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Thu Feb 27, 2014, 02:04 AM


A Tale of Three Cities: Newark, Jackson, Seattle [View all]

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 00:00 — Glen Ford

Electoral politics, the arena that half of Black America was barred from entering until only about 50 years ago, has become a vast wasteland, hopelessly polluted by corporate dollars.

That’s why what’s unfolding in Newark, New Jersey, Jackson, Mississippi, and Seattle, Washington, is so rare – and important.

In Seattle, there’s a group of folks who don’t mind working hard and building alliances, all the while telling the world that socialism is the only alternative to barbarism. Kshama Sawant, the newly minted city councilperson, and her Socialist Alternative comrades have forced corporate Democrats to pretend that they really would like to see the city’s minimum wage raised to $15 an hour. Socialist Alternative also demands that the rich pay for an overhaul of public education and transportation – a platform that most people would support, if they thought it had a chance of passing. Kshama Suwant and her comrades believe that people will vote in their own interests if the candidates have proven they are trustworthy.

In Jackson, Mississippi, 66 year-old Mayor Chokwe Lumumba has proven his selfless dedication to social transformation over many decades; as an activist with the Republic of New Africa; in his capacity as a people’s lawyer; and as one of the founders of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. He has now gathered members of that movement for an experiment in radical governance of the biggest city in the belly of the Mississippi beast. Mayor Lumumba and his comrades want to encourage a cooperative economy to build “wealth equity, economic democracy and self-determination in Jackson,” the South, and the nation. So far, there’s already been an unsuccessful attempt to impose a state takeover of local Jackson government, like in Detroit.

In Newark, New Jersey, which Cory Booker made into a playground for corporate educational experimentation, city councilman and high school principal Ras Baraka is running for mayor. He’s the son of the late poet/activist Amiri Baraka, and if even a fraction of the crowd that showed up for his father’s funeral actually works for his campaign, he’ll win. Ras Baraka opposes recent school closings and promises to bring economic development to the neighborhoods. But, when you are the son of Amiri Baraka, the subtext will always be self-determination – and what exactly does that mean when you’re running and governing as Democrat, as are both Baraka and Chokwe Lumumba? The theory seems to be that, since the Democrats don’t really stand for anything, then maybe they can be forced to tolerate some degree of radical Black politics. We shall see how that works out in practice.


Well, that was quick: By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FEB. 25, 2014

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, Miss., Dies at 66

JACKSON, Miss. — Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist who persuaded voters here to accept a sales tax to fix crumbling roads and dated water and sewer systems, died Tuesday, the authorities said. He was 66.

City officials said Mr. Lumumba died at St. Dominic Hospital. A cause of death was not immediately clear, though the City Council president, Charles Tillman, who was sworn in as acting mayor, said he met Monday with Mr. Lumumba, who had a cold.

“He kind of joked around about it,” Mr. Tillman said.

Mr. Lumumba served one term on the City Council and was sworn in as mayor last July. He was one of two candidates who defeated then-Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. in the Democratic primary in early June. He defeated Jonathan Lee, a businessman, in the general election.

As mayor, Mr. Lumumba persuaded voters in this capital city to pass a referendum in January to add a one-cent local sales tax to help pay for improvements to an aging infrastructure.

State law says the Council will set a special election for voters to choose a new mayor. The Council has up to 10 days to meet, then the election must be held 30 to 45 days later.



Jackson Rising: The Bold Agenda of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba for 2014

One of the most overlooked stories of 2013 was the election of Chokwe Lumumba is Jackson, Mississippi where he garnered over 75% of the vote. The former lawyer of the late 2pac Shakur and former political prisoner Asaata Shakur is considered in many circles to be the nation’s most progressive and radical mayor.

He was an integral part of the Republic of New Afrika which called for Black people to establish a nation within a nation, looking at 5 key southern states Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina as the base.

He was the founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement which has chapters all over the country and has been focused on a number of issues facing the Black community including the plight of political prisoners and police accountability among other things..

We sat down and spoke with Kali Akuno who does political outreach for the Lumumba administration to get an update as to how they have been doing in their 6 months in office and what bold plans and initiatives they intend to put forth in the upcoming new year..

For those who say we need change and we need to create a world where we ‘do the right thing‘ and take the proverbial bull by its horns and go to work’, then your attention and energy should be focused on Jackson, Mississippi. They are taking steps to do many of the things I’ve heard people say we should be doing in meeting after meeting, convention after convention and gathering after gathering.. Jackson is ground zero. If you are African-American, Jackson should really be watched considering the city 80% population, history and current day-to-day challenges.

In our conversation with Akuno, what stood out is the city laying critical ground work to be self-sustaining from top to bottom. They are changing the infrastructure of the city so that its green and ecologically efficient. They have aggressive entrepreneurial plans. They aren’t begging big corporations for jobs, they are creating them.. They have radical approaches toward social justice.. And they are putting forth an incredible conference in May called Jackson Rising..


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Reply A Tale of Three Cities: Newark, Jackson, Seattle [View all]
El_Johns Feb 2014 OP
Suich Feb 2014 #1
Ron Green Feb 2014 #2