Party Platform

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 people and working 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. They represent 10 percent of the 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

The UPP platform requires federal, state as well as local actions to implement this plan. 

Employment/Labor 

UPP stands for full employment for all those willing and able to work at a livable wage and inhumane and safe working conditions. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Create a massive public works program to rebuild infrastructures •Create a 30-hour workweek with no cut in weekly pay • Provide for yearly COLA adjustments. Create a six week paid family leave Provide a $15 an hour minimum wage now • Provide unemployment insurance for all those unemployed and actively searching for employment •Repeal Strike section 4-304 of Maryland’s Labor and Employment Code – write to work statute from the books •Enable all public sector workers to maintain the right to strike • Provide all youth able and willing to work with employment Unite with workers struggles worldwide  Fight for democratic non-bureaucratic unions

Environment

We are overly exposed to environmental hazards at work, in the home, and in our neighborhoods. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Provide criminal felony laws for employers knowingly negligent of harmful worker hazards. Provide MOSHA and OSHA adequate inspection and enforcement resources to cover all workplaces    

 • Dispose of and clean up all toxins and environmental hazards that affect black and working-class communities •Compensate all those who live near and are affected by toxic waste and dumping •Compensate all those adversely affected by mold, mildew, and lead paint poisoning Create stringent criminal laws for violators  • 

Healthcare

Healthcare should be a right and not a commodity market that fills the pockets of big business at the expense of the people. Empower communities to have healthcare access that specifically serves the health needs of the residents of local communities. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Provide for free healthcare the same as Medicaid and Medicare  • Expand access to holistic healthcare practitioners to provide more medical care options • Require health practitioners to serve underserved communities for 5 years •

Housing

Affordable low and moderate-income housing should be a right. A person’s domain should be safe and without internal environmental toxins. No one should be homeless. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Cancel all homeownership and rental foreclosures of any family making under $75,000  • Enact statewide rent control laws • Revitalize and renovate vacant housing through public works programs • End the displacement of families by gentrification; provide affordable housing at the same rate persons bought or rented housing • Fund nonprofit and cooperative tenant ownership housing options • Provide for healthy, safe, and free housing for persons or families (homeless or about to be homeless) requiring transitional housing Stop farm foreclosures Enact stringent fair housing laws  

Immigration

The current immigration laws impose disparity on our immigrant population. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Legalize all so-called immigrants with full rights as citizens  • Get rid of any form of E-Verify and similar programs  • End laws criminalizing immigrants that call for deportations, more cops and more border patrols cops and ID verifications to obtain employment  •  Stop ICE detaining illegal immigrants.

International

The U.S. is the number one capitalist and imperialist world power. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Withdraw all U.S. troops deployed around the world  • Use these monies for human needs • End the embargo on Cuba and return Guantanamo to Cuba  •Cancel the third world debt •  Support Puerto Rico Independence and free political prisoners •Support just struggles of the Palestinian people and all people that fight for the right of self-determination and to end the U.S. led imperialist intrusions

Police/Criminal Justice

The role of the police is to protect private property. To carry out their job they brutalize, profile, and harass. Calling for more training, community relations, community policing, police cameras, and officer friendly programs just masquerade their methods. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Initiate, and support massive protests and demonstrations against all forms of police brutality Provide subpoena power by citizen review 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 Strip the police of any special rights Allow only the States Attorney to indict police officers accused of police brutality Decriminalize Marijuana.

Repression/Domestic Terrorism

Repression and intrusions on our rights continue to occur. COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) and most recently the Patriot Act and its various amendments, as well as government compilations of people’s private information,  are but a few examples. Black and working people need to defend themselves against domestic terrorism. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Stop all government domestic spying • Oppose all forms of religious bashing, most prominently the Muslim religion • Abolish the death penalty • Stop all forms of police repression • End collection of people’s private information • Allow all public jurisdiction meetings to be public • Allow No civil detention in Maryland authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act Uphold the right of self-defense.

Seniors/Disability/Needy

Seniors are treated as discarded commodities. People in need are stereotyped as shiftless and worthless. These stereotypes are all used to justify limiting or cutting out expenditures on them. To address these issues the following are called forth:

Provide adequate resources, and strengthen programs and laws that allow these populations to live with dignity and quality of life that befits all human beings • Allow for public accommodation for all persons disabled • Replace Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Act and The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act programs where every person is guaranteed a basic income without work requirements in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights •

Equality and Discrimination

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.  Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

We call for implementing public policy that equitably provides access to education, employment, housing, medical care, business development, mental health, and counseling to promote the development of healthy people, families, and communities.

Repeal all laws that discriminate against and limit the civil rights of persons based on their ethnicity, criminal background, gender, religion or sexual orientation. 

Taxes/Government 

The richest ten percent of the population do not pay their fair share of taxes. Key industry profits rob us of quality of life. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Make the state tax 100 percent progressive • Eliminate tax loopholes for the rich • Eliminate tax credits and subsidies to corporations and developers • Families with a household income of  $75,000 or less should pay no local state or federal income tax Generate revenues through creating a progressive tax system where the wealthy pay their fair share • Eliminate tax loopholes for the rich • Eliminate tax credits and subsidies to corporations and developers • Create a public works program that provides jobs for those in these communities • Provide reparations to blacks for 400 years of slavery • Nationalize healthcare, energy, utilities, and banking industries •

Voting Rights

The Party understands that the conquest and defense of the right to vote is a key mark in the U.S. Every effort to suppress these rights must be stopped in its tracks. Black and working people need their own party. We need to do these things independently from the donkey and the elephant. To address these issues and aims, the UPP puts forth the following:

Stop all voter suppression gimmicks  • Allow all ex-offenders voting rights  • End all gerrymandering that suppressed the power of blacks voting  Cut the required petitions to form a party to obtain ballot status from 10,000 to 5000 registered voters 

Women

The modern civil and black rights movement has helped to provide the synergy for the modern women’s rights movement. The woman’s rights to control her body, pay equity with men, and the safety of women against violence have been primary struggles for women’s rights. Therefore UPP puts forth the following:

Uphold and promote the right of women as leaders and makers of history. Uphold and defend a woman’s right to choose and take away all restrictions on access to abortion •Provide equal pay for equal work • Uphold and support the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women • Fight to put the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.