February 14, 2008 - Issue 264
The Black Left is the Left!
Represent Our Resistance
By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD
BC Editorial Board

“The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” - Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (Perennial Classics)

“…all this is achieved by wide-scale organization of the masses supplemented with patient and careful education, an education that begins and is confirmed in knowledge acquired from their own experience; it should concentrate on reasoned and true explanations of the facts of the Revolution” - Che Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare

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 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!

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!

In Democracy 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 white America, 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 of genocide.

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.

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 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.

Good-morning, Revolution:

You’re the very best friend

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 narratives) from Loyola University, Chicago. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.



Your comments are always welcome.

e-Mail re-print notice

If you send us an e-Mail message we may publish all or part of it, unless you tell us it is not for publication. You may also request that we withhold your name.

Thank you very much for your readership.