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Reparations, Justice and Economic Policy with Dayvon Love (2.22.24)

Dayvon Love is a Baltimore-based political organizer and the Director of Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), a grassroots think-tank that advances the public policy interests of Black people. In 2010, Love co-founded Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), one of many organizations that successfully pressured the state of Maryland to disband its plans to build a juvenile jail downtown. LBS has also led legislative efforts and advocacy efforts regarding criminal justice reform, youth and community empowerment. Dayvon is also the author of “Worse than Trump: The American Plantation”, a book that offers an important critique of the American political left and a political alternative to the exploitative relationship that Black people have to white institutions. Dayvon is also the author of “When Baltimore Awakes” which is a comprehensive critique of the way the white supremacy is embedded in the Human/Social Service Sector in Baltimore.

The Movement for Reparations for African Descended people in the United States has a long history, and has been a significant part of many Black and Pan African political movements. It has also long been a point of division and fracture on the American left, because to many white, non-Black people of color, (and some Black) socialists and progressives the idea of reparations disrupts an analysis that sees the problems in the US primarily based on class difference and economic inequality.

In this episode Dayvon Love and I talk about the history of the movement for reparations, the work to create policy mechanisms for reparations in Maryland, and the confrontation with conservative, neoliberal and progressive political forces that oppose these policies of repair and reinvestment.

In 2022, Dayvon and LBS advocated for the creation of a Community Repair and Reinvestment Fund, meant to use recreational cannabis tax revenue to provide resources to communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. Thirty-five percent of tax revenue from the sale of cannabis currently goes into this fund and each county in Maryland will need to establish a local mechanism for allocating the monies in this fund.

We talk about two pieces of legislation before the General Assembly, The Maryland Fair Share Act and The Maryland Reparations Act. Both start with progressive taxation, but they differ in how they spend that additional revenue. The Maryland Fair Share Act puts more money into the General Fund, controlled by the governor. The Maryland Reparations Act puts more money into the Community Repair and Reinvestment Fund, controlled by local governments.

We use these differences to talk through differing approaches to economic justice and redistribution of resources. Our hope is that this conversation breaks down the binary between economic justice policy and racial justice policy and starts to show how reparations policy can be a means of starting the conversation about economic justice and the redistribution of power and wealth. Resources

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