February 14, 2008 - Issue 264
The Black Left is the Left!
Represent Our Resistance
By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD
BC Editorial Board
Given the past few weeks, indeed, the past 40 years of living with the backlash of imperialism, we must confront this question: What do we need to do to save ourselves from ourselves?
We have done it before. We have organized
some of the most massive collective of Black Americans this world has
ever seen on behalf of the human rights of the oppressed. As John Henrik
Clarke explains, “it was no accident that Marcus Garvey had his greatest
success in the
Clarke states that no other dream or promise was being held out to Black Americans. Now, the Republicrats will send us 600 dollars and the promise of more wars - forever!
After 40 years of unemployment lines, inadequate educational institutions, sub-standard housing, and prisons for our youth, we have to concede that we are still mere fodder for the daily adventures of capitalists who are fixated on profiteering by any means necessary. There’s no public accountability, particularly if there’s a hint of the underlining racial imperative that will maintain white dominance. And yes - we have given capitalists the power to churn the revolution of the oppressed into mush while the oppressors speak of a Reagan revolution!
Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism,
Cornel West cites James Baldwin’s concern that the language of resistance
itself would come under attack, forcing the silence of the oppressed
while enforcing ignorance on the part of the oppressor to his/her own
complicity with “innocence.”
What are we waiting for?
I must commend Dr. Marc Lamont Hill,
Assistant Professor of Urban Education and American Studies at
What are we waiting for?
The greatest danger to Black liberation
What do we need to do to save ourselves from ourselves?
We have been here too long and have
struggled too long. We need to wake up and realize that we are the
Left in the
We need to unite and organize and resist for dear life - because we are fighting now for our very existence.
There’s only our death in a whiteout!
Our organizing has been about our “spiritual strivings” (Du Bois) and our “militant, uncompromising resistance to racism, oppression, and tyranny” (Robeson, The Freedom Archives), so why are we fearful of the language of freedom - the language of our leftist agenda? Silencing thought - silencing thinking about freedom - should truly frighten us.
The Gary Declaration developed at the 1972 National Black Political Convention (Gary Convention) states this: “The American system does not work for the masses of our people, and it cannot be made to work without radical, fundamental changes…history leaves us no other choice. White politics has not and cannot bring the changes we need.”
As long-time Civil Rights activist, Roland Sheppard argues, Black Americans “don’t have to re-invent something” since the Gary Declaration is a model for organization that “has never been carried out.” It offers a concept of organizing “not for the manifestation of “an intellectual party,” Sheppard explains. The Gary Declaration offers Blacks and the working class a concept of “organized power to fight.”
It seems to Sheppard, and I would agree, that for “obvious reasons, no one wants to rock the boat.”
Malcolm told us that the kind of organization we need could not incorporate white: “there can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity.” Workers' solidarity, he said, demanded “racial” solidarity first. “We cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among ourselves.” Ultimately, “we cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves” (“1964 Press Statement”).
What time is it?
We are the Left! As Black Americans, our history of struggle against imperialist ambitions has already claimed us.
It was a time of “great crisis and tremendous promise for Black America,” the Preamble of the National Black Political Agenda tells us. What time is it? It’s a time again of “great crisis and tremendous promise.”
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member Lenore Jean Daniels,
PhD, has been a writer, for over thirty years of commentary, resistance
criticism and cultural theory, and short stories with a Marxist sensibility
to the impact of cultural narrative violence and its antithesis, resistance
narratives. With entrenched dedication to justice and equality, she
has served as a coordinator of student and community resistance projects
that encourage the Black Feminist idea of an equalitarian community
and facilitator of student-teacher communities behind the walls of academia
for the last twenty years. Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American
Literatures, with a specialty in Cultural Theory (race, gender, class