|When it comes to commerce, most groups view people outside their race or group
as customers or, possibly as employees but seldom as suppliers or managers. This
has historically been the most effective way for a group to accumulate capital and
ownership of its own industries. With minor exceptions, few if any non-Black people
purchase the products and services of Black businesses. Unfortunately, Black
people also tend to patronize Black-owned business as a last option, if at all. Black
people are the only group who work for and purchase from others before we will
work for, invest in or purchase from each other. This is the primary reason that, while
very large in terms of cash value, the Black economy remains a weak and
uncoordinated consumer economy.
The wisest, most correct and most appropriate path for Black people to take is to
work with, teach, trade with, employ, invest in and protect each other. In order to
build an effective economy and civilization it is necessary that we limit the ability of
others to enter our communities to exploit and profit from us. It is also necessary that
we implement internal discipline towards any one who seeks to do business in our
communities. Ownership, profits and benefits must be consciously focused within
the Black communities, through local control. This is not racism and we should not
be detoured in the least when anyone labels this as a racist practice. We should ask
the accuser whether he or she patronizes Black businesses on a regular basis,
works for or employs a large number of Black people or has Black people living on
their same street.
The process of restoring the appropriate status of prosperity, leadership, ownership
and power to Black and disposed people does not require that mega-corporations
and small Black-owned businesses receive equal treatment. Our businesses and
industries must receive preferential treatment, at least from us. The present
conditions of our people were caused by unequal discriminatory treatment from
those now in control. The remedy must involve a reallocation of power and
resources sufficient to resurrect all oppressed people. Let us move beyond being
defined by the same people who have enslaved and exploited us for several
hundred years and who currently boycott our businesses and refuse to employ us on
an equal basis. Let us focus on the elements necessary for us to build a successful
and prosperous civilization that will enable us to become co-leaders in the world
One perverse advantage to our current condition is that we are being employed less
and less in secure, salaried positions, by the large corporations. Therefore, we must
increasingly depend upon our own efforts to earn a livelihood. Half of the battle of
liberating ourselves from dependence on Europeans for our income has largely
been accomplished. Now, we merely need to begin buying from and hiring each
other, rather than continuing to patronize the Fortune 500. We will realize that our
need to be involved in the old exploitive economy is being reduced daily, if we look
at our situation logically.
The fundamental tenants of our economic and commercial systems should include:
a. Majority of ownership must remain with the employees, customers and local
communities in all business operations.
b. Eliminate the bias for capital over human and nature (or environmental) rights.
Property rights must be protected, but capital must compensate humans and the
environment for damage caused by commercial operations.
c. Profits from our endeavors must flow to our, local, regional, national and
international economic progress, before flowing to other absentee industries,
institutions or investors.
d. We must monitor and evaluate the impact of the actions of businesses in our
communities and refuse to patronize those that do not benefit us.
We can begin to achieve these goals under the current corporate and tax laws. We
should view investments in ourselves the same as, or superior to, investments in
institutions owned and controlled by others.
The Black and brown people of the earth who benefit the least from the present
system are now able to begin seeking alternatives. We should, at every opportunity,
patronize alternative businesses to those that now dominate our communities. We
must also begin to experiment and research more compatible forms of commerce.
Because we have not had a uniform agenda and vision for our new civilization, it
has been easy for our leaders to be pressured, intimidated and bribed into adopting
policies, that work against our true interests. It is, therefore, essential that we
develop and adopt such a vision that is applicable to making the powerless people
powerful, throughout the world.
An economic “Just-us” system must be developed. Consumers who commit to
patronize Black-owned businesses first should receive an identification card. Black-
owned businesses should, in turn, promise to offer discounts and special services
for cardholders. Giving preference to locally owned and Black-owned businesses,
we will begin to vote with our feet and our dollars concerning who does business in
our communities. If certain businesses are not locally owned, we must form local
business associations and chambers of commerce to develop plans to support the
purchase or startup, by local residents, of businesses that provide all needed goods
and services. We should pledge to patronize businesses that are locally owned, are
self-managed or that provide substantial employment for community residents.
These should be considered ‘Preferred” or “Just-us” businesses. Self-management
means that businesses in our communities must be owned and managed by local
residents, hire local residents, support local programs and projects and provide
high quality products and courteous service. Other businesses should not be
Local residents and businesses currently owned by residents shall initially be
considered “Preferred”. Those that comply with community standards will remain
“preferred”. Persons and businesses that do not meet local standards, fail to employ
local residents, do not comply with the dispute resolution process or engage in
habitual unacceptable conduct or practices will be placed on an” Undesirable” list.
Local residents will be discouraged from working, trading, hiring, associating or
doing business with them in any manner. If there are businesses that provide vital
goods and services that do not comply with community standards, they must be
pressured into compliance or competing businesses must be developed and
Communities must develop insurance funds or prepaid services pools for residents.
Residents can make advance payments into these funds. They should be locally
managed. This will allow local professionals such as lawyers, accountants,
physicians, repair/maintenance and other companies to provide discounted
services for local residents in exchange for guaranteed payments.
Where Black-owned businesses do not exist, local residents should develop buying
cooperatives for food, energy and other commodity items. By buying in bulk and
distributing goods themselves, community residents can economize plus multiply
their clout and ability to negotiate lower prices, higher quality or better service from
vendors. Buying cooperatives also provide a foundation for other types of
community collaborations because they require active participation and
socialization by residents in exchange for reduced cost.
We must each pledge that in order to make our communities prosper we will
actively patronize only the following types of businesses:
1) Black owned
2) Owned by Africans or other Black people
3) Have Black management level of 20% or more
4) Owned by other non-European people.
The community must seek information about the companies we patronize. We must
not patronize any that do not meet these standards.”
We must only vote for elected representatives who demonstrate strong support for
this program through government programs that support such companies. A
preference for local ownership and worker-owned businesses must be
demonstrated. Absentee ownership must be discouraged by taxes & regulations.
The social costs of a business’ activities must be calculated into its profitability.
Harm done to a local community by unemployment, disinvestments or pollution must
be compensated and repaired by the business involved in order for that business to
remain in a “preferred” status.
Dr. Claud Anderson presents an excellent and expanded instruction manual for this
process in his book, Powernomics-The National Plan to Empower Black America ,
Powernomics Corporation of America, 2001.
|3. JUST-US ECONOMY