The Zimmerman Verdict is a Refelection of the Times: People Must Organize

Below is an insightful statement from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement about Trayvon Martin.. They not only give us keen analysis but also put forth sound, practical solutions.. We also sat down with MXGM member Kali Akuno who was in Jackson, Mississippi who provided  additional context to this statement.. The link to our Hard Knock Radio interview is located below.. Please check out the conversation while you read the statement.

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HKR-Kali Akuno intv on Trayvon verdict

The Zimmerman Verdict is a Refelection of the Times People Must Organize

Trayvon-Martin-brownTrayvon Martin was never going to get justice from a courtroom of the United States government. Justice for Trayvon and for the hundreds of other Black women, men, and children executed by someone employed or protected by the US government on a daily basis will only come from our people and the power we are able to wield through the strength of our organization and the resolve of our will. Zimmerman was only put on trial because millions of our people took to the streets in early 2012 and threatened to disrupt the system. The trial was a means to divert our energies and return things to the status quo.

Obama’s statement that a “a jury has spoken” encouraging what he called, “calm reflection”, is just another effort to lure Black people to sleep and keep us accepting the status quo. The status quo of white supremacy has never and will never work for Black people.  As W.E.B. DuBois stated, “a system cannot fail those who it was never meant to protect.” White supremacy and the systems that support and reinforce it like capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy must be defeated and dismantled. We must always keep this in mind and be prepared in concrete, organized ways to ensure that there will be no peace if there is no justice. Now is the time for direct action in the form of organized Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns that disrupt the status quo systems of the US government through massive non-compliant resistance.

We must also be clear that the Zimmerman verdict is a reflection of the times. 17-year old Trayvon Martin was the 31st Black person executed by someone employed or protected by the state in 2012. As we demonstrated in Operation Ghetto Storm, 313 Black women, men, and children were executed without trials by the police, security guards or certified “neighborhood watchmen” in 2012. These extrajudicial killings have by no means stopped or slowed down, as witnessed by the execution of Kimani Gray and dozens more Black people in the first six months of 2013. With the Zimmerman verdict justifying and setting new precedent for the disposal of Black life, we should expect the number of extrajudicial killings to increase. It is now more imperative than ever for us to strengthen the organization of our communities and defend ourselves.

MXGM marchWe must defend ourselves, and we have every right to do so by any means necessary.

Black people are in a heightened state of crisis. Since being brought to the shores of North America as captives from European wars of aggression we have constantly battled one crisis after another. However, there are times that are more critical and intense than others. We are presently living through one of these super -critical periods.

We have been hunted and killed in cold blood by the US government in increasing numbers and herded into prisons like cattle in record numbers. The facts presented in Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of Black People presents us with a deeper understanding of the utter disregard held for Black life within the United States.

The continual practice of executing Black people in the country without pretense of a trial, jury, or judge is an integral part of the government’s current overall strategy of containing the Black community in a state of perpetual colonial subjugation and exploitation. The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is a testament to the reality that the institutions of the United States uplift and are complicit in the ongoing genocide of Black people.

The only way we are going to defend ourselves against these genocidal challenges is to create a massive social movement. We need a movement that strategically takes on the systemic oppression and exploitation that prevent Black people from exercising self-determination and human rights.

In order to fight effectively we have to organize ourselves on a higher level. One of the critical areas where we have to step up our organizing efforts to be qualitatively more effective is in the area of self-defense. We have to be clear that we cannot and should not count on our enemies – like the courts, and other forces of the US government or transnational corporations – to protect us. We have to protect ourselves.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) believes that an essential part of our Movement for survival must be Self-Defense Networks.

We think there are two types of Networks that we have to build:

New Afrikan or Black Self-Defense Networks are alliances, coalitions, or united fronts of Black organizations whose purpose is to defend the Black or New Afrikan community from external (the police, FBI, white terrorist organizations, etc.) and internal (agent infiltration, intra-communal violence, etc.) threats to its safety and security.

People’s Self-Defense Networks are multi-national (or multi-ethnic and/or racial) alliances, coalitions, or united fronts whose purpose is to defend their communities against mutual enemies and threats and advance a common agenda based on shared interests, hopes, and aspirations.

Oppressed peoples and communities can and will only be secure in this country when they are organized to defend themselves against the aggressions of the government and the forces of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation.

The Every 28 Hours Campaign proposes a model for organizing:

 

  1. The formation of Black Self-Defense Networks to defend our people and combat police terrorism. These Networks should seek to build Copwatch programs, engage in mass rights based education trainings for the community, serve as first responders to acts of Police Terrorism, and help coordinate mass resistance to these acts via mass mobilizations and direct action. These Networks should also be encouraged to engage in offensive campaigns, such as referendums to institute Police Control Boards.
  1. The formation of People’s Self-Defense Networks to defend the lives and interests of all oppressed peoples’ and exploited classes against various forms of state terrorism. These People’s Self-Defense Networks would work as multi-national alliances to engage in a broad manner all of the tasks mentioned above to defend oppressed peoples and targeted communities, such as LGBTQ2GNC communities, against institutionalized racism, white supremacy, institutionalized sexism, patriarchy and state repression be it racial profiling, gender profiling, stop and frisk, mass incarceration, or mass deportations.
  1. Waging campaigns for local referendums to institute Police Control mechanisms – i.e. community based structures that have the power to hire, fire, subpoena, and discipline the police on the local level. And waging massive, non-compliant campaigns of resistance employing BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) strategies and tactics on statewide, regional, and national levels.
  1. Forming People’s Assemblies, on local, citywide, and regional levels to engage in program and demand development initiatives that will enable the people to engage in the broad implementation of people’s programs for self-defense and mutual aid.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the Every 28 Hours Campaign seeks to strengthen organizing initiatives within Black or New Afrikan communities for self-defense, by presenting these initiatives with a comprehensive analytical framework and practical organizing tools to ground and unite them.

MXGM offers to Black and other oppressed communities three resources 1) Operation Ghetto Storm, a full report on the 2012 extra judicial killings; 2) Let Your Motto Be Resistance, an organizing handbook for self-defense; and 3) We Charge Genocide Again!, a curriculum for the Every 28 Hours Campaign, to further this objective

Links:

 

Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of Black People

http://mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Operation-Ghetto-Storm.pdf

 

Let Your Motto Be Resistance

http://mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Self-Defense-Manual-MERGED.pdf

 

We Charge Genocide Again!

http://mxgm.org/we-charge-genocide-again-new-curriculum-on-every-28-hours-report/

For more information on these resources or trainings please contact Kali Akuno at kaliakuno@mxgm.org.

For coalition building and Self-Defense Networks please contact Taliba Obuya at taliba@mxgm.org.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmJqzEVKwoU

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Editorial: Understanding the Secessionist Movement

Earlier this week, I republished an article on secession and made raised the question as to whether or not Black and Brown folks should also consider secession. I pointed out that we have a history of wanting to detach ourselves from a country that has systemically oppressed us.. you can read that article HERE

My good friend Kali Akuno of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement pointed out that its important we not confuse the fights waged by people of color for self determination and liberation with the fight waged by racists and xenophobic types who types who want to secede because they want to get away from people of color or remain in position whee they can colonize or enslave.. Below is an article penned by Kali which originally appeared in the Praxis Project website…

-Davey D-

Understanding the Secessionist Movement

Since the reelection of President Barack Obama, United States “citizens” from over 30 states have filed petitions to formally secede from the Union, and more than 10 have reached the signature requirements that necessitate a response from the Federal government.

While the secessionist movement is not a new social phenomenon, in fact many of its modern roots go back to passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, its present mass resurgence should be something that gives pause to progressive forces. Not because the secessionist movement will likely succeed (at least in short-term), but because it is a reflection of deep white reaction to various demographic and political transformations in the United States empire that will have multiple expressions, many of them likely to be rather deadly. When we put the secessionist movement in the broader context of the ideology and historic social system of white supremacy then we see that is much more than just a fringe movement.

As Obama’s reelection in part demonstrated, the 500 + year nexus between the systems of capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy is fracturing beyond repair. There are now ruling class elements and a broad social base in the United States that are willing to jettison many of the social manifestations of white supremacy in order to preserve the capitalist-imperialist world system and the material benefits they reap from it. The secessionist movement reflects in part the interests of the forces of white supremacy who are materially dependent on the old-systems of production that require the unity of this historic nexus for their material well-being or are socially and ideologically committed to its perpetuation.

For much of the 20th century the far right forces of white supremacy were generally satisfied with the post-Reconstruction reinterpretation of the “states rights” doctrine, which was the result of a set of compromises established at the founding of the United Sates empire between the states that wanted to expand chattel slavery and those that were transitioning to a fully articulated system of wage labor. This reinterpretation rested on the notion that the Southern ruling class interests could continue subjugating the colonized (New) African and Indigenous nations contained in the region for the purposes of having a super-cheap labor force to exploit so long as they accepted the hegemony of the Federal government, which was rooted primarily in the controlling hands of monopoly industrial and finance capitalists based along the Northeastern seaboard. This reinterpretation contained secessionist aspirations for nearly a century, but it never completely vanquished them. The Black Liberation movement of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s weakened the post-Reconstruction “states rights” compromise, and breathed new life into the secessionist movement.

Playing up “states rights” as code for the perpetuation of white supremacy was at the heart of the “Southern Strategy” developed by the Nixon regime to defeat the “New Deal” alliance of the Democratic Party that was forged in the 1930’s and 40’s (the alliance that gave birth to the political ideologies and social forces now breaking with white supremacy). The reactionary “Southern Strategy” worked brilliantly until the 1990’s, when it was appropriated by elements of the Democratic Party (particularly the Democratic Leadership Council) to regain political legitimacy and power. This appropriation heightened contradictions amongst the forces of white supremacy, which in turn have opened space for more far right movements like the secessionist movement, to operate and compete within for ideological hegemony.  For these far right forces the reelection of a Black man to conduct the affairs of the White House over what was supposed to be a white man’s country is just too much to bear. In this context, secession is not so much fringe, but in fact is rather logical.

It may also turn out to be brilliant strategy. The “right to secede” is a democratic right and one technically enshrined in the United States constitution. If this right is denied without sufficient political struggle to clarify the issues, particularly by a Black man who is deemed and demonized as a dictator due to his different interpretation of the Constitution and management of the capitalist-imperialist system, it can and will become a rallying cry for the far right that could potentially mobilize millions of white settlers, particularly as there are strong preexisting settler narratives to support and justify their cause (from “don’t tread on me” to “no taxation without representation”), and give life to the civil strife, if not all out war, that many Republican and Tea Party commentators spoke to leading up to the November 6th elections.

So, this movement is something that progressive forces should pay attention to and think strategically about. And not because progressive forces should be aiming to preserve the political or structural integrity of the United States as it is presently constituted. We have to remember that there is nothing sacred or sacrosanct about the present borders of the settler states that comprise the so-called Union. This government and these borders have not always existed, are not inherently legitimate, and definitely have not served the interests of Indigenous, African, Xicano, Puerto Rican, and other colonized and oppressed peoples who live on the Great Turtle island (one of the Indigenous names of the North America continent). Rather, our primary interest should be protecting our people, exploring solutions that will advance our total liberation, and combating the repression these reactionary forces are and will direct against us. As the contradictions of this imperial society become more acute, we need to be as aware and prepared as possible to address them with sufficient organization in the pursuit of our own interests – least we be caught unaware and used as pawns once again to preserve the “white man’s systems”.

written by Kali Akuno

Obama’s Re-Elected What Next? Michael Skolnik of Global Grind & Hip Hop Activist Rosa Clemente Weigh In

With the re-election of President Barack Obama, we been having a series of discussions on Hard Knock Radio with key activists and organizers all over the country about the next steps we should be taking. This is an important conversation considering how concerned and dissatisfied many were feeling in the weeks and months leading up to the 2012 election.

Many felt President Obama had come up short on a number of issues and was dreadfully wrong on others. Many who felt things weren’t headed in the right direction were cautioned that we should give the President time to get his bearings. We were told he inherited a tremendous mess and that change would not come overnight.

We were also told that President Obama was under tremendous pressure from his political opponents who were determined to limit him to one term. The type of obstruction Obama was up against in Congress was unprecedented. he amount of racism directed at him was unprecedented. Hence activist and organizers were encouraged to fall back and rally around the president with the goal of shielding him and getting him a second term.

That has finally happened the other night. In the aftermath of his re-election there should now be strong pushes for him to address issues of poverty, the plight of labor, ending the war and other imperialistic foreign policies, deading mass deportations and eradicating the ramped up domestic spying and erosion of constitutional rights via NDAA.

As Boots Riley of the Coup famously pointed out not too long ago, our vibrant movement for social justice where many of these key issues were being addressed and fought for long before Obama was even a presidential candidate somehow became morphed into a movement to get him into office. That was good for Obama but not necessarily good for the movement. The momentum garnered over the past 8 years should not have dwindled  It left us short-changed.

This time around, many are re-thinking, re-tooling and laying out plans of action for the next 4 years and beyond. Many activists are determined not to make the same mistake of jettisoning their respective movements for the sake of an elections. Others are determined to keep themselves and the people around politically engaged beyond 2 and 4 year contest. Still others are finding that its time to build from the ground up, by establishing strong local basis that can withstand any sort of national political storms.

Michael Skolnik

One of the people we interviewed a day or so after the election is Michael Skolnik who is editor and chief of Global Grind, which is an online publication owned by Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons. Skolnik was also a surrogate for the Obama campaign.

During our interview we covered a range of topics including how to hold this President accountable to why we didn’t see more young people who voted in overwhelming numbers having visible seats at the table.

We discussed some of the problems that many had with Obama on key issues and what would be the best ways to push him and not get be obstructed by supporters who were over defensive.

We also talked about long term strategies and what we should be striving for during Obama’s second term. Skolnik offered some great insight and suggestions Peep the Hard Knock Radio interview below. Let us know what you think…

We also spoke with long time Hip Hop activist and former Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente. Rosa has long been pushing that the Hip Hop  generation move away from constraints of the democratic party and adopt a more radical and uncompromised politic. She feels Hip Hop has become too much of a mouthpiece for the democrats and has lost a lot of its bite and overall integrity, especially when it remains silent and actually cheerleads a president who embraces policies that Hip Hop folks have long stood against.

She talked about the importance of us focusing on younger voices, creating space for many who have been locked out and highlighting the work of on the ground organizations like the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement who never stopped organizing and pushing even with Obama in the White House.

Clemente noted that there’s been a pressure to vote over organizing and its led to folks believing that’s the only thing needed to be politically changed. This has been too much of an oversimplification in addressing systemic and complex problems and that perspective needs to be changed. With the re-election of Barack Obama, Clemente sees opportunity for endless possibilities for great change. She notes, the focus can now return to us  resolving our issues vs getting someone re-elected.

Rosa concluded our Hard Knock Radio interview by sharing her personal vision for change during which includes stepping up and strengthening the Green Party. .. Click the link below.