Immediately following the African youth action to shut down the Bay Bridge yesterday, in commemoration of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the propagandists for the capitalist system went into overdrive. You can guess what their corrupt message was. Martin Luther King would have never supported shutting down the Bay Bridge. The Bay Area action was a disgrace to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Then, right on que, many of you started doing what you do best, parroting the instructions from your master. Martin Luther King wouldn’t have approved? Really? Not the Martin Luther King I know. This is bait and switch at its finest. Look, I’ll be very transparent. I’m not going to pretend that I’m the one to trumpet the merits of these shut down actions. I’m of the belief that if we are going to engage in actions, they should be mass based, where we are doing work with the masses of people to support the actions. Not actions based on the work of a few individuals. I also think there is a severe lack of political analysis to guide the actions e.g. no clear critique of capitalism and its role as the fountain that sprouts out white supremacist institutions and practices. Plus, I wish the disruption events were more aimed at the direct sources of the power structure e.g. the corporate entities of this society, instead of the average person who commutes across the Bay Bridge. My fear is since the work with the masses isn’t taking place, the average person who was held up on that bridge just simply isn’t going to understand the necessity and logic of what took place yesterday. To them, all they understand is they were apparently targeted. They don’t know why. More than likely, they were just trying to get to or from work. They are trying to get to family members, etc. These are not the people we should want or need to inconvenience. These are the people we should want to educate and organize. I wish the work and protests were more geared towards that education, organization, and stopping large corporations from carrying out business as usual.
The work I do, which is guided by the principles I believe in, is that we have to organize people to commit their lives to working for justice and liberation. Meaning, this work isn’t an event, it’s a protracted struggle, much of which will take place outside of the camera lights. So, I’m not attempting to project myself as the spokesperson for any of these protest actions, but I’m not confused. For anyone to suggest that anything that happened on the Bay Bridge yesterday was contrary to the vision, philosophy, and practices of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. reveals that person as either a liar or a fool (or maybe both).
Dr. King was a rebel against the capitalist system. In spite of the Coca Cola, Ford commercials depicting his image, he was against the interests of those corporations shaping his words today. He was a protagonist for change and he understood deeply that power never concedes anything without a demand. Dr. King shut down bridges himself. What do you think the Selma action on the Edmund Pettis Bridge was in 1965? You saw that worthless movie so you should at least be able to understand that. Those youth yesterday were carrying out Dr. King’s vision and thank goodness for them and their work. Whatever shortcomings exist in the current protest movement, we will continue to do that work to connect the head to the body. The capitalist system has done its work to destabilize the African cultural framework as a method of destroying African self-determination. As a result, many of our youth today have grown up without reliable adults who they can trust who interact with them with dignity and integrity. So, it’s not a surprise that many of these youth are distrustful of older activists and that many of them are unwilling to listen to what we have to say to them. Those of us who are serious about this work have to always have an analysis of the problem. And as Kwame Ture correctly stated, our analysis can never exclude the enemy. In other words, in order to understand any dysfunctions within the African community, we must understand the cause and effects of capitalism against our people. Once we know that, we won’t take the youth’s lack of trust personally. Instead, we will continue to work with them to help them develop that analysis and focus, that Pan-African consciousness. We will do our work, but while that’s happening, those of you who do the bidding for the capitalist system (either consciously or unconsciously) will not be permitted to further confuse our people, and any justice loving people. Dr. King was not some pacifist who supported and respected the capitalist system. He was not some fool who was in favor of the U.S. war machine. He was a principled man who would have supported those youth out there yesterday. Anyone who doesn’t know that doesn’t know much about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leading up to his murder, he was in the midst of mobilizing the largest mass movement against the power structure in this nation’s history. The poor people’s campaign was not going to be a parade. It was a protest and it was going to make waves in the capitalist system. The Johnson Administration, in its effort to get Dr. King to speak out against the growing number of urban rebellions taking place in 1967, could only get King to speak of the need to address the conditions of poverty and white supremacy that produced the uprisings. They couldn't get him to denounce the people without that analysis being attached to his perspective. If they couldn't get him to denounce urban rebellions in which people were killed, what type of fool thinks he would be against a non-violent shut down of a bridge today? This is why Dr. King had to be stopped. If he was really the soft tissue paper version activist portrayed by the capitalists, he would still be alive and well today. So, many of us contributed on Monday doing work to advance the true ideas of Dr. King. We commend those youth for taking similar action. If you are trumpeting the backward position of the capitalist system as it relates to Dr. King, stop doing the enemy’s work for them. If you don’t agree with those youth, or you don’t agree with what’s written here, that gives you no excuse to settle for being an internet revolutionary. You must join some organization working for justice. Whatever issues there are with our youth who are engaging in mobilizing work, at least they have that critical one figured out much better than most of you.