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Black Agenda On Racism

By BO Editorial Collective

Today’s installment of the BLACK AGENDA is chapter 4 thereof which elaborates BLF’s position and program of action on RACISM. Please read, engage and submit your comments via the following email address: editor@blackopinion.co.za

BLACK AGENDA is committed to ending racism by ending white supremacy. Racism affects all black people irrespective of age, generation, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, language, educational levels, geographic location, class position and religious beliefs. Blacks were given false solutions in 1994, denying the truth that white supremacy finds its location materially in land theft. Also, it is from land theft that white supremacy develops all of its other branches so as to institutionalise itself as a way of life.

BLACK AGENDA recognizes that white supremacy is the main enemy that must be defeated by blacks to completely obliterate racism. The structural logic of white supremacy has ensured continued land dispossession. To this end, since 1994 land dispossession has been sustained by deception and this situation will continue in perpetuity until the main contradiction as indicated by Biko is resolved. Biko instructively said that “the main contradiction in South Africa is ‘white racism'”. Accordingly, the only solution to racism is “black solidarity” which must in turn completely eradicate white racism.

BLACK AGENDA recognizes the need to fight against and defeat the promulgation of anti-black legislation currently being pushed by political parties in parliament, to “criminalise racism”. It then becomes important, via concrete action, to give context to the proposed law. Unless this is done, blacks and all aspects of black struggle against white supremacy will be criminalized. Consequently, our people will become criminally liable by law for simply responding to racism. Should the anti-black legislation be passed, the struggle against racism must nonetheless continue until racism is completely destroyed.

In this context BLACK AGENDA stands for adherence to the following principles so as to keep the struggle against racism on the revolutionary path:

1. Land return as the pre-condition towards ending racism.

2. Blacks can’t be racist.

3. Anti-racism struggle to be led by blacks only.

1. Land return as the pre-condition towards ending racism.

As pointed out elsewhere in the BLACK AGENDA, at the core of racism is the land question – land which was stolen from Black people by the white minority and which continues, 22 years since 1994, to be in the hands of this minority. South Africa continues to be a racist society; premised on and perpetuated by the historical criminal injustice of land theft. Racism arose from colonial conquest in terms of which all African land and property was violently confiscated. This situation led to black subjugation, pain and suffering and all the other horrors of colonialism. Blacks were dispossessed of their land and were forced into townships and informal settlements like Alexandra, Soweto, KwaMashu and Khayelitsha. White people who constitute the minority of the population nonetheless hold the majority ownership in the land. Land theft has reduced blacks to ‘kitchen girl’ and ‘garden boys’. Land theft realized the racist, imperialist and criminal vision of Cecil John Rhodes and his predecessors. Rhodes later developed and perfected apartheid as an ideology that gave legitimacy to the protection of land theft as currently indicated in the SA Constitution.

The legitimisation of land theft post the 1994 neo-colonial, neo-liberal settlement continues to subject blacks to exploitative working conditions in mines like Marikana. Twenty-two years under the ANC led “democratic” government, blacks continue to be treated like second class citizens in the continent of their origin. BLACK AGENDA recognizes that without first restoring land to its rightful owners nothing will change meaningfully in the lives of black people. Land theft has resulted in what is referred to as structural racism or constitutional racism with Alex, Soweto, KwaMashu and Khayelitsha as the symbolic representation of structural racism. Denying the inextricable connection between land theft and racism only serves to perpetuate the situation that sees our people living in horrendous oppressive conditions that characterizes life in shacks and other sub-human dwellings. Racism is land theft and the disproportionate claim of African land by the white minority.

2. Blacks can’t be racist.

Racism refers to the subjugation of blacks through land dispossession, exploitation of labor and the destruction of their way of life, as willed and dictated to by white supremacy. White supremacy is the global power that has divided the world so as to serve whiteness at the expense of the excluded and indigenous black people of the world. Racism is the power that determines which bodies are reserved to serve white supremacy and who will benefit from it. Racism serves to protect white privilege while it sustains the economic exclusion of blacks from accessing property that is habitable; education that is free, socialist and black centered; healthcare and every other service that puts people first.

Black people are not responsible for imposing racial prejudice and racism and to this end are not beneficiaries of race based privilege. The resistance of blacks to dispossession, oppression, exploitation and systematic dehumanisation as a response to the legitimation of white supremacy, is not racist. The black struggle to obliterated white supremacy is a struggle for the truth, real justice and freedom to self-determination. Consequently, blacks can’t be racist for seeking restoration of their land and property as well as human dignity. Blacks can’t be criminalised for retaliating against the ills of white supremacy and when faced with racist oppression and deception. It is right for blacks to resist being patronized into complicity by white privilege which thrives on dispossession and exploitation – lest giving whites space to continue to prescribe to blacks how to respond to the individual or combined ills of racism that colonialist, apartheid and now neo-liberal regimes have legitimized. To this end these regimes have in addition to legitimizing injustices, maintained the protection of white privilege and its ill-gotten gains. Blacks are not the architects nor are they the beneficiaries of the racism. Blacks can’t therefore be racist for standing up and resisting racism.

In this regard BLACK AGENDA recognizes the following mobilizing slogan:

-Blacks Can’t Be Racists!

-Anti-racism Struggle to Be Led by Blacks Only

SA is a racist, capitalist country. It therefore makes sense for blacks to organize themselves around their blackness – on their own terms and free of white supervision. It makes no sense and is actually self-defeating for blacks who are victims of racism to put their trust in the perpetrators of racism to struggle to end racism. The presence of whites in black spaces of struggle leads to the dilution of the militancy of the black liberation project as well as black silence and subsequent erasure. Steve Biko’s call to reject fragmentation of black resistance so as to maintain black solidarity is instructive. BLACK AGENDA seeks the oppression of no one, but prohibits inclusion in the black struggle of the forces who continue to perpetuate black suffering.

What Is To Be Done?

1. Hold an anti-racism summit

2. Facilitate political-education programs on what racism is & what it will take to obliterate it

3. Expose the dangers of criminalizing racism within a neocolonial, neoliberal set up

4. Come to the defense of blacks against any acts of racism

5. Support actions and organizations that are in line with the principles the Black Agenda and by extension BLF

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