The Black Commentator: An independent weekly internet magazine dedicated to the movement for economic justice, social justice and peace - Providing commentary, analysis and investigations on issues affecting African Americans and the African world.
Feb 24, 2011 - Issue 415

Justice, Law, and the Struggle for Change
Keeping it Real
By Larry Pinkney Editorial Board


“Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a [hu]man, you take it.”
-Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz)
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Whether in the streets of Cairo, Egypt; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; or Madison & Milwaukee (Wisconsin), USA, everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people yearn for political, economic, judicial, and environmental justice. Laws must be made subservient to justice, not the other way around.

Justice is not a commodity. It cannot be traded, bartered, or auctioned off to the highest bidder. Justice is that which serves the collective good of humankind, and the protracted struggle to attain it is often fraught with enormous hardship and risks. Yet, to shirk in the principled struggle for political, economic, judicial, and environmental justice would be akin to forfeiting the individual and collective responsibility to ourselves and humanity itself.

It has been purported that William Gladstone correctly stated: “Justice delayed, is justice denied.” Indeed, in these anxious times in which we live, everyday people globally are rejecting the unjust status quo and demanding and organizing for an end to systemic injustice. This struggle crosses all color, gender, and national boundaries. This is an international people’s struggle for the common good of humanity as a whole, and that of the entire planet. It is a struggle which exists in diametrical opposition to corporate greed and military adventurism. No amount of disingenuous, articulate political rhetoric or corporate-stream media obfuscation can avert the yearning on the part of everyday people for the real change that only fundamental / systemic transformation will bring about. Any other kind of so-called “change” is, in essence, no change at all.

Every day, ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people nationally and internationally are beginning to fulfill the words of Malcolm X, when he said, “I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice, and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think it will be based on the color of the skin...” The mendacity of those who oppress us, no matter their color or gender, must no longer be abided.

Let us be careful not to confuse the proclamations of law with the attainment of justice, for laws, if they are to serve the people, must be rooted firmly in foundation of justice. When justice is brought to fruition, the law will follow suit. Rise up you mighty peoples of the world! Awaken from the disempowering slumber of oppression! Justice must no longer be “delayed” or “denied!”

We must cease allowing those who exploit and oppress us to divide, confuse, and dominate us. It is we ourselves who hold the keys to justice and human rights in this nation, in harmony with the legitimate yearnings of people around the world.

There is so much work to be done. Organize, educate, and agitate; and then organize some more! Onward my sisters and brothers! Onward! 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. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.