NOT the positions and opinions of BLUN as an organization unless designated as a Black Left Unity Statement.
We hope that users of this listserv treat each other with Brotherly and Sisterly respect and dignity that comes as Comrades-in-Struggle. This is especially important for BLUN in that we are struggling to bring about Black Left Unity in a nation and period of extreme antagonisms from the Capitalist Class and its Rightwing lieutenants of all hues.
The Black Left Unit Network listserv is a venue for frank, honest and comradely discussion and exchanges in the spirit of Unity-Struggle-Unity. As a component for building a broad Black left unity process, the BLUN Continuations Committee is posting the following BLUN Listserv Code of Conduct for using the listserv.
• Frank exchanges of different views are welcomed, but shall not be done in a disrespectful and uncomradely manner.
• Promoting male supremacy, homophobia or chauvinism against other oppressed peoples shall not be tolerated.
• Attacks on individuals and organizations that go beyond the scope of objective and principled criticism shall not be tolerated.
If any of these Code of Conduct Principles are violated, the poster violating them will be notified to make an immediate posted apology, and if violated a second time, will be removed from the listserv for a period of up to 6 months for the first violation. Appeals and requests for reconsideration can be made to the BLUN Continuations Committee who will make the final determination.
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