The Ballot and the Bullet: Now more than ever! Campaigning for Self-Determination

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The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is convening our fifth Electoral Campaign School on April 10 and 11, 2021.

The Electoral Campaign School is a means by which we open up a new front in the struggle for black self-determination within the U.S. and elsewhere.

With the Electoral campaign school, the Coalition challenges the monopoly of the electoral arena by a select segment of our community that has special ties to capitalist white power.

The political situation in the U.S. is characterized by extreme turbulence. The failed post-election soft coup by former President Donald J. Trump was extended to a near-successful hard coup on January 6, 2021 when a mob of mostly white insurrectionists attacked the U.S. Capitol attempting to prevent the congressional verification of Biden as president.

On the date of the Biden inauguration, symbolic of the much-esteemed U.S. model of peaceful democratic transfer of power, more than 25,000 national guardsmen, five times the number of U.S. military troops said to be deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, were necessary to protect the ceremony.

Millions of the 75 million white people who voted for Trump are still loyal to him and his political line; many believe that the election was stolen from Trump and from them

Thousands appear ensconced in highly politicized radical white nationalist organizations, some of which are heavily armed and threaten the electoral process as it currently occurs within the U.S. Several state legislative bodies are changing their election laws to conform more closely to what Trump supporters have demanded.

On the other side of the coin is the Biden administration and those tied to it by economic and political interests, including high finance, the capitalist war industry and major corporate lobbyists – the very same capitalists who supported Trump. 

The broad masses of our people and allies are left to an assortment of black and white liberals, some of whom call themselves progressives and communists. This mis-leadership and fear of a second Trump regime are responsible for many voting for the Biden presidential ticket. 

Both the Trump and Biden administrations are representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties of the white colonial-capitalist ruling class. Their differences are between the white rulers of this country and seldom speak to the compelling issues of our people or of the majority of colonized and oppressed peoples in the United States and throughout the world.

Both sectors of the ruling class and their ruling parties arrogantly assume that the electoral future of the people is in their hands. We know different. This is why the Black is Back Coalition decided several years ago to provide leadership for our people who engage in electoral politics. This allows the people to advance our struggle against the entire colonial-capitalist system while electoral politics are still an option.

We will teach ordinary African people – workers, activists, women and youth – how to run for office. The Black is Back Electoral School will also address the age-old question of whether or not there are any legitimate gains to be won by Africans participating in elections in a colonial-capitalist system.

Our Coalition has concluded that elections are not the only method of struggle and we have responded to the 1963 declaration by Malcolm X of “the ballot or the bullet,” with the timely refrain that it will take the ballot and the bullet.

In 2016, the Black is Back Coalition laid the foundation for participation in any election by initiating a successful year-long popular process to create a National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination as a general guide to political work throughout the U.S.

In April of 2017, we held our first Electoral Campaign School in St. Petersburg, Florida, attended by Africans from several states within the U.S. In addition to teaching African people the steps for running for office, we were intent on arming activists with a platform for self-determination as the basis for  their electoral campaigns.

The Coalition has seized custody of an electoral process that has historically been separated from and used against our people and struggle. We now have a tool that we can use to positively affect the lives of our community.

Our National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination provides us with a program that is both historical and timely. The call for reparations, black community control of police, and education represent part of a historical continuum, bringing key demands from the revolutionary period of the 1960s into today’s crisis-ridden electoral arena. 

Our platform also addresses the issues of African women and the black family as well as the vicious population displacement known as gentrification. 

Activists who attend the Coalition’s Electoral Campaign School will be expected to address these issues and others like the genocidal incarceration of our people, political prisoners, joblessness, healthcare and the host of other planks from our National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination for use in their electoral campaigns.

This is the necessary political intervention of our struggle for self-determination. It will help to keep our people focused during this period where the Biden administration is attempting to obscure the relationship between itself and the much-hated Trump administration by resuscitating a COVID afflicted economy with temporary mass infusion of loyalty-creating cash stimuli into our pockets and bank accounts.

The BIBC electoral school is especially important during this period of extreme crisis for the system that offers both threats and serious possibilities for our struggle. 

The electoral Campaign Schools can mobilize thousands of our people to contend with the rabid Trump-inspired, influenced and organized white nationalists within the electoral system. Candidates running on our National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination will be able to deny them hegemony in this space.

Our school will also enable the people to challenge the insipid and duplicitous program of Biden and the Democratic Party. The people will be able to fight the whole family of canines, wolf and fox alike.

Those who are interested in running for office or knowing how the electoral process works should be there.

Everyone with an interest in extending the struggle for African liberation should attend this important school.  

The school will not only instruct attendees on how to run for office, but they will also learn how to get issues like reparations and community control of police and education on local ballots, where legal. There will also be instructions on how to initiate recalls to remove opponents of our freedom from office. Black, white or otherwise.

Join the scores of activists who will attend this school. Take this opportunity to extend the recognized parameters of our struggle to include all fronts.

In the past, the methods of struggle for liberation of our people have been posed as either the ballot or the bullet. 

This period demands we be able to redefine the struggle as one using every method – the ballot and the bullet. Now, more than ever: campaigning for self-determination.

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