Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

White corporate media have invested huge sums of money and decades of propaganda spreading the lie that Black independent, grassroots politics is dead. But, in Newark, New Jersey, the People's Organization for Progress (POP) “gives the lie to those that claim pulling one’s neighbors together for the mundane tasks of community building is passé, a relic of another time.”

 

Black Grassroots Politics is Served Daily in Newark

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

We desperately need fifty, a hundred, a thousand People’s Organizations for Progress if Black America is to survive the ruin of capitalism.”

No matter what you’ve heard from people who have never been in favor of true social transformation, grassroots, independent Black activist politics is not an idea whose time has come and gone. The techniques of years gone by still work, and can be made even more effective with the help of new technologies. But first, it is necessary to understand that there is no “killer app” to jump-start a movement, no genius application that allows would-be activists to leapfrog over the hard labor of organizing. There is nothing more difficult to move than people, and nothing more high maintenance than ordinary human beings struggling against a System that they fear as much as they detest.

Therefore, it is truly a wonderment when everyday, mostly Black people from a mid-sized city manage to create an organization for social justice and sustain it for almost 30 years, scrupulously avoiding the corrupting influence of corporate sponsors, and all the while maintaining a disciplined distance from local politicians – including the ones they like. It is a minor miracle when these local activists, numbering hundreds of dues-paying members, manage to expand their organization to cities across their state.

Those grassroots miracle-workers are People Organized for Progress, POP for short, created in Newark, New Jersey in 1983 and currently led by Larry Hamm. The People’s Organization for Progress is the best example of grassroots Black activism that I have observed in decades – and that is saying a great deal. POP gives the lie to those that claim pulling one’s neighbors together for the mundane tasks of community building is passé, a relic of another time. Especially since the unfolding economic crisis has already set Black people back 30 years. What becomes clear in the face of the current catastrophe is that we desperately need fifty, a hundred, a thousand People’s Organizations for Progress if Black America is to survive the ruin of capitalism.

December 6, POP will mark day 164 of their protests with a march, rally and teach-in to celebrate the 56thanniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.”

The People's Organization for Progress understands that, too, which is why they embarked on a courageous project, back in June. If the Black people of Montgomery, Alabama, could boycott the segregated busses for 381 days, back in 1955, then POP could surely sustain daily demonstrations for at least that long. The men and women of POP reasoned that, through their example of daily protest at two of the busiest intersections of the city, they could rally not just their own members, but community groups, churches, and unions in Newark, and throughout the state of New Jersey, and in New York and Philadelphia. And they have. As of last week,110 organizations have endorsed POP's Daily People's Campaign for Jobs, Peace, Equality and Justice, and many of these groups are manning the picket lines with them.

Next Tuesday, December 6, POP will mark day 164 of their protests with a march, rally and teach-in to celebrate the 56th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. If you want to join with grassroots, everyday Black folks on their own mission to liberate Newark and the world, then contact POP, the People's Organization for Progress, at area code 973.801.0001. That's 973.801.0001. They'll be there, every day, until day 381. Because these people are serious about building a movement.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20111130_gf_POP.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:26am EDT