Friday, May 25, 2012

(Video) The Struggle to Realize Human Rights in the United States

Please note that this video is being posted for purposes of historical documentation. It was edited and produced by Northstar Productions under the direction of Kali Akuno in March 2012, then serving as the Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Jackson – Kush Plan and the Struggle for Black Self-Determination and Economic Democracy

Written by Kali Akuno
For the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and New Afrikan People’s Organization
Friday, May 4, 2012
“It is with the intention of making a contribution, however modest, to this debate that we present here our opinion of the foundations and objectives of national liberation in relation to the social structure. This opinion is the result of our own experiences of the struggle and of a critical appreciation of the experiences of others. To those who see in it a theoretical character, we would recall that every practice produces a theory, and that if it is true that a revolution can fail even though it be based on perfectly conceived theories, nobody has yet made a successful revolution without a revolutionary theory.” – Amilcar Cabral, The Weapon of Theory

The project of Afrikan or Black Liberation in the European settler-colonial project called the United States is far from complete. Despite the election of the first person of Afrikan descent to the executive office of the United States government, and the progress this allegedly entails, Black people remain at the top of virtually every social indicator of inequality and inequity, with some critical gaps growing ever wider since the onset of the manufactured financial crisis that struck in the mid-2000’s.

Despite the social gains won by the Black Liberation Movement (BLM) in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s with the forced dismantling of the legal structures of white supremacy, securing the more challenging objectives of the movement, particularly economic democracy[1] and self-determination, have yet to be won. The challenge with economic democracy and self-determination is that in order for them to be attained a critical break with capitalism and the dismantling of the American settler colonial project is required. Since the ebb of the BLM in the 1970’s as a result of massive government repression, unrelenting white resistance, and the fragmentation of the movement itself as result of the divide and conquer tactics of its enemies and its own internal contradictions pertaining to ideology, class interests, and sexual and gender inequality, the movement has not been able to develop a comprehensive strategy and the level of mass resistance needed to advance these particular objectives. However, to meet these objectives the organized forces of the BLM most dedicated to their pursuit have been compelled over the past 30 years to advance projects of limited scale in order to maintain political position and regroup as a movement to engage in protracted struggle to win economic democracy and self-determination.  

What follows is a presentation of one such project actively being conducted by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and its parent organization the New Afrikan Peoples Organization (NAPO) called the Jackson – Kush[2] Plan. The Jackson – Kush or J - K Plan is an initiative to build a base of autonomous power in Mississippi concentrated in Jackson and the eastern Black belt portions of the state that can serve as a catalyst for the attainment of Black self-determination and the democratic transformation of the economy.

Getting Started: the Historic Background

The J - K Plan in its concrete form is the product of a self-generated organizing challenge that emerged from the 2008 Ideological Conference of MXGM and NAPO. The challenge was to test the strength of our organizing model and work in the South after more than 25 years of patient and deliberate work in key cities like Atlanta, Birmingham, and Jackson. The initial plan was to expand the People’s Assembly model that was built in Jackson by MXGM and NAPO in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and to run Peoples’ Attorney Chokwe Lumumba for a City Council seat to assess the reach and impact of our work.

However, the J - K Plan also has many immediate and distant precursors drawn from the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) in particular and the BLM in general. Some of the most immediate sources of inspiration for the J - K Plan were the initiatives to build a national Reconstruction Party in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (first proposed by Saladin Muhammad in the “Black Nations 9/11”[3]); the campaign to run Malcolm Suber for a vacated At Large City Council seat in New Orleans in 2007 as an independent under the Reconstruction Party banner[4]; the work of MXGM members April and Cliff Albright in Selma, Alabama to build the Freedom Party in the mid-2000’s; and the conceptual and organizing work of Baba Hannibal Afrik and Dr. Demetri Marshall to develop the “Kush Plan” to organize the Black belt portions of Mississippi and Louisiana.

A few of the precursors of the J – K Plan include the 1981 campaign of Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PG – RNA) Southern Region Vice President, Kwablah Mthawabu, for Mayor in his home town of Waterproof, LA in the Kush District.  In 1993 former NAPO and MXGM Detroit, MI coordinator, Kwame Kenyatta, won a seat on the Detroit School Board, which preceded his successful 2004 campaign for a seat on the Detroit City Council.
Another key precursor was the formation of the Jackson Human Rights Coalition in the late 1980’s. This coalition helped unseat white Mayor Dale Danks who promoted and defended police brutality in the face of growing opposition to police terror in Jackson’s Black Community. After Danks defeat, another white mayor, Kane Ditto, was elected to replace him. Ditto also defended police terrorism when white segregationist police officer’ Steve Wilson gunned down community activist Johnny Griffin in front of several of Griffin’s children in Jackson’s inner city community. Outcry over Griffin’s death galvanized demonstrations against killer cops, and also sparked the establishment of an Anti-Klan Coalition which challenged the KKK in Mississippi. The Anti-Klan Coalition sponsored a mass rally and march that successfully shut down the KKK’s attempted march on the Hinds County court house in support of Wilson and police terrorism. The Griffin family and a legal team led by MXGM Attorney Chokwe Lumumba won a legal settlement for Johnnie Griffin’s wife and children in Federal Court.

In response to this pressure, Ditto hired Jackson’s first Black Police Chief David Walker. Ditto hoped that hiring Walker would defuse growing Black opposition to his administration. Indeed, Walker to Ditto’s surprise launched an unprecedented campaign against police brutality. Several police officers were fired and prosecuted for their abuse at Walker’s initiative. Rather than embracing Walker’s positive work, he rejected it. Walker was fired by Ditto only six months after he was hired. MXGM, NAPO, the Jackson Advocate, and various others united to form a city wide coalition which protested the firing of Walker with a city wide selective buying campaign.

Following this development, the Jackson Human Rights Coalition organized a Grass Roots Convention designed to create a Self-Determination agenda and to elect Jackson’s first Black Mayor. In 1993 the grassroots convention selected renowned Black political activist Henry Kirksey to run for Mayor. Unfortunately, Kirksey was betrayed by Black politician Harvey Johnson. Once a participant in the grassroots convention, Johnson abandoned it and announced he would run for Mayor after Kirksey was nominated by the convention. Harvey Johnson and Kirksey were both defeated in 1993 due to the fragmentation of the Black vote. Johnson, however, ran again in 1997 and won. These experiences provided invaluable lessons for the development of the J – K Plan.

However, the principle foundational precursor of the J - K Plan is drawn from the plans of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PG-RNA) under the leadership of Dr. Imari A. Obadele in the early 1970’s to establish a new community called “El Malik” near Bolton, MS as the capital of the Republic.

The J – K Plan builds on these immediate and historic foundations and also a critical appraisal of the lessons, both positive and negative, of the popular struggles for self-determination, economic democracy, and social liberation throughout the world over the last 30 years, but particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  However, it was not until we succeeded in electing Chokwe Lumumba to the Jackson City Council to represent Ward 2 on May 19th, 2009[5] coupled with the growth of the People’s Assembly that was stimulated by this electoral campaign that we decided to launch the J – K plan as it is envisioned herein as a critical experiment in the struggle for Afrikan liberation.

Program or Pillars

The J – K Plan has three fundamental programmatic components that are designed to build a mass base with the political clarity, organizational capacity, and material self-sufficiency to advance the objective of building an autonomous power. The three fundamental programmatic components are:
  • Building People’s Assemblies
  • Building an Independent Political Party
  • Building a broad based Solidarity Economy

People’s Assemblies

The People’s Assemblies that MXGM and NAPO are working to build in Jackson and throughout the state of Mississippi, particularly its eastern Black belt portions, are designed to be vehicles of Black self-determination and the autonomous political authority of the oppressed peoples’ and exploited classes contained within the state. The Assemblies are organized as expressions of participatory or direct democracy, wherein there is guided facilitation and agenda setting provided by the committees that compose the People’s Task Force, but no preordained hierarchy. The People’s Task Force is the working or executing body of the Assembly. The Task Force is composed of committees that are organized around proposals emerging from the Assembly to carry out various tasks and initiatives, such as organizing campaigns (like Take Back the Land) and long-term institution building and development work (like land trusts and cooperative housing).

The People’s Assemblies model advanced by MXGM and NAPO as a core component of the J – K Plan have a long, rich history in Mississippi and in the Black Liberation Movement in general. The roots of our Assembly model are drawn from the spiritual or prayer circles that were organized often clandestinely by enslaved Afrikans to express their humanity, build and sustain community, fortify their spirits and organize resistance. The vehicle gained public expression in Mississippi with the organization of “Negro Peoples Conventions” at the start of Reconstruction to develop autonomous programs of action to realize freedom as Afrikans themselves desired it and to determine their relationship to the defeated governments of the Confederacy and the triumphant government of the Federal Republic[6].

This expression of people’s power remerged time and again in the New Afrikan communities of Mississippi as a means to resist the systemic exploitation and terror of white supremacy and to exercise and exert some degree of self-determination. The last great expression of this vehicle of Black people’s self-determined power in Mississippi occurred in the early 1960’s. It was stimulated by a campaign of coordinated resistance organized by militant local leaders like Medger Evers that drew on the national capacity and courage of organizations like the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). This campaign created the democratic space necessary for New Afrikan communities in Mississippi to organize themselves to resist more effectively. Broad, participatory based People’s Assemblies were the most common form of this self-organization[7]. One of the most memorable outgrowths of this wave of Peoples Assemblies in Mississippi was the creation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MSFDP), which challenged the hegemonic control over the Black vote on a state and local level since the New Deal, and remains a vehicle that serves as a constant reminder for the need for genuine Black equality and self-determination to this day.

It is this legacy of People’s Assemblies that MXGM and NAPO are grounding ourselves in, and one we encourage others, particularly those in the Occupy movement, to study to help guide our collective practice in the present to build a better future.

Independent Electoral Politics

MXGM and NAPO firmly believe that at this stage in the struggle for Black Liberation that to firmly advance the causes of attaining economic democracy and self-determination, that the liberation movement must be committed to building and exercising dual power. And while we believe that the building of autonomous power outside of the realm of the state (i.e. the government) in the form of People’s Assemblies is primary, we also believe that engaging electoral politics on a limited scale with the express intent of building radical voting blocks and electing candidates drawn from the ranks of the Assemblies themselves is important. As we have learned through our own experiences and a summation of the experiences of others, we ignore the power of the state at our own peril. 

However, it should be clear that we do not engage the electoral system of the settler colony that is the state of Mississippi because we aim to legitimize its existence or its claims to being a democratic institution. Rather, we engage it first and foremost to try to negate its repressive powers and to contain the dictatorial power and ideological influence of monopoly capital in Mississippi. From police violence to the divestment of jobs and public resources, there are many challenges facing our communities that require us to leverage every available means of power to save lives and improve conditions. Secondly, we struggle to engage it as a means to create political openings that provide a broader platform for the struggles to restore the “commons”[8], create more public utilities (i.e. universal health care and comprehensive public transportation), and the democratic transformation of the economy to be waged. As we are struggling against a state apparatus that is an edifice of white colonial supremacy and neo-liberal in its orientation of governance, we are clear that this combination of defensive and offensive struggles must be given equal attention. If this perspective of critical struggle against the state is not maintained, our initiatives could easily turn opportunist and fall victim to becoming the latest Black-faced trend in the neo-liberal administration of austerity.   

Fundamental to our engagement with electoral politics is the principle that we must build and employ independent political vehicles that are not bound to or controlled by either of the two monopoly parties in the United States. We are particularly focused on building an independent political party that challenges the Democratic Party for the loyalty of the Black or New Afrikan vote in the state of Mississippi.  Although the Democratic Party in Mississippi is overwhelmingly Black, and highly independent from the day to day operations of the National Democratic Party as articulated by the Democratic National Committee, it is still a local tool of transnational monopoly capital and an instrument for the operations of US imperialism “domestically” and internationally. As such, it must be opposed by all those claiming to be anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist. In the effort to build on the legacy of independent electoral engagement by New Afrikans in Mississippi, MXGM and NAPO are partisan members of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MSFDP) and are starting to work as activists within the party to transform it into a fully independent party (as many of its founders originally envisioned) and extend its reach so that it eventually breaks the hegemony of the Democratic Party over the Black electorate in Mississippi.

It is this combination of building and exercising dual power – building autonomous People’s Assemblies and critical engagement with the state via independent party politics – that are the two fundamental political pillars of the J – K Plan.

To date, some of the accomplishments of this model beyond the 2009 election of Chokwe Lumumba include leading the campaign to elect the first ever Black Sheriff of Hinds County, Tyron Lewis, in August 2011[9]; leading the campaign to Free the Scott Sisters, which won their release in January 2011[10]; successfully campaigned to save the J – Tran city public transportation in Jackson from devastating austerity cuts planned by current Mayor Harvey Johnson; and united with the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA) and other progressive forces to pass an anti-racial profiling ordinance in Jackson and to defeat Arizona styled anti-immigrant legislation in Mississippi in 2011 and 2012 respectively[11].

Solidarity Economy

The critical third pillar of the J – K Plan is the long-term commitment to build a local Solidarity Economy that links with regional (like the Southern Grassroots Economics Project) and national (like the US Solidarity Economy Network) Solidarity Economy networks to advance the struggle for economic democracy as a transitional means to the construction of socialism (which we still define as “from each according to ability, to each according to work”).

Solidarity Economy or Solidarity Economics is a concept that emerged from social movements primarily in Latin America in the 1980’s and 90’s fighting against the imposed austerity of neo-liberal capitalism, the authoritarian order of the neo-colonial state regimes, and the countless exploitative impositions of US imperialism[12]. Solidarity Economy as a concept describes a process of promoting cooperative economics that promote social solidarity, mutual aid, reciprocity, and generosity. It also describes the horizontal and autonomously driven networking of a range of cooperative institutions that support and promote the aforementioned values ranging from worker cooperatives to informal affinity based neighborhood bartering networks.   

Our conception of Solidarity Economy is inspired by the Mondragon Federation of Cooperative Enterprises based in the Basque region of Spain[13]. Our conception attempts to draw from the best practices and experiences of the Mondragon system and combine them with the best practices and experiences of the Solidarity Economy and other alternative economic initiatives already in motion in the United States.

Our struggle in part is to make these practices and experiences relevant in Jackson and Mississippi Black belt on the one hand. And on the other to make greater links with existing cooperative institutions (again like the Southern Grassroots Economies Project and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives) in the state and the region to extend and broaden their reach and impact on the local and regional economy. The practices and experiences that MXGM and NAPO are working to organize based on our assessment of the aforementioned examples and what we think would be the most relevant and translatable in the Jackson context consist of the following:
  • Building a network of cooperative and mutually reinforcing enterprises and institutions, specifically worker, consumer, and housing cooperatives, and community development credit unions as the foundation of our local Solidarity Economy
  • Building sustainable, Green (re)development and Green economy networks and enterprises, starting with a Green housing initiative
  • Building a network of local urban farms, regional agricultural cooperatives, and farmers markets, drawing heavily from recent experiences in Detroit, to realize food sovereignty and combat obesity and chronic health issues in the state associated with limited access to fresh produce and unhealthy socialized eating habits
  • Developing local community and conservation land trusts as a primary means to begin the process of reconstructing the “Commons” in the city and region by decommodifying land and housing as a means of transforming property relations and subjecting privately appropriated social production to democratic processes
  • Organizing to reconstruct and extend the Public Sector, particularly public finance of community development, to be pursued as a means of rebuilding the Public Sector to ensure there is adequate infrastructure to provide quality health care, accessible mass transportation, and decent, affordable public housing, etc.  
In building along these lines we aim to transform the economy of Jackson and the region as a whole to create the material base needed to support and build the autonomous politics we are pursuing. But, we see that Solidarity Economy, if developed to its own logical conclusions, represents the limit of economic reform possible within a capitalist framework of social production governed by a bourgeois social order. We are clear that in order to build socialism that something more than just the principles and institutions of economic and social solidarity will be needed. What we believe will be needed are new political and social identities crafted on the transformation of consciousness produced in part by engaging in the practices associated with Solidarity Economy and radical participatory and horizontal democracy. Solidarity Economy when pushed to its limits as a means of heightening contradictions within the capitalist system we believe is a transitional strategy and praxis to build 21st century socialism and advance the abolition of capitalism and the oppressive social relations that it fosters.

Turning Theory into Action: Organizing Campaigns and Alliance Building

The three fundamental program components or pillars of the J – K Plan can only and will only be built through grassroots organizing and alliance building. The key to the organizing component of the overall plan is the launching and successful execution of several strategic and mutually reinforcing organizing campaigns. The most critical of these organizing campaigns are as follows:
  • The Amandla[14] Education Project
  • Take Back the Land
  • Operation Black Belt
  • 2013 Electoral Campaigns

The Amandla Education Project

The Amandla Project is a youth and community education project specializing in organizing training, political education, and skill building for civic engagement and participation. The Project provides training to youth and community members in the People’s Assembly and the broader civil society in Jackson on community organizing, conflict resolution, critical literacy, media literacy, journalism and media advocacy, political theory, political economy, human rights advocacy, cooperative planning and management, participatory budgeting, the principles and practices of solidarity economy, sustainable economic development, and ecological sustainability. The Project also specializes in teaching the deep and rich history of struggle by New Afrikan people in Jackson and Mississippi in general, to liberate themselves from white supremacy and colonial domination and the assimilation of lessons from these struggles that can be employed today to advance the liberation movement.

In its first year, the Amandla Project will recruit, train, and organize 100 youth and community organizers. These 100 individuals will serve as the core organizing cadre for the J – K Plan. Our objective is to place 10 organizers in each of Jacksons 7 Wards and to utilize the remaining 30 to enhance the overall organizing capacity of progressive forces in the state of Mississippi.

These organizers will be trained by a team of experienced organizers drawn from the ranks of MXGM, Mississippi Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights and other allied organizations that support the People’s Assembly and the J – K Plan.

Training 100 organizers is a critical start, but is in no way sufficient to meet the comprehensive needs of the J – K Plan. To develop and train the cohorts and cadre of organizers needed to realize the objectives of this plan, MXGM, MS NAACP and the Praxis Project are working in alliance to build a training school by the start 2013 that will serve as the cornerstone of this long term educational initiative.

The Take Back the Land Campaign

The Take Back the Land campaign is an initiative to create a network of urban farms and farmers markets to promote a healthy diet, affordable produce, and food sovereignty in the city. It also aims to create a land trust network, cooperative housing, and a workers cooperative network to provide a base of employment for many of the un and under employed.

The Take Back the Land campaign will focus on occupying vacant land, abandoned homes and industrial facilities and convert them into usable agricultural land for urban farming, refurbished green housing to establish a cooperative housing network, and community space to establish training facilities, business centers and recreation spaces.

Aspects of this campaign have already been launched by MXGM with the healthy foods initiative and Fannie Lou Hammer gardens project. This initiative is also conceptually linked with the primary aim of the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM), which MXGM and NAPO are a part of, to “Free the Land”, meaning the creating of an area in the Black Belt South to exercise New Afrikan sovereignty. It is also linked to the National Take Back the Land Movement that was launched in 2009 by the Land and Housing Action Group (LHAG) of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN), which originally consisted of MXGM, Survivors Village, Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, and Take Back the Land Miami.[15]  

Operation Black Belt

Operation Black Belt is a campaign to organize the oppressed peoples’ and exploited classes in the South, particularly concentrating on organizing Black workers in the region who form the core of the oppressed Black or New Afrikan nation that has been super exploited for centuries, into militant class conscious and social movement based worker associations and unions.  This campaign is being initiated by MXGM with the support of the Malcolm X Solidarity Committee (MXSC), which is a North American anti-imperialist formation under the discipline of NAPO. The campaign is being launched in the state of Mississippi and key cities along the Mississippi river to organize Truckers and Transport workers and help strengthen the organization of Longshore and various Port workers.  

This campaign is starting with an initiative to organize workers in the transport industry, primarily because of its strategic nature to the economy of Jackson, the Southern Region, and ultimately the United States as a whole. The Mississippi river port network, running from Minneapolis to New Orleans is the largest single river based trade nexus in the world. This nexus is as essential to world trade as it is to the economy of Jackson. We believe that we can strategically leverage the labor power of workers in and around Jackson – which is strategic to this Nexus as it connects the Port of Vicksburg with the intersection of Interstate Highways 20 and 55 and numerous rail lines – as a means of intervening in the circuit of capital that flows through it to improve the material lives of workers in the city and the Black belt region running from New Orleans to St. Louis, and from here strengthen the hand of labor in the US empire.

The long-term objective of this campaign is to challenge, and eventually overturn, the “right to work” laws and policies in Mississippi (and throughout the South). These laws and polices play a major role in sustaining the extreme rates of poverty and health disparities in the state, and must be overturned in order to improve the living standards of the vast majority of its residents. MXGM and the People’s Assembly aim to partner with the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights to build and expand this critical long-term campaign.

2013 Electoral Campaigns

For the 2013 City Elections in Jackson, the Jackson People’s Assembly, MXGM, and NAPO are prepared to run two candidates under the banner of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MSFDP). One candidate, Attorney Chokwe Lumumba, who currently serves as the City Councilman for Ward 2, will run for Mayor. The other candidate is June Hardwick, who is also an Attorney, will run for City Council in Ward 7.

The objective of running these candidates and winning these offices is to create political space and advance policy that will provide maneuverable space for the autonomous initiatives promoted as part of the J – K Plan to develop and grow. They are also intended to be used to build more Ward based People’s Assemblies and Task Forces in Jackson, base build for the overall plan, and raise political consciousness about the need for self-determination and economic democracy to solve many of the longstanding issues effecting New Afrikan people.  

In order to create the democratic space desired, we aim to introduce several critical practices and tools into the governance processes of the Jackson city government that will help foster and facilitate the growth of participatory democracy. Some of these processes and tools include:
  • Participatory Budgeting to allow the residents of Jackson direct access and decision making power over the budgeting process in the city
  • Gender-Sensitive Budgeting to address the adverse impact of policy execution as reflected in budget priorities that negatively impact women and children
  • Human Rights Education and Promotion will require all city employee’s to undergo human rights training to ensure that their policies and practices adhere to international standard of compliance with the various treaties ratified by the United States government and the results based norms established by the United Nations

We also aim to make several critical structural changes to the city of Jackson’s governance structure. The most critical change we will propose and fight for is: 
·         Creating a Human Rights Charter to replace the existing city charter as the basis of sovereignty and governance for the city (our Human Rights Charter conception draws heavily from the Human Rights Charter campaign work of our allies the Atlanta Public Sector Alliance – APSA)

And finally we aim to advance several economic and social changes on a structural level in Jackson via the governance process. These include:
  • Expanding Public Transportation, by increasing transport lines and launching a fleet of green vehicles that utilize natural gas, ethanol, and electric energy
  • Creating a network of solar and wind powered generators throughout the city to expand and create a sustainable power grid
  • Creating a South-South Trading Network and Fair Trade Zone, that will seek to create trading partnerships with international trading blocs such as CARICOM (the Caribbean Community and Common Market) and ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas)

Alliance Building

Following the example of Malcolm X and countless Black political strategists and organizers before and after him, MXGM and NAPO are major proponents of principled alliance building and united front politics. We are clear that none of our strategic objectives and demands can be attained simply by the forces we can muster. And few of our transitional goals and objectives can be reached without creating substantive alliances with strategic partners and allies. The J – K Plan, as a transitional plan, is no exception to the rule.

Alliance building has been central to the operations of MXGM and NAPO in Jackson since these formations were founded in 1990 and 1984 respectively. In many fundamental respects, the roots of the Jackson People’s Assembly rest with the principled alliance of Black progressive organizations like Southern Echo, MS NAACP, MS Workers Center, Nation of Islam, MS ACLU, N’COBRA, MIRA, MS Freedom Democratic Party, NCBL, etc., largely forged by NAPO in the early 1990’s to combat environmental racism, labor exploitation, and various aspects of institutional racism and colonial domination in Mississippi. Some of the key alliances we have formed or helped support over the last 20 plus years include the Andre Jones Justice Committee, MS Justice Coalition, Concerned Citizens Alliance, Jackson Human Rights Coalition, Concerned Workers of Frito Lay, Johnnie Griffin Justice Committee, Anti-Klan Coalition, Kwanza Coalition, Chokwe Lumumba Legal Support and Defense Committees, Workers United for Self Determination, City Wide Coalition for Selective Buying Campaign, Grassroots Convention, Committee to Free the Scott Sisters and the Full Pardon Committee for the Scott Sisters.

In order for the J – K Plan and its objectives to be realized, we are going to have to build a broad alliance in the city, the Black belt counties, and throughout the state that is aligned with the principle aims of the Plan and the initiatives that emerge from the People’s Assemblies. This alliance will intentionally be multi-national in its outlook and orientation, but be based in and lead by New Afrikan working class communities and forces throughout the state. We assess our strategic allies being the growing Latino community and various immigrant populations that are migrating to the state seeking employment in the agricultural, construction, and professional service sectors. The strategic nature of these forces rests with our common interest in eradicating white supremacy and the institutional dimensions of colonial subjugation that structure the economy. This alliance will also give due focus to building principled relationships with white progressive forces throughout the state who are essential to the current and foreseeable balance of power in the state. Our immediate aim is to win enough of these forces over to our vision and program so as to weaken, if not altogether neutralize, aspects of white reactionary power in the state.

The objectives of the J – K Plan require the building of coalitions and alliances that far exceed the borders of the settler state of Mississippi. We envision the coalitions and alliances we are seeking to build in Mississippi as being an essential cornerstone to the building of a strategic South by Southwest radical peoples’ alliance, rooted in the rebuilding of principled alliances amongst the primary colonial subjects of the U.S. settler-colonial empire, namely New Afrikans, Xicanos, and Indigenous Nations. When and if linked with the growing immigrant population, this grand alliance possesses within it the potential to transform the United States, via decolonization and economic restructuring, into an entirely new social project.

Solidarity and Joint Struggle: What You can do to help promote and advance the J – K Plan

MXGM and NAPO believe that for organizing initiatives like the J – K plan to be successful, it will take a balance of self-reliant initiative, will and resourcing combined with genuine solidarity and joint struggle on the part of our allies. To help see this initiative to fruition, we are calling on our allies and supporters to build with us in the following concrete ways:

Promotion and Education
The first critical task is to spread the word about the J – K plan. Promote it amongst your family, friends and comrades and wherever you live, work, play, rest or pray. Promote the democratic potential the plan represents and educate people about the importance of this initiative, the lessons that can be learned from it, how it can be applied in their context, and how they can support it.

Resource Generation
No major social initiative such as the J – K plan can succeed without resources. The J – K plan needs a broad array of resources, but the two most fundamental resources it needs are skilled volunteers and money (capital).

The types of skills we need are organizing, managerial, fundraising, entrepreneurial, and technical in the fields of social networking, farming, construction, engineering, journalism and media, and health care. We are looking for volunteers to come to Jackson and other parts of Mississippi and make commitments to help at strategic times for short-term campaigns, mainly one or two weeks. And to make more long term commitments for several months or years to work under the discipline of MXGM, NAPO, and the People’s Assemblies.

We need money for a great number of things, but more specifically to help support and build our organizing drives and campaigns, which includes paying organizers, covering work expenses (transportation, operations, facilities, etc.), and producing and promoting educational and agitation materials. If all our allies and supporters were to make small individual donations, we firmly believe we could raise millions to support this critical work. In this spirit, we are challenging everyone who supports the J – K plan and the work of MXGM and NAPO to make a contribution of $5 or more to this work to ensure that it succeeds. You can make a tax deductible contribution by donating to Community Aid and Development, Inc., which is our 501c3 fiduciary agent, by visiting  Donations to the support the Chokwe Lumumba Campaign for Mayor can be made out to the Committee to Elect Chokwe Lumumba and sent to P.O. Box 31762 Jackson, MS 39286. Donations to the Campaign to Elect June Hardwick for Ward 7 can be made out to Friends to Elect June Hardwick and sent to P.O. Box 1352 Jackson, MS 39215.

Solidarity and Joint Struggle Campaigns
Political support for the J – K plan and the many initiatives within it is just as essential as resource support. We strongly encourage folks in the South to join us in building and extending Operation Black Belt, as this campaign ultimately needs to be a Southern wide initiative in order to be successful. The Amandla Project would aid from book and curriculum donations, pedagogical exchanges, and volunteer trainers to help it get started. We further call on our allies and supporters everywhere to support our 2013 electoral campaigns by joining one of our volunteer brigades that will start in the summer of 2012 to carry out the will of the People’s Assembly. And of course make generous financial contributions to the campaign coffers of Chokwe Lumumba and June Hardwick.

More critically however, we would like to encourage our allies and supporters outside of Mississippi to form local and regional J – K Solidarity Circles to support the Plan and relate directly with MXGM, NAPO and the People’s Assembly to support some or all of the aforementioned initiatives. We want to strongly encourage organizing and organizational development anywhere to enable social transformation to happen everywhere.

We are also looking to inspire, encourage, and support J – K like plans in other Black belt regions of the South. In particular, Black belt regions with mid-sized towns like Jackson with similar race and class demographics, as these represent the greatest potential for success given the current balance of forces in the US, if only because these cities don’t possess the same degree of consolidated transnational capital to contend with. We would hope that over time J – K Solidarity Committees throughout the Black Belt South would take up this call to action and build their own local political bases of support to engage in dual power initiatives that can link with the forces advancing the J – K Plan to liberate the South.  

If people would like to work more closely with MXGM and NAPO to build the J – K Plan we strongly encourage people of Afrikan descent to join MXGM. People interested in joining should contact our national organizer Kamau Franklin at We strongly encourage whites and other non-Afrikan peoples’ committed to anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-sexist politics interested in working directly with us to join the Malcolm X Solidarity Committee (MXSC). People interested in joining the MXSC should contact  


As this paper hopefully demonstrates, the J – K plan is a major initiative in the effort to rebuild the Black Liberation Movement to complete the project of Afrikan liberation on the North American Continent.

To the extent that this plan calls for a critical engagement with the US settler-colonial state, we take heed of the lesson and warning issued by our dear fallen comrade Walter Rodney, who stated in regards to his organizing efforts to transform his native Guyana:

“I say this very deliberately. Not even those of us who stand on this platform can tell you that the remedy in Guyana is that a new set of people must take over from old set of people, and we will run the system better. That is no solution to the problems of Guyana. The problem is much more fundamental than that. We are saying that working class people will get justice only when they take the initiative. When they move themselves! Nobody else can give (freedom) as gift. Someone who comes claiming to be a liberator is either deluding himself or he is trying to delude the people. He either doesn’t understand the process of real life. Or he is trying to suggest that you do not understand it. And so long as we suffer of a warped concept of politics as being leadership, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.” – Walter A. Rodney, In the Sky’s Wild Noise

We draw two lessons from this statement and the history associated with it. One, that to engage is to not be deluded about the hypocritical and exploitative nature of the system, nor deny its proven ability to contain and absorb resistance, or to reduce radicals to status quo managers. The lesson we draw from Rodney’s statements are that we have to fight in every arena to create democratic space to allow oppressed and exploited people the freedom and autonomy to ultimately liberate themselves. The second lesson regards leadership. MXGM and NAPO believe that leadership is necessary to help stimulate, motivate, and educate struggling people, but that leaders and leadership are no substitutes for the people themselves and for autonomous mass movement with distributed or horizontal leadership. As the legendary Fannie Lou Hammer said, “we have enough strong people to do this. For peoples to win this election, it would set a precedent for other counties in the state. Peoples need a victory so bad. We’ve been working here since ’62 and we haven’t got nothing, excepting a helluva lot of heartaches.[16]

The J – K Plan is ultimately one that aims to build a strong people, prepared to liberate themselves. We hope you will join us in its building and advancement.

Unity and Struggle!

For updates and more information about the Jackson – Kush Plan please visit the following websites and social media sources:

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement or

[1] Economic Democracy here means the political process of  transforming the private ownership and appropriation of the means of production and distribution to ensure that the workers and direct producers own and control these means and processes and determine the conditions of their labor, how their product is exchanged and distributed, and how any surplus valued  produced is appropriated. In short is describes the political process by which socialism and communism are to be attained.
[2] Kush is a name appropriated by partisans in the New Afrikan Independence Movement from an ancient Nile based civilization which would be in present day Egypt and Sudan, to designate the span of contiguous Black majority or Black belt counties along the Mississippi river in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee. This area has been designated or renamed the Kush District.
[4] See for some brief background on this campaign.
[6] See “Reconstruction: the Battle for Democracy 1865 – 1876”, by James S. Allen.
[7] See “I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle”, by Charles M. Payne; “Local People: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi”, by Charles Dittmer; “The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change”, by Aldon D. Morris; “A Little Taste of Freedom: the Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi”, by Emilye Crosby; and “Freedom is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in Action in Social Movements”, by Francesca Polletta.
[8] The “Commons” refers to the resources of the earth that everyone is dependent upon and must utilize to survive and thrive. The essential “Common’s” are land, water, and air.
[9] See Black Agena Morning Shot August 29, 2011 interview with Kamau Franklin by Kali Akuno at And “Lewis prepares for the Future”, by Elizabeth Waibel at
[10] See “Lumumba says Scott sisters released because of supporters” at And “Scott Sisters Finally Set Free” at
[11] See “A New Kind of Southern Strategy”, by Susan Eaton at
[12] For more information on Solidarity Economy see the works of Ethan Miller, particularly “Solidarity Economy: Key Concepts and Issues” at
[13] For more information on the Mondragon visit
[14] “Amandla” is a Xhosa or Zulu word for “Power”. It is used in a fashion similar to the slogan, “Black Power” by the BLM in the United States. It is used in call and response form, and the response is “Awethu”, which means “to us”. Combined it means “Power to the People”, as made popular in the United States by the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. This slogan was and remains common in the Azanian (i.e. South African) Freedom Movement.
[15] For more background on the National Take Back the Land Movement and its history visit or
[16] Quote taken from “This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hammer”, by Kay Miles, page 176. 

Download the Document at 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

No More Trayvons Campaign calls for National Plan of Action for Racial Justice

For Immediate Release
Monday, May 21, 2012

Worldwide attention has been focused on the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black youth, by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26.  45 days after the local police department refused to arrest Zimmerman on the charge of murder, Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities after national media coverage looked into the case; various petitions/signature gathering events; dozens of global demonstrations and marches; and the shake-up of various officials and the appointment of a special prosecutor.

This scenario is unfortunately the norm and not an anomaly in the U.S.  When it comes to the murder of Black people by law enforcement and racist vigilantes, tremendous amounts of resources, energy and pressure must be applied simply to initiate the process of holding individuals accountable for their crimes.
Within the United States historically, local law enforcement agencies and vigilante hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan have operated as parallel organizations and as “mutually reinforcing types of organizations.”  In his book Our Enemies in Blue:  Police and Power in America, author and activist Kristian Williams writes that “… historically, police offer a degree of validation to Klan activity … by refusing to treat racist violence as a crime.  At times the police have supplied the institutional nucleus around which vigilante activity could orbit.”

Since the killing of Trayvon Martin, research compiled by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has shown an epidemic of at least 23 Black men and women who have been murdered by local law enforcement, security personnel, and self-proclaimed “keepers of the peace.” In all, over 40 Black women and men have been killed by these forces since January 1, 2012. Within the U.S., murder – the unlawful killing of human beings – is usually determined by a jury in a court of law however very few law enforcement personnel have ever been charged with murder while performing their jobs.  Police murder is simply not considered a crime.
To address this epidemic of police murder, it is imperative that the Obama Administration immediately implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. This national plan of action must consist of 1) a national database to document the killing of Black people by the police; 2) eliminate racial profiling; and 3) ending the policies of mass incarceration targeting Black people.

“There is only one way to address the upsurge of racist violence being committed against Black people, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims, and immigrants in this country”, says Kali Akuno, organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, “and that is for the Obama administration to implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice that addresses all levels of government and demands compliance with all the provisions of the CERD treaty. All the resources being used to enforce racially-biased policies like S-Comm (Secure Communities) or stop and frisk throughout the country can just as easily be used in fact to end racial violence and discrimination.”

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,(ICERD, or more commonly, CERD), is an international treaty designed to protect individuals from discrimination based on race, whether that discrimination is intentional, or is the result of seemingly neutral policies. The United States ratified CERD in 1994 and is therefore bound by all provisions of the treaty. The National Plan of Action would provide the Obama administration with the means to implement the general recommendations of the CERD. National Plans of Action for Racial Justice are a product of the World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

Currently in the U.S., there exists no independent, national human rights institution that could serve as a check on domestic human rights abuses.  A National Plan of Action for Racial Justice should pave the way for the establishment of such an institution that would be in accordance with United Nations principles that the U.S. has already accepted.

Additionally, no national, independent mechanisms are currently established for the monitoring of police abuses within the United States. Given the history of racial antagonisms in the U.S. and along the border with Mexico, a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice must make its priority the reporting of police brutality and excessive use of force; that the allegations are independently, promptly and thoroughly investigated; and that the perpetrators are prosecuted and appropriately held to a count.

We are calling on all those who genuinely seek justice for Trayvon Martin; all those who truly want a concrete “next step” to prevent future Trayvon Martins, to join us in this demand to hold the United States government accountable for its failure to fully address the systemic problem of institutionalized racism.
We are calling for people of goodwill across the nation to endorse the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice.  The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and its allies will be delivering a petition to the Obama administration in June demanding that it implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. "It is time that the US government play by the same rules and standards that it demands of other nations around the world", says Kali Akuno. "The US government must respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of everyone person under its jurisdiction to ensure that there are No More Trayvon Martin's, and we intend on demanding compliance to ensure that it does so."

For more information about the Petition for a National Plan of Action visit

For more background information on What A National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is visit

To contact the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement call Kali Akuno 510.593.3956 or email

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Local Struggles: Organizing for the National Plan of Action for Racial Justice at the City, County, and State Level

The fight for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is not just a fight targeting the federal government. Nor is it a fight to just create more government policies and institutions for monitoring rights abuses with few resources and no real accountability measures. This fight is ultimately a local fight, one that must be waged and won on every block, neighborhood, city, county, and state.

The “national” component of the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is to ensure that no one state can opt out of complying with the demands for racial justice. We want to make sure that there is no recourse to “state’s rights”, which have been used for centuries to reinforce white supremacy and apartheid, particularly in the south and the southwest against Indigenous nations, New Afrikans and Xicanos.
The demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is a demand for structural change at every level of government – city, county (parish, borough, etc.), state, and federal. But, as already stated, it must first be waged and won on a local level. This battle starts with individuals and organizations adopting the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. Upon adoption, individuals and organizations must then engage in mass outreach to educate more people about the National Plan of Action framework and what it would enable. Following the education work, the next step is to organize people to support a campaign of struggle to win the demand. After you have established a base of organizers to wage this campaign, the next step is to build strong local coalitions that are prepared to engage in various self-defense activities and offensive campaign initiatives that seek to transform the institutions and practices of local, county, and state governments by having them adopt action plans for racial justice.

Some of the initiatives of self-defense that are suggested entail:
  • ·         Organizing Cop or Police Watch forces that canvass communities and directly monitor police practice, document police harassment (i.e. racial profiling, stop and frisk, etc.) and abuse, and serve as deterrence against police terrorism, particularly in communities of oppressed peoples.
  • ·        Organize Peoples Self-Defense Coalitions and Campaigns that seek to: a) educate communities to know their fundamental human rights and their basic civil rights as a means of providing protection against police and other forms of state terrorism (i.e. surveillance, entrapment, etc.), b) create legal coalitions and clinics to partner with Cop or Police Watch forces to fight cases of police terrorism, and c) serve as an organizing base to launch local legislative campaigns and initiatives.
  • ·         Organize People’s Hearings or Tribunals to thoroughly document local incidences of police terrorism and state repression to continue to educate and inform local communities and to gather evidence that can be used to pursue legal remedies both domestically (in US courts) and internationally (through Inter-American Commission or the United Nations) the and to reinforce demands of various organizing campaigns.

Some of the offensive campaign initiatives suggested entail:

·         Campaign for City, County, or State level Plans of Action for Racial Justice that would entail:
o   The creation of comprehensive Police Control Boards, that are elected by local communities and possess definitive authority over the police, including the power to fire and take legal and other corrective action against the police for violations of human rights.
o   Local control ordinances and legislation that would specifically stop repressive policies like “stop and frisk”, racial profiling, programs like secure communities or S COMM of Homeland Security[1], and local law enforcement collaboration with Fusion Centers[2].
o   The creation of Human Rights Commissions that would legally be empowered to ensure that local, state, and regional laws and practices comply with international law and standards of protection for oppressed peoples and groups (racialized communities, Indigenous peoples, oppressed peoples and nations, immigrants, etc.).
o   The creation of Human Rights Charters for city, county, and state governments that refashion the articles of incorporation and constitutions that establish the legal framework for these entities to ensure maximum protections for Indigenous and oppressed peoples residing in these locales.

These are just a few ways in which the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice can be and is relevant to local, statewide, and regional struggles for social justice. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Black Left Unity Network (BLUN), and the National Alliance for Racial Justice and Human Rights (NARJHR) calls on every individual, organization, coalition, alliance, or network that believes in racial justice and is fighting to liberate oppressed peoples in this country to join us in the effort to fight for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to ensure that there are NO MORE TRAYVON MARTINS.

For more information on the No More Trayvon Martins Campaign visit
To sign the petition for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice visit

To endorse the campaign email To get started on organizing on its behalf see the tasks outlined in our Appeal Letter at

[1] For more information on the Secure Communities program visit