“Forging a Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century”
With the launch of the Black Radical Congress (BRC) in 1998, a current of optimism rippled through the social justice movement. In the tradition of other black political gatherings such as the National Negro Congress, the National Black Political Convention and other more recent ones, the BRC set out on a mammoth challenge to build unity within the Black Liberation Movement (BLM) and consensus around the Freedom Agenda.
Of the 2000 participants who converged upon Chicago, longtime activist, Larry Holmes noted that they “shared a strong desire that the BRC make a difference in the liberation struggle of African American people.
A student from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was one of hundreds of young people who attended the BRC founding conference. Carol Ben Davies admitted that it “was unlike any learning experience” she ever had at college.
These views reflected the level of enthusiasm and optimism shared not only by those who came to the Chicago gathering but those who were unable to attend.
In 2001, three years after the historic gathering in Chicago, a delegation of BRC members traveled to South Africa for the World Conference Against Racism and Xenophobia. We returned in early September to face the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and a predictable imperialist response from the Bush-Cheney administration. We participated in anti-war demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and to call for an end to war-mongering and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The BRC recognized local organizing committees in over a dozen cities. We continued a high level of political discourse and regularly generated political statements that were widely distributed. Having achieved recognition as a radical political force, maintaining a core leadership and financial health has been an ongoing challenge. Expectations for the BRC have exceeded its capacity to produce. Even so, the BRC was seen as the vehicle that could bring black radicalism out of the shadows as a respected and viable tendency in the broader BLM historically dominated by more moderate tendencies.
For the last 5 years of the 10-year life of the BRC, the US has been engaged in endless war and occupation in Iraq marking a new stage of imperialism. If international wars and occupations were not enough, in 2005, the US government responded to the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by dispersing thousands of mostly African Americans throughout the country eliminating affordable housing and failing to provide adequate health care, schools and jobs for those displaced to return to their homes in the Gulf Coast. We charge genocide!
If the BRC is to live up to its vision and unfulfilled mission, and if the professed need for a strong black left is a reality, there must be a critical assessment of the BRC, our movement and the current political landscape.
There are some fundamental questions that need our principled dialogue and debate:
What is the current state of the Black Liberation Movement?
What should the BRC look like as an organization to respond to the current crises of our people?
What are the concrete conditions facing our people?
How do we fund an effective organization with independence and sustainability as guiding principles?
How do we hold one another accountable for actions that are undermining or destructive to our movement?
How do we organize in the context of neo-liberalism?
Are there some lessons we can learn from the advance of the Obama Movement?
We invite you to join the pre-Congress discussion to help re-shape the BRC’s character, direction and strategy for the next ten years. We aim to solidify our collective efforts at the Juneteenth conference (June 20-22, 2008). See you at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis.
Click if you are interested in submitting workshops and/or panel discussions proposals
Below is the list of endorsers for the Congress
Makungu Akinyele, Assoc. Prof., African American Studies-Georgia State University
Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Zaki Baruti, Universal African Peoples Organization
Deborah Benford, Affinity
Rose Brewer, Scholar/activist-University of Minnesota
Roderick D. Bush, Assoc. Prof. of Sociology and Anthropology-St. John’s University
Sundiata Cha-Jua,Vice President of the National Council for Black Studies
Ajamu &Rukiya Dillahunt, Black Workers for Justice
Felicia Eaves, Black Voices for Peace
Theresa El-Amin, Southern Anti-Racism Network
J. Soffiyah Elijah, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights
Bill Fletcher, Black Commentator
David Gaiter, Black Radical Congress-Pittsburgh, PA
Thomas Gibson Associates
Percy Green, ACTION ReUnion 2008
Muata Greene, Labor activist/writer
Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, National President- Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice
Karega Hart, Education & Training Coordinator-SEIU Local 1021
Ash-Lee Henderson, ETSU Black Affairs Association
Christi Ketchum, Project South
Diane Lackey, Black Radical Congress-Philly, PA
Alice Lovelace, The Arts Exchange
Chokwe Lumumba, New African Peoples Organization
Manning Marable, Director, Center for Contemporary Black History-Columbia University
Shafeah M‘Balia, Black Workers for Justice
Michael McPhearson, Executive Director-Veterans for Peace
Saladin Muhammad, Black Left Unity Meeting Planning Committee.
Leith Mullings, Distinguished Professor in Anthropology Department-City University of NY
COBRA Executive Committee
Matt Nelson, Freedom Now! Collaborative and the Milwaukee Police Accountability Coalition.
Troy Nkrumah, National Hip Hop Political Convention
Cappy Pinderhughes, Conversations on the Vineyard
Ken Riley, President-International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422
Jamala Rogers, National Organizer-Black Radical Congress
Jerome Scott, League of Revolutionaries for a New America
Kelcy Siddell, President, Black Leadership Organizing Council-University of MO St. Louis
Montague Simmons, Organization for Black Struggle
Erica Smily, Young Communist League USA
James ‘Tim’ Thomas, Freedom Road Socialist Organization /OSCL
Jarvis Tyner, Communist Party USA
Akinyele Umoja, New Afrikan Peoples Organization/Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Jessica Watson-Crosby, Black Radical Congress-New York
Steve Williams, POWER
Will Williams, Truth and Alternatives to Militarism in Education
Komozi Woodard, Solidarity Club & Sarah Lawrence Professors for Obama-Sarah Lawrence College
Jay Woodson, Black Radical Congress, National Hip Hop Political Convention
Emery Wright, Project South
Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus
Wautella ibn Yusuf, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparation in America
Mahdi Ibn Ziyah for Congress
The Black Radical Congress | Jamala Rogers, National Organizer
National Office – P.O. Box 24795, St. Louis, MO 63115
P: 314-307-3441 E: firstname.lastname@example.org