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Frank Chapman speaks in Minneapolis about Black liberation and socialism

By CJ McCormick |
February 26, 2019
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Frank Chapman
Frank Chapman

Minneapolis, MN - On February 20, Freedom Road Socialist Organization hosted Black liberation leader Frank Chapman. Over 50 people attended the event.

In a program entitled “The Radical History of the Black Freedom Movement,” the talk began with an explanation of how capitalism was “consciously dependent,” as Chapman put it, on slavery. However, Chapman insisted that an honest portrayal of Black history could not focus only upon enslavement and oppression.

“The first thing we got right was the day we started to fight,” Chapman exclaimed. He furthered the point by explaining: “If you talk about slavery, you have to talk about slave rebellions. The slaves didn't sit there and hope that the nice Union people would win.”

Chapman pointed out that the Emancipation Proclamation was merely an acknowledgement of the reality that slavery was already over – thanks to the revolutionary efforts of former slaves, and not to the generosity of Abraham Lincoln.

Tying the thread of revolutionary resistance all the way from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panthers, Chapman continuously emphasized the importance of real, concrete organizing over idealistic calls to action. “We can't think our way into correct practice,” he said. “We have to practice our way into correct thinking,” he said.

Chapman emphasized the people need to get organized to fight national oppression and capitalism. And told the crowd “Join Freedom Road.”

Chapman's presence in Minneapolis was especially important for local organizing against police killings in the Black community. The Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCCJ4J) had Chapman speak at their own event the night before about his work with Chicago's Civilian Police Accountability Council.

CPAC seeks to address the problem of racist policing in Chicago by taking control out of the hands of the city and putting the police under the direct supervision of the communities they police. Chapman repeatedly encouraged attendees to visit http://www.stoppolicecrimes.com/ and read their legislation, which is crafted to reverse the gross power imbalance between the people of Chicago and their police.

TCCJ4J has taken the legislation as a model and has drafted a three-year campaign to get their own version of it on the Minneapolis ballot by 2021.

“It's important to our campaign for community control to hear how they got people together to support it,” said Loretta VanPelt, a member of TCCJ4J. “It's inspiring.”