Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Congress of Afrikan People

1st Draft of General CAP Summation: National ALSC – 1972-75 (Part I)


First Published: Unity and Struggle, Vol. IV, No. 14, October 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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1972, was a year that carried forth the sometimes vague dynamic of the 60’s to its most organized point, and set the point of departure for the political tide of the next few years to follow. 1972 was the year that the ALSC was first put together, culminating in the ALD or (ALSD) in Washington which brought together around 30,000 people, plus some 25 or so thousand at other cities across the country and in the Caribbean and Canada.

1972 was also the year that the National Black Assembly was put together to bring some 8,000 people to Gary, Indiana to try to put together a Black United Front against National Oppression. It was also the year that the leadership of the Congress of Afrikan People changed hands, with Imamu Baraka being named Chairman replacing Heyward Henry. This went on publicly at a meeting of Congress of Afrikan People, an “International Assembly” in San Diego, California.

Congress of Afrikan People participation in ALD began in 1971 with an invitation to go to Greensboro to Malcolm X Liberation University to discuss the plan put forward by Owusu Sadauki, at a meeting attended by a representative cross section of Nationalists, PanAfrikanists, Movement Activists predominantly, which could be, as was shown later, very readily, divided into a right and a left and a center. Apparently, some elements in that meeting were developing a more clearly identifiable “classic” anti-imperialist line, but the main impulse of the Black Liberation Movement in general is anti-imperialist, though aspects of it, taken past the patriotic surface are, of course, reactionary.

At the point at which ALD began to be put together CAP’s political line was basically Kawaida Nationalism. But the developing line put forward by the new Chairman in 1972 was that the Congress of Afrikan People ideology had “three cutting edges”, Nationalism Pan-Afrikanism, and Ujamaa-Socialism. The first gathering of the ALSC was based on a wide appeal, frankly Nationalist and PanAfrikanist, which included elected officials, and some Garveyites, with all stripes in between, even in the gathering itself which featured Charles Diggs (then President of the National Black Assembly), Elaine Brown of the Black Panthers, Haki Madhubuti read poetry, Elombe Brath AJASS, as well as Baraka CAP and Sadaukai, MXLU. At some of the stops CORE’s Roy Innis, as well as National Churchmen, also held forth. It was a wide spectrum of the Black Liberation Movement. The character of ALSC at the time was of a National Liberation Front, in the form of a broad support group for Afrikan Liberation. It rested upon a basic “Black consciousness” that developed in the 60’s which developed into Afrikan consciousness, and Pan-Afrikanism and at its most political, a militant support for Afrikan Liberation Struggles. (This developed into a clearly articulated anti-imperialist stance, which led some elements within the Black Liberation Movement and particularly the ALSC to become Marxist-Leninists as the accretion of their consciousness quantitatively gave rise to a qualitative change all based on the continued development and change of material conditions and their change and development because of them as well as their ability to make concrete analysis of them.)

Between September 1972, when it was decided to make the ALDCC (Afrikan Liberation Day Coordinating Committee) the ALSC and 1973, in many areas theoretical clarity and struggle inside various formations saw a continued commitment to ALSC, Afrikan Liberation in 73, at demonstrations that were spread around the country. In Newark over a thousand people marched clear across the city from deep in the Black community to the site of Kawaida Towers to confront a local racist demagogue and opposition to Kawaida Towers. And at the same time push the popular hard line of the death of Portuguese colonialism. During this period the ALSC and the NBA were similar organizations in some respects, except that ALSC was more militantly focused, because of its effective leadership, from the beginning. We say this because a good part of the social force to make, say the 1973 AL demonstration in Newark, and other cities successful, drew on the same social forces that in many cases tried to keep the NBA together on a functioning basis. Except that the ALSC never had Black Elected Officials in any form of functioning leadership except masthead participants and celebrants and speakers, &c, whereas the NBA set out as a United Front that included the Black Elected Officials in the CORE of its leadership.

June 1973, the meeting in Frogmore raised the first open questions around the directions of the ALSC, aside from the “unity of action” that saw the ALD and initial organizing of the ALSC burgeon to such effective and successful proportions. The proposals for a Statement of Principles were varied, but the main document came from a synthesis of Nashville, and Greensboro documents, which gave, for the first time, the unmistakeable thrust of the international anti-imperialist movement. There was a caucus of the Kawaida Nationalists which raised criticisms of the document, and these criticisms were raised in the meeting. One point, on the need to defeat cultural aggression was even included in the document.

In October 1973, however, another “extended” meeting of the secretariat was held to discuss some of the problems that some of the Nationalists saw with the SOP, which included its “Marxist Language”, also the slogan and developing line “Black Workers Take The Lead”, and what was to be ALSC’s stance as far as the CP’s national ripoff conference and instant organization the National anti-imperialist Conference which was also going to be in October 73. In this meeting many of the agreements made by some of the Nationalist elements as far as compromises with the SOP were raised again, in opposition to what had been agreed on in caucus. This only served to bring contradictions within certain groups, certainly for instance in the CAP, since at the time, three of its central council members (Haki Madhubuti, Jitu Weusi, and Imamu Baraka) were on the National Executive of the ALSC, to a head and drove those internal ideological struggles forward more intensely.

(To be continued)