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The U.S.’s Romantic Remake of COINTELPRO in Africa - Represent Our Resistance - By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD - Editorial Board

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�Throughout their entire history as a people,� writes Dr. Manning Marable in Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal, African Americans have created themselves.�

They did so in the context of the transatlantic slave trade and two-and-a-half centuries of chattel slavery - a structure of overwhelming inequality and brutality characterized by the sale of human beings and routine rapes and executions.

Black Americans were not �a people without history and culture,� he continues.

Their memories of how life should be lived, of womanhood and manhood, of beauty and aesthetics, of worship and spirituality were not annihilated by the Middle Passage. But what they could do with these memories was very much constrained by the conditions in which they found themselves - the racial and class structure of enslavement�African Americans created themselves, but not just as they pleased, not under the circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given, and transmitted from the past.

They created �culture, religion, family, art forms, political institutions, and social and political theory� from knowledge of �their African history and the prevailing social and economic relationships.�

For all our efforts to survive as a people, now, engulfed in an illusion of post racial politics, our �memories of how life should be lived� are rapidly becoming so much debris�

The second U.S. Civil War went unnoticed by a majority of American citizens. This war galvanized the North and South, all three branches of the government, local, state, and federal law enforcement. It went by the name, COINTELPRO, and its mission sought to destroy the credibility of pro-democracy, anti-capitalist, pro-human rights struggle. To effectively criminalize protest and rebellion within the U.S. borders, the government sanctioned the use of wiretapping, of agent provocateurs and informants, of billy clubs and sexual assaults, of narratives with crucial omissions and narratives with incriminating evidence, of sentencing laws, and of assassins to silence national and local leaders. While the more notable Civil War claimed to free enslaved Blacks, the second Civil War brandished Black freedom fighters. The struggle for freedom and its most fierce proponents were now disposable.

The bureau operated its Counterintelligence Program, which transformed many of the extralegal methods first used ad hoc against the Communist Party into a covert doctrine�[A]n assistant to the FBI director, William C. Sullivan, called this operation �a rough, tough, dirty business�No holds were barred.� (Alfred McCoy, Policing America's Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State).

Television did not air the genocide of democracy and freedom, unlike today, when the U.S., declaring American interests at stake, launches an intervention of smart missiles and drones elsewhere such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Libya, to save democracy and freedom. Every now and then, we really see how well that mission works when photos are released of American soldiers posing with the tortured and even the dead. Always determined to move forward, American ingenuity, aided by technology, tweaked America�s unique brand of romance in which democracy and freedom featured the New Black American in a post racial era.

Blackness, like the Struggle for democracy and freedom was (and still is) an obstacle to overcome. The romanticized image of Mammy served its purpose during slavery when American anxiety over the actual rape of Black women forced Americans to acknowledge to the world (predominantly in rhetoric and in the caricature of Mammy) that they really hate violence, as Barrack Obama notes time and time again. Romance, in the U.S., Toni Morrison writes in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, is not an avoidance of anxiety but �an exploration of anxiety.� The literature of romance that makes it possible for Americans to sometimes safely and at other times riskily embrace �quite specific�fears,� including �the terror of human freedom - the thing they coveted most of all.� The actual fighters for democracy and freedom, disposable, are substituted with more malleable and more consumable images of democracy and freedom. It is not surprising that Oprah, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and Barrack Obama, interestingly all three made operational for international consumption in the 1980s during Ronald Reagan�s reign, suggest to white Americans that democracy and freedom had come at last to the nation.

These are not Horatio Alger stories.

Glorify the cultural aesthetics of the no-longer oppressor; negotiate the power of the no-longer oppressor; consolidate the forces of a COINTELPRO cabal of Wall Street bankers, Corporate CEO�s and lobbyists, and military experts - and you have a Romanized America fit for elevating the Self and pursuing the enemy. What else is COINTELPRO but the Patriot Act, says Black Commentator Columnist and Editorial Board member Larry Pinkney (Pinkney to Pinkney, March 27, 2011, You are either a Patriot or an enemy - or debris.

But the debris of democracy and freedom still remains - the non-usable, anxiety-ridden reminders - pointing to the contradictions in the American Dream, the incarceration rate for Black Americans, the gentrification policies, the educational failures, the shock and awe of war abroad and austerity measures at home. The debris that can be found within these Romanized images of �impenetrable whiteness,� to use Morrison�s term, are always present in conjunction with the �dead� and �impotent� or Blackness �under complete control� as they serve as �antidote for and meditation on the shadow that is companion to this whiteness.�

There are many Americans hoping Obama will come around - but come around to what?

The Romantic (if not literal) blending of Blackness and whiteness symbolized in Barrack Obama (with whom the world fell head over heels) permits the showdown between the U.S. and Europe over which entity, the Old World (or the Newest Empire) will garner the most influence in, of all places, Africa.

Liberators? The U.S.? The U.S. does not liberate; it incarcerates! It does so first in its imaginative representation of itself in relationship to others and the planet.

According to Prof. Michel Chossudovsky in ��Operation Libya� and the Battle for Oil: Redrawing the Map of Africa,� [a]n invasion of Libya under a humanitarian mandate would serve the same corporate interests as the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. The underlying objective is to take possession of Libya's oil reserves, destabilize the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and eventually privatize the country's oil industry, namely transfer the control and ownership of Libya's oil wealth into foreign hands (March 29, 2011, Global Researchers).

Libya is a Prize Economy,� writes Chossudovsky, as it is �the largest oil economy on the African continent.�

In a nutshell, the Supreme Court said that, under Discovery, when European, Christian nations discovered new lands, the discovering country automatically gained sovereign and property rights in the lands of non-Christian, non-European peoples, even though, obviously, the native peoples already owned, occupied, and used these lands. (Robert J. Miller, Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Manifest Destiny).

Africa, the Anglo-American oil interests know, is a risky place with European and Chinese oil production and European post-colonial influences. �The financial stakes as well as �the spoils of war� are extremely high.� Chossudovsky continues: �this military operation is intent upon establishing US hegemony in North Africa, a region historically dominated by France and to lesser extent by Italy and Spain.� In addition, �what is at stake is the redrawing of the map of Africa.� If the U.S. is successful, the �redivisioning� of Africa will not only weaken �the role of the former colonial powers (including France and Italy) in North Africa� but will also establish �a broader process of displacing and weakening France (and Belgium) over a large part of the African continent. In other words, the U.S. Empire does not want to share with its European allies anymore!

The people of Africa are of no concern to the U.S.! In conjunction with �impenetrable whiteness� are the �dead� and �impotent� or Blackness �under complete control.�

�The people of Africa,� Prof. Horace Campbell says, �want political change.� Speaking on Robert Knig ht�s Five O�Clock Shadow, (WBAI), he states that �the United States of America can�t represent a force for democracy, peace, and for decency when the same forces were the ones in bed with Quaddafi and used the finances of the Libyan society to buy military equipment from the West so that Quaddafi was actually keeping the arms industry alive.�

We are witnessing in Libya the U.S. �hijacking revolution in North Africa.� We have seen that here in the U.S., Campbell declares, when the Black struggle was hijacked. He echoes Chossudovsky�s position regarding the U.S.�s humanitarian intervention. It is about oil and the �legitimization� of Afri-Com. Established under the Bush regime, Afri-Com lays dormant until �bombs start flying in Libya,� Campbell says, then Afri-Com comes alive for the benefit of oil companies and military contractors.

The U.S. interests, Campbell states, are �exploitation, racism, and supporting dictatorships.�

�The foreign policy of any country is like its domestic policy. The domestic policy is [to] cut the urban areas where Black people live, to downgrade [the] educational system, [to establish] police brutality in Black communities, and [to put] young Blacks in prison. So if the domestic policy inside the United States of America is against Black people, how could the U.S. foreign policy be for Black people? That�s a contradiction in terms.�

But that is the United States these days, the great humanitarian - articulating the anxieties of Americans?

It is no wonder that in �just 31 days,� as that First �Black� President, the mouthpiece of America�s current romance narrative attests, American humanitarian intervention bypassed those allied-states of Syria, Bahrain, Yemen (and did not think twice about humanitarian narrative on Egypt) to land Tomahawk missiles in Libya. In the meantime, Oprah is tweeting people to view her new television channel featuring reality shows!

It is all so insane!

However cleverly crafted, the corporate capitalist�s Romantic remake of a global COINTELPRO (or Patriot Act) operation is not going over so smoothly, as people are waking up to realize that democracy and freedom have been hijacked. They have been misled into believing in the normalcy of an irrational power, based on a fantasy. They are risking their lives now for change they can believe in and for democracy and freedom not defined by corporate capitalists� fiction.

Of Dr. Manning Marable�s many contributions to maintaining the memory of democracy and freedom, Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal, a �collection of essays, manifestos, interviews, oral testimonies, and historical documents��from the earliest days of slavery to the end of the 20th century, with introductions by Dr. Marable and Leith Mullings, editors, was my introduction to the scholar and my students introduction to America�s longest running reality show.

Click here to send a message of condolence to the Marable family. Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.

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Apr 7, 2011 - Issue 421
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