The Black Liberation People’s Movement Assembly at the US Social Forum2010 Thursday 24 June 2010
Thanx to Brother Kenneth Snodgrass <[email protected]> we have documented our opening statements. After the opening statements came the Black Left Unity Work Groups . Their Action Plans will be posted on this website. Feel free to send us comments at [email protected]
EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
Some of the Sisters & Brothers who attended the Black Liberation Peoples Movement Assembly on June 24, 2010
Notes from the Education Working Group at the Black Left Unity Network's Peoples Movement Assembly
Education is a Human Right!
June 24, 2010
Official Scribe: Larry Murry
Quality Public Education is a Human Right!
Some of the Problems:
• Students not achieving
• Not motivated
• Curriculum not inclusive of Black culture or history
• Charter Schools use public resources
Some of the Solutions:
• Understanding Title I federal funding
• Getting the parents involved
• Form Parents Unions throughout the country
• Having the children master the subjects, not how to take a test
• Creating a living curriculum i.e. how things apply to everyday living
• More free after schools educational programs
Initial Action Plan For Black Left Unity Network:
• Recruit and train Community Organizers to assist Recommendation
• Education the Parents of the their rights i.e. Title I
• Create Parent Unions 2-3 year time line for completion
• Process should start by September 2010 Recommendation
Provide an education for all our children that is self-sufficiency, sustainable, global and cultural inclusive.
Please if you have suggestions, concerns, recommendation etc. Please share.
If Larry or I (Patti) forgot something please let us know, we need your input! Strategy, Tactics
• We need to draft a resolution stating our position....
The Black Left Unity Network hosted this Assembly at the US Social forum on Thursday June 24th
between 1pm and 5pm
The opening moments of the BLUN Peoples assembly
Opening Remarks to the Black Liberation Peoples Movement Assembly
by Saladin Muhammad
Welcome to the Black Liberation People’s Movement Assembly sponsored by the Black Left Unity Network (BLUN).
We are excited about holding this Peoples Movement Assembly, especially at a time when the attacks on Black people and are conditions of life are growing increasingly sharper. These conditions represent a major factor in shaping the fascist direction of the US economy, the state and the society.
The attacks on and fragmentation of the Black liberation movement has weakened a major force for the expansion of democracy, the struggles against US global domination and imperialist wars and for revolutionary change. The inability to mobilize a national Black political response and challenge against attacks on Black people and communities that represent examples of the highest disregard by the US government and the capitalist rulers for basic human rights like Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, does not build confidence among the Black masses about the Black power that many of us claim to we have to win demands for reparations and national liberation.
This consciousness about exercising mass based Black power does not develop and become consolidated nationally out of the spontaneous struggles alone. This requires a conscious effort to unite the many local struggles, to develop activists out of these struggles who begin to act on the basis of an analyses of the system, and a program that not only protests against the injustices, but that mobilizes mass Black working class power. The corporate rulers who control the government and its domestic and foreign policies and global structures that direct the global economy, want the working class, especially it’s most exploited and nationally oppressed sectors, to only equate their concept of political power with the strength of their vote.
Black people’s historical struggle to win and exercise the right to vote points out that the vote is as an aspect of democracy. However it also points out, that Black people must organize and mobilize mass based power to enforce and expand democracy in the interests of the masses of Black people and the working class. If not, the vote represents democracy without substance. That is not what our movement struggled for.
There is no single Black or multi-racial organization, capable of intervening in the Black spontaneous struggles and giving them national leadership and a direction toward self-determination that builds Black working class power as an expression of the will of the Black majority. The demand for self-determination by many organizations does not make clear how it will empower the Black working class majority and the various social categories of oppression that are intensified by Black national oppression. Black people want to know what kind of society revolutionary change seeks to build; and want and need to be organized to exercise transformative power to bring that society into being.
The BLUN is a developing effort aimed at building the unity of Black left forces to begin an initiative of regroupment of the Black liberation movement as a conscious political framework that connects Black majority social movements and mass organizations and parties to a transformative program that empowers the Black majority as an expression of African American self-determination.
The BLUN as a Black left initiative sees that its unity must also bring about a concentration of work in the Black working class in order to help develop it as a conscious and leading revolutionary force of the Black liberation movement and the US anti-imperialist movement.
The BLUN initiative has been an ongoing and difficult effort for the past 3 years. With the pulls on the Black left, many who are leaders in the social movements, it has been hard to convince them that Black left unity should be one of their main a priorities.
We are hopeful that by holding this BL PMA that the BLUN will attract wider participation and new ideas to help deepen a unity process.
The BLUN recognizes that there are many questions and areas of work that must be discussed and developed. The USSF is a venue where hundreds of social movements from throughout the US and internationally come together to share experiences. It would be impossible to deal with the many areas and issues we need, unless we closed ourselves off from rest of this important gathering of activists. This is not what we came here to do.
The BLUN BL PMA has selected what we feel our some strategic issues and areas of work which we have included in a panel and some working groups. We are not in a position to change the panel, but we welcome people to form other working groups dealing with issues that would be ongoing as part of the BLUN.
The BLUN has been implicitly internationalist in our basic understanding that our struggle for Black liberation is part of a worldwide struggle against systems of oppression created and or dominated by the development and expansion US and global capitalism, and that solidarity with all struggles against oppression is a necessary revolutionary principle. We therefore, welcome the attendance at this BL PMA of comrades and allies not part of the Black experience of oppression as observer participants. Our first priority is to hear from the Black participants. This is part of our right of self-determination.
We recognize that there are different views among Black activists about the Black liberation movement. We are hopeful, that we don’t use this time to bring old arguments from another period to this new period where the capitalist crisis offers both opportunities and dangers for advancing or setting back the struggles for democracy and revolutionary change. However, we do want frank, honest, non sectarian and non hostile struggle to help arrive at some answers and some comradely relations to move a unity process forward.
We want to come out of this assembly with a commitment from more Black left forces to the building of the BLUN and the promoting of regruopment of the Black liberation movement as a main task of the Black left. The working groups will help to bring about a convergence of Black left forces around concrete areas of work in the Black working class, and in developing the tools and venues that fosters a popular national framework and sentiment that helps forge a common program of action and direction.
The Original Call to the Black Liberation Peoples Assembly
Resistance by African Americans to racism and national oppression has taken place prior to and throughout the history of the development of the U.S. It has been both spontaneous and through conscious movement building. It has been central to the organizing of mass opposition in the U.S. to U.S. and European colonialism in Africa and the Caribbean.
Throughout this history of resistance, there have emerged various movement organizations and political tendencies promoting ideas about what constitutes Black liberation. There have been ideological struggles among these tendencies toward shaping a more revolutionary direction for the Black liberation movement.
These ideological struggles were influenced by the growing anti-colonial struggles taking place in Africa, Asia and Latina America. Black liberation movement leaders like Robert Williams, Malcolm X, Queen Mother Moore and Huey Newton, encouraged the Black liberation organizations to view the Black liberation movement within the global context of the anti-colonial struggles against imperialism. As many of the anti-colonial movements saw national liberation as a path toward socialism, this thinking also began to influence tendencies within the Black liberation movement.
In the U.S. South, the central region of chattel slavery and Jim Crow, the struggle was around whether to make SNCC, a leading left civil rights organization into an all Black liberation organization focusing on building Black power; or to stay a multi-racial civil rights organization.
Throughout the urban cities of the North, Midwest and West Coast, the main struggle was between Cultural Nationalism (cultural autonomy) as the demand for self-determination and Black liberation; Pan Africanism, which had anti-imperialist, socialists and Cultural Nationalist expressions, focused on the liberation of Africa as the homeland of the African Diaspora; and Revolutionary Black Nationalism which saw the U.S. South as the national territory and anchor of the African American oppressed nation, and African Americans throughout the U.S. as an oppressed nationality linked in a common struggle against U.S. imperialism for self-determination, and national liberation in the U.S. in alliance with other U.S. and international revolutionary struggles.
The Black workers movement in the 1960s, developed as a distinct part of the Revolutionary Nationalist tendency. It promoted not only anti-imperialist, but also anti-capitalist demands and Black worker at the point of production leadership. All of the Black liberation movement tendencies were weak or backward on the question struggling against women’s oppression and patriarchy.
Black Reparations took on a popular expression in 1969 with the launching of the Black Manifesto as a major demand for African American self-determination. The Reparations Movement became a major social movement identified with by the various Black liberation movement tendencies. It has suffered from the lack of Black working class leadership in the shaping of demands, tactics and a general strategy that clarifies its anti-imperialist and transformative revolutionary political perspective.
The main strategic question for all of the Black liberation tendencies was and continues to be, how to organize and mobilize mass based Black power to realize self-determination and a form of dual power that weakens U.S. imperialism, and alters the balance of power in favor of the U.S. and international struggles for democracy, national and women’s liberation and socialism.
The scope and depth of the Black power needed to affectively challenge U.S. capitalism and imperialism, requires a national framework with an internationalist perspective that unites Black liberation forces. The Black left, those committed to self-determination, women’s liberation and socialism, must align to carry out a concentration to develop the class consciousness, organizations and leadership of the Black working class as a leading force in the Black liberation and U.S. anti-imperialist movements.
Most Black liberation organizations agree that the Black liberation movement is fragmented; and that no single organization can lead the Black masses in responding to the many national and global changes we face in our struggles for democracy and revolutionary change. This fragmentation can be summarized by the following:
· The U.S. government’s counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO) infiltrated Black liberation organizations and carried out its most intense and violent assaults on the Black liberation movement in the 1960s during the transition from civil rights to Black power.
· Leading Black liberation organizations were set-up by government agents and charged with acts of sedition against the U.S. government, resulting in Black liberation activists being forced into political exile; targeted for political assassinations; subjected to political trials; jailed for long and indefinite periods as political prisoners.
· The police murders of leaders and members of the Black Panther Party throughout the U.S. highlighted the public war by the state on the Black liberation movement.
· Cooptation and neutralization of sections of the progressive Black petit-bourgeois, and mass and social movement organizations by the Democratic Party and funding from many liberal foundations.
· Sectarian errors by Black left forces in trying to apply principles of revolutionary class struggle.
· Women’s oppression and patriarchy within Black liberation organizations.
· The failure to recognize and embrace the emergence of other social movements.
In the early 1980s, U.S. imperialism began implementing a major strategy of restructuring then called Reganomics, and now referred to by many as neo-liberalism. It focused on eliminating the democratic and social gains won by the Black liberation, women’s and trade union movements over the years, and transferring wealth, resources and democratic rights from these areas to help finance capitalist globalization.
Neo-liberalism took the form, advanced, and imposed itself through privatization and the appropriation of collective wealth and public properties - public housing, water, land, pension funds; and the massive government bailouts of the savings and loan companies, major banks and corporations. The policies of deregulation and the conservative mantra of “smaller government” was the political strategy to shape and deform the meaning of political power, including Black political power.
Despite having won the Voting Rights Act; major attacks have been made on Black voting rights and Black elected officials, including dismantling and reconfiguring former Black majority political districts. The Black political disenfranchisement that led to the coming to power of the Bush Jr. Regime in 2000 and 2004, and that imposed levels of open state repression not seen since the McCarthy Period, should have been a wake-up call for the Black liberation movement about the urgency for national regroupment.
The fragmentation of the Black liberation movement that had won basic democratic rights, affirmative action, government funding for social programs, and elected Blacks to political office, meant that the neo-liberal attacks on the Black masses, was not met with the scope of independent national Black resistance, which had occurred during the 1960s and early 1970s.
The 1984 and 88 Jackson campaigns came closest to generating national and working class resistance. However, because there was no independent national Black liberation framework with strong roots in the Black working class and an independent political program, this resistance was co-opted by the Democratic Party. African American national oppression, including the cooptation of sections of the Black bourgeoisie has been a main point of entry for U.S. strategies and policies that eventually affect the wider U.S. working class.
Neo-liberalism led to limited political participation; democracy was ritualized into casting a vote every four years, while voters are excluded from decision-making. Appointments of Blacks to “high” cabinet posts have been the strategy while undercutting institutional frameworks for national Black democratic and people’s power.
Business unionism, including the fights over jurisdiction, the lack of labor solidarity; the decline of the Black workers movement that helped to pushed trade unions forward to fight discrimination and for democratic demands; the siding of the unions with U.S. imperialist foreign policies and wars; and the splits within national unions and the AFL-CIO, allowed neo-liberalism to attack organized labor and the working class. The opening gun of this attack was the government busting of the Air traffic controllers union.
The fragmentation of the Black liberation movement meant that there was no national framework for arriving at a collective assessment of neo-liberalism’s impact on the Black masses, and for developing a strategic program for national resistance. The failure to unite and build a national movement for Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, points to the weak state of the Black liberation movement.
The inability of the Black liberation movement to intervene at the national level against attacks on Black human rights of the magnitude triggered by Katrina, does not build confidence in the Black liberation movement among the Black masses or other social and political movements inside the U.S. and internationally.
Not having clarity on the direction of the Black liberation movement’s work among the Black masses, makes the strategies, demands and alliances of the various social and political movements throughout the U.S. harder to navigate.
The Black liberation movement must have a program and direction for responding to the current economic crisis, in order to provide leadership to the Black masses who are hurting, and yet confused by Obama’s continuation of neo-liberalism. This requires more than just criticizing Obama; it requires organizing and mobilizing the power of the Black working class masses.
The struggle for the socialization of the collective wealth; both that which was privatized over the last decades, and for programs for economic recovery and mass based Black and working class political power, must be the main thrust of the Black liberation movement in this period.
The US Social Forum: Key Opportunity to Discuss Black Liberation Unity
Thousands of social movement activists will be attending the US Social Forum in Detroit on June 22 – 26, 2010, discussing their struggles, learning about other struggles and finding ways to connect the struggles and movements.
The coming together of Black liberation forces in this broad array of activists from U.S. and international social movements at the US Social Forum, to discuss the critical questions, make assessments, and to plan for coordinated Black Liberation Movement actions and relations with the other social movements, will be an important step toward regroupment of the Black Liberation Movement.
Again, The Black Left Unity Network will be hosting a Black Liberation People’s Movement Assembly at the US Social forum on June 24th between 1pm and 5pm.
If you have basic agreement with this call and the need for regroupment of the Black liberation movement and are committed to have participation in the Black Liberation People’s Movement Assembly at the US Social Forum, please sign on to this call by emailing your name and organizational affiliation to:
Black Left Unity Network (BLUN)