“The Coalition has been a singular example of independent Black political action and analysis.” Glen Ford
Glen Ford, Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report
In November of 2009, the newly-formed Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations marched from Malcolm X Park through the gentrifying streets of Washington to the White House, loudly denouncing the First Black President of the United States.
Barack Obama had been in office only ten months, but the militarist and corporatist trajectory of his regime was already quite clear.
Obama had retained George Bush’s Secretary of Defense, escalated the drone wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, placed Bill Clinton’s Wall Street operatives in charge of the economy, announced his intention to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, even as he pushed through Congress a health care bill that was largely written by private drug and insurance companies.
Like George Bush before him, Obama sabotaged the Durban II World Conference Against Racism, in order to derail demands for reparations for slavery and colonialism.
And, only 100 days into his administration, Obama had served notice to African Americans that he would propose no programs to alleviate the suffering of Black America, which had been hit hardest by the economic meltdown.
The Black is Back Coalition was determined that the first politician in history to spend a billion dollars to win the presidency would not get a free pass from all of Black America – even if his father was an African.
One of the biggest contingents in that first anti-Obama march and rally was the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, “POP” – perhaps Black America’s most dynamic regional grassroots organization.
POP’s membership, after much debate, had endorsed Obama in the 2008 election, but that did not stop them from chanting their outrage at his policies at the gates of the White House.
The African People’s Socialist Party, whose chairman first proposed formation of the Black is Back Coalition, had reduced candidate Obama to stuttering confusion when they challenged him with the simple question, “What about the Black community?” at campaign stop in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Unity in Struggle
The Black is Back Coalition has since marched loudly and often against Obama and the decadent imperial system that he serves.
In yearly conferences and year-round political work, the Coalition has been a singular example of independent Black political action and analysis.
As the Age of Obama draws to a close, the Black is Back Coalition is approaching its 5th anniversary and preparing for its Annual Conference, August 16 and 17, in Philadelphia.
Affiliated organizations and individuals will gather to assess the state of Black people across the Diaspora, and to map strategy in the perilous months ahead.
After more than five centuries of European dominance of the world, a new epoch is dawning.
Black people must fight to shape the contours of this new world, or be consumed in the spasms of the old imperial order’s chaotic demise.
In Philadelphia, on August 16 and 17, the Coalition will gather once again to advance Black people’s unity in struggle – and to celebrate the fact…that Black is Back!
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.