TOWARD BUILDING A NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN CONGRESS: A PROPOSAL
TOWARDS BUILDING A NATIONAL AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONGRESS: A PROPOSAL
ORGANIZING FOR POLITICAL, ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT, AND CULTURAL UPLIFTMENT
The African American Convention Movement has it’s origin in 1830 with the advent of the National Negro Convention held at the historic, Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia, Pa. Bishop Richard Allen emerged as the leader of the American Society of Free Persons of Color. This monumental meeting was the first of its kind to defend the collective interests and harness the energies of the African American community towards the goal of controlling our destiny and daily lives as a national community.
In a cursory look at the history of Black Conventions in the U.S. we find that many of the most prominent and influential were motivated and led by religious, labor, political and economic leaders seeking to define, defend and develop the interests of black masses in an effort to push forward our struggle for freedom and liberation. All of these efforts deserve our applause and honor for their accomplishments in their time and context. However, the challenges and requirements of today’s struggle demand of necessity, new and fresh approaches.
The Civil Rights Movement correctly sought to throw off the chains of legal and defacto segregation, Jim Crow and the commensurate political, economic, social and physical lynching of African Americans. At the same time, this movement sought and succeeded in fundamental ways to expand and extend the rights guaranteed in the Constitution, to all Americans, pursuant to our social justice tradition as a people. In its shadow and on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power and Black Arts Movements ushered in a period of political and cultural empowerment, unsurpassed in African American history.
The resultant marches, protests, freedom rides, demonstrations and legal challenges opened up unbounded educational opportunities for African american and other Third World students. African american students took the lead in demanding more relevant, responsive and uplifting curriculum, policies and administrators at the middle-school thru university levels. Nationwide these educational opportunities greatly expanded for black students. The term “Black Middle Class” began to take on new meaning and its numbers grew exponentially. With this expansion of the Black Middle Class comes an awesome responsibility to not only protect the gains of the above mentioned movements, but to use it’s possibilities and potential to extend the realm of freedom to the Black masses and beyond.
This proposal is also inspired by the program formulated by Malcolm X for the “Organization of Afro-American Unity” (OAAU) on the date of his sacrifice. Though he never got the opportunity to present it, the OAAU document talked about “launching a cultural revolution” in which we “restore our identity…….., and welcome persons of African origin to come together and dedicate their ideas, skills, and lives” to our struggle for national liberation. Bro. Malcolm stated the need to create a “grand alliance” regardless of “ideology” that took “into consideration national, regional and local conditions”. The following proposal seeks to link the requirements for struggle in this generation with those that have marked our history as a national community. A LUTA CONTINUA!!!!!
Given this, there are several factors that will distinguish this conference.
1. The scope and character of this conference shall be NATIONAL in focus, with emphasis on developing COMPREHENSIVE and MULTI-DISCIPLINARY approaches to the multi-faceted issues that affect African americans. We shall call on Black Professional and Community-based organizations and associates to have their best minds ascertain and develop positions, analysis, proposals, programs, strategies and tactics; and to present them in the following areas:
1) Writing corrective history of African americans and developing historiography. This is important because history is a record (written
and oral) of our peoples achievements, contributions and role in human progress.
2) Corrected history of African peoples provides critique, models, images, and paradigms of what we have done and can do to rescue and reconstruct our communities locally and with a national scope.
1) Developing organizational structures and institutional capacity to
promote ethics, values, morality and a spirituality that are people-centered and socially-based within an ecumenical spirit and framework. Promote study of Maat as classical African ethics.
2)Researching, documenting, gaining understanding and teaching the role and history of the black church and other spiritual institutions in our struggle for national liberation and continuing our social justice tradition of making America realize its goal of Freedom and Justice for all.
3) Developing ways and means of networking with those in the other six areas, to ensure that the spiritual dimension of our lives is always represented and actualized in all that we do, in keeping with African and African american tradition.
4) Black churches can serve as institutional conduits to building regional unity. These opportunities should be explored by community organizers and activists.
C. Social Organization
Public, Private (Church, etc.), Alternative (African centered), Charter schools, Pre-school, Historical Black Colleges (HBC) program and curriculum emphasis.
Support structures for black student enrolled at Universities and in Graduate Schools
Support structures and systems for Black Studies Programs and Curriculum
Ways and means of supporting and organizing advocacy groups for education of black students developing a system of communication and disseminating information on progress, models and issues as they arise. Encouraging Black students to go into areas of study that pursue our interests as a community of people and that allow us to occupy key areas of social space, i.e. – Law, Science, Medicine, Trade, Cultural Transformation.
Expose’ of the status and critique of, and correctives for health in the black community.
Establishing and submitting agreed upon proposals for Universal Health Care in America.
Commission to study and report on universal health care and delivery systems in other countries (China, Cuba, Europe, Canada)
Research and Advocacy for Wholistic and people centered (as opposed to profit oriented) medicine and encouraging regular conferences and national formations for support.
History and current status of the Black family – African enslavement , post slavery, current; DNA testing
Research and Study of new family and community forms adapted to an industrialized, urban and technological society (Rebuilding the Village).
4) Council of Elders
Definition, Role and Relevance
5) Rites of Passage as means of addressing Children and Gang issues by insisting that children rise up to definable community standards and rewarded (or sanctioned) by family and community rituals.
6) Criminal Justice
Research, debate and implementation of nationally accepted standards for equal administration of justice.
Strategies for prevention and re-socialization after imprisonment
Abolition of 3 strikes
Education and Job development for bro’s and sisters returning to community from incarceration.
7) Diasporan Relations
Building stronger social, spiritual, economic and cultural relationships between and among African Americans, Continental and Diasporan Africans. Promote the building of Universities on each continent that study our respective histories and struggles as African people.
1) Electoral Politics
Designing local, national and international strategies to develop, promote and pursue black interests; Use to mobilize the masses, to access resources and organize around definable and relevant issues.
2) Extra-Parliamentary Politics
This involves strategies and tactics of mobilizing and organizing at local, regional, national and Pan-african levels in order to affect, influence, and challenge policies, programs and issues from without the ordinary channels of power, when expedient to do so, in order to get intended results.
Also to research, design and propose other national and Pan-african formations that can pursue and agitate for a National Agenda for Black Americans and progressive policies towards Diasporan peoples.
3) National Black Agenda
Formulating, Proposing and devising strategies and tactics of implementing policies, programs and projects that define, develop and defend the collective interests of people of African descent. To be made up of a consortium of Black Professionals, Community activists, and Union organizers.
4) National African American Congress
An issue defining, policy formulating, program implementing alliance, made up of delegates to be chosen from their respective regions of the country;areasof emphasis will include, Political, Economic, Spiritual/Religious, Artistic(creative), Communications, Social (Education, Health, Psychology) Community defense and development. This body is charged with initiating and implementing a multi-disciplinary approach that institutes a comprehensive National Black Agenda.
5) Building the Organizational and Institutional capacity to engage
in Pan-African and Diasporan relations
a) Participation in the African Union (AU)
b) development of people to people trade
c) Cultural Exchange and development
d) Continuing the Pan African Congresses and State of the Black World Conferences.
6) Council of Elders
To be made up of men/women of stature, experience, knowledge and commitment to community interests, whose role shall be defined by their respective communities, but inclusive of conflict resolution, advise and (in some cases) consent of means and ways to implement policy, programs and projects for community betterment.
7) Community Defense and Development
Development of New African Scouts, Simba Wachanga or New Black Panther formations that are conscious, committed and capable of developing and defending black community interests and who are accountable to the Council of Elders and National African American Congress.
8) Building a New Black Political Culture and new paradigms for
Black political action, leadership and community organization.
a) Of greatest import here is develop new paradigms of Black Leadership and ways and means of providing training for emergent leadership who show initiative, innovation and insight in meeting the challenges that our communities face.
9. National Intelligence Force
10. Support and promote the building of an Inter-dependent Woman's Movement that has the capacity to address Women's issues in our struggle for National Liberation.
11. Formulate, Promote and Develop a Diplomatic and Ambassador Corps to represent our interests in Diaspora and Internationally.
E. Economic Organization
1) properly addressing class relations in the Black community and the impact on community development
2) Definition, Role and Relevance of Black Middle Class
a) Building people to people trade relations with and between Continental Africans and Diasporan
b) Encouraging investment in and between black communities at home and in Diaspora
c) Encouraging and supporting Buy Black campaigns and culture
d) Formulating, analyzing and developing structures and systems that implement Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) in our communities, e.g. Matah, 1IMall, Afrikan Business Development Fund(ABDF LTD.)
e) Ways and Means of supporting N’Cobra in the struggle for Reparations.
f) Strategies to get the business sector to support Black Ownership
g) develop strategies to engage in the Ecological Revolution
3) Instituting Maatian values in the application of Economic Affairs and Relations
F. Creative Production
1) The definition, role and relevance of the black creative experience in raising social and community consciousness.
Is there a Black Aesthetic? Defining the difference between popular art and culture and national art and culture.
2) Sponsoring seminars, forums and town halls on how values, ethics and morality are transmitted and transferred via various cultural expressions, i.e. Art, Music, Literature, Spoken Word (Poetry), Dance, Theater, Cinema, Sports, Comedy, Architecture and Technology and Fashion.
3)Developing Communications networks and outlets that respond to the need of our National Community to be informed and educated on issues, topics and current events in the context of our technological society. Promote the learning of African languages as well as French and Portuguese.
4) Development of community theater, exhibitions, concerts, art, dance and fashion shows (or some combination of all), that promote national culture and the values that flow from them.
5) Means and Ways of building and supporting institutuions that promote and project Black art and fashion. This would give jobs, create outlets and context for free and liberating expression for black artists.
6) Artist associations and leagues by which artists develop their crafts as well as creating ways of becoming and being more relevant to black community interests, growth and development.
7) Finding creative ways of making the point that technology should not define our social agenda, but rather, we must find ways of making technology serve our collective community agendas.
1) Developing a unifying and positive self conception as a person, people and national community with definable history, life circumstances, identity, and future.
2) Collective Identity
Defining, developing and educating our people on our collective identity and how it translates into a national one.
3) Strategies, methods and means of overcoming the effects of Post Traumatic Enslavement Syndrome
4) Defining and developing the relationship between our identity as African Americans,
Pan Africans and Humans and means and ways to institutionalize same.
2. Development of organizational frameworks and programmatic emphases that can be duplicated in localities nationwide.
3.This is a Self-Determination conference in scope and content, recognizing that Afro-Americans represent a national community in a multi-national, multi-cultural society, who have a common history, common life experiences, common culture and common destiny. Therefore, it is our assumption that African americans have a unique contribution to make to human progress, and in the ongoing project of America realizing its fullest potential to extend rights and possibilities to all of its citizens.
4. Development of National Black Agenda by experts and those with expertise in the above areas of emphasis. The National African American Congress will become the permanent institutional vehicle to implement the National Black Agenda, revising and reconstituting policy and programs when and where needed, according to Maat and its Constitution.
5. Inter-disciplinary networking in and among those working in the above areas of emphasis. This conference hopes to draw heavily from Black professional, labor and community activist organizations.
6. Building a permanent institutional structure where current and future leaders in the Afro-american community can receive training and learn to be accountable to the very people they claim to represent. Potential and actual leaders of the current generation engage in meaningful dialogue and interaction with veterans of past movements.
7. Building a movement based on paradigms and ideals from our African and African american past (such as the OAAU, UNIA) that are rationally applied to conform with existing needs and demands of today’s struggle for national liberation and a higher level of human life. As social engineers, the hope is to engage in cultural reconstruction and transformation of our communities locally and nationwide.
Member, California African American Political and Economic Institute (A Black Think Tank); National Black Leadership Coalition (NBLC/BBB)
California State University, Dominguez Hills
6709 La Tijera Blvd. #337
Los Angeles, California 90045
Tel. # 310 908 6139