A statement from a Black cadre in Freedom Road:
An incredible struggle against mass violence is taking place across the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people across racial and gendered lines are creating social movements against both the silence around pervasive sexual assault and harassment, and against the further militarization of U.S. society. I applaud these efforts, and aims to situate these social movements in the context of the struggle for Black freedom.
#MeToo was manifested in 2006 by Tarana Burke, a Black woman from the Bronx, New York whose life work has been to struggle for gender equity. Since October of 2017, #MeToo has helped to galvanize millions of people to raise awareness about sexual assault and sexual harassment. This galvanization has prompted media institutions, cultural icons, liberal celebrities, elected officials and political organizations to come to terms with the prevalence of gender-based oppression. I applaud the mass character of this social motion, and reaffirms the class struggle that Black women, Black gender non-aligned people and Black Trans people have led for decades against gender based oppression. This struggle is not just a class struggle, but a genuine struggle for the liberation of oppressed genders and oppressed nations. I believe we must keep track of the Black origin of this social movement, and must not allow sections of the white liberal ruling class to divorce this urgent mass social movement from its revolutionary potential.
#NeverAgain was formed on February 15th of 2018 in response to the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Since its inception, students in Florida have organized walkouts, rallies, national mobilizations, and vigils to highlight the need for a change in gun culture in the United States. These actions have forced New Confederate allies of the far right gun organizations to second guess their allegiances, have played a role in the corporate revocations of special privileges to the NRA, and have placed students at the center of a new mass social movement dedicated to ending mass shootings.
I offer support for this movement, and re-center the radical Black student organizing and activism that has taken place over the last few years. This movement has cast a wider critique and a deeper analysis of U.S. society. Black students at Bethune-Cookman University turned their backs on U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for her racist mischaracterizations of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) being foundational for the school choice movement. The Black-led 2015-2016 University of Missouri protests organized a hunger strike and organized a football boycott, both of which led to the ouster of the sitting President of the University of Missouri system. In North Carolina, Black HBCU students organized Black University, a collective coalition dedicated to the freedom of Black people for and by Black people. As a Black communist, I support the #NeverAgain movement against the armed sections of the New Confederate dictatorship, and I know that the dilemma isn’t just a false dichotomy between gun control and bourgeois rights, but that the United States society is a deeply militarized society. I believe we must center the existing Black student movements against the dominance of the New Confederacy.
The New Confederate dictatorship is in crisis. Since the imposition of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President, New Confederate forces have been internally divided, yet, externally effective at advancing their racist, neoliberal agenda. Powerful social movements like #MeToo and #NeverAgain have politicized a new generation of activists, organizers and leaders around mass violence in U.S. society. I center the antecedent and existing Black student movements and Black Trans people, Black women and Black gender non-conforming people in our just struggle; refutes political struggle devoid of radical racial and gender justice; and supports the protagonist, mass social movements against the New Confederacy.