St. Petersburg, Florida – Chokwe Lumumba is running for mayor of Mississippi’s biggest city, Jackson.
The campaign is winning attention and support from Africans and other progressives from throughout the U.S.
It is just the latest and one of the most significant of recent electoral efforts by revolutionary activists to test the possibilities and limitations of bourgeois electoral politics to advance the interests of colonially oppressed Africans in the U.S.
Lumumba is already a member of the Jackson City Council, demonstrating his ability to win in the electoral arena.
The success of the presidential campaigns of Barack Hussein Obama has done more in the last period to legitimize the electoral process as the road to power in the African community.
Nevertheless, electoral politics has been a question that has agitated the revolutionary African movement since the Black Revolution of the Sixties. Many perceive the defeat of that movement as necessary for the success of Barack Hussein Obama, relieving him of the necessity of addressing the pressing life and death issues of the African community and alienating the whites who voted for him.
Unlike Obama, however, Chokwe Lumumba has a sterling record of working for the emancipation of African people, especially within current U.S. borders.
Lumumba was a member of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (RNA), a revolutionary pro-independence African liberation formation founded in 1968 at the height of the Black Revolution of the Sixties.
As a member of that organization and a genuine patriot of African liberation and self-determination, Lumumba risked his life and liberty on more than one occasion. The RNA was targeted by the U.S. government almost upon its founding.
In 1969 police attacked an important RNA New Afrikan Day meeting – a celebration of RNA's founding, held in Detroit at New Bethel Baptist Church, pastored by Aretha Franklin’s father. The attack resulted in the death of one cop and the arrests of more than 200 of the African celebrants. All of those arrested were freed and exonerated.
On August 18, 1971 the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. national political police, along with the local police department, attacked RNA headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi. RNA members had to fight for their lives and several of them were arrested.
While these were important events in the history of Lumumba and the movement he represented, they do not tell the story of what Lumumba and his courageous compatriots were really about. For the truth of the matter is they were part of a movement of people throughout the world who believed in the right of all people to be free and were willing to challenge the greatest oppressive power in the world to bring that freedom about.
Lumumba is a lawyer. He has that in common with Barack Hussein Obama. However, his work in the legal arena has also been to serve the cause of the liberation of African people.
He has defended political prisoners and prisoners of war who were jailed because of their efforts to win the happiness and stolen resources of African people.
Lumumba supported the reparations struggle at a time when its organizers were considered part of a lunatic fringe. Obama on the other hand was to use his first campaign debate in Harlem, New York to denounce the reparations demand.
Lumumba's reputation as a defender of African people's rights, led the Black is Back Coalition for Peace, Social Justice and Reparations to endorse his candidacy at its national conference held in Newark, New Jersey in August 2012.
Subsequent to that endorsement the coalition also made a modest contribution from its modest treasury to Lumumba’s campaign.
Similarly, members of the African People’s Socialist Party joined with the growing ranks of Lumumba supporters and made a small financial contribution to his campaign.
We have known Lumumba from the inception of the Republic of New Afrika. We have done some work together over the years and we have also engaged in strenuous ideological struggles with Lumumba and the Republic of New Afrika. No doubt there will be others in the future.
Nevertheless, we support this campaign and this candidate because there has never been any doubt in our minds about the integrity and intent of Lumumba and his organization(s).
He and the Republic of New Afrika have always believed in self-determination for our people. They have always been able to demonstrate that belief at great risks to themselves and their families.
The African People’s Socialist Party has always held up as a strategic aim the need to win an understanding that the pro-independence sector of our movement represents the genuine aspirations of African people to be free and self-determining.
This is one thing that has made it easy for us to support Lumumba and most of his organizational efforts toward that end.
Lumumba will have to win allies and support from sectors of the African national petty bourgeoisie in Jackson and other places in order to have maximum access to the African masses that do not have the advantage of independent political organization for the moment. That is to be expected.
However, his success in that effort will contribute to the deepening of the democratic process initiated in Mississippi by the Civil Rights Movement that ultimately benefited the petty bourgeoisie at the expense of the masses of impoverished African workers.
Those of us who believe in the revolution and the struggle for African independence should maximize our support for Lumumba’s campaign.
Those of us who claim to be “progressives,” “leftists,” especially those who worked for and supported Barack Hussein Obama, must join in making this campaign a success in whatever ways we can.
Of course, there is no guarantee that Lumumba will win this election or that if he does he will be able to make the difference we need in terms of furthering the general aims of the struggle for African self-determination.
But it will be an educational process for the African revolution and worth the effort.
The primary election is on May 7, 2013. The campaign needs workers and money.
The campaign to elect Chokwe Lumumba Mayor of Jackson can be reached at electlumumbamayor.com.