A movement to create proportionate political representation
SAEED SHABAZZ | 6/28/2018, midnight
One year after the creation of South Fulton, Georgia’s fifth largest city, Black women hold all the top jobs in the criminal justice system, according to The Atlanta Voice.com and goodblacknews.com. Why is this development important? Zaki Buruti, president/general of the St. Louis-based Universal African Peoples Organization would answer that political representation is power.
According to the Reflective Democracy Campaign, a research portal set up to increase the political power of women and people of color, “In America, there are essentially three major levels of political power, politicians, prosecutors and judges, who control the laws and who applies them. To no surprise, those in power are disproportionately white men,”
May 19, activists and political candidates gathered at the St. Louis Community College for the National Black Political Conference Phase4. The theme of the one-day conference was “Proportionate Political Representation: A Must for Our Community,” according to Baruti “the most progressive political movement of the 21st century.”
“The purpose of the conference was to address the concept of PPR,” Buruti told the AmNews by telephone after the conference. “This concept simply means that whatever percentage of the population of the country that we are as a people on the national, state and local levels of government, then we should have that percentage of political representation.”
The NBPLC states that Blacks, constituting 13 percent of the population in 2018, should hold a larger percentage of elected positions than the 20,000 (at least 66,000), given that there are 511,000 elected officials.
A further example put forth by the Conference: “There are 50 state governors, none are Black. We should have at least six or seven Black governors. There are 100 U.S. Senators, three are Black. We should have at least 13 Black Senators.”
“It comes down to voting,” stated Carla “Coffee” Wright, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri facing a primary Aug. 7.
“We used the NBPLC as a platform to get to see just how disproportionate our political representation is,” Wright said. “I am running against 20 white males.”
In 2017, the Reflective Democracy Campaign introduced research on not only who holds political offices but also who runs for office. The RDC noted that in the U.S., 70 percent of the population is women and people of color. However, the U.S. Congress is 71 percent white males.
“White men hold four times political power compared to women and people of color,” stated the PDC report. The report noted that those running for office under the Republican Party banner are 73 percent white males, 23 percent white women, 3 percent men of color and 1 percent women of color
The Democratic Party has 55 percent white men, 27 percent white women, 11 percent men of color and 6 percent woman of color.
“First I want to give Zaki Baruti credit for pulling the conference together” Min. Akbar Muhammad, International Representative of the Nation of Islam, said to the AmNews. “He just doesn’t talk. He pushes us. We have to be involved,”
Muhammad, this year’s keynote speaker, spoke on the importance of Min. Malcolm X Shabazz in the Black political movement with his “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech. “We have to start somewhere,” said Muhammad.
“I support the concept of proportionate political representation and the work that Zaki Baruti is doing,” stated NY Assemblyman Charles Barron (D). “However, we must understand that we have had many Black elected officials, and we still have poverty, etc.”
Barron gave the keynote address at the St. Louis conference in 2017 and is a regular contributor to the UAPO national newsletter, The African News World.
“We need Black candidates that are authentically Black, who are committed to the need for revolutionary political concepts,” Barron argued.
“Why is it that we have progressive candidates?” asked Muhammad rhetorically. “Look at what is happening in Syria and Palestine. Look at what Trump and Bolton are doing around the world.”