The month of August is recognized as “Black August” by many militants associated with the prison movement. This is due in part to the impact of George Jackson, imprisoned revolutionary and Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party, who was killed in San Quentin prison on August 21, 1971. Jackson was murdered by prison guards one year after his 17-year-old brother, Jonathan, was killed escaping from a Marin County courthouse siege after taking three people hostage and demanding the liberation of black political prisoners known as the Soledad Brothers. The 2020 Annual Conference of the Black is Back Coalition will focus on the issue of political prisoners and Black Power. It is a theme that speaks to this moment in history when the resistance of African people threatens to derail the imperialist locomotive that has enslaved and dominated Africans and the world’s peoples for the last few hundred years.
While we like to believe that the system is merely “broken,” now is the time we finally acknowledge that the system was purposely designed to break black people. But we refuse to break, and here we stand, unbroken and undeterred. Like many black people in this country, I live each day with anger and pain, but also joy and optimism. Our strength keeps us from breaking under the weight of racism and economic injustice. Instead, we build.
By Nishani Frazier for Truthout. On November 7, Detroit's Coleman Young II may join the new pantheon of elected or soon-to-be elected Black mayors. This group's uniqueness lies not in their race per se, but in their willingness to defy the Obama-era neoliberal, post-racial orthodoxy about municipal economic development. These new Black mayors are a resurgence of the old mixed with the sophisticated new. They are Black Political Power, 2.0. If the analogy seems exaggerated, it bears noting that three of these elected or upcoming Black mayors have direct lines to 1960s Black Power. Ras J. Baraka, Newark's mayor, is the well-known son of famed poet and activist Amiri Baraka. Baraka gained fame as one of the key writers of the 1960s Black Arts Movement and as co-chair for both the 1967 Black Power Conference and Gary Convention. Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the "radical" mayor from Jackson, Mississippi, was elected to fill the position his father held for a tragically short eight months before his untimely death in office. The elder Lumumba had a long history of activism as a member of the Republic of New Afrika. And of course, there is Coleman Young II, son to none other than Detroit's first elected Black Mayor Coleman Young, who rode an initial wave of Black electoral success in the 1960s and 1970s. These are not isolated cases, but instead signal a larger movement afoot.
By Dr. Marsha Cole for Black Agenda Report - Part I of the Karen Spellman interview discussed the need for those involved in the Black Power Movement to tell their stories in their own voices. Not confident that corporate or white academic “experts” could provide the contextual and analytical framework for an analysis of the Black Power Movement, Karen is providing leadership through the SNCC Legacy Project and the Black Power Chronicles to archive, provide oral history and analysis of this important period of history. The community is invited to provide pictures, artifacts, and share memories of their involvement in the Black Power Movement. Karen is currently organizing a national conference of Black power veterans scheduled for Atlanta, GA in 2018. Karen Spellman was at the center of the Black Power Movement. Impacted by unrelenting white supremacist violence against Africans in America in the South, she dedicated herself at a young age to fighting segregation and white supremacy. While living in Greensboro, at the age of 13, she became involved in the civil rights movement and served as president of the Greensboro, N.C. NAACP Youth Chapter.
By Ajamu Baraka for AjamuBaraka.com. In his speech at Riverside Church, King not only criticized U.S. actions in Vietnam but identified the cultural pathologies at the center of U.S. society. “I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values,” he said. “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” 50 years later, what rational person can honestly argue against the position that the U.S. is still the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet?
By Sterling Wilmer for The University Star - Some may view the black-and-proud movement as supremacist, but historically the only racial empowerment camp with a history of demeaning the existence of others includes those who fly white-pride banners. To put the black power movement and associated organizations, like the Black Panther Party, on the same level as the infamous ideals of white supremacy is insane. To reach a better understanding, people first need to know the difference in the two ideas’ origins.
By Jon Piccini for Imperial & Global Forum - Recently, an upturn in indigenous struggles in Australia have seen the legacies of colonialism and genocide forced back onto the national radar. Protests against the closure of indigenous communities, the continued forced removal of Aboriginal children by welfare agencies, and the birth of youth-led groups like Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) are but a few examples of this. Instead of the sanitised government-sponsored campaign to ‘Recognise’ indigenous peoples in the Australian constitution, many of these activists are looking back to the global struggles of the 1960s and 1970s for their political inspiration.
By Beverly Bell and Natalie Miller for Other Worlds - For National Co-op Month, we present a three-part series from an interview with Jessica Gordon Nembhard. Read the first piece, Black Cooperative Economics During Enslavement, here and the second piece, on how the cooperatives were critical partners to struggles throughout African-American history, here. When I first became interested in cooperative economics, everybody, Black and white, told me that Black people just don’t engage in cooperative economics. But that didn’t seem right to me. So I started studying it, talking to people about it, and participating in the US co-op movement.
By Staff for National Black United Front - National Black United Front's Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) Action Plan October 10, 2015 will mark the 20th anniversary of the historic Million Man March. With a theme of "Justice or Else," millions of people have been mobilized around the country and a revitalization of activism has occurred. The National Black United Front has organized a Kujichahgulia (self-determination) Plan of action that is practical enough for any organization to apply and for individuals who are looking to create something of substance, can use. Following up the Million Man March, the National Black United Front will host a National Community Forum titled "Justice or Else: Whats Next?" The community forum will take place Saturday October 10 at 7:30 PM at We Act Radio Station 1918 MLK Ave SE Washington DC. The purpose of the program will be to bring people from across the nation together to discuss and implement realistic programs of action post the Million Man March.
By Lawrence Ware and Paul Buhle for Counter Punch - During the exhilarating and dangerous late 1960s and early 1970s, no world historical figure of older generations had a more militant defense of Black Power than CLR James. But it was always a vision within a context, and after all these years have passed (along with James himself who died in 1989), the context remains crucial. He told a British audience in 1970, wondering about Stokely Carmichael, the voice of Black Power, “WHAT HE DO, HE WELL DO!” thus adopting the Caribbean patois. He rarely failed to mention that Stokely had been, in his younger years, also a Trinidadian, and that he remained always a son of the Afro-Caribbean people.
By Kali Akuno in Counterpunch - What the combination of theses efforts will amount to is the creation of Black Autonomous Zones. These Autonomous Zones must serve as centers for collective survival, collective defense, collective self-sufficiency and social solidarity. However, we have to be clear that while building Black Autonomous Zones is necessary, they are not sufficient in and of themselves. In addition to advancing our own autonomous development and political independence, we have to build a revolutionary international movement. We are not going to transform the world on our own. As noted throughout this short work, Black people in the US are not the only people confronting massive displacement, dislocation, disposability, and genocide, various people’s and sectors of the working class throughout the US and the world are confronting these existential challenges and seeking concrete solutions and real allies as much as we do.
By Various in Ebony - Over 1,000 Black activists, artists, scholars, students, and organizations have launched a statement expressing their solidarity and commitment to ensuring justice for Palestinians. Signatories to the statement span a wide cross-section of Black activists and scholars, including Angela Davis, Boots Riley, Cornel West, dream hampton, Emory Douglas, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pam Africa, Patrisse Cullors, Phil Hutchings, Ramona Africa, Robin DG Kelley, Rosa Clemente, Talib Kweli, and Tef Poe. 38 organizations signed on, including The Dream Defenders, Hands Up United, Institute of the Black World 21st Century, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and Organization for Black Struggle. The statement is printed in full below...
By Various in Mondoweiss - Over 1,000 Black activists, artists, scholars, students, and organizations have released a statement reaffirming their “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.” The list of signatories includes scholar-activists Angela Davis and Cornel West, political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sundiata Acoli, rappers Talib Kweli, Boots Riley and Jasiri X, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. 40 organizations signed, including the Florida-based Dream Defenders and St. Louis-based Hands Up United and Tribe X, which were founded after the killings of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, respectively, as well as the 35-year-old Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. The statement debuted Tuesday afternoon on the website of Ebony, the largest Black publication in the US.
Interview with Cornel West by Chris Hedges in The Real News - History is so unpredictable. No one has control over that. It looks that way, the evidence tilts in that direction, but you just don't know. It could be the case, for example, that when it comes to the greedy, the greediness of the big banks, that lo and behold, people who view themselves as conservatives but are deeply victimized, who have an empathy and moral sensitivity, may even come to your side in ways that you hadn't predicted. You just don't know. You fight anyway. But most importantly is the issue of integrity, honesty, and decency. Everybody's going to die fairly soon anyway. So the question is: do you want to live a life of integrity, honesty, and decency, tell the truth, and fight for justice, and wherever the consequences flow, let it flow? Martin was like that. I mean, one of the differences between brother Martin and myself was that he's a pacifist. See, I'm not a pacifist. You see. I believe nonviolence ought to be pursued given all of the options, but sometimes you have no alternative but self-defense, no alternative but self-defense.
Interview with Cornel West by Chris Hedges - Absolutely. Look at somebody like Ella Baker, who deserves so much more attention. She spends so much of her years, her later years, with the Puerto Rican independence movement with Albizu Campos and Oscar López Rivera, still a political prisoner today. She makes the connection between struggling against white supremacy in the States and struggling against U.S. colonialism on the island of Puerto Rico. So that critique of empire, white supremacy, always interwoven, always intermingling in the best sense. But I think in our day and time, though--and this is what this book is very much about; it's a love letter to the younger generation in our age of Ferguson and Baltimore and Staten Island and Cleveland and Oakland and so--and Charleston, North Charleston and Charleston. And what I mean by that is to say, young people, you are waking up in a magnificent way from your sleepwalking. But there's a magnificent tradition that constitutes wind at your back.