The section includes the basic documents of the four organizations that participated in the BLUN founding meeting, May 30-June 1, 2008 at the Stone Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. More organizations will be included in future issues.
Black Workers for Justice: http://blackworkersforjustice.org/index.php
People Organized for Progress: http://njpop.org/wordpress/
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement: http://mxgm.org/
Defenders for Freedom, Justice, and Equality: http://www.defendersfje.org/
While it is clear on a national level that we are not at a high point in our struggle, we continue to fight back everywhere we are, here in the US and throughout the world. On the other hand there are key battle fronts being waged that might yet become the spark of our next major awakening.
· BWFJ is currently helping to build the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina to fight right wing control of the state legislature. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S-P0z1bHO8
· POP holds frequent demonstrations in Newark and other parts of New Jersey, and have been doing so for several years. The Chair of POP is Larry Hamm. Here he is speaking at the annual Martin Luther King Banquet held by the Black Workers for Justice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdlcoxdTKOw
· MXGM has projected the Jackson Plan in Mississippi, and built enough unity to elect their president Chokwe Lumumba Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. See http://mxgm.org/chokwe-lumumba-vote-mayor-of-jackson-ms-with-clear-mandate/
· The Defenders publish a quarterly statewide newspaper: http://www.defendersfje.org/id3.html
This is a critical aspect of how the movement is being rebuilt - from the ground up, based on local leadership and initiative, mobilizing the power of poor and working people through self-organization and self-education
There are many aspects of re-building a unity network:
a. knowledge of many organizational forms
b. face to face familiarity with movement leaders and activists
c. practical coordination of unity in action
d. common theoretical discourse
The Black Activist will help this process on local and national levels. We will continue to publish the basic documents of key organizations and movements, drawing us together like turning fingers into a mighty Black fist preparing to help deck the decadent capitalist system.
The BWFJ is an organization of Black workers formed in 1981 out of a struggle led by Black women workers at a K-mart store in Rocky Mount, North Carolina against race and gender discrimination. After organizing a boycott of the local K-mart store and reaching out to workers at other workplaces and communities, Black workers and community activists from 10 counties met at the First Missionary Baptist Church in Fremont, NC in June 1982 to form BWFJ as a statewide organization.
BWFJ believes that racism is a fundamental part of the US system. It was established to bring about, reinforce and justify the super-exploitation and social, political, racial, gender and cultural oppression (national oppression) of Black workers and the African American people in order to create massive profits for the owners of the Southern plantations and the developing Northern industries and banks. The national oppression of African Americans sped up the development of the US capitalist economy to surpass the economies of other countries. US global economic expansion and domination of other countries and governments, including wars, is known as imperialism.
BWFJ believes that effective struggles by Black people against racism, national and gender oppression and worker exploitation must become conscious struggles for African American liberation and radical social change. They require more than a change in racist and sexist attitudes and the presence of more African Americans and women in government post (while important).
Radical structural changes are needed to empower African Americans, workers and women to restrict and eliminate institutionalized racist, patriarchal, exploitive and repressive policies and practices that strengthen the capitalist system and its various forms of oppression. This struggle takes place around political, economic, social, gender, sexuality, cultural, environmental and international issues to build working class and people's power and consciousness to transform society to improve conditions for all without privileges.
BWFJ believes that African American workers need self organization to help empower ourselves at the workplace, in communities and throughout the whole of US society to organize, educate, mobilize and struggle for power, justice, self determination and human rights for Black, oppressed nationalities, women and all working class people (employed and unemployed). The ability of workers to withhold their labor in an organized and collective way to seriously impact the daily operations of the economy and society, including the government, constitutes a major aspect of the power of Black workers to win progressive changes and to help radically transform society.
BWFJ believes that African American workers must take the lead in forming trade unions and community organizations that unite all workers around the struggles to improve and change the oppressive conditions we face in the workplace, communities and in the whole of US Society. Black workers must help to make the trade unions real rank-and-file democratic organizations with a radical vision of social justice.
BWFJ believes that Black faces in high places alone without accountability to the needs and interests of the African American and working class communities will not eliminate the racist US system. Black faces can be used to hide and do the dirty work of the employers and government. Struggles against injustice cannot make exceptions based on race or gender. We must expose, oppose and struggle to end injustice regardless of who's in charge.
The BWFJ believes that real Black power is represented by the organization and control by Black workers over the major economic, social and political institutions that impact our lives, including governmental power at all levels that establishes the conditions for African American self-determination. We believe that Black power must be aligned with the power of other oppressed people and workers in the US and globally in order to effectively challenge and defeat imperialism and systems of oppression, and to build truly democratic and humane societies.
BWFJ is opposed to the inequality and oppression of women; and is committed to the struggle for equality, power and leadership of women within the home, BWFJ, trade unions, community and political organizations and institutions, and in the government at all levels of society. The struggle against women's oppression must be present as an integral part of the struggle to transform social relations as a key aspect of transforming society's oppressive power relations.
BWFJ is opposed to the inequality and discrimination of Gay people; and is committed to the struggle against Gay oppression, and for equal rights as members within the BWFJ, social movements and the whole of US society.
BWFJ supports the right of immigrants to have full democracy and equality in society. As Latinos are becoming a major part of the working class in the US South, BWFJ is committed to the forming of an African American-Latino Alliance that unites the common struggles.
BWFJ is not anti-white people and welcomes the support of white workers and allies. However, we call on white workers and activists to struggle against racism and white supremacy, and to recognize that racism has created some level of privileges for whites, even among workers and progressives. This social privilege affects the class consciousness of white workers often causing them to view struggles against racism as being divisive for the working class and best dealt with by the courts; not by the unified struggles and power of workers.
Whites who work within the social movements struggling against various conditions and issues of national oppression and racial injustice must accept and support Black working class leadership within those social movements. Real working class unity must be based on a program that makes the struggle against racism and white supremacy a central part of the struggles of all workers.
BWFJ believes in international labor solidarity; and attempts to build ties with worker organizations around the world to support and wage a coordinated struggle against oppression and injustice. We will not side with US corporations or the government in their exploitation, oppression and unjust wars and acts of aggression against other countries.
BWFJ believes that Africans and peoples of African descent are entitled to reparations for slavery and the ongoing system of racist oppression that has stolen the wealth of Black labor, forced Black women to reproduce children to be sold and exploited, taking of Black land, terrorizing, maiming and killing Black people, assassinating Black leaders, unjust jail sentences, mis-education and Black political disenfranchisement.
BWFJ believes that African American workers must study our history and the history of struggles against oppression and injustice worldwide. BWFJ members must develop organizing and leadership skills and a political consciousness that enables us to provide effective leadership at the workplace, communities and at the international level. BWFJ builds and relates to institutions that help to develop the leadership of workers.
Active BWFJ members must pay annual dues and sell the Justice Speaks Newspaper, attend regular chapter meetings, be active in their workplace and/or community and plan and report on their work in one of the BWFJ working groups.
BWFJ must constantly recruit younger working class members to its ranks so that the Black workers movement continues and grows as a social force and leading base of the struggle for African American national liberation, women's emancipation and workers power and internationalism.
· For workers control of the wealth from their labor and for fighting, democratic unions of rank and file workers
· Against the exploitation of all workers
· For democratic rights and equality of all races, nationalities and sexes
· Against racism, white supremacy, homophobia and sexism
· For social programs for working people, youth, the elderly, physically challenged and poor
· Against wars and military spending to make the rich richer
· For jobs, income, training for the unemployed, affirmative action for Blacks, oppressed nationalities, women and physically challenged workers
· Against unemployment, plant closings, and "run away shops"
· For health and safety on the job and in the community
· Against dangerous conditions and "killer shops"
· For the political empowerment of all working people, and the freedom and national liberation of Blacks and oppressed nationalities
· Against the political powerlessness of all working people and against racist national oppression of Blacks and all oppressed nationalities
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is an organization of Afrikans in America/New Afrikans whose mission is to defend the human rights of our people and promote self-determination in our community. We understand that the collective institutions of white-supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism have been at the root of our people’s oppression. We understand that without community control and without the power to determine our own lives, we will continue to fall victim to genocide. Therefore, we seek to heighten our consciousness about self-determination as a human right and a solution to our colonization. While organizing around our principles of unity, we are building a network of Black/New Afrikan activists and organizers committed to the protracted struggle for the liberation of the New Afrikan Nation – By Any Means Necessary!
1. We actively support and struggle to defend the Human Rights of Afrikan people in the United States and around the world. We actively oppose those social, economic, political and cultural practices and structures that contribute to the violation of our people’s human rights whether it is based on ethnicity, nationality, social status, class, gender or sexual orientation (including gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual, or other sexuality).
2. We demand Reparations, or repayment for four hundred years of slavery, colonialism and oppression of our people in the United States of America.
3. We promote Self-Determination and must organize for the liberation of the Afrikan nation, held colonized in the United States.
4. We oppose Genocide or the acceptable and calculated killing of our people by individuals, institutions and organizations of the United States government, through lynching, disease, police terror and any other means.
5. We demand the release of activists who have been imprisoned because of their commitment in seeking human rights and liberation for our people. These brothers and sisters are Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War, and they should be recognized as such.
6. We actively struggle to End Sexist Oppression. We oppose any form of oppression that limits women from reaching their fullest potential, as manifested in our cultural, economic, political and social institutions, practices and beliefs. We actively oppose those beliefs, ideas, terms, etc. that limit the human worth of women and contribute to violations against women.
1. Always be humble when dealing with Afrikan people. You can be humble and firm at the same time
2. Respect the actions and customs of others.
3. Never engage in petty senseless arguments.
4. Do not go places looking for arguments (ideological or otherwise)
5. Always be on time for all activities, or have a legitimate reason.
6. Never be afraid to wage Ideological struggle, or ask questions if necessary to establish political clarity.
7. Never talk just to be seen or heard
8. Never discuss information with those who should not know, regardless of who they are.
9. Report all actions that threaten our people to our organization leadership.
10. Always be on the lookout for traitors, spies, and other enemies of our people
11. Always be engaged in some form of propaganda work.
12. Always be on the lookout for brothers and sisters who have deep love for Afrikan people for recruitment purposes.
13. Never be tricked by a person’s word.
14. Know how to study and recognize the uniqueness of our struggle.
15. Know the enemy within.
16. Always keep yourself clean in mind, body, and collectively.
17. Develop the ability to work individually and collectively.
18. Combat selfishness.
19. Always guide and protect children.
Youth at Camp Pumziko.
The term “New Afrika” designates us not just as a group or a collective but as a Nation. We claim nationhood and sovereignty at this time and in this place!
1. because we aspire to independence, self determination and self sufficiency
2. because our culture and interests are not just distinct but in opposition to that of the North American empire
3. to highlight the conditions of colonization in which we currently live
4. as a grounds on which to demand the recompenses – such as reparations – due to all nations whose international and inalienable human rights have been unjustly compromised
5. to affirm our connection to the landmass on which our ancestors toiled and bled; to affirm out connection to land from which all wealth and health flows.
6. because we recognize that people do not control their own affairs, who do not control the institutions by which they participate in public life are open to disenfranchisement, marginalization, and genocide
7. to be able to act as a resource, example. and sanctuary for oppressed people everywhere
The term “ New Afrika” reflects our Pan African identity, our purpose, and our direction. Although we come from distinct ethno-linguistic groups in Africa and the African Diaspora, our shared oppression and the interdependence of our liberation redefines our borders. We are New Afrikans and we are a Nation. We will be free. Toward that end, MXGM will work to honor the legacy of our ancestors, for our own progress and for future generations. Let us surface the New Afrikan Nation for ourselves, all Afrikans and all humanity by proudly calling ourselves………………New Afrikan!
“Free the Land!” … is the battle cry of the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM).
The NAIM is part of the Black liberation Movement in North Amerikka that wants independent Black Nation on land in north amerikka. The land identified by the New Afrikan Independence Movement is primarily known as South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, as well as other areas of what is now called the Black-Belt South, where Afrikan people are in the majority or have a historical/economical/socio-cultural relationship to. When we say “Free the Land” this is the land we are talking about freeing. Malcolm X once stated:“Revolutions are fought to get control of land, to remove the absentee landlord, and gain control of the land and institutions that flow from the land. The Black [Nation] has been in a very low condition because [it] has no control whatsoever over the land.” He later stated:“A true Negro revolt might entail, for instance, fighting for separate Blacks states within this country…”
New Afrika- South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and other areas of the ‘Black-Belt South”- must be free. Afrika is the homeland of all Afrikan people, but We have no realistic plan to transport 40 million captive New Afikans back to Afrika.
We recognize the claims of Native Americans to this land, and we will struggle side-by-side to help them regain their land. At the same time, since out captivity in the western hemisphere, progressive Native Americans have recognized that We have nothing in common to north amerikkka and the majority of us have no realistic way to get back to Afrika.
We say ‘Free the Land’ because We want independence so that we can ensure our Human Rights are protected and that our land will be a zone and base for all who seek liberation and freedom.
FREE THE LAND!
We must build the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement for Self Respect, Self Defense and Self Determination!
The Black Nation Charges Genocide!
We must Free the Land!
Free the Land!
Free the Land – By Any Means Necessary!
The People’s Organization for Progress has been formed for the following purposes:
· To educate the people about relevant social, economic and political issues.
· To continuously organize and mobilize the grassroots community so that it can effectively solve its problems and fight for its needs.
· To improve the social and economic conditions in our community.
· To work for the total elimination of racism and sexism.
· To further develop and increase the political power of working and poor people.
· To strive for a more just and equitable distribution of wealth in our society.
· To serve as an advocate of human and civil rights.
· To support the struggles of people at home and abroad against oppression and exploitation.
· To promote world peace.
· To build unity with other organizations and individuals whose goals are similar to our own.
We, the members of the People’s Organization for Progress, have founded this association of the society in which we live. It is our desire to build a more just social order. Our primary goal is nothing less than the complete elimination of poverty; all forms of social, racial and economic exploitation; oppression; degradation; human misery; suffering and injustice.
We shall unify and organize working, poor and progressive people and strive to foster cooperation, self-reliance, and a militant fighting spirit among them. We shall build our organization so that it may become a viable political vehicle for the oppressed and a significant force for progressive politics. We shall work to unite the greater progressive community, increase its ranks and build a broad mass movement at the local level which will be an integral part of the national worldwide struggle for social and economic justice.
Our concern is not only for society as a whole, but for the individual as well. We seek not only social transformation, but the transformation of the individual through involvement in the struggle for human liberation. We believe that in order for the struggle to transform society to succeed it must be carried out and supported by people imbued with revolutionary values. We want to make the individual socially aware and concerned, more responsible and compassionate, committed and active in the struggle for social change.
We support and involve ourselves in advocacy, self-help, and reform efforts to improve the conditions of the people; however, we believe that the major social, economic and political problems confronting working and poor people cannot be solved unless there is a radical redistribution of power and wealth in our society and a restructuring of our socioeconomic system that will result in the empowerment of the masses over all institutions that affect their lives
We vow to uphold the legacy of struggle which we have inherited and not to rest until justice, equality, dignity and peace are a reality for all.
Fidel & Malcolm X at the Hotel Theresa Octiber 1960.
10 Defenders for Freedom, Justice, & EqualityAbout the Defenders
FORMED IN 2002 as a small group of individuals, some of whom had incarcerated relatives in these institutions, were concerned about physical conditions in the Richmond City Jail and state prisons. As we worked on these issues, we learned more and more about the connections between jails, jobs, poverty, racism, sexism, class, war and political representation. We began to organize to address these broader issues as well.
The Defenders now focuses on learning, analyzing and disseminating information about these issues through the following mediums:
· Our members meet monthly to discuss issues and plan actions.
· We work in alliances and partnerships with many other progressive organizations locally, nationally and internationally and are a founding member of the Virginia Anti-War Network (VAWN) and the Virginia People's Assembly (www.RichmondJwJ.org) which works to help unite all the progressive struggles in the state.
· We are principal organizers in an ongoing campaign to preserve and properly memorialize Richmond's rich Black history, by reclaiming the city's long-neglected Burial Ground for Negroes and fighting to stop the development of a commercial baseball stadium in historic Shockoe Bottom, site of what once was the largest slave market in the United States.
· We formed Defenders Publications, Inc. (DPI) in 2003 and produce a quarterly newspaper, The Virginia Defender (formerly The Richmond Defender), with a press run of 15,000 distributed through more than 250 distribution sites in Richmond, plus 12 other Virginia cities. DPI will soon offer a growing range of publications including new editions of The Story of Gabriel, Nat Turner's Rebellion, Criminal Arrogance and other helpful pamphlets and books. In December 2008 we published our first book, "In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace Delegation's Journey through the Islamic Republic." (See www.DefendersFJE.org/dpi.)
· Our weekly radio program, DefendersLIVE!, reaches most of Richmond's population (Mondays, Noon - 12:30 p.m., on WRIR, 97.3 FM; also available via live stream at www.wrir.org
To learn more about our activities and how you can get involved, click on the buttons on the left of this page.
Thanks for visiting - we hope to hear from you often.
We believe in Freedom. We believe that all people must be free to develop to their full potential as human beings.
We must be free from hunger, from preventable diseases, from homelessness, from ignorance. We must be free to work and to provide for ourselves and our families. We must be free to pursue our education and to develop ourselves culturally and spiritually. We must be free from fear of the arbitrary use of police power and from the physical and cultural attacks of white-supremacist organizations. Women must be free from physical, cultural and emotional oppression. Children must be free from dangers like lead poisoning, asthma and sexual exploitation. Our youths must be free both from police harassment and the mindless violence of the streets. We must all be free from unjust wars fought in the interest of the wealthy few at the expense of the struggling many.
We believe in Justice. We believe that every human being has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
And we believe that these rights are meaningless unless we also have the right to a job at a living wage, to decent housing, to adequate health care, to a meaningful education. We believe that all people have the right to stand equally before the law, to equal and fair treatment by the police, by the court system and in jails and prisons. And we believe that the death penalty is the ultimate exercise in injustice.
We believe in Equality. We believe that for any one of us to be free, we must all be free. We believe that for any one of us to have justice, we must all have justice. We believe that equality for anyone is impossible without equality for everyone.
We live in the richest country in the world. But it’s a country that owes its tremendous wealth to the barbaric oppression of Black labor on a historic scale, as well as the theft of American Indian and Mexican lands, the cruel exploitation of Asian labor and the labor of waves of poor European immigrants. This country does not belong to the wealthy few who have claimed it for their own and yet ask the rest of us to believe that we own it. As human beings, we all have an equal right to its resources. As descendants of those whose blood, sweat and tears paid cruelly for its development, we have a right to collective reparations. And as people who struggle every day with ongoing inequality, we have the right to affirmative action.
As members of The Defenders, we pledge ourselves to defend our community, its men, its women and especially its children, from all forms of oppression. We pledge to fight for a world where all people can live in dignity, freedom and peace.
While supporting and learning from each other, we have focused on effecting change in our community by bringing attention and action to issues, small and large, which affect us all. These include:
· Working to improve the filthy, unsanitary conditions in the Richmond City Jail, including organizing an ongoing citywide petitioning campaign that called for an independent community inspection of the jail. As virtually the only organization questioning the administration of the jail, we believe we helped lay the basis for the change in administration that took place in January 2006.
· Initiating a Court Watch Project to support the family of police shooting victim Verlon Johnson. The Defenders have worked closely with organizations like the Virginia State Conference NAACP and Youth for Social Change to keep a public spotlight on the issue of police misconduct in Richmond.
· Helping to revive the memory of Gabriel, the great Virginia slave rebellion leader who was executed on Oct.10, 1800, in downtown Richmond. One result is the state highway marker that now stands downtown at 15th and East Broad streets. Unveiled by the Defenders on Oct. 10, 2004, the marker is the city's only official physical commemoration of Gabriel's Rebellion. It is also the only official recognition that Richmond's African Burial Ground lies abandoned and disrespected under the privately owned parking lot just north of the marker. Reclaiming that burial ground is another priority for the Defenders.
· Working with United Parents Against Lead to pressure the city administration to save federal funding for the Lead-Safe Richmond program, charged with preventing lead poisoning in the city's children. The Defenders and UPAL were able to obtain an audit of the program by the city's assessor's office, But despite the fact that the audit verified our criticisms, we were unable to convince city officials there was a problem. Months after the audit, HUD canceled the city's funding. Lead abatement work is now being coordinated by UPAL.
· Joining and working with the Virginia Alliance for Worker Justice to fight for a raise in the state minimum wage and to oppose legislative attacks on local living-wage ordinances and state unemployment benefits.
· Hosting public meetings to discuss the U.S. war on Iraq and the impact of U.S. foreign policy on domestic budget decisions.
· Helping to launch the Virginia Anti-War Network (VAWN) on Jan. 8, 2005. VAWN is now in its third year.