Notes on African-American History Since 1900

What did the northern civil rights, revolutionary black nationalist, black power and black liberation movement accomplish in the 1960's/70's?

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What did the northern civil rights, revolutionary black nationalist, black power and black liberation movement accomplish in the 1960's/70's?

  1. The legal opening of jobs in the construction industry and other industries subsidized by federal contract (establishment of Affirmative Action in construction industry by JFK).

  1. Establishment of African-American representation in union leadership in the UAW and the unions

  1. Starting of a mass Anti-War movement (Vietnam)

  1. Paving the way for African-American electoral empowerment

  1. Establishment of Black Studies

  1. Opening up of McDonald's and other food franchises for African-Americans

  1. Establishment of unarmed and armed self-defense as a mass policy

  1. Head Start Program.

This event marked the end of the first phase of the black student movement as well as the beginning of the second phase of the black student movement
The Orangeburg Massacre (South Carolina)
On February 8, 1968, a throng of angry, frustrated African American students faced off heavily armed police on the grounds of their own college campus in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The focus of their demonstration also involved elementary Justice, for it was aimed against the exclusion of African Americans from a local bowling alley, yet the tense police began firing wildly into the unarmed crowd.327
On A Brief Chronological Overview of the Movement of the 1970’s
The 1970’s was a critical historical period because when it came in the movement was on the defensive, with many activists in prison, others in exile. It was a period of dissolution and an attempt to regroup.
The main regrouping process took two forms as the movement was widely split into two factions; cultural nationalists vs. revolutionary nationalist/Marxist-Leninists. In 1969 shootouts had occurred between the two on the west coast between the Panthers and the U.S. organization. In Detroit the League of Revolutionary Black Workers formed. In 1970, the leadership of the Black Panther Party called a National Constitutional Convention to draft a new American constitution in Washington, D. C. Some 10,000 came to the convention representing a cross section of the multi-racial left. Howard University denied the BPP permission to hold the conference. The conference was eventually held in Philadelphia. The black nationalists led by Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) in August 1970, formed and convened the Congress of African People held in Atlanta, Georgia; 10,000 African-Americans attended the Congress of African people convention and formed (CAP) into an organization. CAP was dominated by cultural nationalist philosophy of Kawaida formulated by Maulana Ron Karanga but given a new interpretation by Imanu Amiri Baraka who split with Karanga. In Newark, New Jersey, Baraka had successfully pulled together a coalition which had elected Kenneth Gibson mayor.
With the Black Panther Party under military attack by the state, a section of it began to form units of the Black Liberation Army. The BLA policy was to defend itself against reactionary police.
Robert F. Williams resigned from the RNA (Republic of New Africa). RNA split and elections were held where Imari Obadele was elected president of the RNA.
In Detroit, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers had grown to become an organization of 500 hundred African American workers who could initiate wildcat strikes of thousands (6,000) in the auto pants.
What were the two major events in 1970 that killed student protest in America?
In May, 1970 the National Guard kills white anti-war students at Kent University and African-American Students at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi. Students declare a “national Strike” and go home. Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense was released from prison.
Kenneth B. Gibson (African-American) elected Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

-Chosen by the Newark Black Political Convention as a candidate for mayor in Newark.

-He ran in 1968 and lost.

-Ran in 1970 and won.

-was elected with the help of Imamu Baraka and the Committee for the United Newark.

-Newark has had 25 years of Black mayor since.

-Newark was 90% African Americans.
Ron Delleums was elected to congress representing the Bay area.
Several developments in 1971 occurred which altered the state of the Black Liberation Movement. In the South, the North Carolina a African American studies rebellion emerged which led to the formation of Malcolm X University under the leadership of Howard Fuller (Owasu Sadakei) Fuller was a graduate student and a well articulate spokesman.
Among the undergraduate students at the various schools was a young student organizer by the name of Nelson Johnson. The various African American student organizations who had a Pan Africanist outlook, but who had split with Stokely Carmichael formed a student organization called Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU). SOBU soon picked up where SNCC left off. SOBU began to publish a newspaper entitled the African World and began demonstrations and boycotts against U.S. corporations which were based at the time in Portuguese controlled Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. The Leage of Revolutionary Black Workers in Detroit split into two factions. One faction led by James Forman, Ken Crockel, and John Watson met in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Black Workers Congress (BWC) was the first organization of the 1970’s to attempt to direct the nationalism of Black workers and street youth in a Marxist direction. Formed by former SNCC activists like James Forman (who intellectual debt to Malcolm has been previously cited) and members of the League of Revolutionary Black workers, the BWC argued that the Black Liberation movement could emancipate African American people only through a revolutionary union “with the entire U.S. working class… through proletarian revolution.” This union was to be a part of an international anti-imperialist union of the world’s people. BWC’s impact was largely ideological rather than organizational, as it split into several formations and implemented no significant organizational program. Its adherents, however, were to be found later in all of the important African American progressive organization of the 1970’s.328
The RNA moved into Mississippi and the police and FBI attacked the RNA headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi supposedly looking for a fugitive. A shootout resulted and eleven of the leadership of the RNA were incarcerated, known as the RNA Eleven.
Why was the year 1971 such a devastating year for the revolutionary black nationalist movement?
-The League of Revolutionary Black Workers split into the factions.

-The Black Panther party split into two major groups.

-The imprisonment of the RNA Eleven

-Johnathan Jackson was killed at a courthouse breakout attempt.

-Angela Davis hunted and eventually captured.

-SNCC dissolved

-George Jackson field marshal for the BPP assassinated August 21, 1971 in San Quinton prison

-On September 9-13, 1971, prisoners in Attica prison, in New York rebel and take over sections of the prison. After a five day occupation, 45 people were killed, 150 were shot and hundreds tortured.

-H. Rap Brown was shot and captured in New York in November, 1971.
1972 was the year Stokely Carmichael returned briefly to the United States to form a U.S.A. branch of the repatriationist African People’s Revolutionary Party. Malcolm X University and SOBU called a broad coalition together to convene ALD (African Liberation Day); an all African demonstration in Washington, D.C. to demand that the U.S. government stop supporting Portugal and the union of South Africa and to raise funds for African liberation groups. In Florida J.O.M.O. (the Junta of Militant Organizations) formed APSPA The African People’s Socialist Party) led by Joe Waller; a Pan Africanist party which believed that Africans must struggle against American colonialism here, now before repatriating back to Africa.
Imanu Amiri Baraka who had become a political tactician emphasizing the electing of African American political officials joined with Richard Hatcher to put together a broad coalition which convened the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana in 1972. The National Black Political Convention had 3,000 delegates, over 12,000 participants which drafted a National Black Agenda. The year represented a regrouping with 50,000 African demonstrators at African Liberation Day and the ALD coalition taking on permanent ad hoc committee form, Maynard Jackson being elected the first African-American mayor of a major city in the south (Atlanta, Georgia) and the BWC organizing African American workers strikes in Atlanta, Georgia and around the South. Muhammad Ahmad of the APP was captured at the CAP conference.
African Liberation Support Committee
The African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC) was established in 1972 after an ad hoc grouping of Pan-Africanists and grassroots organizations had successfully engineered a massive African Liberation Day (ALD) march of 50,000 in Washington, DC. This was truly a united front effort, including representation from the newly emergent Black Congressional Caucus. In 1973, the committee was able to commemorate ALD in over twenty cities, on both coasts and in Canada and the Caribbean. In 1974, ALSC again called for and executed a large march in Washington, D.C. It augmented its ALD celebration with several days of conferencing at Howard University devoted to debate and resolution on the question, which way forward in building the Pan-African united front?329
Barbara Jordan was elected to Congress from Texas. January 25, 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first woman and African American to run for president in the Democratic party primary.
Harrell Jones of the Afro Set (Cleveland) was framed and served 7 years in prison before being found innocent.
Brother Abdul Quhhar (Ben Simmons), Black Panther of Kentucky, and others were framed. Authorities claimed they had planned to rob the Kentucky Derby. They were called the Louisville Seven.
The National Democratic Party of Alabama (a Bi-racial party dissolved and was incorporated into the regular democratic party in Alabama.
The national Black Political Convention in 1972 in Gary, Indiana marked the transition from agitation and protest to electoral politics. The event forged a national consensus about future directions and goals. It marked a political coming of age for the African American community as it began sensing its electoral strength at the local, state and national levels.
Why was the year 1973 so significant in terms of African American electoral politics?
-Tom Bradley elected Mayor of Los Angeles. Coleman Young was elected Mayor of Detroit, Michigan.

-Maynard Jackson elected mayor of Atlanta, GA.

-Andrew Young elected the first African American to the House of Representatives from the South since Reconstruction.
Why was the election of Maynard Jackson of Atlanta, GA, in 1973 such an important event?
It was the first time that an African American had been elected mayor of a major Southern City.
Maynard Jackson was the first African American to be elected mayor of Atlanta, Georgia and the first to serve as chief executive of any major southern city. This was a history making event.
Maynard Jackson
-Ran an optimistic campaign for Atlanta mayor.

-Ran the first successful mayoral campaign in the urban South.

-Controversy arose immediately following his election. This was due to the fact that he fired the police chief, who was an antagonist in the African American community. Jackson brought in an African American from Massachusetts as the replacement. This caused a great deal of tension and a change in the power structure.
Who is Andrew Young and why has he been such an important leader since the 1970’s?
He succeeded Maynard Jackson as mayor of Atlanta. In 1973, he became the first African American elected to Congress from Georgia since Reconstruction from the South. He also co-chaired the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games.
Zaid Shakur was assassinated, Assata Shakur wounded and imprisoned and Sundiata Acoli imprisoned in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. Bobby Seale of the BPP in Oakland, California ran for mayor.
From the National Black Political Convention came the Black Political Agenda and the National Black Political Assembly.
-There was concern for the accountability of African American politicians to the African American community.

-Black elected officials were supposed to ally with the Black Political Agenda. (10,000 attend).

-The Black Caucus strayed from the National Black Political Assembly.
SOBU Becomes YOBU (Youth Organization of Black Unity)

National Committee to Defend Black Political Prisoners formed.


-Demise of ALSC/Split in movement between nationalist, and Marxists.

-Split in National Black Political Assembly

-Circulation of Message of the Movement (BLA) local struggles pick up.

-National Black Political Assembly convened

-Demise of Black Workers Congress.

Elijah Muhammad died, Nation of Islam transformed to Sunni (Orthodox) muslim under the leadership of Wallace Muhammad, son of Elijah Muhammad. The Black Panther Party closed its doors.
1976 National Black Students Association (NBSA) formed
The African National Reparation Organization was founded under the leadership of Omah Yeshitela in St. Petersburg, Florida. African People’s Party supported the right of protestors of the National Bicentennial to have an Anti-Bicentennial march, July 4th to protest the founding of the racist republic.
July 4:

-National Anti-Bicentennial – Philadelphia, PA

-APP Organized community support

-Formation of the United League in Mississippi

-Shootouts between United league and KKK.

-Shirley Chisolum ran for President of the United States.


-National Dessie X. Woods Mass Demonstration in Atlanta, Georgia led by the African People’s Socialist Party.


--Shootouts between United League and KKK and mass support demonstration in Tupelo, Mississippi. Wilmington Ten – NBSA – Washington, D. C

In 1979, Frank Rizzo, racist mayor of Philadelphia attempted to propose a change of the City Charter which would allow him to run for another term as an incumbent. The human rights and progressive sectors were both alarmed and outraged. Philadelphia chapter of the African People’s Party (APP) played a leading role in the citizens coalition to say NO! to the charter change. Cadres went door to door, project to project and set up tables on street corners getting signatures against the charter change. Rizzo’s racist faction of the police would turn over tables and generally intimidate cadres particularly if they were women.
A march was organized to come down Broad Street to protest in front of City Hall. The coalition mobilized 4,000 to march to stop the charter change. The proposal for the charter change was defeated on the ballot and Rizzo had to step down. He attempted to run again after Green’s administration but ran again in the primary against Wilson Goode.
-National Black Human Rights Coalition (NBHRC) formed a demonstration at the United Nations (5,000 strong).

-Assata Shakur liberated from prison

The Situation in Greensboro, North Carolina
On November, 3, 1979, the Ku Klux Klan attacked a peaceful demonstration of some 350 people in Greensboro, North Carolina killing five members of the Communist Workers Party. The shooting of Jim Waller, Ceasar Cause, Sandy Smith, Mike Bathans and Bill Sampson, all members of CWP, was one of the most blatant assaults by racists since the 1960’s. The KKK, Nazi Party and other right wing groups were re-emerging in a period of economic depression. The 1970’s have witnessed numerous racist attacks by these groups: New Orleans, Birmingham, Boston, Tupelo, Mississippi and New York City are only a few examples. White racist terror was carrying out a planned and organized offensive and boldly challenging African American, Third World and progressive people. They only do so because African American people are divided and as of present, have not expressed their willingness to mass to fight for national liberation.
The U. S. imperialist state through its covert secret police apparatus, the CIA, FBI and Army Intelligence, help train and recruit for the right wing racist groups. As late as 1974, U. S. government reports estimated that 1/5 of the entire membership of the KKK in the 1960’s were FBI informants but yet the FBI has seemed to be impotent when it comes to stopping racist attacks by the KKK; when it has been more than vigilant in destroying African American, third world and progressive organizations.
What do the blatant murders in Greensboro, North Carolina represent? The right wing racist group (KKK, NAZI PARTY, MINUTEMEN, etc.) are the illegal arm of the U.S. capitalist state and function as a counter revolutionary vanguard. In times of economic crisis, the U. S. imperialist monopoly capitalist state uses the right wing, racist groups to intimidate, terrorize and crush the Black Liberation, Third World and Progressive movements in this country. This is done in order to keep revolution and national liberation from occurring within the borders of the U. S.
This is the political and economic basis for the resurgence of the right wing groups in the present period. These groups serve to stir up the racist tendency within the white working class in order to weaken it and divide it from African American and other Third World workers. So we must view the assassinations which occurred in Greensboro, in a very broad context. But at the same time, we must analyze the weakness and incorrectness of the organizing by the CWP in order to avoid future events such as this and not repeat the same mistakes of the past.
Tacitly speaking, one of the main weaknesses of the organizing efforts by the organizers of the Greensboro demonstration was the lack of armed security for the demonstration and the lack of intelligence on the activities of the enemy.
We must remember that anytime we organize against the enemy; the enemy sees us as a threat which means we must be prepared for the most vicious attack conceivable. In this sense, the CWP was guilty of bourgeois-romanticism and left wing adventurism.
When doing anti-Klan work, particularly in the National Territory (The South) any group must take into consideration that the KKK is a para-military organization that has a history of violence against the Black Liberation Movement and Third World people in particular, and Progressive forces. While the KKK may not represent the majority of white workers they have a traditionally rooted base among a segment of white workers. Instead of repeating the same mistakes of the 1960’s of bringing in white petty bourgeois intellectuals and non-scientific, romantic African American activists into the African American community selling “wolf tickets’ to the state, white radicals must go into the white community to organize against the Klan and Black radicals must fuse themselves with the masses of Black people. The CWP was romantic for declaring themselves as the Vanguard (military) while not having a base of support among the masses, and not making adequate preparations, and for also expecting the state apparatus, (i.e., local, state, federal police) to protect them from the Klan and in doing so endangered the lives of the Black community.
At a time when the state is in decline (crisis) it fosters fascism as an emerging social movement among the white masses while it’s preparing to create a legal ­­fascist regime. The CWP’s challenge of the Klan to a showdown and daring the Klan to appear at an anti-klan rally was definitely an adventurist act in all terms of the word – UNSCIENTIFIC.
The racist attack on the Greensboro demonstration while it militarily was an attack against anti-imperialist forces politically it was an attack against the Black Liberation Movement and Black people in general. The only way that the racist forces can be defeated is by building a base among the masses, building a unified and vigilant scientific movement.
The Miami Rebellion occurred in November of 1979. On November 5, 1979, there was a national march at the United Nations; Black Solidarity Day of 6,000 demonstrators led by the National Black Human Rights Coalition
-Assata Shakur (Jo Anne Chesimard) was liberated from prison and escaped to Cuba and received political asylum.

-Expulsion of Andrew Young as U. N. Ambassador because he met with the P.L.O.

National Black United Front (NBUF) formed
Formation of National Black Independent Political Party (NBIPP)
Delegates of the National Black Political Assembly’s August 21-24 convention called for the immediate formation of an independent political party.
Convention held in Philadelphia

Foreground for running African American Presidential candidates.

During the year 1980 there had been an upsurge in the Southern struggle. This upsurge was breaking in 1978 when the United League fought the KKK in Tougaloo, Mississippi.
The struggle in Wrightsville, Georgia reached an initial high point in the April 1980 when the Johnson County Justice League began demonstrations against racist Sheriff Ahway. These demonstrations were led by SCLC with the same slogans used in the 1960’s. Activitist from various organizations particularly the Coalition for Black Unity which was an Atlanta, Georgia affiliate of the National Black United Front joined the Wrightsville demonstrations and introduced new slogans from late the 70’s which seemed to change the character of the demonstrations when the masses adopted the slogans as their own.
During this period, the African American community was attacked by racists firing shots in the African American neighborhood and blinding a 9 year old child while she was having breakfast in her home. The African American community responded by firing back at the racists and setting up barricades in the streets. SCLC came in and told the people to take the barricades down. The people at first had faith in SCLC and took them down.
The League of Revolutionary Struggle became very active in the Wrightsville struggle and began to lead a struggle against the SCLC leadership.
Through the Coalition for Black Unity in Atlanta and the National Black United Front, a national mass mobilization of five hundred marched to protest the racism of the KKK in Wrightsville.

-The African People’s Party became defunct

-Andrew Young was elected the second African American Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia

-Black Workers for Justice (BWJ) formed in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

-Mumi Abu Jamal was shot and charged with the murder of a policeman in Philadelphia
The FBI-Government Plan to Destroy the Black Nation
The African American liberation movement was under attack. On Friday, October 16, 1981 in the San Francisco Bay Area members of the Special Services Unit (SSU) a police and intelligence unit of the California Department of corrections along with the Berkeley and Oakland police, carried out SWAT-style raids against four homes of members of a group called the Black August Organizing Committee.
The next day in the early morning of October 17th, 150 Los Angeles police raided over 20 separate residences (all except one were African American). Later that day the local press quoted police saying those arrested were connected with the Black Guerrilla Family or the Black Liberation Army or were “followers of George Jackson”.
Three days later (October 20th an alleged attempted armed robbery of a Brinks truck in Manuet, N.Y. a small town 20 miles north of New York City took place. A Brinks armored-car guard was killed.
At a roadblock in Nyack two policemen were shot and killed, said the police.
Four people were arrested on October 20th: Samuel Brown, a Black man with no radical connection whatever. Judith Clarke, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert.
Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert were identified by police as having been members of the Weather Underground. All four were beaten and held without bail and placed in solitary confinement. Sam Brown was beaten so badly he suffered amnesia and didn’t remember who he is; he was denied medical care.
Whatever happened at Nyack was used to unleash an unprecedented reign of terror against the Black Liberation Movement and the entire progressive movement in the U. S. from analyzing the news media one would conclude that the FBI had some of the individuals involved under surveillance for some time before unleashing their reign of terror.
Their press coordinated this terror with headline hysteria. Their front rages screamed: Weather Underground, Black Panther, Black Liberation army hook up.
The hunt was on.
“Assata Shakur had been there, very, “bad nigger” in the country had been there. The FBI was in the saddle.
The FBI that harassed Dr. King and probably assassinated him in Memphis, Tenn in 1968. The FBI which teamed with police departments to murder over 30 members of the Black Panther Party which colluded with KKK and the Nazi Party to attack African Americans.
On Friday, October 23rd, N.Y. police allegedly recognizing a license plate that had been on another car Wednesday outside a suspected hideout of an allegedly robbery gang in Mount Vernon, N.Y., gave chase to that car and reportedly shot it out with two brothers.
What went down was that detective Irwin Jacobson of the New York Police Department shot African American, Mtayari Shabaka Sundiata (slave name: Sam Smith) in the head while he lay defenseless on the street.
African American freedom fighter Sekou Odinga (slave name: Nathaniel Burns) was taken prisoner. He was tortured so badly that he was in Kings County Hospital in New York. He had been beaten and burned. A gun had been held to his head. The trigger was pulled when he would not give answers to their questions. His head was held in a flushing toilet.
America was is fast becoming more and more a police state for 40 million New Africans. The United States government is guilty of the crimes of genocide against our oppressed African American community. Sekou, a long time Black liberation fighter in 1969; the U.S. government framed him and 20 others (Panther 21) on phony charges. Now they tried to kill him.
On the same night ex-weatherundeground people, Jeffrey C. Jones and Eleanor Stein Raskin were arrested in their apartment in the Bronx. Though the couple had previously tried to arrange a plea bargaining settlement with the FBI behind previous 1979 so called bomb making charges. The FBI vamped on them painting a media picture of a Weather Underground/Back Panther/Black Liberation Army conspiracy.
On October 27, 1981 at 6:00 a.m. approximately 200 agents of the United States (political police) FBI armed with four tanks three helicopters automatic weapons, rifles, pistols, SWAT teams surrounded the residence of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (RNA) in Galiman, Mississippi terrorizing two women, twelve children and a fifty-eight year old grandfather of five children involved. Even the children were handcuffed. All but the younger children were arrested. All were later released except Fulani Sunni Ali (slave name: Cynthia Priscilla Boston), chairwoman of the people’s center council (PCC) of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (RNA). Fulani is a mother of five children, a medical technician and an internationally known vocalist. Fulani Sunni Ali was kept in FBI captivity pending a half million in ransom and charged with conspiracy to robbery and accessory to murder. The key in all this is the FBI admitted they had Sister Fulani’s house under surveillance for six months.
Immediately, the political police (FBI) released to the press that the RNA was a terrorist organization. The RNA is a public provisional government that is seeking through a United Nations supervised plebiscite to secure the territory in the Southeast Black belt of what is presently America to become an independent New African Nation.
So we have to conclude any such remarks by any agency of the United States Government which has not granted New Africans justice in 206 years of its existence is both terroristic , illegal and blatantly racist.
Eva Rosahn, who had been active in the struggle to get the U.S. government to stop supporting and sponsoring the apartheid government of the Union of South Africa was picked up on the same day for allegedly lending her car in the so-called Brinks robbery. In New Jersey, FBI and police terrorized a African American cleaning lady, surrounding her and her family mistaking her for sister Asata Shakur.
The yellow journalism reporting created hysteria to include the Weather underground. Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army, and the RNA. All of these groups and possibly more had united to finance a new alliance. “The Feds had traced fingerprints (which can also be painted) on contacts for rented vans in empty apartments. Others were named that were fugitives of the police state. One was Blia Sunni Ali. (slave name: William Johnson) the husband of Fulani sunini Ali and Donald Weer. Both accused of being BLA members.
Kenneth Walton assistant director of the New York office of the FBI and director of a joint Federal- New York city Terrorist Task Force, promised that the investigation would be a major inquiry (witch hunt) of radical groups. The FBI tried to cover up its obvious fascist frame-up is trying to disrupt and delegitimize the African liberation movement in indicating liberation fighters (under the Racketeering influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 RICO).
Under the act if any of 32 different types of crimes such as robbery murder or extortion is committed by an organization twice within a 10 year period the organization could be considered a criminal conspiracy and all its members subject to prison terms of up to 20 years even if they themselves had done nothing.
On November 5, 1981 after the prosecuting attorney had tried to deny Attorney Chokkwe Lummumba Midwest Vice-President of the RNA from representing and visiting Fulani Sunni Ali then held in N.Y. jail, the conspiracy charge was dismissed against Fulani because a “reliable witness” which she had always said had placed her in New Orleans when she was supposedly seen in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Fulani had brought her van into an auto shop in New Orleans for repairs on October 21st the day she was supposed to be in Mount Vernon, N.Y. On the same day Fulani was let out of jail, 17 members of the New World of Islam were found guilty of conspiracy and robbery in Newark, N.J. under the same RICO act. The basis of the 17 convictions was based on the government informants who claimed they were former members of the new world of Islam.

At The Beginning Of A Decade
Rethinking African American Politics
As we enter a new and very crucial decade people-oriented social scientists must reexamine the meaning of the term “Black Politics”. Is African American Politics limited to the conventional political strategies, such as, the running of candidates for political offices within the superstructure of the state? Or does African American politics imply non-conventional political strategies, tactics and objectives, such as protests against the superstructure of the state, including revolutionary struggle? We will examine in this paper the possibility of incorporating the possibility of incorporating both into a paradigm for African American political struggle in the 1980s.
The last fifteen years of African American political history have been charac­terized, in large part, by the dom­ination of the agenda by the accom­modationist and integrationist African American petty bourgeoisie. Their overall goal has been to assimilate them­selves into the present Democratic and Republican political parties and to beg for a few privileges from the white ruling elite. Has this been successful? Have the ba­sic life conditions of the vast ma­jority of the African American masses been favorably affected by this policy of non-confrontation and accommoda­tion? The answer is a clear and definite "No". The newspapers dai­ly carry articles describing the ravages of inflation, unemployment and underemployment on our commun­ities across America. The closing down of plants; the movement of business to suburban or rural loca­tions; the cutbacks in welfare, food stamps, social security, health and unemployment benefits, all bear testimony to the fact that the majority of Africa America people are in the same place we have always been. The accommodationists cannot argue that if they had not been actively working with those who control our lives, conditions for African American might be worse. This is an academ­ic question. What the accommoda­tionsts can not do now and will not be able to do the fut­ure is beg the state for the means for making African American people's life con­ditions equal to those of the white ruling class. African American people can ne­ver achieve equality under a capitalist, colonial, neo-colonial and imperialist system. The accommodationists will not attack or even call for an al­tering of the state policies and the economy that daily robs us of our human rights.
African American politics, if it is to be representative of the interests of the majority of African American people, must change the basic relationship of African American people to the state (super­structure) and the economy (base). It must initiate fundamental, sweeping and revolutionary insti­tutional changes that serve the needs of 30 million African American people. The African American middle class gained po­litical offices as a result of the sacrifices of millions of people who struggled against the racist system through the civil rights and Black Power movements, and the urban rebellions. Their political ascendancy did not guarantee that the gains of the movement would be maintained and strengthened. Rather, the individual and flee­ting "success" of a handful of African American candidates has meant little to the "business as usual policies of the state and the corporations that rule.
The African American politicians overwhel­mingly have a middle class orienta­tion that differs little from that of white politicians. In essence, conventional African American politics has been capitalist politics in Black face. Given the present non-con­frontationist approach towards this racist political system we must ask ourselves: "What would African American pol­itics mean if we had full repre­sentation in the political system?"
According to VEP (Voter Education Project), 730 African American candidates ran for public office in the South in 1976. With the 420 victories, African American candidates were successful in over half of their attempts to win fed­eral, state, county and municipal elections throughout the eleven Southern states.
The Joint Center for Political Studies in Washington, D.C., repor­ted 1,860 African Americans holding public of­fice in the United States in 1971; in 1972, 2,264; in 1973, 2,621; in 1974, 2,991; in 1975, 3,503; and 1976, 3,979. This national figure represents seven tenths of one per cent of the total number of elected officials. For instance, 160 Southern cities which are majority African American still had white mayors.
If African American people achieved 10% of electoral political power in the U.S., there would be an estimated 50, 576 African American elected officials in America. But we must ask ourselves in rethinking African American politics in the 1980's, "Would 50,576 African American elec­ted officials, having the same capitalist, imperialist politics as the US imperialist system or belonging to either the Democratic or Republican parties, structurally alter the conditions of African American peo­ple in the United States?
In the same context, we must ad­dress ourselves to the African American elec­torate.
Brother Malcolm X in 1964 said in his "Ballot or Bullet" speech, that African American people would not advance far until they became politically reeducated and politically mature. He stressed how the Democratic party was, in actuality, a Dixiecratic party. But in 1976, 40% of African American vo­ters cast their ballot for a Demo­cratic candidate, Jimmy Carter.
VEP research estimates that only half of the over seven million African Americans of voting age are registered and of that number, approximately 60 to 65% actually voted in the national election in 1976. This means that only 36 per cent, or one of very three African Americans of voting age in the South actually voted.
African American political scientists must address the question "Why are African American people not using the vote?", as things are presently constituted.


What is our task for the coming decade? The next stage of our pro­tracted (long) national democratic revolution will be a struggle for human rights (national democratic rights) and struggles for people's representation within the capitalist state. There are 102 counties in the South in which African Americans are 70% to 80% in the majority. If the United States were a real demo­cracy, and not a bourgeois politi­cal system, African American people would go­vern and control the goods and ser­vices of these 102 counties. There are also 12 million African American people in the South who represent 20% of the total Southern population.
Though we know democracy (people's power) can't work under the capi­talist system, African American progressives should form people's coalitions in an attempt to build "independent political third parties" in the pro­cess of struggling for regional Black power.
"Do African American people have a real political alternative?" and, "what is necessary to create a real alternative?"
For African American politics to serve the political interests of African American people, and African American liberation, it cannot also serve the cause of neo-colonialism. The African American electorate and politicians must break from the racist capitalist system. In the 1980's, we must encourage the politics of independence, that is, a politics that is anti-racist, anti-capital­ist and anti-imperialist. To be meaningful to the 12 million African American workers and the 1.5 million African American unemployed, African American politics must be­come the total antithesis of the present American political system.
To become institutionally viable African American politics must be about organizing an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist oriented African American political organization which challenges the system.

frican American people must develop a stra­tegy to get as much "power" (clout) within the system prior to a full socialist revolution. This means we struggle for power where there is a greater chance for success and develop a power base from which a greater upsurge for liberation can be launched. Thousands and millions of African Americans should be encouraged to migrate South, to struggle for African American state power and the creation of the third Reconstruction.

The struggle in the 1980's must return to the tactics of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X: mass ac­tion that moves back to the streets. Along with this action, we must take the struggle into the factories using African American Worker's Power, stopping production when the demands of the movement aren't met. Coupled with this we must form peo­ple's parties or coalitions to break the backs of the racist capi­talist democratic and republican parties in the South.
If African American progressive organizers are successful in forming an African American peo­ple's political parties, will the state yield power? History teaches us that the US imperialist state does not "give up" power and will not "grant" us freedom. An oppres­sor cannot be a liberator. We must understand that our struggle will be long and protracted, it will go through many stages, have set-backs and victories, before we ultimately win. The period of electoral poli­tics that lies ahead of us in the 1980's, is a stage in our revolu­tionary struggle. It is an illu­sion of the state that bourgeois electoral politics truly represents the interests of the people. The propaganda of the state is consis­tent and powerful. Many of our peo­ple, although skeptical about the monopoly capitalist political system, see it as the only vehicle they have to get a few crumbs from its bountiful table. The lie within the propa­ganda of the "democracy" of the US state must finally be exposed and repudiated. The struggle of the 1980's for people's representation within the capitalist state, is a necessary part of the destruction of the mythology of the state, and ultimately of the state.

1983, the second commemorative March on Washington occurred.

November 2, 1983, a Federal Holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was signed into Law.
Why was 1983 an advancement for African American electoral politics?
Because African American mayors were elected in both Chicago and Philadelphia. Harold Washington in Chicago and Wilson Goode in Philadelphia.

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