- Paperback: 314 pages
- Publisher: Daraja Press (October 11, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 099534745X
- ISBN-13: 978-0995347458
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
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Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi Paperback – October 11, 2017
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Jackson Rising is important because it teaches us how to build and sustain community power. It does not just tell what we should oppose. It provides us what we should oppose. It provides a micro-cosmic model of what community power should look like. -- Larry Stafford, Director at Progressive Maryland
Cooperation Jackson and Jackson Rishing book seeks to continue the life work of my father, Chockwe Lumumba, and the work of great Mississippi freedom fighters who came before him. Like my father, the ongoing organizing and institution building currently taking place in Jackson, Mississippi, is rooted in the desire to realize a new society, a new way of thinking, a new way of engineering and governing in which everyone is treated with dignity. - Rukia Lumumba, Daughter of former mayor of Jackson, MS, Chockwe Lumumba.
About the Author
Kali Akuno is a co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson. He is co- editor of this volume along with Ajamu Nangwaya.
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One of the things that I immediately found out is that thanks to the Northwest tradition, many of the things that were proposed in Jackson, MS were in fact fully operational for Eugene, long a bastion of white, liberal progressivism. But the more I read, the more I found out that the JACKSON RISING story is in fact a story detailing the long history of repression of the black community by the white racists of Mississippi. Jackson, MS is a catastrophically declining city with disadvantages compared to Detroit, Michigan. White flight has impoverished the city over the decades, leading to massive failures of infrastructure, no economic base and abandonment of property for the black community as a whole. Poverty is of course endemic.
The responses of the black community were galvanized by a group of black nationalists, who managed to get Chokwe Lumumba first elected to the city council, and then elected to be Mayor of Jackson two years later. I learned an awful lot about the struggles and aspirations of the black community, and it was obvious to me that given the horrible conditions of life in Mississippi for the black community -- that it was only natural for the light year gap between the realities and expectations of life would create practical problems of successfully governing a city government under those circumstances. One of the perpetual problems that I had in reading the book was combing out what in fact were actual, running programs of city government, and what were pie-in-the sky projections of what an ideal society for black people might be in Jackson.
It seems obvious that Chokwe Lumumba was an excellent mayor as long as he served. Unfortunately, he died after only 7 months in office. Mind you, he had spent decades in Jackson as a civil rights attorney, often taking a number of high profile cases for social justice. And since coming to Jackson in 1971, he had been associated with black nationalists who had an extremely ambitious and revolutionary social program. Ultimately, his untimely death from heart failure (and medical malpractice) left the movement leaderless. His son. Chokwe Antar ran to replace his father, and was defeated by a lack of turnout from the black community.
Not having any personal background in black politics in Mississippi, it was easy for me to see how a utopian revolutionary program for life in Jackson could develop. But the practical politician in me couldn't help but see the ultimate failure of a system that invested too much in the ability of one man to implement a long-term system of municipal improvement. It was even sadder to me to discover that the loss of the city government to an essentially reactionary candidate drove the movement to eschew local politics altogether -- concentrating what energy they could into sustaining their utopian visions.