Life is struggle. Shirk it and lose it. Embrace
it and most assuredly fulfill it.
What does Black America’s legacy of political
struggle really mean? In succinct terms, it refers to the
enormous sacrifices, both personal and collective, made by
those men, women and children who endeavored to further the
cause of economic, social, and political equality, justice,
and freedom, particularly with respect to Black Americans
and our Red and Brown sisters and brothers.
In 21st century Black America, far from ending
or concluding, our political struggle has, by necessity, intensified.
White racism and concomitant economic, social, and political
inequality and hypocrisy have, in fact, increased for the
vast majority of Black and other people of color - not decreased.
Adding insult to injury in this regard today,
are some political parasites — political pimps, who now in
the 21st century, falsely claim to have been a part of Black
America’s legacy of struggle, when, in fact, they have built
their reputations on myth, not reality. Their objective is
obvious: to distort and usurp the mantle of ongoing struggle
for personal gain, and ultimately to abort the intensifying,
much needed and legitimate struggle of Black, Red and Brown
peoples, all in the very name of supporting it. It is worth
repeating here the African proverb: “Beware of the naked man
who offers you clothes.” The danger posed by such political
parasites, such political pimps, is self-evident. They must
be exposed and appropriately dealt with.
political struggle is not some kind of knee jerk reaction
to oppression. Rather, it is an ongoing, collective, and consciously
dialectical process wherein thought, planning, action and
specific goal-oriented accomplishments (however large or small)
are important measurable and integral components. As I discussed
on Sirius Satellite Radio’s November 15th, 2007, “Make It
Plain” program with host Mark Thompson: “Serious and effective
political struggle is not about simply meeting ‘once a year
or so’ to - plan the next planning meeting in order to discuss
planning the next meeting — in order to plan for the following
year’s meeting.” Such activities are tantamount to a pet hamster
endlessly running on a caged and spinning mechanical wheel,
going nowhere. Ours must be the tactics and strategies of
effective political struggle, not intellectual masturbation.
As a Black American of proud African and Indigenous
Native ancestry, I must concur with a reader of The Black
Commentator who delineated her distaste for the term “African-American,”
when she wrote to me: “I say Black because I don’t like the
term African-American. That’s like saying we asked to come
here [to America]” Indeed.
We Black Americans — descendants of the noble,
magnificent and long suffering slaves who built what became
known as the United States of America — did not come here
as willing immigrants, or as refugees from oppression, intent
upon building a better life in this land of the slave and
home of hypocrisy and genocide. No, our ancestors were brought
here by force under the most despicable and unspeakable conditions,
as human chattel stripped of even the most basic of human
rights. To this very day we continue to be dehumanized and
disenfranchised by a hypocritical and avaricious white American
society and system (be it so-called liberal or conservative),
intent upon maintaining its privilege at all cost. This,
unfortunately, is something that even some modern-day actual
immigrants from Africa to America have yet to understand,
respect, or come to grips with, regarding Black Americans.
Proud descendants of Mother Africa that we unequivocally are,
we are nonetheless Black Americans who have paid our dues
on this stolen land over and over and over again. Our is a
struggle, not only for ourselves, but for humanity as a whole.
We are Black Americans, proud and strong, engaged
in an intense, ongoing, centuries-long struggle in this land,
for equality and justice that is steeped in a legacy of protracted
political struggle, full of sacrifice.
Ah yes, life is struggle. Shirk it and lose it.
Embrace it and most assuredly fulfill it. Onward. What better
way to keep it real…
BC Editorial Board
member, 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. For more about Larry Pinkney see
the book, Saying
No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and
by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click
here to read excerpts from the book) Click
here to contact Mr. Pinkney.