Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 16:57:10 -0500
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Charles Brown <CharlesB@CNCL.CI.DETROIT.MI.US>
Subject: U.S. Black Radical Congress position paper

A Black liberation agenda for the twenty-first century

The Position of The New York Metro Local Organizing Committee of the Black Radical Congress. A Call for Sisters & Brothers to Re-Unite and Fight for Liberation!! [December 1998]

We are at war! We recognize the rise of US. style fascism to try to save the day for white supremacy and its imperialist capitalist master. These unprincipled and ruthless forces have never let up in their attempt to keep the working class—and particularly Black America—enslaved in one form or the other. In spite of the lies in their media, we all can see and experience economic oppression.

Rising unemployment is occurring because of a combination of runaway shops to Asia and Latin America coupled with the use of more and more high technology that permanently pushes workers out of the labor market.

Increasing personal debt because the big global banks like Chase and BankAmerica have created three generations of debt-ridden workers through their loan shark credit scam. The US working-class is more than $1 trillion in debt! There is no way out of this except by revolution!

When we do find work, the job is usually a miserable experience that never pays enough. The Black worker faces daily racist attacks and the worst working conditions. Millions of Black workers face chasing after low paying part time jobs and/or full-time jobs that pay not much more than the cost of going to and from work. To make matters even worse, young Black workers—by the hundreds and thousands—enter the ranks of the permanently unemployed—not just as members of the reserve army of labor, but as members of the reserve army of criminalized youth.

For Black women Patriarchy poses an additional cruelty: the daily dosage of sexist attacks and exploitation on and off the job. The very nature of the social, economic and cultural system in the US defines the Black woman as the lowest paid when working and the most unemployed when not.

Brothers and Sisters! In spite of the fact that the ruling class has us crammed into poor housing or on the streets; has us in a forever sickly conditions because of a very shoddy and expensive medical care; gives our children massive dosages of mis-education or pushes them out of schools and into prisons; poisons our food, land and air for the sake of profit maximization.

Despite all of this capitalism is in deep trouble. The world financial crisis gets worse and worse everyday. The rich and super-rich desperately try to find ways to shore up their investments as they blame Blacks and Latinos for their domestic troubles and Africa, Asia and Latin America for their international disasters. These present day leaders of the highest form of organized crime bumrush under-developed nations with their World Bank and International Monetary Fund demands that render all social and ecological needs irrelevant. This international capitalist Mafia forces impoverished nations to pay up their debt on debts or…die.

They are also determined to cut back on the few democratic rights we fought for and won in the US.! Their solution is more repression, more racism, more sexism. We must continue our fight for reparation and Affirmative action, free and open access to publicly funded colleges and universities, affordable healthcare for all, and electoral candidates of our choice-not just those appointed and anointed by the rich. We must have legal equality in the courts. We will continue to fight for the right to live wherever we want without white supremacist vigilantes called police or the Militia chasing away and killing our families.

Brothers and Sisters! We have no option in the beginning of the 21st Century but to unite and fight in the same spirit that our ancestral Freedom Fighter, Frederick Douglass, said 150 years ago:

…This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blow, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Brothers and Sisters! By now, 150 years later…we know “the exact amount of injustice and wrong.” As Black Radicals, we know deep in our hearts and souls that we have no choice but to dedicate our lives to struggle for life and justice…peoples' justice.

As Black Radicals we know that the ruling class today is not giving up an inch or dollar without a fight. As Black Radicals we understand that the very nature of capitalism and imperialism is anti-human and thus, cannot offer human solutions to all of the problems it has created over the past 500 years.

Hence, as Black Radicals we know that the struggle for socialism offers the only humane solution to the world's misery and degradation. And, ultimately, this means as Black Radicals we must fight to bring poor and working people into the leadership to effect revolutionary change.

A Black Radical Congress cannot ignore the rise of conservatism within Black America. This growing Black conservatism is the result of the ruling class nurturing a feeble Black petty bourgeoisie that has existed since the beginning of the enslavement of Africans. Over the centuries, it has grown from a tiny desperate caricature of the white petty bourgeoisie into an influential but still desperate parasite upon Black America.

Now they are used as a buffer between the corporate powers, the US government and the militancy, unity and power of the Black working class and its allies. And for sure they have taken their role seriously carrying out its mandate of being in the vanguard of reversing basic civil rights achievements. They have committed every treacherous act imaginable against African American working men and women. When they are not outright spokespersons for the US ruling class, they attempt to obscure, mystify and sidetrack the Black working class.

As Black Radicals we have a duty and responsibility to oppose those members of the Black petty bourgeoisie who have allied themselves with the ruling class no matter in what “Black” guise they may be sneaking around in.

As Black Radicals, we recognize however that all members of the Black petty bourgeoisie have not aligned themselves with the US. ruling class. Historically, there have been members of the Black petty bourgeoisie who have aligned with the Black working class. We unite with and support them.

As Black Radicals, we condemn the notion that individual preferences—even among Black progressives and revolutionaries—are raised above the demands and needs of the African American masses.

As Black Radicals, we struggle for the right to self-determination for African American people. We have a clear understanding that it is a non-negotiable fact that we exist in a country that enslaved our foreparents and then freed them without compensation or inquiring into whether or not the formerly enslaved African wanted to be a citizen of the US.

Moreover, as Black Radicals, it is past time for new ideas and new blood to be injected into the war for survival in the Black community. We must begin to educate, mobilize and organize our youth to take up the banner of freedom. Historically, youth have been at the forefront of change and liberation. It is our responsibility to identify and support young, new male and female leadership in the Black community. No longer shall their ideas be silenced or shunned. Our future depends on them!!

We see ourselves as African people who embrace Revolutionary Nationalism and PanAfricanism…that sees itself as a leading force within the global anti-imperialist struggle.

In the final analysis, we recommit ourselves to our long tradition of international solidarity with oppressed peoples of Africa and throughout the world.

As capitalism goes raging into the 21st Century, we have no choice but to practice what our ancestral Freedom Fighter, Henry Highland Garnet, said on his deathbed: Let your motto be Resistance! Resistance! Resistance!

  1. We Must Have An End To The Exploitation Of Corporate Capitalism

    We fight for the abolition of white supremacy and capitalist domination over our people, and oppressed people and nations throughout the globe. Capitalism is the root cause of the major forms of war, social misery, hunger and exploitation in the United States and the world.

    African American people, the working class and their allies will never be free or able to achieve their full aspirations as long as capitalism exist. We call upon all people of good will to join in the anti-capitalist struggle to establish a socialist economic system in the United States.

  2. We Must Have Freedom, Self Determination And Full Human Rights.

    We must have an end to all forms of human oppression—racism, homophobia, sexism, discrimination against disabled people, anti-immigrant discrimination, class exploitation, and imperialism. We assert our right for self determination.

  3. We Must Have A Social Policy Agenda Which Invests In Human Beings.

    We believe in a society in which all people have the resources to develop to their fullest potential. This can only occur when the basic needs of all people are met. At minimum, this includes free and universal health care, free child care, quality public education, lifelong access to retraining and vocational learning, and low cost public housing. We recognize the basic right of every human being to have housing. We demand an end to homelessness.

  4. We Must Have A Comprehensive National Economics Policy Which Places The Interest Of People Above Profits.

    We believe that US. corporate capitalism is structurally incapable of addressing the basic economic needs of African Americans, as well as the overwhelming majority of US. working class and poor people. Therefore, we support aggressive measures to restrict and regulate the power and resources of corporations. Government must halt the transfer of capital and jobs out of the country as well as plants and businesses closing. Legislation should be passed which requires public hearings and direct compensation to workers who lose their jobs. Tax the rich. Zero taxes for all earning under $30,000 a year. Replace the minimum wage with a mandated “living wage” for all Americans.

    We demand the nationalization (public ownership) of all public institutions and essential services such as food and agricultural industries, education, air quality, water, utility, health services, childcare and housing.

  5. We Must Have A Society Which Allows For The Healthy And Positive Development Of Our Children.

    Children are society's most precious resources. But in a racist and capitalist society, Black children are frequently the first casualties. We demand quality education, guaranteed healthcare, decent housing and safety for every child.

    Historically the right to an education was reserve for the oppressive ruling class and their allies. As capitalist production became more complex and sophisticated, the need arose for a more educated working class. As a result, a public education system was created to train the working class in new production models. With the dominance of cybernetic, automation, computer technology and the export of working class jobs, the ruling class has determine that it can accomplish more with fewer trained US workers. As a result they no longer invest in public education and see it as training workers they will not employ. Thus the building of prisons and the cut backs in education spending.

    The demand for jobs, closing down prisons, and quality education are inextricably interwoven. We therefore demand the end of prison construction. This money has to be used for public education, from Headstart to graduate school. All factories and jobs that were exported over the last thirty years—that caused the American workers a loss of twenty million jobs—must be brought back to this country. All African American workers have a right to work.

  6. We Must Have Justice In The Legal System.

    One third of all young African American men are currently in jail and prison, on probation, parole or awaiting trial. The US. prison-industrial complex has become a vast warehouse for millions of unemployed and low-wage labor. In the past ten years, the number of Black women in prison has more than doubled. Any Black person is 4 times likely to receive the death penalty than any white person convicted of the same crime. For these reasons, we call for the abolition of the death penalty, the twentieth century's version of lynching.

    We denounce the recent “three strikes” criminal justice provisions as inherently racist and discriminatory to Black and poor people. We demand the release of all Black prisoners convicted of nonviolent crimes. We call for full voting rights for people convicted of felonies, both in prison and after their release, and amnesty for all political prisoners, including those forced into political exile outside the United States. We demand the right of all African Americans to be tried by a jury of their peers.

  7. We Must Have An End To Police Brutality And State Terrorism In Our Communities.

    There are 600,000 police officers in the US, most of whom function like an occupying army in our communities. We call for the strict civilian control of our neighborhoods, and review boards which are empowered to discipline police misconduct. We denounce the deliberate trafficking of drugs and the proliferation of weapons in our communities by organized crime, the CIA and other institutions of the state. We condemn the deliberate criminalization, incarceration and execution of Black youth as a clear violation of human rights.

    We affirm our inalienable right to defend, by any means necessary, our families, our communities, and our selves from state sanctioned terror and corruption. We demand the demilitarization from all federal, state and local police departments of assault weapons i.e. tanks, helicopters, assault rifles and chemical weapons.

  8. We Must Have A Clean And Healthy Environment For Our People.

    We oppose the policy of environmental racism—the fact that three out of every five African Americans live near dangerous toxic waste sites. US. industries today are pumping 2.4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals into our air, and billions more into our drinking water. Thousands of Black people died prematurely and needlessly, because of corporate greed in the environment.

    We demand the immediate closing down of all industries that pollute our communities until methods have been achieved to render them harmless to people, the environment and all living things.

    We demand at government expense that people who are currently living in polluted areas are relocated and receive health related compensation.

  9. We Must Have Full Employment And A Guaranteed Income For All Those Unable To Work.

    We know that 20 million US. residents today are either unemployed or work part-time and want full-time employment. We need a constitutional, legal right to a job, as much as a right to vote. We need government investment in community-based and cooperative institutions to generate jobs.

    We demand emergency action by the government especially in areas of concentrated high unemployment to create real jobs at living wages. We strongly support the struggle of Black working women and men inside the trade union movement, fighting for economic justice. We demand full employment, the right of all able bodied people to work for a livable wage.

  10. We Must Have Civil Rights, Affirmative Action And Reparation As Compensation For Centuries Of Institutional Slavery And Racism.

    We defend the policies of affirmative action, race-based scholarships, and all equal opportunity legislation as absolutely essential in attacking racial inequality. We demand reparations as just compensation for the systematic brutality and exploitation our people have suffered historically and continue to experience today. We claim the legal and moral right to demand and receive just compensation for oppression which was responsible for the destruction of millions of Black people's lives.

    For over three hundred the US capitalist system enslaved Africans brought to this country in chains. This over three hundred years of slavery built the riches of this country. We have never received compensation for this labor of our foreparents. We are calling in then debt now!

  11. We Must Have Gender Equality And Women'S Rights.

    Black women face special and systemic oppression. Since the overwhelming majority of Black women are of the working class, they face class, race and gender discrimination.

    We support full pay equity and the abolition of job discrimination for women. We support strong measures to protect women's lives from harassment, sexual abuse and domestic violence. We defend and support women's full reproductive rights, including the right to a safe and legal abortion.

  12. We Must Have An End To All Forms Of Sexual Discrimination And Sexual Chauvinism.

    We strongly oppose patriarchy, homophobia and all forms of gender discrimination, especially within the Black community and inside Black political organizations. We condemn sexual chauvinistic and legal discrimination in all its forms and condemn orchestrated violence against lesbians, gay men and bi-sexuals.

  13. We Must Have Quality Education.

    Life long learning should be a human right, not a privilege. We demand greater funding for our public schools, investment in teachers salaries, class room construction, computers and other equipment which make learning possible. We demand an anti-racist curriculum and educational programs affirming and reinforcing Black history and culture. We support academic programs for affirmative action in both public schools and universities. We support the preservation and enrichment of historically Black colleges and universities.

  14. We Actively Support The Liberation For All Oppressed People Throughout The World.

    The struggle of peoples of African descent are inextricably linked to the many diverse struggles of oppressed people and nations across the globe. Black liberation cannot be achieved inside the United States outside of the larger, Pan-Africanist and internationalist struggle which is being waged between the haves vs. the have-nots. Our vision of Black freedom in the twenty-first century must be internationalist.

  15. We Must Have A Real Democracy In The United States.

    The real majority in this country consist of the working class and all oppressed people. We favor the abolition of the winner-take-all electoral system, and the creation of proportional representation government. We call for an end to the two party system that functions essentially as one party of capitalism and racism We support the creation of a new mass political party representing the interests of the overwhelming majority of US. people—the working class, Indigenous, African, Latino, and European.

Without justice there can be no peace. We are committed to the fight for the realization of a truly democratic and socially just society. We dedicate ourselves to the abolition of racism and all other forms of human oppression, and the cultural integrity and political liberation of our people.