WASHINGTON, DC – On January 6 of this year the Steering Committee of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations voted to hold a National Conference on the Other Wars in this city on March 26 at a location not yet consolidated at the time of this writing.
The Black is Back Coalition was formed in September of 2009 and within less than two months after its founding organized the first national mobilization against the U.S. imperialist wars since the inauguration of the Obama regime. It is a coalition that encompasses a broad and ideologically diverse sector of the African population that is united by its opposition to imperialism and its commitment to the self-determination of African and other peoples.
In its adopted proposal to hold the National Conference on the Other Wars the Coalition expressed its dismay with the opportunist conduct of much of the traditional white left and anti-war movement, declaring:
The Coalition’s interest in this political intervention in the peace movement is based, in part, on our unwillingness to allow the white left to monopolize the definition of what the struggle for peace is about. Our Coalition is opposed to an imperialist peace, one that does not disturb the relations of power between the oppressed and the war-mongering imperialist oppressor.
It is this historical defect of the U.S. left that prevents it from giving genuine practical and material solidarity to the national liberation struggles of Africans and other peoples within the U.S. Indeed, the U.S. white left has been generally incapable of supporting any struggles anywhere that it did not benefit the leftists organizationally and/or politically or that did not revolve around issues that appear to present an immediate or future challenge to their material interests as U.S. North Americans.
Thus, millions of Africans have been dying in the Congo, most recently since 1998, with little or no alarm by the white left. Similarly, the bloody U.S.-induced deadly mayhem in Somalia, Sudan, Ivory Coast and other places in Africa receives no attention by the white left in the U.S., and Haiti is dealt with essentially because of the current crisis related to the earthquake and characterized primarily as responsive to “natural disasters.”
Nor are Africans the only ones who are marginalized by the U.S. white left agenda. The same is true of Mexicans suffering U.S. settler colonialism within the U.S. Immigration raids and special police concentrated in border areas that separate the Mexican people from each other and their occupied lands, along with imposed poverty, a host of social contradictions and massive incarceration are the norm for this oppressed people.
The Native people or “Indians” are, like the Mexicans, another indigenous people who suffer the consequences of settler colonialism. Even now, these survivors of a U.S. policy of genocide as despicable as that of Hitler, the imperialist bogeyman used to deflect genuine criticism of imperialism, are living in horrible conditions in concentration camps euphemistically referred to as reservations.
Notwithstanding this historical oppression of the indigenous population in the concentration camps, where the average life span is in the 40s and the colonial social afflictions are literally too numerous and complicated to address here, they are an invisible people never spoken of unless they are present. The North American left never addresses the plight of the indigenous people.
The war against the African population in the U.S. is historical. A form of warfare has characterized our relationship with the U.S. since we first encountered the Europeans who assaulted Africa and brought us to this land against our will.
Indeed, of all the people who occupy this land, with the exception of the indigenous people, Africans did not come to the U.S. looking for a better way of life. In fact, the attack on Africa that resulted in our involuntary entry into the U.S. as kidnapped and brutalized forced laborers, resulted in the loss of a better way of life for us.
The presence of Africans in the U.S. gives lie to the notion of a “Nation of Immigrants” that the U.S. rulers like to present to the world and to the entire U.S. population. This is designed to hide the fact that Africans are not “immigrants,” but captives and our conditions of existence from initial captivity till now convincingly prove that to anyone that would dare look at our reality.
Nevertheless, the war against our people here in the U.S. is seldom a part of the discussion within the North American left. And, when it is it is usually spoken of as an affront to the normal democracy of the U.S. because of some kind of racism that has to be cured or the existence of “white skin privilege.”
Implicit in this self-centered stance is the notion that the misery of our people comes as a consequence of not having been allowed entry into the “American Dream.” From this perspective, the solution is to improve imperialism, not to destroy it. The notion of a need for African people to fight racism in order to be included equally into the American Dream is a validation of imperialism and of white people.
This is why few white leftists have ever been able to support our struggle for self-determination, for national liberation, although during the high tide of African resistance in the 1960s the concept of liberation stemming from our movement was appropriated by an assortment of opportunists who claimed to be for women’s liberation and gay liberation, etc. This is also why so few Africans have been able to join the anti-war or peace movement despite the consistent evidence of ours being a community most opposed to U.S. wars of aggression.
The Black is Back Coalition is a means of intervening at a historically important moment, one that is characterized in part by an imperialism attempting to moderate its crisis with the confusing s/election of an African president.
The Coalition gives us an opportunity to forge a common anti-imperialist agenda among a wide sector of the African movement from a variety of political and ideological persuasions. This is a critical development that allows African groups and personalities to cooperate in a project that can impact on the general consciousness of African people in the U.S. and elsewhere and allow for the emergence of a unifying revolutionary national democratic program in the process.
Since its founding the coalition has been extraordinarily busy. It held a major national conference in Florida in January 2010 to consolidate itself and elect its leadership and adopt its basic documents and guiding resolutions. In February 2010, the Coalition held a national mobilization in Miami in solidarity with Africans in Haiti who had just experienced the devastating earthquake that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of our people.
The Coalition rally and march in Miami was not a charity march, based on the false assumptions that our people suffer in Haiti because of natural disasters. It was a call to arms in defense of Africans who have born the brunt of U.S. imperialist aggression since it forged the first successful slave revolt and worker’s revolution in the world.
The Coalition’s demand was for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. and foreign troops, the restoration of Haiti and the right to return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s last genuinely elected president and reparations to Haiti by France, Haiti’s initial colonizer, and the U.S.
In March of 2010, the Coalition participated in anti-war mobilizations in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and in July was represented at the United National Peace Conference in Albany, New York.
In July 2010, the Coalition was represented at the 5th Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party in Washington, D.C. and it held two major mobilizations in November — in Washington, D.C. on November 13 and in New York in defense of our Haitian brothers and sisters in Harlem on November 20.
The role of the Coalition has been to lend a real anti-imperialist character to the struggle for peace in the U.S., a character that struggles to unite all the militant, revolutionary and democratic forces in a unity of resistance with the victims of U.S. imperialist aggression throughout the world. It is the declaration that being for “peace” is not enough, that even imperialists can be for peace that does not disturb the imperialist order.
The Coalition has defined the March 26 National Conference on the Other Wars as a struggle against imperialism and against the opportunism that gives succor to ongoing imperialist existence.
Accordingly, the Coalition has said of the pending conference:
The concept of the “Other Wars” is designed to highlight that there are wars happening in the world that the traditional white left does not recognize, though they are the very struggles that have critical significance for the continued survival of imperialism…
Among other things this is an attempt to force the real world onto the opportunist agenda of the white left, to force this left to either run for cover and openly deny the significance of our struggles or to give acknowledgement of the struggles and broaden the anti-imperialist front in the U.S. in a way that actually undermines U.S. imperialism.
This also gives the peoples directly affected by the “Other Wars” an opportunity to affect the opportunist ideology that dominates the body politic of the left in the U.S., pushing the struggles for national liberation front and center in defiance of the prevailing economism and reformism that serve to liquidate our struggles.
The growing ideological unity of the anti-imperialist struggles of those of us suffering the “Other Wars” will facilitate the growth of the real resistance to imperialism by helping diverse colonial subjects and oppressed peoples to have confidence in the validity of our struggles made on our own self-defined terms and in our own selfish interests…
The African People’s Socialist Party is in total unity with the call by the Coalition to build the National Conference on the Other Wars.
We see the conference as an excellent opportunity to expose the imperialist terror being waged against the majority of the world’s peoples. It is also an opportunity to express the dignity and legitimacy of the struggle of our people within the U.S. and worldwide for liberation, unification and socialism.
Forward to the National Conference on the Other Wars!