What Is the UJIMA People’s Progress Party (UPP)?
The Maryland UJIMA People’s Progress Party (UPP) is a black worker-led independent political action party that seeks to address the economic, political, and social oppression and exploitation confronting oppressed black and working-class people in Maryland. About 30 percent of the Maryland population or 1,700,298 of its residents are black. We aim to obtain ballot status and provide an independent political action party to Black and working-class people as alternatives to the big business Republican and Democrat parties. They do not represent our interests.
Never in the history of Maryland has there been an electoral political party created by the black community to represent the needs and issues of the black community, working-class, and poor people. Thousands of Maryland black elected officials have come and gone since William H. Butler the first black official was elected in Annapolis in 1873. Most of them have run as Democrats or Republicans. The intent and efforts of these officials to address issues that blacks face cannot be dismissed lightly. Nevertheless, their affiliations have negated much of their efforts.
The Party understands that the struggle for and the defense of voting rights are important and something the Party will fight for. The Party’s effort to obtain ballot status is a way to build our collective mass base. To gain ballot status gives persons a choice other than the lesser of two evils. Part of the Party’s arsenal includes running candidates, lobbying, working in coalition with groups, implementing grassroots institutions and writing public policy statements.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” -Frederick Douglass
UPP’s electoral politics is but a “means to an end”. The electoral system will not end our oppression. UPP seeks to organize and mobilize the black masses 365 days a year to make its platform a reality. History tells us that these methods are best.
The UPP’s electoral platform and what it believes are not hollow words to be paraded out every four years during election time. It is just one more tool to do everyday work.
“Those were certainly troubled times, but the unity that came out of that was magnificent. People were ready and willing to fight City Hall.” —Gloria Richardson
The UPP seeks to be as fearless and tireless in its quest as Gloria Richardson. Richardson helped to organize and lead black people to push back segregation in Cambridge, Maryland.
What the UPP Believes
We are unconscious modern-day slaves to the Democrats and Republicans. Both parties represent wealthiest in this society. Their solutions represent the interests of the rich, who put profit ahead of human need.
“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if they knew they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman
What the UPP Believes
Capitalism manufactures economic, social and political oppression against black and working people. Racism is one of capitalism’s products. Racism has been a permanent stain in this society since the failure of Radical Reconstruction. Only black liberation through capitalism’s demise will truly end black oppression. Black people and working people must struggle to advance this aim.
Capitalism serves up sexism, homophobia, and anti-immigration as dividing tools. Capitalism and its matured growth into imperialism exploit all working people worldwide. The struggles of black and working people must be international in scope. We must unite with all those fighting to end world imperialism.
The Democrats and Republicans represent and dance to the tune of the 1% who owns most of the wealth and means of production in this country. They include the 60 wealthiest families such as the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, DuPont, and Morgan families. Throw in the 2,000,000 corporate heads, 6500 of the largest bank members, and the largest agribusiness owners and operators.
The state of Maryland has its share of the top 1%. According to a recent CBS report, these billionaires live in Maryland, some names should be familiar. A small sampling includes real estate developer and Washington Capitals owner Ted Lerner, manufacturer Mitchell Rales, Co-CEO owner of the Carlyle Group David Rubinstein, Under Armor head Kevin Plank, Hotel and resorts owner Richard Marriott, banking and real estate developer mogul Robert Saul II, Steve Bisciotti, a Staffing firm, and Baltimore Ravens owner and Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins owner.
“ … the Republicans will stick a 12-inch knife in your back, then the Democrats will come along and pull it out 3 inches.” -Malcolm X
Why a Black Workers Led Party
Some might question why the UPP is black worker-led. Black people have been not just the most oppressed (some say oppressed nation and others say an oppressed nationality) since blacks were deemed, citizens. Blacks have been the most advanced group that has fought against these oppressions that U.S. capitalism created wrapped and sealed in racism. Black workers and farmers continue to be exposed to the major brunt of oppression. Their fightback fortified them to break away from the parties that do not represent our interests.
THE UPP PLATFORM
a) We stand for full employment for all those willing and able to work.
We call for universal access to jobs with career potential for all who can work, so they can avoid the various problems associated with unemployment. We call for more funding of summer job and skill training programs to allow young people to have access to jobs.
b) We stand for economic development that provides economic opportunity and commerce within the Black community.
We call for economic policies that invest in communities long neglected by state and local officials — without dislocating the families that historically have lived in these communities. We call for an infusion of capital to support much needed
local entrepreneurial initiatives that will provide jobs and revitalize community commerce.
c) We stand for the implementation a “living wage” to lift working people out of poverty.
We call for a wage that reflects the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet basic needs. These needs include shelter (housing) and other incidentals, such as clothing and nutrition. We call for a living wage that serves the interests
of people and not simply a minimum wage that exploits people.
d) We stand for community control of affordable and sustainable energy.
We call for the re-regulation of the gas and electric industry in the State of Maryland. We call for the expanding of municipal utilities, energy cooperatives and more investment in renewable solar and wind power, which will lower the price of electricity for all the residents of Maryland.
e) We stand for universal health care and community control of healthcare facilities.
We call for a single-payer-universal-health-care plan for all residents of Maryland. We call for the expanded access to holistic healthcare practitioners to provide more medical care options for residents. We call the empowerment of communities to have healthcare access that specifically serves the health needs of the residents of the local communities.
a) We stand for peace, social justice, equality and equal access for all residents of our state.
We call for social justice and shared prosperity to all residents of Maryland regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or economic status. We call for public policy that equitably provides access to education, employment, business development, mental health and counseling to promote safe communities and lessen incidents of violence.
b) We stand for full restoration of the civil rights for ex-felons and end of discriminatory laws that make it difficult for ex-felons to become gainfully employed.
We call for the release of all political prisoners held for their activism and defense of rights of poor people. We call for an end to the unjust sentencing laws that incarcerate large numbers of Black, poor and oppressed people. We call for an end of the increasingly for-profit prison industry that utilizes a school-to-prison pipeline that primarily impacts the Black community and other poor communities.
c) We stand for community control of housing to ensure affordable and safe housing.
We call for policy that ensures the affordability and safety of communities throughout the state of Maryland. We call for the revitalization of long neglected and vacant housing to stabilize communities, increase home ownership, make communities safer and end the displacement of families by gentrification. We call for funding that expands the availability of nonprofit and cooperative tenant ownership housing options.
d) We stand for community control of police to end police brutality and corruption.
We call for local oversight by residents of the various law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Maryland. We call for subpoena power by citizen reviews boards with the ability to indict law enforcement officers who have been found
participating in corruption or the violation of an individual’s civil rights and to levy monetary rewards for any hardship endured while suffering from their wrongful activity.
e) We stand for community control of education to ensure the successful participation in society of children from Black and other poor communities.
We call for funding that makes early education available to all children regardless of economic status. We call for funding for the operation of community schools that address the specific cultural and economic needs of children throughout the state. We call for policies that allow greater participation by parents and residents of communities to influence the curriculum, standards of achievement and standards of behavior in their local public schools.
f) We stand for an end to immigration laws that prohibit or make it difficult for African and other oppressed people from gaining legal access to education, healthcare and work opportunities.
We call for public policies that make it possible for all residents of Maryland to be contributing citizens to the economic and cultural progress of the state. We call for laws that do not discriminate against a person willing to work or in need of assistance.