Revolutionary Black Nationalism for the Twenty-first Century — An Interview With Kali Akuno

 

[A recent (earlier this year) analysis and the related programmatic plans, in an interview of Kali Akuno by editors of New Politics magazine.  It is an analysis well worth studying.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Riad Azar and Saulo Colón, New Politics, Summer 2015

Kali Akuno

Kali Akuno served as the coordinator of special projects and external funding for Jackson Mississippi’s late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. He is co-founder and director of Cooperation Jackson as well as an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. He was interviewed by email by Riad Azar and Saulo Colón, both members of the New Politics editorial board.

New Politics: Kali, part of your work and that of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) has been strategically and organizationally focused on the South. Can you explain the thinking behind this and also how it connects to your understanding of the specificity of the South (especially due to its changing demographics because of the recent migrations of Latino workers) in terms of capitalist power and racism?

Kali Akuno: First and foremost, it is critical to understand that the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is a revolutionary nationalist organization that is part of the New Afrikan Independence Movement. Revolutionary nationalism is a left-wing variant of nationalism, practiced by colonized and oppressed peoples, that seeks to liberate them from the yoke of their colonizers and oppressors and replace the capitalist-imperialist social order imposed upon them with a socialist social system. The New Afrikan Independence Movement is a multi- tendency movement struggling to liberate the southeastern portion of the so-called mainland territories now colonized by the United States government. The New Afrikan Independence Movement recognizes that territories it is claiming for its national territory rightfully belong to the indigenous nations of Turtle Is- land, and makes no claims that supersede their just claims. However, our aim is to unite with indigenous peoples and with other oppressed peoples throughout the United States empire and break the back of white supremacy and the settler-colonial project through a unified anti- colonial, anti-imperialist, and anti-capitalist struggle. So, it is critical to understand MXGM, and its parent organization, the New Afrikan People’s Organization, and their commitment to the South in this context.

It is also critical to understand the economic and political role of the South within the colonial-imperial framework of the United States government. Since the defeat of the Confederacy, the South has largely operated as an internal colony from which cheap natural resources and labor could be readily drawn. This strategic site of super-exploitation provided critical capital accumulation and other developmental competitive advantages to the U.S. settler-colonial project in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that played a critical role in the ascendency of U.S. imperialism on a global scale later in the twentieth century. And given the structural acknowledgement of colonialism and slavery within the U.S. political framework—specifically the creation of the electoral college, the unrepresentative Senate, and the limited number of congressional districts— the South has always played a disproportionate role in determining the overall politics of the empire. The South typically plays a decisive role in deciding the presidency and the makeup of the Congress, bending both toward right-wing settler-colonialism. This historic reality is what gives rise to the phrase, “as the South goes, so goes the nation.” Continue reading

The People–Not the System–will solve the Problem of White Supremacist Murders

The Zimmerman Verdict is a Reflection of the Times.   WE CHARGE GENOCIDE!

The People Must ORGANIZE!

Statement by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, July 13, 2013

Trayvon 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 todos con una misma direcciónmillions 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. Continue reading

Chokwe Lumumba Elected Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi

Democracy Now, Thursday June 6, 2013

Democracy Now:  “Just days before the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the city’s voters have elected longtime black nationalist organizer and attorney Chokwe Lumumba to become mayor. Describing himself as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat,” Lumumba surprised many political observers by winning the Democratic primary, despite being outspent five to one. He went on to easily win this week’s general election.

“Over the past four decades Lumumba has been deeply involved in numerous political and legal campaigns. As an attorney, his clients have included former Black Panther Assata Shakur and the late hip hop artist Tupac Shakur. As a political organizer, Lumumba served for years as vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for ‘an independent predominantly black government’ in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery. He also helped found the National Black Human Rights Coalition and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. ‘People should take a note of Jackson, because we have suffered some of the worst kinds of abuses in history,’ Lumumba says. ‘But we’re about to make some advances and some strides in the development of human rights and the protection of human rights that I think have not been seen in other parts of the country.'”

[Next, two different news articles, below, describing Chokwe Lumumba’s victory in the Jackson, Miss. mayoralty election–as a continuation of human rights activism (first article), and as a victory for adopting “mainstream” politics (second article).  Lumumba, and his grassroots activist supporters,  will undoubtedly clarify, in the weeks ahead, the (tactical or strategic) programmatic significance of this hard-fought struggle for this administrative and political platform. But, for an important background on the organizing perspective of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, see The Jackson Plan at

http://mxgm.org/the-jackson-plan-a-struggle-for-self-determination-participatory-democracy-and-economic-justice/  — Frontlines ed.] Continue reading

New Annual Report — “Operation Ghetto Storm” — 313 Black People were killed in 2012, averaging one every 28 hours.

[Last year, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released, in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida, a report revealing that every 36 hours, a Black man, woman, or child is murdered or protected by the US government.  As if this were not shocking enough, ongoing research is revealing an even more pervasive pattern, as shown in the updated research and new report described below.  We urge you to download and forward, share, discuss and study this report which must not be ignored.  Take it to friends and neighbors in the community, in schools, at work–and plan ways to educate and act upon it. — Frontlines ed.]

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Released by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Monday, April 8, 2013

Contact:     Kali Akuno, 404.567.5938, kaliakuno@mxgm.org

For Immediate Release: New Annual Report reveals that 313 Black People were killed in 2012, averaging one every 28 hours

Download here: http://mxgm.org/operation-ghetto-storm-2012-annual-report-on-the-extrajudicial-killing-of-313-black-people/

Every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the US government killed a Black man, woman, or child! This startling fact is revealed in Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killings of 313 Black People by Police, Security Guards, and Vigilantes.

When we started this investigation in early 2012, we knew a serious human rights crisis was confronting the Black community”, says Kali Akuno, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). “However, we did not have a clear sense of its true depth until we compiled and examined the annual figures. We have uncovered outrageous rates of extrajudicial killings–rates, that when they are found in countries like Mexico or Brazil, are universally condemned.  The same outrage inside the U.S. also demands immediate action.” Continue reading

New Release “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense”

[We have received the following message from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, announcing and detailing the release of a new organizing manual for community self-defense.  When many reform activists continue to appeal to oppressive institutions to solve the problems of repression and oppression, the manual charts a different path where matters are taken into the hands of the people, both in response to specific attacks they face from government and reactionary aggression, but also in building the struggle to end those oppressive powers once and for all.  Well worthy of study and broad distribution and active organizing, Frontlines offers it here (see link at end of announcement), encouraging responses.  — Frontlines ed.]

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559790_10152641717070627_1177440510_nOppressed 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. “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense”, is the latest contribution of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the Every 36 Hours Campaign that 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.

As the extrajudicial killing of Kimani Gray and the more than twenty other Black women and men by the police in the first two months of 2013 clearly illustrate, it is imperative that New Afrikan communities get organized and defend ourselves. As the real economy continues to contract, corporations become more vicious and exploitative, our communities are gentrified and displaced, public goods and services continue to be eliminated or privatized, and the national security state continues to grow and become ever more invasive, the attacks on New Afrikan and other oppressed and exploited people are only going to escalate. We must defend ourselves, and we have every right to do so by any means necessary.

“Let Your Motto Be Resistance” draws on the long history of New Afrikan peoples struggle to realize self-determination and defend our persons, our rights and our dignity from the assaults of the oppressive settler-colonial government and the forces of white supremacy. Building on this history “Let Your Motto Be Resistance” provides in summary form a vision of how we can (re)organize our communities from the ground up to defend ourselves and reassert our fundamental human rights to life, dignity, and self-determination. Continue reading

MXGM Statement – Dorner, Racism, and State Repression

https://revolutionaryfrontlines.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/208144_10150149509647960_7458036_n.jpg?w=300The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) maintains that regardless of what one may think of Christopher Dorner and the rights or wrongs of his actions, we want to call attention to the truth’s stated in Dorner’s manifesto regarding the pervasiveness of racism in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

As many historians and commentators have pointed out since the release of Dorner’s manifesto, the LAPD is a notoriously racist institution. The Ramparts Division scandal of the late 1990’s is one recent reminder of how racist and corrupt the institution is, and to what extent the judiciary and other branches and institutions of the US government support its actions.

We should be clear that the LAPD is not an aberration or an exception to the rule. Racism is endemic to all law enforcement agencies in the United States, and is part and parcel of the foundations of the United States government, its historic mission, and its systemic functioning. What Mr. Dorner’s manifesto call into question is the degree to which racism is blatantly ignored, reasoned away, and legitimized in this society. This is further evidenced by the fact that William J. Bratton, the innovator of the infamously racist “stop and frisk” policies and tactics, who was the Chief of Police in Los Angeles when Mr. Dorner filed his complaints and was subsequently fired, has been hired by the city of Oakland (which is currently under Federal receivership for its racist conduct) to reportedly “clean it up”. Continue reading

Update on Tracking Police Murders: Every 36 Hours a Black Person is Murdered by the Law Enforcement

This episode of  Critical Insight we were joined by Kali Akuno of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement to discuss their 2012 report detailing the fact that every 36 hours (at least) a Black person is extra-judiciously executed by “Law Enforcement” within the United States. Please watch this episode to to hear Mr. Akuno discuss the more recent developments regarding this report, how the corporate media has tried to marginalize it, and what you can do to help make a positive impact. Your support is needed.

Sources:  Critical Insight, Navigating the Storm