Black Radical Congress

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The Black Radical Congress or BRC is an organization founded in 1998 in Chicago. It is a grassroots network of individuals and organizations of African descent focused on advocating for broad progressive social justice, racial equality and economic justice goals within the United States.

History[edit]

At the organizing congress in Chicago in June 1998, 2,000 people participated in creating the organization.[1] However, their first mission predates the organizing congress, having been publicly endorsed and published by a number of high-profile black scholars and activists on 16 March 1998.[2]

On 17 April 1999, the BRC ratified a "freedom agenda" listing 15 objectives dealing with racial and economic justice in the United States.[3] The National Council of the BRC adopted a mission statement on 26 September 1999 in East St. Louis, Illinois. The opening paragraph states:

The purpose of the Black Radical Congress (BRC) is to promote dialogue among African American activists and scholars on the left; to discuss critical issues on the national and international scene that pertain to the Black community; to explore new strategies and directions for progressive political, social and cultural movements; and to renew the Black radical movement through increased unified action.[4]

The complete mission statement [1] discusses approaches to radical democratic methods involving conferences, forums and publications. "Principles of unity" were also adopted, stating that the BRC was established as a "center without walls" focusing on "transformative politics that focuses on the conditions of Black working and poor people."[5]

A national organizing conference was convened in Detroit in 2000, and other conferences have taken place in subsequent years.[citation needed][6]

Organization[edit]

The BRC has both individual and organizational memberships. It is headed by a National Congress.[citation needed]

Each year, the BRC chooses a different "theme" to focus its work on; past themes have included anti-militarism and the prison-industrial complex.[1]

The BRC has at least two caucuses, subgroups within the organization, the labor and working class caucus and the Pat Parker Queer Caucus.[7]

The BRC has local chapters in Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Bay Area; Sacramento, California; Minneapolis; St. Louis; New York City; Raleigh, North Carolina; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.[8]

Mission statement[edit]

Adopted on 26 September 1999 by the National Council:

"The Mission of the Black Radical Congress is to promote speech among the African American scholars and/or activists. Also, extreme issues in which the Black community is effected on the national and international level; to promote new ideas and direction for movements in political, social, and cultural views; through increased unified action, renew the Black radical movement."

"The Black Radical Congress believe that radical or democratic solutions would be the best way to solve the political, social, and economic problems facing our country and would today. This assessment, among the African people resonates with a particularly strong echo. Yet, the political forces find themselves isolated and marginalized from each other when they promote such transformation for Black people. They also believe that they need to create creative ideas and use fresh thinking that can aid with overcoming racism, sexism, class exploitation, homophobia, and build a society that is peaceful, humane, and has a protected environment. There is a large amount of African American people who are activists and scholars willing to participate in serious discussions about Black Community. They are open to new perspectives and challenges to protect, but utilize the best elements of revolutionary nationalist, radical feminist, socialist, and Marxist revolutionary traditions, and new Afrikan, as they enter the 21st century."[9]

Principles[edit]

Race and Racial Justice[edit]

The BRC states "Black is not necessarily a color or hue, but encompasses all peoples of African descent."[10] Their work is focused on racial justice as well as broader social and economic justice as it intersects with the politics of race and racial oppression.

Radical Politics[edit]

"Radical means getting to the root causes of society's injustices and working for root-level, fundamental change. Radicalism is an honored tradition in Black political history."[10]

The BRC has many ties to the Communist Party, USA, although the Congress does not explicitly identify itself as communist, socialist or Marxist.

Endorsers[edit]

A number of high-profile black scholars and activists endorsed the creation of the BRC on 16 March 1998:[11]

External links[edit]

Publications[edit]

References[edit]