Time to Sharpen Our Weapons and Wits

11 Jun 2020
Time to Sharpen Our Weapons and Wits


Having not yet won real power over the police, this is no time for a lull or a truce — it’s time to sharpen our political instruments and deepen the mass movement’s social penetration.

The objective is to seize and exercise people’s power in our communities, and to defend the people’s rights and interests.”

The awesome power of massed, militant people in motion has been manifest since the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Much of the world now knows Floyd’s name; majorities of Americans say they support  “Black Lives Matter”; New York City’s mayor pledged to slash his cops’ budget  in deference to the Black Lives Matter demand to defund the police; the Minneapolis city council has promised to move towards disbanding  their police force, in the spirit of outright abolition; and the grassroots demand  for community control of police  – previously rejected out of hand by most city councils – is now part of the “mainstream” political conversation. So massive and swift has been the swing in popular sentiment against the police – the coercive organs of the State – that “A&E has decided not to run new episodes of ‘Live PD’ this Friday and Saturday, while Paramount Network has delayed the Season 33 launch of ‘Cops,’” according to Variety  magazine.

“Movement” politics is how the people flex their power, while electoral politics under a corporate duopoly system is the domain of the moneyed classes. This is a lesson learned in the Sixties — a period when some years saw as many as 5,000 separate demonstrations. The makeup of the U.S. House and Senate did not change dramatically during that tumultuous decade. Political contributions kept most incumbents in office, year after year, as is the case today. But, for a time, the lawmakers behaved differently — voting for civil rights and social justice measures they had not previously supported — when confronted with masses of determined people in motion, who sometimes burned cities,

“Electoral politics under a corporate duopoly system is the domain of the moneyed classes.”

Movement politics was finally quashed in the latter part of the Sixties by a combination of lethal force and political seduction. A national policy of mass Black incarceration, supported by both corporate parties, criminalized Black people as a group, while federal and local police waged a murderous, dirty war to crush Black radicals. On the seduction front, the Democratic Party opened its doors to a hungry cohort of Black politicians and aspiring businessmen who preached that the movement must shift gears “from the streets to the suites” – the beginnings of today’s Black Misleadership Class.

By 1979, after a decade of Black electoral victories in cities abandoned by whites, everyone was singing McFadden & Whitehead’s “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” – but the mass movement had long been snuffed out. The Black-white economic gap – which had briefly shrunken as a result of social justice victories in the Sixties — was beginning to widen, and mass Black incarceration ravaged the Black social fabric. But the Black political class and a small elite of entrepreneurs, professionals and entertainers were doing better than ever – and they were all-in with the Democratic Party, which soon succeeded in subverting virtually every civic organization in Black America. The spoils of a long-dead mass movement of the streets had ultimately accrued to a tiny sliver of Black folks in suites.

“A hungry cohort of Black politicians and aspiring businessmen preached that the movement must shift gears ‘from the streets to the suites.’” …. https://blackagendareport.com/time-sharpen-our-weapons-and-wits

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