Black Lives Matter Across The World, Reflections from My London Trip

Written by: Cazembe Jackson, Black Lives Matter — Atlanta

When #BLM’s Director of Communications, Shanelle Matthews, asked if I could go to the UK for a week to speak about how BLM is organizing in the States, I felt extremely honored and apprehensive. My passport said male for the gender, but I hadn’t had top surgery. I didn’t think I would “pass” and cis gender (non trans). I was scared of being the recipient of transphobia without my community there to protect me.

Opportunities to represent my political home overseas don’t come along every day so I said yes, and began mentally preparing to travel as a nonbinary-presenting trans person.

Because I said yes, I have been reminded again and again that we do have community that is capable of taking care of us, and willing to do so. In fact, I had just gotten my first passport, with my affirming gender, in January 2017 because Trans(forming), SNaP Co., LaGender, Inc. and Lambda Legal, working together, sponsored a clinic to help trans folks get their affirming genders on their passports. They even paid the processing fees!

I also got to pick a person to come with me, and I chose Prentis Hemphill, #BLM’s Director of Healing Justice. They were the BEST travel companion.

National Union of Students (NUS), the group that brought me to London, invited me to represent Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives on a panel titled, “Trump, Brexit and Beyond.”. I focused on how Trump came to power in the US, and spoke about the strategy the New Confederacy implemented in building a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, and capitalist electoral college that elected Trump, even when he failed to win the popular vote. I also spoke about the dangers of having a movement that focuses solely on resisting Trump’s administration.

Now is the time to be building a united front that is based on an intersectional, disciplined political line that can truly lead the development of an alliance on the left. Our work must have a foundation that is a combination of the multi-national working people’s movements and oppressed nationality movements. We have to start seeing issues that seem to belong to other marginalized groups as our own issues. An attack on Muslims is an attack on all oppressed groups, and we must defend all oppressed people.

I spoke about lessons I felt #BLM organizing has taught us. Some of them were that while direct action gets the goods, we must also fight on the offensive. Social media is a great tool that mobilizes millions of people, but cannot be used alone to organize people. Cultural organizing is more than singing at the beginning of the meeting or playing a game at the end. Cultural organizing has deep roots in the Black American struggle for freedom, going as far back as the slavery abolition movement.

The NUS panel included Gary Younge, Yasser Louati and Malia Bouattia, who all spoke of the need for international solidarity to combat a rise of right-wing populism happening globally and almost identically in our respective countries. Yasser spoke about the fact that France had been the laboratory for anti-Semitism and now was the lab for Islamophobia. He used this as way to explain why we all have to defend each other. That if they come for you first they will come for us next. Malia reminded us that the politics of Trump are present in the UK today, and that Trump AND May are building walls and targeting immigrants, despite the fact that migrants are in both countries largely due to our presence in their countries.

We found out shortly after arriving in London that Parliament was about to vote on whether or not to let EU immigrants stay, since the UK already voted to leave the EU. Folks on the left in London called an emergency rally in front of Parliament the day of the vote, my second full day in London. The organizers of the rally wanted BLM to speak. I of course said yes. I spoke about the need for us to all be in solidarity with each other, that we are stronger together. That means a Muslim ban must be a queer and Black issue, and a Black and queer issue must be a Muslim one. This is why when Trump signed the executive order banning Muslims, BLM activists were at the airport demonstrations with everyone else. This rally was for EU immigrants, but I said I support the right for all people to be able to move freely. I led them in one of my favorite chants: “Our communities are under attack! What do we do? Stand up! Fight back!” It was a really powerful experience to actually practice being in international solidarity with folks fighting the same fight as us.

Yasser, Prentis and I also went on somewhat of a speaking tour to a few colleges (high schools) and universities. I mostly talked about organizing strategies that BLM members are trying out here in the States, including the following highlights of how we are loving on each other and healing ourselves as we fight:

  • Queer folks getting married before inauguration day
  • Building genuine community, sharing meals, and raising kids together
  • Making sure that trans and gender nonconforming (GNC) folks know that the space is safe for them, whether the purpose is a meeting or an action
  • Respecting people’s pronouns, including explaining what they are and why they are important and defending trans people when they are misgendered (if the trans person wants that)
  • Resting, relaxing, and resilience, including projects such as Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD) and Highlander Research and Education Center
  • Rejecting volunteerism (the idea that movement requires you to donate ALL of your time in order for us to get free)
  • Holding each other accountable to regular and consistent self-care
  • Giving grace when mistakes are made, holding folks accountable, and then welcoming them back into the family

In these talks, I was tasked with explaining how and why I organize the way that I do. I identify as a “Southern Black Queer Nonbinary Trans Man” in my bio. People didn’t understand why it was important to include “Southern.” I explained that being a Black Southern organizer meant something. We have been fighting the New Confederacy for decades in the South. It’s deeper than that though. The history of slavery and Jim Crow is still very present in the South — and still visible in Confederate flags and lingering whites only signs. The South was and is the heart of every movement for The Black American freedom struggle. When the south wins, we all do.

But what stands out to me is the way we build relationships in the South. We know the folks we organize with. We go to church with them. We send our kids to the same schools. So if we need to boycott a bus system or Uber, for example, we will have relationships with folks and will know who needs a ride and how to get them set up. The history of the Black American freedom struggle is also a history of Black spirituality. I was born and raised in a Missionary Baptist tradition that used spirituality as a way to sustain, a way to keep a moral compass, and a way to endure the evils of white supremacy and capitalism and fight them and win. I organize at the intersection of faith, race, gender, class and sexuality. All of those parts have been equally influential in shaping my unique style of organizing.

At the University of Leeds, a student asked me what I meant when I said organizing with Black Lives Matter has informed my politic and how I treat myself. My answer surprised even me. I said that learning to talk to Black people about why their lives matter forced me to recognize that my own Black life matters. Knowing that my life matters means I have to speak up and be a part of building strategies to get us free. I can no longer sit back and let other folks figure it out because I feel like am still new to this. None of us are new to being Black, or poor, or otherwise marginalized. Experience plus theory is the breeding ground for true leadership. When you believe that you matter, you look and act differently. The resulting behavior is part of why people want to be a part of this movement.

We also took a trip to Brixton, a historically Black part of London. My favorite part of Brixton was the market. There were so many different nations represented — from French coffee and pastries to Nigerian vegan sandwiches. I had a really great conversation with a female Somali shop owner. I told her I was here from the States to stand in solidarity with Muslim immigrants and their right to stay. She opened up and told me about her family’s history in the UK. They had been in the country for over 30 years, and will be among the folks who will have to leave because of Parliament’s vote. She knew about the Muslim ban that Trump ordered also. She said that this wasn’t new for her. Being a Black woman immigrant who is also a Muslim had provided her with enough experiences to expect folks to always target her. Yet, she and her sisters and cousins owned this amazing African fabrics store and are giving so much culture to London. Another store called “Chip Shop” Had walls spray painted with hip hop legends — Eazy-E, Jam Master J, Biggie, Pac and more.

David Rosenberg gave us a private tour of historic Cable Street in the East End of London, a street made famous by the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 between the Police, members of the British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosley, and basically a united front of anti-fascist demonstrators. The alliance of anti-fascists included local Jewish, Irish, socialist, anarchist and communist groups. Mosely planned a march to go through their neighborhoods to basically trash talk them. The Jewish and Irish folks lived in the same neighborhood, but on different parts of the street. They had to be taught to hate each other and not work together. (Sound familiar?) But the anti-fascists fought back and they won! Not only did they win, but there is a huge mural that was painted as a celebration of the victory right in between the two neighborhoods on Cable Street.

It was amazing to hear this story and be reminded that fascism is not new and Trump and May are not original. If we can study what has happened in other periods, we will be able to make accurate predictions on what they Trump and May will try. When we get good at that, we can start to build offensive movements that not only resist, but that also build new systems for the world we are fighting for. It was a blessing to hear about a time when fascism and right-wing populism was on the rise and the people won!!!!!!

During a heavier part of the trip, we went to an inquest, a judicial hearing to determine the cause of death when people die in police custody. We listened, along with a courtroom full of people, to a white cop talk about how he killed this Black man. He kept saying how phenomenally strong and big Mr. Olaseni Lewis was. It was very similar to the way police who murder Black folks in the States describe them. Mr. Olaseni Lewis’s mother and father and other family members were there. We also met Marcia Rigg from the United Friends and Family Campaign.

When it was all over, we went to tell the mother goodbye. The whole courtroom, except the family and friends, seemed to just go on with life as if nothing important had happened. We were all moving a little slower and feeling just a little bit more tender. I hit a breaking point when I looked into Mr. Lewis’s mom’s eyes. I have seen that look of despair and hopelessness so many times. I was embarrassed by my tears and went outside. Later, I had a conversation with Marcia, whose brother was murdered while in police custody, and she made me proud of my tears. She said my tears meant that I wasn’t numb to what was happening to our people, that feeling and expressing our righteous rage is part of what would sustain us.

This trip was full of so many highlights, but meeting the Black Lives Matter UK chapter was AMAZING! It was my first time outside of the continental US. I was nervous about how everyone would get along and if our differences would make it hard for us to bond in the short time we had to share with each other. But as soon as the first hugs and smiles were exchanged we knew we were kindred. It was just like I was in Atlanta at one of the homies’ houses sharing a meal with other chapter members. We ate a beautiful vegetarian meal mainly with our fingers. We talked about so many different topics, including our work and the complications we were facing, the contradictions, the successes and the things we have learned. We fell in love with each other in a few hours. We shared rituals and practices and traditions with each other. It was in this conversation that I remembered how much my own spirituality and upbringing influenced my own rituals.

Being able to travel to London was an amazing experience. Black means something else in the UK than it does in the States. When talking with Black people in the UK, they would tell me the country that their folks are from, almost like they wore their nationalities as badges of honor. I met so many Black Muslims who were also in danger of being deported because of Brexit and its fallout.

There are experiences that I had that I can’t describe in words that you will only ever get if you leave the US. Black people need to be able to see each other surviving and thriving in different areas of the diaspora. It is then that we can see just how powerful our people are. Under every type of oppression — chattel slavery, Jim Crow, imperialism that forces immigration — we also make magic. It is the only way I can describe the connection I felt to Black people in the UK. Our ancestors and we ourselves are so magical. It’s incredible and makes perfect sense that we can all have different experiences and be from different places and still know the code. We will always be able to find our tribe, because we have turned what white supremacy planned — to kill us — into to something that only we can possess. It’s deeper than Black pride. Its Black magic.

Before leaving the UK, we talked about “political Blackness,” The idea that a group of folks may not be phenotypically Black, but have a relationship to capitalism and imperialism that is similar to the Black experience. But Blackness can’t be put on and taken off. Granted, this was my first experience with this concept, and admittedly I am in the process of learning more about it so I can develop a strong analysis on its usefulness.

Folks in the UK LOVE BLM. Many people wanted to talk to me about how to get more BLM activity going on their campuses outside of London. It’s exciting to help with the important work of building international solidarity. But we also have to be careful not to allow the way we fight anti-Blackness in the US to be exported to the UK or wherever we go in a way that erases the non American context. While folks in the UK knew all about our political landscape and the players involved, I don’t know many Americans who are well versed on the U.K. We need to be intentional about the way we build with folks so that we are understanding the context of Blackness where we are and building strategies according to that. We need more folks traveling overseas, but we also need more of them traveling to the States.

This trip forced me to take a good long look at who I am. Why do I do my work the way I do? Why is BLM my political home? I am a Southern trans man from Texas. A Black Queer Baptist A singer, storytelling, testifying, mixed gender,sensitive, asthmatic, low-faded, loving, kind, short person who loves being overdressed. But I am also courageous and confident. Not only does my life matter, but so does my voice. I am still getting used to the fact that people care what I have to say. My experience has lessons that we can all learn from.

We are better as a collective when we are all willing to be pushed to do new, scary things. We have a community that is capable of taking care of us, and willing to do so. Wherever Black people are, we have potential family there also.

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Talking points on the Trump disaster, the New Confederacy and the Left

1. The New Confederacy won. The New Confederacy is composed of the most reactionary factions of capital allied with racist/nativist, right-wing populists. The Republican Party is the political expression of this alliance. We use the term “New Confederacy” to emphasize the fact that this right-wing political force is rooted in an explicitly racist program and strategy. This alliance has won unified control of the federal government, and has control of more states than it ever has before. And it won with a minority of voters, using state-by-state voting blocs, subjected to voter suppression and disenfranchisement, to build a majority in the fundamentally racist institution of the Electoral College. The New Confederacy is a minority alliance, and it uses every tool it can to rule over the majority, as this election profoundly illustrates. The New Confederacy is undeniably our immediate and most dangerous enemy. Let’s dispense of our confusion on that front. We have to defeat the Right.
2. The potent combination of racism and anti-elite/populist themes are the basis of Donald Trump’s remarkable and terrifying victory. Trump’s promises to “Make American Great Again” and “Put American First” joined resentment about trade policies with frustration over perceived US decline on the world stage. Many summations say the Democrats lost because of their abandonment of the working class and their lack of a populist message—but that’s only partly true. Racism and nativism are central and decisive factors in Trump’s win.
3. Trump’s campaign also used and benefited from misogyny: Trump voters believed allegations against Clinton that would never have stuck had she not been a woman. And Trump got a pass from conservative white women and the Christian right on multiple allegations of sexual assault (and his own boasting) that would never have been tolerated from a woman candidate or even a male candidate of color.
4. Class cannot be ceded to the Right—when the Left does that, it loses. The Right populist program connected economic anxiety with anti-immigrant sentiment. Lacking a Left, progressive economic program, Clinton and the neo-liberals couldn’t offer any alternative, and in fact came to typify the exact kind of elite that Trump railed against.
5. The Left’s vision and program must lead—it’s the only vision that is a solution to the crises we face, and the only real alternative to the enemy we must confront.The Democrats cannot defeat the New Confederacy on their own, nor can a coalition that includes progressives and the Left in which the neoliberal and corporate ideas and strategies are the leading vision. We can’t do it alone, though, and must make tactical alliances with both New Deal and some neoliberal Democrats—forces we must use in our fight against the New Confederacy. We shouldn’t lose ourselves in that alliance, but we should be realistic about what we can accomplish against the formidability of the New Confederacy.
6. We need to get serious about what it will take to have a winning united front. We will need to build a massive coalition that draws in millions on the basis of a progressive economic populism, the expansion of democratic rights and an anti-racist program. Approaches to the electoral question that promote Third Partyism based on purity and episodic expression over impact and scale (i.e., the Greens) aren’t a solution, and cynically sitting out elections certainly isn’t. Those who aren’t serious about this task are also not serious about socialism and fundamental social transformation.
7. Our immediate tasks are, first, to unite with all those forces that see such the necessity of such a project; and then to begin strategizing about building independent political power through independent political organizations (IPOs).* We contend that IPOs are the tool that can help build both build an independent Left and contest the neoliberal leadership of the Democratic party from both inside and outside the party’s walls, building both electoral and mobilization capacities: by uniting with the party’s Left wing inside, and the movement forces pushing progressives Leftward outside of it.
8. We should work to support and build the strength of ongoing resistance movements, like NoDAPL, the Movement for Black Lives, the immigrant rights movement, and others, which will face increased repression and opposition in the face of an emboldened Right, which now also controls the military. And our work needs to focus on how we not just defy the New Confederacy, but defend especially vulnerable populations from its violence and the violence it will unleash among racist and reactionary forces. And we should anticipate and encourage new explosions of resistance–the New Confederacy’s program will attack women, lgbt people, the environment, and undoubtedly push for war, and we should be prepared to stand up with the people who fight back.
9. It is right to rebel against reactionaries! We need to struggle alongside those whose energies will be directed primarily toward protest tactics and resistance to Trump. We should support them in becoming effective demonstrations of defiance to the Trump regime, and away from mere symbolic action. Less sign holding, more disruption; less vigils, more occupation; etc. Think of the way the Tea Party immediately brought the Obama administration’s plan to a halt.
10. Demographic changes alone won’t “fix” the problems we have with the white working class. We need to develop a program on white working people, and not presume that changing demographics will inevitably end the decisive role they play in politics. The task of building a majoritarian coalition—which cannot be built without the participation of a significant number of working class whites—to defeat the New Confederacy is a political one.
*What do we mean by an independent political organization?
  • We are calling for the creation of organizations that can unite and lead the political struggle of the strategic alliance of the national liberation movements and the multi-national working class in this historical period.
  • We want truly mass organizations, rooted in precinct-level organizational structures and people’s assemblies at the ward/district level. In this way the IPO will truly be an instrument for fusing revolutionary politics with the leadership and everyday struggles of the people. Our ultimate vision is an organization in the hundreds of thousands, rooted among Black and Brown communities and organized workers, based in but not limited to the South and Southwest.
  • We imagine political organizations that unite in practice the strategic alliance and which, in turn, is able to operate nimbly as a leading force within a broader united front. While election campaigns must be a core component of what the party does, we see the party primarily as the organizational form that facilitates the cohering of the strategic alliance in practice and allows it to lead the broader united front.
  • We view the political party as a key vehicle for both facilitating the integration of various sectors of struggle (living wage, affordable housing, police violence, contract negotiations, etc) into a single political force and for the construction of the people’s assembly vehicles at the grassroots level. From this perspective the party we are talking about is not a cadre organization, like the Bolsheviks. It is more like a mass Left front organization, like the ANC during the struggle against apartheid in which trade unions, the communist party, and nationalist organizations all combined to fight against the regime of apartheid. Similarly, we believe that what we need is a political organization that can coordinate the struggle against first the New Confederacy and then neoliberalism as a whole.
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Mni Wiconi!  “Water is Life!” A Solidarity Statement by FRSO/OSCL

The most powerful struggle for self-determination in the US is taking place right now on stolen Sioux land alongside the Standing Rock Nation. This struggle has galvanized the Environmental and Indigenous Rights Movements in their confrontation with the voracious capitalist fossil fuel profiteers. It is a struggle about the United States’ original sin:  the physical, cultural and spiritual genocide practiced against American Indians in order to steal their land and resources, including water, the basis for life: it is a struggle that the US government threatens to crush today.

Freedom Road* (FRSO/OSCL) stands in solidarity with indigenous tribes, organizers, leaders and elders in the fight against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in particular and continued attempts at settler-colonialism in general. We reaffirm the indomitable right of indigenous peoples to sovereignty and self-determination.

Historically, the United States was crafted as an imperial project, one grounded in the bedrock capitalist principle of privately owned property for individual profit, and the unmitigated violence of settler colonialism required to get more land and natural resources. When colonizers first set foot on this land, indigenous peoples and their governing bodies, cultures and societies had existed and thrived for thousands of years prior. The brutal creation of early U.S. capitalism (what Marx called “primitive accumulation”) made land a prime objective for ownership and control, imported and  enslaved Africans as the prime workers of this land, targeted women and oppressed genders for subordination to men, and made indigenous people as a whole a prime ‘obstacle’ to white supremacist capitalist rule, an obstacle that was to be overcome through genocidal warfare, forced cultural assimilation, and the institutionalization of strict patriarchal gender roles.

In the face of this imperialist cascade and at every point in U.S. history, indigenous people resisted genocide, terror and attempted forced removal. From Little Bighorn to Red Cloud’s War, from the 1969 Occupation of Alcatraz to the 1973 Battle at Wounded Knee, there exists a long and rich history of Native American resistance to imperialist aggression. We believe in and affirm the right of the Sioux tribe, and every tribe of this land to determine the best way to honor all that is sacred and determine how best to move towards an emancipatory destiny.

In stark contrast to this vision for collective liberation stands what we are calling the New Confederacy, the nationally specific form of rightwing populism with roots in the old Confederacy:  it seeks to eliminate public programs that re-distribute resources, to privatize public services and de-regulate corporate activity such as in the fossil fuel industry, to militarize society – and most fundamentally, to “make America great again” – a great bastion of white male supremacy. The power and ability of this group to implement its strategy dramatically increased in size and scope with the victory of their presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump.

A crucial component of this alliance is the corporate fossil fuel industry. This section of capital bases its profit margin on the continued extraction of fossil fuels and catastrophic agricultural practices, both of which deeply diverge from indigenous practices and rituals holding land and life as sacred. In a historical moment where our climate is undergoing a major restructuring, we cannot afford continued extraction. Extraction, we must add, that the incoming President is personally invested in.

We are living during a climate catastrophe, an extinction level event that can be directly traced back to the forced removal of indigenous people and forced destruction of entire ecosystems. Because of historical and contemporary human agricultural practices and continued extraction, weather is becoming more dangerous and unpredictable. Clean water, once an abundant resource, is becoming a luxury good, with struggles for access by indigenous peoples, rural folks and people of color multiplying around the world, from Bolivia to sub-Saharan Africa to Flint Michigan.   With the capture of a united federal government, and with more state governments than at any other moment in U.S. history, the New Confederates feel emboldened. As revolutionary socialists it is our task to identify the enemy and cohere the alliance necessary to crush its rule. We believe that enemy is the New Confederacy, and we believe that alliance is oppressed nationalities and the multi-national working class.

There is no socialism without Native American self-determination. FRSO affirms this historical truth, supports this struggle, believes water is life and stands in solidarity.



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Meizhu Lui receives 2016 Asset Builder Champion Award

Every year, Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative honors people who have dedicated their careers to helping low-income communities and communities of color build wealth and attain economic self sufficiency. Our loved one and dear comrade Meizhu was one of the 2016 recipients. Listen to her acceptance speech that is essentially a call to action to implement a “Jubilee Agenda” (In the Bible, when they talked about every 50 years redistributing wealth). Congratulations Meizhu!!!!!


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¡Derrotar Trump! By Zancudo


Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad cree en la justicia idioma para todas las personas. Nuestro compañero increíble ” Zancudo ” traducido nuestra pieza elecciones ” Crush Trump! Construir nuestros movimientos! ” Si usted tiene la gente en su red que podrían beneficiarse de tener esto en español, por favor, comparta con ellos. También, háganos saber si usted está dispuesto a traducirlo a otra idioma. Muchas gracias. (translated by A.S.)

Freedom Road Socialist Organization believes in language justice for all people. Our amazing comrade Zancudo translated our election piece “Crush Trump! Build our Movements!” If you have folks in your network who could benefit from having this in Spanish, please share it with them. Also let us know if you are willing to translate it into another language. Thanks so much.

¡Derrotar Trump! (Translated by Zancudo)

Con el cierre de las convenciones republicana y demócrata, socialistas, revolucionari@s, y líderes de los movimientos se enfrentan a una situación difícil. Por un lado somos responsables de los movimientos y entendemos que ni Hillary Clinton y Donald Trump representan la gente de nuestros pueblos. Sabemos que tenemos que luchar contra ambos. Por otro lado, nos enfrentamos a la realidad de que un@ de ell@s va a ser presidente de los EE.UU., y cómo y cuándo luchar contra ellos significa una diferencia en quién resulte elegid@.

Estamos entre l@s que creen que, en este período histórico, la diferencia entre Clinton y Trump y las fuerzas sociales que representan es importante y que Trump y sus aliados debe ser derrotado. Al mismo tiempo, tenemos que construir la infraestructura de las organizaciones y movimientos que pueden funcionar de forma independiente, dentro y fuera del Partido Demócrata. Pero no se equivoque: si y cuando es elegida Clinton, tendremos que seguir luchando para derrotar los planes imperialistas de su administración para el Sur global, así como sus políticas internas peligrosas. Creemos que es posible y necesario usar las elecciones de 2016 para hacer este trabajo.

Las tácticas para realizar esto abarca protestas e interrupciones, trabajo electoral fuera de los demócratas, la creación de organización y alianzas y trabajo electoral táctica con los demócratas. Como socialistas, radicales y progresistas, creemos que nuestro compromiso en esta elección es importante, tanto para el resultado de la elección y para el futuro de nuestros movimientos. Pero tan importante como lo que hacemos es dónde, con quién, y cómo trabajamos.

Lo que sigue es nuestra forma de pensar acerca de lo que está en juego en esta elección, quienes son las fuerzas en la lucha, y cuales tácticas debemos utilizar según las condiciones políticas en cada estado. Esperamos contribuir a las conversaciones y decisiones difíciles pero necesarias acerca de la estrategia que se enfrentan nuestros movimientos.

Lo que está en juego

Cada elección es una lucha por el poder entre diferentes coaliciones de intereses económicos, sociales y políticos que se unen para luchar por el control de puestos y una mejor posición dentro del gobierno con el fin de realizar a su agenda. Ninguna elección es más grande que la para presidente, cuando se moviliza más gente y más dinero que en cualquier otra.

Pero cuando tanto del proceso electoral estadounidense es una melodrama, y nos enfocamos nuestra atención en los candidatos individuales y el espectáculo de la temporada de elecciones, puede ser fácil olvidar que las elecciones son peleas entre coaliciones para el control del gobierno.

La elección 2016 determinará la composición del Tribunal Supremo de la Corte Suprema en las próximas décadas, el nombramiento a la Junta Nacional de Relaciones del Trabajo (NLRB), investigación del Departamento de Justicia de los asuntos de justicia racial, la acción ejecutiva sobre la inmigración y el clima, por no mencionar el control militar de los EE.UU. y una serie de otras instituciones poderosas. El resultado de esta batalla es crítica y dará forma al terreno político en el que se llevarán a cabo todas las luchas sociales. La política de expulsión étnica de Trump y el programa racial contra los musulmanes amenazan con destrozar familias, aumentan enormemente la militarización del país, y es probable que aumentará las tensiones raciales y terror estatal a un nivel sin precedentes. La deportación de 11 millones de personas, negando la ciudadanía de niños nacidos en Estados Unidos, el aumento de agentes de ICE (la migra) y requiriendo a l@s ciudadan@s ser chivatos contra sus vecinos indocumentados presenta peligros muy reales y. Esta puede animar a l@s latin@s para solicitar la ciudadanía y registrarse para votar masivamente.

El narrativo de Trump de Ley y Orden, tomado directamente de Nixon y la Guerra contra el Crimen, aumentaría tanto la violencia del estado y el encarcelamiento de l@s negr@s y aumentar la represión de los movimientos sociales. En un momento en que incluso Clinton ha sido forzada por el movimiento Black Lives Matter para criticar el racismo del sistema de justicia penal, la retórica de Trump está en agudo contraste.

En cuanto al clima y el medio ambiente, un tema de importancia existencial, Trump ha pedido la abolición de la Agencia de Protección del Ambiente (EPA) y ha nombrado a un asesor de la energía que niega la realidad del cambio climático. Los reglamentos de fracking (la fractura hidráulica), la prevención de la Pipeline Keystone, y cualquieras negociaciones futuras sobre el clima recibirán serios golpes bajo su administración.

Dado a la política intervencionista de Clinton, la política exterior imperialista de Trump y su retórica sobre la no intervención, la cuestión de la política exterior en esta elección es complicada. Pero si tenemos en cuenta el llamado de Trump para eliminar las restricciones a la tortura por parte de las Fuerzas Militares de Estados Unidos, su llamado para el acuerdo climático de París para ser re-negociado favorece más a EE.UU., y su política de que el presupuesto militar de Estados Unidos debería ser ampliado, nos da una clara impresión de una orientación de política exterior que es coherente con la orientación doméstica de Trump: la violencia, la fuerza y la dominación de Estados Unidos.

En temas de justicia económica, Trump llama por una política comercial nativista que regresa puestos de trabajo a los Estados Unidos, pero sin los sindicatos, mientras que proporciona enormes subsidios del gobierno por un Estado neoliberal. También ha llamado para enormes recortes de impuestos para los ricos. La AFL-CIO ha realizado una labor valiosa en la investigación de la historia de Trump contra l@s trabajador@s, desde el libre comercio hasta el salario mínimo. Mientras tanto, Pence, su escogido candidato para vicepresidente, tiene una larga historia de oponerse a los salarios dignos y apoyo para las leyes de Right to Work (“derecho al trabajo”).

La plataforma de Donald Trump tiene una orientación sumamente fascista. Trump recibió el respaldo de los sindicatos de la Patrulla Fronteriza (la migra), tiene el apoyo de milicias derechistas, lo respalda alguaciles y oficiales de policía, y el lema básico de Trump es Law and Order (la ley y el orden). Puede que estas fuerzas no estén movilizadas en forma específicamente política, pero la infraestructura armada y las lealtades ya están. Para averiguar que un movimiento es fascista o no puede ser complicado porque las teorías del fascismo vienen de un contexto histórico: puede que no sabremos que vivimos bajo el fascismo hasta que esté en el poder. Pero el fascismo también necesita un movimiento, y aun si ese componente no sea desarrollado teóricamente, esto no significa que nuestros movimientos no deben llamarlo así.

La amenaza de una presidencia Trump es real, y las fuerzas que lo respalda son peligrosas, más peligrosa que el régimen que está en poder actualmente o una administración potencial de Clinton. Con su promesa de “Make America Great Again” (“Hacer América Grande Nuevamente”), Trump está luchando por uno de los programas políticos más reaccionario de la historia moderna, un programa que creemos que es sustancialmente distinto — suficientemente a que creemos que Trump debe perder la elección, aun si el precio es una victoria para Clinton. Para los pueblos del mundo, para nuestras familias y seres queridos, para nuestros movimientos, estamos comprometidos a derrotar a Donald Trump y sus aliados—y sabemos que eso significa Hillary Clinton debe ganar.

Al recomendar el apoyo táctico de Clinton con el fin de derrotar a Trump, reconocemos que estamos poniendo el nombre de una persona en una tormenta de lucha popular: Hillary Clinton no representa a nuestros movimientos, sus intereses fundamentales no son nuestros, y debido a sus declaraciones y políticas históricas sobre el libre comercio, la Guerra Contra las Drogas y más, much@s líderes de los movimientos están totalmente opuest@s a ella. Un número creciente de gente considera que los líderes del partido Demócrata no son amigos y no se puede confiar en ell@s para luchar por l@s trabajador@s o gente de color. Ell@s no ofrece ninguna solución a las crisis que enfrentamos. Creemos que este entendimiento es un desarrollo positivo y no tenemos ningún interés en apoyar a Clinton.

Al mismo tiempo, creemos que la estrategia y las tácticas para la elección 2016 tienen que basarse en un análisis claro de las fuerzas detrás de los candidatos y lo que una victoria de Clinton o Trump significaría para nuestra gente y nuestros movimientos. Nosotr@s pensamos que en el concurso electoral para presidente, Donald Trump y las fuerzas que él representa se debe perder. Es más: creemos que una victoria de Hillary contra Trump presentará mejores condiciones para la construcción de la militancia y el impacto de nuestros movimientos.

¿Por qué?

Donald Trump: El candidato de la Nueva Confederación

Una razón por que creemos que debe ser derrotado Trump se debe a que much@s de nosotr@s ya vivimos en los Estados Unidos de Trump y sabemos lo que significará si su alianza gana. En veintitrés estados, el gobernador es republicano, y el Partido Republicano controla el senado y la cámara de diputados; por el contrario, los demócratas controlan sólo siete estados. El Partido Republicano en estos estados es una alianza entre populistas blancas derechistas, y fuerzas corporativas y el establecimiento de los republicanos cuya estrategia esta arraigado en el legado de la supremacía blanca y los movimientos para los “derechos de los estados”.

Mediante el control de gobierno a nivel estatal, esta alianza ha sido capaz de legislar las políticas que son mortales para nuestros movimientos, mientras que ellos construyen un bloque reaccionario de estados que les proteja de la política federal y las leyes que benefician a nuestra gente. Hay que pensar en todos los estados que carece de la expansión de Medicaid, los estados que no tiene el control de las armas, los estados que están atacando los derechos del voto, los estados que tienen un sistema desigual y separado para la gente lesbiana, gay, bisexual, transgénero etc.

Esta es la Nueva Confederación. El Partido Republicano es el instrumento de su dominio político y Donald Trump es su candidato presidencial en 2016. Para aquellos que no lo sabe ya, la vida en la Nueva Confederación—en la América de Trump—es malo. Muy malo. Desde los índices más altos de encarcelamiento y pobreza, a los ataques contra el derecho de l@s trabajador@s a organizarse contra los derechos reproductivos, el control del gobierno de la Nueva Confederación tiene consecuencias reales y devastadoras.

Esto no es sólo un problema para l@s que vivimos en la Nueva Confederación. Cuando veintiséis estados, encabezados por gobernadores republicanos y los fiscales generales, demandaron al gobierno federal sobre la acción ejecutiva de Obama sobre la inmigración, y consiguieron una orden judicial que impedía a millones de inmigrantes no documentad@s en todo el país a no recibir el permiso de tres años y la protección de no ser deportad@. Y es el control republicano a nivel estatal que les ha permitido al Congreso estancarse durante años y años. Al igual que su predecesor, la Nueva Confederación está en el proceso de extender su control a todo el país.

La base de votantes de Trump proviene de las fuerzas más reaccionarias y racistas dentro del Partido Republicano. Según lo revelado por una serie de estudios de resentimiento racial — en particular contra l@s musulmanes y l@s inmigrantes de América Latina — es la fuerza que motiva la mayoría de partidarios de Trump. La base de masas para la alianza Trump es una combinación de trabajador@s blanc@s y las personas blancas de clase media (profesionales, pequeños empresarios, gerentes). Estas fuerzas comenzaron a organizarse en el Tea Party, los Patriot, el Ku Klux Klan, y otras fuerzas populistas de derecha antes de unirse en torno a la candidatura de Trump. Se ven a sí mismos como víctimas de gran gobierno, las grandes corporaciones y la gente “floja” de color que se aprovechan al trabajo duro y los impuestos de los ciudadanos “reales” (es decir: blancos) y quieren tomar a América nuevamente. Son estos movimientos de derecha, construidas en torno a una política de venganza racial que están sacando provecho de la elección de Trump.

Esto lo podemos ver ya en el interior del Partido Republicano, donde republicanos corporativa, como Bush y Rubio, han sido empujados a un lado por la insurgencia del partido populista derechista. Las fuerzas corporativas estaban tratando de dirigir el Partido Republicano en una dirección muy diferente a Trump y la extrema derecha. Ellos se enfocan en 1) el libre comercio, 2) las altas ganancias y bajos impuestos a las empresas, y 3) la destrucción de los sindicatos. Consciente del sector blanco de la población cada vez menor y un bloque de progresistas blancas que estaban esperando para ganar a un sector decisivo de l@s votantes latin@s para reforzar la coalición republicana, ellos querían continuar con el neoliberalismo del libre comercio y la austeridad forzada por el gobierno. Sin embargo, la furia de la extrema derecha contra el libre comercio, los bancos grandes, y el establecimiento de su partido y republicanos corporativistas les sorprendió. A pesar de haber invertido enormes recursos en el monte y luego las campañas de Rubio, el establecimiento del partido y los republicanos corporativos fueron claramente des-legitimados por las derrotas masivas que sufrieron cuando Trump ganó en las primarias.

El triunfo del racismo como el factor clave de organización dentro del partido republicano también fue demostrado por la acción de los evangélicos blancos durante la primaria. Durante los últimos treinta o cuarenta años, la derecha religiosa ha entregado su base electoral y la infraestructura institucional para el programa político republicano. Esta fortaleza se refleja en el hecho de que Ted Cruz, que basaba su política en una plataforma religiosa, fue el candidato más competitivo desafiante en las primarias republicanas. Después de la derrota de Bush y Rubio, muchos empresarios republicanos intentaron reunirse alrededor de Cruz. Sin embargo, en las elecciones de este año, los temas de la inmigración, la islamofobia, y el law and order triunfaron sobre los llamados de religiosos. Los evangélicos se dividieron y una mayoría finalmente se quedaron con Trump.

El resultado de las primarias republicanas era un reajuste del Partido Republicano. En lugar de ser un partido de la derecha religiosa y racista bajo la dirección de las fuerzas empresariales neoliberales, la victoria de Trump demuestra que la actual dirección del partido Republicano es ahora los derechistas populistas y racistas. Las fuerzas empresariales y establecidos del partido, después de intentar privar del triunfo de la candidatura de Trump, están detrás de la re-alineación de su liderazgo, o como los hermanos Koch esperando en las afueras durante la elección presidencial. Este es un cambio enorme y aterrador y significa que Trump y su base social han abandonado por completo el proyecto de incorporar l@s votantes latin@s en su coalición — en su lugar están persiguiendo una estrategia de construir un frente unido blanco. Por esta razón, con Trump como presidente, su gente tendrá un verdadero interés no sólo en ignorar nuestros movimientos, sino en aplastar nuestros movimientos con la represión.

La alineación básica de Trump con los elementos principales de los movimientos republicano y derechista lo hace su candidato, a pesar de que él es un plutócrata de Nueva York. Él apoya las políticas racistas y misóginas de los movimientos que ya están trabajando duro “Haciendo América Grande Otra Vez” con retrocesos y ataques a los derechos del voto, derechos de las mujeres, derechos de l@s trabajador@s, los derechos LGBTQ +, inmigrantes, y mucho más.

Estratégicamente, la coalición de Trump está dirigido precisamente a lo contrario de nuestro compromiso de construir una alianza entre la clase trabajadora multirracial / multinacional y los movimientos de las comunidades afroamericana y latina. Se trata de dividir permanentemente la clase trabajadora y construir el frente único blanco contra los movimientos negros y latinos y en contra de los sectores más progresistas de l@s trabajador@s blanc@s sindicalizad@s. Su éxito sería un desastre estratégico para todos nuestros movimientos. Tenemos que derrotar a Trump y evitar que la Nueva Confederación gane la presidencia.

Pero ¿qué pasa con Hillary y los demócratas? ¿Cuál sería el impacto de una victoria de Clinton en noviembre?

Hillary Clinton: Una Político Neoliberal Vulnerable Que Busca Apoyo de una Base Militante y Progresista

Del mismo modo que ha habido una batalla dentro del partido republicano, ha habido una lucha entre las diferentes alas del partido demócrata y creemos que esto tiene grandes implicaciones para lo que significaría una presidencia de Clinton para nuestros movimientos.

Los demócratas neoliberales, representados por Clinton, han sido la fuerza dominante dentro del partido y con la nominación de Clinton se han aferrado a su posición de control. Muchos de los principales donantes de Clinton provienen de sectores de finanzas, del entretenimiento, de la energía verde, del fracking, y de las grandes compañías farmacéuticas. La historia política de Clinton es más neoliberal que se puede imaginar y su círculo político y aliados son a grandes rasgos los políticos corporativos del partido Demócrata. Este es el ala capitalista multinacional del partido que aboga para el libre comercio, la represión sindical, la privatización, y las guerras.

Por el contrario, Bernie Sanders representó y galvanizó el ala progresista en su mayoría personas blancas del partido Demócrata. Su movimiento electoral movilizó una gran coalición de votantes que puede ser algo muy importante — ahí está el movimiento Berniecrat, un Nuevo Congreso, la nueva organización política Nuestra Revolución, y una serie de esfuerzos demócratas disidentes locales. Decenas de personas jóvenes indignados por la creciente desigualdad y la aplastante deuda se convirtieron en militantes para esta insurgencia de Izquierda. Sin respaldo corporativo, el movimiento electoral de Sanders ganó impresionantes victorias en las primarias demócratas, en gran medida, reuniendo a l@s jóvenes de muchas razas, l@s votantes blanc@s de clase trabajadora de bajos ingresos, y profesionales progresistas.

Un conjunto de sindicatos endosaron a Sanders también—el más grande fue Communications Workers of America, que acaba de ganar la huelga de Verizon. National Nurses United (Enfermeras Unidas Nacional) también lo apoyaron firmemente, y comprometieron recursos para dar forma al impulso de la coalición Sanders a largo plazo y potencialmente independiente del partido demócrata. Por desgracia, la coalición Sanders más organizada parece pequeño, y, como se señaló anteriormente, el movimiento Sanders no pudo ganar más de un sector importante de los sectores políticamente activos y organizados de las comunidades negras y latinas.

Además de las alas neoliberales y progresistas del partido, la tercera fuerza importante en el Partido Demócrata es el bloque liberal compuesto de l@s trabajador@s organizad@s, las organizaciones principales pro-derechos civiles como la NAACP (Asociación Nacional para el Avance de las Personas de Color), las redes de defensa liberales, y muchas de las instituciones y organizaciones cívicas negra y latina. Quizás tan importante como el éxito de Sanders en galvanizar el ala progresista blanca del partido fue su éxito en hacer incursiones en los sindicatos. El AFT fue el primer sindicato importante para endosar a Clinton, y grandes sindicatos como SEIU y AFSCME pronto siguieron su ejemplo. Sin embargo, CWA y Enfermeras Unidas Nacionales endosaron a Sanders y estos dos sindicatos son todavía relativamente grandes. Mientras tanto, UNITE HERE se negó a respaldar a nivel nacional durante las primarias, pero después de las primarias de Nevada permitió a sus locales a apoyar a Sanders. Algunos locales de AFSCME lo endosaron localmente. Y en una acción sin precedentes, la AFL-CIO esperó en aprobar y, de hecho, no ratificó Clinton hasta el 16 de junio.

Por desgracia, la campaña Sanders falló en ganar a l@s votantes negr@s. Esto fue por no organizar de manera agresiva en las comunidades negras y no adoptar estrategias específicas para la raza para hacer frente a la opresión racial. Sin embargo, Sanders sí hizo mucho mejor con votantes latin@s que con votantes negr@s en las primarias, y en algunos casos llegó a un empate con Clinton o hizo mejor que Clinton. También importante es que Sanders mostró verdadera fuerza entre l@s jóvenes negr@s y latin@s. En última instancia, sin embargo, Clinton fue capaz de movilizar una coalición crítica de votantes negr@s que son fundamentales en la lucha de oponer la supresión del voto. Esto se debió a que ella ganó muchas instituciones cívicas negras y organizaciones políticas, una fuerza que Sanders críticamente y sin razón había dejado, así que es crucial en la movilización de l@s votantes negr@s que son consistentemente l@s votantes más progresistas en el electorado. El resultado final fue que la campaña de Clinton se quedó con enormes márgenes de l@s votantes negr@s y latin@s.

La alianza Clinton derrotó a la coalición Sanders y el ala izquierda del partido en las primarias demócratas. Ahora se encuentra en el proceso de sacar el ala izquierda detrás de su liderazgo y llegar a l@s votantes indecis@s moderad@s y conservador@s a través de la elección de Tim Kaine como el candidato de vicepresidente. Sin embargo, creemos que es fundamental tener en cuenta que en el contexto político actual, la campaña de Clinton ha tenido que moverse de manera significativa hacia la izquierda en una serie de asuntos: el movimiento trabajador y el odio generalizado contra el libre comercio le ha obligado a tomar una posición en contra de la Asociación Trans-Pacífico, un acuerdo comercial propuesto por Obama que sería el mayor acuerdo de libre comercio en la historia. Del mismo modo, Clinton, en contraste con su posición y la de su marido en la década de los 90, se ha visto obligada por el Movimiento por las Vidas Negras para enfrentar al sistema policial y el encarcelamiento en los Estados Unidos.

No creemos que las promesas de campaña y su retórica significa a la promulgación de políticas reales. Pero sí pensamos que la retórica representa un cambio en el equilibrio de las fuerzas políticas: hoy en día, a diferencia de la década de 1990, enormes sectores de los EE.UU. están en contra de la política comercial neoliberal y sectores decisivos de la base de los demócratas que son críticos de la violencia policial. Clinton ahora se encuentra en una situación precaria muy diferente a la de su marido: ella es una representante neoliberal del capitalismo y será obligada gobernar en una época en que el neoliberalismo ya no se considera legítimo y cuando los principales grupos en que ella debe confiar se dedican a levantamientos, huelgas, y la acción directa. Creemos que esto hace que una presidencia de Clinton es inherentemente inestable, vulnerable a las presiones del movimiento, y por lo tanto es preferible. No estamos de acuerdo con los que piensan que una Presidencia Democrática de Clinton hará engañar a la gente a dormir, ya que el Movimiento de Vidas Negras y el movimiento Ocupar ocurrieron con Obama y los próximos años parecen ser maduros para la rebelión.

Teniendo en cuenta todo esto, ¿qué pensamos se debe hacer? Depende…

Tácticas para los Estados Púrpura, Rojo, y Azul

A pesar de estar ligado a un sólo país, tenemos muy diferentes situaciones políticas dependiendo en el estado en que vivimos. La intensa polarización política en el país y su carácter geográfico no proviene simplemente de los desacuerdos entre las personas, ni es un simple reflejo de la “guerra de las ideas”. Más bien, está profundamente arraigada en las estructuras reales, muy antiguas: el sistema de federalismo que formó la base de la supremacía blanca y control de la élite en la estructura constitucional del país, e hizo el Sur como un bastión de la reacción y violencia, y continúa distorsionar la democracia y toda la política de Estados Unidos hasta la fecha.

Todos hemos oído acerca de los estados púrpura, estados rojos y estados azules, y si bien creemos que esas categorías no son tan rígidas que darse por sentado, en su expresión de diferentes programas políticos, diferentes alianzas dominantes, y diferentes economías políticas, que son útiles para considerar sobre el campo de la lucha política. Lo que queremos decir es: la elección puede ser un evento nacional, pero la manera en que debemos participar debe ser a nivel de los Estados–la unidad más básica y poderosa de los Estados Unidos.

En los estados púrpura / impugnados, creemos que la tarea principal es la de movilizar a l@s votantes para derrotar a Trump por votar a favor de Clinton. Es aquí, en estos estados que creemos que podemos tener nuestro mayor impacto, tanto en el resultado inmediato de esta elección, y en la trayectoria básica de la política en este país en el largo plazo. Estos son los estados donde la lucha por el liderazgo político de l@s trabajador@s y l@s oprimid@s es especialmente calentada y controvertida. Estos son los estados donde la Nueva Confederación está luchando por territorio nuevo, y en el que los demócratas están en nuestra opinión poco probable ser capaces de ganar de forma consistente en el largo plazo debido a su incapacidad para ofrecer una visión creíble y un programa para el cambio. Por esta razón, creemos que es fundamental para l@s organizador@s y activistas en estados fuertemente rojo y azul para viajar a estados púrpura para ayudar a las organizaciones del movimiento a derrotar Trump. A pesar de que somos pocos, grupos dedicados de activistas y organizador@s de Izquierda puede afectar esta elección concentrando nuestras fuerzas en unos pocos lugares críticos.

En estos estados, debido a la finalidad de una lucha electoral, creemos que las protestas son tácticas críticas, pero secundarias. Mientras nos unimos con y apoyamos el deseo de las personas a rebelarse, ese instinto no siempre produce una estrategia claramente articulada para la construcción de un movimiento que debería enfocarse a echar aquellos a que nuestra rebelión se dirige. Tenemos que centrarnos en las tácticas que tienen más probabilidad para derrotar a nuestros enemigos, no sólo las que les critican. Debemos hacer todo para ganar votos y el trabajo de registrar votantes con los sindicatos y las organizaciones dirigidas por gente de color, además de estar levantando nuestras críticas a la dirección neoliberal existente del Partido Demócrata, mientras que luchemos contra nuestro enemigo común.

En particular, creemos que l@s izquierdistas y progresistas deberían centrarse en la creación de organizaciones políticas arraigadas en las comunidades de color, sobre todo con l@s votantes negr@s, pero que funcionen de forma independiente del partido Demócrata. Movement2016 ha compilado un recurso en línea útiles para la conexión a estos grupos en estados. Otra gran prioridad es el trabajo entre l@s blanc@s de clase trabajadora que, sin saber de ninguna alternativa, pueden haber votado por Trump. Tanto la AFL-CIO y Showing Up For Racial Justice han iniciado esfuerzos importantes para fomentar la participación de l@s trabajador@s blanc@s.

En los estados rojos, creemos que la tarea principal es la de llevar a cabo protestas estratégicas de confrontar Trump, la Nueva Confederación y sus patrocinadores.

En los estados donde la represión y la privación del voto de las personas de color, la introducción del racismo entre l@s trabajador@s blanc@s cuya pobreza creciente que ell@s atribuye a la gente de color, y la consolidación de la política de la Derecha Cristiana casi garantizará una victoria Trump. Entonces la cuestión es ¿qué hacer? ¿Nos damos por vencidos? Definitivamente no.

De hecho, la debilidad de las fuerzas de la Izquierda y de progresistas en estos estados es un factor esencial que contribuye a la fuerza de nuestro enemigo: mientras que nos entregamos en estos lugares, nos alistamos para el fracaso en términos más generales. ¿Cómo podemos luchar contra el Trumpismo y la Nueva Confederación y construir nuestro propio poder político y organización en el corazón del campo derechista? Vemos nuestra tarea en estos estados de manera semejante los movimientos anti-apartheid y contra Jim Crow: nuestro objetivo es derrocar regímenes. Eso significa la necesidad de construir una coalición política que puede atacar la base de los principales pilares de la Nueva Confederación en esos estados. Pensamos que esto significa en primer lugar que la resistencia civil masiva, la acción directa estratégica, y la protesta son las tácticas principales en estos estados, mientras que el trabajo electoral es secundario.

En lo inmediato, hay que enfocarnos a los principales donantes, las empresas y los aliados políticos instrumentales (como los alguaciles como Arpaio de Arizona) que han respaldado Trump y apoyan a la Nueva Confederación. Debemos protestar contra ellos–en sus sitios de negocios, sus oficinas, y en sus eventos políticos. Hay que protestar en las manifestaciones pro-Trump y enfatizar lo negativo de él en los medios de comunicación, como se hizo en el sur de Estados Unidos cuando el movimiento pro-derechos civiles utilizados derribaban los Dixiecrats. También está el trabajo crítico de tratar de socavar el apoyo de Trump entre l@s blanc@s pobres a través de campañas de educación sobre el programa de clase que Trump representa, y si bien esto es un objetivo a largo plazo, también es urgente que declaremos claramente la política de clase que Trump representa.

La construcción de este tipo de movimiento nos obliga a construir la capacidad de la gente de color, además de las organizaciones negras y del movimiento trabajador progresista a participar en masa las tácticas sostenidas como de boicot, desinversión, sanciones, y la desobediencia civil, así como la constante consolidación de organización. A largo plazo esta organización debe ser utilizado para luchar contra la privación del derecho del voto; construir nuevas organizaciones y bases trabajadoras y socavar las bases de poder clase trabajadora de la Nueva Confederación; y, sí, luchar en la arena electoral.

En los estados azules, creemos que la tarea principal es hacer frente a la brecha racial y de clase entre un movimiento progresista mayoritariamente blanco de clase media por un lado, y la dirección crucial de las comunidades de color y labor organizada.

Puede haber pocas posibilidades de que Trump gane una mayoría del voto popular o colegio electoral, nuestras tareas son para construir la alianza estratégica de los movimientos de la clase trabajadora multirracial y los movimientos dirigidos por la gente de color; y establecer las bases para que sean el núcleo de un frente unido que está construyendo y ejerciendo el poder político independiente en las arenas electorales y políticas para un futuro con opciones que reflejan nuestra gente y sus prioridades.

Tenemos que cuestionar l@s partidarios Sanders sobre la centralidad de raza y la importancia de comprometerse con los grupos locales y luchas; hablar directamente sobre su preocupación anti-Hillary y convencerl@s ser más antirracista. Y mientras que la debilidad y el fracaso de la campaña Sanders no se trata sólo de su falta de conexión con gente de color y la construcción de bases negra, esa conexión puede reflejar una más seria apreciación de un programa anti-racista. La pérdida de Sanders entre l@s votantes no se trata, en última instancia, sólo de su política sobre estas cuestiones, sino de sus conexiones concretas a l@s votantes y sus instituciones. Es decir, hay que hacer, no sólo hablar – ¡y no nos referimos de lo que hacía Bernie Sanders hace cincuenta años!

Como tal, vamos a alentar a l@s organizador@s de Sanders a participar a largo plazo con grupos de movimientos locales dirigidos por gente de color que son un reto para el poder tanto en la política y las arenas electorales. Vamos a alentar a los grupos políticamente avanzados que se han centrado en cuestiones de política y tareas para comenzar en formar alianzas y promover candidatos. Un aspecto de esto es lo de promover una discusión de las fuerzas y alianzas con aquell@s que creen que el apoyo para Jill Stein u otro candidato presidencial de la Izquierda es más importante que promover las fuerzas de Izquierda, entre l@s que están trabajando para derrotar Trump. Vamos a unirnos con grupos de inmigrantes, musulmanes y negr@s para promover su visibilidad y autodefensa. Vamos a exponer y protestar la historia de Trump de no apoyar a trabajador@s (por ejemplo, la protesta sindical en la sede del GOP). Vamos a ampliar esto para identificar los puntos en común que los republicanos no-Trumpistas y los demócratas corporativos comparten con las fuerzas pro-Trump, y tratar de exponer y aislarlos para ayudar a construir el poder y el liderazgo de las fuerzas progresistas avanzadas.

El Largo Camino

Queremos el poder político para nuestro pueblo. Queremos socialismo. Eso significa serios esfuerzos tanto a derrotar a nuestros enemigos, y para construir nuestras propias organizaciones que puedan proporcionar las alternativas que much@s están buscando en la lucha contra tanto sufrimiento, dificultades y crisis. La dura verdad es que estamos hablando de luchar durante mucho tiempo, y tomar en serio el trabajo que se necesita para capacitar la Izquierda para luchar por el poder y el socialismo ante nuestros enemigos.

Creemos que sí cuenta lo que hacen l@s socialistas, revolucionari@s, y los líderes de los movimientos durante esta elección. Creemos que ampliando el número de líderes que pueden analizar las luchas entre coaliciones nos hace más fuertes. Creemos que la construcción de nuestra capacidad para participar en el trabajo electoral vinculado a una estrategia global nos hace más fuertes. Creemos que la ampliación del poder de las organizaciones políticas independientes nos hace más fuertes. Y creemos que al exponer la Nueva Confederación, confrontar a Donald Trump, y la elección de un gobierno de Clinton que es vulnerable a nuestros movimientos nos hace más fuertes.


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Crush Trump! Build Our Movements!

With the close of the Republican and Democratic conventions, socialists, revolutionaries, and movement leaders are faced with a difficult situation. On the one hand we are leaders of movements that understand neither Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the political representatives of our people. We know we have to fight them both. On the other hand, we are faced with the reality that one of them is going to be president of the US and how and when we fight them will make a difference in who gets elected.

We are among those who believe that, in this historical period, the difference between Clinton and Trump and the social forces that they represent matters and that Trump and his allies must be defeated. At the same time, we need to be building up the infrastructure of organizations and movements that can operate independently, inside and outside the Democratic Party. Make no mistake, if and when Clinton is elected we will need to be fighting to defeat her administration’s imperialist plans for the global South as well as her dangerous domestic policies. We believe that it is both possible and necessary to use the 2016 elections to do this work.

The tactics for carrying this out will include shutting shit down through protest and disruption, electoral organizing work outside of the Democrats, organization and alliance building and some tactical electoral work with the Democrats. We believe that our engagement in this election as socialists, radicals, and progressives will matter, both for the outcome of the election and for the future of our movements. But just as important as what we do is where, with whom, and how we do our work.

What follows is our thinking about what’s at stake in this election, who the forces are engaged in the fight, and what tactics we should use based on political conditions at the level of each state. We hope it contributes to the difficult but necessary conversations and decisions about strategy that face our movements.
What’s at Stake

Every election is a fight for power between different coalitions of economic, social, and political interests who come together to fight for control of offices and better position within the government in order to implement their agenda. No election does this more dramatically than the one for president, when more people and more money are mobilized than in any other. But when so much of the American election system is melodramatic, focusing our attention on the individual candidates and the spectacle of the election season, it can be easy to forget that elections are fights between coalitions over the levers of government.

The 2016 election will determine the composition of the Supreme Court of the Supreme Court for decades to come, appointment to the National Labor Relations Board, Justice Department investigation of racial justice issues, executive action on immigration and climate, not to mention control of the US military and a slew of other powerful institutions. The outcome of this battle is critical and will shape the political terrain on which all other social struggles are carried out. Trump’s ethnic cleansing deportation and anti-Muslim racial profiling program threatens to tear apart families, vastly increase the militarization of the country, and will likely raise racial tensions and state terror to an unprecedented level. Deporting 11 million people, challenging birthright citizenship for their US-born children, multiplying the number of ICE agents and requiring citizens to turn in undocumented neighbors are all very real and dangerous possibilities. This is the possibility driving Latin@s to apply for citizenship and register to vote in record numbers.
• Trump’s law and order narrative, taken directly from Nixon and the War on Crime, would both increase state violence and the incarceration of Black people and increase the repression of protest and social movements. At a time when even Clinton has been forced by Black Lives Matter to criticize the racism of the criminal justice system, Trump’s rhetoric stands in sharp contrast.
On climate and the environment, an issue of existential importance, Trump has called for the abolition of the EPA and appointed an energy adviser who doesn’t believe in climate change. Fracking regulations, prevention of the Keystone pipeline, and any future climate negotiations would take serious blows under his administration.
• Given Clinton’s pro-intervention, imperialist foreign policy and Trump’s rhetoric about non-intervention, foreign policy question in this election is complicated. But if we take into account Trump’s call to remove restrictions on torture by the US military, his call for the Paris climate agreement to be re-negotiated to further favor the US, and his position that the US military budget should be expanded, we get a clear sense of a foreign policy orientation that is consistent with Trump’s domestic orientation: violence, force, and US domination.
• On economic justice issues, Trump is for a nativist trade policy that returns jobs to the United States but without unions while at the same time providing huge government subsidies by a neoliberal state. He has also called for huge tax cuts for the wealthy. The AFL-CIO has done valuable work in researching Trumps anti-worker history from everything from free trade to the minimum wage. Meanwhile, Pence, Trump’s VP choice, has a long history of opposing living wages and supporting right-to-work laws.
• Donald Trump’s platform has a pretty basic fascist orientation about it. Trump received the endorsement of the Border Patrol unions, he has been endorsed by Right wing militias, he has been endorsed by dozens of sheriffs and law enforcement officials, and Trump’s basic slogan is law & order. These forces may not yet be mobilized in specifically political ways, but the armed infrastructure and allegiances are already there. Judging when to call a movement fascist can be tricky because theories of fascism are always post facto: we don’t know we have fascism until it’s in power. But fascism also takes a movement, and just because that component is theoretically underdeveloped doesn’t mean our movements should shy away from calling it out.

The threat of a Trump presidency is real, and the forces he promises to bring to power are dangerous—more dangerous than the regime that is in power now or a potential Clinton administration. With his promise to “Make America Great Again”, Trump is fighting for one of the most reactionary political agendas in modern history, one that we think is substantially different than Clinton’s—different enough that we think Trump must lose, even if the price is a Clinton victory. For the people of the world, for our families and loved ones, for our movements, we are committed to defeating Donald Trump and his allies—and we know that means Hillary Clinton must win the contest.

In recommending tactical support of Clinton in order to defeat Trump, we know we are putting a lightning rod out in a storm: Hillary Clinton is not a representative of our movements, her core interests are not ours, and many militant movement leaders are angry at her because of her historic positions on everything from free trade to the War on Drugs. Growing numbers of people see that the leaders of the Democratic party are not our friends and cannot be trusted to fight for working people or people of color. They provide no solution to the crises we face. We think this understanding is a positive development and have no interest in covering for Clinton.

At the same time, we think that strategy and tactics for the 2016 election have to be based on a clear analysis of the forces behind the candidates and what their victory would mean for our people and our movements. We are among those who think that in the contest for president, Donald Trump and the forces that he represents must lose. What’s more, we think that a Hillary victory against Trump would provide better conditions for building the militancy and impact of our movements.

Here’s why…
Donald Trump: Candidate of the New Confederacy

One of the reasons we believe that Trump must be defeated is because many of us already live in Trump’s America and know what it will mean if his alliance wins. In twenty-three states, the Republican Party controls the governorship, senate, and the house; by contrast, the Democrats control only seven states. The Republican Party in these states is an alliance between angry, white, right-wing populists and corporate, GOP establishment forces whose strategy is built on the legacy of white supremacist, states’ rights political movements.

By controlling government at the state level, this alliance has been able to pass policies that are deadly for our movements while building a reactionary bloc of states that exempt themselves from federal policy and law that benefit our people. Think about all the states without Medicaid expansion, the states with no gun control, the states that are attacking voting rights, the states that have a separate, unequal system of laws for LGBTQ+ people, and so on.

This is the New Confederacy. The Republican Party is the instrument of its political rule and Donald Trump is its presidential candidate in 2016. For those who don’t already know, life in the New Confederacy—in Trump’s America—is bad. Really bad. From the highest incarceration and poverty rates, to attacks on the right of workers to organize and reproductive rights, the New Confederacy’s control of government has real, devastating consequences.










This isn’t just a problem for those of us living in the New Confederacy. When twenty-six states, led by Republican governors and attorneys general, sued the federal government over Obama’s executive action on immigration, they secured an injunction that prevented millions of undocumented immigrants across the country from receiving three year, renewal work permits and protection against deportation. And it is Republican control at the state level that has allowed them to gridlock congress for years on end. Like its predecessor, the New Confederacy is hell-bent on extending its control to the entire country.

Trump’s voting base draws from the most racist and reactionary forces inside the Republican Party. As revealed by a number of studies racial resentment (particularly against Muslims and Latin American immigrants) is the force that most motivates Trump supporters. The mass base for the Trump alliance is a combination of both white workers and the white middle classes (professionals, small business people, managers). These forces began to organize themselves in the Tea Party, Patriot, KKK, and other right-wing populist forces before coalescing around the candidacy of Trump. They see themselves as victims of big government and big corporations and lazy people of color who leach off the hard work and taxes of “real” (read: white) US citizens and they want to “take America back”. It is these right-wing, movements, built around a politics of racial revenge that are capitalizing on Trump’s election.

We can see this already inside the Republican Party, where corporate, “establishment” Republicans like Bush and Rubio, have been pushed aside by the right-wing populist insurgency. The corporate-centered establishment forces were attempting to steer the Republican Party in a very different direction than Trump and the far right. Their primary concerns are free trade, high profits, low corporate taxes, and the destruction of unions. Conscious of the shrinking white portion of the electorate and the existence of a block of white progressives, they were hoping to win over a decisive section of Latinx voters to shore up the Republican coalition and they wanted to continue the policies of neoliberal free trade and government austerity. However, the far-right fury against free trade, big banks, and the party establishment caught them off guard. Despite pouring massive amounts into the Bush and then the Rubio campaigns, the party establishment and corporate Republicans were clearly delegitimized by the massive defeats they suffered to Trump in the primaries.

The triumphant rise of racism as the key organizing factor inside the Republican party was also demonstrated by the action of white evangelicals during the primary. For the past thirty or forty years the religious right has provided the mass voting base and institutional infrastructure for the Republican political program. This strength was reflected in the fact that Ted Cruz, running on a religious platform, was the most competitive candidate challenging Trump in the Republican primaries. After the defeat of Bush and Rubio, many of the business Republicans attempted to rally around Cruz. However, in this year’s elections, the issues of immigration, Islamophobia, and law and order trumped religious appeals. Evangelicals split and a majority eventually went to Trump.

The result of the Republican primaries was a realignment of the Republican Party. Rather than being a party with the religious and racist right being under the leadership of neoliberal business forces, Trump’s victory demonstrates that the current leadership of the Republican party is now the racist, right-wing populists. The business forces and party establishment, after trying to deprive Trump of the nomination, are realigning behind his leadership, or sitting the presidential election out like the Koch brothers. This is a tremendous and terrifying shift. It means that Trump and his social base have completely abandoned the project of incorporating Latinx voters into their coalition and instead are pursuing an all-out strategy of building a white united front. For this reason, a Trump presidency would have a real interest not only in ignoring the pressure of our movements, but in directly opposing and crushing our movements with repression.

Trump’s basic alignment with the leading elements of the state-based Republican and right-wing movements makes him their candidate, despite the fact that he is a New York City plutocrat. He supports the racist and misogynist politics of the movements that are already hard at work “Making America Great Again” with rollbacks and attacks on voting rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, LGBTQ+ rights, immigrants, and more.

Strategically, Trump’s coalition is aimed at exactly the opposite of our commitment to building an alliance between the multi-national/multi-racial working class and the movements of Black and Brown communities. He seeks to permanently split the working class and build the white united front against Black and Brown movements and against the more progressive sections of the white workers who are in unions. His success would be a strategic disaster for all our movements. We have to defeat Trump and prevent the New Confederacy from capturing the presidency.

But what about Hillary and the Democrats? What would be the impact of a Clinton victory in November?

Hillary Clinton: A Vulnerable, Neoliberal Politician Courting a Militant, Progressive Base

Just as there’s been a battle within the Republican party, there’s been a fight between the different wings of the Democratic party and we think this has big implications for what a Clinton presidency would mean for our movements.

The neoliberal Democrats, represented by Clinton, have been the dominant force within the party and with Clinton’s nomination they have held on to their controlling position. Many of Clinton’s major donors come from sectors like finance, entertainment, green energy, fracking as well, and big pharma. Clinton’s political history is about as neoliberal as it gets and her political circle and allies are broadly the corporate politicians of the Democratic party. This is the multinational capitalist wing of the party that pushes free trade, union-busting, privatization, and war.

In contrast, Bernie Sanders represented and galvanized the mostly white progressive wing of the Democratic party. His electoral movement mobilized a huge voter coalition that may be cohering into something quite important; there’s the Berniecrat motion, Brand New Congress, the new Our Revolution political organization, and a number of more local dissident Democrat efforts. Scores of young people who are outraged about ballooning inequality and crushing debt became foot soldiers for this Left insurgency. With no corporate backing, the Sanders electoral movement won stunning victories in Democratic primaries, largely by bringing together young people of many races, low-income working class white voters, and progressive professionals.

A set of labor unions endorsed, Sanders as well—the largest was Communications Workers of America, which just won the Verizon strike. National Nurses United also strongly endorsed, and has committed real resources to shaping the momentum of the Sanders coalition into something long term and potentially independent of the Democratic party. Unfortunately, the more organized Sanders coalition seems small, and, as noted above, the Sanders movement failed to win over a significant section of the politically active and organized sections of Black and Brown communities.

In addition to the neoliberal and progressive wings of the party, the third major force in the Democratic party is the liberal bloc composed of organized labor, the mainstream civil rights like the NAACP, the liberal advocacy networks, and many of the Black and Latinx civic institutions and organizations. Perhaps just as important as Sanders’ success in galvanizing the white progressive wing of the party was his success in making inroads into the unions. The AFT was the first major union to endorse Clinton setting off the race for access, and big unions like SEIU, and AFSCME soon followed suit. However, CWA and National Nurses United went for Sanders and are still relatively big unions. Meanwhile UNITE HERE declined to endorse nationally during the primaries, but after the Nevada primary allowed its locals to endorse Sanders. Some AFSCME Locals pushed back and endorsed Sanders locally. And in an unprecedented move, the AFL-CIO held off on endorsing and in fact didn’t endorse Clinton until June 16th.

Unfortunately, the Sanders campaign did nowhere near as well among Black Democratic voters. It failed to win over Black voters by not aggressively organizing in Black communities and failing to adopt race-specific strategies for addressing racial oppression. Sanders did, however, do much better with Latinx voters than he had done with Black primary voters, and in some cases tied or beat Clinton among them. Also important, Sanders showed real strength among Black and Brown youth. Ultimately though, Clinton was able to mobilize critical coalition of Black voters that are fundamental to surmounting voter suppression. This was because she won over many Black civic institutions and political organizations, a force which Sanders critically and wrongly seems to have conceded, and which is crucial in mobilizing Black voters—consistently the most progressive voters in the electorate. The end result was the Clinton camp holding on to huge margins of Black and Brown voters.

The Clinton alliance defeated the Sanders coalition and the Left wing of the party in the Democratic primaries. It is now in the process of pulling the Left wing in behind its leadership and reaching out to moderate and conservative swing voters through the choice of Tim Kaine as the VP candidate. However, we think it is critical to note that in the current political context, the Clinton campaign has had to move significantly to the Left on a number of issues: the labor movement and the widespread hatred of free trade have forced her to take a position against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal proposed by Obama that would be the largest free trade deal in history. Similarly, Clinton, in contrast to her and her husband’s position in the 90’s, has been forced by the movement for Black lives to call the US policing and incarceration system into question.

We do not think campaign promises and rhetoric amount to real policy enactment. But we do think that the rhetoric represents a shift in the balance of political forces: today, unlike in the 1990’s huge sections of the US are against neoliberal trade policy and decisive sections of the base of the Democrats are critical of police violence. Clinton is in a precarious position very different than her husband’s: she is a neoliberal representative of capitalism who must govern in an era where neoliberalism is no longer considered legitimate and where key constituencies she must rely on are engaged in uprisings, strikes, and direct action. We think this makes a Clinton presidency inherently unstable, vulnerable to movement pressures, and therefore preferable. We disagree with those who think that a Democratic, Clinton presidency will lull people back to sleep, as the movement for Black Lives and Occupy both occurred under Obama and the years ahead seem ripe for rebellion.

Given all of this, what do we think should be done? It depends…

Tactics for Purple, Red, and Blue States

Despite being bound into one country, we have wildly different political situations depending on the state we live in. The intense political polarization wracking the country and its pronounced geographic character is not simply people disagreeing or a mere reflection of the “war of ideas”. Rather, it is deeply rooted in very old and very real, institutional structures: the system of federalism that built white supremacy and elite control into the constitutional structure of the country, carved the South out as a bastion of reaction and violence, and continues to distort democracy and all US politics to this day.

We’ve all heard about purple states, red states, and blue states, and while we think those categories are not so rigid as to be taken for granted, in their expression of differing political programs, differing ruling alliances, and differing political economies, they are useful for thinking about the terrain of political struggle. What we’re saying is this: the election might be a national one, but the way we should engage the election should be at the level of the states—the most basic and powerful governmental unit of the United States.

In purple/contested states, we believe that the main task is to mobilize voters to defeat Trump by voting for Clinton.

It is here in these states that we think we can have our greatest impact, both in the immediate outcome of this election, and in the basic trajectory of politics in this country over the long-run. These are states in which the fight for political leadership of workers and oppressed people is especially heated and contested. These are the states where the New Confederacy is fighting for new territory, and in which the Democrats are in our view unlikely to be able to consistently win in the long-term because of their failure to offer a credible vision and program for change. For this reason, we think it is critical for organizers and activists in heavily red and blue states to travel to purple states to help movement organizations defeat Trump. Despite our small numbers, dedicated groups of Left activists and organizers can impact this election by concentrating our forces in a few critical places.

In these states, because of the decisiveness of the electoral struggle, we think protests are critical but secondary tactics. While we unite with and support the righteousness of all people’s desire to rebel, that instinct does not always have a clearly articulated strategy for building a movement to drive out those against whom our rebellion should be waged. We need to be focused on deploying the tactics most likely to defeat our enemies, not just those that critique them. We should be doing get-out-the-vote and voter registration work with labor unions and people-of-color led movement organizations, and we should be raising our criticisms of the existing neoliberal leadership of the Democratic party while at the same time fighting our common enemy.

In particular we believe that Leftists and progressives should focus on building up political organizations rooted in people of color communities, especially among Black voters, but which operate independently of the Democratic party. Movement2016 has compiled a helpful online resource for connecting to these groups in swing states. The other major priority is work among working class white people who, without hearing any alternative, may have voted for Trump. Both the AFL-CIO and Showing Up for Racial Justice have initiated important efforts around engaging white workers.

In red states, we believe that the main task is to engage in strategic, mass protest to confront and expose Trump, the New Confederacy and their backers.

In states where suppression and disenfranchisement of people of color, inculcation of racism among white workers whose own deepening poverty is blamed on people of color, and consolidation of Christian Right politics will almost guarantee a Trump victory, what do we do? Do we give up? Definitely not.

Indeed, Left and progressive forces’ weaknesses in these states is an essential contributing factor to our enemy’s strength: as long as we surrender in these places, we set ourselves up for failure more broadly. How do we fight Trumpism and the New Confederacy, and build toward our own political power and organization in the heart of Rightwing territory? We see our task in these states to be akin to the anti-apartheid movement and the movement against Jim Crow: our goal is to topple regimes. That means building a political coalition that can attack the basis of the major pillars of New Confederate control over those states. We think that this primarily means that mass civil resistance, strategic direct action, and protest are the primary tactics in these states, while electoral work is secondary.

In the immediate term, we should call out the major donors, the businesses and the instrumental political allies (like the many sheriffs) who have endorsed Trump and support the New Confederacy. We should protest them—picket their business locations, offices, and their political events. We should protest Trump’s rallies in order to create the kind of negative exposure that Southern civil rights protests used to bring down the Dixiecrats. There’s also the critical work of attempting to undermine Trump’s support among poor white people by leading education campaigns about the class program Trump actually represents, and while this is certainly also a long term objective, it’s also urgent for us to call out the class politics Trump represents.

The building of this kind of movement will require us to build the capacity of people of color, Black, and progressive labor movement organizations to engage in mass and sustained tactics of boycott, divestment, sanctions, and civil disobedience as well as steady organization-building. Over the longer term this organization must be used to fight back against disenfranchisement; build up new organizations and undercut working class bases of New Confederate power; and, yes, fighting in the electoral arena.

In blue states, we believe that the main task is to address the racial and class divide between a largely white, middle class progressive movement and the crucial leadership of communities of color and organize labor.

Where there may be little chance that Trump will win a majority of the popular vote or electoral college, our tasks are to build the strategic alliance of the multiracial working class & labor movements, and people of color-led movements; and to lay the groundwork for them to be the core of a united front that is building and exercising independent political power in the electoral and policy arenas for a future with options that reflect our people and priorities.

We need to challenge Sanders supporters on the centrality of race and the importance of engaging with local groups and struggles; to stop worrying about being so anti-Hillary and start worrying about being more anti-racist. And while the weakness and failure of the Sanders campaign is not just about its lack of connection to a people of color, and especially Black, base building that connection will take a more serious appreciation of an anti-racist program. The Sanders loss among those voters is ultimately not just about its line on those issues, but about its concrete connections to those voters and their institutions. That is, it’s not just talking the talk, but walking the walk–and we don’t mean something Bernie Sanders did fifty years ago!

As such, we will encourage Sanders organizers to engage long-term with local movement groups led by people of color that are challenging for power in both policy and electoral arenas. We will encourage advanced movement groups that have focused on policy and issues to begin building alliances and running candidates. As part of this, we will promote a discussion of forces and alliances with those who believe that individually supporting Jill Stein or another left Presidential candidate is more important than building the left forces among those who are working to defeat Trump. We will join with immigrant, Muslim and Black groups to support their visibility and self-defense. We will expose and protest Trump’s history of not supporting workers (e.g., union protest at GOP headquarters). We will expand on this to identify the common ground that non-Trump Republicans and corporate Democrats share with the Trump forces, and expose and isolate them to help build the power and leadership of the advanced progressive forces.

The Long Haul

We want political power for our people. We want socialism. That’s going to take serious efforts to both defeat our enemies, and to build our own organizations that can provide the alternatives so many people are looking for in the face of so much suffering, hardship, and crisis. The hard truth is that we’re talking about digging in for a long time, and taking seriously the amount of work it will be to build the Left’s ability to fight for power and socialism in the face of our enemies.

We believe that what socialists, revolutionaries, and movement leaders do during this election matters. We believe that growing the number of leaders who can analyze the fights between coalitions makes us stronger. We believe that building our capacity to engage in electoral work tied to an overall strategy makes us stronger. We believe that expanding the power of independent political organizations makes us stronger. And we believe that exposing the New Confederacy, confronting Donald Trump, and electing a Clinton administration vulnerable to our movements makes us stronger.

Done right, our engagement in the 2016 elections will grow our movement’s power. What we are not in a position to impact today we can be in a position to impact in the future, provided we develop effective strategies for navigating the complex political situation facing our movements. So let’s build the force that can defeat not only the New Confederacy but the neoliberal Democrats as well. Let’s build a powerful, strategic political force so that one day soon, socialism will be the agenda driving the politics of this country.

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“A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, & Justice” by Movement for Black Lives

Freedom Road Socialist Organization stands in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives today as they release “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, & Justice”.  

This document does more than encourage us to fight for radical transformation. It recognizes that not all of our collective needs and visions can be translated into policy, but policy change is one of many tactics necessary to move us towards the world we envision. Great job to these brilliant thinkers and doers.

A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, & Justice presents an agenda that clearly defines policies, organizing tactics and resources to advance Black liberation. The platform includes a set of 40 comprehensive and visionary policy demands that extend beyond the police killing of our people. The platform reflects the Movement for Black Lives’ determination to address state violence that appears in many forms ­­ from failing schools that criminalize our children to the poisoning of our water. We believe that together we can end the war on black people, repair harm that has exploited and killed Black people, rethink our investments, and attain the political and economic power necessary to determine our own destiny.


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A Letter from Our National Organizer


Hi family and new friends,
My name is Cazembe Murphy Jackson. I am a commitment to loving myself so deeply that others are inspired to love themselves just as deep. I am a commitment to authentic and compassionate leadership that meets people where they are and helps them find their own interest in liberation. I am a Black, southern, queer, non-binary, socialist, trans man. Austin, TX made me. Chattanooga, TN re-birthed me. And Atlanta, GA is where I found home. I went to a rally in Chattanooga, TN after Trayvon Martin had been killed by George Zimmerman. There were about 700 hundred people who came to rally and march. One of the organizers of that march, who was also a FRSO membr,  told us that Tennessee also had a “Stand Your Ground Law”. She said that if we wanted to do more than march, if we believed in having a plurality of tactics, to stick around after the march. I stayed after and my whole life changed for the better. I almost immediately agreed to help reactivate Concerned Citizens for Justice, Chattanooga’s oldest Black led organization addressing police violence. With CCJ I helped to mobilize communities across race, class, religion, gender, ability, immigration status and sexual orientation. I grew up missionary Baptist. I read about all kinds of revolutionaries who loved God and who explained Jesus as a revolutionary who was executed by the state. Through my work with CCJ I discovered Freedom Road Socialist Organization and started doing political education with some local members. Since becoming a member I have participated in building and implementing curriculum for political education for all types of learners, writing organization documents, and serving on our National Executive Committee. Strategy and tactics are the most alluring parts of organizing to me. They are the two components that made me want to join a revolutionary organization. While I have seen and felt the power of prayer many times in my life, I do not think that prayer alone will cure oppression. These systems of oppression like white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, ableism, capitalism, have been expertly designed to kill us. I believe in FRSO’s strategy to defeat who we have identified as the main political enemy to marginalized people in this country.
As the new National Organizer for Freedom Road Socialist Organization I will be responsible for the administrative duties of the organization. I will be building stronger relationships with districts and commissions nationally to help implement a national project. I am overjoyed to be chosen to do this job. I am committed to this organization and I really do believe that when we win, all of my people will win. In “Uses of the Erotic” Audre Lorde asks the question “How often do we truly love our work even at its most difficult?” She suggests that the way to truly loving your work is questioning how acutely and fully we can feel while doing it. When I am having organizing conversations, canvassing, phone banking, performing revolutionary spoken word, singing freedom songs, even just hanging out having conversations about how we can change the world, it is when my body feels the most alive. I was born to do this work. Every experience that I have survived or celebrated has played a role in making me the leader and organizer I am today. I am commitment to disciplined study, integrated action, consistent communication, giving and receiving constructive assessments (both to celebrate something I have done well, as well as challenges to do better), and to loving myself as unconditionally as I love Black people.

In Solidarity and Love,
Cazembe M. Jackson



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BLACK POWER IS THE SOLUTION FRSO/OSCL Statement on Black Movement, Police Violence, and the Dallas Shootings

Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad (FRSO/OSCL) stands in solidarity with Black activists, protesters, organizers, and communities in the fight for Black Lives. These days, horrifying videos of police violence against Black people come fast and furious. Even before we’ve finished mourning one attack, even before we’ve completed one protest, the news of another assault, another shooting, another murder is exposed for the whole world to see. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has uncovered that a Black person is killed every 28 hours by police or other actors protected by the government of this country. Meanwhile, Black people endure other forms of violence, perhaps less visible but no less real in their power to deprive Black people of the full potential of their lives: divestment from public schools, lack of access to healthcare, the colonization of Black neighborhoods (aka gentrification), super exploitation at poverty-wage jobs….The list goes on and on.
We therefore support Black struggle and Black anger as affirmations of life–affirmations of Black Life–in the face of each and every attempt to dehumanize Black people. We reject all attempts to use the killing of police officers in Dallas to discredit the movement for Black lives or to characterize Black protest as the source of violence. As the Black Lives Matter network has stated, “There are some who would use these events to stifle a movement for change and quicken the demise of a vibrant discourse on the human rights of Black Americans. We should reject all of this. Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. [The Dallas] attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible.”
In the face of the ongoing brutality against Black people by the police and with deep feelings of grief, rage, and determination, FRSO/OSCL re-affirms our commitment to the building of Black Power as the only real solution to the policies and pattern of Black death that saturates this country. We believe that the ultimate solution to the oppression of Black people and to the inequity and injustice of this society must be the building of Black Power: the power of Black people to determine their own lives and futures, the power of Black people to govern. The ongoing violence against Black people is a brutal reminder of the vicious and cold-blooded power that we are up against. If we want Black liberation–indeed, if we want liberation for any of us–we must get ferocious about building the power to dismantle anti-Black racism and the system of racial and class exploitation that it flows from. The success of Black movements in this country has always played the leading role both in abolishing institutions of anti-Black racism and in opening the way for the radical reconstruction of the country as a whole. This was true for the abolition of slavery and Jim Crow and will be true today.
At its heart, building Black Power requires the organization and mobilization of massive numbers of everyday Black people. Over the past two years, we have celebrated and supported the uprising of thousands of Black people in the movement for Black lives. This uprising has commanded the attention of the entire country. Today, FRSO/OSCL re-commits to building and supporting an even greater movement and organization of Black people. We re-commit to the unleashing of Black rage and Black hope, the forging of Black organizations and the nourishing of Black leadership. Historically, the Black women, Black trans people, Black immigrants, Black disabled people, Black queer people, and Black men who make up the Black working class have been the greatest mass force for freedom, dignity, and authentic democracy that this country has ever known. Today, as revolutionaries and as socialists, we re-commit, above all else, to engaging the Black working class in the powerful, life-saving, and liberating work of mass organizing and collective action.

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FRSO / OSCL Statement on the Orlando Massacre

Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad (FRSO/OSCL) wants to express our sadness and anger at the Orlando massacre and to affirm our ongoing commitment to gender liberation as central to all struggles for human emancipation. We lift up the contributions of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Gender non-conforming leaders and members in our organization and in every movement for justice.

13423808_10154475810437345_5171149569077040141_nWe deplore the Orlando massacre as a hate crime against LGBTQ+, Brown and Black people and communities. This targeting of LGBTQ+ & Latinx communities is a tragic example of the ongoing attacks those communities experience every day in the US. More than 1300 hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals were reported last year, which we know is only a fraction of the total. Trans women and LGBTQ+ people of color are intensively under attack: of 20 LGBTQ+ murders last year, 80% were people of color and more than half were transgender women of color. And 400 years of massacres on this territory (including Wounded Knees, Sand Creek, Thibodaux, Rosewood, Greenwood, Rock Springs) have nearly always included genocide, targeted native Americans, African-American, Chicanos, Chinese Americans and/or organized workers (Ludlow, Matewan, Centralia, Haymarket).

The Orlando massacre highlights the role of LGBTQ+ individuals and communities as freedom fighters who, because they reject society’s gender norms, are viewed as a special threat by those who rely on hate, repression and division to rule us. While one man pulled the trigger, the massacre was fueled by right-wing Republicans who have led the backlash against LGBTQ+ civil rights victories. We call them the “New Confederacy” because, like the “Old” Confederacy, their aim is maintain minority rule by consolidating a militant conservative and racist white base, an increasingly repressive state, and a restricted voting franchise. New Confederates aggressively defend their twisted ideals of all-powerful, dominating masculinity. They work hard to legalize hate and discrimination: just this year, New Confederates have introduced more than 100 anti-gay and trans bills in the 23 Southern and Midwestern states where they control both the state legislature and governor’s office. In the past few months the New Confederacy has rallied the forces of hate to ban North Carolina cities from passing LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination ordinances; to bar transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity; and to allow mental health professionals in Tennessee to refuse to treat LGBTQ+ patients.

The New Confederacy put the high-capacity weapon in the hands of the PULSE killer with its embrace of gun rights and “Stand Your Ground” laws. Their toxic white supremacism targets Black and Brown communities with voter suppression, inequitable sentencing laws and private prisons as well as privatized public schools and public services. They also block immigration reform, support new border security laws and oppose debt relief for Puerto Rico, the US territory/colony that was home to almost half of the PULSE murder victims and many other economic refugees.

Now the New Confederates dare to hijack the massacre that is itself the product of their own fear and hate to justify their increasingly dangerous agenda. They are stoking a cynical hatred and suspicion of Muslims; restricting immigration and targeting immigrant communities. They are using the massacre to justify increasing surveillance, even greater militarization and global intervention. We say NO!

We will continue to fight the New Confederacy and to unite with the forces of love and liberation. We are building a revolutionary movement that can reach the gay club standard that comrade Cazembe described in his article, Pulse: Lessons from the Gay Club toward Collective Liberation: “We saw each other for who we really were, we loved each other and validated each other.” And we are turning that love into collective action, as revolutionaries always have.


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