Amiri Baraka: "The Black Left and the
Millions More Movement"
The Black Left and the Millions More Movement
San Francisco Bay View, Commentary, Amiri Baraka, Oct 08, 2005
Rather than “stand down” from the Millions More Movement, the Left –
certainly the Black Left – should be trying to influence what obviously
will be a mass event in the nation’s capital Oct 14-16.
Why? Because despite criticism that might be honestly given to the
previous Million Man March – sectarianism, chauvinism, obscurantism,
even mismanagement – keep in mind what moves the masses, however
orchestrated and with whatever results, must be analyzed and rendered
dialectically, pointing out errors and shortcomings, but also highlighting
what is positive.
Obviously, on the positive side, it was the mobilization of at least 1
million Black men and others to gather in the capital of international
capital to make their alienation and “otherness” visible.
What was negative about it was that, that was the most of what
The U.S. government had to register this “event,” this appearance that
meant protest, at whatever level – made important, even near critical,
by the volume of response to Minister Farrakhan’s call. Especially
because the work of the official media has been to denigrate and dismiss
Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, not only as “hate teacher” and
“anti-Semitic,” but also as contemporarily “irrelevant.”
The problem was that there was no follow-up. What should have been the
initiation and ignition of movement was made shallow and impotent
because “show up” was all we did!
But as Lenin and other teachers have said, in the absence of the
“advanced,” the revolutionaries, the communists, the gesture of
opposition to monopoly, national oppression, all reaction is more
usual than actual movement.
What follow-up? Who should make the call? How should it be done?
For the Left and, again, especially the “Black Left,” the call must be
for the united front, most importantly, a stable political organization
that can call for a permanent national body, democratically elected,
from the grassroots, but also with the representation of the major
organizations and institutions.
It must be anti-war, anti-imperialist, progressive, nationalist,
communist, democrat, republican, Christian and Muslim, comprising
the entire spectrum of Afro-American thought and demographically
So late in the day, the key now would be to create a “Left Caucus,”
initiated but not limited to the Black Left, who would, of course, carry
their own banners but have as their overall theme “UNITED FRONT –
PERMANENT ORGANIZATION” and carry literature with this line
We should also endeavor to make the Katrina New Orleans “Slave Ship” a
principal aspect of the call for such organization.
It would also be important to be able to sign up interested parties to
be active in creating this entity, as representatives from wherever.
The fact that Afro-American people live in 27 cities in the U.S. means
that those cities can quickly be registered with willing advocates of
such a direction.
Actually, this approach is another attempt at what was done in the 19th
century with the Black Convention Movement in the North, even while
chattel slavery existed. It is a continuation of what the National Negro
Congress attempted in the ‘40s and the Gary Convention in the ‘70s.
There is no other way we can survive when even the so-called Democratic
U.S. institutions – the national government, elections, taxation,
media, education – are blatantly flawed and outright owned by corporate
The government itself has become an obvious mouthpiece for monopoly
capitalism, imperialism and national oppression.
The call for a national united front and permanent stable democratic
political organization should be equally obvious. Sectarianism is
suicidal. We support each other to the extent we oppose imperialism, national
oppression and reaction. Whatever the predictable disagreements and
contradictions, there is a broad and solid basis for Unity with struggle.
We must struggle to become so politically sophisticated that we can
argue all day or all week or all month but still come out with tactics and
strategy to advance what we do agree upon.
As late and as spontaneous as this call might seem, we will follow up
in the next day with some minimum idea of left mobilization at the site.
I would suggest whoever reads this and agrees, work along whatever
similar lines you can.
Amiri Baraka is the revolutionary poet and pillar of the Black Arts
Movement whose poem on 911, “Somebody Blew Up America,” cost him the title
of New Jersey poet laureate.
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