The Ballot and the Bullet: This time ’till it’s won! Call to the Black is Back’s 8th Electoral Campaign School

Call written by Omali Yeshitela, Chair of the Black is Back Coalition

On April 13 and 14, 2024, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace, and Reparations will conduct our Eighth Electoral Candidate School. You must be there! This is a crucial initiative occurring at a critical moment in the history of the world’s economic and political configuration fabricated from a 600-year-old process that began with the colonial enslavement of our people and our Africa.

We explained the need for the Black is Back Electoral School with these words in 2022:

“The sectors of the ruling class and their ruling parties arrogantly assume that the electoral future of the people is in their hands. We know different. This is why the Black is Back Coalition decided several years ago to provide leadership for our people who engage in electoral politics. This allows the people to advance our struggle against the entire colonial-capitalist system while electoral politics are still an option.

“We will teach ordinary African people – workers, activists, women, and youth – how to run for office. The Black is Back Electoral School will also address the age-old question of whether or not there are any legitimate gains to be won by Africans participating in elections in a colonial-capitalist system.

“In 2016, the Black is Back Coalition laid the foundation for participation in any election by initiating a successful year-long popular process to create a National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination as a general guide to political work throughout the U.S.

“In April of 2017, we held our first Electoral Campaign School in St. Petersburg, Florida, attended by Africans from several states within the U.S. In addition to teaching African people the steps for running for office, we were intent on arming activists with a platform for self-determination as the basis for their electoral campaigns.

“The Coalition has seized custody of an electoral process that has historically been separated from and used against our people and struggle is now a tool that we can use to positively affect the lives of our community.

Since the adoption of the Black is Back 19-point political agenda in 2016, it has influenced the platforms of several political candidates. The Electoral School is convening during a moment of disequilibrium that includes the growing dissolution of the Atlantic Bloc organized by the U.S. that includes all the traditional colonial powers in a union of world domination constructed to contain what was then known as Soviet Russia following WWII or the Second Imperialist World War.

The Black is Back Electoral Candidate School, initiated in 2017, was designed to open a new and critical front in our struggle for Black self-determination in the U.S. It allows us to express the popular anti-colonial will of our people utilizing the electoral process for the first time. The electoral school was necessitated after the U.S. government successfully neutralized the blood-drenched victory of our people that resulted in the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which, for the first time since post-slavery Reconstruction, legalized universal suffrage or the right to vote for everyone.

However, as we were to learn, this was a hollow victory. The 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed in the same year as the U.S. government’s assassination of Malcolm X on February 21st. Malcolm X presented an anticolonial political program for African people during the 1964 presidential election campaign, exemplified by two eloquent speeches titled “The Ballot or the Bullet,” considered among the greatest speeches of the 20th century.

Malcolm’s program advanced what he called a philosophy of Black Nationalism that would use the electoral process to unite African people across ideological lines to take over political and economic control of our own communities.

Dr. Martin Luther King of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was assassinated on April 4, 1968, as he was in the process of launching his Poor People’s Campaign. Like Malcolm X, Dr. King’s program was a campaign to move beyond simply voting for the colonial ruling class parties. It was a campaign/program to mobilize activists from throughout the U.S. to descend on Washington, DC, with a relentless and militant direct action disruption campaign for a political and economic restructuring of the U.S. to benefit Africans, workers, and the poor.

During this same period, the Black Panther Party and its independent 10-Point anti-colonial program came under an escalated military attack in 1969. This included the counterinsurgent arrests of 21 members of the Black Panther Party in New York on fabricated conspiracy charges and the December 4th U.S. murder of Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago, Illinois. A week after the Chicago attack on the Black Panther office, the organization was attacked in Los Angeles and fought U.S. government forces to a standstill in an hours-long gun battle.

This was the brutal, murderous attack on our movement by the U.S. government designed to destroy our just struggle against colonialism while giving the false appearance to the world of U.S. democratic access to the electoral process.

This was a colonial war that gives lie to the oft-proclaimed absence of political violence in the U.S. that has been a convenient propaganda contrivance used by the U.S. as evidence of its superior electoral process.

We could now vote, but we had nothing to vote for. Following the war on our movement, we had only limited independent programs and organizations that addressed our collective, self-determined interests as domestically colonized subjects of U.S. power.

Our political agency, which was initially expressed so powerfully by the organized African masses in the 60s, was now effectively destroyed by assassination, bribery, and other counterinsurgent means, including mass and targeted imprisonment and a slanderous propaganda blitz by ruling class media assets that demonized our growing calls for Black Power.

The African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement under its leadership were founded in 1972 for the stated purpose of completing the Black Revolution of the 1960s that the U.S. government had nearly extinguished.

Today, as we approach the 2024 election season, the colonial mode of production upon which the entire parasitic global social system rests is facing an existential crisis, both internationally and – for the shaky U.S. hegemon – domestically.

The counterinsurgent war against our struggle for happiness and the return of our right to self-determination has receded from the memory of many people, including Africans. The colonial U.S. government is determined to maintain this historical amnesia during its moment of crisis.

The July 29, 2022, attack on the African People’s Socialist Party and Uhuru Movement included violent military assaults on seven Uhuru Movement homes and properties and charges by the federal government that could result in 15-year prison sentences for the Chairman of the Black is Back Coalition and the African People’s Socialist Party, and two leaders of the white Solidarity front of the Uhuru Movement.

These attacks help to expose the point of crisis contextualizing the 2024 election. Falsely charged with being agents of Russia, a foreign power, because of political work the African People’s Socialist Party has been doing for more than 50 years, the case of the Uhuru 3 represents a blatant attack on the democratic rights ostensibly conferred by the U.S. Constitution and reaffirmed by subsequent congressional legislation and Supreme Court rulings.

Nevertheless, the Uhuru 3 are facing violations of their First Amendment rights to free speech, association, and assembly, as well as violations of Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure, among others.

Domestic crisis is reflected in the fact that Donald John Trump, a former U.S. president who is also a candidate for election as U.S. president, is himself under attack by the colonial state. It is an attack by a sector of the colonial ruling class that is designed to diminish his effectiveness in the election that could threaten their interests as reflected in the presidential re-election campaign by Joseph Biden, the sitting president.

There is some truth to the declaration by some political pundits that the electorate in the U.S. is almost evenly divided between Biden and Donald John Trump, leaders of the colonial ruling Democratic and Republican parties. However, that is a deceptive assessment for the benefit of political analysis, because at least 20 percent of the Democratic Party membership consists of colonized African people, with another significant percentage belonging to other internally colonized peoples.

In other words, Africans and other colonial subjects are counted among the contending sectors of the colonial population, although we have diametrically different material interests than those of the white settlers of both parties.

This political dependency on the colonized for power is testimony to the dilemma of the U.S. colonial bourgeoisie that has often bedeviled colonizers historically.

Even so, according to U.S. media reports, ongoing polling shows that the Democratic Party’s presidential election chances are severely threatened by breaches in the political monopoly exercised by the ruling Democratic and Republican parties, with sizable sectors of the colonial ruling class using all possible means to crush the likely election of Donald John Trump as U.S. president.

Trump’s competition for election as the Republican nominee for president in the upcoming Republican primary appears negligible. However, the same cannot be said of Joseph Biden, the sitting U.S. president, who is facing an array of contenders, including the vote-siphoning likelihood by some who left the Democratic Party to contest with Biden for the U.S. presidency.

According to polls cited in USA Today in January of this year, Biden now claims only 63% of the Black vote, “a precipitous decline from the 87% he carried in 2020.” This is a major monkey wrench for an electoral process designed to eliminate any but representatives of the two hegemonic colonial ruling class parties in a nonviolent contest between contending sectors of the ruling class for control of the colonial state. It is a process that is growing more acrimonious every day to the point of occasional violent contention and the open partisan participation of the colonial state.

The legitimacy of the electoral process within the U.S. is also being challenged by open hostilities between contending sectors of the colonial bourgeoisie. A nearly subterranean movement is in place by allies of Trump, who declares the last election that deposed him from the presidency was rigged to effect the election of Biden.

The Republican Party has organized to win local elections that will seize the power to make critical decisions on local levels to determine the legitimacy of registered voters, the location of voting sites, and the conduct and procedures for voters, voting, and vote counting for the 2024 presidential election.

Internationally, the U.S. is engaged in wars and threats of wars throughout the world in a recklessly desperate effort to maintain its hegemony and to protect the existence of the parasitic colonial mode of production upon which the entire capitalist system relies for success.

The African People’s Socialist Party and Uhuru Movement were attacked by the U.S. government in part because of the Party’s open dissension with the U.S.-initiated war against Russia that has already resulted in the deaths of thousands of Russians and Ukrainian pawns.

This war and the ongoing military taunting of and confrontation with the People’s Republic of China, directly or indirectly through supplicants and/or ad hoc alliances within the China-Pacific region, inches the world closer to the possibility of nuclear conflagration.

As we are preparing for the Black is Back Electoral Campaign School, the people of Palestine are still withstanding a murderous, genocidal determination to maintain their colonial domination by a white nationalist settler-colonial population and state with the aid of the U.S. and virtually every one of the colonial powers born of the colonial slave trade that created the existing world economy and political configuration of the world.

Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, etc., are just some of the areas of anti-colonial contention the U.S. is attempting to stem.

Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and the Sahel are some of the outstanding, best-organized examples of the growing existential threat to the colonial mode of production and U.S. domination in Africa.

But the struggle in Africa for the capture of our resources from white colonial parasites is growing exponentially, and the African Socialist International organized by the African People’s Socialist Party that is uniting the struggle of Africa and Africans globally is another reason for the frantic assault on the African Liberation Movement by the U.S. government on July 29 and the criminal charges being used by the colonial state as a form of political repression.

All the ingredients of a third global or world war are currently being consolidated by the dying colonial powers. This, as the peoples of the world who suffer from colonial domination and the parasitic relations of production within this colonial mode of production, are struggling, sometimes at crosscurrents and ignorant of the laws of social development that should unite all the toiling masses to acquire the benefits of our labor.

We of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice understand these contradictions. We are organizing to use the Electoral School to mobilize the African workers and all the colonized peoples and workers into motion with our agenda as a rational, revolutionary alternative to the political platter being offered to the people as our only choice.

War and repression are the only outdated programs available to the colonizers. They are insufficient and poisonous. Their “use by” date has long passed. Malcolm and Martin were on the right path. These, along with the 10-Point Program of the Black Panther Party, were representative of the independent aspirations and interests of Africans and all people.

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace, and Reparations has put forth a continuously developing National Black Agenda for Self-Determination that represents the best summation of all the independent African-led efforts for self-determination.

The Electoral Campaign School is the most significant, practical effort to forward the struggle for the total liberation of our people from colonial domination. It is a legal means to carry out this program.

We will win! We are winning! And the desperate and repressive acts of a dying colonial system are facing a dilemma of its own making and are incapable of doing the right thing. Anything it does within this mass process represented by our school will forward our inevitable conquest of a dignified liberated future.

Black is Back!


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