BLACK PRINCE FOR GEORGE FLOYD

NANCY MOREJÓN / BLACK PRINCE FOR GEORGE FLOYD

 

Though he really wanted to hurl you into the Mississippi,

that cannibal in deceptive uniform

quietly burnt his knee

on your inert throat.

The smoke rising from your flesh climbs to the tearful sky.

Skipping between the flowers, the air you exhale

pursues the cannibal’s ghost until it bites

his bloody fang.

And, indomitable, you give hope, on the wet asphalt,

under the quiet shade of an apple tree

in Minneapolis,

where we will place, for you,

this diamond, this clean

black prince of ours,

in your memory.

 

Cerro, Havana, June 4, 2020

Translated by . Keith Ellis

 

PRÍNCIPE NEGRO PARA GEORGE FLOYD

Aunque su sueño era lanzarte al Mississippi,

aquel caníbal de uniforme opaco

ha quemado en silencio su rodilla

sobre tu cuello inerte.

El humo de tu carne va subiendo hasta el cielo mojado.

Saltando entre las flores, el aire de tus bronquios

persigue su fantasma hasta morder

el colmillo sangriento del caníbal.

Y tú alientas, indómito, sobre el asfalto húmedo,

bajo la sombra quieta de un manzano

en Minneapolis,

donde colocaremos, para ti,

este brillante, este limpio

príncipe negro nuestro,

a tu memoria.

 

Cerro, 4 de junio, 2020

Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More

Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More
Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More

Abolition of the police begins with community control, in which community representatives not only hire, fire and oversee the cops, but decide the nature of the policing that is necessary and acceptable.

“Movements are about amassing power to the people, not collecting promises from corporate flunkies.”

The wave of people’s protests across the nation, backed by solidarity actions in cities around the world, has caused the corporate oligarchy and its servants to make promises they can’t keep and give lip service to programs they have always resisted. The Congressional Black Caucus, the vast bulk of whose members backed militarization of local police and elevation of cops to the status of “protected” class, now claims to favor limits on police arsenals, less legal immunities for cops and a grab-bag of other reforms they previously dismissed out of hand. Mayors that know damn well they will have to cut spending across the board due to catastrophic loss of tax revenues during the current, Covid-induced Great Depression, now profess that they plan to withhold funds from cops in deference to the “defund the police” movement. They’re a bunch of Kente-clothed liars, of course, but movements are about amassing power to the people, not collecting promises from corporate flunkies. That means demanding community control of the police, and of those funds that local governments are supposedly diverting from the police to social programs.

If anything has been learned from the past half century of Black reliance on Democratic Party politicians, it is that no lasting victories can be achieved without the transfer of control of public resources directly to the people. That was the meaning of “All Power to the People” when the phrase was coined, and must remain the goal of the movement, today.

“No lasting victories can be achieved without the transfer of control of public resources directly to the people.”

Although there is no intrinsic contradiction between the three most-voiced demands of the current movement — community control of police, defunding the police, and abolition of policing as we know it – only proposals for community control of the police directly confront the issue of power in the here and now, and also address demands for direct democracy and Black self-determination. Community control of the police was essential to the formation of the Black Panther Party, and has been an active demand of Chicago organizers since 2012.  Support for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) has grown from only one of the 50-member city council (board of aldermen) to 19 co-sponsors  of the enabling legislation. Last fall, more than a thousand activists from across the country met in Chicago to endorse the concept of community control of police, and pledged to fight for its enactment in 22 cities – a list that has grown with the wave of George Floyd protests.

Although community control of the police is within reach of becoming law in Chicago, a majority Black and brown city with the second largest concentration of Blacks in the nation, the demand has gotten less traction in nationwide demonstrations than the call for defunding the cops, or eventual abolition. That’s undoubtedly because Black Lives Matter demands have been pervasive in the current demonstrations, and BLM supports defunding of police. However, Black Lives Matter is more a quilt than a monolith, and many Black Lives Matter chapters and individuals also support community control of the police, while CPAC activists also back defunding and abolition of the cops as a logical outcome of community control. The elements of Black Lives Matter that are resistant to community control of police are those under the influence of hashtag founder Alicia Garza, who is now a Democratic Party political player and go-to person for corporate philanthropy.

“Black Lives Matter is more a quilt than a monolith.”

A serious, methodical program of defunding the police requires a community control approach. Ninety percent of actual police duties do not involve making felony arrests, and there is a consensus that cops should not deal with domestic disputes, mentally disturbed people, or a host of social contradictions – and maybe not even traffic control, which long ago devolved into pretexts for criminal charges. Therefore, defunding of police leads directly to the funding of specific public services, some of them currently badly performed by cops and all of which should be overseen by the publics most directly affected. Absent community control, defunding of police will only result in a shrinkage of the domestic army of occupation, not a change in the lethally oppressive relationship, and any social services that receive new funding will be answerable only to the legislators that had previously starved the community of services.

Abolition of the police begins with community control, in which community representatives not only hire, fire and oversee the cops, but decide the nature of the policing that is necessary and acceptable. Community control is a prerequisite to communities policing themselves to the greatest degree possible.

Indeed, communities should control, not just the police, but much of the rest of their neighborhoods’ vital services and resources. The right to self-determination is not confined to the criminal justice system. Therefore, community control of police advocates would be in principled agreement with the Los Angeles Movement 4 Black Lives position : “The most impacted in our communities need to control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us – from our schools to our local budgets, economies, and police department.”

Abolition of the police begins with community control.”

Community control is how we build socialism within the framework of people’s right to self-determination – the principles by which, along with solidarity, we de-colonize and dis-imperialize our world. ”Power to the People” means disempowering the capitalist and white supremacist. Everything else is a diversion, conjured up by the Kente cloth-soiling Black Misleadership Class in service to their bosses, the oligarchs. They have betrayed us repeatedly and laughed at our willingness to trust them yet again. In George Floyd’s name, let this be the end of it.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .

The End of Sanders, and Maybe the Beginning of a Mass Independent Left

Source:  Black Agenda Report

April 19 2020

by Glen Ford

As BAR has maintained for the last two presidential seasons, the best outcome of the primaries would be a mass exit from the Democratic Party, the fraudulent left section of the oligarch-ruled duopoly


The End of Sanders, and Maybe the Beginning of a Mass Independent Left

Sander’s early Return of the Prodigal Son to the bosom of the Party allows him to escape the deep critique of capitalist medicine and political-economy that would be required of a “leftish” presidential candidate as this never-in-our-lifetimes crisis unfolds.

A core of Sanders supporters will experience a eureka moment and exit the Democrats, in body and mind.”

The COVID-19 epidemic has exposed the privatized US healthcare structure’s woeful incapacity to cope with a general health emergency, as well as the failings of Europe’s austerity-shrunken public health care systems. Although Donald Trump’s actions, inactions and idiotic blatherings have added immeasurably to the death toll, a major medical and economic catastrophe was inevitable once the virus was loosed on a defenseless U.S. public. Trump didn’t create the conditions that made the United States so vulnerable to a killer virus. That’s one of the many crimes of capitalism, which at its late stage is methodically starving what’s left of the public sphere and privatizing every conceivable human enterprise for the ultimate benefit of the Lords of Capital – the ruling oligarchy.

Bernie Sanders claimed to be running against the oligarchy in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, but meekly surrendered to Joe Biden, the personification of the glad-handing corporate shill and champion of the status quo, once the momentum of the primaries had turned. Sanders said he would resume his duties as a full-time senator doing “the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour.”

A major medical and economic catastrophe was inevitable once the virus was loosed on a defenseless U.S. public.”

But the raw truth is, Sanders surrendered unconditionally to a Democratic Party that is, in the Age of Trump, the electoral representative of the bulk of a fractured U.S. ruling class – the oligarchy. Without warning, Sanders demobilized his legions, even while claiming to continue to lead “a grass-roots, multiracial, multigenerational movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down, but always from the bottom on up.” Sanders thanked  his generous followers, nearly two million of whom donated at least $167 million  to his campaign. Unknown millions remain unspent, and much more could be raised from even a greatly diminished cohort of Sanders true-believers if the self-described socialist was sincere about leading a well-funded “movement” outside the corporate duopoly. But Sanders is going out as a fraud who will refuse to turn over either unspent campaign monies or precious voter lists to his “grassroots” supporters or anybody outside the Democratic Party.

It is widely believed in Sanders’ circles that his greatest fear is to become like Ralph Nader, the former Green Party presidential candidate who is still vilified for supposedly throwing the 2000 election to George Bush. But Nader was the least of Democrat Al Gore’s problems and has nothing to be ashamed of. From publication of his corporate-pummeling 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed : The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, and the phenomenal growth of Nader-inspired Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGS) two decades later, Nader has been a potent critic of oligarchy who, at 86, still rages at the machine from the outside. But Sanders, who has always caucused with Democrats, cannot imagine life outside the corporate duopoly. Despite his austerity-busting agenda, Sanders remains an “inside man” – in the same sense as criminals of that description. This month he ended the charade and was welcomed back into the “family” – one of the two parties the Lords of Capital can rightly call “our thing” (la cosa nostra).

“Sanders cannot imagine life outside the corporate duopoly.

Sanders punked out early this time around, with language as contradictory and dishonest on-its-face as Trump-speak. “I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates,” said Sanders in his surrender statement . “While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention.” But of course, you cannot keep piling up significant votes and delegates while simultaneously conceding victory to a corporate flunky – thus making Sanders’s “suspended” campaign unfit for even “protest” votes.

For the second time in two presidential cycles, Sanders has lived up to Bruce Dixon’s depiction of him as a “sheepdog” for the Democrats. “Sheepdogs are herders,” wrote Dixon, the BAR co-founder who died last June, “and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic Party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two party box.” That’s Sanders to a T.

Sanders bowed out of the race the minute his momentum stalled, at the very same time that the greatest combined health and economic calamity in U.S. history was gripping the nation by the throat – a teaching moment if one ever existed, if health care and economic inequality were really Sanders’ top priority. He did acknowledge the ballooning crisis: “In terms of health care, this current, horrific crisis that we are now in has exposed for all to see how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is. The current economic downturn we are experiencing has not only led to a massive loss of jobs but has also resulted in millions of Americans losing their health insurance.”

“For the second time in two presidential cycles, Sanders has lived up to Bruce Dixon’s depiction of him as a “sheepdog” for the Democrats.”

And then he quit the race, relinquishing the presidential primary bully-pulpit in favor of senatorial duties that could easily have been accomplished as a candidate, given that in-person campaign rallies and such aren’t allowed during the emergency. Bernie’s early Return of the Prodigal Son to the bosom of the Party allows him to escape the deep critique of capitalist medicine and political-economy that would be required of a “leftish” presidential candidate as this never-in-our-lifetimes crisis unfolds. In the presence of catastrophe, the logic of Sanders’ own rhetoric would have forced him to go beyond the limits of capitalist discourse – the only language Democrats allow – both in his analysis and campaign planks. Sanders chose to cut the process short, while he could still go home to the Party.

The bulk of older Democrats will wallow in the oblivion of Democratic Party politics, pretending that Trump brought on the crisis, and is indeed responsible for all the ills of capitalism, even though the Democratic National Committee insisted on sending the party faithful into primary voting spots  that were infested with viral death . Older Blacks will betray their own leftish world views – as they do every primary election — and stick with Biden as the only candidate that can beat Trump, although it was Sanders who actually fit that description. But crises do alter and crystalize people’s worldviews. A core of Sanders supporters, numbering possibly several millions, plus many others that did not consider themselves radicals until they saw how “the system” left them naked to COVID-19 and the accompanying economic immiseration, will experience a eureka moment and exit the Democrats, in body and mind. The only question is: will there be alternative, independent political vehicles for their anger and energies that are equipped to handle an influx not seen since the Sixties?

As BAR has maintained for the last two presidential seasons, the best outcome of the primaries would be a mass exit from the Democratic Party, the fraudulent left section of the oligarch-ruled duopoly. (The vast bulk of Republicans have chosen the right home for their racist ilk: The White Man’s Party.) Younger Blacks have not abandoned the historical Black consensus on social justice and peace, and some took part in renewed stirrings of “movement” politics during the “Black Lives Matter” struggles. They will have a lot to think about in the enforced relative isolation of CoronaTime – and may become the 21st century’s Black Left Generation.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

Marcus Smiles: 126 in the African diaspora granted Ghanaian citizenship

126 diaporans gain ghanaian citizenship 3

126 diaporans gain ghanaian citizenship 4

 

marcus garvey 5

In 1920, the late Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. presented his famous “Back to Africa” program in New York City. The program encouraged the black community living abroad as slaves to return to their homelands in Africa.

It was part of a social movement dubbed the “Universal Negro Improvement Association” (UNIA), which was founded by Garvey in his native Jamaica in 1914. Through this movement, the celebrated Jamaican political leader intensified black enslavement and racial discrimination sentiments.

Upon his immigration to the United States in 1917, Garvey embarked on a mission to spread his “Back to Africa” mantra, despite frequent backlash from the black middle and professional classes.

“I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there,” Marcus Garvey told his critics.

But in a very short time, the UNIA attracted a lot of followers throughout Africa, Caribbean, Britain and South America, who empathized with the strong sentiments of black enslavement.

Source:  Marcus Garvey Presents His “Back to Africa” Program in New York

In 1947, a Ghanaian student who had studied ten years in the United States, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah returned to Ghana on the invitation of Joseph B. Danquah, his former schoolmaster. Nkrumah would later become Prime Minister. In his fight for the complete independence for the Gold Coast later to be known as Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah acknowledged his political indebtedness to the political teachings of Marcus Garvey.

kwame nkrumahOn September 7, 1957, Ghana became a free self-governing nation, the first member of the British Commonwealth of Nations to become self-governing. Ghana would later develop a Black Star Line patterned after the maritime dreams of Marcus Garvey. My point here is that the African Independence Explosion, which started with the independence of Ghana, was symbolically and figuratively bringing the hopes of Marcus Garvey alive.

Source:  The Impact of Marcus Garvey, John Henrik Clarke

As long as you are a black man, you are an African – Peter Tosh

Barack Obama and the Ruling Class Target the Black Vote to Smother Sanders

Source:  Black Agenda Report

November 28 2019

Barack Obama and the Ruling Class Target the Black Vote to Smother Sanders

Obama’s principle task is to ensure sure that Black Americans do not vote in the direction of single-payer healthcare and housing for all.

The ruling class needs Obama as an adviser and bully of the Black vote.”

Not a month after condemning “call out culture,” Barack Obama was once again the prized speaker at an event held by Democratic Party “mega donors”  (Wall Street) in Atlanta, Georgia. Seated next to Obama protégé Stacy Abrams, Obama warned Democratic Party candidates of going too far left in their policy proposals. “The average American doesn’t think we have to tear down the system,” Obama said , adding, “They just don’t want to see crazy stuff. They want to see things a little more fair, they want to see things a little more just. And how we approach that I think will be important.”

Related article: Obama approves airstrikes against Libya

Obama’s remarks are just the most recent demonstration of his role as a weapon of counterinsurgency warfare employed by the ruling class to dampen the expectations of workers and oppressed people. His two-term presidency particularly targeted the Black polity. Black America has historically been the most progressive constituency in the United States on the issues of war and economic justice. The ruling class has not forgotten that Black rebellion pressured the formal end of chattel slavery in the American mainland or that Black rebellion overthrew slavery on the island nation of Haiti. Even in the so-called post-slavery period, Black rebellions such as those witnessed in cities across America in the 1960s signaled to the U.S. ruling class that something had to be done to protect the Empire from the transformative aspirations of Black America.

“Obama is a a weapon of counterinsurgency warfare employed to dampen the expectations of workers and oppressed people.”

The Black liberation movement that emerged from the Black rebellions in American cities inspired a ruling class project to craft a misleadership class  which could properly manage the affairs of neoliberal capital. This project was part of a broader two-pronged assault on the world socialist revolution. Black freedom struggles were deemed cells of a communist conspiracy or outright domestic terrorism. Revolutionary movements were violently undermined by the intelligence and military state from Oakland to Vietnam, Detroit to the Soviet Union. Neoliberalism sprouted from the war on socialism and national liberation to eviscerate the last vestiges of social solidarity in the United States. Wholesale economic deprivation provided fertile ground for Black political leaders, fully backed by the Democratic Party, to act as willing accomplices in the immiseration of the toiling masses in the Black community.

Barack Obama is the highest expression of the ongoing counterinsurgency war on the Black left. By targeting the very diverse , and significantly Black , Sanders base, Obama is striking two targets at once. Medicare for All and similar universal policies are “crazy” only to rich white Americans and their Black collaborators. Obama believes in a different kind of universalism, otherwise known as American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism assumes that the poor, especially the Black poor, only want their lives improved “a little” because there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the American system of racism and capitalism.

“Black freedom struggles were deemed cells of a communist conspiracy or outright domestic terrorism.”

Related article:  Obama Endorses Hillary Clinton as His Successor

Obama’s remarks are a warning to Black American voters who may be contemplating whether Bernie Sanders is in fact the most electable candidate in the 2020 Democratic Party. Black voter conservatism was massively intensified during the Obama period and gave credence to a decades long trend of Black Americans voting for any Democrat seen as capable of defeating the White Man’s Republican Party. Polls still show that Joe Biden’s relationship to Obama gives him an overwhelming edge with Black voters  over Sanders and the rest of the field. Obama’s condemnation of Sanders and so-called left Twitter feeds certainly sends a false message that Black Americans should be satisfied with business as usual. However, Obama inspires little confidence that such an approach will lead to the nomination of a corporate friendly candidate capable of defeating Donald Trump.

The truth is that the ruling class needs Obama as an adviser and bully of the Black vote because the rest of the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is mired in a crisis of legitimacy. Many Democratic Party voters now want social democracy and Bernie Sanders’ economic agenda most resembles the class struggle orientation of Black America. Black Americans have always been overrepresented in domestic movements for socialism. Two of the most popular leaders in the Black struggle, Malcolm X  and Martin Luther King Jr ., both advocated for a socialistic economic transformation of U.S. society by the end of their lives. After eight years of rightwing political retrenchment under Obama, the ruling elite understands perfectly well that its political system has lost the legitimacy it once enjoyed with workers in the United States, especially Black workers.

“Obama sends a false message that Black Americans should be satisfied with business as usual.”

That’s because Obama’s two-term presidency absolutely worsened the forty-year long assault on the conditions of the working class. Black wealth suffered the most from Obama’s bank bailouts , which rewarded the very criminal enterprises responsible for the economic crisis. For decades, Wall Street devalued Black property and then sold what Wells Fargo financiers called “ghetto loans” to “mud people.”  Obama not only let the racist bankers walk free, but he also implemented new and more innovative forms of austerity. His administration enforced trillions in deficit reductions and went so far as to place Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block in the name of bipartisanship.

A new study shows that the number of poor people in America has drastically increased when inflation is accurately factored into poverty measures . The study found that inflation is .44 percentage points higher for the bottom 20 percent of income earners than for the top 20 percent of earners. In 2018 alone, 3.2 million more people would be considered impoverished in the United States. The report calls this phenomenon “inequality inflation.” A great number of workers in the U.S. do not qualify for state and federal programs and thus pay a far higher cost of living within a capitalist economy that caters to the consumption patterns of richer Americans.  Furthermore, poverty would be three times higher  than the official measure if the median debt in the U.S., which outpaces the median income in the U.S. by over $10,000, was also factored into the statistical analysis.

“Obama not only let the racist bankers walk free, but he also implemented new and more innovative forms of austerity.”

Obama’s tenure in the White House only exacerbated the great race to the bottom that the U.S. ruling class is smothering Sanders to protect. This explains why Black Americans in cities like Milwaukee  decided to stay home rather than vote for arch-neoliberal Hillary Clinton in 2016. The situation has not improved in the 2020 election. Expert education privatizer and loyal servant of big pharma Cory Booker remains at the bottom of every major primary poll published to date. Mass Black incarceration advocate Kamala Harris has fallen so far from contention that even corporate outlets such as Politico  have described her campaign as being in a state of meltdown.

Neither Booker nor Harris has been able to apply Obama-mania toward their own presidential success. The waning electability of the Black misleadership class in the presidential circus has forced the ruling class to call on Obama to smother the social democratic aspirations of Sanders supporters. Obama’s principle task is to ensure sure that Black Americans do not vote in the direction of single-payer healthcare and housing for all. Of course, Obama is not alone in his crusade to smother Bernie Sanders by way of the Black vote. The “Stop Sanders” movement  is stuffed to the brim with the same big, nasty tent of militarists, Wall Street donors, and corporate media outlets responsible for Clinton’s losing bid in 2016.

“Neither Booker nor Harris has been able to apply Obama-mania toward their own presidential success.”

Former military intelligence operative and mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg has emerged from this tent to become one of the most favored candidates among rich Democratic Party donors. However, Buttigieg is unpopular among Black Americans, especially among Black South Bend residents who have been direct casualties of his support for racist policing  and gentrification . “Mayor Pete” recently released the Douglass Plan for Black America to assuage the concerns of Black voters in the critical state of South Carolina. The Buttigieg campaign was obviously lacking confidence in mustering genuine Black support for the plan and felt compelled to make up such support out of whole cloth. According to Ryan Grim of The Intercept , Buttigieg’s campaign flaunted the support of three prominent Black representatives in South Carolina: Columbia City Councilwoman Tameika Devine, state representative Ivory Thigpen, and chair of the state’s Black Caucus, Johnnie Cordero. None of them had endorsed Buttigieg or the plan, and it is unclear whether the rest of the 400 supporters (half of whom were white) listed on the plan had merely failed to “opt out” of their support as directed in a campaign email.

What is clear from the Buttigieg’s Douglass Plan blunder is that the ruling class has every reason to be nervous over how Black America will choose to behave in the Democratic primary. Deval Patrick’s late entrance into the race hasn’t offered any comfort, either. Patrick is a talentless corporate hack with extensive experience in stealing the wealth of working class people, especially Black people, during his time in prominent positions  at Texaco, Bain Capital, and Ameriquest Mortgages. Ameriquest Mortgages was the largest retailer of subprime mortgages in the U.S. before it was sold to Citigroup in 2007.  This career blemish alone has rendered Patrick’s campaign dead upon arrival.

“The ruling class has every reason to be nervous over how Black America will choose to behave in the Democratic primary.”

Obama, Buttigieg, and Patrick’s recent blunders reflect the crisis of legitimacy currently plaguing the U.S. political apparatus. A large section of the Democratic Party’s base is hungry for social democratic reform while a large section of the world’s population is hungry to free itself from the grip of U.S. imperialism. U.S. imperialism backed a coup in Bolivia, for example, to eradicate a direct threat to its rule abroad. Bernie Sanders and his millions of working class supporters currently represent the gravest threat to the domestic tranquility of the rule of the rich. The ruling class understands that leadership from the Black left is vital to the success of any movement for social transformation in the United States and is once again placing its hope in Barack Obama to save the American Empire’s political apparatus from itself.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News–From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). He can be reached at wakeupriseup1990@gmail.com, on Twitter @spiritofho, and on Youtube at The Left Lens with Danny Haiphong.

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A (Re)Born National “Black and Left-led” Organization Fights for Community Control of Police

Source:  Black Agenda Report
November 28 2019

A (Re)Born National “Black and Left-Led” Organization Fights for Community Control of Police
A (Re)Born National “Black and Left-Led” Organization Fights for Community Control of Police

On the momentum of Chicago’s vibrant anti-police movement – the most advanced in the nation – the city’s Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has gone national after a highly successful conference.

“This movement will be ‘black-led and left-led.’”

Eight-hundred organizers from 28 states gathered last weekend at the Chicago’s teachers union hall to “re-found” the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, an organization initially launched in 1973  by Angela Davis and fellow Communists to resist state destruction of what remained of the 1960s radical movement. Davis, a university professor who became a fugitive and political prisoner when the FBI attempted to entangle her in the 1970 Marin County shootout , was on hand to help restore the Alliance to national status. “We might say that we have acquired more complex approaches to issues of repression that refused to go away,” said Davis, age 75, in her keynote to a spirited rally of mostly young, overwhelmingly non-white activists.

As reflected in the multi-racial and heavily female faces in the crowd, the movement is no longer a primarily Black and heterosexual male-led struggle. And these activists, like Davis, are committed to abolishing the police and prison system, altogether.

“I remember when Huey Newton and Bobby Seale began that process of patrolling the community with a gun and a law book,” said Davis. She called on the new organization to “address the causes of harm rather than rely on the failed institutions of punishment.” People shout the demand: “’indict killer cops.’ I totally understand,” she said. “It makes people feel powerful,” but that means “using the very structure and strategies that are responsible for what we are fighting against.” It’s a contradiction – but life is filled with contradictions. Abolition is the goal, but in the meantime, the police must be brought under the control of the communities that they have always brutalized and sought to suppress.

“We might say that we have acquired more complex approaches to issues of repression that refused to go away.”

The fight to make the Chicago cops accountable to a democratically elected board of community residents began in 2012, the year Trayvon Martin  was killed by white vigilante George Zimmerman and two years before Mike Brown  was shot down by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, ushering in a “Black Lives Matter” movement. Frank Chapman, now 77, had kept the Chicago chapter of the Alliance going after the dissolution of the national organization in 1991; the chapter in Kentucky also hung on as an independent organization. The campaign to establish CPAC, the Civilian Police Accountability Council, began with 150 supporters that met “in a small room in the Englewood section of Chicago,” said Chapman. CPAC eventually amassed 60,000 supporters, the result of years of organizing against police atrocities, culminating in huge protests against the “16 shots” Laquan McDonald murder, the attempted cover-up of which led to Rahm Emanuel foregoing another run for mayor, the resignation of the Cook County state’s attorney, and a murder conviction of the cop.

The campaign to establish CPAC began with 150 supporters eventually amassed 60,000.” 

Chapman and his comrades thought the army of protesters could be strategically converted into an electoral force to push CPAC through the 50-member city council (Board of Aldermen). Before last February’s elections, only eight city council members even paid lip service to CPAC, and only one — Carlos Ramirez-Rosa – could be counted on in a crunch. Chapman recounts how CPAC supporters ran 80 candidates; 63 got on the ballot, and 19 won. “They used to call us the ‘lunatic fringe,’” Chapman chuckled.  “Well, the lunatic fringe is now 40 percent” of the city council.

Jazmine Salas, who co-chairs the Alliance with Chapman, believes that “if there had not been big demonstrations” the Alliance might not have mounted a huge electoral push for CPAC.

City Council passage requires a 26 vote majority, but 34 votes are needed to override the veto that is expected from Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s first Black woman mayor. As a former head of the city’s Police Board, Lightfoot was a staunch defender of cops and the status quo, although she now mouths words favoring police accountability and reform. “The Police Department cannot do its job effectively if it’s not viewed as legitimate in the community,” Mayor Lightfoot told  a Chicago Police Board meeting, last summer.

If there had not been big demonstrations” the Alliance might not have mounted a huge electoral push for CPAC.”

CPAC bears no resemblance to the numerous – and wholly ineffective – community police review boards that have existed in cities around the nation since the late Fifties. The CPAC handout puts it succinctly:

“Democratic civilian control of the police means the community tells the police what to do. It means empowering the people to hold the police accountable for crimes. It means enhancing true public safety through authentic police accountability to our people. And this can only happen when the community writes the rules and regulations governing the police.”

The actual legislation calls for :

A Police Control Council consisting of elected representatives from each of the Wards in Chicago, emphasizing that the Council should represent the racial, ethnic, and economic structure of the City of Chicago,  All Council meetings will be public.

§   Establishing a budget for the Council in order to compensate councilors and meet Council expenses and administering the Police Department budget.

§   The Chief of Police will be appointed by the Council.  Affirmative action will end racial, gender, and ethnic imbalances in the ranks of the Police.

§   Standards for police conduct and proscription of acts of Excessive Force, Assault, Battery and Homicide by a police officer, as distinct offenses will be adopted and enforced by the Council.  There will be a ban on racial profiling.

§   The Council will be the final authority regarding discipline in the Chicago Police Department.

§   The Police Control Council shall have a General Counsel, who will establish an Excessive Force Review Panel.  The General Counsel will have authority to receive, investigate and litigate, all complaints concerning the operation and functioning of the Chicago Police Department. The General Counsel will investigate each complaint and report on its investigation to the Police Control Council within 30 days.  It will have full subpoena power.  All hearings on all complaints will be public.  The Council will also pay for at least two investigators in every police district.

§   Simple complaint forms will be available to anyone at City Hall, all public libraries, and all Police Department District Headquarters.

§  The Council will be empowered to act to secure the appointment of a Special Prosecutor and a Grand Jury limited to investigating and prosecuting brutality and civil rights violations charged against Police Officers.  The Special Prosecutor can be made a permanent position upon request of the Council, charged by the Court to notify the Police Control Council about Information, or indictments, regarding Police Officers recommended for criminal prosecution.

Residents would cast votes for candidates for the Police Control Council, regardless of citizenship status.

“The Council will be the final authority regarding discipline in the Chicago Police Department.”

The Alliance sees “stopping police crimes as a vital strategic facet of the struggle for the abolition of penal slavery and the liberation of Black and Brown communities.” The cops view (Black and Brown) civilian intrusion into their behavior and prerogatives as anathema, and have wielded the huge political influence of the 346,000-member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) union to ban elected police boards in a growing number of states. Organizers from Utah at the Alliance re-founding conference reported that their Salt Lake City Civilian Police Accountability Council was thwarted by FOP-led legislation .

Unperturbed by legislative pitfalls, the conference moved with the velocity of energized organizations (see a partial listing, here ), for whom voting is but one “strategy,” not the be-all and end-all of struggle. Mass action is what brought them to the teachers union hall in Chicago, and mass action would fuel the movement to abolish mass incarceration, root and branch. “Now we’re fighting for a complete change in who runs society,” said Mike Sampson, of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee.

“The system will refuse to shrink itself, so we have to shrink it,” said Tanya Watkins, of Chicago’s Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL). “Police have virtually been trained to kill Black people and terrorize our community. They act as an occupying army. They have bamboozled us into believing that these slave camps keep us safe. The only path forward is community control of the police,” with the goal of Abolition.

“Now we’re fighting for a complete change in who runs society.”

Solidarity was the watchword. “Zionism is white supremacy, a colonial offshoot,” said Nazel Sankari, of the US Palestinian Community Network. “There is no way that you could be for Black liberation if you’re not for Palestinian liberation, because we’re all connected.” In the same way, said Sankari, “How can we talk about Palestinian prisoners and not the two million prisoners in the United States?”

All the delegates spoke the language of anti-imperialism, as inherent in global solidarity.

This movement will be black-led and “left-led,” as delegates repeatedly emphasized. And the political prisoners and unjustly incarcerated will never be forgotten. “We can’t build a movement if we allow them to kill or imprison or deport” our leadership, said Jess Sundin, a grand jury resister and anti-war activist from Minneapolis.

The Chicago formula for community control of the police calls for an elected board of police overseers. However, the conference also heard from organizers from Washington, DC that are pushing for civilian boards selected randomly in every police precinct. Max Rameau, of Pan-African Community Action (PACA), contends that elections are vulnerable to corruption by money-power under capitalism. As Rameau explained, PACA has begun the first phase, “winning people over to the concept of power over the police.” The goal is to hold a referendum on a community control board with powers “substantially” like Chicago’s CPAC. He believes people will be eager to “vote out the police,” and defends the random selection of board members: “If randomly selected people cannot choose which people should be walking around our neighborhoods with guns, then we should immediately empty the prisons,” because juries are randomly selected.

What’s most important, is that people take ownership of, and responsibility for, their community – and not rely on the cops. Folks must envision how an empowered community would provide its own security. “We ask people to imagine that we had 100 organizers with cars and walkie-talkies. What would you do” with them to make your community safer?

“People will be eager to ‘vote out the police.’”

There was no bickering over the various approaches to the eventual abolition of policing as we know it, and of prisons. “Let a thousand flowers bloom,” said Mike Sampson of Jacksonville’s Dream Defenders. “Whatever works, let’s go with that.”

As the conference closed at midday Sunday, Frank Chapman, the grand old man that had kept the Alliance going over the years, told the crowd of mostly young people, “You are the new leaders of this movement. I’m going to use this position to ‘pass-on.’” He warned against sectarianism (without using the term). “You cannot unite people into a mass organization if you’re just talking about ideas,” he said. “Don’t call for a united front and then start fighting with people about their ideas. We need united action to defend our ability to fight this system.”

The re-founded National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression sees itself as a fighting united front. By acclamation, it was decided that a continuations committee meet by early spring with the aim of organizing a full convention the following year.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

This article previously appeared in Portside .

 

Believe Absolutely Nothing the US Government and Media Say About…Anything

Source:  Black Agenda Report

by Glen Ford

Sept 19 2019

Believe Absolutely Nothing the US Government and Media Say About…Anything

In any alliance with corporate oppression and militarism, Black America squanders reservoirs of respect among the Earth’s peoples. We betray ourselves and become Black Gringos.

“The epic struggle for Black self-determination is inseparable from the struggle for peace and a livable planet.”

There was a time, not so long ago, when most Black Americans of all classes were highly skeptical of every word that emanated from the mouths of white folks in power in the United States. A substantial body of Black opinion believed nothing at all that appeared in the corporate media – which, back then, we simply called the “white press.”  It was a wise and healthy skepticism, learned over generations of enduring a constant stream of lies and slander against Black people from politicians and mass media of the two governing parties. These organs and mouthpieces of rich white people’s power were no more to be trusted, as Malcolm X counseled, than “foxes” (Democrats) and “wolves” (Republicans). The logic of the collective Black domestic experience extended to international affairs, as well. We empathized with the “colored” peoples of the world under attack by the U.S. government and media. If white politicians and press lied about us, we knew they were probably lying about their foreign non-white victims, as well. And we were right.

“The organs and mouthpieces of rich white people’s power were no more to be trusted, as Malcolm X counseled, than ‘foxes’ (Democrats) and ‘wolves’ (Republicans).”

Then came the Sixties and our grassroots movement’s victories over official American apartheid. One of the governing parties (the foxes) opened its doors to Black participation, and big business media began putting Black faces in front of the cameras. Racial euphemisms replaced outright slander against Blacks and the lies became more nuanced. But it was not until the advent of the First Black President that African Americans lost much of their traditional skepticism of U.S. government motives, at home and abroad.When Barack Obama threatened to bomb Syria in retaliation for an alleged — and provably false – chemical attack on civilians, in September of 2013, polls showed more Black Americans than whites wanted the bombs to fall. Although only minorities of Americans of all races favored bombing Syria, it was the first time in the history of U.S. polling that Blacks were more bellicose than whites.

Only a decade earlier, in the run-up to President Bush’s 2003 assault on Iraq, the Zogby polling organization had asked a representative sampling of Americans the question: “Would you favor an invasion of Iraq if it resulted in the death of thousands of Iraqi civilians?” Large majorities of white men and nearly a majority of white women were in favor of such an invasion, as were 16 percent of Hispanic Americans. But only 7 percent of African Americans  said, “Yes” – meaning, the U.S. government and media demonization campaign against Iraq had been effective among only a very marginal segment of African Americans. Blacks still empathized with the masses of Iraqi civilians, while whites definitively did not.

“With the advent of the First Black President, African Americans lost much of their traditional skepticism of U.S. government motives, at home and abroad.”

The fact that overwhelming numbers of Blacks also perceived George Bush and his party as hostile to African American lives and interests, certainly made them more empathetic towards Bush’s foreign victims, and the specific reference to “civilians” in the Zogby question is significant. But the erosion of Black internationalism – or, at least, Black American solidarity with other peoples of color in the world – is palpable and inarguable. Two years before the false-flag Syria chemical attack crisis, half of the Congressional Black Caucus voted against a bill that would have halted Obama’s murderous and totally unprovoked bombing of Libya– an African country! – with virtually no protest from Black America.

Obama has retired to the luxurious haunts of the rich and famous classes that he served so well as president. Catastrophically, however, his replacement in the Oval Office by overtly racist Donald Trump is viewed as such an existential threat that much of Black America has made common cause with the FBI, the CIA and the worst warmongers in the Democratic Party in a hysteria to be rid of the Orange Menace. Russiagate is perhaps the most successful psychological warfare operation in U.S. history, and has largely neutralized Black America’s traditional aversion to U.S. imperial aggressions.T he Democratic Party and most of the corporate media have for the past three years been furiously mobilized behind a CIA-instigated “resistance” that is NOT directed against Trump’s pro-rich, anti-Black and poor people policies, but rather seeks to solidify public support for U.S. military and economic domination of the world — an imperialism of planetary terror and blackmail and domestic austerity and deprivation.

“The erosion of Black internationalism is palpable and inarguable.”

Black America cannot possibly achieve anything meaningful by siding with corporate Democrat Foxes and CIA Rattlesnakes in their ongoing coup against the Orange Peckerwood and his legions of crackers. Russiagate is a stealth assault on all who disagree with the corporate narrative and rich people’s version of Truth. The only victors will be the oligarchy of Fat Cats and military-industrial complex Wolves. African Americans are admired the world over as a people that Fight the Power, not as conniving co-conspirators with humanity’s enemies. The Foxes need Black votes to get their turn at stealing the eggs, but their leaders have assured the Fat Cats that there will be no Medicare for All, no dignified minimum wage, no forgiveness of college debt, no Green New Deal, no relief from gentrification and no retreat from half a century of militarized policing and mass incarceration of Black America.

There will certainly be no let-up in the campaign of starvation that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of mostly Black, brown and indigenous Venezuelans, a bipartisan, 20 year-long aggression; or the Dem-Rep tag-team’s multi-generational siege of Iran, a country that has not invaded anyone in centuries; or the Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump military occupation of Africa, which has killed more than six million in Congo, alone.

“The Foxes need Black votes to get their turn at stealing the eggs.”

The Foxes want to annihilate Russia, while the Wolves would blot out China. Neither can accept a world in which the U.S. ruling class is not supreme over the planet. In an alliance with such evil, Black America loses more than its soul – we squander the reservoirs of respect that generations of African American fighters for human dignity have earned among the Earth’s peoples. We become Black Gringos, while still at the bottom of the American heap – a most ignominious end to our saga.

We find our real allies in struggle against the Lords of Capital — the Fat Cats that have made our world a killing field. The epic struggle for Black self-determination is inseparable from the struggle for peace and a livable planet. Join the Black Alliance for Peace, the Black is Back Coalition and the Black Agenda Report team at the People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet, September 20 – 23rd, in New York City.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

The Black Stake in the Green New Deal

Source:  Black Agenda Report
March 7 2019

the black stake in the green new dealBlack people should see the Green New Deal as an arena of self-determination, communal repair, and justice-creation.

“In its broad outlines, the Green New Deal is a transformative program that calls for democratic reconstruction of U.S. society.”

The debate over some form of Green New Deal is destined to dominate political discourse in the coming decade, as the clock ticks toward a United Nations panel’s 2030 deadline to avoid climate catastrophe by holding global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade. A Green New Deal bill –actually, a non-binding resolution — submitted last month by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, so far has 89 co-sponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate including endorsements from Democratic presidential hopefuls Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris. Bernie Sanders backs the resolution and promises to develop his own Green New Deal plan.

With 80 percent of registered voters generally in favor (92 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of Republicans), the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey Green New Deal is at least as popular as Sanders’ signature proposals on Medicare for All and free public college tuition. But the oligarchic .01% beats super-majorities every time under the two-corporate-party electoral system, and the oligarchy demands that there be no retreat from austerity and eternal warfare. The Democratic presidential contest sets the stage for an empire-shaking confrontation between popular forces demanding protection from the terrifying insecurity and unfairness of madhouse capitalism versus the political servants of the rich. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was caught red-handed plotting with insurance companies to sabotage Sanders’ Medicare for All bill (see BAR, Feb 13), and is sure to treat every austerity-threatening measure as a poison pill, no matter how popular in the polls. But Pelosi’s billionaire bosses will be driven apoplectic by the Green New Deal, the drumbeat for which will grow louder and louder as humanity approaches the next of many climatic points of no return.

“The oligarchic .01% beats super-majorities every time under the two-corporate-party electoral system.”

Of all the supermajority-backed proposals on offer, the Green New Deal has the potential  to mobilize the broadest and deepest popular forces to challenge the political hegemony of the Lords of Capital. In its broad outlines, the Green New Deal is a transformative program that calls for democratic reconstruction of U.S. society in defense of the global homeland: the biosphere. Derived from the Green Party’s New Deal plan and its “Economic Bill of Rights,” first put forward in 2006, the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey resolution calls for achieving “global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030…and net-zero global emissions by 2050” by overhauling the industrial and agricultural structures and habitats of the nation, at breakneck speed, while simultaneously redressing the injustices inflicted on “frontline and vulnerable communities” (mainly people of color) in the course of U.S. history.

Specifically, the GND aims to “promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.”

“The GND aims to ‘promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression.’”

The GND’s authors recognize that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal actually strengthened the racial caste system by favoring whites, as did the post-war GI Bill and the federally subsidized suburbanization of the nation — the greatest makeover in U.S., and possibly world, history. This time around, the repair and upgrading of the infrastructure and housing stock of the nation and the provision of “high-quality education, including higher education” for all, is to be accomplished “with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities” as “full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization.”

The Resolution promises to direct economic development investments in ways that “build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities, and deindustrialized communities.” High-quality retraining and education will be accomplished with “community-defined projects and strategies.”

The goal is restorative justice that addresses past crimes against communities that were repeatedly destabilized and made into sacrifice zones for the benefit of capitalists and to satisfy the demands of white privilege. The GND is committed to “ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level.”

The plan envisions creation of 20 million new jobs at living wages while “strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment.”

“The GND is committed to ‘ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities.’”

The Green New Deal is not designed to be a plaything of the oligarchs, but will ensure “a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies.” And care will be taken that “the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment.”

This is fine language, but even if the words survive the congressional process they mean nothing unless the “frontline and vulnerable communities” – communities that have been abused by U.S. capitalism during booms and busts, through periods of industrialization and de-industrialization, suburbanization and urban disinvestment, and now gentrification and mass Black expulsion — aggressively engage the Green New Deal process and assert their human rights, including the right to self-determination.

“The plan envisions creation of 20 million new jobs at living wages.”

The Green New Deal was clearly conceived as a “nation-building” as well as biosphere-saving project. Black people should see it as an arena of self-determination, communal repair, and justice-creation. The best available guideline for waging that struggle is the National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination put forward by the Black Is Back Coalition after two years of development and ratification by community participants in cities across the nation. Many of the Agenda’s 19 Points have immediate and critical relevance to the national makeover project, particularly Point Number 11:

Halt Gentrification through the empowerment, stabilization and restoration of traditional Black neighborhoods. Black people have the right to develop, plan and preserve our own communities. No project shall be considered ‘development’ that does not serve the interests of the impacted population, nor should any people-displacing or otherwise disruptive project be allowed to proceed without the permission of that population. Peoples that have been displaced from our communities by public or private development schemes have the Right to Return to our communities, from New Orleans to Harlem.”

“The Green New Deal was clearly conceived as a ‘nation-building’ as well as biosphere-saving project.”

If the GND is to fulfill its mission while “promoting “justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression” then it must respect the self-determinist rights of the “frontline and vulnerable communities” — mainly people of color, who must be the principal planners in the new ecological order. And since the Green New Deal does not envision a transition to socialism as inherent in the project, the Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination’s Point Number 12 is highly relevant:

“Black Business must be nurtured by public development banks and protected from strangulation by corporate chains and monopolies. Black community planning agencies must protect and give preferential access to local entrepreneurs and cooperatives willing to operate in harmony with the community’s developmental plans, with a special emphasis on agriculture. Accordingly, we demand immediate Reparations for Black Farmers and an end to the land theft and discriminatory laws and practices used against Black farmers in the U.S.”

Ocasio-Cortez and Markey’s Green New Deal mandates that high-quality retraining and education will be accomplished with “community-defined projects and strategies.” Black communities will likely consider that a green light for community control of such institutions of learning, as is their self-determinationist, democratic right.

Indeed, the 19 Points of the National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination are critical to “ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes” in all interactions between Black America and an historically hostile United States.

The oligarch-owned Democratic leadership and corporate media (the same folks that brought us Russiagate) will wage relentless, dirty war against the Green New Deal and the other super-majority-supported healthcare, education and living wage measures, likely resulting in the breakup of the Democratic Party – a welcome and necessary outcome. The rupture could be set in motion this election cycle if the Lords of Capital instruct their media and party operatives to treat the Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez agenda as an existential threat. Every passing day, however, more Americans awaken to the reality that the rule of the rich must end, so that the Earth can live. The current system is rigged for mass extinction. We need a whole new deck of cards. Black folks would like to get free before the lights of the world go out.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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BAR: Venezuelan Elections Cleanest in the World

Source:  Black Agenda Report

March 5 2019

 

 

Efia Nwangaza, who served as an international observer of Venezuela’s most recent election, agrees with former President Jimmy Carter that “Venezuela has the most transparent and cleanest elections of any country in the world.” The US has no respect for law or truth, said Nwangaza, director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina.

MLK: “Capitalism has out-lived its usefulness”

Source:  People’s World
January 18 2018

MLK: “There’s something wrong with capitalism”

Racist violence and economic injustice were among the problems Dr. Martin Luther King laid at capitalism’s doorstep. Here, King looks at a glass door of his rented beach cottage in St. Augustine, Fla. that was shot into by someone unknown on June 5, 1964. | Jim Kerlin / AP

 

Throughout his life, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke often and with vision about the nature of capitalism and the kind of changes needed to replace it. The following quotes reflect some of King’s key thoughts on the subject. The power of his words speaks as much to the present day as they did to the turbulent times he witnessed.

“I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic… [Capitalism] started out with a noble and high motive… but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today, capitalism has out-lived its usefulness.” – Letter to Coretta Scott, July 18, 1952.

“In a sense, you could say we’re involved in the class struggle.” – Quote to New York Times reporter, José Igelsias, 1968.

“And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society…” – Speech to Southern Christian Leadership Conference Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.” – Speech to the Negro American Labor Council, 1961.

“We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power…. This means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”- Report to SCLC Staff, May 1967.

“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.” – Speech to SCLC Board, March 30, 1967.

Dr. King speaks in Atlanta in 1960. | AP

“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective—the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income… The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.” – Where do We Go from Here?, 1967.

“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.” – Speech to his staff, 1966.

“[W]e are saying that something is wrong … with capitalism…. There must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.” – Speech to his staff, 1966.

“If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.” –  Speech at Bishop Charles Mason Temple of the Church of God in Christ in support of the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike on March 18, 1968, two weeks before he was assassinated.

MLK Global