The centenary of the October 1917 Russian revolution, a world-shaking historic event, was an occasion for celebration throughout the world. Many diverse interpretations are advanced as to its success in achieving a radical transformation of society, both in terms of its history and its overall impact. Nonetheless, there is no denying that this event altered forever the course of history. For Black peoples, this revolution arrived just over a century after the victory in Haiti in 1804. That event was the first massive and successful revolt of Black slaves, and an important step toward the long-overdue abolition of slavery worldwide. The establishment of the first Black republic in the Northern Hemisphere emerged from an extended process of resistance to oppression, marked by massive slave revolts on the plantations of Jamaica, Brazil, and elsewhere.
There is a large wealth gap between white families and nonwhite families — a gap that impacts the economic stability of entire communities. According to 2016 Federal Reserve data, median wealth for white families is $171,000. Black and Latino families, meanwhile, have far less wealth: Black families have a median wealth of $17,600, while Latino families have $20,700. It would take decades to centuries for Black families to achieve the same amount of wealth that white families have. According to a 2016 report from the Institute for Policy Studies, it would take Black families 228 years to reach the same amount of wealth that white families have today. The racial wealth gap matters because wealth is an important economic resource and a form of power. Wealth builds and sustains communities. It helps communities weather economic hardships and supports future generations.
MINNEAPOLIS—On an unseasonably warm Friday in late January, African-American business owners, activists, advocates, musicians, politicians and artists toasted with a “come-up” cocktail: a healthy mix of Goldschläger, vodka and sparkling cider over ice. A “come-up” signifies making it to the next level—and assembled community members used the moment to reflect on recent progress and envision the years to come. The party, hosted by the Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP) at its new office in North Minneapolis, celebrated the growing local movement to empower the black community to invest in its own neighborhoods and divest from systemic harms (such as institutions that extract local resources and wealth). And there was much to celebrate: For one, the 2017 city council victories of event speakers Andrea Jenkins (the first African-American, openly trans woman to be elected to public office) and Jeremiah Ellison (son of Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison).
When the emails started coming in, I ignored them. By day’s end, my voicemail and email inboxes were filling up with links to the Guardian, followed by links to Facebook pages and blogposts devoted to Cornel West’s takedown of Ta-Nehisi Coates. I felt like I was being summoned to see a schoolyard brawl, and, now that I no longer use social media, I was already late. By the time I read West’s piece, “Ta-Nehisi Coates is the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle,” it had become the center of international controversy. Perhaps because West named me as an ally, the New York Times requested a comment, followed by Le Monde, and then a slew of publications all trying to get the scoop on the latest battle royale among the titans of the black intelligentsia.
By Ajamu Baraka for Counter Punch - It is absurd and an insult to argue that Russian propaganda efforts “deepen political and racial tensions in the United States,” as proposed by Julia Ioffe in a recent article in the Atlantic. But the linking of the legitimate struggle of African/Black people in the United States against systemic oppression with “foreign” influences has been a recurrent feature of the ideological and military containment strategy of the U.S. state ever since the Soviet Union emerged as an international competitor to the four hundred-year-old colonial/capitalist Pan-European project. From the early twentieth-century activism of the Pan-African Conferences through the Garvey movement, the socialist African Blood Brotherhood and the International African Service Bureau born out of the rise of fascism in Europe and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 30s, Black radicals formulated a theoretical understanding of and practical response to the realities of colonial and capitalist racist oppression throughout the African world. And with the taking of state power by the Bolsheviks and the establishment of the Soviet Union and the Third International (COMINTERN), many black radicals gravitated to revolutionary Marxism, as both a critique of the Western capitalist dominance and a theory for disrupting that dominance.
By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report - The FBI has apparently chosen a new heading under which to lump Black Americans targeted for political persecution: “Black Identity Extremists.” There’s a simple explanation for the new categorization. The FBI is a bureaucracy whose day-to-day work involves drawing up lists of people and organizations to be surveilled, disrupted and prosecuted. The dramatic increase in Black “movement” activity since the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has presented the FBI with a much larger field of targets, including youthful elements loosely grouped under the Black Lives Matter banner. When bureaucracies compile new lists, they typically file them under new names. In a sense, the change in nomenclature is an acknowledgement by the FBI that, after nearly two generations of Black political stagnation and capitulation, there is finally a Black “movement” with the potential to upset the status quo. The leaked FBI counterterrorism division report, scooped by Foreign Policy magazine , also signifies that Black grassroots political activity is under the purview of the national security state’s War on Terror and, therefore, subject to the awesome array of repressive measures authorized to law enforcement and intelligence agencies since 9/11. “The change in nomenclature is an acknowledgement by the FBI that there is finally a Black ‘movement’ with the potential to upset the status quo.”
By Sam Levin for The Guardian - The US government has declared “black identity extremists” a violent threat, according to a leaked report from the FBI’s counter-terrorism division. The assessment, obtained by Foreign Policy, has raised fears about federal authorities racially profiling activists and aggressively prosecuting civil rights protesters. The report, dated August 2017 and compiled by the Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit, said: “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Incidents of “alleged police abuse” have “continued to feed the resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity within the BIE movement”. The FBI’s dedicated surveillance of black activists follows a long history of the US government aggressively monitoring protest movements and working to disrupt civil rights groups, but the scrutiny of African Americans by a domestic terrorism unit was particularly alarming to some free speech campaigners. “When we talk about enemies of the state and terrorists, with that comes an automatic stripping of those people’s rights to speak and protest,” said Mohammad Tajsar, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
By Camille Erickson for TC Daily Planet - “We can’t keep using the bodies of youth as the only tool for resistance,” Me’Lea Connelly, executive director of the Association of Black Economic Power (ABEP) said, “we need something else.” In the wake of the killing of Jamar Clark on Nov. 15, 2015 and the ensuing Fourth Precinct occupation, followed less than a year later by the killing of Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, Connelly recalled a drive for a concerted effort with movement organizers to diversify tactics of resistance against police brutality. A meeting was called, and after hours of conversation with a cross section of community, the group voted to create Minnesota’s only Black-led financial institution in North Minneapolis. A symbiotic relationship exists between ABEP and Blexit. Connelly described Blexit as the incubator and nest where ideas put forth by the community are percolated. ABEP puts them into action. The ABEP Executive Committee composed of – Connelly, Brett Grant, Ron Harris, Amber Jones, Danielle Mkali, Felicia Perry and Y. Elaine Rasmussen – are leading the effort to build the foundations of the credit union while still remaining deeply grounded in the conceptions of resistance movement.
By Ahmed Shawki for Jacobin. After his visit to Africa, Malcolm began to argue that the black struggle in the United States was part of an international struggle, one that he connected to the struggle against capitalism and imperialism. He also began to argue in favor of socialism. Referring to the African states, he pointed out, “All of the countries that are emerging today from under the shackles of colonialism are turning towards socialism.” He no longer defined the struggle for black liberation as a racial conflict. “We are living in an era of revolution, and the revolt of the American Negro is part of the rebellion against the oppression and colonialism which has characterized this era,” he said. “It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial conflict of black against white, or as purely an American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiters.”