Serious activists within the African liberation movement and students of history have little difficulty seeing through the tricks of the capitalist system. We know that the purpose of those two documentaries is to defang the militancy among the African masses and to portray figures of militant history like Malcolm X as decaying dragons of an era gone past. Fortunately, the Colin Kaepernick docu-miniseries didn’t exactly follow this same trend. The strengths of this series were its brutal honesty about this system of white supremacy and the devastating impacts it has on oppressed African and other colonized peoples. And, 100% of the credit for this goes to Kaepernick, maybe Ava Duverney (I and others have justifiably criticized her work in previous presentations about our movement), and whomever had the dignity to demand that anything presented be done in a way that upholds justice for the legacy of our struggle. Netflix gets zero of this credit because all you have to do is look at previous works produced through their channel, while maintaining a clear view of the history of capitalist corporations like Netflix and how they move, to understand that there is absolutely no way they have the political consciousness and/or commitment to tell truth to power without being pushed by Kaepernick to produce what he produced.
This is not to say that the series was without flaws. We are revolutionary Pan-Africanists so as we’ve said time and time again, no true analysis of what is needed for our liberation from this backward system can ever be expected to come to us from the main propaganda mechanisms managed by the very system that carries out our oppression. And, that’s precisely what Netflix and all Hollywood inspired and produced content is – the corporate propaganda arm of the capitalist system. Kaepernick himself would be hard-pressed to disagree with this assessment. He created his own publishing company to produce materials connected to our struggle for liberation instead of relying upon the existing corporate publishers, many of whom would certainly salivate at the potential profit windfall telling his story would provide for them.
Kaepernick does a good job in the series connecting the daily racist mico-aggressions aimed at our youth and how those actions adversely affect our mental health and our physical ability to function freely in this society. He even does an outstanding job making the point that we have the right to think for ourselves and he illustrates that in a powerful moment where he displays images of African freedom fighters who are routinely disparaged and disrespected by the capitalist system like Marcus Garvey, Assata Shakur, Kwame Nkrumah, etc.
Where the series of course falls short is after the system is correctly identified for the horrific and backward system that it is (in an impressively uncompromising way actually), no in-depth analysis of the system and/or solutions are offered. Please don’t misunderstand. We are revolutionaries and as a result, we have a program to achieve the revolution we are fighting for so I certainly wouldn’t be looking for those answers within any capitalist produced show. Even one done as well as Kaepernicks, but it is our responsibility to point out this problem. If we don’t do that than many people would not even think about it. They wouldn’t think about the fact that as can be expected, the word capitalism and the fact that system is the source that facilitates all of those micro-aggressions, is never mentioned. And, the most significant and subtle as you can imagine thing that will forever define anything produced within the capitalist system is the culmination of the story resulting in a display of Kaepernick’s individual determination to play football despite all the racism and everything else. This contribution of the series contributes to capitalism’s most prioritized message that individual determination, not collective organization, is the key to overcoming adversity of any kind, even white supremacy. The fallacy of this thinking is there are Africans who have had more individual determination to challenge white supremacy than Kaepernick, myself, and millions of other colonized people, and those people were not able to overcome the vestiges of this backward system. They weren’t because capitalism’s oppression of all of humanity is a collective oppression that will never be resolved until the masses organize collectively to bring this system down to its knees.
Still, the series was a quality view because of the consistent messages that the foundation of U.S. capitalism has always been and will always be based in the lie of freedom and democracy. And, that since we know this system was built and is maintained on our backs, we have no obligation to perpetuate the fantasy this capitalist system and all the people who support it deeply desire are perpetuated. Unfortunately, the bar is so low that anything that doesn’t just lie about our history is a positive development. That of course is not Kaepernick’s fault. He is certainly to be commended for his effort. Its an effort that makes a contribution to our struggle to raise the consciousness of our people and all of humanity. Its also a strong reminder that its always the masses of people of who make history, not individuals. Without our mass movement for justice against police terrorism against the African masses Colin Kaepernick would be no more than a football player who had some success who no longer plays. He would be forgotten by now. Its our mass and collective struggle that explains why most of you even know who he is. You should always remember that because that same reality is the reason you are ever going to know anything about African people and other oppressed communities that isn’t compromised and completely controlled by the system responsible for our subjugation!