At the June 2022 Labor Notes conference, Black Work Talk presented a panel of organizers spanning generations and geographies: Jerome Scott of Project South and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers; Stacy Davis Gates, president of the Chicago Teachers Union; Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York, and Chris Smalls of the Amazon Labor Union. This is the first of two episodes drawn from that panel. Participants responded to the question, “What are the key challenges facing Black workers today and what should we do about them?”
Jerome Scott kicked off the panel by reminding everyone that, “The United States is a capitalist, class society whose DNA is white supremacy. If we forget that, we might make some advancements…but as long as we have capitalist relations of production, they’re going to be able to take it back… if we don’t have any long-range strategic goals, we’re in trouble.” The conversation only got deeper and more layered from there on, as participants built on each other’s responses and articulated their vision. Toussaint Losier of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Bianca Cunningham of Action Center on Race and the Economy moderated the panel.