Organizing for Survival: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Anarchism through the Life of Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin
Keywords:civil rights era, Black anarchism, anti-authoritarian politics, radical politics, Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin, civil rights movement
AbstractThis paper considers the influence of civil rights era community organizing on the formation of Black Anarchism, and the combination of the two for helping imagine a more open trajectory for anti-authoritarian politics. We will argue that while Black Anarchism is still perhaps more of a notion, than a movement, it is still an important lens through which to consider radical politics in the US, given its racist and patriarchal history. We will explore this through the thought, radical organizing, and life of Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin. Ervin’s seminal written contributions to the development of Black Anarchism, coupled with his influential organizing experiences with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party, Anarchist People of Color and Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers situates him as an organic black intellectual with powerful insights to share. One of Ervin’s greatest contributions has been demonstrating the potential of anarchist praxis to both transform and link revolutionary conceptions of social transformation with people’s everyday struggles for survival.
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