For the casual observer, the concept of Black nationalism and white supremacy are diametrically opposed to one another. Black nationalism is the belief that African people must unite to overcome racist oppression. On the other hand, white supremacy is the system that enforces oppression against Africans and other non-European people on a worldwide basis. The nuance comes when you factor in that neither of these belief structures can be properly evaluated without including a class component e.g. the mechanisms of how the capitalist system functions and interacts with humanity.
Sudanese Defense Minister and Vice President Awad Ibn Auf just announced that the Sudanese military had removed President Omar al-Bashir from power. This action resulted from the mass protests that have rocked the country for the last few months. For those of us concerned about Africa’s political reality, these protests are a welcome sight. They represent the people of Africa taking the future of our national homeland into their own hands, claiming their own power. This reality also negates the rhetoric from those who claim mass action cannot overcome the resources of the power structures in place. For those people, it should be restated that the Sudanese military was forced to take action to respond to the people’s demand that Bashir be removed.
Still, it is critically important that we have analysis from a revolutionary Pan-African perspective on anything that happens in Africa and throughout the African world. Imperialist dominated media outlets are linking the military usurping of power in Sudan to the recent removal of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as a rekindling of the so-called “Arab Spring” uprisings from 2010 and 2011. When those occurrences happened in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, etc., we said then that those so-called “uprisings” were not revolutionary movements and we warned that how a cake looks on the outside has nothing to do with what the cake tastes like. This is not to say that mass uprisings that have not matured into revolutionary struggles are reactionary. The mass uprisings are critical elements in the struggle to advance towards revolutionary change. Our point back in 2011 was that those so-called uprisings, because they were focused on the removal of individuals in power, were ultimately not going to be mass movements steered by the masses of people in those countries. The present reality in Egypt and Tunisia confirms we were correct. The conditions of oppression remain. And, in Libya, the concerted effort to connect the Libyan Arab Jamihiriya government of Muammar Qaddafi to the reactionary puppet regimes in Egypt and Tunisia was simply a ploy to convince the international community that the Libyan government, like the other two countries, had limited to no mass support. We said then that imperialism was targeting Qaddafi for reasons having nothing to do with democracy. It took the release of that imperialist Hillary Clinton’s emails (when she was Secretary of State targeting Libya for Obama’s criminal regime) to finally convince many of you that we were right.
We have also said many times that neo-colonialism is the dominant problem in Africa today. By neo-colonialism we mean a system where European capitalist interests, developed and firmly entrenched in exploiting Africa after 500+ years of colonialism and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, are now institutionalized throughout Africa despite the fact the Europeans may not be physically present. The mechanisms of capitalist corporations and exploitation are operational. Corporations like Cargill International, Voltec, Bangote, Debeers, etc., function with fully trained staff (trained by and for European capitalism e.g. the values of profit over people) and full access to all resources available where they exist. This is how neo-colonialism looks and there is no space on the African continent today where this system isn’t dominant. Under neo-colonialism, African heads of states serve as the gatekeepers for imperialism. Their job is simply to keep anything from conflicting with capitalist interests. Therefore, no protests, no uprisings, and certainly, no revolutions. For their loyal service to the enemies of humanity, they receive riches and comfort. Bashir, Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Mobutu Sese Seto in the Congo, Buhari in Nigeria, Addo in Ghana, etc. These are the faces of neo-colonialism in Africa. In the case of Sudan, the people of that country decided they are finished with al-Bashir because of Sudan’s declining economy. Inflation in that country is up into the low 70s (percentage wise). The price of bread and other basic goods in Sudan today is high enough to raise eye brows even in the capitalist countries. Also, people justly place much of the blame for the Darfur trauma of a few years ago at Bashir’s feet. Approximately 300,000 people were killed and several hundred thousands have disappeared since 2003 in Sudan. The source of this problem was the Bashir government seeing the people of the Darfur region as wanting to overthrow his government. The truth is the Darfur region housed oil reserves that oil analysts predicted had the most profitable potential of any reserves on Earth. The Darfur conflict fueled the eventual succession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011. And when South Sudan left it took with it about 70% of Sudan’s oil wealth which has contributed to the drastic economic situation Sudan finds itself in today. Sudan today has a non-existent credit rating to borrow on the international market and this reality has crippled the country’s ability to negotiate for goods which has contributed to the devastating problems with the economy. Meanwhile, Western imperialism can play like its appalled by events in Darfur and other human issues in Sudan when in reality if they decided they are opposed to the Bashir government, that is only because that government is no longer willing or able to serve their imperialist interests the way they desire.
Sudan’s economic woes are a critical component in Bashir’s loss of power. The history in Darfur is also a critical component. In fact, Bashir was indicted for committing crimes against humanity for his brutality in the Darfur situation, but as heinous as these things actually are, they do not get to the root of the problem in Sudan. And that root has little to do with ethnic and/or religious differences. In Sudan, before 2011 when the country split into two, there were plenty of Christians who sided with Bashir’s government and there were Muslims who supported the claims of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement, the voice of Southern Sudan. There were Nubians (Black), Zaahawa, Copts (many also Black), Beja, etc., on all sides of these issues.
Its great to see Bashir go, but like the change in individual “leaders” in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, etc., that alone isn’t going to change much in Sudan. The problem is a systemic problem. Neo-colonialism is the last stage of imperialism and imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. Since neo-colonialism is the end of the road for what imperialism has in its toolkit, what all of this signals is its just a matter of time before the tricks run out. The people of Sudan, just like the people of South Sudan, and all of the rest of Africa, the African world, and humanity in general, all need an end of imperialist exploitation and the maintenance of the neo-colonial system that ensures imperialism stays in place and capitalism can function business as usual. Capitalism/imperialism thrive on exploiting cheap African human and material resources. This is the problem that must be corrected. This is the real issue that the people of Sudan are protesting. The fact Ibn Auf (Sudanese Defense Minister and Vice President) already announced that the military will hold power for at least two years indicates clearly that just removing Bashir isn’t the solution. Its actually ironic, but Bashir himself came to power in a military supported coup, 30 years ago. So, his removal isn’t the solution and despite imperialism’s efforts to convince you that it is, you should not be confused, especially since you have seen this movie many times before. Not only the man, but the entire system must go. And, despite the fact most people in the so-called industrial world know very little about what happens in Africa on a daily basis, these types of mass uprisings are happening everywhere. Our work is to support them and ensure they are not side tracked with limited agendas (like replacing one despot with another one). Our work is to be on the ground, organizing to unite the true revolutionary Pan-African forces so that the people’s actual voice can not only be heard in token ways, but can be supported and actualized in ways that build and bring true power to Africa and her children. Our people have been led by false hope for to long. There is no solution as long as imperialism remains intact. If we don’t accept that reality, we will be having similar conversations about Sudan and other places for years to come with no real relief in sight.
1968 Birthday party commemoration for Huey P. Newton after he was imprisoned for the death of a corrupt police person. From left to right, the late Bunchy Carter of the Los Angeles Black Panther Chapter. Seku Neblett - former BPP Field Marshall and current A-APRP member living in Ghana. Kwame Ture. Jamil Abdullah al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), Bobby Seale. And, unidentified young Black Panther
And this is significant to me because Kwame Ture (formally known as Stokely Carmichael) has been a primary role model in my life for the last 40 years. Outside of Malcolm X, there isn't another figure who has had more influence on my life and I actually got the opportunity on numerous occasions to even work with Kwame in person. Thus, verifying his legitimacy as a revolutionary of impeccable integrity and commitment.
When I was a young child, the first thing that I developed any interest in was Major League Baseball. I loved my San Francisco Giants. I loved them so much that even though it only took me a short period of time back then to figure out that Willie Mays was really not somebody to be respected on a macro level, I can still today recite all of his career statistics off the top of my head. During those early 1970s, one of, if not the best, shortstop position players in the game was Dave Concepcion who played for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. I remember watching games then and hearing announcers rave about Concepcion's skill level at his position. Still, I was perplexed because Concepcion routinely made more errors than a lot of shortstops. As I got older, I realized that him making errors and still being the best at his position wasn't a contradiction. His range in the field was so wide that he often got to balls that other shortstops had not chance of even reaching. Thus, his potential for errors was greater.
As I've grown and dedicated my life to radical, Pan-African, organizing work, I've thought of the Concepcion example often because it applies universally to this work. The more you do. The more you contribute, the more criticism you will receive. Due to the dysfunctional basis of this society, that's just how things happen. There are many reasons for this, but the basic reason is that by being a person who makes things happen, you are automatically creating pressure for those who do nothing. Since honesty and integrity have absolutely nothing to do with material reality in this society, even by many who are supposedly "conscious", most people won't have the backbone to say that your dedication intimidates them. Instead, they will attack your work because the people they attack it to (it will seldom come directly to you) are just as dysfunctional as they are. So, the attacks are rarely challenged. Usually, they are met with reinforcement. To be grounded and committed to this work, you have to understand all of this. You have to tell yourself its not personal all the time. You have to be steeled in understanding that the incredible risks and sacrifices you make will be met with skepticism and outright hostility, even by some of the people your work directly benefits.
I've heard negativity towards my work for years. I've spent more time than I care to remember engaging people who ended up treating me and my efforts in the most terrible form imaginable. And, I have no reason to believe the release of my latest novel is going to be any different. To be proactive, I decided to write this piece to address why I decided to publish my book through Amazon. I'm involved in this work everyday. Not just on the weekends. Not just after waking up a few years, months, weeks ago. I've been doing this for a long time. I understand how capitalism works fairly well. I understand how imperialism upholds capitalism fairly well. I understand how neo-colonialism fortifies imperialism which maintains capitalism much better than a lot of people. So, believe me when I tell you that I certainly understand what and how Amazon does business. I know about their labor practices and what they do around the world. I also understand that companies like Amazon are subsidized by everyday working people who don't even shop through them because they pay their workers so little that those workers must depend upon social welfare programs to eat. Since working people pay for food stamps, etc., we are subsidizing Amazon everyday. I am fully aware of these things.
I didn't make my decision lightly. I went through the same process I went through with each of the three previous books I've published. I researched publishers. I researched literary agents. I created an Excel spreadsheet. I plugged in the agents/publishers I wanted to send a query to. The query is the summary on the back of every book. That write up is what you send out to initiate interest in your project. If there is interest, the publisher and/or agent will request chapters of your manuscript. This evolves into them reading the entire book and if they like it, they make you a publishing offer. They offer you a contract. The contract consists of publishing rights, royalty amounts paid to you, what promotional work they will do for your book, etc. Each of the publishing experiences I'd had with all three of the published books were traumatic to say the least. The first company in 2010 did practically no promotional work. All they did was call one book store and schedule the space. What you want in this area is for the company to publicize your events, make sure books are ordered, and have a program developed so that you can come in to people and talk about your book. They didn't do that. The second and third books (I'm talking about three completely different publishing companies) were produced in 2015. The first company that produced my second novel did some marketing through their networks, but they did absolutely nothing to set up promotional events despite the contract calling for them to do so. They did have a network where the book sold, but to this day, four years later, I have never received a dime in royalty income from them. I pursued legal action against them and the owner filed bankruptcy. So, there you go. My only other option was to fly to New York City and meet him in an alley way. Believe me, I considered doing that often, but all doing that would have accomplished is create issues for me. The third book was published by a company in Germany. As far as I can see, after publishing the book, they did nothing whatsoever to promote the book.
Based on my research of this publishing industry, with all three of those publishers, they apparently have processes built up to get enough books ordered from them to meet their expenses. Evidently, once they reach that point, they are done and never actually have any intention of putting any time and energy into promotional work. That's bad enough, but in each of those three situations, my ability to have access to the books is limited because of the unprincipled practices of the publishers. The only way I can order each of those three books is the same way you can. By ordering them at retail prices while receiving nothing for my labor and passion in creating the books.
It was never royalties that concerned me. My primary focus has been producing these books to promote the concepts within them. Those who have read my books understand that. Others don't. The latest book - the 740 page "The Paradox Principles" - is strictly about a group of activists who become targeted by the FBI/CIA. Its a story of people coming together to fight back against the beast. Its about teaching people that we can win. Those are the concepts I wish to spread far and wide. So, this was never about royalties to me. Its always been about talking about the books. That's why the lack of promotional work has been the largest slap in the face. The lack of paid out royalties just reaffirms the wickedness of this capitalist system while also placing additional pressure on me to finance my work out of my pocket.
After I went through my initial research for this book, I sent queries to about a dozen publishers and agents. I only received two outright rejections (common). I did reach the point (described above) of receiving three publishing offers from three different companies, but when I researched promotional work those three publishers had done for their previous authors, I saw the same results I'd experienced with the three previous publishers. Those contracts also possessed some of the controls I wanted to get away from e.g. no control over pricing, etc. As a result, after about three weeks of thinking about it, I decided on Amazon after doing extensive research. I reasoned that with them, I would be able to control my work. I can order books at print cost which will make them much more available to me to spread around. I was able to set my own pricing for my book through them, something I've struggled with each of the previous publishers on. With this latest book, I set the price as low as I possibly could e.g. $19.99 USD for a new 740 page book. The ebook version is only $9.00. Being able to control the pricing was important to me so I could ensure as many people as possible could afford it and I could afford to get as many copies as I needed.
The promotional work for "The Paradox Principles" is completely on me, but its always been like that anyway so at least this time I'm not waiting for something that isn't going to happen. Instead, I'm relying on my creativity to come up with ideas on how to get the book in people's hands. I have connected the launch of the book to a July trip for African youth here in Sacramento to go to Ghana. I'm donating 75% of royalties to this important effort to take our youth home. I have other things I'm doing. The process is slow and it causes a lot of anxiety, but I'm going to give it my best shot. Any help, ideas, people have, I'm open.
My realization was that when it comes to publishing companies the question isn't how to avoid dealing with criminals. The question is what type of criminal you want to have to deal with. With this choice, I'm at least able to control the essential aspects of my work which is something artists from any genre will understand. Its a means to an end and that end is the continued work to heighten the revolutionary consciousness of the masses of people. At the end of the day, that's the only thing that matters.
Honestly, I didn't follow the career and works of this dear departed African. I was closely tuned into rap music during the consciousness era of the late 80s and 90s. Even into the 2000s, I regularly listened, but besides a few select artists, I haven't been much into rap music (recognize the differences between rap music and hip/hop culture) over the last 10 years or so. By keeping my ear to the ground in our communities, I have heard some about the work our dear departed African was attempting to engage in. And, having experienced enough trauma from existing in oppressed African communities, I, like many people, am triggered whenever seemingly senseless violence impacts our communities. Whether its Jazmine Barnes in Houston, Ezra Hill in Chicago, 130+ people killed in Mali over the weekend, or Nipsey Hussle, the reoccurring pain of our people being systemically eliminated just for existing is a constant trauma in our daily lives.
It has to be said that the term productive, within this dominantly bourgeoisie societal framework, has a subjective foundation. Within this reality, being "productive" can mean everything from successfully causing as much drama and confusion in everyone's life around you to being great at just taking up space with everything you do. So, to clarify, when we are using the word productive, we mean being able to contribute more to the planet than you receive from it. Not breaking even and certainly not being toxic, but giving more than you receive. More credits than debits. That's our definition for productive here.
A lot is being written about this so-called "American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS) movement. I've written a lot about it here. Since plenty of people re-post, forward, etc., the articles written on this blog, I'm often able to see comments from many people outside of the ideological spectrum I occupy. And, often, those comments are critical of the material produced here. Any self respecting revolutionary would have to expect that. And, we certainly cannot ever be thin skilled about criticism. Instead, what I look for is validity in the arguments being made against the material I'm producing. Most of the time, what I get are arrogant, short sighted attacks by Europeans (Whites) defending some version of this status quo. We certainly are never concerned about those attacks. As I've challenged the integrity of this ADOS argument, I've noticed quite a few Africans within the U.S. who tend to share my writings while offering lots of critiques, but very little that does much to discredit the materials I'm producing. This is important to note because one of the many challenges facing those of us who sincerely wish and work to dismantle capitalism is in us figuring out how to convince more minds of the people over profit values we hold dear. How we can do this when information, data, objective reality, all of these things seem to mean very little in this environment where truth and justice are 100% divorced from material reality.
A good example of history that helps explain why this struggle has become so difficult for us lies in evaluating the 6th Pan African Congress which was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1974. The history of these Pan-African Congress meetings is available for all who want to know about it, so it won't be repeated here (its repeated in many articles on this blog). What we will say is the disconnect between the historic 5th Pan African Congress, held in Manchester, England, in 1945, and the 6th Pan African Congress, held 29 years later in Tanzania, is critical to understand in order to develop a proper assessment of where phenomenon's like ADOS come from.
What we are presenting here is that class struggle is one of, if the the dominant, challenge that defines what characterized the differences between 5th Pan African Congress and 6th Pan African Congress (from here forward to be referred to as either 5th PAC or 6th PAC). This is not to say the 6th PAC had no historical value. Far from it. The 6th PAC was the first Pan African Congress held on African soil. That by itself, is historically significant. There was much struggle that was waged at that meeting that has continued to feed the international discussion and that is good. But, its that same class struggle that was expressed at the 6th PAC that reflects the same type of class struggle that has led to ADOS and similar currents. By class struggle, we are talking specifically about the question of who will own and control the means of production - the resources we depend upon to live on, grow with, sustain the planet and human and other life within it. Who will control those means? That question can only be answered two ways. Either some people will own it - capitalism, the current system, where a few people own and control the world's resources. Or, everyone will own it - meaning socialism, where the means of production are owned and controlled by the masses of people. We cannot determine any additional way to answer that question of who will own and control resources. And, we are convinced this question is the central question. Its central because the people who choose for all to own the wealth are the revolutionaries who are fighting to win the hearts and minds of the masses of people to carry out this relentless struggle to wrest control of these resources from the few capitalist elites who will do absolutely anything to maintain and sustain their control. Everyone else is working simply to find their place co-existing with the capitalist world order. These latter people wish to find compromise and common ground with capitalism. And, they will come up with any number of different looks to make capitalism seem more acceptable to the rest of us. In other words, for this latter group, continued oppression under capitalism is okay, as long as its not them receiving the brunt of that oppression. For revolutionaries, we desire for all our people, and all of humanity to not suffer oppression. We believe that ADOS - with its bourgeoisie position that Africans in America should break off from the rest of our worldwide African family to find some sort of financial settlement with capitalism - are clear examples of this class struggle. No where do these people in ADOS see our liberation as being inconsistent with capitalism. As a result, this struggle becomes a dominant struggle over whether we can be free under capitalism or not. We say we cannot. They say a few of us can. And, we say all of this fully aware of how this manipulative argument is carried out. Capitalism is so dominant and so systemic that those who support it don't even need to mention it. In fact, there is a strange reality at play here where some people never mention capitalism and therefore act as if by not mentioning it, they are somehow removed from it. As if they can operate with a neutral economy in place. The truth here is that no mention of capitalism automatically means support for capitalism because it is the dominant system in place in the world today. Its like when people don't mention white supremacy. By not mentioning it, they automatically contribute to its continued existence.
What we are saying here is these class contradictions didn't just start with ADOS, or the often class analysis lacking Afro-centricity movement before it, etc. This type of class struggle and antagonisms among African people, among all people on earth, have existed for thousands of years and ADOS is just simply the latest edition of African people anywhere who come up with a package deal that claims salvation under capitalism can be achieved by a few of us at the expense of the majority us. The age old divide and conquer technique used by ADOS explains why much of ADOS support comes from elements that possess extensive experience working to destabilize African and other movements for justice and forward progress (Progessive for Immigration Reform - the group Yvette Carnell - a main spokesperson for the ADOS movement, serves as a board director for that group, etc).
The 6th PAC is an effective example here of this class struggle because it occurred almost 45 years ago. Convened from June 3rd, to June 13th, 1974, in Dar es Salaam, 6th PAC served as the primary statement that the mass working class based foundation of the 5th PAC 29 years before was being replaced by this subtle compromise with capitalism that has come to define neo-colonialism.
The 5th PAC united Africans from all over the world under the primary resolution that Pan-Africanism must be defined as one unified socialist Africa. This definition solidified Pan-Africanism as an objective that sought to contribute to the worldwide socialist movement. The militant delegates at 5th PAC resolved to use mass parties to bring immediate independence to Africa and it was 5th PAC that ushered in the African independence movement. And, it was that African independence movement that heavily influenced the launching of African civil and human rights movements around the world, including the U.S. civil rights movement. And, don't take our word for that part. Study the words spoken about it from every major figure in the U.S. civil rights movement from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer, to Ella Baker. The 5th PAC made a specific call for liberation movements in Africa to form and for those liberation movements to build mass political parties that would serve to organize African people not just for nominal independence, but for the continued push for this one unified socialist Africa. In other words, 5th PAC was the line drawn in the sand. You were either for the masses of Africans and humanity, or you were with the enemies of humanity. There was no middle ground. What 6th PAC did was seriously muddy that line in the sand. The 1960s was the decade of class struggle in Africa and within the worldwide African liberation movement. As that decade came to a close the results were the overthrow of the National Congolese Movement and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. The overthrow of the Convention People's Party and Kwame Nkrumah's government in Ghana and Mobido Keita's government in Mali. Meanwhile, the militancy of the Black power movement in the U.S. was being devastated by the illegal counterintelligence program as well as the compromising of the aims of Black power from Malcolm X's call for our liberation "by any means necessary" to dominant efforts to compromise by limiting our approach to absolutely nothing outside of the capitalist electoral system. The 1970s was the decade of neo-colonialism where European capitalist interests became firmly institutionalized throughout Africa. What this means is the Europeans may have physically left Africa, but the Africans who replaced them were 100% trained by them, loyal to their interests, and willing to do their exploitative bidding for the right price. So the operation of colonialism stayed in tact throughout Africa where African leaders became people who were most committed to maintaining Western capitalist interests in order to ensure their continued privilege. In the U.S., on a smaller scale, this was African mayors and other elected officials as the response to mass uprisings in the late 1960s. Eventually, this would even mean Africans occupying other more prominent positions within U.S. capitalism, like president in the person of Barack Obama from 2008 through 2016. Capitalism fully in force, undeterred, everywhere in the world from the U.S. throughout every state in Africa, but now in blackface.
The blueprint for this reality was revealed in the 6th PAC where the militancy of the 5th PAC was effectively disintegrated. C.L.R. James, the respected Pan-Africanist from Trinidad, was one of the original persons who called for the 6th PAC and because of his status in our movements, he was asked to be the Secretary General for the 6th PAC, but he resigned when the 6th PAC Secretariat prevented revolutionary elements to attend the 6th PAC. Much of the leadership for the 6th PAC was dominated by former militant activists within the U.S. civil rights movement. In fact, the tone of the 6th PAC was in many ways dominated by Western race/Black nationalist dialogue. Democratic Party of Guinea Secretary General and President of Guinea - Sekou Ture - was invited to give one of the main addresses during the 6th PAC and that he did. Still, one can easily research reactions to Ture's speech to find out that many of the delegates, dominated by Africans from the U.S., had a very hard time accepting Ture's call for class based revolutionary struggle where solidarity with non-African revolutionaries like the (then) Palestine Liberation Organization and Irish Republican Socialist Movements was lifted up above simple classless unity based on being "black." This reality is clearly born out by looking at the resolutions and their results at the 6th PAC. All of the militant pro-working class positions advanced from the 5th PAC were introduced at the 6th PAC for reaffirmation, but all of these revolutionary positions were voted down by the hundreds of primarily Western delegates in attendance in Dar es Salaam. The resolutions on making the destruction of capitalism, destroying neo-colonialism, liquidating foreign military bases in Africa, and eliminating patriarchy in our movement were all effectively voted down. Meanwhile, resolutions that highlighted "economic development" with no clear definition of what that meant, were approved which opened the way for imperialist dominated International Monetary Fund and World Bank re-colonizing of Africa to take place.
In summary the 6th PAC signaled the suppression of the revolutionary spirit of the 5th PAC and the lack of militancy and the cozy lying in bed with capitalism that ADOS and others proudly proclaim. The result of this class struggle is between 1945 and 1974 the forces of neo-colonialism effectively extinguished the revolutionary character of Pan-Africanism's most visible launching posts, the Pan-African Congresses. This current state should be viewed in the context of the massive amounts of resources imperialism is pouring into these neo-colonial efforts to ensure their success. ADOS supporters often say Pan-Africanism isn't relevant, but they cannot even attempt to address why something so ill relevant has sustained such horrific terror aimed against it from the assassination of Pan-Africanist leaders, the destabilization of the Pan-Africanist parties in power, the strangling of Pan-African societies, the sabotage of Ghana, Guinea, Libya, and other legitimate Pan-Africanist governments, etc. In other words, why was so much effort placed into suppressing militancy and international anti-imperialism at the 6th PAC to the extent that the 7th PAC in 1994 in Uganda, and the 8th PAC in Ghana in 2008 continued much more so in the compromised vein of the 6th PAC, further distancing themselves from the anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, and pro-socialism and revolutionary Pan-Africanism of the 5th PAC?
The answer here is probably contained in the sad yet true lyrics of Publc Enemy's classic jam "Welcome to the Terrordome" where Chuck D raps that "every brother ain't a brother..." The analysis is still the same in 2019 and beyond. Some of us want liberation for all our people and all of humanity. Some of us just want to secure a place for privileged segments of our population. The proof is in the analysis. The folks wanting complete liberation have a plan for how everyone can become free. That plan can be partially understood by reading Nkrumah's "Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare." That plan is being worked on and built by revolutionary Pan-African forces today. Meanwhile, the folks wanting class privilege cannot even speak to mass liberation coherently. They cannot point you to any clear plan about liberation and certainly no practical work taking place for liberation. Many of these latter people want to continue to carry out this charade that there is a middle ground. We don't have to be revolutionary. We can compromise with imperialism and win. Its time for us to go back to the spirit coming out of the 5th PAC. No middle ground. The question for all of us needs to be simply, what side will you be on?
Yvette Carnell, one of the primary voices behind this so-called "American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS)" movement, is a director for the so-called Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR). That's not the most egregious element here though. Carnell is the type of person who presents serious miss information while draping herself in the American flag, the height of personal opportunism. So, we certainly aren't surprised that such a selfish opportunist would be affiliated with losers like PFIR. Our concern is that so many African people are warming to Carnell's rhetoric on critical issues like the very real connection between Africans born in the U.S. and outside the U.S. Carnell and her ADOS movement are doing everything they can to increase the wedge between our African family and that's dangerous. And, for no realistic reason that will benefit African people anywhere, but for simple opportunism as her connection to PFIR clearly illustrates.
We say the above because PFIR is nothing except a 2019 representation of the old Southern Strategy approach to racist xenophobia. With the number of African sellouts who have figured out there's money available for any of us who will cape and coon for their capitalist masters, none of us should be surprised by the fact an African woman would/could be considered a spokesperson for our people while at the same time being a board member for something like PFIR. This so-called immigration reform organization relies on the subtle racism of the Southern Strategy approach by claiming their position is based on a desire to (quoting their website) "protect American workers from unemployment and wage suppression." The irony of this is the inference that our Indigenous (Latino/a) family members, as well as Africans who have come to the U.S. recently, are somehow the reason Africans within the U.S. cannot find employment and stability. We challenge anyone anywhere to question the fact that African people in the U.S. have had the highest unemployment in this country since the days of chattal slavery when all of us were "employed" as free and brutalized labor for the construction of this country. The reason for this is that capitalism has been built and maintained on exploiting Africa and Africans (along with everyone else). So, this system - which is based on our subjugation - is never going to provide stability for us. Our purpose for being in the Western Hemisphere was simply to provide the stability for this backward system, at our expense. No immigrant labor is taking employment opportunities away from us and not a single person reading this can prove otherwise. The capitalist system is solely responsible for our suffering. Thousands of jobs each year are shipped overseas in order to save costs for capitalist corporations. The future and this increasing reliance on artificial intelligence indicates continued loss of employment opportunities for the most expendable labor communities in this country. The massive push to weaken labor unions by big money and to privatize anything public sector is a part of the agenda of multi-national corporations. Not immigrant labor. The U.S. Post Office is an example. Big money has been working since 2006 to destabilize the Post Office. A large percentage of African people historically work within public sector institutions like the Post Office and other government agencies because the hiring process is at least slightly more objective than the private sector and public sector unions at least provide some protection against racist employment practices. Our people know that the privatization of public sector jobs means disaster for us because employers can more easily hide their racist hiring and managing practices. None of that has anything to do with immigrant labor. Absolutely nothing.
We are a people who have been blessed with outstanding spokespeople. Even if you just look at Africans within this U.S. alone, this is true. Malcolm X, Marcus and Amy/Amy Garvey. W.E.B. and Shirley DuBois. Paul Robison. Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). Ruby Doris Robinson. Assata Shakur. Jamil Abdullah al-Amin (H. Rap Brown). People who are/were principled and focused and dedicated solely to our liberation by any means necessary. People who died for the most part with little to no personal assets because their lives were dedicated to one thing only - courageous and selfless confrontation against the forces who oppress Africa, Africans, and humanity. As a result, all of those people had sense enough to understand the forces that hold us down are international in operation. Therefore, common sense dictates that an international formation of African unity is absolutely necessary to facilitate bringing down the beast that disrespects us.
On the other hand, we've also had a series of race hustlers and phonies who prey upon our vulnerabilities (and our unwillingness to study our movements and histories) to develop messages designed to appeal to our sensitivities while draining whatever limited resources we possess. I'm talking specifically about people like this Candace Owens, Umar Johnson, Tariq Nasheed, and Yvette Carnell and this Antonio Moore. Social media celebrities who rely on our ignorance to exploit us. These people are great preachers. They sound great, but when you peel back the surface, there's nothing there. No reparations for the masses of African people. No wealth building. No independent schools, nothing. We have schools we operate/support from Sacramento/Portland to Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, with little to no money. We are talking about thousands of African youth in Kiswahili, Twi, Malinde, and English, etc. All learning about revolutionary Pan-Africanism and building a worldwide African liberation movement. Meanwhile, some of you are contributing millions of dollars to a hustle that hasn't liberated one African mind. And, you wouldn't contribute five cents to sincere and operational efforts like those we are working so hard to build.
These ADOS people are pushing an agenda of reparations that really tarnishes the legitimate legacy of the reparations movement so principally represented by organizations like N'Cobra, Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Black United Front, and other organizations. Carnell and her ilk have reduced this question of reparations down to a weak attempt to parlay themselves into some money and many of you are unwittingly (or maybe you see dollar signs also) playing along with this foolishness.
Meanwhile, we permit Carnell to claim to speak for the interests of Africans within the U.S. while she shamelessly represents this PFIR which employs people like Leah Durant who was the attorney for the John Tanton Network which has promoted eugenics e.g. the studies advanced by people like "Professor" Benson from U.C. Berkeley and William Shockley from Stanford and others who produced the racist "Bell Curve study" which attempts to make a civilized argument (Southern Strategy) to justify claiming African people are intellectually inferior to Europeans. Just to be clear, eugenics isn't something opposed by PFIR, but supported. So, knowing all of this, if you continue to support opportunists like Carnell, then at this point, you are as much a part of the problem as she is. Reparations, organized for in a principled way, has never been advanced outside the paradigm of Pan-African unity. Liberation for African people can never be seriously argued within a micro nationalist framework. African identify is a political statement against the forces that oppress Africa and African people worldwide. Similarly, any African who actively embraces American identify, as Carnell and her people do, make the political statement that their personal interests supersede any legitimate concerns for the conditions of the masses of Africans, even within the U.S. alone.
Kwame Ture used to often repeat the old African proverb that "when you boil dirty water, the scum always rises to the top!" If you understand Carnell and her relationship to PFIR, yet you still see her as champion for African people without smelling the disgust of her actual political foundation, then you clearly are not seriously concerned about advancing African people. So, we aren't speaking to you, but to those who sincerely wish to understand and do something about this terrible situation we remain in that so many of these hustlers work so hard to capitalize off of.
Examples are everywhere. Whether you live here in Sacramento, California, U.S., where the most recent indignity was the decision by the enforcers of capitalism to (big surprise) not press charges against the armed slave catcher terrorists who shot down Stephon Clark. Or, whether you live anywhere else on Earth, the pattern is still the same. Immediately after that decision here in Sacramento, people hit the streets to express their righteous anger. For a few days after that decision, hundreds of people did this. Now, a week or so later, quiet again dominates the streets of Sacramento. Business as usual. Capitalism flexing its power and oppression over us without the slightest consequences. That same subtle message, that we can yell, but we can't win, is reinforced. And if you don't live in Sacramento you hardly have space to scuff. I can take the last several sentences, change the names and places, and the same scenario played out for Eric Garner in New York, Tamir Rice, Kendra James, Sandra Bland, everyone shot down by British police, French police, Australian police, etc. Yet, there is never going to be any shortage of people who have strong opinions on the issue. And, each time, every time, we continue to play out Kwame Ture's often cited theme that "African people rise up, tear up the city, and then sit down for 29 years!"