Friday, November 11, 2016

Ideas for Action: Stiff Resistance From Now Until Inauguration and Beyond

Friends and comrades, the protests that have been mounted against the election of Donald Trump on November 8th have been a beautiful thing. However, we need to do everything in our capacity to make sure that they are not limited in their focus. To the extent that we can stimulate and intervene in the mass motion that these protests represent, we must focus our resistance against the system – the entire settler-colonial, capitalist, imperialist, patriarchal system – and not just against Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and the genocidal far right and their ghastly politics. The liberal consensus that systemically enables unsustainable resource extraction and various forms of human exploitation and oppression, and is now calling for “national unity” and “reconciliation” with these forces is what allows these politics to live and thrive, and must be resisted at all costs.
It is critical that progressive and left forces mount as much non-compliant resistance as possible between now and inauguration day to claim as much space as possible, to set the terms of democratic struggle, to create a measure of defense against pending repression (which is where the system was/is headed regardless), and to make the system ungovernable. This is a path on the road to social transformation that must be waged. It should not be confused with the longer term work of organizing, base building, building alternative institutions and systems, developing left political alignment, and strategy development. That work is yet to be done. But, adaptation and accommodation to the worsening terms and conditions is not a path to survival, not when the stakes are so high – and the stakes are high.
Tactically, given the nature of the pending holiday shopping season and building on the motion and tactics of non-violent civil disobedience that have been employed since 2011, we should consider initiatives that disrupt the flow of capital, interrupt its reproduction, and upend the relations that it depends upon from now till the inauguration. We should build on the tactics that have disrupted transportation routes and which target the logistic clusters that are so vital to capitalism in this day and age (particularly before they are further automated). Let’s be imaginative, creative, and bold.
And remember, there is literally next to nothing about this system that is worth saving.
In Unity and Struggle!

Interview on KPFK Thursday, November 10, 2016 - Organizing for the Future

Discussion with Thandisizwe Chimurenga on Uprising: The Root Work Edition on KPFK Los Angeles Radio.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hard Knock Radio Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 - Pre Election Analysis

Discussion with Davey D on Hard Knock Radio about the impact of the 2016 Federal Elections. "Regardless who wins, the empire will endure. The contest is about who and how the empire will be managed".

Saturday, August 20, 2016

When the Left Takes the City

Michal Rozworski Podcast
Political Eh-conomy Blog

August 17, 2016

This week, the focus is on experience of left parties and organizations at the municipal level. Although the left has still exercised only limited political power in many places since the financial crisis, some cities have seen left projects come to power or build new institutions in interesting ways. My two guests shed light on two examples of municipal socialism in Europe and North America.
First, Yusef Quadura describes the experience of Barcelona en Comu. In 2015, this new left coalition took control of the municipal government in Barcelona. Led by the housing activist Ada Colau, the party did what Podemos couldn’t do nationally and garnered enough support to govern with the intention of implementing a left program, at least at the municipal level. To get a sense of the plans, accomplishments and challenges faced by Barcelona en Comu just over a year into its mandate, I spoke with Yusef, a member Barcelona en Comu’s international group. Yusuf is also part of the party’s co-ordinating committee in the Gracia district, where we met and talked over coffee (excuse the ambient noise), and a substitute counsellor for the Gracia district council.
My second guest is Kali Akuno, a leader within Cooperation Jackson, a municipal organization far beyond just a political party in Jackson, Mississippi. Although the group elected the radical Chokwe Lumumba as mayor of Jackson in 2014 (before he died tragically only a year into his term), electoral politics is only a small, supporting part of Cooperation Jackson’s mission. Kali describes what this network of worker-run cooperatives, party and movement congealed into one is up to and some of challenges it faces.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Short Commentary Reflections on the 2016 RNC/DNC and Electoral Politics

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
The US Left must get prepared to fight on two fronts simultaneously from here on out. On the one hand, we must get prepared to fight the advance of an emergent white supremacy, in its fascist form, which might in fact be even more virulent and violent if Trump doesn't win. And on the other hand, we better get prepared to fight the most aggressive and malicious form of neo-liberal and neo-conservative governance Wall Street can buy, which will be fiercely adverse to any resistance from the left.
Clarity of vision and clarity regarding our position are absolutely needed to chart clear paths of effective, autonomous resistance in the days ahead.
Which conversely means all those who support the DNC and the coronation of HRC are apparently "well adjusted" supporters of the US settler-colonial project and its mission of imperialist conquest and domination.

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 
I love how the Corporate media, of both flips of the bourgeois coin, so easily reduce the struggles being waged by Bernie delegates down to psychological issues, particularly issues of "adjustment."

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 
From Candice Rose "Your privileged if you think imperialism is gonna work for you!!"

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 
On the Fascist fear mongering being Waged by the Democrats: We are being asked to fight the threat of Fascism being imposed upon everyone (meaning a larger proportion of white people drawn from the petit bourgeois class and the professional sectors of the working class) within the territories claimed by the US government versus accepting its ACTUAL perpetuation against the colonized, subjugated and exploited people's and classes contained within those same borders (i.e. the overwhelming majority of Indigenous, New Afrikan, Xican@/Mexican@, Borinquen, Hawaiian, etc.).

Let's be clear about the illusion of choice as it relates to the totality of the social relations and social dynamics in this empire. There has never been "democratic space" for some, and only limited "democratic space" for many (ending capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism is not and will not be on a ballot). Weather the right populist wins or the neoliberal warhawk wins, what "democratic space" remains is going to be further restricted, as it has been by all branches of the settler-colonial state since 2001 (and long before).
We must not forget, nor forgive, the constant and utter TERROR that many of us are structurally constrained by and live with every second of our lives out of fear of being fired and made homeless, of being locked down or lynched by a settler mob or the police, or set up, disappeared or assassinated by the FBI, DEA, ATF, Border Patrol, and Homeland Security, and much more at the hands of the bosses and big brother. The promotion of Fear (Trump is the Devil incarnate) or the Glorification of US Imperialism (the police are our heroes and the military is the greatest treasure of the empire) won't absolve the cold reality.
And let's also be honest with ourselves, the strategy of supporting the lesser evil over the past 50 years has only pushed an already reactionary settler-colonial society, further and further to the right. If we are going to do anything to reverse this historic trajectory, revolutionary forces are going to have to do some things we have failed do since the 1950's and 60's, and that is paint a clear picture of an alternative future, organize millions of people to not only to support it, but to autonomously implement its programmatic features, and to fight like hell to overturn the liberal bourgeois order and all its deviations.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Can we be a counter-force?" Interview with Organizing Upgrade

What do you think are the dangers and opportunities of the current moment?
I think this is a very unique moment. We haven’t seen a political period like this in quite some time.  One thing that sticks out in my mind most clearly is that the US (and transnational) ruling class doesn’t have a coherent strategy of its own, or at least not a long-term strategy.  They are trying to make a number of quick fixes and pieces of patchwork, but - as we’ve seen since the economic crisis - the quick fixes just aren’t working. They know that they aren’t working.  And there’s a mad scramble to hold the center.  There’s too much at play, too much confusion amongst their own forces about which strategies and tactics to pursue.  And it’s creating some dichotomies that we haven’t seen in some time.  
That’s why we have a right wing populist like Trump having a certain level of success and why you have Bernie, someone, who’s calling himself a democratic socialist, actually having had a real shot at becoming president of the United States. We haven’t seen this contrast in the US in a long, long time.  I think you have to go back to the 1930s or the 1940s to see anything remotely comparable.  Even then, socialism was still a dirty word to most of the people who were eligible to vote in the US.  It says a lot that you have so many people who identify with some variant of what they understand as socialism, given the decades of demonization of left ideas - particularly socialism and communism. It says a lot that - within the course of a decade since the economic crisis of 2008 - the limits on that have come crashing down and so many people are actually identifying with socialism as an alternative. Society is searching for some answers, and younger folks in particular are willing to consider some serious alternatives to a degree we haven’t seen since the 1960s and 70s.  
It’s a unique period, but it’s a dangerous one.  Trump has clearly now gotten the Republican Party nomination, but it’s also clear that there are significant forces in the Republican Party who are willing to support Hillary or to at least not mobilize in support of Trump.  The Republican Party is in a crisis. Over the last 6 years, the more right-leaning forces in the party were able to gain control.  That right-wing upsurge was mainly intended to undermine Obama, but now they’ve created a monster that they can no longer control.  They’re trying to control it, but I don’t think that’s going to work. I think they see that, but they keep trying.  This election may lead to a real split in the Republican Party.  I don’t think the Democrats are that different. It’s not being talked about in the same way, but people need to pay some real attention to the people who are supporting Sanders who are saying that they won’t support Hillary Clinton on principle. The Democrats are going to have to deal with that.  
Since it now seems that the election will turn out to be Hillary versus Trump, then it seems likely that it will amount to being one of the lowest voter turnouts in US history.  That says a lot about the legitimacy of the American project. There are a growing number of people who just do not see elections in the United States as a legitimate endeavor.  In large part, that’s because of what the two parties represent - the collaborative factions of the ruling class (now commonly called the 1%)  and the perpetuation of the exploitative, racist, sexist and homophobic status quo.  
Society is in a significant crisis, and I don’t think that most people on the left are seeing it for what it is.  It’s seen to some extent, but I still don’t think that there’s a full grasp of it. For instance, I work with people who don’t usually relate to electoral politics on the national level (and with varying degrees on the local level), young folks we work with here in Jackson, MS, particularly through activities of Cooperation Jackson.  Some aspects of their imagination has been turned on by Bernie’s campaign. But if it’s not Bernie on the Democratic Party ticket, they’re not going to vote in the Presidential election, not even for a third party alternative like Jill Stein from the Green Party. Many view disengagement and delinking as being more strategic than building an electoral alternative, and I’m not too inclined to disagree.  I think we’re going to have to think about what this level of protest in the form of disengagement and attempted delinking (i.e. building institutions and communities that attempt to disengage from the capitalist system via practices of social and solidarity economics or Indigenous forms of production) means.  I’ve been saying to them that it’s one thing to disengage and another thing to register a protest vote and quite another to build and promote an alternative. We need to figure out how to move people from being disillusioned with the electoral process and the status quo to figuring out how to build a movement that upends the dictatorship of capital and transforms the state.  Given the nature of the capitalist world-system at present, if you are going to stay away from elections, then you need to find another way to break the back of the ruling class, which I believe entails revisiting the strengths of the revolutionary organizations from the 19th and 20th centuries  and innovating new methods of organization based on the networked and horizontalist movements of our era. I’m not saying that I have the answers, but I am saying that we - the revolutionary left - need to seriously engage this question.  We have to think about organizing broadly and deeply and what that concretely looks like and must entail, given where this generation is at and what conditions necessitate.
However, despite all of this, from my vantage point, it’s a damn good time.  People are willing to experiment, willing to take risks, and willing to dream big in a way that we haven’t seen in quite some time.  We need to find a way to further merge, learn, educate (when and where necessary), and grow with this new awakening.  We need to ask ourselves: What type of organizing can really build the social and political power that we need to transform this society?  I see more energy and possibility of doing that today than I have since I was a kid in the 1970s.  We must think beyond the 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections, way beyond. Because no matter which one of the RepubliCrats win on November 8th the American empire will be lead even further to the right. We need to make sure that we develop a broad revolutionary program that embraces the strengths of each of the four historic revolutionary tendencies (anarchism, communism, socialism, and revolutionary nationalism), is committed to a politics of decolonization and upholds a determined anti-imperialist line and practice.  
What do you think about the different candidates in this election?
From what I heard in what Bernie is advocating, he’s really called for a return to the classical features of the New Deal.  He wants to fulfill the promises of the New Deal that didn’t really come through.  Take health care, for example. Many people wanted to implement universal health care during the New Deal, but that got shot down.  What we have today with “Obamacare” is clearly imperfect, but it was still part of this historic motion.   
There’s a lot of questions about what will happen with Bernie’s campaign after Hillary’s coronation and what’s going to happen with all that energy.  There are many questions we need to ask ourselves: How can we turn that momentum into an organized force?  How do we not repeat the mistakes of Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign, when left organizers were deep in that fight but ultimately got stabbed in the back by Jesse?  They had limited control of Jesse’s campaign apparatus, so when Jesse made his deal with the Democratic Party leadership, the local vehicles they built had to be and were destroyed.  How do we not repeat that?  It looks like Bernie’s strategy - post-convention - is that he is going to do everything he can to make sure that Trump does not win. He sees the greater danger being Trump. Though I can understand his reasoning, it’s fundamentally a dead end, This strategy just subordinates the motion that he has been able to help stimulate to Hillary and the DNC, and it puts the forces vested in him in danger of abdicating to Hillary’s program.  Hillary will talk to the left and take safe left positions till the convention, but that won’t be her practice after it for sure. Once she secures the nomination, she will continue on the hard right march that has defined her career. The movement for Bernie is not strong enough to really move Hillary in any direction.  The movement for Bernie has been dynamic, and it’s been moving and engaging a lot of younger white forces, but it’s not strong enough or united enough to force her to the left.  
What I’ve been trying to advocate is that - although the two presumptive candidates’ rhetoric is different - they will both be catastrophic in office.  We know from Hillary’s practical record that she is extremely dangerous, as we saw from her promotion of regime change in Libya, Honduras, and Haiti for example. She is ruthless to the core. She is prepared and willing to ramp up ventures of conquest and regime change on a level that even Obama and Bush wouldn’t do.  Her frame is different than Trump’s, it’s more polished, refined and presumably cosmopolitan, but the end result would be catastrophic.
The danger with Trump is that no one knows what the hell he would do really.  He would probably  surprise us in many ways, and I think he’s smart enough to do that intentionally. On some things I’m sure he would crack down hard and take the most right position possible. On other issues, he would take a more left position to keep other forces off balance and to keep the white community divided on a number of issues.  I think he would do a number of things to appeal to white workers to ensure that they won’t want to forge a broader program of working class unity, and he would do it in a way that no one else - including Bernie - can do at this time. Trump has been masterfully tapping into white angst and resentment, that’s what’s appealing to white people throughout the empire about his campaign. He’s adept at appealing to this base from “liberal” left positions (which are really right) and the right, in fact on several issues he is rhetorically to the left of Hillary. That’s the danger with him, his right-wing, populist, white supremacist mass appeal that might enable him to “talk liberal, but walk right” at every turn.
Now personally, I’m a supporter of Jill Stein and the Green Party. With the exception of the candidates running for President from the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the Workers World Party, Jill Stein possess the most left platform and program in the 2016 elections by far. I was actually looking forward to working with the Stein campaign during this election cycle, but unfortunately health challenges prevented it. I was not and do not support Jill or the Greens because I think they could win the Presidential election. Rather, I support her and the Greens because I think they provide the best option for building a genuine left electoral alternative in this empire at the moment. Before Bernie entered the race, I seriously thought the contradictions of the period would potentially move millions of people towards the Green Party via Jill’s campaign. Unfortunately, by the fall of 2015 it was clear that Bernie’s campaign was sucking all of the oxygen out of that space - which was more than likely by design, as it is a historic strategy of the Democrats to periodically run left-leaning candidates to suppress third party movements and initiatives.
The current petition - to have the Green Party officially adopt an anti-capitalist platform and agenda - is just further confirmation of this potential. This is not to say that the Greens historically don’t have some issues and limitations, it definitely does, plenty of them, particularly in regards to its understanding of race and national oppression. But, there is plenty of room within the party at present to address and rectify these limitations with effective organizing. So, to the extent that I make any conscious contribution towards advancing left politics in the electoral arena in any concrete way, it is through this vehicle at present.
But, before independent party building, we - the radical left by which I again mean anarchists, communists, socialists and revolutionary nationalists -  need to develop and advance an independent political program that includes electoral politics, but is not defined or bound by it. There are all these relatively newly conscious forces that are going to disconnect from the electoral process once Bernie’s out of the race. But regardless of who wins, there’s going to be a drift even further to the right than we saw under Obama.  The question is: Can we be a counter-force that organizes in the other direction, uniting with the momentum from Bernie and building a broader front that engages working class people from different races, nationalities and intentional communities? Let’s figure out a solid outside-inside strategy on how to do that.  That will force us to answer a number of other questions: How do you really build multi-class alliances?  And how do you translate that into a program for effective governance, given the constraints of this era?  From my experiences here in Jackson, that would mean that we would be trying to push a program of major experimentation with aspects of the solidarity economy and participatory democracy that strengthen self-organization amongst the oppressed and exploited.
Speaking of your work in Jackson, what can the rest of us can learn from your experiences while Chokwe Lumumba was mayor of Jackson?
There are some interesting challenges that we confront here that probably only make sense in similar-sized towns in the South and the Midwest, if people are looking to replicate the political success that we’ve had.  But there are a few big lessons that other people could draw from our experience in the Lumumba administration here in Jackson.  
First, we, the left in the US, don’t have a solid enough analysis of what it means to govern.  We really don’t.  It was very valuable to have had 8 months of governing here in Jackson.  Here we are better for having dealt with that experience. After sitting in those chairs and those offices, we have a better sense of what it really means to govern and what you can do within the confines of a municipality and within the limited US and Mississippi state constitutional frameworks. We have a deeper understanding of how you can actually go about implementing a progressive program.  It changed what I saw when I was watching what played out in Greece with Syriza in 2015; I could understand what was happening there from a deeper perspective than I’d ever had before. It was interesting watching the internal struggles and battles that they were going through, because we went through many of those same struggles in our short time in office. We were having the same arguments, but it wasn’t all public.  A lot of it comes down to a question of revenue: where do you get the revenue you need to move a progressive program, which I’ll talk more about in a minute.  But I want to really emphasize this first point:  we need to engage in more serious thinking about what it actually means to govern, before we’re in office.  
And when we think about governance, we need to ask: how do you combat capital as it operates on local, state, national and global levels?    We got a real wake-up call on that. We did some very effective local electoral organizing, and we won. But we didn’t have a grasp on the revenue-generating mechanisms, the bond mechanisms and so on.  We thought we had a grasp on it because Chokwe had been a city councilor before he was mayor, but - once he became the mayor - we saw the real books, and there was nothing there in terms of revenue.  We had studied municipal revenue generation, but we didn’t fully grasp that bonds are held by international finance. And the folks that are doing these bonds, they’re making calculations based on their profit motives, that informs when they will invest and when they will sell.  We learned that aspect of capital, how deeply intertwined municipal bonds are with global capital at this time.  Most of the time, people are just looking at the local forces and local economic dynamics, and asking things like “Are there jobs in this city?”  They aren’t thinking about what a city’s credit rating is saying to an international investor and what that means for our ability to generate revenue for a progressive program.  That’s equally important.   We have to understand how that’s shaping the terrain of our struggle.  How do we get people to understand, what is possible within the constraints of the system that we have?  What will financial capital actually allow?  And how do we organize for what we need outside of the constraints and limits of financial capital?   Our next city budget will be in a deficit, and we are about to be in a crisis with our water delivery system. The banks may take over the water delivery system.  But revenue from the sale of water constitutes over 40% of Jackson’s budget.   The banks may take control over the budget. So if we lose control of that, what can you actually govern?  
We are going to have to take a whole different orientation. We need to create alternatives outside of the state to push the state; we need to build a counter-force to the right-wing elements that are using the state to push and advance their agenda.  That is why we developed experiments with the solidarity economy: to push those constraints and to build that counter-force.   We are really trying to learn from Syriza.  I think that the program that they put out in 2014 was a decent transitional program, but I don’t think they did enough to prepare folks on a material level and to start getting the social solidarity networks revitalized and fortified for when the hard times came - which they knew they would.  Once they were in power, it would have been better to think about how they could utilize the state to stave off some aspects of the demands of international finance. I think they waited too long to figure out how to meet some basic material needs via the development of the social and solidarity economy on a mass scale. We need to start getting in gear with that on the front end of these processes. We can develop some real strength at the local level; that’s where our greatest strength is, but there are limits to what a local economy can do. There are real questions:  what scale can we build?  Can we create a meaningful number of sustainable jobs? We are seriously thinking about developing an alternative currency here to deal with the potential deficit if they seize the water. Can we create a network that will serve some basic functions and needs, to make sure that people have enough food to survive, if the city can’t secure enough revenue?   It’s been amazing to see the right’s reaction to our solidarity economy experiments. Right now, we have a small farm and three small cooperatives that are operating now, and the right is acting like we’re about the storm the gates.  I’m telling people to get people prepared for the ideological and political onslaught that comes with starting these solidarity economy experiments. There are still a ton of roadblocks that keep us from growing here and growing there. There are hindrances enough, but now we’re moving in a whole other way.  
And we need to stay in tune with changing conditions in our work.  The political dynamics are not the same as they were three or four years ago.  Back then, we - specifically the New Afrikan People’s Organization, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Jackson People’s Assembly - very much appealed to a broad cross-section of people in Jackson, and so we had a popular-front type of orientation and campaign.  You’re talking about a city that is 85% Black, so most of that front was other Black people. We built a multi-class alliance in Jackson to win the election. The thing that was critical for Chokwe’s election for mayor was making sure that there was a significant Black working class turnout; that was the critical thing. That was going to stem the tide and break the normal flow and operation of the traditional Black petit bourgeois forces that had been deciding the electoral outcomes in Jackson. At that time, it was very easy to build a multi-class alliance, based in the Black working class forces in the city.  This time around it’s going to be significantly different. For the 2017 Mayoral election we are not going to be able to rely on that same formulation, that multi-class formation, for Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s, Chokwe’s youngest son, campaign.  Too many of those forces now have really given their pledges to Hillary, and they’ve bought into the reorganization of the Democratic Party that has happened since 2013 here in Jackson. Chokwe ran within the Democratic primary but from an oppositional place within the party structure which exists here  in Mississippi.  He ran as a member of Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which still exists as a separate entity, and it still has the ballot access it won in the 1960s.  But  outside of a couple counties close to the Mississippi river, it’s mostly functioned as a political club, and not so much as an organized political force.  Chokwe’s election turned it into a political force. One of the things that happened since Chokwe died (and honestly it started happening even while he was alive) was that the Democrats at the national level wanted to cut it off, because it was an organized left political force within the party.  So they did a lot of organizing, and they spent more money in Jackson in the last five years than they did in the last fifty years, trying to re-consolidate their power.  That’s put some of the traditional forces that were close to us in 2012 - 2013 opposition to us. We’re in a context where it’s easy to be critical of what Obama has been doing over the last couple of years.  We’ve been very vocal about that.  That’s put us in opposition to some of the established Black petit bourgeois forces that are aligned with him and national Democratic Party. Things may change over the next few weeks and months, we’ll see.  But at this point, our movements electoral salvation if you will, depends squarely on the Black working class vote.  So if we do enough to deal with the crisis that our city is in, to put forth a solution that people can see a way out of the crisis, then people will say,  “We have faith in them, and we trust in them to fight for us.”  

The Assault on Black Political Power, Part 3: Operation Jackson Rising

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Assault on Black Political Power in Jackson, MS: Countering the Confederate Spring, Part 1.

This video is a part of the "An American Nightmare: Black Labor and Liberation" Film Project. The An American Nightmare Project is doing a Mississippi Project, for as William Faulkner is alleged to have said, "to understand the world, you have to understand a place like Mississippi." The Mississippi Project is going to explore the intersections of race, class, and gender oppression in Mississippi and what Black working people are doing to resist the reactionary onslaughts of white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy and heterosexism.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Countering the Confederate Spring" Radio Interview on Hard Knock Radio - Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Interview with Davey D on Hard Knock Radio on KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkeley, CA.

Utilizing the International Decade for People of African Descent: A Call to Action

The Movements for the Liberation of African people, on the continent and throughout the diaspora, have a valuable tool in their possession that they are sorely underutilizing. This tool is the International Decade for People of African Descent, also known as “the International Decade”.

The International Decade for People of African Descent is officially a vehicle of the United Nations (UN), intended to foster collaboration and cooperation amongst the nation-states of the world to honor the contributions of people of African descent to world civilization and to address the ongoing problems confronting them the world over. The International Decade for People of African Descent is a prolonged outcome of the 3rd World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. After more than a decade of advocacy and pressure applied by the forces of civil society specializing on issues pertaining to people of African descent and the Pan-African social movements, the International Decade was officially adopted and approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2012 and launched on December 10, 2014.

The International Decade for People of African Descent as noted, would not have been adopted without the persistent advocacy of civil society organizations and the social movements. It is therefore as much a people’s instrument as it is an inter-governmental instrument, and it should be utilized to the fullest extent possible to advance the demands of African descendants and Africans throughout the world as they manifest themselves internationally and in individual national-state contexts.

Our liberation movements must use the opportunity of the decade to press our demands, educate our communities and allies, organize our communities, and mobilize all those who stand against racism, white supremacy, Afrophobia, and xenophobia to action to advance on our strategic vision(s) and program(s) of liberation by decolonizing power and knowledge. While the recognition of the United Nations provides a level of legitimacy and opportunity, it is not without conflict and struggle. The thematic focus of the International Decade, as determined by compromises within the General Assembly of the United Nations is: “recognition, justice, and development”. While these broad themes enable a degree of political flexibility to both the governments and the social movements, it should be noted that these themes and focal points are considerably weaker than what the forces of civil society and the social movements fought for. The primary thing that was fought for was reparations for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, enslavement, and the discriminatory policies aimed at people of African descent that were adopted in countless nations after the formal abolitions of chattel slavery.

 Although the United Nations passed and launched the International Decade, it has done so in a rather lackluster fashion. The official United Nations program has not been printed, and thus not distributed in a wide manner to raise awareness of the Decade. And there is essentially no budget for the implementation of the program they collectively devised, nor any of its activities. This shortcoming has two sources: One, the deliberate sabotage of key players within the United Nations, in particular the United States, Canada, the European Union and Israel, who have fought tooth and nail against the implementation of any aspect of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, or anything strongly supporting reparations. The other is the failure of civil society organizations and the social movements in forcing the issue hard enough.

This is a call to action to the social movements and the forces of civil society concerned about the fundamental issues germane to people of African descent to come together and seize the opportunity presented by the International Decade for People of African Descent. Let us make the decade what we need and want it to be. Let us make it the “Reparations Decade”, to rectify the injustices of the slave trade, enslavement, colonial subjugation, and racial discrimination worldwide.

The proposed first step is for us to gather our forces and develop a “people’s program” for the reminder of the International Decade (which ends December 31st, 2024) and beyond. We have to put reparations firmly back on the world’s agenda. And we have to deal with the rise in anti-African or anti-Black racism throughout the world, systemic attacks on migrants of African descent, the persistence of economic inequality and inequity confronting African descendants throughout the world, ongoing imperialist imposition, exploitation and colonization of nation-states with high concentrations of people of African descent, and the threat of climate change, which is and will have a major impact on Africa and the nations of the Caribbean and South American with significant numbers of people of African descent.

We want to propose that we use the occasion of the upcoming World Social Forum (WSF) being held in Montreal, Canada August 9th – 14th, 2016 as a first rallying point. We propose that we focus on organizing the following at this WSF: a thematic programming track to highlight our issues and programs and to educate existing and potential allies, organize a thematic tent to use as a meeting and planning space, and organize a series of plenaries to give central focus to our issues and demands before an international audience existing and potential allies.

We further propose that following the WSF, we organize a series of international gatherings over the course of the next 4 years to sharpen our collective program and continue to elevate and advance the demands of the “Reparations Decade.” We propose that one meeting be held in the Caribbean, one in South America, one in Europe and one on the African continent.

If you agree with this general call to action, we ask that you do the following:
1.     Join us for an international organizing process commencing in March.
2.     Plan to attend and make a programmatic contribution at the WSF in Montreal.
3.     Make a preliminary commitment to join in the continuation processes and projects that emerge from the Montreal gathering.

For more information please contact Kali Akuno at or

Monday, March 7, 2016

Do Black People Have Rights? UN WGEPAD Hearing Proceedings in Jackson, MS January 20, 2016

"Do Black People Have Rights?" is the first Mississippi Project video of the An American Nightmare Project. The An American Nightmare:Black Labor and Liberation Project is a joint initiative of Cooperation Jackson and Deep Dish TV. 
This video covers excerpts of the United Nations (UN) Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD) Hearing in Jackson, MS on Saturday, January 20, 2016. The event was held at the Chokwe Lumumba Center for Economic Democracy and Development. The event was organized and hosted by the Jackson Human Rights InstituteMalcolm X Grassroots Movement and Cooperation Jackson and supported by theUS Human Rights Network.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

“Countering the Confederate ‘Spring’: the Assault on Black Political Power in Jackson, MS”

The racist and utterly reactionary Republican legislative majorities that dominate the South are on an aggressive march this legislative session. From Texas to Florida, Arkansas to Virginia, and all the states in-between, they are employing cut-throat strategies and tactics to pass a package of regressive, exploitative and outright anti-human legislation drawn up by the likes of ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council)[1] and other right-wing think tanks. They are attacking the right to vote, Black voting districts, the right to education, access to housing, workers rights to organize themselves, wage protections, alternative energy plans, marriage equality, and the list goes on.

While reactionary legislative initiatives are nothing new to the South, the moves being made in 2016 are rather exceptional. In many respects, the Republican initiatives of 2016 are reminiscent of their “Redeemer” predecessors from the Democratic Party from the 1890’s, when they systematically replaced all of the reconstruction based constitutions of the Southern states and formally instituted legally based “Jim Crow” regimes[2].  This reactionary assault is being driven by desperation in part. The settlers that form the base of the Republic Party are utterly terrified by the demographic trends projected for the US over the next 50 years[3]. They are scared of the day when the US is no longer a “white man’s country” that it will translate into the end of their social dominance and “way of life.” These reactionary initiatives are therefore maneuvers of position in preparation for long-term trouble, a “battening down the hatches” as it were, to secure their social rule and ability to exploit and oppress non-white people for as long as possible.   

This assault is also part national election-year theater and the culmination of the brazenly racist backlash agenda against the Presidency of Barack Obama and what it represents in the minds of millions of settlers, which is the demise and decay of their “indispensable empire.”[4] They are determined to rollback and defeat the political and social gains attained for and by working people and oppressed communities during the Obama administration (most of which it did not author or actually support), like the Affordable Health Care Act, the Supreme Courts recognition of marriage equality, the repeal of various draconian drug laws, the challenges to containment policies like “stop and frisk”, the movement to remove Confederate symbols, and the rise of the Movement for Black Lives.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declaring April 2016 Confederate History Month at the opening of the new Civil Rights Museum on Wednesday, February 24, 2014, i.e. Black History Month. 

The Republican legislative delegation in Mississippi is doing everything it can to be the standard bearer of this reactionary agenda. Despite that fact that Mississippi continues to have the most Black elected officials in any of the settler states, the state legislature is dominated by a white Republican supermajority, which unfortunately can and is legislating what it wills, however unconscionable, inhumane and undemocratic. Here is just a taste of what they have proposed and done since the start of 2016 legislative session. They have suspended “personal privilege” rules that allowed legislators to question legislation (HR39), they have eliminated the only Black supreme court district in the state (HB868), they are proposing to eliminate dozens of Black schools throughout the state (SB2494), to further punish struggling school districts with less funding (HB14), they are seeking to expand Charter Schools throughout the state (see SB216 and HB1044), they are allowing state workers and religious institutions to discriminate against LGBTQI individuals and communities (HB1523), are determining the gender identity of individuals based on their phenotypes (HB1523), are declaring that sex is only legal in heterosexual marriages (HB1523), and requiring transgender people to travel with apartheid-like papers to utilize public restroom facilities (HB1258). And this is just a glimpse of the madness. There are also bills attacking Planned Parenthood, initiatives that place more roadblocks in the path of parolees to reenter society, and efforts to create harsher prison sentences for more non-violent criminal offenses.

Some of the most strategic initiatives being pursued by the Republican legislature this session aim at weakening the Black political and economic power vested in Mississippi’s capital and largest city, Jackson. Jackson became a majority Black city in the 1980’s. It elected its first Black mayor, Harvey Johnson, in 1997. Since the late 80’s and early 90’s Jackson’s Black community has been struggling to translate its numeric and electoral strength into economic power for the benefit of the vast majority of city’s working class people. This struggle took a radical turn in 2013 when Jackson elected the “most revolutionary Mayor in the United States”, noted revolutionary organizer and human rights attorney, Chokwe Lumumba[5]. Chokwe was elected in part to institute a program of economic democracy based on cooperative economics and participatory governance[6]. The Jackson Plan that Chokwe struggled to implement challenged white economic hegemony in Jackson and temporarily halted initiative on some of their major gentrification plans, like Vision 2022, the One Lake proposal, etc.[7] Chokwe’s Mayoralship demonstrated the real potential of Black political power translating into economic power. It was this potential that the reactionary political and economic forces that dominate the capitol and the state resolved themselves to never let occur again. These reactionary forces are seeking to destroy the potential of Black socio-economic power in Jackson by dismantling the city and seizing control over its strategic assets, assets that are a lifeline for the city and the potential basis for its self-determined redevelopment and revitalization.

Seizing Jackson’s Airports

One set of targets is the city’s airports. Senate Bill 2162, proposed by Republican Senator Josh Harkin from Flowood, calls for the elimination of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA), which is currently appointed by the Mayor of Jackson and confirmed by the City Council. The Bill calls for the Jackson controlled JMAA to be replaced by a new Jackson Metropolitan Airport Authority that would be primarily controlled by the Governor and commissioners from Rankin and Madison counties (Jackson is primarily situated in Hinds County, but it has incorporated parts in other counties, i.e. the Evers Airport which it owns is in Rankin County and Tougaloo College and adjacent lands which are situated in Madison County)[8].

This takeover initiative is about weakening Black political power, ensuring ongoing white control over the city’s resources, and the acquisition of strategic property. Jackson has been in possession of two airport facilities since the early 1960’s, Hawkins Field and the Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers Airports. Jackson’s authority over these facilities was never questioned until the Mayoral administration of Chokwe Lumumba. During Chokwe’s short tenure as Mayor, from July 1st, 2013 through February 25th, 2014, he was able to install an entirely new, all Black, JMAA Board. In January 2015 the JMAA Board hired the airports first Black Chief Executive Officer, Carl Newman. Under the leadership of Mr. Newman and the JMAA Board, the airport became a fully solvent , “in the black” entity and redirected the majority of its contracts to contractors who live in Jackson, the majority of whom are Black[9]. Prior to this shift, the airport was often in the red and the vast majority of the contracts that were awarded by the airport were awarded to contractors from Rankin and Madison counties, the overwhelming majority of whom were white. It was this loss of income, and the projected loss of future profit, that prompted Senator Harkin and the Republican leadership to advance the takeover initiative.

The original airport facility, Hawkins Field, constitutes some of the most prime real estate in the city because of its proximity to and potential interrelationship with the Medical Corridor Expansion Project[10]. The Medical Corridor Expansion Project is an expansive project that extends the existing medical corridor from its present boundaries between the 55 interstate to the east and State Street to the west, all the way to the 220 metro Freeway on the western outskirts of the city and an expanse from Northside Drive to the north and Fortification Street to the south. The Medical Corridor Expansion Project is the adopted child of former Governor Haley Barbour with the support of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce.

The Medical Corridor Expansion Project is the driving force of real estate speculation in Jackson, which is beginning to fuel the gentrification and displacement of several Black working class communities. This project will basically devour the Black working class communities of West and Central Jackson, particularly the Mid-City, Georgetown, and Virden Addition communities.  The Medical Corridor Expansion Project is modeled in large part on the Medical Expansion Project in New Orleans, which is actively in the process of displacing tens of thousands of Black working class residents. If the Republicans are able to seize Hawkins Field they will be able to control its redevelopment process in connection with the Medical Corridor Expansion process.  This will create an extended zone of redevelopment that will be dictated and controlled almost entirely by economic and political forces outside of Jackson. They will control the contracts, the procurement processes, and the hiring processes. This will ensure that the lion’s share of the profits and wages generated from these developments will go to white bankers, developers, sub-contractors, and suppliers to the detriment of the City of Jackson and its predominantly Black working class residents.

Map of the Medical Corridor District. 

The Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers Airport was built by the City of Jackson in 1963 - 64[11]. The airport sits squarely in Rankin County, which is a predominantly white working class community that is a direct outgrowth of white flight from Jackson. For decades, white contractors from Rankin and Madison counties have dominated the airports contract awards. The interruption of this gravy train is what fueled the ire of these forces. But, what has the Republicans up in arms is the threat of missing out on the future profits projected to be generated over the next several decades from the growth and expansion of Medgar Wiley Evers Airport. Over the last two years, several transnational companies have decided to open new manufacturing plants in Jackson and Hinds County. The two largest manufacturers are Seraphim Solar, a Chinese owned solar company, and Continental Tire the Americas, LLC[12]. Building on these new developments, most regional business forecasts anticipate further business and economic growth in the central Mississippi region, as each of these businesses will facilitate the growth of spin off businesses, like resource suppliers and service providers. Economic growth means more business for the Evers Airport (both airports actually, as Hawkins will accommodate more executive and light freight transport for these and other businesses), which will facilitate and sustain the growth of more goods and services that can be situated at the airport, which has ample room to expand. The white capital interests that presently dominate the economy of the region are determined to retain their control over all the capital accumulating processes that define the local political economy. In order to do so, they have to strip Jackson of its political control over the airport and other strategic assets, as these assets could be used to facilitate Black economic equity, which would foster the end of Black exploitation in the city and region.   

The Trojan Horse: the Capitol Complex Improvement District  

An initiative just as threatening to Black political power in Jackson as the seizure of its airports is the Capitol Complex Improvement District Bill, docketed as Senate Bill 2525 (and its House companion, House Bill 1564)[13]. Senator John Horhn, a Black Democrat who represents a part of Jackson located in the 26th Senate District, allegedly introduced this bill according to many local political lobbyists and insiders as a sacrificial trade to the Republicans to save the city’s airports. The logic behind such a tactic is that because the Republicans possess a supermajority in both houses, and can basically legislate what they want, the Black legislative delegation and the Democratic party overall must play ball with them and surrender various concessions to the Republicans in order to defend old gains and some fundamental rights, like the right to vote.

Map of the Downtown Annexation Corridor or "Capitol Complex Improvement District"

It must be said that not only is this logic extremely faulty, it is premised on the internalization of white supremacy. This logic accepts the notion that Black people cannot “develop” their own communities, that they must rely on white people and resources controlled by white people to improve the conditions in their communities and their lives. Regardless of the logic, what this initiative will effectively do is surrender more territory and control over to the Governor, the Republican party, white economic forces, and ultra-conservative social forces who will try to legislatively enforce their morals onto the predominantly Black working class residents of Jackson. If passed, SB2525 will take a large swath of the most valuable real estate in the city of Jackson stretching from Jackson State University through the Downtown Area and connecting to the Medical Corridor Expansion Project, and put it under the direct authority of the Governor via a newly created Improvement District Board that he or she would appoint. This Board, not the Mayor or the City Council, will manage and administer this project and control all of its finances.

To add insult to injury, this Bill would “divert 12-1.5% of the total sales tax revenue collected on business activities within the city of Jackson and to distribute 15% of the revenue so collected to the city of Jackson to compensate the city for general police and fire protection provided by the city in the capitol complex improvement district”, and “ provide that the remainder of such revenue so collected shall be deposited into the capitol complex improvement district project fund.” This is critical because Jackson has been struggling to get the Governor and State Legislator to pay for the police and fire services they have utilized for decades basically free of charge. This would now create a special zone of protection that will be paid by the residents of Jackson, who will have no democratic say so over this District!

Because of how stealthily this Bill was introduced, with little to no fanfare and initial opposition, and how it innocently appears to be offering to improve conditions in Jackson, it is a real Trojan Horse. If it is not defeated this Bill will basically hand over all the “keys to the kingdom”, that are the fundamental drivers of Jackson’s economy – the medical, administrative, and educational industries that are situated in this improvement district. Further, most of this new “Republican Zone” will not be taxable by the City of Jackson, which will only exasperate the financial crisis of the city, which has been struggling with a declining tax base for decades.

Other drastic consequences of the Capitol Complex Improvement District Bill is that it will assuredly drive property taxes through the roof, foster more repressive policing to protect the new investments, rapidly gentrify large sections of West and Central Jackson, and displace tens of thousands of Black working class residents. This will reduce the city’s Black population, which will undermine Black political power, and ultimately threaten the economic viability of the municipality.  

“Flint”, Mississippi

On Tuesday, February 2nd, former Secretary of State and Democratic Party presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton put Jackson, MS in the national spotlight by issuing a statement of concern about lead levels detected in the city’s water supply by Mississippi State health officials[14]. Suddenly, Jackson’s water woes were put on par with those of Flint, Michigan - and rightfully so. Jackson’s poor water quality is legendary in the region. Because of antiquated lead pipes our water is perennially brown, water main breaks are near daily occurrences, and the city government is forced to issue dozens of “boil water” notices each month[15].

One of Jackson's many corroded water main pipes. 

Like Flint, Michigan, Jackson’s water woes stem from environmental racism, capital flight, and the ruthless application of neo-liberal policies. Jackson’s water system has been recommended for a thorough overhaul since the late 1980’s. The white political leadership that guided the city in the 1970’s and 80’s sat on the issue, and sometimes blatantly refused to address it, as the forces of white capital made it clear that they would not pay for the improvement of a rapidly growing Black polity. Since Jackson became a majority Black city in the 1980’s, it has struggled to figure out how to overhaul the city’s crumbling infrastructure with the limited revenues it possessed as a direct result of a declining tax base, which largely evaporated as result of white flight and all of the capital transferred with their relocation to the suburbs. 

The Black administrations that have governed Jackson since 1997 stalled on dealing with the water crisis for as long as they could. That day came to an end in 2012, when the city of Jackson, under the Mayoralship of Harvey Johnson, entered into a consent decree agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to overhaul its water filtration, processing, and delivery system, specifically to eliminate waste water overflows and untreated raw sewage entering the system[16]. The City of Jackson was given 18 years to fully comply, but mandated that the vast majority of the work must be completed within 11 years of signing the agreement, which in practical terms means that the city has until 2023 to reverse the situation or else.

The City of Jackson has been struggling with how to resolve the consent decree and the water crisis since it signed this agreement. The most pressing concern has been how to pay for repairs mandated by the consent decree. The solution that was reluctantly adopted by the Mayoral administration of Chokwe Lumumba in 2014 was to adopt the 1% Sales Tax measure originally put forward by Senator John Horhn. The Lumumba administration was reluctant to adopt the 1% sales tax because the resources it generated were not controlled by the city of Jackson, but by a specially constructed oversight board that was dominated by the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Party (via seats reserved for the Governor and Lt. Governor). In an attempt to try and challenge this imposition, the Lumumba administration held a public referendum on the question of its adoption, which passed by roughly 94% of the vote[17]. The purpose of the vote was to “let the people decide” directly, and to build a base of public support to eventually revoke the undemocratic board that was affixed to the legislation.

The fundamental issue at play with Jackson’s water crisis is control. Jackson provides water to most of the suburban municipalities surrounding the city. The tax revenues generated from its water delivery provision account for a staggering 40% of the city’s overall revenues[18]. This has made it a primary target of regional capital interests seeking to either takeover or siphon off some of these resources. If the city of Jackson doesn’t resolve its water woes, the Federal government will be forced to intervene in a forceful manner, which is exactly what many of the local reactionary forces desire. The Republicans have crafted a slew of potential answers, and they are working on all of them simultaneously in the hopes that one of them will succeed in extracting this life sustaining resource from the city. One strategy is to create a regional water utility. Another is to replace Jackson’s water treatment facility with a new water treatment facility in a white majority municipality or county, which is exactly what the West Rankin Utility Authority received permission to do in 2015[19]. Privatization is another proposal in the Republican tool kit.

The most insidious proposal put forth by the Republicans to seize control of Jackson’s water system was advanced in 2014, called the Municipal Government Responsibility Act, which was designated as House Bill 627[20]. The Municipal Government Responsibility Act was a carbon copy of Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law. It was being advanced in particular to undermine the administration of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, as Jackson was and remains the only municipality that possesses a utility currently threatened by the EPA and the state. HB627 explicitly called for the state government to protect its credit and that of its municipal subdivisions, noting that it was “a valid public purpose for the state to take action and to assist a municipality that has failed to provide services to the citizens of the state.” It further stated:
If the Governor determines that an emergency exists, the Governor shall assign the responsibility for managing the local government to an emergency manager. The manager shall be chosen solely on the basis of his or her competence and shall not have been either an elected or appointed official or employee of the municipality. The emergency financial manager need not be a resident of the local government for which he or she is appointed. The emergency financial manager shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor and shall be compensated as determined by the Governor. The manager shall issue to the appropriate officials or employees of the local government the orders the manager considers necessary to accomplish the purposes of this act, including, but not limited to, orders for the timely and satisfactory implementation of a financial plan developed by such manager. An order issued under this section is binding on the local officials or employees to whom it is issued.”

Although this Bill died in committee, it revealed some critical elements of the strategic thinking, planning, and tactical approach of the Republican forces relative to the city of Jackson. It was one of the many legislative initiatives that laid the groundwork for the all out assault we are experiencing this legislative session. And although there are no legislative bills directly threatening Jackson’s control over its water infrastructure, it is the “key” prize that will ultimately determine if Jackson will retain its municipal authority and economic viability, or whether it will become even more of an extractive colony of Rankin and Madison counties. In this context, the timing of the lead contaminant threat couldn’t have come at a worse time for the city, as it bolsters the narrative that Jackson cannot govern itself, and therefore should be put under receivership. We can rest assured that on the basis of this news, the Republicans are going to sharpen their knives and make the final push to seize Jackson’s water in 2017.

Where do we go from here? The BDS and Buy Jackson Campaigns

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are definitely desperate times for Black, Indigenous, working, and immigrant communities in Mississippi, particularly in Jackson. In the effort to try and meet the challenge posed by the aforementioned assaults, at least on the municipal level, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Cooperation Jackson, and the Jackson Human Rights Initiative (JHRI) took the initiative to form a broad coalition in January, called the Coalition for Economic Justice.

The Coalition for Economic Justice is committed to doing everything within its power to galvanize the Black legislative caucus, and the greater Democratic Party delegation on a whole to defeat the aforementioned legislative assaults. However, given the fact that the Republicans currently possess a supermajority in the legislature we are clear that this initiative is largely for educational purposes, as the Republicans can pass what they will. We are not going to defeat these reactionary legislative maneuvers on the floor of the Mississippi legislature. We have to pursue another route to victory. The route we believe will be the most effective is a mass, multi-faceted, non-compliant civil disobedient movement determined to engage in a sustained campaign of economic warfare.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

We believe that the only way that we are going to be able to push back, defeat, and eventually reverse these seizures is to punish the moneyed interests situated in Rankin and Madison counties that seek to seize Jackson’s infrastructure and control its political future. Both of these counties are extremely vulnerable to campaigns of economic reprisal because their economies are essentially dependent upon Jackson’s. Virtually none of the commercial enterprises in either of these counties can survive without patronage from the residents of Jackson. Neither county possesses the population density necessary to sustain their commercial and industrial enterprises on their own. They are fully dependent upon patronage from Jackson. This fact can and must be used in Jackson’s favor in this fight. To this end, the Coalition for Economic Justice is calling for a massive Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) strategy to be employed against Rankin and Madison counties, and if need be, the state itself.

The aim of the BDS campaign is to financially cripple Senator Harkin, the Republican legislative delegation, and the regional capital forces (financers, developers, etc.) that support them, with the objective of having them return the assets that they are poised to seize back to the municipality and people of Jackson. We pursue this in the following manner:
1.     Boycott. We call on all of the residents of Jackson and our allies throughout Mississippi, the United States and the World to cease and desist from any and all economic activities in Rankin or Madison counties. When our airports are seized, we implore all Jacksonians and any and everyone venturing to our city to bypass the Evers airport and instead fly into Memphis or New Orleans and utilize one of the cooperative transport services that we are going to construct to come to Jackson.
2.     Divestment. We call on all of the residents of Jackson and our allies everywhere to remove any and all capital you have invested in banks, businesses, real estate, or other economic endeavors, such as municipal or county bonds, from Rankin and Madison counties. We need everyone to encourage your civic, spiritual, and economic associates and organizations to do the same.
3.     Sanctions. We call on all of the civic and spiritual institutions based in Jackson and throughout the country and the world to censure Rankin and Madison counties for their support of the undemocratic seizure of Jackson’s resources. We also call on municipalities, counties (parishes), state and national governments to censure and sanction these counties for their egregious violations of the fundamental human rights of the residents of Jackson. All of these institutions should cease all trade and civic engagement with Rankin and Madison counties until Jackson’s resources are returned back to their rightful owners.

Metropolitan Jackson, MS - i.e. Jackson and its dependent and extractive suburbs. 

We encourage everyone to join the Coalition for Economic Justice in making a public pledge to support our Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Although, we are encouraging everyone to start engaging in this campaign of economic warfare immediately, we are going to officially launch the campaign on Friday, April 1st, 2016 to counter and contrast with Confederate History Month, which was proclaimed by Governor Phil Bryant to let the people of the world know what’s truly “going down” in Mississippi from the perspective of his party and supporters. We aim to SHUT THIS MADNESS DOWN! But, we need you to join us to make it happen. Send your pledges to  You can also pledge on Facebook and Twitter by making a public announcement that is linked to the Coalition for Economic Justice via the Jackson People’s Assembly at or @JXNPeoples.

Buy Jackson!

The Coalition for Economic Justice does not believe in creating a vacuum and leaving it unfilled to be further exploited by our enemies. As we are imploring people to stop shopping and engaging in any type of economic activity in Rankin and Madison counties, we must provide the people of Jackson with new means, methods and opportunities to address their consumer and leisure needs. To this end, we are encouraging the people of Jackson to make the upmost effort to secure all of their consumption needs in Jackson.

We have to be on the offensive as much as we are on the defensive. The offensive initiative entails seizing the moment to rebuild Jackson’s commercial and retail economy, and to do it in a manner that will benefit the greatest number of people economically. To this end, we need to push for the revitalized commercial and retail base to be orientated towards community wealth building initiatives that are cooperatively developed and owned.

Here are some means to pursue:
1.     Increase Support for Existing Businesses.  This should be based on a criterion wherein we ask all businesses to officially endorse the BDS campaign and to prominently display our literature and educational materials in their businesses.  We will support these businesses by publicly listing them as supporters of the campaign and strongly encouraging the movement’s adherents to make a special effort to support these businesses as part of the resistance.
2.     Launch new Cooperative enterprises. Our objective is to rebuild the city’s retail, entertainment, and hospitality industries along cooperative lines to ensure that they anchor themselves in the community and that they serve to create equity for the maximum number of people. This will help facilitate the rebuilding of our city’s tax base that will help revitalize our city’s essential services.
3.     Initiate Community Wealth Building Initiatives in partnership with the City. In order for the proposed cooperative enterprises to work they will need support from the city. In the effort to help itself and its constituents the city should be encouraged to utilize its existing resources and assets to support cooperative enterprises by providing free or discounted office space, pooling financial resources, and facilitating collective purchasing policies of essential goods, etc., that would support the development of a genuine social and solidarity economy in Jackson.

The Buy Jackson and BDS campaigns must be viewed as two sides of the same coin. The people of Jackson must equally support both in order to overcome and defeat the Republican seizure initiatives.


As an old African saying goes, “rice is best cooked in the pot!” The application of this saying in the Jackson context means that if this resistance initiative is going to work, it must be carried by a mass movement drawing its strength directly from the working people of Jackson. However, the people of Jackson should not and cannot wage this fight alone. If anything, Jackson should be viewed as an example of how reactionary forces in this society respond to radical upsurges as occurred here in 2013 when Chokwe Lumumba was elected Mayor. Investing time, energy and resources in the fight to save Jackson, must be viewed investment in your own future, because if we can stop this reactionary, racist, neo-liberal land grabbing assault here, we will build the collective movement muscle to defeat it elsewhere.

We are asking all those interested in standing in solidarity with the people of Jackson and the Coalition for Economic Justice to support us in the following ways:
1.     Resource Support. This fight is going to take some considerable resources to win. We need resources to support the organizing work necessary to wage the BDS and Buy Jackson Campaigns. And we need resources to build the Cooperatives and Solidarity Economy initiatives mentioned. If you would like to support the organizing initiatives please send a donation to Community Aid and Development, Inc. Mail to P.O. Box 68426, Jackson, MS 39286 or pay online at If you would like to support the cooperative development initiatives please send a donation to Cooperation Jackson. Mail to P.O. Box 1932, Jackson, MS 39215 or pay online at
2.     Mobilizing Support. The Coalition for Economic Justice will be calling for national days of action and action caravans to come to Jackson to support our mass mobilizations and direct actions as the campaign develops and progresses. We want to encourage all those interested in supporting our efforts to be alert for these action calls and to move in formation when they are issued. To stay abreast of the mobilization efforts follow these Facebook pages,, or
3.     Media Support. We need this story told to the world. We encourage progressive journalists, documentarians, and academics to use all the communicative mediums at your disposal to share our story and help us build a resistance movement capable of defeating this reactionary onslaught. For narrative support and local guidance contact the Media and Communications Committee of the Coalition for Economic Justice at

[1] See
[2] See “The called themselves Redeemers – the Rise of White Supremacy”
[3] See “US Demographic Shift will have Huge Political Impact”
[4] See “The Myth of the Indispensable Nation” by
[5] See “Chokwe Lumuba: Remembering ‘America’s Most Revolutionary Mayor”
[6] See “The Jackson Plan: A Struggle for Self-Determination, Participatory Democracy and Economic Justice
[7] See “Vision 2022: A Regional Vision
[9] See “Unfriendly Skies: Can Jackson Save its Airport?” and “The Battle for the Jackson Airport: Can the State Take it Away?”
[10] See Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Initiatives
[11] See JMAA History
[12] See “Seraphim Solar to build manufacturing facility in Jackson” and “Continental Tire to create 2,500 new jobs in Hinds County”
[13] See
[14] See “Hillary Clinton pushes for Jackson water issues action”
[15] See “Residents complain of water woes throughout Jackson; city responds”
[16] See
[17] See “9 in 10 Jackson, MS voters approve 1% Sales Tax”
[18] See “Troubled Water, Part 1: Explaining Jackson’s $91 Million Siemens Contract”
[19] See “Jackson: New Rankin County Wastewater Plant is Unlawful”