Black Radical Congress
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.
At the organizing congress in Chicago in June 1998, 2,000 people participated in creating the organization. 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.
On 17 April 1999, the BRC ratified a "freedom agenda" listing 15 objectives dealing with racial and economic justice in the United States. 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.
The complete mission statement  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."
The BRC has both individual and organizational memberships. It is headed by a National Congress.
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."
Race and Racial Justice
The BRC states "Black is not necessarily a color or hue, but encompasses all peoples of African descent." 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 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."
A number of high-profile black scholars and activists endorsed the creation of the BRC on 16 March 1998:
- Marlene Archer (National Co-chair, National Conference of Black Lawyers)
- Amina Baraka (Communist Party, USA)
- Amiri Baraka (Unity & Struggle newspaper)
- Debbie Bell (Communist Party, USA)
- Angela Y. Davis (Professor, University of California at Santa Cruz)
- Johanna Fernandez (International Socialist Organization)
- Bill Fletcher, Jr. (Labor activist and writer, Washington, D.C., Democratic Socialists of America)
- Lewis Gordon (Temple University)
- Robin D.G. Kelley (University of Southern California)
- Marian Kramer (National Welfare Rights Union)
- Julianne Malveaux
- Manning Marable
- Sonia Sanchez (Poet)
- Joe Sims (Communist Party, USA)
- Yicki Smith (Feminist Action Network)
- Jarvis Tyner (Communist Party, USA)
- Cornel West (Democratic Socialists of America)
- "From Conference to Organization: The Challenges of Building the Black Radical Congress", by Jamala Rogers
- "Global Apartheid and America's New Racial Domain", by Manning Marable
- "Rosa Parks: A Woman of Substance", by Eric Foner, discussing the life and death of Rosa Parks
- "The Left and the Millions More Movement", by Amiri Baraka
- "We Charge Genocide", by Jamala Rogers, discussing Hurricane Katrina
- "The terrorist named Hurricane Katrina", by Bill Fletcher, Jr., discussing Hurricane Katrina
- "Whither the Struggle Against Racism", by Rose Brewer, discussing the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2005
- "Contemporary Police Brutality and Misconduct" press release, undated
- "We Must Succeed!! The Black Radical Congress Campaign" press release, undated
- "African Leaders Hide Political Woes Behind Homophobia", press release, 25 April 2001
- "Statement on the Giuliani "Decency" Panel", press release, 12 April 2001
- "Statement on the Post-Election Crisis by the National Coordinating Committee of the BRC", press release, 1 December 2000
- "The Black Radical Congress Condemns the Acquittal of Four Police Officers in the Murder of Amadou Diallo", press release, 28 February 2000
- "Black Radical Congress", Columbia University social justice wiki, accessed 2 January 2007
- "Black Radical Congress Mission", accessed 2 January 2007
- "Freedom Agenda", accessed 2 January 2007
- "Mission Statement of the Black Radical Congress (BRC)", accessed 2 January 2007
- "Principles of Unity", accessed 2 January 2007
- "Program Information: Black Radical Congress National Organizing Conference", accessed 2 January 2007
- "Email Lists", accessed 2 January 2007; "A Statement by the Pat Parker Queer Caucus of the Black Radical Congress", dated 19 June 2005, accessed 2 January 2007
- "Local Organizing Committees", accessed 2 January 2007
- "Forging a Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century", accessed 2 January 2007
- "Black Radical Congress Mission," accessed 2 January 2007