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
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 United States among Black Americans.” In the “belly
of the beast,” as Jose Marti coined the U.S., Black Americans,
began building a movement, Clarke continues, “at a time of
great disenchantment,” particularly among those who pursued
the “American Dream,” only to concede that the “dream was
not dreamed for them.”
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!
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.”
Baldwin, West writes, warned that the
“criminal acts of white violence and disrespect against black
people” was one thing, but the crime of “innocence” constituted
the worse crime against Black Americans.
What are we waiting for?
I must commend Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Assistant
Professor of Urban Education and American Studies at Temple
University for his article, “Not
My Brand of Hope” (The Root) for recognizing that Black
Americans are being further disenfranchised by the Republicrat
politics of the “post-racial moment.” It’s the moment that
we wake up and see we are covered in snow - and it’s not powder
cocaine! It will be an avalanche of white supremacy cashing
in all its imperialist chips! Hill points out that while “black
faces in high places may provide psychological comfort” to
these individuals, “often incorporated into a Cosbyesque gospel
of personal responsibility,” allow “dangerous public policies
to go unchallenged.” The broken levees in New
Orleans, the gentrification practices in major urban areas,
the sub-prime scandal, the ramped unemployment and poverty
rates among the Black masses, and the deliberate mis-education
of Black children all contribute to an unchallenged policy
What are we waiting for?
The greatest danger to Black liberation in
the U.S. is not conceding that our continuing submission
to Republicrat politics will result in our collective demise.
Those who have subsisted on the morsels of private gains will
find themselves regurgitated or excreted as waste upon the
dump heap filled with the remains of our humanity. Our lives
now are so much waste for some, taken for granted by others,
and treated with indifference by many. Deciding whether cooperation
with the Republicrats will finally, at last, free our children
or sell them down the river is not an option at this late
date. It’s strange to hear us sing a new and a strange song:
“we don’t have a choice. We don’t have a choice.” People,
where have we been all these 40 years, all these 400 years?
The greatest danger to Black liberation is for us to believe
that Senators Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will respect
us as human beings. It would be foolish in this “post-racial
moment” to think that either of these two supporters of imperialism
will suddenly change and hold this nation accountable for
its human rights violations within and without its borders.
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 U.S. We are the Left
- and have been the Left, the opposition, since we
were dragged here in chains, kicking and screaming to be free.
We have had the Left agenda since there was such an
agenda because we have fought to manifest human freedom and
its sustainability in this country, against racism, militarization,
and genocide. We, Black Americans, can’t permit, as Hill writes,
the corruption of our struggle for liberation by those who
look like us but advocate for the “dangerous politics of compromise,
concession and cunning.” We have been able to tell the difference
between ourselves and these look-alike creations of corporate
media or Republicrats themselves.
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.
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
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 narratives) from Loyola University, Chicago. Click
here to contact Dr. Daniels.