By Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
For the first time in the history of New York City, a Black-led and Black-financed political party, which focuses, universally, on the plight of the downtrodden, the dispossessed and the disenfranchised, will appear on the ballot in the General Election in 2013. The Freedom Party was inspired by our revered ancestors who spoke truth to power.
The poor have never had a political party of their own. In the 1960’s, the Democratic Party did briefly declare and wage a “war on poverty” but this war ended after Cong. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was given the boot from the Democratic Party. Cong. Powell made his transition before the People’s Party could become airborne.
On March 16, 1827 the Freedom’s Journal penned its first editorial in New York City. The opening lines read: “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us”. These words were written when most Blacks in the United States were denied any semblance of free speech. In New York, slavery ended on July 4, 1827.
After the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts called on newly enfranchised Africans to form their own political party. He advised our revered ancestors to stay away from both the Republican and Democratic Parties. In a lily-white Congress, Sen. Sumner and Cong. Thaddeus Stevens led the fight for Black rights.
In 2013, John Brown, Sen. Sumner and all of our revered ancestors are jubilant, spiritually, that the Freedom Party is on the ballot in New York City. This has been a protracted struggle and, 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, the poor will finally have a voice in the “city of immigrants and descendants of enslaved Africans”.
On August 24, 2013 thousands of New Yorkers traveled to Washington, DC and elsewhere to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the “March on Washington”. Lost in this celebration was the Poor People’s Campaign, five years after the “1963 March on Washington”, and also the unveiling of the report by the Kerner Commission: “Our nation is moving toward two societies; one Black, one white-separate and unequal”.
Against this backdrop, the first step of the Freedom Party in 2014 is to stamp out all traces of racism and all “badges of slavery” in all municipal policies in New York City. Secondly, there must be a redistribution of wealth due to confiscatory policies and racially motivated municipal policies. Thirdly, there must be reparations by New York City to descendants of enslaved Africans. For example, the “African Burial Ground”.
It has been said that the “signature” issue in the 2013 mayoral election is “stop, question and frisk”. The Democratic Party claims that it would reform it. The Republican Party has promised to keep it. On the other hand, the Freedom Party would outlaw it as a “badge of slavery” and in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment.
“Stop, question and frisk” is not a necessary police tactic. Instead, the Democratic and Republican Parties apply the Fourth Amendment to whites. The Freedom Party would also only apply the Fourth Amendment to Blacks, Latinos and Asians. Racism and sexism would find no quarter in any municipal administration of the Freedom Party.
Unless the Freedom Party is betrayed like the lives of our revered ancestors were betrayed, the mission of the Freedom Party is to provide undying and undivided representation to those groups that have been historically despised and defamed in the United States. This mission, as expected, is being covertly challenged as we speak. 9/30/13