After watching some of the reported discussion between Black Lives Matter (#BLM) activists and Hillary Clinton, I thought there was one thing important that happened: Hillary asking those activists to provide her with an agenda and policy she could support and advocate. When considering the diverse ideological composition of the #BLM campaign it is important to review our history of struggle. For example, the civil rights movement success was based on the development of a national coalition. The leading spokes persons came from the SCLC, the legal was represented by the NAACP, the youth movement component was SNCC, while CORE and the Urban League primarily assisted in organizing the urban communities and raising funds for the overall movement. Of course, there were other associated groups from churches to labor unions, etc., yet, what was the cohesive determinant of the era of struggle was its focus on ending Jim Crow segregation. The success of the civil rights movement was its ability to identify specific racist institutions and practice, and forge campaigns challenging them. Beyond marches and protest demonstrations, the movement proposed specific policy changes. The Voter Rights Act, the ending of segregated schools, using the Commerce Act to end segregated travel accommodations, etc., were tactical successes in a broader strategic campaign to end all vestiges of Jim Crow segregation.
When Clinton asked #BLM activists to provide proposals for policy changes beyond sloganeering and protest demonstrations, the activists did not provide an answer(?). For me that was disturbing, as she said without such in ten years we would be here again making the same arguments. The moral compass in terms of changing hearts in a capitalist social order is to demand institutional changes as the civil rights movement achieved in what I qualify as a bourgeois social democratic movement.
In previous blogs, I raised specific goals to be achieved in the evolutionary political development of the #BLM. Since the reality is activists are challenging political candidates to raise these concerns onto the national debate, it is incumbent on #BLM to forge specific national proposals and policy for these politicians to advocate if they want the support of #BLM in particular, and the progressive community in general. Hence, I humbly suggest the forming of a national platform and program for #BLM to further substantiate the national organizing of a mass and popular movement. Needless to say, it is when the diverse ideological composition of #BLM begins to speak in one voice, makes the same demands, and advocates for the implementation of specific policies, will the entire initiative become a formidable movement as occurred during the civil rights movement. While the oppressive/repressive conditions confronting New Afrikan people are varied, there are particular concerns we must challenge in a national determination. Because of the myriad problems besetting the New Afrikan community, it would be prudent to expect #BLM to concentrate its political capital on the immediate issues most detrimental to Black lives survival and prosperity. Therefore, in my opinion, #BLM should be making the following demands and structure specific proposals for policy development:
- The Immediate End of Police Profiling, Brutality and Murder. Demand the De-Centralization and De-Militarization of Police. That police officers must live in the community they are assigned to patrol. Greater diversity in the hiring of police officers, more representative of the community they patrol.
- End the School to Prison Pipeline. Demand quality education in Black/Brown communities, including ending discriminatory disciplinary practices and criminalizing students.
- Student Debt Relief offering greater numbers of scholarships for college entry programs to poor high school graduate candidates.
- Stop Gentrification of Black/Brown communities, providing secured low income housing and stable rent control zones in targeted communities.
- Immediate End to Mass Incarceration and End the Prison Industrial Complex. Demand the End to Corporate Prisons for Profit. For the Implementation of Restorative Justice and Community Adjudication Programs. Demand the removal of the clause in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that permits Prison Slavery and Involuntary Servitude.
- The Development of a National job STEM Training Program for the poor communities; Demand Full Employment with a Living Wage.
- The Immediate Recognition of the Existence of U.S. Political Prisoners and the Immediate Amnesty and Release of COINTELPRO victims.
Each of these issues should be developed into specific Demands and Proposals for policy development in a national campaign. These Demands must be made part of the #BLM campaign challenging political candidates. Furthermore, these Demands should be talking points for all progressive groups challenging elected officials across the country toward the building of a mass and popular movement. These Demands provide the #BLM specific objectives to achieve to broaden full recognition of Black People’s Human Rights. Obviously, the Demand for the recognition of the existence of U.S. political prisoners serves to raise consciousness on the depth and breadth of the overall struggle for civil and human rights. It challenges the U.S. corporate government’s brutal repression of militant resistance to racist oppression.
I sincerely hope #BLM will give serious consideration to what is here proposed. At no time in the future should any candidate on the national election scene think they can instruct #BLM activists how they should organize a challenge to the corporate government. Our history is replete with examples of successful campaigns building mass and popular movements. It is time for this generation to “bring the heat,” making it uncomfortable, if not impossible, for the status quo to ignore or negate the suffering of our poor and oppressed peoples. The ultimate task is the building of the socio-economic and political institutions Towards a New American Revolution to Demand equitable distribution of this country’s wealth.
Remember: We Are Our Own Liberators!
in fierce struggle,
ANTHONY JALIL (JALIL MUNTAQIM) BOTTOM #77A4283
Attica Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 149, Attica NY 14011-0149