Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
On August 1, 2016, a coalition of some 60 Black organizations called the Movement for Black Lives (MBL), which claims to represent “thousands of Black people from across the country,” posted a 22-page list of “demands,” titled A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice.
According to A Vision for Black Lives, there presently is “a war” on black people in America. To redress that is the purpose of the list of demands.
The demands are radical, extensive and expansive and, if acceded to, would mean Blacks would have their own state within the United States, which would be self-governing, self-policing, but not self-financing or geographically separate because secession would mean Blacks would have to pay their own way. Instead, the Black state-within-the-state would be pockets of fully-subsidized Black communities and institutions scattered across the U.S., where Blacks would receive a guaranteed minimum “liveable income” (which is really welfare because the income would be “guaranteed” without Blacks having to work for it), free lifetime education, free quality health care, and freedom for Blacks now incarcerated in prison, because they are not criminals but “political prisoners”.
How will these demands be funded? — with taxes, divestments from police and the military, and reparations from government and business corporations.
A Vision says:
Together, we demand an end to the wars against Black people. We demand that the government repair the harms that have been done to Black communities in the form of reparations and targeted long-term investments. We also demand a defunding of the systems and institutions that criminalize and cage us. This document articulates our vision of a fundamentally different world.
This agenda continues the legacy of our ancestors who pushed for reparations, Black self-determination and community control; and also propels new iterations of movements such as efforts for reproductive justice, holistic healing and reconciliation, and ending violence against Black cis, queer, and trans people.
The demands can be sorted into 6 groups (h/t ZeroHedge):
1. “End the war on Black people” via:
- Decriminalizing Black youth by ending zero-tolerance school policies and arrests of students, and removing police from schools.
- An end to capital punishment.
- An end to money bail, mandatory fines, fees, court surcharges and “defendant funded” court proceedings.
- An end to the use of past criminal history to determine eligibility for housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, employment, and other services and needs.
- An end to the war on Black immigrants including the repeal of the 1996 crime and immigration bills, an end to all deportations, immigrant detention, and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids, and mandated legal representation in immigration court.
- An end to the war on Black LGBTQs by giving them anti-discrimination civil rights protections to ensure they have full access to employment, health, housing and education.
- An end to the mass surveillance of Black communities and the use of technologies such as drones, body cameras, and predictive policing software whicht criminalize and target Blacks.
- The demilitarization of law enforcement.
- An end to the privatization of police, prisons, jails, probation, parole, food, phone and all other criminal justice related services.
- An end to solitary confinement, public jails, detention centers, youth facilities and prisons as we know them.
2. Reparations, via:
- Free lifetime education and open admissions to colleges, universities, and technical schools.
- Retroactive forgiveness of student loans.
- A guaranteed minimum livable income for all Black people.
- Corporate and government reparations “for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized capitalism”.
- Ensured access and control of food sources, housing and land.
- Mandated public school curriculums on colonialism and slavery.
- Funding of Black “cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the recognition and honoring of our collective struggles and triumphs.”
- Federal and state legislation to carry out all the demands, beginning with the immediate passage of H.R.40: the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.
3. Investment and Divestment via:
- A reallocation of government funds from policing and incarceration to fund education, “local restorative justice services” and employment programs for Blacks.
- The retroactive decriminalization, immediate release, (criminal) record expungement, and reparations for all drug related offenses and prostitution.
- Investments in “restorative” and mental health services, and job programs.
- Quality universal health care, neighborhood comprehensive health centers, special services for LGBTQs, paid parental leave, and comprehensive quality child and elder care.
- A constitutional right to a fully-funded (free) education, with high quality food and free daycare.
- Freedom from unwarranted search, seizure or arrest.
- A divestment from use of fossil fuels and investment in sustainable energy solutions.
- Reallocation of money from the military to invest in domestic infrastructure and community well-being.
- Financial support of Black alternative institutions, such as cooperatives, land trusts, and “a culturally responsive health infrastructure.”
4. Economic justice, via:
- A “radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth” through a restructuring of tax codes.
- Federal and state job programs for Blacks, with “a living wage“.
- Support for Black-owned businesses which are “accountable to the community.”
- An end to the “exploitative” privatization of natural resources, including land and water (which suggests an end to private land ownership).
- Restore the Glass-Steagall Act to break up the large banks, and change policies and practices around regulation to promote black banks and other financial institutions.
- An end to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a renegotiation of all trade agreements to prioritize the interests of workers and communities.
- Financial support of Blacks with low interest, interest-free or federally guaranteed low-interest loans.
5. Community Control:
- “Direct democratic community control” of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
- An end to private schools.
- “Democratic” school boards.
- Community control of curriculum, hiring, firing and discipline policies.
6. Political Power:
- An end to the criminalization of Black political activity (riots?).
- Immediate release of all political (i.e., black) prisoners.
- Public financing of elections and the end of money controlling politics through ending super PACs and unchecked corporate donations.
- Right to vote for all people via universal voter registration, automatic voter registration, pre-registration for 16-year-olds, same day voter registration, voting day holidays, enfranchisement of formerly and presently incarcerated people, local and state resident voting for “undocumented people” (illegal aliens), and a ban on any “disenfranchisement laws” (voter ID).
- Increased funding for Black institutions, including Black colleges and universities, Black media, and “cultural, political and social formations” (whatever that means).
Read the 22-page “Vision” demands here.
Movement for Black Lives wants its demands to be part of the Democrat Party platform. According to the New York Times, MBL plans to start local campaigns to push for changes in law enforcement and community programs in cities across the country.Follow VeronicaCoffin