The Green Party of Kansas City Missouri (KC-HOA) resolves to endorse the Movement for Black Lives platform.
On a national level, the Green Party of the United States is a political party fighting for people, planet and peace over profit. The history of the United States, the state of Missouri and city of Kansas City is deeply rooted in the oppression and exploitation of Black people.
The Green Party of Kansas City Missouri will become a formal endorser of the Movement for Black Lives’ platform and join the list of organizations that support and back their agenda.
The Green Party of Kansas City Missouri will use the Movement for Black Lives as part of the basis for building our own local chapter’s platform. It should be noted, however, that this will be used in combination with the National Green Party’s platform, working class and frontline community input and dialog, and other information and material originating from working class and frontline community struggles in Kansas City, Missouri.
The M4BL platform covers six core planks around criminal justice, reparations, investment and divestment, economic justice, community control, and political power. Within these planks, it covers an impressive range of issues including reparations for slavery; free high quality public education for all; universal healthcare; environmental demands; protections for gay, lesbian, transgender and queer people; protections for disabled people; stronger protections for labor organizing; opposition to TPP and free trade deals; significant police and criminal justice reform; and much more.
The platform is bold, proposing significant and radical reforms. But it is also practical and concrete, identifying example legislation, targets, and strategies for achieving the various demands.
In addition to using the Movement for Black Lives Platform as a basis for the KC-HOA’s platform, a political education program will be constructed to educate members, the general public and our candidates on the issues, concepts and demands outline in the platform. This however is not expected to be immediate, rather will happen when there is the organizational capacity to take on such a task.
The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) is a collective of over 50 organizations representing Black people that formed in response to the ongoing violence that is perpetrated against Black persons. Their goal in coming together was to articulate a common vision and agenda in the struggle against systemic racism in the United States of America at all levels: federal, state and local.
Kansas City is no exception to the struggle of persons of color against a system that is not only stacked against them but antagonistic. Historically, Kansas City was a testing ground for racist urban planning and development strategies that segregated cities nationally. One only has to look at the racial dividing line that is Troost Avenue to see the legacy of those policies still playing out today.
However, Kansas City’s racial injustice issues are far from historical; the Black community in Kansas City is subject to significantly higher rates of poverty, unemployment and incarceration rates than white Kansas Citians. Those who live in the Northeast and East side, where large portions of Kansas City’s people of color live, face more than economic difficulties and are often times situated in food deserts and lack needed infrastructure and efficient and accessible public transit.
The economic and material circumstances that the Black community faces are compounded by a criminal justice system that is unaccountable to the communities they police. The lack of police accountability goes beyond an informal disregard of community input and demands the lack of community oversight and accountability is codified in Missouri State law. According to state law, the Missouri State government has control over Kansas City’s police force with an oversight board appointed by the Governor's office. This, paired with the increasing militarization of local police nationally and locally, is cause for grave concern and outrage.
Why we should endorse:
The first question we should ask in addressing the “whys" is does this fit our core values of KC-HOA? The answer to this is a resounding yes. The struggle for equality and the liberation of people of color is synonymous with social justice. To pass over an opportunity to concretely respond to the call and join a racial justice movement that is generally aligned with our organization’s vision would be a failure to live up to our dedication to social justice.
The second question we have to ask is why specifically the M4BL platform? This is a platform that is emerging from the grassroots of the racial justice movement in the United States via a collective of numerous organizations directly involved in on-the-ground organizing in communities of color. Furthermore, this platform provides a basis for us to do community outreach and a starting point for conversations with those actively engaged in the fight for racial justice in Kansas City. If we were to craft our own platform or frame discussions from our own internal perspective this would be counter to our dedication to grassroots democracy. This is not to say that we should blindly submit to the requests of our constituency rather we should take those demands and process them from the perspective of our own analysis.
Furthermore, the M4BL platform presents a comprehensive set of issues and analysis of those issues complete with policy solutions. These, of course, are general and so would need to be transformed to fit the specific context of Kansas City and the needs, as expressed by local community members, of the community. However, such a comprehensive analysis provides a solid base for the development of our own racial justice platform in Kansas City.
Be it resolved that on this day, April 6, 2017, the Green Party of Kansas City Missouri chapter voted to endorse the Movement for Black Lives Platform.
Learn more about the Movement for Black Lives and endorse as an individual here: https://policy.m4bl.org/