Black is Back, With a Conference in Washington, Nov 3
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“Breaking the silence means pollinating our communities with the direction and skills necessary to break the back of those who oppress and kill us.”
When the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations first came together in October of 2009, millions of African Americans were still flush with the glow of Barack Obama’s inauguration, nine months before, when a million African Americans gathered at the Washington Mall like faithful Muslims on a pilgrimage to Mecca. But by October of his first year in office, President Obama had already announced that he would be putting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block; he had already sabotaged Durban II, the international conference against racism, just as George Bush had sabotaged Durban I, eight years before; and Obama had already announced that he would not be proposing any programs to alleviate extreme Black suffering in the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression – even as his friends on Wall Street were already moving towards a taxpayer-funded recovery. Clearly, it was time for Black activists to get activeagain – to make some noise and formulate some plans - rather than passively accept the corporate policies of the icon in the White House.
By November of 2009, the Black Is Back Coalition was in motion, with a march and rally at the White House. It was not the most popular thing to do, but it was surely the only sane response to the deepening crisis in Black America, and for the entire world. The worst elements of the financial oligarchy were emerging from the Great Recession more powerful than ever. We are talking about the gentrifyers, who boost the price of urban living until African Americans can no longer sustain themselves in the nation’s cities, and must scatter, their political power dissipated, lost forever. It was clear to the new Coalition that there is no choice but to resist the jobs destroyers, who relentlessly push down wages, here and abroad, and have already made Black youth expendable. The American Prison Gulag bulged at the seams with caged Black people, who now represented one out of eight of the entire planet’s incarcerated population. The new U.S. Africa military command, AFRICOM, was on the march, setting the stage for a neocolonial offensive to steal the continent’s independence and resources, once again.
“It was clear to the new Coalition that there was no choice but to resist.”
So, in 2009, the Black Is Back Coalition broke the silence and passivity that has gripped Black America, most dramatically since Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. The Coalition marched again, in 2010, and 2011, and will break the silence again on November 3 of this year, at Malcolm X Park, in Washington.
The Black Is Back Coalition does much more than hold rallies. Its organizations and individuals strategize and teach and learn, organize and plan for the Movement that must arise from the aspirations and talents of our people. Breaking the silence means pollinating our communities with the direction and skills necessary to break the back of those who oppress and kill us. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” On November 3 and 4, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will be shouting and organizing, plotting and scheming, to win power for Black people, everywhere on the planet. Go to www.BlackIsBackCoalition.org and register for the November 3 conference. Break the silence. Black Is Back!
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.