A Radical Plan For An Economy That Makes Black Lives Matter

Source: In These Times

The movement for Black freedom and liberation in the United States took a huge leap forward this week.

That is because the Movement For Black Lives (M4BL) released a policy document that details the changes that must be made in six different areas: incarceration and police violence, reparations, redistribution of state resources, economic justice, community control over police and the democratic deficit in Black communities. It outlines the issues faced by the Black working class, proposes solutions and even details model policies that can be pursued.

It is the most comprehensive outlining of policy from any group associated with the burgeoning Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014. While other organizations—and even the main Black Lives Matter organization itself—have made more general demands on those in power, M4BL seeks to drill down on specifics with this wide-ranging proposal.

M4BL is a coalition of more than 50 organizations, including Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), the Black Lives Matter Network and Mothers Against Police Brutality. Other groups, such as Jobs With Justice, Showing Up For Racial Justice and Good Jobs Now, are endorsing organizations.

So, what makes M4BL’s comprehensive and transformative policy platform so important? In the words of Steven Pitts, associate chair of the Labor Center at the University of California at Berkeley and one of the collaborators on the economic justice portion of the document, “I think that most people understand that the issue of police murders takes place in a broader context. But those contextual issues can be harder to popularize. This document is so important because it can help to broaden the scope of the conversation and place the context of Black death and police murder within the context of institutional racism and neoliberalism.”

When asked why it is harder for those contextual issues—structural racism, neoliberalism, capitalism—to reach the popular consciousness in the way that police violence does, Pitts replied, “To the extent that we are expressing things today—through videos and tweets—it is difficult to capture the processes of racialized capitalism through those means.”

The policy document is, indeed, not something that can be read quickly. However, it is absolutely necessary that this movement set out the constructs of a society where it has achieved final victory. This effort from M4BL seeks to do just that.

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