IN THIS DOSSIER:
(1) Statement by Ujima People’s Progress Party in Support of LCIP
(2) Call to Exit Both Parties of the Bosses — Interview with Brandon Walker of the Ujima People’s Progress Party
(3) A Contribution to the Discussion: For Independent Black Political Action! — by Alan Benjamin
(4) Statement by Clarence Thomas, Retired member of ILWU Local 10 and Co-Convener of the Million Worker March
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(1) Ujima People’s Progress Party Statement in Support of Labor & Community for an Independent Party (LCIP)
Since the launching of our campaign, the Ujima People’s Progress Party has called for the building of an alternate electoral option for working-class people. It has been obvious to us that support for the capitalist duopoly control of the electoral process has undermined the interests Black, Brown and working-class people. The support working people give to imperialist parties and their politics in the form of our votes, donations and political action to advance capitalist/imperialist interests only deepens our own misery.
Black workers, as well as all workers, must engage in independent political action to fight for our interests and oppose the actions of imperialist forces which threaten to take more and more resources from working and poor people. On the state and local level, we have called for a political party that is anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist and fights to empower Black, Brown and working-class people. There must be a national voice for these same calls and using the electoral process is opportunity to raise the consciousness of working-class people.
Politics is more than elections and voting but, in this era, it has become the most obvious form of political participation for the masses. We understand elections as non-violent struggles between elements of the ruling class for control of the State apparatus to implement policy to advance their economic interests.
On both the local and national levels, elections rarely offer working people options for transforming the world, so helping to break with active or even passive support to capitalist, imperialist and white supremacist parties has been a fundamental key goal of our efforts to build a Black workers-led electoral party.
There is a need to contend with the ideas of the ruling class in all political arenas. In addition to the local struggles workers must carry out on the electoral front, we have long supported the call for the national Labor & Community for an Independent Party work. Such a formation would unite the grassroot struggles of working people and put them squarely on the table for debate against the capitalist parties.
Working-class people need solutions that are anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. They need to be organized and mobilized around policies that oppose imperialism, oppression and the exploitation of nations for their resources or cheap labor. The ideas from the two ruling class capitalist parties stunt the vision and unity of working people not only in this country but all over the world; the very justness of these ideas must be challenged.
As opposed to the parasitic and paternalistic relationship that the ruling class parties have forced upon Black, Brown and other oppressed peoples, we support a national labor party that recognizes both the shared and independent struggles of oppressed workers on the job as well as in their communities.
(2) Call to Exit Both Parties of the Bosses: Interview with Brandon Walker
Dear Friends and comrades,
Please find below brief excerpts from an interview with Brandon Walker, outreach coordinator of the Ujima People’s Progress Party, that was broadcast on The Real News Network, based in Baltimore. (The full interview has been posted to the LCIP website: lcipcampaign.org.)
The interview was conducted on September 29, 2019, by Jacqueline Loqman following a demonstration that we helped to organize to protest the participation of Black workers in the Democratic and Republican parties — both imperialist parties.
Specifically, it was a protest of a #Blexit conference organized in Baltimore by Candace Owens of the right-wing Turning Point USA organization. The aim of this right-wing group is to drive the Black community out of the deadly embrace of the Democratic Party and into the equally dangerous Republican party.
We called for the exit of all capitalist and imperialist parties and the building of independent working class parties and movements.
Nnamdi Lumumba (Ujima People’s Progress Party)
Excerpts from Interview
JACQUELINE LUQMAN: This is Jackie Luqman with The Real News Network.
Trump’s recent disparaging comments about Baltimore have turned the attention of the right wing of America’s political apparatus onto the city. Never one to miss an opportunity to promote her new right-wing gimmick to allegedly attract Black voters away from the Democratic Party, Candace Owens of the organization Turning Point USA held the group’s #Blexit Conference at Baltimore’s Rams Head Live last week.
Here to talk about the protest that took place at that event, and about the real political options for Black voters, is Brandon Walker. Brandon, a Baltimore native and resident, is the Outreach Coordinator for the Ujima People’s Progress Party in Baltimore. He is also a member of Black Alliance for Peace.
Let’s start with Trump’s rhetoric about Baltimore because that’s arguably the reason that Owens brought her rally to Rams Head Live. What’s your response to Trump’s comments about Baltimore?
BRANDON WALKER: Trump comes at the issue from a right-wing perspective when he casts an entire city as rat-infested.The right-wingers have taken advantage of this issue and used it as a political jab to slight the Democratic mis-leadership, as a way to gather up votes for the Republican Party in 2020. The right-wing activists have an agenda. They are telling a city with a majority Black population, “Hey, we’re your friends, leave the Democratic Party and come to the Republican Party!” — another imperialist party.
JACQUELINE LUQMAN: When you’re talking about the Black mis-leadership class, what does that mean in terms of the situation in Baltimore?
BRANDON WALKER: For the past 150 years the Democrats and Republicans have controlled the mayor’s office; it’s gone back and forth. Out of those 150 years, 75% of the time, or more, saw Black faces in power, in servitude to white power, to the white ruling class. The issues confronting everyday folks such as myself, working-class folks who try to make a living and also take care of their families, tended to fall on deaf ears. Meanwhile, disparities and under-development in our communities increased, and people continued to get swindled out of their votes.
JACQUELINE LUQMAN: So what we’re talking about in terms of Black mis-leadership is mostly the Democratic Party. This is the focus of Candace Owens and her #Blexit organization. That’s the kind of narrative she is seizing upon, but what you’re saying is that there is a bigger narrative than that. It’s not just that the Democratic Party doesn’t help Black people, it’s also that the Republican Party leadership in Baltimore hasn’t helped Black people. Is that correct?
BRANDON WALKER: Absolutely. What we have is a political mis-leadership — from the state house in Annapolis to Baltimore City down on Holliday Street — that does not have the political will to defend our interests as Black people. Every time we elect someone from the two major parties, we’re just electing white supremacy. He or she may have a different form of Black face, but nothing will be done for the constituents; only the interests of the white ruling class will be served.
JACQUELINE LUQMAN: What you’re saying is that whether you elect a Black Democrat or a white Republican, or a white Democrat or a Black Republican, what you’re electing is someone who serves the ruling class and does not serve the working people at all.
BRANDON WALKER: Absolutely.
JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Tell us about the protest of the #Blexit conference last week at Ram’s Head Live.
BRANDON WALKER: We were out in the streets to make sure that the media could not ignore the advocates of independent Black radical politics, as well as those who are fighting for the economic interests of poor and working-class folks. We wanted to get the word out that, hey, the city is in need of new leadership: Why go with Democratic Party version of white supremacy or with the Republican Party version of white supremacy?
JACQUELINE LUQMAN: I want to ask you this last question: Is our only choice between a Democratic Party that takes advantage of the Black vote and a Republican Party that ignores Black issues? Are those the only choices Black voters have before them, or do your organizations offer another choice to pursue the self-determination of Black voters in this country?
BRANDON WALKER: There are other choices. You have the Peoples Power Assembly and the Ujima People’s Progress Party. The idea is to win power back to the people using local campaigns and local elections. The idea is to bring change locally.
As workers and also as the Black left, we believe in the right to housing, education, clothing, access to education, and also jobs that pay a livable wage and transportation and environmental justice, against the racism. We are also opposed to the putrid two-party system. We no longer have any other choice but to invest in ourselves to move forward. Together as a coalition, we can do better.
(c) A Contribution to the Discussion: For Independent Black Political Action!
by Alan Benjamin (Editorial Board member, The Organizer)
There is a component of the fight for working-class unity and independent political action that must be a high priority: the Black struggle, which, in the aftermath of the uprising in the Black liberation movement since Ferguson, Missouri, has moved to center stage in U.S. politics. The murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson sparked the beginning of a mass upsurge against police violence based on the assertion that Black Lives Matter. A new Civil Rights movement is taking shape.
We are at the beginning of a long struggle that must uproot white supremacy and a system based on racism. There is a state of emergency in Black America, with mass unemployment at depression levels, mass incarceration and an epidemic of police violence.Many gains of the Civil Rights era have been eroded or destroyed. Voting rights are under attack, and income inequality affects Black people at a disproportionate percentage. Austerity and the assault on public-sector employment have translated into a further setback for living standards in the Black community.
Because of a history and pattern of discrimination in the private sector, Black people are 30% more likely to find employment in the public sector. Budget cuts during the “Great Recession” were devastating to an already vulnerable population. The struggle against police brutality and racism is an urgent task that cannot be simply reduced to one of class against class. The oppressed can’t be expected to wait until the unions go into motion.
We must support the independent self-organization and activity of the oppressed Black people. We must support their right to self-determination. We must understand that white supremacy has been and continues to be the central source of division within the working class in the United States.
To help overcome this obstacle, we must fight for the unions to champion the rights of racially and nationally oppressed groups, and we must support and participate in the autonomous movements and organizations of Blacks and Latinos, as part of an overall strategy of building working-class unity. This will require breaking with the Democratic Party and forging a unity of equals with workers of other nationalities. It will require building an independent Black Working Class Party, which could be linked to the struggle for a labor-based party rooted in the trade unions and oppressed communities.
This is an important means today for U.S. workers and their organizations, with their oppressed allies, to break free of the stranglehold of the capitalist parties.
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(d) Statement by Clarence Thomas, retired member of ILWU Local 10 and co-convener of the Million Worker March
As an African-American trade unionist, past secretary-treasurer of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, and one of the founders of the Million Worker March (MWM) movement, I am endorsing the Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP).
This Campaign is a continuation of the MWM’s call for workers in the U.S. to “mobilize in our own name,” independent of the ruling class-controlled political parties “around an independent agenda for working people acting in their own name.”
All those who believe in a political party that represents the interests of the working class and recognizes the right of self-determination for African Americans and all oppressed people will understand the importance of supporting this Campaign.