Invest-divest

We demand investments in the education, health and safety of Black people, instead of investments in the criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people. We want investments in Black communities, determined by Black communities, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations. This includes:

  1. A reallocation of funds at the federal, state and local level from policing and incarceration (JAG, COPS, VOCA) to long-term safety strategies such as education, local restorative justice services, and employment programs.
  2. The retroactive decriminalization, immediate release and record expungement of all drug related offenses and prostitution, and reparations for the devastating impact of the “war on drugs” and criminalization of prostitution, including a reinvestment of the resulting savings and revenue into restorative services, mental health services, job programs and other programs supporting those impacted by the sex and drug trade.
  3. Real, meaningful, and equitable universal health care that guarantees: proximity to nearby comprehensive health centers, culturally competent services for all people, specific services for queer, gender nonconforming, and trans people, full bodily autonomy, full reproductive services, mental health services, paid parental leave, and comprehensive quality child and elder care.
  4. A constitutional right at the state and federal level to a fully-funded education which includes a clear articulation of the right to: a free education for all, special protections for queer and trans students, wrap around services, social workers, free health services (including reproductive body autonomy), a curriculum that acknowledges and addresses students’ material and cultural needs, physical activity and recreation, high quality food, free daycare, and freedom from unwarranted search, seizure or arrest.
  5. A divestment from industrial multinational use of fossil fuels and investment in community- based sustainable energy solutions.
  6. A cut in military expenditures and a reallocation of those funds to invest in domestic infrastructure and community well-being.

A Reallocation of Funds at the Federal, State and Local Level From Policing and Incarceration (JAG, COPS, VOCA) to Long-Term Community Based Safety Strategies Such As Education, Local Restorative Justice Services, and Employment Programs

What is the problem?

  • Reinvestment of federal grants (JAG, COPS and VOCA) to education, employment and restorative justice services in Black communities most impacted by the mass incarceration and crime.
  • In the last few decades, the federal government has thrown billions of dollars at state and local governments to fund quickly expanding police forces and jails. Since Sept. 11, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alone has given between $30 billion and $40 billion in direct grants to state and local law enforcement, as well as other first responders. The federal government doled out an additional $376 million to state and local law enforcement in 2013 through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant program. That was down from more than $1 billion in 1998. And of course there is the estimated $5 billion worth of surplus military equipment that the has gone to local law enforcement, 20 college campuses and over 20 school districts through the Department of Defense’s (DOD)1033 P These funds are given with little or no oversight and there is no accountability mechanism.
  • Moreover, there is no evidence that the massive spending on incarceration reduces crime rates or keeps communities safer. Studies do show that jobs and education make communities stronger and keep them safer. Investments in community based drug and mental health treatment, education, universal pre-K, and other social institutions can make communities safer while improving life outcomes for all. Children who do not participate in the preschool programs are 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18. And youth who participate in summer job programs in Chicago saw a 43 percent decrease in arrests over a 16-month period. Studies show that jobs and education do not just make communities stronger — they make them safer.

What does this solution do?

  • The federal government should reallocate funding currently dedicated to policing and incarceration and instead invest those funds in long-term safety strategies such as educational, community restorative justice and employment programs that have been shown to improve community safety.

Federal Action:

  • Target: Legislative
  • Process: Congress would have to amend the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005, change the formula-based awards to end the mandated support of police departments, and make explicit that community based crime prevention (restorative justice) and long-term safety strategies (youth employment and educational programs) are permissible grantees for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program.
  • Target: Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Process: While a sizable portion of JAG grants are formula-based (meaning that departments automatically receive funds based on congressional formulas), the DOJ has some discretion in how much funding it awards to police departments. Additionally, the DOJ has full discretion in the granting of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and other grant funds. In 2015, the COPS office gave $163 million to police departments across the country. The DOJ should prioritize grants to community based organizations focusing on restorative justice, employment and education.

How does this solution address the specific needs of some of the most marginalized Black people?

  • Any reduction in funds for prisons and policing would benefit all marginalized Black people because of the disproportionate impact that policing and incarceration have on them. Additionally, depending on how funds are reallocated, specific groups such as LGBTQ, trans or homeless people, could be prioritized for funding.

Model Legislation

  • No model legislation exists.

Resources:

Organizations Currently Working on Policy:

  • No organizations are currently working on this

Authors & Contributors of this Policy Overview

  • Marbre Stahly-Butts, Center for Popular Democracy
  • Daryl Atkinson, Southern Coalition For Social Justice
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The Retroactive Decriminalization, Immediate Release, and Record Expungement of All Drug Related Offenses and Prostitution, and Reparations for the Devastating Impacts of the “War on Drugs” and the Criminalization of Prostitution, Including a Reinvestment of the Resulting Savings Into Restorative Justice, Health Services, Housing, Job Programs and Other Programs Based on the Needs Identified By Individuals and Communities Impacted by the Sex and Drug Trade

What is the problem?

  • Drugs and prostitution laws have consistently served as vehicles for criminalizing Black people and communities, and have been used as tools of racial profiling, discriminatory enforcement, violence, extortion and abuse, and mass incarceration of Black people. They have also consistently been used to exclude and deny Black people access to housing, employment, education, family, and community, while simultaneously failing to address the needs of people struggling with addiction and survival.
  • In the U.S. today millions of people are or have been in jails, prisons, on probation or parole for possession of drugs, many of them for possession of small quantities of drugs for personal or recreational use.
  • The policing of prostitution has consistently been used to criminalize and deny protection from sexual and other forms of violence to Black women, cis and trans, and LGBQ people, while simultaneously driving people in the sex trades further into poverty and closing off access to housing, employment, health care, reproductive rights, family and community. Criminalization of prostitution also facilitates police and community violence against people in the sex trades, and serves as a basis for exclusion and deportation from the U.S.

What does this solution do?

  • Decriminalization would ensure that individuals who use, possess, or sell drugs or trade sex are not subject to arrest, detention or conviction.
  • Decriminalization must be retroactive so that people currently serving time in jails and prisons can apply to be released, and people with convictions can have their records expunged so that they can be relieved of bars to access to housing, employment, health care, family, and community.
  • The savings from decriminalization must be invested into reparations to all people who have been adversely impacted by the drug war and enforcement of prostitution laws — for time spent in jails or prisons, for denial of housing, education and employment, for extortion of sex or money in exchange for leniency in drug or prostitution cases, for loss of parental rights and separation of children from parents in foster care and adoption. They must also ensure that people criminalized by the “war on drugs” are able to participate in legal drug markets where decriminalization has already taken place.
  • Savings must also be used to meet the needs identified by individuals impacted by the drug and sex trades themselves, including housing, employment, health services, harm reduction services, addiction support and treatment, on a voluntary basis, without mandating or coercing participation in services.
  • Decriminalization would ensure that drug and prostitution convictions no longer serve as an absolute bar to entry to the U.S. or as grounds for removal.

Federal Action:

  • Pass legislation at the federal level decriminalizing possession and sale of all drugs, no matter the quantity.
  • Repeal the Mann Act.
  • Eliminate ban on entry and immigration for individuals who have engaged in prostitution.
  • Repeal portions of Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) deeming drug offenses “aggravated felonies” warranting exclusion and deportation.
  • Develop comprehensive reparations package for people impacted by the drug and sex trades.

State Action:

  • Pass legislation decriminalizing drug possession and sale.
  • Pass legislation decriminalizing prostitution.

Local Action:

  • Pass local ordinances decriminalizing drug possession and prostitution.
  • Police and prosecutors should enact and enforce policies barring arrest or prosecution for drug possession.
  • Cease civil enforcement of prostitution-related nuisance actions.

How does this solution address the specific needs of some of the most marginalized Black people?

  • Drug and prostitution law enforcement practices disproportionately impact low-income communities of color.
  • Once saddled with a drug or prostitution conviction, individuals are denied access to public housing, education, and employment.
  • Black women – cis and trans – gender nonconforming and queer people are disproportionately affected by criminalization of prostitution.
  • Immigrants are disproportionately affected by the federal bar on entry of individuals who have engaged in prostitution, regardless of whether they have been arrested or convicted.

Model Legislation

Resources:

Organizations Currently Working on Policy:

  • Drug Policy Alliance
  • Desiree Alliance

Authors & Contributors of this Policy Overview

  • Andrea Ritchie, Soros Justice Fellow
  • DeAngelo Bester, Workers Center For Racial Justice
  • Marbre Stahly-Butts, Center for Popular Democracy
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Real, Meaningful, and Equitable Universal Health Care that Guarantees: Proximity to Nearby Comprehensive Health Centers, Culturally Competent Services For All Our People, Specific Services for Queer, Gender Nonconforming, and Trans People, Full Bodily Autonomy, Full Reproductive Services, Mental Health Services, Paid Parental Leave, and Comprehensive Quality Child and Elder Care

What is the problem

  • Compared to white people in the U.S., studies show that Black people are less likely to work in jobs that make health insurance available, they are less likely to be offered health insurance, and they are less likely to take it when offered. Just 53 percent of Black people get insurance through work as compared to 72 percent of white people.
  • Black people constitute 12 percent of the overall S. population, but 16 percent of the uninsured. 53 percent of Black peoples earn less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) as compared to 25 percent of white people in the U.S. 20 percent of Black people are uninsured compared to 12 people of white people in the U.S.; and] 24 percent of Black people are covered by public insurance (Medicaid) as compared to 16percent of white people in the U.S.
  • Despite the passage of the Social Security Administration Act, which created Medicare and Medicaid, and the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA or ACA) Medicaid expansion, health disparities continue to persist among people of color. Communities historically deprived of resources have experienced worse health outcomes due to discriminatory and racist policies that limit the ability of people of color to achieve optimal health.
  • There is a critical lack of quality and affordable health care and it is ravaging communities of color. The (ACA) was an inadequate attempt at providing healthcare coverage to the spectrum of Black lives including, but not limited to people who are: underemployed, undocumented, transgender, young, and elderly. Despite the passage of the bill, many Southern states have not accepted the Medicaid expansion, leaving many working class and low-income people of color uninsured. Under a patriarchal racialized capitalist system, Black people are twice as likely as white people to go without health insurance even though we suffer chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes at a disproportionate and escalating rate.
  • Communities of color experience high rates of hospital closing, understaffed, under-resourced and poorly maintained health care facilities, culturally incompetent physicians and unfair and unequal access to preventative screenings and treatment.
  • Further exacerbating this issue are the significant lower number of health professionals of color to provide competent and culturally appropriate clinical services for people of color.
  • Specific populations who have traditionally found challenges within the health care system include, but are not limited to: undocumented residents, people of color with physical, mental and developmental disabilities, and Black trans folks trying to free themselves from the cages of their bodies, but being told that the procedures are not considered worthy of being medically insured. All of Black trans people’s medical needs should be included in health coverage. Black identified women have been met with violent and invasive actions when it comes to our health care system. Whether having insurance or not, Black women have historically and currently been the victims of sterilization methods.

What would this solution do?

  • National Paid Parental Leave legislation that goes beyond the current Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which guarantees unpaid job protected leave. Paid parental leave is policy in many wealthy countries around the world which ensures time to nurture and properly parent children.
  • Provide access to comprehensive health centers in neighborhoods.
  • Provide full access to preventive and curative care for the diverse communities of color throughout the U.S., of all ages.
  • Provide Black cis and trans women full agency to say what level and type of care their bodies need.
  • Provide loving and adequate maintenance and management of health to our aging Black people and differently-abled people, as well as the rest of the Black community.
  • Provide Black people access to services that speak to our cultural needs instead of trying to make our needs fit into the box of other races and cultures.
  • Increase the number of medical and public health professionals in communities of color, providing competent and culturally sensitive care.

Federal Action:

  • Pass a bill to expand public health care to all U.S. residents and mandate that the wealthy residents pay for a portion of their services while low-income and working class folks receive free services.
  • Pass a bill to ensure all service provided by community health workers, including but not limited to Doulas, health coaches, patient navigators and outreach workers are billable.

State Action:

  • Pass a bill to expand public health care to all Florida residents and mandate that the wealthy residents pay for a portion of their services while working class folks receive free services.
  • Pass a bill to ensure equitable and accountable measures to distribute federal charity care dollars to health care facilities serving communities of color.
  • Provide loan forgiveness for all medical and public health professional of color working in communities of color.
  • Pass a bill to ensure all service provided by community health workers, including but not limited to Doulas, health coaches, patient navigators and outreach workers are billable.

Local Action:

  • Pass a bill to ensure all service provided by community health workers, including but not limited to Doulas, health coaches, patient navigators and outreach workers are billable.

How does this solution address the specific needs of some of the most marginalized Black people?

  • Children would have access to preventative care which allows for healthier development and less sickness later in their lives.
  • Provides workforce development opportunities for marginalized Black people to become paid providers in their communities.
  • Creates holistic, community-centered health care support so individuals can receive comprehensive care in their homes and local environments.
  • Specific people who have traditionally faced challenges within the health care system include, but are not limited to: undocumented people, people of color with physical, mental and developmental disabilities, and Black trans people who are trying to free themselves from the cages of their bodies, but being told that the procedures are not considered worthy of being medically insured.
  • All of Black trans people’s medical needs should be included in health coverage.
  • Black identified women, who have been met with violent and invasive actions when it comes to the health care system. Whether having insurance or not, Black women have historically and currently been the victims of sterilization methods.

Model Legislation

  • France has a system of universal health care largely financed by government through a system of national health insurance. It is consistently ranked as one of the best health care systems in the world.
  • Countries such as Egypt, Algeria and Germany have some form of universal health care. All are models to look at and potentially adapt to the U.S.
  • Minnesota and Oregon have included Doula services in their Medicaid coverage.

Resources:

Organizations Currently Working on Policy:

  • Commission on Public Health System
  • Doctors for America

Authors & Contributors of this Policy Overview

  • Whitney Maxey, Miami Public School Teacher
  • Kwame Torian Easterling, MD, MPH
  • Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN, University of California, San Francisco
  • JoHanna Thompson, MPA
  • Nimaako Brown, MPH, CHES
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A Constitutional Right at the State and Federal Level to a Fully Funded Education Which Includes a Clear Articulation of the Right To: A Free Education For All, Special Protections For Queer and Trans Students, Wrap Around Services, Social Workers, Free Health Services, A Curriculum that Acknowledges and Addresses Student’s Material and Cultural Needs, Physical Activity and Recreation, High Quality Food, Free Daycare, and Freedom From Search, Seizure or Arrest

What is the problem?

  • Under the current U.S.Constitution, education is not a constitutional right, which means that states within the U.S. make their own laws and allocate their little-to-no resources for public schools. As a result, education in this country is grossly unequal and underfunded. 76 percent of the nation’s low income students attended public schools in districts with a per pupil expenditure below the national average. The same is true for almost 66 percent of Black students in the U.S. Black and Brown students are less likely to have access to advanced math and science classes and veteran teachers. Black students of any age, even the youngest preschoolers, are more likely to be suspended. And students with disabilities are more likely than other students to be tied down or placed alone in a room as a form of discipline.
  • Areas where Black and Brown low-income residents attend schools have high rates of:
  • School closings, turnarounds, phase-outs, co-locations and charter school expansion;
  • Inequitable school funding, race-based school inequity and budget cuts;
  • Mayoral control, state takeovers and the lack of meaningful parent and community engagement in district-wide education policy decisions and school-based governance; and
  • Zero-tolerance discipline policies and the pushout crisis
  • The U.S. is an outlier in not clearly articulating a right for all of its people to be educated. Nearly every other country (174) besides the U.S. has some type of constitutional or statutory right to an education, and has constructed law around education as a fundamental right of citizens, at least until the age of adulthood. In 1948, the United Nations, under Article 26, recognized education as a human right, setting a clear international standard.

What does this solution do?

  • A constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to a fully-funded education would clarify and enhance the role of the national government in ensuring finance and resource adequacy, address the education needs and priorities of the S. as a whole, and provide necessary guidance to state and local governments to help raise the baseline of education quality, achievement, attainment, and accountability.
  • A constitutional amendment would also provide a chance to clearly articulate the necessary components of a quality education, which include the right to: a free education for all, wrap around services, a social worker for every 40 students, free health services (including reproductive body autonomy and dental care), a curriculum that acknowledges and addresses youth’s material and cultural needs, physical activity and recreation, high quality food, free daycare, freedom from unwarranted search, seizure or arrest and art. The amendment would also acknowledge the right of students to respect and dignity.

Federal Action:

  • Target: Legislative
  • Process: The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. There are very real concerns about the possibility that if a constitutional convention was convened that a flurry of amendments might be proposed and passed that would not be beneficial to our people.

State Action:

  • Target: Legislative and often popular ballot initiative
  • Process: States can also guarantee the right to a fully funded education through a state constitutional amendment. There are a number of different ways that state constitutions can be changed. They include:
    • Legislatively referred constitutional amendment (proposed constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure after being voted on by the state legislature).
      • Every state except for Delaware allows the legislature to go through this process.
    • Eighteen states allow voters the right to amend their constitution through the a ballot initiative process:
      • These states are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota.
    • Florida allows constitutional amendments to be referred through a commission process.
    • In Delaware, a constitutional amendment can be passed through the direct action of the state legislature with no vote of the people.

Model Legislation

  • In November Mississippi had a ballot initiative for a constitutional right to a fully funded education. It was narrowly defeated.

Resources:

Organizations Currently Working on Policy:

  • National Organizations:
    • Journey 4 Justice
    • National Student Bill of Rights
    • Education for Liberation Network
    • Californians For Justice
    • Southern Education Foundation
  • Local/Regional Organizations:
    • Project South, Atlanta, Georgia
    • Baltimore Algebra Project (BAP) – Baltimore, Maryland
    • Boston-area Youth Organizing Project (BYOP) Boston, Massachusetts
    • Sunflower Community Action – Wichita, Kansas
    • Youth United for Change (YUC) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Coleman Advocates – San Francisco, California
    • One Voice – Mississippi

Authors & Contributors of this Policy Overview

  • Ruth Jeannoel, Power U Center for Social Change
  • Marbre Stahly-Butts, Center for Popular Democracy
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A Divestment From Industrial Multinational Use of Fossil Fuels and Investments in Community-Based Sustainable Energy Solutions

What is the problem?

  • Black people are amongst the most affected by climate change. If we’re not serious about reducing emissions, the planet will keep getting hotter and Black people will continue to bear the biggest brunt of climate change. Divest from industrial use of fossil fuels and reinvest in community-based sustainable energy solutions to make sure communities most impacted (Black communities) are helping to lead that shift.
  • The U.S. military is the largest contributor to emissions (war economy drives fossil fuel economy).
  • One-third of greenhouse gases are also caused by the industrial agricultural system.

What are the solutions?

  • Divest from any industry that makes money on the production of fossil fuels.
  • Shift toward Black community control of more local sustainable energy and food systems.
  • People directly impacted by climate change, particularly Black communities, know what the issues are most and should be at the forefront. Additionally, some of our people work in industries of extractive energy (power plants), etc. We can instead apply those skills to sustainable, clean energy production (like solar, etc.).
  • Reduce military expenditures overall, particularly in the use of fossil fuel.

Federal Action:

  • Invest instead in a cooperative loan fund — money from fossil fuel economy is reinvested into cooperative loan fund that can invest in cooperatively owned businesses. Money can go back to redistribute to cooperatives, particularly in Black communities.
  • Shift resources toward community-controlled food hub (a process and facility that works to aggregate or pool food produced from local farmers and coordinates marketing and distributing) and cooperative organizations to shift resources towards a more democratic, localized and sustainable economy (examples of food hubs and cooperatives include Mississippi Association of Cooperatives Indian Springs or many others with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives).

Local Action:

  • Promote and expand networks of small scale farmers connecting with each other: Local Living economies (La Via Campesina), small farmers, small scale (style of farming) — healthier for the planet. Build local food system infrastructure for horizontal scale.
  • Invest in solidarity economies.
  • Just transition (transitioning out of fossil fuels to clean energy).
  • Promote cities to become Zero Waste cities (i.e. Jackson, Mississippi plans to become Zero Waste by 2025).
  • Resources to fund Black contractors to specialize in sustainable energy.

How does this solution address the specific needs of some of the most marginalized Black people?

  • Black, poor, and trans people of color are disproportionately affected by climate change, and the lack of access to breathable air and to land control over our food system.

Resources:

Organizations Currently Working on This Issue:

  • Cooperation Jackson (Jackson, Mississippi)
  • Climate Justice Alliance, Our Power Campaign
  • Southern Reparations Loan Fund
  • Southern Grassroots Economies Project
  • East Michigan Environmental Action Coalition
  • Hijra House (Biloxi, MS)
  • Gulf South Rising

Authors & Contributors of this Policy Overview

  • Dara Cooper, National Black Food and Justice Alliance
  • Brandon King, Cooperation Jackson
  • Linda Tigani
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A Cut in US Military Expenditures and A Reallocation of those Funds to Invest in Domestic Infrastructure and Community Wellbeing

What is the problem?

  • America is an empire that uses war to expand territory and power. American wars are unjust, destructive to Black communities globally and do not keep Black people safe locally. The military industrial complex offers massive profits to private corporations from the death of our global diaspora by handing out massive government contracts to expand US military presence across the globe, while resources for domestic infrastructure and social programs to meet the needs of Black people and working class communities within the US diminishes.

 

  • The US military accounts for over 50 percent of discretionary federal spending, a total of 598.5 Billion dollars spent annually, as compared to 70 billion spent on education, 66 billion spent on healthcare, $63.2 billion spent on housing and 29.1 billion spent on social security and unemployment. In addition, approximately 3 billion dollars in US aid is allocated to Israel, a state that practices systematic discrimination and has maintained a military occupation of Palestine for decades. Together with aid to Egypt — Israel’s most important regional ally — this figure represents nearly 75 percent of all US aid dollars. As these figures demonstrate, resources and funds needed for reparations and for building a just and equitable society domestically are instead used to wage war against a majority of the world’s communities.

 

  • In the years since September 11 and the US-driven “global war on terror”, US military spending has increased by 50 percent. This war has led to the killing of 4 million civilians in the Middle East. US arms and military corporations have made billions of dollars in profit off of waging disaster and destabilization in the Middle East, while increasing western control over the land and resources of the region. In South America and the Caribbean the war on terror has combined with a long-running war on drugs intensifying forced migrations, land grabs, and political disenfranchisement. The war on terror, has not made us safer and has only increased hopelessness as our fears are realized.

 

  • In 2006, AFRICOM was established by the US government to expand US military presence on the continent under the claim of protecting the region against “terror” and “radical Islam”. In reality, this effort was designed to expand western colonial control over the region, its people and their resources. AFRICOM is a major example of U.S. empire and is a direct threat to global Black liberation.

 

  • The U.S. militarization of Africa includes air strikes and commando raids in Libya; “black ops” missions and drone murders in Somalia; a proxy war in Mali; secretive actions in Chad; anti-piracy operations that result in increased piracy in the Gulf of Guinea; wide-ranging drone operations out of bases in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Niger, and the Seychelles; “special” operations out of bases in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo; CIA bungling in Somalia; over a dozen joint training exercises a year; arming and training of soldiers in places like Uganda, Burundi, and Kenya; a “joint special operations” operation in Burkina Faso; base construction aimed at accommodating future “surges” of troops; legions of mercenary spies; the expansion of a former French foreign legion base in Djibouti and joint war-making with France in Mali.

 

  • Somalia has not only experienced extended military intervention as a result of AFRICOM but has been treated as an experimentation site for the U.S. devastating drone policy. The Democratic Republic of Congo as a region has had a long history of U.S. intervention that have coincided with some of the worst genocides in the world. Not only have U.S. backed African intervention armies committed atrocities but U.S. private companies extract the worlds wealth from Congolese soil. And as is true here, women and the most vulnerable in our communities pay the price of U.S. intervention and the accompanying genocides and civil wars. The U.S. must make room for African-led development and peace-making that is led by grassroots decision-making of the most marginalized and directly affected.  We insist on African leaders and demand resources be made to begin the process of community-building at home.

 

  • The Garifuna have experienced rounds of forced migration leaving ancestral homeland in Honduras and across the Central American region in part because of U.S. war-making. Garifuna community members now living as part of the expanding local Black diaspora have dealt with U.S. backed coups in Honduras along with U.S. trained militaries that have devastated the region. They enter an American landscape where the resources for community life have been drained by the last 50 years of post-civil rights cuts. We need end to war, and shift of national resources to rebuilding our local communities and repairing the damage done by American empire abroad.

 

  • There may not be a greater example of the disastrous impact of U.S. military intervention and manipulation than Haiti. We remember and celebrate Haiti as a key center of global Black struggle, and we are disheartened as we recall the continual U.S. intervention that has filed modern Haitian history with coups and violence. On the border of Haiti we have also seen Dominicans of Haitian descent deported and mistreated with the most brutal violence. We can not sit idly by as U.S. funds are used to finance deportations and the border guard that violate the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent under the guise of our global wars on terror and drugs. We need those funds to be repurposed to heal the damage U.S. intervention has wrecked and rebuild our communities locally.

 

  • The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people. The US requires Israel to use 75 percent of all the military aid it receives to buy US-made arms. Consequently, every year billions of dollars are funneled from US taxpayers to hundreds of arms corporations, who then wage lobbying campaigns pushing for even more foreign military aid. The results of this policy are twofold: it not only diverts much needed funding from domestic education and social programs, but it makes US citizens complicit in the abuses committed by the Israeli government. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people. Palestinian homes and land are routinely bulldozed to make way for illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli soldiers also regularly arrest and detain Palestinians as young as 4 years old without due process. Everyday, Palestinians are forced to walk through military checkpoints along the US-funded apartheid wall.

 

  • The expansion of the war on terror has been vividly expressed in the violence the West with U.S. leadership used to attack the people of Libya. Not only was a government overthrown but arms were given to rebel groups who have violated the human rights of all Libyans. In the wake of this war crime Somalis, Nigerians, Eritreans and other communities who have been taking the risk of traveling through LIbya for decades have are experiencing even more hardship. The right of migration for many Africans inside and outside Libya has been placed in even greater jeopardy. Our family, our diaspora are now faced with rebel groups who attack them and smugglers who make them risk their lives in unsafe boats in dangerous waters. It is now not uncommon for hundreds of Africans to drown in the mediterranean every week. This happens as the west ignores its role in creating this crisis, but we can not sit by. We can no longer fund coups, and civil wars. Our resources should be used to repair the damage we have done to our global community and rebuild our neighborhoods domestically.

 

  • The interlinked systems of white supremacy, imperialism, capitalism and patriarchy shape the violence we face. As oppressed people living in the US, the belly of global empire, we are in a critical position to build the necessary connections for a global liberation movement. Until we are able to overturn US imperialism, capitalism and white supremacy, our brothers and sisters around the world will continue to live in chains. Our struggle is strengthened by our connections to the resistance of peoples around the world fighting for their liberation. The Black radical tradition has always  been rooted in igniting connection across the global south under the recognition that our liberation is intrinsically tied to the liberation of Black and Brown people around the world.

 

  • The movement for Black lives must be tied to liberation movements around the world. The Black community is a global diaspora and our political demands must reflect this global reality. As it stands funds and resources needed to realize domestic demands are currently used for wars and violence destroying communities abroad. State violence within the U.S. is intimately linked with empire and war-making globally.  

What does this solution do?

  • Severely limits the war-making ability of the American military.
  • Cuts the US military budget by 50%, which will lead to the closure of the over 800 U.S. military bases the U.S. around the world, the elimination of the the sale of weaponry to violators of human rights, reduces the use and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and return all troops back from the current theatres of war..
  • Increases accountability of federal spending. Careful audits of Pentagon and military contractors to retrieve and address misallocated funding. 70% of pentagon budget goes to private contractors reviewing military contracts that currently have minimal to zero accountability is central to expanding resources for reparations.
  • Drastically lowers war casualties by eliminating large share of casualties of civilians, “enemy combatants” and American soldiers.
  • Provides reparations to countries and communities devastated by American war-making, such as Somalia, Iraq, Libya and Honduras
  • Cease the military aid and funding of countries and organizations with human rights violations.
  • Shifts national resources away from war-making institutions to peace-making.
  • Deploy military personnel in domestic peace-making roles that redesign and rebuild the country’s polluting and crumbling infrastructure with released funds from war-making.
  • Expands resources available for reparations and the various demands of the broad movement for Black lives:
  • Contributes to the stabilization of regions throughout the world who have been devastated by US and US-backed military intervention, including Somalia, Kenya, Congo, Libya, Honduras, Colombia, El Salvador, the Middle East and across the world.

 

Federal Action:

  • Build invest/divestment campaigns that ends US Aid to Israel’s military industrial complex and any government with human rights violations.
  • Detail rebuilding and repair plan for domestic infrastructure across the country based on a commitment to a green economy and deep understanding of the threat of climate change.
  • Expand American public transportation system with federal job guarantee for re-trained military personnel.
  • Repair domestic infrastructure that is currently dilapidated.
  • Engage the Leahy Law, which prohibits the U.S. government from providing military assistance to a foreign military unit where credible information exists that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.
  • Organize campaigns against G4S and other global private prison companies that are profiting from the shackling of our community  in the US, in Palestine, in Brazil and around the world.
  • Detail funding needs of priority community building efforts like healthcare, education, and housing and re-route funding to address outlined needs.

 

State Action:

  • Pass state resolutions supporting cuts in military spending and local re-investment in operations and resources for Black and working class communities.
  • Fight the expanding number of Anti-BDS bills being passed in states around the country. This type of legislation not only harms the movement to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but is a threat to the constitutional right to free speech and protest
  • Circulate sign-on letters demanding an end to the building of military bases and factories locally.
  • Map out state wide infrastructure needs and pass resolutions calling for the necessary reinvestment and rebuilding efforts.
  • Coordinate direct actions of solidarity with South Africa, Columbia and liberation movements across the globe.

 

Local Action:

  • Organize direct actions demanding a cut in military spending and local re-investment.
  • Circulate sign-on letters demanding an end to local military spending.
  • Fight for the de-militarization of local police forces and elimination of purchases of military surplus equipment.
  • Map out local infrastructure needs and pass resolutions calling for the necessary reinvestment and rebuilding efforts. Coordinate direct actions of solidarity with South Africa, Palestine, Columbia and liberation movements across the globe.

How does this solution address the specific needs of some of the most marginalized Black people?

  • Eliminate much of the destruction and loss of life Black people experience as soldiers and victims of U.S. war-making.
  • Provides massive resources for reparations.
  • Increase available resources to address a number of needs including:
    • Health care for Black LGBT youth and undocumented immigrants.
    • Housing for Black homeless community members.
    • Childcare for Black working class children and parents.

 

Resources:

 

Organizations Currently Working on Policy:

  • AFL-CIO
  • NAACP
  • Green Party
  • United for Justice with Peace
  • The Dream Defenders
  • The US Campaign to End the Occupation
  • The Institute for Middle East Understanding
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • The Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  • The Black Immigration Network
  • Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

 

Authors & Contributors of this Policy Overview

  • Ben Ndugga-Kabuye, Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  • Rachel Gilmer, Dream Defenders
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