The Socialists In NC: Close-up of a Comrade

Socialists. Socialists. Socialists. They appear to be everywhere these days.

As reported in a previous installment, there are Socialists among us in North Carolina. In particular, we highlighted the founder of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), Chip Smith.

There are likely many Socialists in the state, but only a handful seem to make it into media headlines and are cited nonchalantly by local media looking more for a sound bite and less at their backgrounds.

In this installment, we’ll take a look at a familiar name in North Carolina activism who is also a Socialist affiliated with FRSO.  All the information below is publicly available with links provided throughout.

Ajamu Dillahunt

Ajamu Dillahunt’s legal name is Gordon J. Dillihunt and his FRSO ties go back to 1988. That year, the FRSO put out a “Nationality Contact” list which included Dillahunt and his wife, Elaine Dillahunt. His wife now goes by the name Rukyia Dillahunt.

Ajamu Dillahunt was the President of the FRSO’s African-American commission in 1996 but it is thought he did not become a full-fledged member until 2009.

Dillahunt was featured on the FRSO Facebook page in 2015:

Socialist Ajamu Dillahunt FRSO 102315 FB

Ajamu Dillahunt – Via FRSO Facebook Page

The text from the page includes a link to an interview and reads as follows:

“For a number of historical reasons, Black workers are more prone to come forward and join faster because they know we need some kind of organization. We need something to protect us from these employers because we’re catching hell and maybe it’s the union that would do that. They feel it intuitively or they know something from history”¦. On the other hand, some White workers who are imbued with White supremacy and White privilege think, “That’s a Black union. I don’t want to be part of that.” In fact, it’s not a Black union. It’s the Black workers who gravitated to it and maybe constitute the larger percentage of people who are active in it.” Read more at

Dillahunt is an employee of the North Carolina Justice Center as a “Community Outreach Coordinator” for the Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center.

His bio mentions that he holds a Masters in African Studies and was previously the President of the Raleigh Area Local of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). Also mentioned is that he is the founder of the Black Workers for Justice, whose members include more Socialists as we will detail later on.

Dillahunt was on the Black Workers for Justice’s National Coordinating Committee in 2006.

The NC Justice Center started and helps run the non-profit group BlueprintNC, which had an internal ‘attack memo‘ leaked to the press in 2013. That memo outlined a strategy of coordinating dozens of Leftist organizations to ‘cripple, eviscerate, pressure and slam’ the state’s Republican officeholders, specifically Governor McCrory.

The NC Justice Center is also one of the multiple parties suing Wake County Schools and the Wake County Sheriff over a, “a pattern of discrimination and unlawful criminalization” in Wake Schools.

Along with his wife, Rukiya Dillahunt, he has been involved with a group called the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children (CCCAAC).

One of the past projects of this organization was to pressure the Wake County School Board in North Carolina to drop zeros from grading of students. The CCCAAC called zeros “too punitive.” The board ended up rejecting the proposal.

While not a champion of giving students zeros in North Carolina, Dillahunt had in the past defended the controversy over introducing Ebonics into the public school curriculum in Berkley, California.

The CCCAAC is also aligned with the various social justice groups protesting the “school to prison pipeline.”

Dillahunt also serves on the board of the Institute for Southern Studies. Dillahunt is also an author at the Institute for Southern studies and his latest entry details the various ‘human rights groups’ coming together in Missouri to outline their, “agenda for the Trump era.”

As previously mentioned, the Dillahunt is a long-time activist who founded a group called “Black Workers For Justice” and in an article at Labor Notes, Dillahunt describes one of their protests:

“During one protest, veteran BWFJ member Rukiya Dillahunt was chided by a white participant for holding a sign saying “Stop the War on Black America.” The person felt it should say “and white Americans.”

“I put her in check,” said Dillahunt, “by laying out the high Black unemployment rates, mass incarceration, and the ”˜school-to-prison pipeline’ we face.”
Labor 9/23/13 by Ajamu Dillahunt

Black Workers for Justice has participated in the NC NAACP led ‘Moral Monday’ protests in North Carolina which resulted in over 1,000 arrests over several years.  In 2010, Dillahunt gave a speech at a Moral Monday calling for a “massive public jobs program.”

One such Moral Monday arrest was Saladin Muhammad, one of the founders of Black Workers for Justice and also is one a Socialist.

Saladin is a member of the Southern Workers Assembly, has been pushing for North Carolina to allow unionizing of public employees and was a featured speaker at the Workers World Party’s Southern Regional Conference.

At that conference in 2010, Socialism was the main theme and Saladin in 2010. Saladin called for, “greater organization in the South, explaining that as a major region for the U.S. military complex, a major region for foreign direct investment, and a region with the lowest rate of unionization, the South is key to struggles for liberation.”

It might be safe to say being Socialist runs in the Dillahunt family.

Ajamu Dillahunt Jr. is also a member of Black Workers for Justice, participated in Moral Monday and is a member of NC HEAT, a radical Left-wing youth group. Yet, Dillahunt Jr. was awarded ‘Youth of the Year’ by the Boys and Girls Club of Wake County in 2015.

Dillahunt Jr. is involved in Black Lives Matter and is involved in creating a Black Lives Matter Youth Assembly alongside groups previously mentioned on this website like the Southern Vision Alliance and the Durham Solidarity Center.  All of these organizations are known front-groups for FRSO.

Dillahunt Jr. has been involved in activities promoted by Muslims for Social Justice. One such event was a forum in 2015 called ‘Organizing Against Social Racism’. Muhammad Saladin was also a participant.

Dillahunt Jr. is also pro-Palestine after learning about ‘the injustices in Gaza’ from the radical Youth Organizing Institute’s Summer program and attending Palestinian Solidarity rallies with his grandfather.

In the video below, Dillahunt Jr. makes the claim that “police in this country are deeply connected to the struggles in Palestine.” Dillahunt Jr. continues to explain that police departments in the U.S. often go to Israel to train, therefore they are taught to be ‘oppressors’.

Refer back to this article next time a local media article about a protest cites these folks or their organizations without context.

In upcoming installments, we’ll visit the backgrounds and histories of multiple other prominent and publicly visible Socialists in North Carolina.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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