Lamont Lilly to Peace and Freedom Party: ‘True socialism must connect to the most marginalized’

LamontLillySpeech by Lamont Lilly, Workers World Party candidate for vice president, to the Peace and Freedom Party convention in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 13.

In January of 1971, Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton declared, “The Black Panther Party grew out of the Black Power Movement, but the party transformed the ideology of Black Power into a socialist ideology, a Marxist-Leninist ideology.”

This statement reflects the core of what the Black Panther Party subscribed to be, and by this time, how the Black Panther Party subscribed to think — through a Marxist-Leninist class analysis.

They formed because poor Black people were being terrorized by the Oakland police.  They formed because the Black community was in need of “bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace,” because they clearly realized that capitalism was an archenemy to Black Liberation.

This is the same crossroads that the Black Lives Matter Movement is currently standing right in the middle of, comrades.  As socialist and progressive leftists, we must support this movement with commitment and vigor.  How could we not?  In the last three years, it has, no doubt, inspired the poor and oppressed worldwide.

The Peace and Freedom Party has a long and deep history directly connected to the Black Liberation Movement. It was Eldridge Cleaver who served as the Peace and Freedom Party’s first official presidential nominee — a nomination that marked a direct connection to the boots on the ground, to the broader movement in a very militant and revolutionary manner.

That is what true socialism should reflect — a connection to the most oppressed — a commitment to the proletarian working class — to the disenfranchised and most marginalized.

The Black Panther Party considered themselves the vanguard, and rightfully so.  And so do many of the various fractions of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Those were the youth and working poor we saw in Ferguson and Baltimore — fighting back against tanks and teargas with their bodies, laying it all on the line, connecting their local struggles to Palestine and Libya, building on the revolutionary spirit of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

This is the exact brand of theory, message and revolutionary application that the Moorehead/Lilly campaign has been involved in since day one, sisters and brothers.  We are, indeed, ingrained in it.

The Workers World Party U.S. presidential candidate, Monica Moorehead, was down in Ferguson twice in 2014. Not for photo-ops and self-promotion, but to genuinely help the people organize. And so was I.

She was there in Baltimore with the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly.  I was there, literally, when the Baltimore Rebellion first popped off — when the Baltimore police were pepper spraying and tear gassing women and children, when they were locking up more than 300 protesters. And we were still there when all of the cameras left, feeding and organizing, listening to the people, distributing Pampers.

I am not telling you this to boast, sisters and brothers.  I am simply sharing with you the kind of connection and relationship that the Moorehead/Lilly campaign shares with the broader movement, from the labor struggle, to the immigration movement, to Black Lives Matter.

We do not “wear the movement” as credentials. We are, instead, interwoven within the movement as dedicated Marxist-Leninists.

Sisters and brothers, there’s a new generation that has really taken a liking to socialism, and they’re speaking out against state violence and police terror — against poverty, unemployment and the failure of capitalism — against global war and the military-industrial complex. They are speaking up for gender equality, queer and trans rights. They need us to speak with them, comrades.

If you open our 10-Point Program — which, hopefully, all of you have a copy of by now — I do believe it speaks for itself.

Bold. Principled. Revolutionary. All power to the people!