Power To The People

In the 1960's the Black Panther Party issued a ten point plan outlining what they would like to see done by the federal government to alleviate some of the problems brought on by Jim Crow and centuries of inequalities. Most of those points were speaking to a Socialist stance in the midst of an American Capitalist Society, but a few of them were specifically concerned with how the federal government handled Black people with oppressive hands. It is my belief that most of these ten points are still valid, and not just in reference to Black people, but also to Native Americans and Latinos as well because when you look at the list of ethnicities most likely to be victims of police brutality, we are all running neck and neck. Add to this the poverty which can and often does run rampant and unchecked in these communities by local, state and nationally elected officials, housing inequalities, mistrust in the justice system when it involves any of these ethnicities and the police, prison overcrowding being disproportionately composed of Black and brown bodies despite Whites committing the majority of violent crime in the United States, education standards that marginalize or outright omit the perspectives of Blacks. Latinos and Native Americans, and lastly communities which cannot keep any money circulating within them because those who make up the communities are discouraged from setting up shop in their own communities or simply cannot afford the cost of starting a business, and you begin to see just how destructive the American government has been to those it “governs.”

It is only by banding together and addressing these common ailments within our communities collectively that any of these problems will be addressed by any portion of the United States Government. I also believe that America has invested a tremendous amount of energy in labeling our issues “Black issues, Latino issues and Native American issues” precisely so that we would not see the common bonds of struggle and oppression that bind us all together. There should be a unified bloc created between all three of these groups who have historically been marginalized and oppressed by the American Government in order to make it difficult for America to ignore our voices and our perspectives. There needs to be dialogue, we need to come together and speak openly with one another about the myriad of issues that our communities face, we need to speak openly about our mistrust of each other and our complicated history with one another in the face of a White Supremacist power structure which has only sought to keep us divided so that it can rule unimpeded. There is also the question of economic empowerment which comes not as a result of spending and or buying power which is a poor measurement of the wealth of a people, but it comes from ensuring that the pay gap between ethnicities is destroyed which is an inherent form of systematic racism that for whatever reason the American Government has decided is not important enough to do away with. Not only this, but hiring biases that are exposed on the desks of HR departments across America contribute to a system of American inequality where I’m more than certain names which sound (or look) differently than European or “White” sounding names are automatically disqualified before their qualifications are even examined.

As mentioned before, there is also rampant poverty and poverty related violence in communities which have essentially been segregated and determined “minority-only” by an America that proclaims that liberty and justice is for all. Yet even when they are “integrated” it is only because of the influx of Whiteness that many of these communities get any kind of improvements and this too must change. There should not be a local government which can see the inequalities and the lack of support to a majority minority community and just allows it to fester until it becomes “unfixable” and then essentially blames the community for its ills. What has the government done to alleviate these issues? Especially in Native American communities which are already stretched thin on resources because of the Federal Government’s involvement in stripping them of their land and culture. There has to be a fundamental change in the way that America treats our communities and it must begin to be demanded now around these central points: Employment and livable wages for all, housing inequalities must be fixed, low income living arrangements must be decent places to live, not slums and or ghettos, an education system that is not Eurocentric but teaches the truest rendering of history American and otherwise, an end to the destructive war on drugs, reformation of sentencing policies, and prison restructuring to focus on rehabilitation and not simply punishment for crimes, a reformation of policing models so that jails and prisons are no longer overcrowded and unarmed minorities are no longer target practice for scared police officers, a justice system that works the same for EVERYONE regardless of income level, and we want the power to be placed back in the hands of the people and not in the hands of a government who does not care for the people it has abused and continues to abuse.

As the closing of Huey Newton’s Ten-Point Plan states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”