I don't celebrate Kwanzaa and my reasons have nothing to do with this most recent neo-consciousness about the contradictions surrounding Kwanzaa Founder Maulana Karanga. I don't celebrate it because I respect, but fundamentally disagree, with Karenga's Organization US position that our pathway to liberation for African people is paved with a renewed consciousness around African values (Karanga's reason for inviting Kwanzaa and the Ngozu Saba concepts of Kawaida that birthed Kwanzaa). I am convinced that since it is the system of capitalism/imperialism that is responsible for the oppression of African people and all of humanity, our pathway to liberation is tied to our organizing ourselves to wage a relentless struggle against the forces that oppress us. Of course, a spiritual and ideological foundation is absolutely necessary for this fight, but we believe revolutionary Pan-Africanist ideologies - like our Nkrumahist/Tureist ideology - provide us with that spiritual/ideological framework to wage our struggle. And to us, that framework is reflective of a class struggle based cultural war against the forces of imperialism that is fueled from the most humanistic, egalitarian, and collective elements of our African culture. Not some symbolic return to a classless African past. So, no Kwanzaa for me either.
Since this so-called "holiday season" is focused on getting you to spend money, and then spend some more money, before you move to spend even more money, the capitalist propaganda this time of year, even with Kwanzaa, represents an annual turning of the stomach for me. So, why am I optimistic to move into this coming week?
I'm looking forward to it because since I don't celebrate any of it, and therefore I'm pretty well insulated from the onslaughts that come with December each year, I use this time for reflection. Since my family is mostly, and unfortunately, deceased, although I spent some years raising their consciousness to my approach to this time of year, for those family I do still have, at this point, its not even something I have to deal with. And, since my daughter, and my friends and comrades for that matter, generally have the same philosophical approach to these so-called holidays that I have, there is no pressure from them about participating in them. Therefore, I'm free to spend this time doing whatever I want. For me, that's developed into reflection into what I've done to bring me to this stage of 2017 and definitely, what I intend upon doing to confront 2018.
The last several years this reflection process has involved taking trips to provide me space and environment to engage in that process. In 2015, I spent this time in Ghana. In 2016, I was Tanzania. Africa, as is always the case, is always helpful in my spiritual growth and soundness because I can depend upon not having the pressure of these imperialist holidays. People don't exchange presents in Africa. Christmas is seen simply as a time for family. And last year, after returning from Tanzania after Christmas, I took a trip to the Oregon coast to spend New Years. I took bike rides. Walked on the beach. Did plenty of writing on my current manuscript. And thought about what I wanted 2017 to look like and what I would need to do to make that happen. That ended up being moving back to California and I can say that 2017 has pretty much gone exactly the way I envisioned it that weekend in Lincoln City, Oregon, around new years last year.
Those experiences have solidified within me the desire and necessity to use this period for further reflection. Most people are off being dominated by imperialism right now so you have less of a concern about being distracted. And, since most people that know me know my beliefs on these so-called holidays (if they have been paying attention, which some people just don't know how to do), they are well aware that I don't participate, so they have learned that although I appreciate them thinking of me, I would prefer not to attend their dinners, etc, that are focused around these holidays.
So, no overseas trips this year, but I'm going to be spending much of the rest of 2017 thinking about my goals for 2018 and what I need to do to make them happen. At the top of my list is publishing my third novel "The Paradox Principle." I have placed my life and soul into my books. I'm confident of their quality and the impact they have on people's lives has been demonstrated to me time and time again. The only thing that's missing is I haven't had the institutional support to market my works and I'm determined to make sure I figure out how I can make marked improvement in this area in 2018. So, my reflection will be on the pain and frustration I've experienced because of the shafting I received from my last publisher and what I've learned so that I can prevent that from happening in 2018. One of the things my reflection has taught me is pain is the most motivating element I can think of. My strong desire to not have those experiences again causes my creative energies to function at levels higher than normally possible.
I also want to establish myself again as a presenter and organizer around Pan-African movement in California. To do that I will of course need another plan. Much of the next week or so I will spend thinking through how to craft that plan so that I execute it.
Believe that I will produce these plans and I will execute them. I will move into 2018 (provided I'm fortunate to live into it) with confidence and enthusiasm. That's why I appreciate this time of year because I have the basis to prepare myself for the struggle ahead. Being able to do so helps me inoculate myself against the challenges facing me because preparing for them mitigates that fear. And, anyone can do what I'm doing, probably better than I can. That's why I firmly recommend to people who have sincere faith (not imperialism posing as faith). People who have values that are anti-imperialist and pro-people. Resist the massive pressure to give in to imperialism this time of year. Engage and feed your spirit with a quiet protest and resistance against all of this madness. Take time to reflect on how you can be better. There's a clear irony, but if you are at all into giving presents, you will realize that this is the best present that you can give yourself and in building yourself in healthy ways, you provide society with its best present from you.