By Ajamu Baraka – Jun 21, 2023
A conference brought Black radicals together to develop strategies for self-determination, Pan-African solidarity, and liberation.
We are immersed in the irreversible contradictions of the end of the epoch of US and European capitalist domination to a world in which for the first time in more than five hundred years, the Western world will no longer be in a position to establish the rules and enforce its “order” on a global scale without effective opposition from the 90 % that makes up the rest of global humanity.
But the white world is not ready to accept the end of white world supremacy without a fight. Under the leadership of the United States, the US/EU/NATO Axis of Domination has demonstrated that it is prepared to use unrestrained, murderous violence, the same tools it deployed to establish its hegemony beginning in 1492–in order to maintain white civilizational dominance. They are delusional. Yet the commitment to the doctrine of full spectrum dominance remains the centerpiece of US policy and requires the elimination of any resistance to this goal domestically.
The “liberal” use of the term “domestic terrorism,” the indictments of the cadre in the African People’s Socialist Party, the jailing of Julian Assange, the counter-intelligence infiltrations, joint-terrorist task forces, Cop City, Israeli training of domestic police forces, global command structures and never-ending wars are manifestations of repressive–military-first strategies being deployed by the national security apparatus of the US state to shore up white power.
This is the backdrop and political context for a historic gathering of African/Black radicals during Friday, 23 June, to Sunday, 25 June 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.
The theme for this conference is Unity in our Lifetime: Connecting the National Black Struggle for Self-Determination with Pan-Africanism. Kamau Franklin, the founder of Community Movement Builders (CMB) and the organizational host of the gathering states that one of the main objectives of this weekend’s gathering is to “bring together Black radical organizers from all over the country to a single location to discuss the pressing issues of our liberation struggle.”
This is in line with CMB’s mission to “bring power to Black communities by challenging institutions and creating new ones that our people control,” according to Franklin. It is also why CMB is one of the main organizations fighting the establishment of a new repressive institution now popularly known as Cop City. Ashaki Binta the national organizer for the NBLM (National Unity Initiative) says that the conference, “…will be a rare and hopeful gathering of intergenerational Black freedom fighters from across the US and beyond. In our view, this conference is an historic opportunity for Black Liberation Movement forces to examine critical issues facing the movement in this period, reset the tactics and strategies needed at this stage of our struggle, and hopefully solidify a new framework for moving forward. That is our hope.”
Yet, even though there appears to be the objective need for a gathering of this sort in the midst of the deepening crisis, according to Tunde Osazua and Coco Thompson, “Some of the biggest challenges these days are getting organizers and activists in person and into one room to discuss these vital topics that affect us as an African/Black nation—domestically and globally.”
This no doubt is connected to new cultural forms of activism brought on by the covid pandemic and communication technologies. Organizations are grappling with these new challenges across the country.
Whatever the form of communication, in person or virtual, it is clear that the historical movement demands that our forces gather to work out our strategics and to build independent power because the logic of deepening crisis suggest that more repression, austerity and the violation of our individual and collective human rights is at the center of their repressive agenda.
“The panels, plenaries, workshops, and screenings at the conference must critically explore topics from “base building and mass work to ideological positioning, the non-profit industrial complex, political prisoners, policing, gender, incarceration, and the vital role of students and youth in our liberation struggle,” according to Tunde and sister Coco. The aim is to build unity among Black radical forces.
While conference organizers expect a few hundred attendees in Atlanta, the conference streamed the plenaries on Black Power Media. The panels can be viewed according to this schedule on the Community Movement Builders website: https://communitymovementbuilders.org/national-black-radical-organizing-conference/
Austerity, militarism, cultural alienation with its manifestation of mindless communal violence, xenophobia and the normalization of white supremacy are all symptomatic of the irreversible death-spiral of the US settler-colonial project. With the disintegration of this project, war in all of its various forms has been embraced by the state as the mechanism for attempting to hold back historical change.
It is imperative that we recognize that reality. Pseudo-sophisticated theories that suggest that the people will be manipulated behind their backs into supporting radical change by avoiding terms the enemy has deemed a threat, like capitalism, socialism, radial democracy, and national oppression, must be rejected as opportunism.
From Cop City in Atlanta to murderous sanctions on Zimbabwe, the “collective West,” as the co-founders of the White Lives Matter More Movement, Zelensky of Ukraine, and Biden of the US like to frame it, are clear on what must be done for them to maintain white capitalist/imperialist power.
The question is: is the newly constituting Black Liberation Movement ready to do what it must do to not only survive but to go on the offensive to win our collective human rights which include the right to self-determination. We will get some answers to that this weekend.
Ajamu Baraka is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. Baraka serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Peace Council and leadership body of the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) and the steering committee of the Black is Back Coalition. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He was awarded the US Peace Memorial 2019 Peace Prize and the Serena Shim award for uncompromised integrity in journalism.