How do we develop a left strategy to take power in our cities? And what strategic dilemmas will we face if we succeed? Activists in Jackson, Mississippi – a state dominated by the far right – did just this. They built a movement based on combining social movement activity, people’s assemblies throughout the city, a network of workers coops, and a political strategy that won the Mayors office, electing Chokwee Lumumba, a radical black nationalist and socialist. In this process they had to take on a highly mobilized right, that undermined their efforts at every turn. There are many lessons that can be drawn from this incredible project, a project that people in Europe have heard far too little about. We are incredibly lucky to be joined by one of the leaders of this movement, Kali Akuno, who will discuss the strategic dilemmas involved in building left power in the city.
Bio: Kali Akuno is the co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a network of worker cooperatives in Jackson, Mississippi. He is a longtime organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and a member of the New Afrikan People’s Organization. He served as the coordinator of special projects for Jackson Mississippi’s late radical Mayor, and former Black Panther Party lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba. He recently coauthored the book Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi.