Monday, May 21, 2012

Local Struggles: Organizing for the National Plan of Action for Racial Justice at the City, County, and State Level

The fight for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is not just a fight targeting the federal government. Nor is it a fight to just create more government policies and institutions for monitoring rights abuses with few resources and no real accountability measures. This fight is ultimately a local fight, one that must be waged and won on every block, neighborhood, city, county, and state.

The "national" component of the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is to ensure that no one state can opt out of complying with the demands for racial justice. We want to make sure that there is no recourse to "state's rights", which have been used for centuries to reinforce white supremacy and apartheid, particularly in the south and the southwest against Indigenous nations, New Afrikans and Xicanos.

The demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is a demand for structural change at every level of government – city, county (parish, borough, etc.), state, and federal. But, as already stated, it must first be waged and won on a local level. This battle starts with individuals and organizations adopting the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. Upon adoption, individuals and organizations must then engage in mass outreach to educate more people about the National Plan of Action framework and what it would enable. Following the education work, the next step is to organize people to support a campaign of struggle to win the demand. After you have established a base of organizers to wage this campaign, the next step is to build strong local coalitions that are prepared to engage in various self-defense activities and offensive campaign initiatives that seek to transform the institutions and practices of local, county, and state governments by having them adopt action plans for racial justice.

Some of the initiatives of self-defense that are suggested entail:
·         Organizing Cop or Police Watch forces that canvass communities and directly monitor police practice, document police harassment (i.e. racial profiling, stop and frisk, etc.) and abuse, and serve as deterrence against police terrorism, particularly in communities of oppressed peoples.
·         Organize Peoples Self-Defense Coalitions and Campaigns that seek to: a) educate communities to know their fundamental human rights and their basic civil rights as a means of providing protection against police and other forms of state terrorism (i.e. surveillance, entrapment, etc.), b) create legal coalitions and clinics to partner with Cop or Police Watch forces to fight cases of police terrorism, and c) serve as an organizing base to launch local legislative campaigns and initiatives.
·         Organize People's Hearings or Tribunals to thoroughly document local incidences of police terrorism and state repression to continue to educate and inform local communities and to gather evidence that can be used to pursue legal remedies both domestically (in US courts) and internationally (through Inter-American Commission or the United Nations) the and to reinforce demands of various organizing campaigns.
Some of the offensive campaign initiatives suggested entail:
·         Campaign for City, County, or State level Plans of Action for Racial Justice that would entail:
o   The creation of comprehensive Civil Review Boards, that are elected by local communities and possess the power to subpoena and to take legal and other corrective action against police and other public officials in violation of human rights
o   Local control ordinances and legislation that would specifically stop repressive policies like "stop and frisk", racial profiling, programs like secure communities or S COMM of Homeland Security[1], and local law enforcement collaboration with Fusion Centers[2]
o   The creation of Human Rights Commissions that would legally be empowered to ensure that local, state, and regional laws and practices comply with international law and standards of protection for oppressed peoples and groups (racialized communities, Indigenous peoples, oppressed peoples and nations, immigrants, etc.)
o   The creation of Human Rights Charters for city, county, and state governments that refashion the articles of incorporation and constitutions that establish the legal framework for these entities to ensure maximum protections for Indigenous and oppressed peoples residing in these locales.
These are just a few ways in which the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice can be and is relevant to local, statewide, and regional struggles for social justice. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Black Left Unity Network (BLUN), and the National Alliance for Racial Justice and Human Rights (NARJHR) calls on every individual, organization, coalition, alliance, or network that believes in racial justice and is fighting to liberate oppressed peoples in this country to join us in the effort to fight for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to ensure that there are NO MORE TRAYVON MARTINS.

For more information on the No More Trayvon Martins Campaign visit
To sign the petition for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice visit

To endorse the campaign email To get started on organizing on its behalf see the tasks outlined in our Appeal Letter at

[1] For more information on the Secure Communities program visit

In Unity and Struggle,


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