The Black Left Unity Network (BLUN)
Elizabeth Catlett's Unity (back). 1970
At the heart of developing the political clarity of policies advanced by the Black Left Unity Network (BLUN) is the stark reality of a fragmented Black left. During a period of profound economic and social crises, the core of BLUN policies is an effort to end this fragmentation and to build the Black left. This is not simply an act of bringing together a handful of organizations or individuals, although the Black Liberation Movement is rooted in the work of those committed to deep level struggle and social change. It is a recognition that whenever African peoples have engaged in efforts for radical social transformation, it is because the Black working class, laundry women and men, garbage collectors, students, educators and others have stood strong and resistive.
The BLUN consists of Black activists, female, male, straight and gay and multi-tendency in terms of ideological groundings. Some belong to self-identified Black liberation organizations and collectives; some are members of multi-national organizations, some are members of social movement convergent networks, some are independent activists, and some are revolutionary intellectuals. All are committed to struggle for deep level social change.
Thus, the Black Left Unity Network recognizes that in a period when the professed leadership of the Black World, in the United States and globally have moved increasingly to the center right, the masses of people are not being lulled to sleep by the symbolism of Black faces in high places. In high places, they, too, carry-out the death generating policies of imperialism, neoliberal capitalism, heteropatriarchy and white supremacy. Under these conditions political direction demands:
· Organizing the Black working class as the main base and leadership of the Black liberation movement
· Building a national Black united front toward ending the fragmentation of the left
· Struggling to free political prisoners as a conscious component and demand of the Black liberation movement
· Struggling against women’s oppression and heteropatriarchy as essential in forging the unity of Black liberation organizations
· Building internationalism with a strong anti-imperialist perspective and support for struggles in Africa and the Caribbean
· Reparations as a national demand for Crimes Against Humanity and self-determination
· Centering culture as a political force in the Black liberation movement
BLUN's People's Assembly at the US Social Forum- Detroit, July 2010.
Furthermore, the work of BLUN:
1. Articulates the core principles of unity, self-determination, equality, accountability, and social transformation.
2. Advances theory and practice which end the fragmentation of the Black Liberation Movement.
3. Generates political and popular education rooted in a commitment to educate and end the fragmentation of the Black Liberation Movement.
4. Recognizes that the crises confronting Black people are multiple requiring more than the spontaneity of the Black masses. Thus, the Black Liberation Movement must provide a national framework informed by the on the ground theory and practice of those in struggle on the ground.
5. Develops technological organizing with a keen eye on the democratic and open use of technology to propel the Black Liberation Movement.
6. Articulates internationalism and strategic organizing that seek to unite the thinking and actions of the many struggles on the ground around a program for revolutionary change.
These policies of BLUN have been expressed concretely as a statement of principles:
· We are Black people fighting for power and liberation.
· We fight to end the system of capitalist exploitation, patriarchy, homophobia and all other forms of oppression.
· We organize by connecting local battlefronts rooted in a working class perspective to build national unity of action and international solidarity with other struggling oppressed people.
These principles are advanced through multiple discussions, action papers and national dialogues to deepen clarity and understanding. What follows are examples of political direction embedded in commitments to internationalism and the Black Liberation Movement in the U.S.
Sculpture by the Late Elizabeth Catlett