Countering the Confederate “Spring”: the Assault on Black Political Power in Jackson, MS

by the Jackson Human Rights Institute and Cooperation Jackson

Majority Black Jackson, Mississippi is about to be stripped of control of its most valuable assets by a Republican legislature. Everywhere, white capital is determined to retain their control over all the capital accumulating processes that define the local political economy. To fight back, “we believe will be the most effective is a mass, multi-faceted, non-compliant civil disobedient movement determined to engage in a sustained campaign of economic warfare.”

Countering the Confederate “Spring”: the Assault on Black Political Power in Jackson, MS

by the Jackson Human Rights Institute and Cooperation Jackson

“These reactionary forces are seeking to destroy the potential of Black socio-economic power in Jackson.”

The racist and utterly reactionary Republican legislative majorities that dominate the South are on an aggressive march this legislative session. From Texas to Florida, Arkansas to Virginia, and all the states in-between, they are employing cut-throat strategies and tactics to pass a package of regressive, exploitative and outright anti-human legislation drawn up by the likes of ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council)[1] and other right-wing think tanks. They are attacking the right to vote, Black voting districts, the right to education, access to housing, workers rights to organize themselves, wage protections, alternative energy plans, marriage equality, and the list goes on.

While reactionary legislative initiatives are nothing new to the South, the moves being made in 2016 are rather exceptional. In many respects, the Republican initiatives of 2016 are reminiscent of their “Redeemer” predecessors from the Democratic Party from the 1890’s, when they systematically replaced all of the reconstruction based constitutions of the Southern states and formally instituted legally based “Jim Crow” regimes[2].  This reactionary assault is being driven by desperation in part. The settlers that form the base of the Republic Party are utterly terrified by the demographic trends projected for the US over the next 50 years[3]. They are scared of the day when the US is no longer a “white man’s country” that it will translate into the end of their social dominance and “way of life.” These reactionary initiatives are therefore maneuvers of position in preparation for long-term trouble, a “battening down the hatches” as it were, to secure their social rule and ability to exploit and oppress non-white people for as long as possible.   

“They are scared of the day when the US is no longer a “white man’s country” that it will translate into the end of their social dominance and ‘way of life.’”

This assault is also part national election-year theater and the culmination of the brazenly racist backlash agenda against the Presidency of Barack Obama and what it represents in the minds of millions of settlers, which is the demise and decay of their “indispensable empire.”[4] They are determined to rollback and defeat the political and social gains attained for and by working people and oppressed communities during the Obama administration (most of which it did not author or actually support), like the Affordable Health Care Act, the Supreme Courts recognition of marriage equality, the repeal of various draconian drug laws, the challenges to containment policies like “stop and frisk,” the movement to remove Confederate symbols, and the rise of the Movement for Black Lives.

The Republican legislative delegation in Mississippi is doing everything it can to be the standard bearer of this reactionary agenda. Despite that fact that Mississippi continues to have the most Black elected officials in any of the settler states, the state legislature is dominated by a white Republican supermajority, which unfortunately can and is legislating what it wills, however unconscionable, inhumane and undemocratic. Here is just a taste of what they have proposed and done since the start of 2016 legislative session. They have suspended “personal privilege” rules that allowed legislators to question legislation (HR39), they have eliminated the only Black supreme court district in the state (HB868), they are proposing to eliminate dozens of Black schools throughout the state (SB2494), to further punish struggling school districts with less funding (HB14), they are seeking to expand Charter Schools throughout the state (see SB216 and HB1044), they are allowing state workers and religious institutions to discriminate against LGBTQI individuals and communities (HB1523), are determining the gender identity of individuals based on their phenotypes (HB1523), are declaring that sex is only legal in heterosexual marriages (HB1523), and requiring transgender people to travel with apartheid-like papers to utilize public restroom facilities (HB1258). And this is just a glimpse of the madness. There are also bills attacking Planned Parenthood, initiatives that place more roadblocks in the path of parolees to reenter society, and efforts to create harsher prison sentences for more non-violent criminal offenses.

“The state legislature is dominated by a white Republican supermajority.”

Some of the most strategic initiatives being pursued by the Republican legislature this session aim at weakening the Black political and economic power vested in Mississippi’s capital and largest city, Jackson. Jackson became a majority Black city in the 1980’s. It elected its first Black mayor, Harvey Johnson, in 1997. Since the late 80’s and early 90’s Jackson’s Black community has been struggling to translate its numeric and electoral strength into economic power for the benefit of the vast majority of city’s working class people. This struggle took a radical turn in 2013 when Jackson elected the “most revolutionary Mayor in the United States”, noted revolutionary organizer and human rights attorney, Chokwe Lumumba[5]. Chokwe was elected in part to institute a program of economic democracy based on cooperative economics and participatory governance[6]. The Jackson Plan that Chokwe struggled to implement challenged white economic hegemony in Jackson and temporarily halted initiative on some of their major gentrification plans, like Vision 2022, the One Lake proposal, etc.[7] Chokwe’s Mayoralship demonstrated the real potential of Black political power translating into economic power. It was this potential that the reactionary political and economic forces that dominate the capitol and the state resolved themselves to never let occur again. These reactionary forces are seeking to destroy the potential of Black socio-economic power in Jackson by dismantling the city and seizing control over its strategic assets, assets that are a lifeline for the city and the potential basis for its self-determined redevelopment and revitalization.

Seizing Jackson’s Airports

One set of targets is the city’s airports. Senate Bill 2162, proposed by Republican Senator John Harkin from Flowood, calls for the elimination of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA), which is currently appointed by the Mayor of Jackson and confirmed by the City Council. The Bill calls for the Jackson controlled JMAA to be replaced by a new Jackson Metropolitan Airport Authority that would be primarily controlled by the Governor and commissioners from Rankin and Madison counties (Jackson is primarily situated in Hinds County, but it has incorporated parts in other counties, i.e. the Evers Airport which it owns is in Rankin County and Tougaloo College and adjacent lands which are situated in Madison County)[8].

This takeover initiative is about weakening Black political power, ensuring ongoing white control over the city’s resources, and the acquisition of strategic property. Jackson has been in possession of two airport facilities since the early 1960’s, Hawkins Field and the Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers Airports. Jackson’s authority over these facilities was never questioned until the Mayoral administration of Chokwe Lumumba. During Chokwe’s short tenure as Mayor, from July 1st, 2013 through February 25th, 2014, he was able to install an entirely new, all Black, JMAA Board. In January 2015 the JMAA Board hired the airports first Black Chief Executive Officer, Carl Newman. Under the leadership of Mr. Newman and the JMAA Board, the airport became a fully solvent, “in the black” entity and redirected the majority of its contracts to contractors who live in Jackson, the majority of whom are Black[9]. Prior to this shift, the airport was often in the red and the vast majority of the contracts that were awarded by the airport were awarded to contractors from Rankin and Madison counties, the overwhelming majority of whom were white. It was this loss of income, and the projected loss of future profit, that prompted Senator Harkin and the Republican leadership to advance the takeover initiative.

“Mayor Lumumba was able to install an entirely new, all Black, airport Board.”

The original airport facility, Hawkins Field, constitutes some of the most prime real estate in the city because of its proximity to and potential interrelationship with the Medical Corridor Expansion Project[10]. The Medical Corridor Expansion Project is an expansive project that extends the existing medical corridor from its present boundaries between the 55 interstate to the east and State Street to the west, all the way to the 220 metro Freeway on the western outskirts of the city and an expanse from Northside Drive to the north and Fortification Street to the south. The Medical Corridor Expansion Project is the adopted child of former Governor Haley Barbour with the support of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce.

The Medical Corridor Expansion Project is the driving force of real estate speculation in Jackson, which is beginning to fuel the gentrification and displacement of several Black working class communities. This project will basically devour the Black working class communities of West and Central Jackson, particularly the Mid-City, Georgetown, and Virden Addition communities.  The Medical Corridor Expansion Project is modeled in large part on the Medical Expansion Project in New Orleans, which is actively in the process of displacing tens of thousands of Black working class residents. If the Republicans are able to seize Hawkins Field they will be able to control its redevelopment process in connection with the Medical Corridor Expansion process.  This will create an extended zone of redevelopment that will be dictated and controlled almost entirely by economic and political forces outside of Jackson. They will control the contracts, the procurement processes, and the hiring processes. This will ensure that the lion’s share of the profits and wages generated from these developments will go to white bankers, developers, sub-contractors, and suppliers to the detriment of the City of Jackson and its predominantly Black working class residents.

“The lion’s share of the profits and wages generated from these developments will go to white bankers, developers, sub-contractors, and suppliers.”

The Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers Airport was built by the City of Jackson in 1963 - 64[11]. The airport sits squarely in Rankin County, which is a predominantly white working class community that is a direct outgrowth of white flight from Jackson. For decades, white contractors from Rankin and Madison counties have dominated the airports contract awards. The interruption of this gravy train is what fueled the ire of these forces. But, what has the Republicans up in arms is the threat of missing out on the future profits projected to be generated over the next several decades from the growth and expansion of Medgar Wiley Evers Airport. Over the last two years, several transnational companies have decided to open new manufacturing plants in Jackson and Hinds County. The two largest manufacturers are Seraphim Solar, a Chinese owned solar company, and Continental Tire the Americas, LLC[12]. Building on these new developments, most regional business forecasts anticipate further business and economic growth in the central Mississippi region, as each of these businesses will facilitate the growth of spin off businesses, like resource suppliers and service providers. Economic growth means more business for the Evers Airport (both airports actually, as Hawkins will accommodate more executive and light freight transport for these and other businesses), which will facilitate and sustain the growth of more goods and services that can be situated at the airport, which has ample room to expand. The white capital interests that presently dominate the economy of the region are determined to retain their control over all the capital accumulating processes that define the local political economy. In order to do so, they have to strip Jackson of its political control over the airport and other strategic assets, as these assets could be used to facilitate Black economic equity, which would foster the end of Black exploitation in the city and region.   

The Trojan Horse: the Capitol Complex Improvement District  

An initiative just as threatening to Black political power in Jackson as the seizure of its airports is the Capitol Complex Improvement District Bill, docketed as Senate Bill 2525 (and its House companion, House Bill 1564)[13]. Senator John Horhn, a Black Democrat who represents a part of Jackson located in the 26th Senate District, allegedly introduced this bill according to many local political lobbyists and insiders as a sacrificial trade to the Republicans to save the city’s airports. The logic behind such a tactic is that because the Republicans possess a supermajority in both houses, and can basically legislate what they want, the Black legislative delegation and the Democratic party overall must play ball with them and surrender various concessions to the Republicans in order to defend old gains and some fundamental rights, like the right to vote.

It must be said that not only is this logic extremely faulty, it is premised on the internalization of white supremacy. This logic accepts the notion that Black people cannot “develop” their own communities, that they must rely on white people and resources controlled by white people to improve the conditions in their communities and their lives. Regardless of the logic, what this initiative will effectively do is surrender more territory and control over to the Governor, the Republican party, white economic forces, and ultra-conservative social forces who will try to legislatively enforce their morals onto the predominantly Black working class residents of Jackson. If passed, SB2525 will take a large swath of the most valuable real estate in the city of Jackson stretching from Jackson State University through the Downtown Area and connecting to the Medical Corridor Expansion Project, and put it under the direct authority of the Governor via a newly created Improvement District Board that he or she would appoint. This Board, not the Mayor or the City Council, will manage and administer this project and control all of its finances.

“What this initiative will effectively do is surrender more territory and control over to the Governor, the Republican party, white economic forces, and ultra-conservative social forces.”

To add insult to injury, this Bill would “divert 12-1.5% of the total sales tax revenue collected on business activities within the city of Jackson and to distribute 15% of the revenue so collected to the city of Jackson to compensate the city for general police and fire protection provided by the city in the capitol complex improvement district”, and “..to provide that the remainder of such revenue so collected shall be deposited into the capitol complex improvement district project fund.” This is critical because Jackson has been struggling to get the Governor and State Legislator to pay for the police and fire services they have utilized for decades basically free of charge. This would now create a special zone of protection that will be paid by the residents of Jackson, who will have no democratic say so over this District!

Because of how stealthily this Bill was introduced, with little to no fanfare and initial opposition, and how it innocently appears to be offering to improve conditions in Jackson, it is a real Trojan Horse. If it is not defeated this Bill will basically hand over all the “keys to the kingdom”, that are the fundamental drivers of Jackson’s economy – the medical, administrative, and educational industries that are situated in this improvement district. Further, most of this new “Republican Zone” will not be taxable by the City of Jackson, which will only exasperate the financial crisis of the city, which has been struggling with a declining tax base for decades.

Other drastic consequences of the Capitol Complex Improvement District Bill is that it will assuredly drive property taxes through the roof, foster more repressive policing to protect the new investments, rapidly gentrify large sections of West and Central Jackson, and displace tens of thousands of Black working class residents. This will reduce the city’s Black population, which will undermine Black political power, and ultimately threaten the economic viability of the municipality.  

“Flint”, Mississippi

On Tuesday, February 2nd, former Secretary of State and Democratic Party presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton put Jackson, MS in the national spotlight by issuing a statement of concern about lead levels detected in the city’s water supply by Mississippi State health officials[14]. Suddenly, Jackson’s water woes were put on par with those of Flint, Michigan – and rightfully so. Jackson’s poor water quality is legendary in the region. Because of antiquated lead pipes our water is perennially brown, water main breaks are near daily occurrences, and the city government is forced to issue dozens of “boil water” notices each month[15].

Like Flint, Michigan, Jackson’s water woes stem from environmental racism, capital flight, and the ruthless application of neo-liberal policies. Jackson’s water system has been recommended for a thorough overhaul since the late 1980’s. The white political leadership that guided the city in the 1970’s and 80’s sat on the issue, and sometimes blatantly refused to address it, as the forces of white capital made it clear that they would not pay for the improvement of a rapidly growing Black polity. Since Jackson became a majority Black city in the 1980’s, it has struggled to figure out how to overhaul the city’s crumbling infrastructure with the limited revenues it possessed as a direct result of a declining tax base, which largely evaporated as result of white flight and all of the capital transferred with their relocation to the suburbs. 

The Black administrations that have governed Jackson since 1997 stalled on dealing with the water crisis for as long as they could. That day came to an end in 2012, when the city of Jackson, under the Mayoralship of Harvey Johnson, entered into a consent decree agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to overhaul its water filtration, processing, and delivery system, specifically to eliminate waste water overflows and untreated raw sewage entering the system[16]. The City of Jackson was given 18 years to fully comply, but mandated that the vast majority of the work must be completed within 11 years of signing the agreement, which in practical terms means that the city has until 2023 to reverse the situation or else.

 

The City of Jackson has been struggling with how to resolve the consent decree and the water crisis since it signed this agreement. The most pressing concern has been how to pay for repairs mandated by the consent decree. The solution that was reluctantly adopted by the Mayoral administration of Chokwe Lumumba in 2014 was to adopt the 1% Sales Tax measure originally put forward by Senator John Horhn. The Lumumba administration was reluctant to adopt the 1% sales tax because the resources it generated were not controlled by the city of Jackson, but by a specially constructed oversight board that was dominated by the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Party (via seats reserved for the Governor and Lt. Governor). In an attempt to try and challenge this imposition, the Lumumba administration held a public referendum on the question of its adoption, which passed by roughly 94% of the vote[17]. The purpose of the vote was to “let the people decide” directly, and to build a base of public support to eventually revoke the undemocratic board that was affixed to the legislation.

“One strategy is to replace Jackson’s water treatment facility with a new water treatment facility in a white majority municipality or county.”

The fundamental issue at play with Jackson’s water crisis is control. Jackson provides water to most of the suburban municipalities surrounding the city. The tax revenues generated from its water delivery provision account for a staggering 40% of the city’s overall revenues[18]. This has made it a primary target of regional capital interests seeking to either takeover or siphon off some of these resources. If the city of Jackson doesn’t resolve its water woes, the Federal government will be forced to intervene in a forceful manner, which is exactly what many of the local reactionary forces desire. The Republicans have crafted a slew of potential answers, and they are working on all of them simultaneously in the hopes that one of them will succeed in extracting this life sustaining resource from the city. One strategy is to create a regional water utility. Another is to replace Jackson’s water treatment facility with a new water treatment facility in a white majority municipality or county, which is exactly what the West Rankin Utility Authority received permission to do in 2015[19]. Privatization is another proposal in the Republican tool kit.

The most insidious proposal put forth by the Republicans to seize control of Jackson’s water system was advanced in 2014, called the Municipal Government Responsibility Act, which was designated as House Bill 627[20]. The Municipal Government Responsibility Act was a carbon copy of Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law. It was being advanced in particular to undermine the administration of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, as Jackson was and remains the only municipality that possesses a utility currently threatened by the EPA and the state. HB627 explicitly called for the state government to protect its credit and that of its municipal subdivisions, noting that it was “a valid public purpose for the state to take action and to assist a municipality that has failed to provide services to the citizens of the state.” It further stated:

If the Governor determines that an emergency exists, the Governor shall assign the responsibility for managing the local government to an emergency manager. The manager shall be chosen solely on the basis of his or her competence and shall not have been either an elected or appointed official or employee of the municipality. The emergency financial manager need not be a resident of the local government for which he or she is appointed. The emergency financial manager shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor and shall be compensated as determined by the Governor. The manager shall issue to the appropriate officials or employees of the local government the orders the manager considers necessary to accomplish the purposes of this act, including, but not limited to, orders for the timely and satisfactory implementation of a financial plan developed by such manager. An order issued under this section is binding on the local officials or employees to whom it is issued.”

Although this Bill died in committee, it revealed some critical elements of the strategic thinking, planning, and tactical approach of the Republican forces relative to the city of Jackson. It was one of the many legislative initiatives that laid the groundwork for the all out assault we are experiencing this legislative session. And although there are no legislative bills directly threatening Jackson’s control over its water infrastructure, it is the “key” prize that will ultimately determine if Jackson will retain its municipal authority and economic viability, or whether it will become even more of an extractive colony of Rankin and Madison counties. In this context, the timing of the lead contaminant threat couldn’t have come at a worse time for the city, as it bolsters the narrative that Jackson cannot govern itself, and therefore should be put under receivership. We can rest assured that on the basis of this news, the Republicans are going to sharpen their knives and make the final push to seize Jackson’s water in 2017.

Where do we go from here? The BDS and Buy Jackson Campaigns

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are definitely desperate times for Black, Indigenous, working, and immigrant communities in Mississippi, particularly in Jackson. In the effort to try and meet the challenge posed by the aforementioned assaults, at least on the municipal level, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Cooperation Jackson, and the Jackson Human Rights Initiative (JHRI) took the initiative to form a broad coalition in January, called the Coalition for Economic Justice.

The Coalition for Economic Justice is committed to doing everything within its power to galvanize the Black legislative caucus, and the greater Democratic Party delegation on a whole to defeat the aforementioned legislative assaults. However, given the fact that the Republicans currently possess a supermajority in the legislature we are clear that this initiative is largely for educational purposes, as the Republicans can pass what they will. We are not going to defeat these reactionary legislative maneuvers on the floor of the Mississippi legislature. We have to pursue another route to victory. The route we believe will be the most effective is a mass, multi-faceted, non-compliant civil disobedient movement determined to engage in a sustained campaign of economic warfare.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

We believe that the only way that we are going to be able to push back, defeat, and eventually reverse these seizures is to punish the moneyed interests situated in Rankin and Madison counties that seek to seize Jackson’s infrastructure and control its political future. Both of these counties are extremely vulnerable to campaigns of economic reprisal because their economies are essentially dependent upon Jackson’s. Virtually none of the commercial enterprises in either of these counties can survive without patronage from the residents of Jackson. Neither county possesses the population density necessary to sustain their commercial and industrial enterprises on their own. They are fully dependent upon patronage from Jackson. This fact can and must be used in Jackson’s favor in this fight. To this end, the Coalition for Economic Justice is calling for a massive Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) strategy to be employed against Rankin and Madison counties, and if need be, the state itself.

The aim of the BDS campaign is to financially cripple Senator Harkin, the Republican legislative delegation, and the regional capital forces (financers, developers, etc.) that support them, with the objective of having them return the assets that they are poised to seize back to the municipality and people of Jackson. We pursue this in the following manner:

1. Boycott. We call on all of the residents of Jackson and our allies throughout Mississippi, the United States and the World to cease and desist from any and all economic activities in Rankin or Madison counties. When our airports are seized, we implore all Jacksonians and any and everyone venturing to our city to bypass the Evers airport and instead fly into Memphis or New Orleans and utilize one of the cooperative transport services that we are going to construct to come to Jackson.

2. Divestment. We call on all of the residents of Jackson and our allies everywhere to remove any and all capital you have invested in banks, businesses, real estate, or other economic endeavors, such as municipal or county bonds, from Rankin and Madison counties. We need everyone to encourage your civic, spiritual, and economic associates and organizations to do the same.

3. Sanctions. We call on all of the civic and spiritual institutions based in Jackson and throughout the country and the world to censure Rankin and Madison counties for their support of the undemocratic seizure of Jackson’s resources. We also call on municipalities, counties (parishes), state and national governments to censure and sanction these counties for their egregious violations of the fundamental human rights of the residents of Jackson. All of these institutions should cease all trade and civic engagement with Rankin and Madison counties until Jackson’s resources are returned back to their rightful owners.

“We implore all Jacksonians and any and everyone venturing to our city to bypass the Evers airport and instead fly into Memphis or New Orleans.”

We encourage everyone to join the Coalition for Economic Justice in making a public pledge to support our Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Although, we are encouraging everyone to start engaging in this campaign of economic warfare immediately, we are going to officially launch the campaign on Friday, April 1st, 2016 to counter and contrast with Confederate History Month, which was proclaimed by Governor Phil Bryant to let the people of the world know what’s truly “going down” in Mississippi from the perspective of his party and supporters. We aim to SHUT THIS MADNESS DOWN! But, we need you to join us to make it happen. Send your pledges to [email protected].  You can also pledge on Facebook and Twitter by making a public announcement that is linked to the Coalition for Economic Justice via the Jackson People’s Assembly at https://www.facebook.com/JxnPeoplesAssembly/ or @JXNPeoples.

Buy Jackson!

The Coalition for Economic Justice does not believe in creating a vacuum and leaving it unfilled to be further exploited by our enemies. As we are imploring people to stop shopping and engaging in any type of economic activity in Rankin and Madison counties, we must provide the people of Jackson with new means, methods and opportunities to address their consumer and leisure needs. To this end, we are encouraging the people of Jackson to make the upmost effort to secure all of their consumption needs in Jackson.

We have to be on the offensive as much as we are on the defensive. The offensive initiative entails seizing the moment to rebuild Jackson’s commercial and retail economy, and to do it in a manner that will benefit the greatest number of people economically. To this end, we need to push for the revitalized commercial and retail base to be orientated towards community wealth building initiatives that are cooperatively developed and owned.

Here are some means to pursue:

1. Increase Support for Existing Businesses.  This should be based on a criterion wherein we ask all businesses to officially endorse the BDS campaign and to prominently display our literature and educational materials in their businesses.  We will support these businesses by publicly listing them as supporters of the campaign and strongly encouraging the movement’s adherents to make a special effort to support these businesses as part of the resistance.

2. Launch new Cooperative enterprises. Our objective is to rebuild the city’s retail, entertainment, and hospitality industries along cooperative lines to ensure that they anchor themselves in the community and that they serve to create equity for the maximum number of people. This will help facilitate the rebuilding of our city’s tax base that will help revitalize our city’s essential services.

3. Initiate Community Wealth Building Initiatives in partnership with the City. In order for the proposed cooperative enterprises to work they will need support from the city. In the effort to help itself and its constituents the city should be encouraged to utilize its existing resources and assets to support cooperative enterprises by providing free or discounted office space, pooling financial resources, and facilitating collective purchasing policies of essential goods, etc., that would support the development of a genuine social and solidarity economy in Jackson.

 

The Buy Jackson and BDS campaigns must be viewed as two sides of the same coin. The people of Jackson must equally support both in order to overcome and defeat the Republican seizure initiatives.

Solidarity

As an old African saying goes, “rice is best cooked in the pot!” The application of this saying in the Jackson context means that if this resistance initiative is going to work, it must be carried by a mass movement drawing its strength directly from the working people of Jackson. However, the people of Jackson should not and cannot wage this fight alone. If anything, Jackson should be viewed as an example of how reactionary forces in this society respond to radical upsurges as occurred here in 2013 when Chokwe Lumumba was elected Mayor. Investing time, energy and resources in the fight to save Jackson, must be viewed investment in your own future, because if we can stop this reactionary, racist, neo-liberal land grabbing assault here, we will build the collective movement muscle to defeat it elsewhere.

We are asking all those interested in standing in solidarity with the people of Jackson and the Coalition for Economic Justice to support us in the following ways:

1. Resource Support. This fight is going to take some considerable resources to win. We need resources to support the organizing work necessary to wage the BDS and Buy Jackson Campaigns. And we need resources to build the Cooperatives and Solidarity Economy initiatives mentioned. If you would like to support the organizing initiatives please send a donation to Community Aid and Development, Inc. Mail to P.O. Box 68426, Jackson, MS 39286 or pay online at https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=8PEBSvx4MZG5SEiqAjRg2yqcNbNVGQ2VzLWiJO8vnHWW0vH08iGSWCMlJse&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8defcd6970d4fd9d661117ac2649af92bb. If you would like to support the cooperative development initiatives please send a donation to Cooperation Jackson. Mail to P.O. Box 1932, Jackson, MS 39215 or pay online at https://secure.squarespace.com/commerce/donate?donatePageId=547e1f1fe4b0142cf2a50b5e.

2. Mobilizing Support. The Coalition for Economic Justice will be calling for national days of action and action caravans to come to Jackson to support our mass mobilizations and direct actions as the campaign develops and progresses. We want to encourage all those interested in supporting our efforts to be alert for these action calls and to move in formation when they are issued. To stay abreast of the mobilization efforts follow these Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/JxnPeoplesAssembly/https://www.facebook.com/MXGMnational/, or https://www.facebook.com/CooperationJackson/.

3. Media Support. We need this story told to the world. We encourage progressive journalists, documentarians, and academics to use all the communicative mediums at your disposal to share our story and help us build a resistance movement capable of defeating this reactionary onslaught. For narrative support and local guidance contact the Media and Communications Committee of the Coalition for Economic Justice at [email protected].

Kali Akuno is an organizer, educator, and writer for human rights and social justice. He is an organizer for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) (see www.mxgm.org) and former Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network. Kali also served as the Executive Director of the Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) based in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and was a co-founder of the School of Social Justice and Community Development (SSJCD), a public school serving the academic needs of low-income African American and Latino communities in Oakland, California.

For more information please contact Kali Akuno at [email protected] or via Facebook.

 


[2] See “The called themselves Redeemers – the Rise of White Supremacy” https://www.americanhistoryusa.com/redeemers-rise-of-white-supremacy/.

[3] See “US Demographic Shift will have Huge Political Impact” http://www.voanews.com/content/us-demographic-shift-will-have-huge-political-impact/2708774.html

[4] See “The Myth of the Indispensable Nation” by http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/11/06/the-myth-of-the-indispensable-nation/.

[5] See “Chokwe Lumuba: Remembering ‘America’s Most Revolutionary Mayor” http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/26/chokwe_lumumba_remembering_americas_most_revolutionary.

[6] See “The Jackson Plan: A Struggle for Self-Determination, Participatory Democracy and Economic Justice https://mxgm.org/the-jackson-plan-a-struggle-for-self-determination-participatory-democracy-and-economic-justice/.

[9] See “Unfriendly Skies: Can Jackson Save its Airport?” http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2016/feb/03/unfriendly-skies-can-jackson-save-its-airport/ and “The Battle for the Jackson Airport: Can the State Take it Away?” http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2016/jan/06/battle-jackson-airport-can-state-take-it-away/.

[10] See Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Initiatives http://www.greaterjacksonpartnership.com/pages/HealthcareInitiatives/.

[15] See “Residents complain of water woes throughout Jackson; city responds” http://wjtv.com/2015/09/12/residents-complain-of-water-woes-throughout-jackson-city-responds/.

[17] See “9 in 10 Jackson, MS voters approve 1% Sales Tax” http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/01/15/jackson-ms-sales-tax-vote/4489851/.

[18] See “Troubled Water, Part 1: Explaining Jackson’s $91 Million Siemens Contract” http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2015/mar/11/troubled-water-part-i-explaining-jacksons-91-milli/.

[19] See “Jackson: New Rankin County Wastewater Plant is Unlawful” http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2015/feb/11/jackson-new-rankin-county-wastewater-plant-unlawfu/.