Black Liberation Movement

Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

Beyonce and her dancers perform in pseudo-Panther gear, pretending that resistance to the state is a matter of fashionability.  “It is incredibly naive to think that anything subversive or even remotely oppositional to the interests of the capitalist oligarchy would be allowed expression on a stage that it controlled.” Assata Shakur is an example of “total resistance that can’t be co-opted by bourgeois culture.”

McKesson's Colbert Appearance is the Direction Imperialism Wants for the Black Lives Matter Movement

by Danny Haiphong

DeRay McKesson, the twitterist whose followers have met twice with Hillary Clinton, appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show to conduct what looked like another of Campaign Zero’s “racial sensitivity sessions.” Outrageously, McKesson has compared charter schools to the Black Panther Party’s free breakfast program. He relies on the very architects of the racialized order to keep “his career prospects safe and power snugly in the hands of the oppressor.”

An Unbroken Line: New Afrikan Resistance from 1619 to the Present

by Kali Akuno

The current upsurge in Black “movement”-type politics has been in the making for a decade. Katrina “reawakened the Black radical imagination” in 2005. Like a wave, the momentum built through the Jena 6 campaign and the Justice for Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin actions, culminating in the 2014 rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri. “This is a new moment where our people are learning more in a few days then they typically do in decades.”

The Hidden Colors of Frances Cress Welsing’s Historical Legacy

by R.L. Stephens II

Many are mourning the passing of Dr. Frances Welsing, whose melanin-based genetic pseudo-science found an eager audience among several generations of Black Americans. Her theory of genetic warfare is, in fact, a profoundly counter-revolutionary “impediment to Black liberation” that will “continue to plague Black political efforts years after her passing.”

A Sacrificial Rahm? Mayor 1%, Racist Policing, and Metropolitan Disorder

by Paul Street

Black Chicago is fired up – which means that Corporate Chicago may be in a mood to fire Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whom they trusted to “keep ghetto residents pacified.” Protesters ruined Black Friday for Magnificent Mile merchants, teachers are threatening to strike again, and a mayoral recall is possible. Militant youth declared that “Task forces, press releases, symbolic replacements of one crony for another are no longer enough to mollify the masses.”

Reflections on Multiracial Identity on Another Thanksgiving Passed

by Danny Haiphong

The U.S. imperial domain floats on raw force and fairy tales. One myth “paints the U.S. as a safe haven for people of different backgrounds instead of the genocidal settler state that it is.” Another tale holds that multi-racial identity “carries with it new experiences with racism not yet easily understood or dealt with.” The truth is, the racist to the core, and “proponents of multiracial identity possess little interest in solidarity.”

“Black Lives Matter” Groups Hoping for a Big Payday

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

This week, the billionaires that fund the Democratic Party and its satellite organizations will decide which of the “Black Lives Matter” groups will get paid to lead the Black “movement.” The #BlackLivesMatter network and Campaign Zero are eminently qualified for funding, having “already been accorded the status and privileges of constituent Democratic Party organizations.” Who else will make the corporate cut?

This Ain’t Your Grandfather’s Civil Rights Movement

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Shaun King and others like to compare today’s incipient movement to the civil rights era. But that’s a mistake. Today’s youth confront “a profoundly post-civil rights phenomenon”: the Mass Black Incarceration State, a national project that was created as a response to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Black folks in the early Sixties appealed to the feds for protection. Today, the feds are the ones who will take you out.

The Corporate Media is Never Your Friend

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

After bringing the University of Missouri to its knees, Black students wanted some privacy in a “black space,” away from the peering eyes and suspect motives of the media. Media does, however, have its privileges. When Black activists and their allies challenged media privilege, their heroic struggle against racism was instantly downgraded to the actions of a “mob.”

Garza vs. McKesson: The Great Debate Over How the Democratic Party Will Liberate Black People

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

One side wants the Democrats to sponsor a town hall meeting on racial justice, the other prefers that the Party hold a Black issues oriented debate. Both #BlackLivesMatter and Campaign Zero have earned semi-official status as Democratic Party affiliates. The question is: Who is taking care of the “movement”?

#BlackLivesMatter: Chat Partners with Hillary

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The #BlackLivesMatter organization is now part of the 2016 Democratic Party election machinery, assuming its role as a power broker on behalf of Black people. It’s a familiar historical pattern, except for the speed with which the transition has taken place. “The #BLM philosophy is that therapeutic dialogue with members of the power elite is politically more effective than the presentation of core demands.”

“My Dedon, my Dedon, my Dedon: Dedon Kamathi Still Ready for the Revolution”

by Cynthia McKinney

In a time when true friendship is a lost art, I can truly say that Dedon Kamathi was my friend. How difficult it is for me to use the past tense.

Black Lives Matter as Much as Syrian Lives Do: The Geopolitical Dimension of White Supremacy and the State

by Danny Haiphong

U.S. foreign and domestic policy both serve the same corporate master, whose primary pursuit is profits. “The same trillion dollar military apparatus that Washington utilizes against Syria also militarizes the police to occupy the streets of Ferguson, Baltimore, and Black cities all over the US.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of August 17, 2015

Black People Should ‘Police’ Themselves

The Milwaukee chapter of BND, the Black National Defenders, hold rallies every Saturday and knock on doors in neighborhoods to engage young people in political struggle, rather than fighting among themselves. “We’ve created a hot-line that people can call” to get the BND to intercede in disputes, said organizer Amerikus Luvene. The BND has chapters in Detroit and Baltimore, and is a member of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, which holds its national conference August 22 and 23, in Philadelphia, under the theme, “Black Power Matters: Black Community Control of the Police.” Ultimately, said Luvene, “we’d like to replace the police” in our communities.

Money CAN Change a Movement

“We’ve watched how easily movements can be co-opted, can be bought,” said Phillip Agnew, of the Dream Defenders, the youthful activist group that came together during the outrage over Trayvon Martin’s death, in Sanford, Florida, in 2012. “Something that began very organically, very raw and unaffiliated, unbought and unbossed, can become just the opposite in a short matter of time.” In the year since Michael Brown was shot down by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, the Dream Defenders have witnessed how “different elements have been able to flourish, that have been smart and strategic,” said Agnew, while others have “been elevated to support a reactionary, separatist view, a sectarian view of liberation for poor people and Black people in this country.”

The Change is in US

“We seen little change in terms of public policy” over the past year, said Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, at a demonstration over the arrest of Millennial Activists United leaders, in Ferguson, Missouri, last week. “Everything we’ve seen has been cosmetic. But, we’ve changed,” said Sekou, who was also arrested in protests commemorating the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. “We’re going to support our young people and defend them at all costs.”

Father Mike Kinman, dean of the Christ Church Cathedral, in St. Louis, provided a haven for protesters who were later arrested fro speaking out against police violence. “This is criminalization of the First Amendment, and it is being done only to our Black and brown brothers and sisters,” said Kinman.

Eyes on Justice

Dr. Cornel West, the nation’s best known public activist-intellectual, was among those arrested in Ferguson, where he spoke at a church rally. “The challenge of every generation is whether you are willing to channel your righteous anger and your moral outrage into love of justice or hatred and vengeance,” he told the crowd. President Obama took seven years “before he could find his voice to go to a prison,” said West. “Black faces in high places don’t always translate into justice for poor people.”

Washington Still Has Designs on Cuba

After more than half a century, the U.S. embassy in Havana formally reopened, last week. But, that doesn’t mean U.S. subversion against Cuba will end any time soon, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of many books, including Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. Horne noted that the U.S. became even more aggressive against Haiti after Washington finally recognized the Black republic, 58 years after the triumph of the Haitian revolution. “At best, you can expect Washington to simply change its strategy to destabilize the Cuban revolution,” said Horne.

Haiti Votes – Four Years Late

For the first time in four years, Haiti held elections for its national legislature, earlier this month. “The election had many serious problems,” especially the lack of voting sites in poor neighborhoods, said Brian Concannon, of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. This was also the first time since the U.S.-backed coup and occupation of 2004 that the Lavalas party, which used to command huge majorities at the polls, has been allowed to field candidates. The ballot counting has been slow, but Concannon expects “that Lavalas is probably the most popular party,” despite the damage done by 11 years of repression.


Six Lessons #BlackLivesMatter Can Learn From Amilcar Cabral

by Benjamin Woods

The emergent Black Lives Matter mobilization is nearing the juncture where it will grow into a true mass movement for liberation, or take some other fork in the road. BlackLivesMatter# should study the practice and writings of Amilcar Cabral, the great African revolutionary. “Cabral understood the new national culture would primarily be built through a process of protracted struggle and have what he called a “mass character.”

Capitalism and Racism are About Who Rules: Analyzing Power in the Here and Now

by Danny Haiphong

“Even if the second flag of white rule (the ‘American’ flag being the first) eventually comes down, the racist system that produced the Confederacy remains upright.” Symbolism is important, but only if the forces behind the symbols are understood. The real question is: Who rules? “The Black Lives Matter movement is charting a direction that inevitably leads to a struggle for power.”

Tamir Rice and the Meaning of “No Justice – No Peace”

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“Black Lives Matter” has become the default name for the emerging movement against police atrocities against Black people. Whatever the movement winds up calling itself, “the venerable slogan 'No Justice – No Peace' has served as a workhorse of the current protest, and would be an ideal organizing principle if the implications of the slogan were fully understood, rather than simply mouthed."

Modern U.S. Black Mass Movements and the Limits of Nonviolence

by Lorenzo St. Dubois

The “Ferguson movement,” later dubbed the Black Lives Matter movement, is less than a year old, but defenders of the racial status quo are busily posting dire warnings against the dangers of “backlash” against the violence of the oppressed. However, an objective study of the Black movement of the Sixties shows that “riots and peaceful protests rose and fell together in similar timeframes.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 8, 2015

Black Lives Matter Movement is Dominant Theme at Left Forum

“The powerful movements that have raised the slogan ‘No Justice-No Peace’ in Ferguson, Baltimore and across the country have shaken American politics out of its lethargy,” said Paul Jay, senior editor at The Real News Network, at the annual Left Forum conference at John Jay College, in New York City. However, the wealthy classes are unable to respond to a changing nation and world. “War is the only answer they have. Our ruling elites are dysfunctional: they’re not fit to rule,” said Jay, moderator of the discussion on “Indicting and Transforming the Systems of State and Capitalism: From Ferguson to Baltimore and Beyond.”

#BlackLivesMatter: More Than Just a Slogan

“#BlackLivesMatter is about Black liberation; it was intended to encompass the struggle for human dignity and self-determination,” said Alicia Garza, a co-creator of the slogan and special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “We understand state violence as criminalization, but we also understand state violence as austerity, patriarchy, white supremacy and imperialism.”

Policing in U.S. is Illegitimate

“The purpose of policing in this country is to control Black bodies, to control poor people, and to protect the interests and property of the wealthy,” said Thenjiwe McHarris, director of the Human Rights at Home campaign of the U.S. Human Rights Network. “So, it is essential for us to not just talk about reforming policing in the United States, but to challenge the legitimacy, the existence of policing in the United States.”

The Oppressed Must Lead the Struggle

The Left Forum panel included Makayla Gilliam-Harris, a 17 year-old Baltimore City College High School senior and organizer with City Block and the youth-led think tank Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. “If we truly want to see change from this movement,” said Gilliam-Harris, “we need to listen to those who are from the communities that are struggling, listen to the young, Black, clear women – and then to act, not for, not on behalf of, but with us. Stop making careers out of my struggle.”

Black Community Control of Police

“The mass Black incarceration regime was the United States government’s response to the Black liberation movements of the Sixties. And, today’s emerging movement is Black people’s response to the Mass Black Incarceration State,” said Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda Report. “The police must be subordinated to, answerable to, and chosen by the Black communities that they serve – that means Black community control of police.”

Ossified “Misleaders” Shoved Aside

“There is nothing more clarifying than the Black Lives Matter movement to show us who are the agents of social change, who are the agents of a fight-back against a brutal social and economic order,” said Kshama Sawant, the Seattle city councilwoman and Socialist Alternative leader. “It is not the Democratic Party establishment; it is not the Black misleaders. It is the young Black people, young people of color, who not only put out a clarion call for militant struggle, but they have proudly rejected these ossified layers of the so-called ‘leadership.’”



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