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Black Nationalism, Electoral Politics and Strategy   

Alt-Black.com has issued this thought paper, Black Nationalism, Electoral Politics and Strategy to recommend Black Nationalist forces consider strategic engagement in the arena of electoral politics.              
                                                                                                                                                                                                          We do so cognizant that revolution--one class overthrowing another, and oppressed nations vanquishing imperial overlords--cannot be achieved at the ballot box any more than capitalism can peacefully evolve into socialism.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Nevertheless, Alt-Black.com adopted this position because the gathering confluence of events has created unique opportunities that should be leveraged now in order for Black Nationalists to accelerate our struggle to win self-determination. These opportunities dictate that we deviate from the conventions of 20th Century left and nationalist doctrines.                                                                                                                                                                                                             This proposal doesn't call for creating new Black Nationalist political parties to participate in elections. Its scope rejects running presidential or congressional candidates for office. Nor does it support endorsing or voting for presidential candidates under the rationale of derailing Trump's "fascist regime," as the lesser of two evils.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               This political intervention ask Black Nationalists to consider running in local elections in predominately Black areas to advocate the creation of economic and social cooperatives. These cooperatives, owned and directed by Black working class and low-income communities would constitute the economic and political machinery of a self-sufficient Black Independence movement. As such, these cooperatives would be transitional vehicles to sustain and strengthen Black communities as we prepare for nationhood.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Over the past six years, Black Nationalists in the Cooperation Jackson movement have helped to create Black working class owned and democratically directed economic cooperatives in the areas of food sovereignty, recycling, composting, community development corporation housing initiatives, and Green jobs of the future.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Unapologetically developed as an eco-socialist project, Cooperation Jackson sought to empower Jackson, Mississippi's 80 percent Black community to build its economy based on the communities' needs. In doing so, it completely bucked the logic of America's capitalist system and its market driven economy that's ruthlessly exploited the Darker Nation. Cooperation Jackson has provided us with a economic and a political model of self-sufficiency to replicate in Black communities across the country.                                                                                                                                                                                                           How electoral politics contributed to Cooperation Jackson's success merits serious study by Black Nationalists, radicals, and supporters. While the Cooperation Jackson movement was conceived as a joint project with the Malcolm X Grass Movement (MXGM) and the New Afrikan Peoples Organization (NAPO), its breakthrough came with the election of Attorney Chokwe Lumumba to the city council and then Mayor in 2014.  Lumumba tragically died eight months after taking office, his son Chokwe Antar Lumumba was elected  Mayor in 2017.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             It can't be emphasized enough that Black Nationalists have to recognize unique opportunities and critical shifts in the mood of our communities. Today, the impact of globalization and automation that's depressed wages for welfare recipients, pensioners, veterans, public sector workers, working class and low-income people has disproportionately buffeted the Black community.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             At the same time, the adverse impact of globalization on working class and lesser educated whites gave rise to nativist-based White Nationalism and Trump's election. The result has been a new openness in Black communities to radical political alternatives and ideas. Debates over socialism and "broken capitalism" are now central tenants of the bourgeois mainstream public discourse.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Chokwe Lumumba's election as a Black Nationalist and socialist in 2014, is illustrative of the Darker Nation's desire for bold new leadership. Jackson's Black Nationalists sensed the moment for a breakthrough, and made it happen. Even the socialist octogenarian Bernie Sanders got half the votes of Black Millennials under 30 years-old in 2016.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Black Democrats in overwhelming Black enclaves are particularly vulnerable. They have nothing new to offer Black communities except the same tired rhetoric and more crumbs off the government's table. As many municipal elections mandate the allocation of a specified number of elective seats to 3rd party or independent candidates, the opportunities for Black Nationalists and radicals to fill the political void are numerous.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Lumumba and Cooperation Jackson were able to launch their radical agenda to build economic cooperatives because they created new democratic vehicles called "People's Assemblies."  These community organizations convened regular meetings to establish their priorities, identify businesses for cooperative development, debate the city budget, and weigh-in on the anti-gentrification struggle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Alt-Black.com envisions creating new democracy movements in Black communities as a two-track process. The main forum for community decision-making would be formalized community-based councils or assemblies. The communities' views must be respected. They are also the training grounds to develop new leaders. As each new generation develops its own leadership models and organizational methods, Black Nationalist must embrace these new models and methods and learn from them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The secondary track will be Black Nationalists, radical independents and supporters seeking or holding public offices that support the cooperative movement. They can play a critical advocacy, educational, organizational, and leadership role in launching these new organs of people power. Black Nationalists and their supporters may also use ballot initiatives or local referendum to probe local environments on issues that may be advantageous to the development of community cooperatives, and resist economic development projects that promote gentrification.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Black Nationalists should also be mindful of the negative lessons the Jackson Cooperation experiment reveals when engaging in electoral politics. Recently, Cooperation Jackson formally severed its ties with the Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba's administration for pursuing economic development deals with globalist corporations like Amazon. After years of waging a tit-for-tat anti-gentrification battle to rebuff corporate development projects that would have displaced Jackson's Black communities, Cooperation Jackson parted company with the new mayor on principle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Throughout the 2010's, Cooperation Jackson's efforts to place power in the hands of its working class has attracted supporters across the country and internationally. This suggest to us the likelihood that Black Nationalists efforts to build self-determining communities will require a flexible skill set to unite with a diverse range of forces.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               While the focus of building peoples cooperatives and new democratic organizations are Black working class and low-income communities, Black Nationalists will need to enlist the support of the Black middle-class, small businessmen and other multi-racial groups. Although Cooperation Jackson's efforts were explicitly a socialist enterprise, every local area will be different. What is fundamental is that these cooperative movements are directed by and support the collective interests of the Black communities they serve.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Black Nationalists efforts to expand its political reach to develop Black cooperatives is critical now to countering the ongoing designs to spatially isolate and transform concentrated Black population centers into urban deserts. It's no coincidence that major cities have lost almost 1.5 million Black residents since 2000. The two biggest out-migration groups from northern urban centers are Black millennials and Black senior citizen retirees. The majority of both groups are relocating to the Black Belt South.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The great underlying question here is can the Darker Nation, based on the strength of its own efforts, sustain millions of its most vulnerable people, even under the constraints of America's destructive globalist system? Can creating Black cooperative enterprises be the lynchpin for Black communities to reverse engineer the destructive effects of globalization?                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Alt-Black.com believes the answer is yes. Black cooperative movements are not a new phenomenon in the Black Liberation toolbox. In large measure, they have been successful, but the experience is limited. Black Nationalists and supporters may benefit greatly from reviewing two publications detailing the experience of Black collectives: "Jackson Rising" and "Collective Courage."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Furthermore, the Cooperation Jackson experiment, with all its victories and setbacks has demonstrated the potential of the cooperative movement to become a major force for regenerating Black communities, and challenging the citadel of American capitalism. Thus, Alt-Black welcomes Black Nationalists who enter the political elections process to promote their development to advance our struggle for self-determination and nationhood.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Black Nationalism, Electoral Politics and Strategy