Black Liberation Collective

The Black Liberation Collective is a collective consisting of Black students who are dedicated to transforming institutions of higher education through unity, coalition building, direct action and political education.

Our Principles

This statement expresses our shared political perspective. If you agree with this statement, join us!

 

 

Anti-Blackness

Anti-Black racism is woven in the fabric of our global society. It is an interlocking paradigm of institutions, attitudes, practices and behaviors that work to dehumanize and oppress Black people in order to benefit non-Black people, and specifically, to benefit and maintain white supremacy. When social systems are racialized by white supremacy, whiteness becomes the default of humanity and Blackness is stripped of its humanity, becoming a commodity, becoming disposable.

Anti-blackness then is the depreciation of black humanity, denial of black pain, and the obstruction of black agency, in a perpetual process of dehumanization. Anti-Black racism isn’t  merely ideology or overt prejudice and discrimination, but consists of mechanisms and practices that reproduce white advantage and Black disadvantages. Black children are three times more likely to be suspended than white children. Black college graduates are twice as likely as whites to struggle to find employment. Among Black transgender people, nearly half have been incarcerated at some point. Anti-Black racist patterns push Black people to the bottom and attempt to keep them there.

We oppose Anti-Black racism in all forms.

We seek to build institutions that not only recognize Black humanity, but maximize the individual and collective liberties of Black people.



Anti-Sexism

We stand for acknowledging the value of all Black women’s lives whether cisgender, transgender, or genderqueer. We value Black women regardless of religion, sexual orientation, social status, body type, skin tone, age, etc. In acknowledging this value, we must also actively engage in acts that uplift and provide support and amplification for Black women. We believe in giving Black women’s lives and Black women’s issues equal significance and exposure to that of Black men by voicing, highlighting, and attending to injustices against Black women and Black girls. This calls for rejecting the notion that police brutality, the prison industrial system, school to prison pipeline, and things of the like are exclusive to Black men thereby erasing the effects of structural racism unto Black women. We stand for the sexual, political, social, and overall liberation of all Black female bodies believing that women should have the agency to control their own bodies through reproductive rights and sex positivity.  As such, we condemn all forms of violence against any and all women, including but not limited to: rape and all facets of rape culture, sexual and physical assault, domestic violence, invalidation, erasure, shaming of any sort, harmful slurs, and body objectification.

In addition, we stand against Eurocentric beauty standards that are made to lessen the beauty of Black women and Black women’s features. We also reject the appropriation of Black women’s features by non Black women. Too often, Black women are made to believe they have no value to society outside of their physical assets and are devalued at the hands of white and “foreign” women who appropriate Black women’s bodily features for means of capital and/or fame. It is important to understand the way Black women have historically been hypersexualized causing excessive sexual violence, as well as objectification of Black female bodies for means of entertainment. In rejecting Eurocentric beauty standards, we also heavily reject colorism as it dehumanizes and devalues  Black women of darker skin tones. We denounce the idea that women must respect themselves or earn respect in order to be respected as it implies that respect for men is inherent in such a way unavailable to women. We believe in respecting all women regardless of clothing, occupation, sex life, and things of the like.

 

 

Queer Liberation

As an organization, we stand for the acknowledgement of the black LGBTQ community, that is, Black people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and any identity outside of heteronormativity. We acknowledge this community both in its value and its diversity. We strive to magnify voices of the community, in a society whose mainstream LGBTQ movement consistently omits the narratives of Blacks in the community.

We also seek to destroy the heteronormative norms that dehumanize Black queer people. From religious bigotry, to the hypermasculinity of Black men, the Black community has been plagued with homophobia by the same hands responsible for white supremacy. We strive to create a space that grants the LGBTQ community freedom to live as they see fit. We reject the notions that Black queer people are not “living according to their ancestors,” or are a part of the “gay agenda” to destroy the Black family. We recognize that to shun and invalidate the lives and voices of the LGBTQ community is to neglect an immense and equally important part of the Black community as a whole. Black liberation that omits the intersectionalities of all Black people is not Black liberation at all.


 

Trans Liberation

As an organization, we stand against the dehumanization and dismissal of Black transgender lives. Within the Black community, transphobia, cisexism, and the gender binary have been used as a means of invalidating and erasing our trans+ family members. As a collective, we recognize Black trans+ lives as authentic Black lives, regardless of gender identity. Trans+ and queer people of color have been at the forefront of many movements for civil rights, yet still struggle to be seen as equals in the Black community. Our differences do not separate, but unite us in the fight for liberation of all Black lives. We strive to eliminate transphobia, cissexism, and the gender binary as a result of it’s damaging division in the Black community. The Black Liberation Collective stands behind our affirmation of black trans+ lives because we, as Black people, cannot advance while leaving other Black people behind.


 

 

Anti-Capitalism  

As an organization, we stand against capitalist notions of infinite profit, homogenized markets, and a privatized means of production. Capitalism is the economic system used to justify our oppression as Black people, both our marginalization and our exploitation. As Black people, both in the United States and abroad, we have an intimate and painful history of labor exploitation that is unrivaled throughout the world, and this labor system has evolved into wage labor slavery that further isolates us from each other and the struggle for freedom. We reject labor exploitation, privatizing natural resources, and neoliberal ideologies that fixate on the pathologies of a population as opposed to the pathologies of institutions.  

With this being said, we resist notions that “supporting Black businesses” will be our ultimate savior in our attempts to gain freedom. We cannot adopt the patriarchal, exploitative tools of our oppressors as we seek liberation. Instead, we propose a cooperative form of economics that works on shared resources and shared means of production to uplift ourselves out of poverty. What if we grow our own food? What if we make our own clothes? What if we provide housing and shelter to those who need it? How can we better use our labor to push our communities forward, and not just ourselves? These are questions we will adopt as we seek to dismantle anti-Black capitalist corporations that benefit from our oppression.

 

 

The State

The Black Liberation Collective acknowledges the historical foundation of inequality that the United States of America was built upon.  Housing discrimination, higher incarceration rates, and increased unemployment are prime examples of the systemic racism that has oppressed black folks for centuries.  We denounce all notions of inferiority and inequality. We stand for the eradication of all institutional practices and policies that discriminate against the black community. We stand by the removal of all federal, state, and local government officials who do not abide by our principles.  

We do not stand for the use of laws to oppress Black people, causing political, economic, and physical obstacles.  The senseless killings of Black people will not be tolerated and the use of intimidating police tactics in order to incite fear is not justifiable.  We do not support the militarization of law enforcement, as it creates the danger of mixing “police blue with soldier green.”  In other words, the differentiation between police and military is becoming increasingly vague, which causes the unnecessary increase in power in the former over the latter.  

The State centralizes and monopolizes power through a complex network of political, legislative, judiciary, military and financial institutions. The State and all its institutions that deny Black humanity and obstruct Black agency must be dismantled and replaced with those that produces Black liberty.

Revisions need to be made deep into the roots of America.  This country was built to systematically oppress groups of people, and the Black Liberation Collective will not stand for it.   

 

 

Anti-Ableism

Rejecting the idea of able-bodied normality and understanding that everyone within the Black community does not possess the same capabilities, we as an organization denounce all aspects of ableism that stigmatize and negate the value of the lives of those with disabilities. The Black Liberation Collective does not condone the commonplace use of language that further tyrannizes the existence of impairments within our populace. We firmly believe that people’s contribution and potential should never be limited because of their own physical or mental limitations. People with disabilities have the same rights as those who are able-bodied to participate in the liberation of all Black people in whatever way they see fit including, but not limited to, protesting, organizing, and armed self defense.

The Black Liberation Collective also condemns instances of mentalism that negatively portrays those with mental health issues and impairments. Recognizing the traumatic history of Black people, both in the United States and across the Diaspora, we stand with our family that explicitly and internally battle with the harsh realities of this world and their personal mental health issues.

We realize, respect, and reassure the uniqueness of all Black people. Knowing there is an interdependency between community members with and without disabilities, we actively seek inclusion and providing necessary accommodations in order that together, we all get free.

Internationalism

The capitalist economy is a global economy. Economic interdependence and global capitalist power means that we are not free unless every Black person wherever their foot rests, is free. An international movement is needed to defeat this rotten system.

As internationalists, we advocate solidarity between oppressed peoples in different countries, and the development of a trans-national movement that can coordinate liberatory struggles across borders.  As such, we encourage actions by Black people and our allies to support the freedoms and actions of oppressed people in other countries. We advocate the building of links between oppressed people across borders, especially links with independent unions, student groups,  and community and workers organizations, fighting for their dignity and humanity.

We support efforts of consumers groups that divest from corporations that are major beneficiaries of exploitation of oppressed labor and resources. We support efforts of unions and workers organizations that disrupt the American labor movement’s alliances with the State and corporations abroad. It must be recognized that the freedoms of Black people in America cannot be won through the continued exploitation of Black people throughout the diaspora.
 

 

On Violence

We understand that continuing to remain peaceful and encouraging others to remain peaceful at the hands of white supremacist oppressive violence is illogical and immoral. We support those who believe that nonviolence is a tactic, but we are aware that this is not the only way to dismantle the system that has humiliated, physically and literally enslaved, unjustly murdered, and continues to devalue black people in America. We will strive for liberation by any means necessary, including but not limited to: armed self-defense.

We condone whatever methods Black people adopt to liberate themselves and their kin.


Allyship & Solidarity

All the knowledge here has been learned through people sharing their stories and breaking it all the way down in various articles, interactions, blogs, lectures, etc.

Adopting the action “operating in solidarity”, Mia Mckenzie beautifully illustrates how the idea of “being an ally” is inherently problematic. Rather, real solidarity is in the action, not a state of being. As such, here are multiple actions that can create real solidarity Adapted from an article, allies:

  1. Listen, reflect and take ownership of privilege and educate yourself

  2. Don’t need the spotlight, educate those with shared identities.

  3. Ally is a verb.

  4. You can’t identify as one hence it is an action

  5. Does not take up space, challenge all forms of oppression


White supremacy (in all forms) has colonized our behavior toward each other. We hold multiple salient privileged and oppressed identities as we hold space among Black people. These identities intersect in a way that compounds and adds layers of oppression in some circumstances, and in many benefit others. One cannot act in solidarity if one does not understand their own privileges. In our current society, we are not structurally taught how to understand how our privilege operates within the context of our own lives. So as we begin to (re)think about our identities, we must decolonize how we interact, “do the work” and build with one another.

As we do that, as Black people it is key to build capacity to those within the organization, so as such we work together in an empowering and uplifting manner, and not a deficit driven approach where we expend people.  We understand that what breaks solidarity is erasure, ego, social location / social capital, tokenism, and other marginalizing techniques. Furthermore, solidarity in a particular space does not ensure future solidarity.

As Black people, we must understand and value our shared Blackness, and understand the complexities that comes within the spectrum of Blackness. We realize our Blackness in it's fullest liberation when we center our work and resources toward those most marginalized within that spectrum, which exist within the realm of white cisgender hetero patriarchal capitalist global supremacy.

Allyship is difficult, simply going through our daily lives is a constant battle against the reign of white supremacy. We operate in a eurocentric structure in every facet of our lives. To be operating in solidarity within Black organizing spaces means showing up for each other. It means centering the issues, the support, and the work around those most affected within our Black community.