student non violent coordinating committee

Having worked out how to manage governments, political parties, elections, courts, the media and liberal opinion, there was one more challenge for the neo-liberal establishment: how to deal with growing unrest, the threat of “people’s power”. How do you domesticate it? How do you turn protesters into pets? How do you vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into blind alleys?

Here too, foundations and their allied organisations have a long and illustrious history. A revealing example is their role in defusing and deradicalising the Black Civil Rights movement in the US in the 1960s and the successful transformation of Black Power into Black Capitalism.

The Rockefeller Foundation, in keeping with J.D. Rockefeller’s ideals, had worked closely with Martin Luther King Sr (father of Martin Luther King Jr). But his influence waned with the rise of the more militant organisations—the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers. The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations moved in. In 1970, they donated $15 million to “moderate” black organisations, giving people grants, fellowships, scholarships, job training programmes for dropouts and seed money for black-owned businesses. Repression, infighting and the honey trap of funding led to the gradual atrophying of the radical black organisations.

Martin Luther King, Jr. made the forbidden connections between Capitalism, Imperialism, Racism and the Vietnam War. As a result, after he was assassinated, even his memory became a toxic threat to public order. Foundations and Corporations worked hard to remodel his legacy to fit a market-friendly format. The Martin Luther King Junior Centre for Non-Violent Social Change, with an operational grant of $2 million, was set up by, among others, the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mobil, Western Electric, Procter & Gamble, US Steel and Monsanto. The Center maintains the King Library and Archives of the Civil Rights Movement. Among the many programmes the King Center runs have been projects that “work closely with the United States Department of Defense, the Armed Forces Chaplains Board and others”. It co-sponsored the Martin Luther King Jr Lecture Series called ‘The Free Enterprise System: An Agent for Non-violent Social Change’.

—  Arundhati Roy, “Capitalism: A Ghost Story”

I want to honor the memory of the great civil rights activist Julian Bond, who died yesterday at the age of 75. As he often noted, Mr. Bond was from several generations of college graduates (his father, Horace Mann Bond, was the first Black president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania) but spent the bulk of his life reaching out to help others gain equality in education and civil rights. I gratefully acknowledge the decades of fearless service and leadership of Julian Bond and extend my condolences to his wife Pamela and his family. This photo of Mr. Bond with members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (he was a co-founder) was taken by the legendary photographer Richard Avedon on March 23, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia.


Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday - the day when a March of about 600 people, organized by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama seeking equal voting rights for people of color generally, particularly African Americans, who were consistently denied the right to vote through unequal scrutiny at registration, fabrication of requirements which made registration impossible, blatant denial of entry into registration centers, and lack of access to registration centers -to name a few barriers. The bridge, named after a confederate who after the Civil War became a leader in the Klu Klux Klan and then a State Senator, lived up to the legacy of the name it was given on that Sunday as protesters were met by State Troopers on the other side. Armed with tear gas and billy clubs the Troopers attacked the non-violent activists, sending over 50 to the hospital with serious injuries. Though these activists would return to this bridge to fight for voting rights twice more, the history remembered on this day in particular, Bloody Sunday, reminds us of a national reality that still permeates and plagues our country: this country did not have all people in mind when the constitution was signed and we must continue marching across streets named after Klansmen in search of systemic change towards true equality. May we remember this tragedy today in action and word.


November 15th 1998: Stokely Carmichael dies

On this day in 1998, civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael died aged 57. Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in 1941, Carmichael moved to the United States when he was eleven. An intelligent youth, Carmichael was admitted to the prestigious Bronx High School, where the majority of his classmates were wealthy white teenagers. Acutely aware of the racial injustices of American society, Carmichael joined the Civil Rights Movement upon seeing footage of a sit-in on television. After graduating high school in 1960, Carmichael studied philosophy at Howard University in Washington D.C., but still participated in freedom rides; he was jailed for 49 days in Jackson, Mississippi for entering a ‘whites only’ bus stop. In 1964, he joined the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and became an effective field organiser charged with registering black voters in the Deep South. While working in Lowndes County, Alabama, Carmichael founded his own political party, choosing a black panther as its logo. Despite initially adhering to Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent philosophy, Carmichael became frustrated with the slow progress of the movement, and upon becoming national chairman of SNCC in May 1966 rejected the group’s white members. In October, Carmichael made the speech for which he is best remembered - his defiant ‘Black Power’ address at University of California, Berkeley. The phrase quickly became a rallying cry for younger, more radical activists who advocated black separatism instead of the nonviolent doctrine of racial integration. This new approach was exemplified by the Blank Panther party, which Carmichael became the leader of in 1967, arguing for black nationalism and pan-Africanism. It was in the pursuit of this latter cause that Carmichael spent the rest of his life in Conakry, Guinea, changing his name to Kwame Toure. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1985, and died in 1998.

“We been saying freedom for six years and we ain’t got nothing. What we gonna start saying now is Black Power!”

It’s been three months and this is still my favorite thing and by “favorite” I mean mind-bogglingly terrible and uniformed behavior from a member of the US House of Representatives. 

Rep. John Lewis was participating in and helping to organize sit-ins before this guy was even born. Including the famous sit-ins this idiot is talking about. John Lewis was a founding member of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and was elected as its leader. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr., helped organize Black people to register to vote in the south, participated in and helped organize freedom rides, and had his skull fractured being beaten for fighting for his rights and kept doing it anyway. 

This white man has no business criticizing the sit-in cred of a literal living civil rights icon. 

Like, does Rep. Mark Walker not know that the Rep. John Lewis who led the gun control sit-in on the House floor is the same one who marched in Selma with Dr. King? I mean honestly did he not know because I can’t see any other way he thought this tweet was a good idea?? But like it’s still up and I would think if he’d made it out of ignorance he would have deleted it once being informed (which many people on twitter did)?? 

You know what would be cool is if the good people of the North Carolina Sixth District voted this piece of crap out of office on November 8th. Pete Glidewell is running against him as a democrat. 

Danny Lyon     Bob Dylan Playing on the Back Porch of the Civil Rights Activist Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Office, Greenwood, Mississippi      1963