A critical moment in our history is upon us. In addition to the traditional centuries-long destitution and political repression that has characterized our existence and distorted virtually all our intra-communal relationships within the U.S., there is now an escalation of police and other white violence directed at our people that demands a coherent response.
The entire world is in a state of turmoil. The vast majority of the world’s population that experiences poverty and cruelty as normal features of life is in a state of rebellion.
Because the world capitalist system owes its existence to the enslavement of our people and colonial domination of much of the world, capitalism rests uneasily on a fault line of oppression.
The historical oppression of our people stems from this cruel fact of history. Like most peoples of the world we trace our current conditions of existence to the birth of the capitalist system at the expense of our happiness and human and material resources.
We recognize the escalation of terror against black people that includes State and popular attacks and police and civilian murder. We understand that the prominent expressions of white nationalism revealed through the electoral process to select a new president of the United States are due to the growth of resistance among oppressed populations of the world and within the U.S.
We recognize that the apparent social peace within the U.S. over the past 35 years or so has been illusory, a product of the successful brutal assault by the U.S. government on the struggle of black people for justice and power in the 1960s. Our movement was obstructed by State-imposed repression that included the political murders of important leaders from our community. Among these leaders were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Fred Hampton and others.
The false sense of social peace during this past period also depended on the disruption of the then-developing black agenda that demanded peace, democracy, an end to poverty, political oppression and the acquisition of Black Power.
The U.S. government and its minions of appointed or anointed black leaders have contributed to a defeatist outlook among our people that reduces our struggle to vain attempts to influence the two major U.S. ruling parties to include the interests and aspirations of our people in the otherwise ruthless, terror-inducing imperialist agenda they normally represent.
The U.S. government’s assault on our independent movement for black political power has created a worldview that promotes the U.S. electoral process as the only viable means of forging and pursuing an agenda favorable to our interests.
The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations does not believe that our future should be in the hands of any institution that does not have its origins within our own community and has not been forged through the struggles of our people.
Black people, therefore, are gathering to consolidate our own National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination.
With our National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination we claim responsibility for our own future, independent of the Democratic and Republican parties or any other organization or institution external to our community.
We are fully aware of the long history of betrayal of our people by both parties and refuse to submit our destiny to a slavish dependency on either of them.
As conscious women and men we are declaring our intent to guarantee a future for our children and generations to come by creating an independent agenda for the progress of our people.
We know that this agenda is not all encompassing. It cannot be. Our movement is in a developing stage, having been re-energized most recently by the August 9, 2014 uprising of poor, working-class young people on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri after the police murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
We recognize that our National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination is in contention with the decisions made for us by the rulers of the U.S., their servants in our midst and other African people who may have legitimate disagreements with our views.
But we cannot wait. History will not permit hesitation at this critical juncture. Our people demand participation in creating the future that awaits us.
This development of our National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination is not an attempt to create a new political party or organization.
The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is a coalition in the truest sense of the word: We are an organization of organizations and individuals who have chosen to unite around a common set of principles for self-determination and a conscious struggle against world imperialism.
We have seen the defeat of previous attempts to create a black agenda by prematurely creating new political formations before basic principles and organizational relationships were firmly established that required first loyalty to our people rather than to the Democratic party.
We call on all organizations currently not affiliated with the Black is Back Coalition to join us as part of a process that will extend the political influence of all our movements and organizations while preserving the independence of each.
The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations does not attempt to function as a substitute for any existing organization. We simply provide a forum, a space for the overall expansion of our struggle for self-determination beyond the capacity of most individual organizations.
We can see the world created by slavery and colonialism collapsing before our very eyes. The decline of imperialist white power is visible for the world to see and experience.
Not only are the heroic peoples of the Middle East, South America and Asia engaging imperialism in heated battles for control of their sovereignty and resources, so also are our people throughout Africa, Haiti and various other places in the world, including Europe.
The struggle against colonialism has breached the citadels of Europe and the U.S. White people of Europe––of France and Belgium, for example––are living lives with the kind of insecurity that is common in the colonial territories of Africa and the Middle East from which Europe has extorted lives and resources for centuries.
We are taking up the task of developing our National Black Agenda for Self-Determination while in the throes of a maturing resistance that is primarily a response to open police murder of African men, women and children.
In Dallas, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the actions of Micah X Johnson and Gavin (Cosmo) Long represent the clearest movement toward an armed response to African murders by the U.S. domestic military occupation forces since 1972 when Mark Essex initiated an attack on the New Orleans police department.
Like Essex, Johnson and Long briefly exposed the vulnerability and incompetence of U.S. police forces with their attacks on domestic military occupation forces in Dallas, Texas on July 7th and Baton Rouge on July 17, 2016.
The moment is urgent and history requires us to move decisively and without hesitation.
It is within this context that we offer this National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination for discussion and adoption by our people.
National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination
- Black Women. With this National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, the entire black or African nation declares our commitment to facilitate the elevation of African women to full, equal partnership in our struggle to create a new world of freedom and socialist democracy for a united black community and a world shorn forever of bosses and workers and slaves and masters and where African women will share the power to guarantee that African women are adequately empowered as equal architects of our new world.
- The Black Family. We demand an immediate halt to attacks on the Black family, a genocidal campaign rooted in the Atlantic Slave Trade and embedded in U.S. public and private policy. The United States has waged ceaseless war on the Black family: from the slaveholder that sold Africans as units of private property with no claims to family ties that he was bound to respect; to the denial of adult Black people the human right to protect our families. To the deliberate exclusion of heads of Black households from employment sufficient to provide for our families’ needs. To the systemic undermining of Black family structures through public “welfare” programs such as the foster care system, in which Black children are disproportionately taken away from families and in which parental rights are being stripped from Black parents at an alarming rate. To the criminalization of all Black adults and children by the current mass Black incarceration regime. These intentionally-inflicted harms can only be repaired through the achievement of Black self-determination.
- Black Community Control of the Police. We demand the immediate withdrawal of all domestic military occupation forces from Black communities. This democratic demand assumes the ability of Black people to mobilize for our own security and to redefine the role of the police so that it no longer functions as an agency imposed on us from the outside.
- Free all Political Prisoners. We reject the authority of the U.S. State to imprison persons whose imprisonment is rooted in their defense of Black people’s democratic and self-determination rights. Black people ourselves have the right and responsibility to designate those individuals and categories of prisoners to be immediately released from U.S. confinement and control.
- Roll Back and End Mass Black Incarceration. The U.S. mass Black incarceration regime is designed to contain, terrorize and criminalize an entire people, with the result that one out of eight prison inmates on the planet is a Black person in the U.S. As a minimal demand, every U.S. incarcerating authority must take immediate steps to roll back the national prison and jail population to 1972 levels, resulting in the release of 4 out of 5 current inmates in a process overseen by representatives of the imprisoned peoples’ communities––primarily people of color. As a maximum demand, all Africans must be immediately released from U.S. prisons and jails and our community given the democratic right to determine their fate.
Reparations. We demand reparations consistent with international norms regarding redress for crimes against humanity. This includes the enslavement, colonialism and apartheid from which we suffer up to today. The totality of the repair, according to international law, must include policies, programs and projects that cease ongoing racial crimes, offer restitution and returns us to wholeness, provides compensation that allows for a quality standard of life and individual and collective wealth creation, ensures satisfaction that returns our dignity and achieves rehabilitation for the heart, mind, body and spirit injuries resulting from the centuries of trauma and abuse.
- Self-defense. We declare our human right to armed self-defense from the violent attacks by white citizens and the assaults and murders by the domestic military occupation forces that include various police organizations. We fully recognize that in a struggle for self-determination any act of resistance by the oppressed is an act of self-defense.
- Nationalize the banks and end forever the rule of capital, which has been central to the enslavement, extermination, colonization and denial of self-determination to peoples, worldwide. The process must begin with creation of a National Development Bank as the primary engine of commerce and development, and a Black-directed public bank to finance developmental paths chosen by Black communities.
- Full Employment and a National Minimum Income. We demand that the U.S. government ensure the provision of living wage jobs for all, and a guaranteed minimum income sufficient to support a life with dignity for every household and individual. This goal is immediately achievable and is intended not only to totally eliminate poverty––beginning with historically super-exploited and deprived communities––but to provide families and individuals with the resources and free time to fully contribute to our community’s social, cultural, economic and political development.
- Right to Housing that is safe, secure, habitable, and affordable, with freedom from forced eviction and the process of red lining, traditionally used to deny housing to black people. In addition, we demand reparations for the loss of billions of dollars in Black wealth due to home foreclosures stemming from the U.S. government-supported subprime mortgage scam. Just as the financial institutions that perpetrated the scam were rescued through the massive infusion of federal dollars, so too must the victims of this crime be made whole through a reparations process overseen by representatives of the families and communities that were most grievously harmed.
- 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.
- 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.
- Right to Free Education through post-graduate level. Public schools must meet the highest standards of excellence, under the supervision of educational boards directly elected by the communities they serve. We oppose both for-profit schooling and philosophies of teaching that put profit over human development, and we support democratic educational values and strategies that empower students and their communities to determine their own destinies. In the immediate term, Black people in the U.S. need education that facilitates our liberation from white supremacy and corporate hegemony.
- Free, universal, quality healthcare for all, by a public system that serves the health needs of entire communities, as well as individuals. Given that group health outcomes are closely linked to group political and economic status, past and present, a universal healthcare policy must provide both equal care to all, regardless of social and financial circumstances, and restorative care to historically oppressed communities, which require political self-determination to achieve social and biological wellness.
- Voting Rights. We believe the right to vote, to effectively express a preference for political candidates, parties or social policies, is an inalienable right, the deprival of which results in a kind of social death. In this sense, the vote belongs to communities and peoples, as much as to individuals. Therefore, in addition to an irrevocable right to vote, we demand the use of proportional representation voting systems that more effectively reflect Black people’s political aspirations and opinion. Winner-take-all voting, as practiced in the U.S., is inherently undemocratic and incompatible with Black people’s right to self-determination.
- S. Out of Africa, Asia and Latin America, where U.S. imperialism and support for European colonialism has caused tens of millions of deaths and vast social and physical destruction. In addition to U.S. military withdrawal to within its own currently recognized borders, we demand an end to U.S. proxy wars, drone attacks and political subversion of governments and people’s movements around the globe. Given that the U.S. was the first nuclear power, is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, and has never renounced First Strike, we demand U.S. nuclear disarmament without preconditions––unilaterally, if necessary.
- The West Must Pay its Debt to Africa and its descendants, worldwide. Africa and the rest of the colonized world owes nothing to European and American governments or financial institutions. Rather, reparations should be flowing in the other direction as payback for half a millennium of slavery, colonialism, and imperialist underdevelopment. We reject the suggestion that debt “forgiveness” or “relief” should be considered as reparations. We demand the U.S. immediately drop all debt claims against the formerly colonized regions of Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, and begin negotiations for restitution to those countries.
- Free Palestine, down with Israeli Apartheid. We demand recognition of all rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to an independent, sovereign Palestinian State and the right to return for all Palestinian refugees. The U.S. must immediately end all monetary aid, trade relationships and military cooperation with the Apartheid Zionist State of Israel, until that uniquely barbaric affront to human civilization is dismantled and abolished.
- Climate Change and Toxic Pollution Created by Capitalism must end. We demand that the capitalist countries take responsibility for the destruction of the environment through policies based on the parasitic profit motive. We recognize that capitalist-induced climate change for our brothers and sisters on the Continent of Africa is a matter of life and death due to the resulting drought, death, famine and starvation. We recognize that capitalist pollution and toxic waste dumps in Africa as well as in our communities throughout the U.S. endangers the health of African people everywhere. We recognize that the same system that built itself through colonial occupation, genocide and enslavement has no regard for the safety of the planet and the health of our communities.