[act-ma] 6/23 - Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle

Boston WWP boston at workers.org
Wed Jun 13 09:43:36 PDT 2007


  Marxism, Reparations and


  *the Black Freedom Struggle*


    *Sat. June 23 - 4:00pm*


      *Action* Center


      *284 Amory St.*, Jamaica Plain, MA


        *Donation -- Refreshments -- Childcare*


    *Meet the editor Monica Moorehead*


    *Learn more about this important book on Reparations*

**New World**** View Forum book on African American history and 
resistance.** **Essays cover the meaning of the ongoing Katrina 
catastrophe; and** **building Black-Brown unity and solidarity against 
oppression.**

//These essays, from a variety of folks working on a number of Black 
struggles, testify to// //the central truth that Black History is the 
epic saga of resistance, rebellion and revolt. These// //struggles show 
us all that true freedom is still an objective to be attained, rather 
than a reality.// //What, pray tell, did Katrina show us?// **--- Mumia 
Abu-Jamal, author, We Want Freedom:** **A Life in the Black Panther 
Party; political prisoner**

//Other races or people have received reparations for crimes committed 
against them,// //such as Japanese people and Jewish people. Slavery and 
the trans-Atlantic slave trade were// //crimes against humanity. 
Reparations for African Americans are long overdue. The issue of// 
//reparations has always led me to think more and more about my right to 
'forty acres and a// //mule.' When people in the Black community read 
this book they will be motivated to fight// //back.// **--- Robert 
Traynham, USWA Local 8751, Boston School** **Bus Drivers; former Black 
Panther Party member**

//This powerfully---and passionately---written book reveals how 
descendants of those who// //got rich from enslaving African peoples 
grow ever wealthier today with that capital in their// //vaults. Within 
these pages is fl esh-and-blood understanding that the demand for 
reparations---// //justice, delayed and denied---is a component of a 
dynamic struggle for national liberation// //that has raged since mass 
kidnap pings of millions of people from Africa, the holocaust of// //the 
Middle Passage and enslavement. No justice? No peace!// **--- Leslie 
Feinberg, award-winning author, Stone Butch Blues,** **Transgender 
Warriors, Trans Liberation, & Drag King Dreams; activist**

------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Why reparations are essential to class struggle*

By Greg Butterfield

Reactionaries of all political stripes have ridiculed the idea of 
reparations for African Americans, just as they ridicule the struggle 
for socialism. So it's fitting that these two great historical movements 
for social justice should meet in the pages of a new book, "Marxism, 
Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle," published by World View Forum.

The book---which includes speeches, eyewitness accounts, news reports 
and historical analysis from the pages of Workers World 
newspaper---seeks to elevate the call for reparations by showing its 
centrality to the class struggle and self-determination in the United 
States and around the globe.

A diverse group of writers demolish the ruling-class myth that white 
workers are the ones being asked to pay for the crimes of slavery. A 
victory for African-American reparations against Big Business and the 
U.S. government, they argue, would elevate the whole multi-national 
working class and strike a blow against the bosses' downward pressure on 
wages and benefits.

In the words of a Workers World Party statement reprinted here, "Every 
worker can understand that unpaid labor is theft---whether slave or 
wage-slave labor."

**An historic demand**

Reparations for the descendants of African slaves is a demand that has 
been raised over and over, in many forms, since the U.S. government 
abandoned its pledge of "40 acres and a mule" after the Civil War. 
Disdain, violence and silence have all failed to bury this historic 
demand because the lords of U.S. capital continue to grow fabulously 
wealthy off institutionalized racism, while Black people pay the price 
of criminalization, police brutality, discrimination and unequal pay.

The modern reparations movement emerged at the 2001 United Nations 
Conference on Racism and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, 
where African-American forces took up the call. Next came class-action 
lawsuits against Fleet Boston Financial, Aetna, CSX and other corporate 
beneficiaries of the slave trade. The December 12th Movement, National 
Black United Front, N'COBRA and other groups initiated the Millions for 
Reparations Movement rally in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 17, 2002.

Monica Moorehead, the new book's editor, writes: "The U.S. government 
has a despicable history of downplaying or outright dismissing the issue 
of reparations. To grant compensation to millions of descendants of 
African slaves would expose the institutionalized racism that African 
Americans and other people of color still suffer today."

**Reparations in context**

Moorehead has assembled a unique volume that places the reparations 
movement in a broad global, historical and theoretical context. Articles 
put today's efforts in the context of the historic struggle for Black 
liberation, from Reconstruction and Jim Crow through the Civil Rights 
Movement, Million Worker March Movement and beyond.

Originally published as a pamphlet in 2002, this greatly-expanded and 
updated book encompasses recent political developments, from the war in 
Iraq and the genocidal aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita to the 
explosion of the immigrant rights movement in 2006.

It breaks the illusion of isolation created by the corporate media and 
political establishment, showing how reparations is a demand with 
widespread appeal for oppressed peoples and nations around the world as 
redress for centuries of colonialism, imperialist exploitation and war 
crimes, from Jamaica to Iraq, Zimbabwe to the Black Belt South.

An overview of section titles give a sense of the book's scope: "Black 
liberation and the working-class struggle"; "The material basis for 
reparations in the U.S."; "Brief overview of racist oppression and 
heroic resistance"; "What Hurricane Katrina exposed to the world"; 
"Africa: A battleground against colonialism and for sovereignty"; 
"Justice for the Caribbean"; "A salute to women revolutionaries"; "Why 
fight-back is inevitable"; and "Black labor and class solidarity." This 
book is a must read in libraries, class rooms and for those activists 
mobilizing in the streets.

**Black-Brown unity**

Given pride of place in the book is the need to build solidarity between 
workers, with a special focus on unity between African Americans, 
including those in communities devastated by Katrina and Rita, and 
immigrant workers, who are under fierce attack but fighting back for 
their rights.

In his article "Black and Brown Unity," Saladin Muhammad of the Black 
Workers League writes: "Building the convergence of these movements 
demands respect for their independence and diversity. A strategic 
alliance ... must be concretized and built around real struggles that 
enable both to see the power in unity to make radical changes in the 
interests of democracy and revolutionary transformation. ... This is why 
it is so important to focus this alliance today on the struggles for 
Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast and the struggle for immigrant rights."

Other contributors include Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pat Chin, Sam Marcy, Larry 
Holmes, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Clarence Thomas and Chris Silvera, Tony Van 
Der Meer, John Parker, Teresa Gutierrez, LeiLani Dowell and many more. 
The book features a stunning cover graphic by Sahu Barron and is 
illustrated with photos and graphics throughout.

//Available at www.leftbooks.com 
<http://leftbooks.com/store/product211.html>.//

-- 
Workers World Party
*Boston
*617-983-3835
boston at workers.org <mailto:boston at workers.org>
http://www.workersworld.net/boston

<mailto:boston at workers.org>*National Office
*212-627-2994
wwp at workers.org
http://www.workers.org
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<http://www.workersworld.net/>

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