Communist Party USA

  The following remarks were given at the People’s World African American History Month event in Connecticut in Feb. 2022. Thank you for inviting me to join you today. My name is Eric Brooks, Co-Chair of the African American Equality Commission of the Communist Party USA, along with comrade Zenobia Thompson. I am honored to participate in the 48th People’s World African American History Month Event: Teaching Black History — Making Good Trouble. Special thanks to the organizers, and to Joelle Fishman, for all you do. Art Perlo is in my thoughts, as in those of many of us here today. Art Perlo, !Presente! The great mass of humanity, but particularly young people, face serious global, social problems today. Climate change, pandemics, war, jobs, hunger, homelessness, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+ policies, police violence, and systemic racism being among the most challenging. There were over 1,100 people killed by police in 2021, a disproportionate number of them Black, many unarmed, some sleeping in their beds. The African American Equality Commission is working with the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and other organizations to enact community control of the police boards where possible across the United States. We are also fighting for voting rights, especially for full participation of the Black community in U.S. democratic processes. In this context, I want to address two questions, from the perspective of young people developing themselves as leaders in the struggles around these social problems, and in particular that of ending systemic racist police violence. 1. In light of the attacks on teaching Black history in our schools, why is teaching Black history important to you and to our community? The attack on teaching Black history is designed to disappear the experience of oppression and super exploitation that characterizes U.S. history from the beginning of the colonial and chattel slave experience until today. It continues the erasure of the history of indigenous peoples, which was reduced in U.S. education, and films and TV, to a series of pleasant Thanksgiving fantasies and false cowboy narratives, while attempting to disregard the complex human lives of the millions of indigenous people killed in the U.S. genocide against them. The lives of migrant European workers arriving in the United States were similarly denuded of both their history and justice, such as when Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed for a crime they did not commit in 1927. While Albert Einstein, John Dos Passos, Powers Hapgood, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, and the American Federation of Labor were joined by large worldwide protests demanding clemency and their release, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed, and their struggle for justice is not taught, beyond a passing mention at best, in U.S. educational materials. Teaching Black history, championed today under the title of critical race theory, is attacked in a right-wing American Enterprise Institute op-ed by Max Eden, who quotes Sherry, an African American mother, as saying, “Black kids are turning against white people of all ages. . . .  And white kids are hating their parents and their success and their heritage and calling them racist.” Eden also points out that “seventeen states have introduced, and seven have passed, laws or regulations colloquially termed ‘CRT bans.’” This ugly distortion, making use of confused Black people, attempts to undermine the just and healthy revulsion by Black and white youth of ongoing racist murders by the police, which erupted so forcefully and positively in protests in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. To claim that “Black kids are turning against white people of all ages” attempts to…

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Defending Black history and making “good trouble”