The following is a transcript of the video above, from our webinar “Remaking the Economy: A Policy Vision from the Movement for Black Lives.” View the full webinar here.

Our economic power is tied very closely to our political power.

Amara Enyia: Here are some data points that people know: for every dollar of wealth that White people have, Black folks have 24 cents to the dollar. When it comes to housing affordability, people are spending about 42 percent of their household income just on housing alone. We are seeing the rates of evictions, the unhoused numbers skyrocketing, and it’s, of course, affecting Black people. We looked into some of the systems that seem to escape scrutiny because there’s a myth of objectivity about the systems and institutions that govern our day-to-day lives. We looked at the tax system and we found…that Black people are actually audited more by the IRS. Not only are they audited more, they are penalized more by the IRS. This is the same IRS that refuses to collect racial demographic data, but also that has a system that ensures that those who have wealth actually benefit from the tax code, which means White people. So those who have not been discriminated against through redlining, through being excluded from access to FHA loans, et cetera, those who’ve built up their wealth over the years are actually the beneficiaries of this tax system. Black folks are actually harmed by the tax system. But there’s this notion of objectivity, like we pay taxes, and…it’s an objective process. We wanted to look at those institutional mechanisms that have been harmful and to propose: what are the interventions that can move us toward our liberation, move us toward repairing harm, and making sure that we are not continuously being exploited and harmed by the economic system?

Our economic power is tied very closely to our political power. We know the dynamics of the link between economics and politics, so it was really important that we focus on an economic vision as well.

I wanted to draw attention to the Black radical roots of our economic policy vision and economic justice writ large. In the opening piece for the series [with NPQ], I mentioned that the Black Panther Party in 1966 released their 10-point plan. Number two of that plan was a call for full employment. There’s a mirror, if you will, with a lot of the work that is taking place across the country….Number three of the Black Panther Party’s 10-point plan demanded 40 acres and two mules….[This was] in 1966, [when] we also have civil rights activists like Fannie Lou Hamer who started the Freedom Farm Cooperative.

We’ve touched a little bit around solidarity economy, and it’s important to contextualize that with work that’s happened long before the present time. Fannie Lou Hamer’s Freedom Farm Cooperative secured 200 units of low-income housing….The cooperative served more than 1,600 families in the Mississippi Delta. The housing program created housing for 70 families. This is some of the historical context to an economic vision of the Black radical tradition of an economic vision for Black people. [I’ll] wrap up with a quote from Malcolm X, who in 1964, gave a speech called “The Black Revolution.” There’s a notion of community control that is absolutely imperative. It’s why we talk about participatory budgeting and this notion of community control of the institutions…that govern our lives. In 1964, Malcolm X said, “Our economic philosophy is that we should gain economic control over the economy of our own community, the businesses and the other things which create employment so that we can provide jobs for our own people instead of having to picket and boycott and beg someone else for a job.”