Stokely Carmichael’s “Black Power” Concept – All Black Political Parties
May, 24, 2010Posted by
After the “Mississipi March against Fear” during which Stokely Carmichael proclaimed the “Black Power” slogan for the first time, the Black activist transformed the mere slogan into a sophisticated political program. Together with Charles V. Hamilton, Stokely Carmichael recorded these political views later in Black Power. The Politics of Liberation in America (Random House, New York, 1967).
In order to achieve Black Power Carmichael was convinced that it was absolutely necessary to found further all Black politcal parties, that would – following the example of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) – represent and fight for the Black Community’s interests. In Carmichael’s words:
“Black Power recognizes […] the power-oriented nature of American politics. Black Power therefore calls for black people to consolidate behind their own, so that they can bargain from a position of strength.” [Stokely Carmichael, op. cit.]
Stokely Carmichael did not flatly refuse coalitions as he knew that at a certain point the All Black Parties would need to coalite in order to achieve majorities. Nevertheless Carmichael stressed that Black people first of all would need to develeop a strong solidarity among themselves. This solidarity he believed would emerge if Black people would organize themselves politically without outside support. By doing so they would become aware of their qualities, their political strength and they would also get to know the United States’ political arena from the inside. In short, Stokely Carmichael intended to create strong political foundation with enough power to create equal coalitions:
“We want to establish the grounds on which we feel political coalitions can be viable. The coalitionists proceed on what we can identify as three myths of major fallacies. First, that in the context of present day America, the interests of black people are identical with the interest of certain liberal, labor and other reform groups. Those groups accept the legitimacy of the basic values and institutions of the society, and fundamentally are not interested in a major reorientation of the society. Many adherents to the current coalition doctrine recognize this but nevertheless would have black people coalesce with such groups. The assumption – which is a myth – is this: What is good for America is automatically good for black people. The second myth is the fallacious assumption that a viable coalition can be effected between the politically and economically insecure. The third myth assumes that political coalitions are or can be sustained on a moral friendly, sentimental basis: by appeals to conscience.” [Stokely Carmichael, op. cit.]