by Paul Le Blanc and Michael D. Yates
Monthly Review Press
While the Civil Rights Movement is remembered for efforts to end segregation and secure the rights of African Americans, the larger economic vision that animated much of the movement is often overlooked today. That vision sought economic justice for every person in the United States, regardless of race. It favored production for social use instead of profit; social ownership; and democratic control over major economic decisions.
The document that best captured this vision was the Freedom Budget for All Americans: Budgeting Our Resources, 1966-1975, To Achieve Freedom from Want published by the A. Philip Randolph Institute and endorsed by a virtual who's who of U.S. left liberalism and radicalism.
Now, two of today's leading socialist thinkers return to the Freedom Budget and its program for economic justice. Paul Le Blanc and Michael D. Yates explain the origins of the Freedom Budget, how it sought to achieve freedom from want for all people, and how it might be reimagined for our current moment. Combining historical perspective with clear-sighted economic proposals, the authors make a concrete case for reviving the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement and building the society of economic security and democratic control envisioned by the movement's leaders - a struggle that continues to this day.
Paul Le Blanc is professor of history at La Roche College in Pittsburgh. He is the author of Unfinished Leninism and coeditor of Trotsky's Writings from Exile.
Michael D. Yates is Associate Editor of Monthly Review and the author of Why Unions Matter, Wisconsin Uprising and The ABCs of the Economic Crisis (with Fred Magdoff).