Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

National Report – Build the ERC

First Published: Equal Rights Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 1, March 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Any assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Equal Rights Congress must be seen from its history so that it can correctly be viewed as part of the process which it is a part of.

First of all is the recognition of the fact that we have come a long way. That is, that the Equal Rights Congress is no longer in the talking stage but is an accomplished fact. It is a fact the seventy-one organizations attended and voted at the Congress. That thirty cities were represented as well as seventeen states. That the organizations present were representative of the various ethnic and nationality groupings in this country who never have gotten together to put a common programme of action together.

It is a fact that the organizations which participated at the founding convention represented a varied number of diverse struggles. Present at the Congress were everything from rural farmworkers to urban tenants unions. This is an accomplished fact, a fact that must be reckoned with if we are to achieve our goals.

In order to insure that we continue the process or motion that was begun at the Congress we are going to have to rely on the existing objective movement in this country that gathers together whenever people fight against injustice.

For example, the Delta Mississippi Equal Rights Council was an organization that had its ups and downs. It had large numbers of people in its beginning meetings and like most Councils began to lose following shortly thereafter.

But with the brutal and cowardly lynching of young Calhoun, the Delta ERC was able to respond immediately. Turning out over a thousand people to protest this injustice and becoming an instrument that champions the rights of Blacks in Mississippi. It became a Council that existing organizations could sit on, therefore representing something more than just 4 or 5 individuals but hundreds of people who are fed up with the wanton slaughter and lynching of Blacks in the South.

The same holds true in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the local ERC has gone through different stages of development. Recently it has latched on to the Albuquerque Public Schools Systems strike and has potential for growth.

We are going to have to be realistic and realize that Councils will flourish where there is activity and die away when there isn’t. But one of the guarantees of keeping the ERC stable is linking it with the Trade Union Movement. Because of the fact that the Trade Union Movement has such stability, influence, financial resources and a base will surely help anchor the laying the basis for building broad unity.

We also are going to have to be aware of our weaknesses. Our weaknesses are mainly that we are small, that we are new and that we are inexperienced, thus also meaning that we are financially in the poor house. But this we can change. Because it also means that while we are new we are fresh, that while we are small, we can grow, while we are inexperienced we are gaining experience which means that financially in time we will begin to pick up.

In regards to the Councils we must insure that Councils be delegate Councils and that Committees try to move towards the Council form of representation.

What is going to be very important in all of this will be what campaigns we embrace. At this point we have several that we have undertaken.

1. Jail the Murderers!! Justice to Young Calhoun!!
2. Unionization of Tenants.
3. Support the Texas Farmworkers Union.

It is important that we key in on these campaigns. Through mass publicity, speaking engagements, fundraising tours, etc. And through this process developing the ties, links and organizational apparatus that can fight back and go on the offensive.

We should try to link these national campaigns with our local campaigns that way broadening our local work and uniting the struggle into one mighty tide. If we keep our bearings and plow ahead we can accomplish our goals – Let’s endeavor to do this!