AFRO-AMERICAN PROGRAM OF ACTION
Afro-Americans were brought here in chains. They worked as chattel slaves for over 250 years. For another hundred years they were hounded and persecuted, lynched and tortured, degraded and humiliated by a bunch of merciless grabbers from Europe who invaded America to rule.
Let’s take a look at these Europeans who came to America and now put on such great airs in talking to Afro-Americans. First, there were the very old immigrants who came in the 17th and 18th centuries. A few aristocrats and wealthy Englishmen were given full control over the colonies by the King of England. They emptied the English jails of debtors, prostitutes, vagrants, criminals—what they called the very scum of England—and brought them here at forced labor. This policy was continued by the English Parliament. Some immigrants came here to escape persecution from the European rulers. Some came, like the Hessians, originally as soldiers to crush the American rebellion. All of them found a scapegoat in the African slave against whom they united in order to exploit him to death, just as they united to exterminate the true Americans, the American “Indians". (Notice the lying language: the “Europeans” called themselves “Americans” as though they had always lived here, while they called the Americans whom they found here, Asians—“Indians".)
These “European invaders”, the “old families of the South” included—that is, the scum of old England—are those who now put on the greatest airs and act as though they are nobility. These are the ones who believed that God Almighty had granted them full power to rape African women, sell their children into slavery, kill any African at will, etc.
The second group of Europeans were poor miserable illiterate workers and peasants kicked out of Europe by poverty, hunger, tyranny, and oppression. They wanted land and jobs and were very willing to get these things even if this meant keeping the Afro-Americans out. These Irish, Scandinavians, Germans, Hungarians, Slavs, Italians, Greeks, and others, occupied the best farm lands in the North and West; they grabbed the good jobs in the factories, mills, mines, transportation, etc., in the East. They began to own businesses, control the schools, run the government jobs, run the trade unions, and also began to think of themselves as, very big shots. They dropped the idea that they were Europeans and called themselves Americans, as they called the Africans, “niggers".
As the Euro-Americans got more powerful, they thought they were better than anyone else. According to them, Americans had discovered a new way of life—the American Way—where justice, mercy, truth, democracy. and prosperity prevailed. Every man was free (but not the nigger). every man was healthy and happy (but not the nigger), every man had equal opportunity (but not the nigger), every man had free education (but not the nigger), every man could vote (but not the nigger), every man had a good job (but not the nigger), and so on and so forth. We’ll “nigger” the hell out of them yet!
Thanks in part to African slavery, The Euro-American has now come to believe that he is boss of the world. He is out to dominate Europe, to crush the Soviet Union, to destroy China, to tie up India and Indonesia, and to gobble up Africa and Latin America. The Euro-American who believes all this is as nutty as the German nazis. We will fight them tooth and nail until they learn to stop being cannibals and act like decent human beings.
Afro-American revolt will prick “Whitey’s” balloon once and for all. It will cost the ruling regime $100 billion a year and will keep more than one million soldiers tied down to suppress the coming Afro-American actions. We can throw the U.S.A. economy into a deep crisis. We can make the Euro-American rulers lose their power in Africa, in Latin America, in Asia, and over the peoples of Europe. The Afro-American can well play the role of Samson to pull down the palaces of the Philistines.
In a previous document entitled Afro-American Manifesto, we have stated our general estimate of the situation facing the Afro-American. This historic document has had a wide distribution and a fine reception in many quarters. Now it is time to take the next step, to issue a general Program of Action and a Platform for an independent political party of the Afro-American people.
I. PURPOSE AND BASIC STRATEGY
A. The purpose of this program is to enable the Afro-Americans in the United States to develop our power in the broadest sense in order:
1.To help control the land and resources, the wealth, and the means of production, which in turn determine our environment;
2.To help control jobs and employment, which in turn determine our livelihood and prosperity;
3.To help control our society, which sets our development and welfare;
4.To help control the State, which governs our liberty and freedom;
5.To help control the international situation, which determines our very survival.
B. In order to realize our purposes we Afro-Americans must carefully work out an over-all strategy of civil disobedience, an effective program and a powerful suitable organization. The general strategy should include the following aspects:
1. No cooperation with the Euro-American ruling groups in the U.S.A. who are the principal enemies of the Afro-Americans. Specifically, this should include:
a. No support to the government—in military affairs;
b. Opposition to the draft and refusal to be conscripted;
c. Opposition to the military command and refusal to obey officers;
d. Opposition to the wars and refusal to fight;
e. Opposition to military taxation and financing;
f. Refusal to work on military projects of any kind;
g. Support strikes in war plants and nuclear bomb plants, and call on workers of each country to do likewise,
h. Boycott the goods of these companies and industries essential to the war effort.
2. Refusal to pay taxes.
3. Refusal to pay rents in ghettos.
4. Demonstrations in strength to make as costly as possible continued Euro-American rule in the United States.
5. Full reparation to the Negro people, including:
a. Insistence on a fund of one thousand billion dollars in back pay for the two hundred and fifty years of slavery endured by the Afro- Americans in making the U.S.A. great;
b. Insistence on a second fund of one thousand billion dollars as indemnity for the millions of Afro-Americans murdered and tortured to death from the early days of slavery shipments to the present.
c. Insistence on a third fund of one thousand billion dollars as indemnity for the hundred million Africans murdered ruthlessly in Africa in order to kidnap the millions of slaves shipped to the U.S.A. This fund is to be paid to the peoples of the new African republics struggling to get along.
d. Insistence on the right to establish a free and independent republic in America for all Afro-Americans who wish to go there so that they can control their own lives, establish their own international relations, and live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world.
6. A very significant development of our time is the politicization of the prison population, a large proportion of whom are blacks. In the course of the campaign of terror by the authorities against the Black activists, the top leadership has been either killed or jailed. In prison these activists have worked among their mates to raise their political level. Such political prisoners should be induced to join our ranks.
7. Unity with all other truly American groups, such as the American “Indians”, the Mexican-Americans, the Puerto-Ricans, Cubans, and other Latin American peoples oppressed by the Euro-American.
8. Unity with all other workers, poor toilers, unemployed, welfare and relief victims in common struggle against the present U.S.A. ruling groups. Unity also with the students, scientists, and other opponents to war and plots for nuclear destruction now being planned by U.S.A. military and political cliques.
9. Energetic and intensified struggle for the unity of the Afro-Americans through the organization of an Afro-American Peoples Party, with a militant program of action.
II. AN INDEPENDENT POLITICAL PARTY FOR AFRO- AMERICANS
A. The construction of a proper organization to carry on the fight is absolutely essential at the present time and is vital to the success of our cause. Only a political party properly constructed and led can be such an organization. Let us take a look at the evidence:
1. Only when the Euro-Americans organized their political party (The Committees of Correspondence) were they able to launch a war that led to the independence of the United States from England.
2. Only when a proper political party was formed were the Russians able to overthrow the Czar.
3. Only when the Chinese Nationalists built their Kuo Min Tang were they able to overthrow the Chinese emperors and build a republic. Only when the Chinese masses built their own political party were they able to drive out Chiang Kai-shek and other agents of imperialism.
4. Only when the Algerians built up their own political party were they able to drive out France from Africa.
5. Only when the Jews built their political organizations were they able to maintain their own power in Palestine (Israel).
6. Only when the Vietnamese built their own parties were they able to drive out the French from Asia and will drive out the imperialist forces of the U.S.A. History thus furnishes us innumerable examples along the same line. THE ROAD TO POWER IS CONSTRUCTED BY MEANS OF A POLITICAL PARTY COMPOSED AND LED BY THOSE WHO NEED AND ARE FIGHTING FOR THIS POWER.
B. What kind of a political party do we want?
1. We DON’T-want a party run by a clique;
2. We DON’T want a party run by untested elements;
3. We DON’T want a party run by opportunists and crooks who want to line their own pockets and who head the party in order to behead it.
4. We DON’T want a party run by any other people than the Afro-Americans themselves.
5. We DO want a party based on the masses of Afro-Americans, those who are poor, those who toil and work for a living.
6. We DO want a party that will have a militant program and organize and coordinate struggles in every aspect of social life: in the neighborhood, in the schools, in the market place, in the workshops, in the armed forces, in the legislative halls and government bodies; that will embrace every section of the people possible: workers, toilers, civil servants, students, scientists, housewives, soldiers, children, youth, unemployed, relief victims, aged.
7. We DO want a party that can appeal to the non-Afro-American poor, the unemployed, the workers, the students, and other elements of other sections of the population so that broad united fronts can be made for common goals and targets.
8. We DO want a party which will have rich connections abroad in Africa, in Asia, among peoples and workers groups in Europe, and in Latin America. From them we can learn some important lessons for our struggle; from them we shall be able to get great support and understanding. We will no longer be alone to be murdered at will by the cannibals of the U.S.A. ruling groups.
C. HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET SUCH A PARTY? Well, how did others in other lands build such parties? The course is relatively simple, although not easy, if we want to follow it.
1. The first step is for a group of intelligent fighters who have been in demonstrations, have been arrested, and whose sincerity and devotion are unquestioned, to come together and discuss the purposes and strategy such as we have suggested above.
a. This first meeting should be carefully screened and prepared. People may join the Afro-American Committees for many different reasons and purposes with different backgrounds. Each person should tell the group what kind of a family he comes from and what they do; his own life and development; his education; his occupation; his work in the Afro-American movement; his arrests, if any. The reason is that the members of this small group should have confidence in each other. Leadership is so important that no untested elements should be brought into the organization—either local or national—at this stage.
b. Of course there may be various enemy agents who may get through despite our vigilance. That is to be expected. But if each person is given active mass work to perform to keep his leadership or membership he will have to build up the organization more than he possibly can destroy it! Eternal Vigilance is necessary.
c. These early meetings should be secret. Each one may take a party name (like Malcolm X) different from his real name. Later on, if government terror and arrests should make this leading group go underground, no one should be in a position to know more than a few of the others, along the familiar conspiratorial lines well known to rebels in other countries.
d. This exclusive leading group is NOT the Afro-American Peoples Party. Let us remember that. It is only an Afro-American Committee, the driving force and center building such a Party. The Afro-American Peoples Party, as a mass labor party, is open and inclusive. It takes everybody in, all persons who in good faith agree with its program. The leading groups are to form later a National Afro-American Committee.
2. Once the members of the vanguard group are in agreement, each one is given a specific phase of work. The principal phases of work are listed below and each one is to be assigned that phase which he can do best.
a. Work in the neighborhood, in the ghetto. Here the job is to build BLOCK COMMITTEES on each block to fight
1. for the end of the ghetto system;
2. against police brutality;
3. for the complete safety of ordinary people going to or from their homes;
4. for adequate sanitation and clean water;
5. for proper parks and recreation centers.
b. Work in the neighborhood also includes the formation of RENT COMMITTEES to fight
1. for the lowering of high rents;
2. for the proper building maintenance by landlords;
3. for the organization of rent strikes;
4. for resistance to evictions, and similar matters.
c. Work in the neighborhood includes the formation of CONSUMERS GROUPS
1. to boycott stores and employers discriminating against Afro-Americans in any way, failing to hire them, or to pay them proper wage rates, or giving them the respect and dignity that is their due;
2. to fight against the high cost of living;
3. to fight against the lowering of quality of the goods;
4. to fight against the cheating of customers, etc.
d. Work in the neighborhood includes the
1. fight for open housing;
2. fight to end government conspiracy to perpetuate ghettos;
3. fight to protect the neighborhood fascist and racist gangs;
4. defence of demonstrations held in neighborhoods;
5. training and drilling of DEFENCE GROUP organized in every neighborhood as a special problem and task.
e. Work in the schools and the educational system. Here PARENT-TEACHERS ASSOCIATIONS and FRACTIONS must be organized and educated to fight for the rights of the Afro-Americans. Each group should see that
1. there are adequate schools well taken care of;
2. skilled teachers are obtained and paid decent salaries;
3. the Afro-Americans are not discriminated against or cheated in their education;
4. the class load for teachers is not too great;
5. the children have special meals, special study rooms, special recreations facilities, and the necessary special services for the handicapped.
6. children, youth, and student groups are to participate in the struggle.
f. Work among the unemployed and those on relief and social security: UNEMPLOYED COUNCILS, MEDICARE COUNCILS, RELIEF AND WELFARE COUNCILS, all must be organized so that the Afro-Americans will be given adequate care without cheating and discrimination. While these organizations should have the broadest base possible, they should be guided by Afro-American FRACTIONS formed there.
g. Work among women, both working women and home workers, should be engaged in on a large scale. A full program for the protection and liberation of women in every aspect of life calls for a special program and the formation of a special organization, such as WOMEN’S COUNCILS, with the following basic points:
1. For Women generally:
h. Work among the youth can be done through the formation of AFRO-AMERICAN YOUTH CIRCLES to fight
** Full protection against attacks of all sorts from vicious slum gangsters and other elements;
** Full right for women to control their lives and the birth of their children;
** Full equality in every sphere of fife.
2. For the Housewife:
** Equal partnership with the husband in every aspect of home life;
** Pay for housewife at full workers rate, pay to be given by appropriate social agency;
** Adequate nurseries and day care centers for all children run in a working class manner with abundant love and affection for all children.
3. For the Working Women:
** Special protection for women in regard to health, pay, hours of work, paid work leaves before and after birth, etc.
** No discrimination against women on the job, in the union, in contract enforce ment, or anywhere in the economic or social fields.
1. for the end of discrimination against Afro-Americans
2. for better treatment in the high schools, junior colleges, normal schools and colleges of the country
3. for a better and more adequate system of education for youth training and development. The youth should also be mobilized for resistance to the draft and conscription. Here the youth movement may be tied up with anti military work in the armed forces. The youth movement should smash to pieces the gangs, really controlled by the police, who attack the ordinary black worker and toiler in the neighborhood and make the ghetto a hell.
i. Work among the workers can be accomplished on the one hand by work within the trade unions to see
1. that Afro-Americans get the same benefits as others;
2. that they become the leaders of their local unions;
3. that the agents of the ruling classes are thrown out of the unions.
j. A most important task at the present time is work against the draft, work against war, work against the military. This work may take various forms:
This work also includes the calling of strikes to stop the wars and to prevent war profiteers and war industries from continuing their work. Here the job is to create organized fractions in every union where there are Afro-American members and to coordinate them into a central AFRO-AMERICAN CHAMBER OF LABOR which will integrate all the activities in the trade union field. Under the present union leadership the worst crimes against Afro-Americans have been committed and must be stopped. Unions that discriminate against Afro-Americans must be smashed as fascist organizations controlled by the ruling power groups, and new ones must be built up from the ground up where labor solidarity will be a fact and not a fiction.
An important job will be the organization of the unorganized in militant unions.
2. refusal to be drafted and going to jail with periodic demonstrations in jail;
3. refusal in the camps to go to war and going to jail in the camps;
4. refusal to fight while in Vietnam or else where and staging mutinies and mass desertions;
5. struggle against the military dictatorship of South Vietnam and in other occupied territories.
This work should be coordinated with the task to paralyze war plants by strikes and other means, with work among the students and youth, with work among the war victims, with work abroad and in the United Nations. In every possible way we must show the U.S. ruling power structure that so far as Vietnam and similar wars are concerned, the Afro- American wants OUT!
6. For those “white” people who agree with us and wish to join us, one of their chief activities should be to combat racism among the white population through the formation of such groups as the Union Against Racism with such a principal program in view.
The central job is the political job of seeing to it that a truly independent Afro-American Peoples Party is formed that can enter candidates in various elections, see that all Afro-Americans are registered and allowed to vote, and to take office in as many places as it is possible to do so.
This Afro-American Peoples Party must be built on as broad a mass base as possible, somewhat along the lines of the British Labor Party, that is, there must be room for both individual memberships and for group memberships.
The group membership will come from the various groups which are carrying on the struggle for Afro-American liberation: such groups as the BLOCK COMMITTEES, the CONSUMERS GROUPS, the PARENT-TEACHERS ASSOCIATIONS, the UNEMPLOYED COUNCILS, the MEDICARE COUNCILS, the RELIEF AND WELFARE COUNCILS, the YOUTH CIRCLES, the WOMEN’S LEAGUES, the STUDENT COUNCILS, the Neighborhood DEFENCE GROUPS, the STUDENTS GROUPS, the TRADE AND INDUSTRIAL UNIONS, the locals and their factions the AFRO-AMERICAN CHAMBER OF LABOR and countless others that may want to join. All these groups will send a previously agreed on number of delegates to the city, regional, district, or national congresses of the Afro-American Peoples Party and help decide policy and practices.
In addition, individual members can be organized into direct branches of the Afro-American Peoples Party, pay their dues in that party, and elect delegates to the Congresses and meetings as the need arises. All these delegates will work out a militant program of action and run candidates in national and local elections on an independent basis. It is this Afro-American Peoples Party that will lay down the policies which all its candidates are to follow. It is this Party that will lead demonstrations and mass work. It is this Party that will make the connection abroad and will speak for the entire Afro-American body.
D. THE FORMATION OF THE AFRO-AMERICAN PEOPLES PARTY The Afro-American Peoples Party will run elections on a militant platform which should include the following major planks:
1. Get out of Viet Nam, get out of Korea. Withdraw all troops from Europe, Asia, Latin-America, Africa, and close down all foreign military bases and military missions. Make peace with Russia, China, Eastern Europe and the peoples of the entire world.
2. Remove all support from kings, emperors, dictators, tyrants, militarists, and throw support to the poor people of those countries.
3. Liquidate the Army and use the money for social purposes such as schools, the elimination of poverty, creation of the special funds for Afro-Americans, etc. Liquidate the war industries.
4. Repudiate all war debts and bond issues except to small investors up to $5,000.
5. Full social security at full rates guaranteeing a full American standard of living for all.
6. Elimination of all taxation on the poor with a heavy tax on all wealth gained from war profiteering and exploitations.
7. See that all discrimination against any section of the population is wiped out in every aspect of life.
8. End the production of nuclear bombs and destroy all such stocks and all aggressive military weapons.
9. Arm the Negro People and the poor so that the people’s will, will be enforced and not the interests of private wealth. Drastic punishment for fascists, racists, and enslavers.
10. Reorganize the government so that the interests of the Afro-Americans and those of the poor toilers will be served to the maximum.
This platform sets out the general aims and goals to be reached. It has to be implemented by specific legislation, specific demands and actions. These are too many to detail here but they will be worked out all in good time under the leadership of the Afro-American Peoples Party. The time is short. Our enemies are many. There is much work to do. Let us begin. History has been waiting too long already