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By defining ourselves and our struggle, we establish our agenda. If, however, we allow others, no matter how supposedly good intentioned, to define our struggle and set our agenda, we lose the initiative and with it, the struggle. Moreover, it is far saner to be struggling for our goals than merely to be fighting against something. It makes far more sense to define ourselves and our struggle in the positive rather than the reactionary negative.

Presently, as an unjust, bloody, US-led war of aggression, exploitation, and occupation rages on in Iraq, in the hypocritical name of democracy and freedom [BC: American Democracy: A Legacy Of Hypocrisy And Deceit - March 15, 07], many ask themselves how the American people could once again find themselves bogged down, in less than four decades, in yet another Vietnam-type war of aggression? One of the answers to this question is the fact that various so-called progressive elements in this nation have neglected to categorically define their struggle and set their agenda. In other words, much of the left in America, in addition to having "left" out the masses of Black, Red, and Brown peoples inside this nation, has repeatedly reacted to, instead of seizing the definitive initiative, in confronting the fundamental ills and contradictions of capitalist exploitation and empire which include the ever-present reality of white racism.

As Black people in America it is imperative that we understand the distinction between merely taking an anti-war stance vs. a strong pro peace with justice one. To seize the pro peace with justice stance means that we must define, expose, and struggle against the fundamental social and economic injustices and contradictions of and in racist, capitalist America. It is these fundamental social and economic injustices and contradictions, within America itself, that repeatedly lead to US military adventurism and empire building. Merely being anti-war does not in itself address or define the internal and external root causes of military adventurism and war. Thus, it is essential to be actively pro peace with justice, i.e., to be proactive vs. reactive.

It is no coincidence that America, regardless of whether a so-called Democratic or Republican Party leader is at the helm, has consistently gone from one covert and / or overt military "adventure" after another: from Korea to Vietnam, from Nicaragua & El Salvador to Grenada and Iraq, a virtually endless list of ongoing military adventures and wars. To be effective, Americans must develop a serious internal pro peace with justice movement that addresses the fundamentally and structurally flawed systemic causes of US military adventurism and war. Black America, along with other people of color are keenly aware of this, knowing that simply being anti-war does not accomplish this. To be sure, so are the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which are busily continuing to utilize the tools of internal and external disinformation, divisiveness and subversion. They are increasing their activities to recruit "journalists of color" so as to intensify their subversion, even of this fake US democracy that they claim to defend and uphold, and thereby, fallaciously define, control, stifle, and discredit any real movement for peace with justice inside America and around the world. [Reference CIA, FBI Recruiting Journalists of Color.]

What most Black, Red, and Brown peoples in America poignantly know, and too many progressive white Americans demonstratively have yet to learn or accept, is that peace with justice means a great deal more than merely being opposed to war. The reality of the ongoing economic, cultural, and social war that America continues to wage against peoples of color, both domestically and internationally, flies in the face of many who claim that they are anti-war apparently only when their sons, daughters, cousins, fathers and mothers are increasingly losing their lives in foreign lands, where the US is illegally and amorally waging war. Only when the internal economic, cultural, and social war in America against peoples of color is addressed and stopped will there be an end to US aggression elsewhere in the world. Pretending that one can address externally-waged US wars, without seriously addressing the ongoing internal war against people of color in America, is ridiculous, illogical, and insulting. Most of all, however, it is simply not effective. The expression "No Justice / No Peace" is not a nice quaint little term. It is, like it or not, the reality.

Torture, kidnappings, and even the trashing of the US Constitution by the American Government itself, in the 21st Century, are precisely what ignoring the ongoing internal war against Black and other people of color in America has led to. To reiterate: If there is no justice at home there can never be justice abroad, and if there is no justice there will certainly be no peace.

Definitions do, in fact, matter, and how we collectively and demonstratively define the various components of this struggle for peace with justice will ultimately determine the extent to which peace with justice will be made real in America and throughout the world. From the first National Black Political Convention in March of 1972 in Gary, Indiana, to the US Social Forum starting this week in Atlanta, Georgia, this struggle is one that requires we all be creative and persistent in keeping it real.

BC Columnist Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.

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June 28, 2007
Issue 235

is published every Thursday.

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