Apr 04, 2013 - Issue 511

 BlackCommentator.com: Embrace the Everyday People's Stories & Reject the Top-Down Narrative of History - Keeping It Real By Larry Pinkney, BC Editorial Board     

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“The colonists usually say that it was they who brought us into history: today we show that this is not so. They made us leave history, our history, to follow them, right at the back, to follow the progress of their history.”    
                                                                                                                                                                     - Amilcar Cabral

“Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”   
- Frantz Fanon

In this year of 2013, it remains abundantly clear that the stories [i.e. the narrative] pertaining to the victories and intense past and present struggles of everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people continue to be distorted, disfigured, and/or outright omitted by the national and global power elite – who are intent upon ramming their historical and contemporary narrative down out throats.

It is not only the corporate-stream media that engages in this disfiguring of the everyday people's history at the behest of the power elite; but it is also the vast majority of systemically adorned writers, academicians, and so-called scholars who act as the de facto thought-police on behalf of the corporate/military U.S. and global power elite. Under the guise of supposed objectivity and scholarship these systemic gatekeepers gloss over or omit entirely the narrative of everyday ordinary people. Moreover, even in the relatively rare instances that the important achievements of grassroots/radical organizations are mentioned, it is the leaders of such organizations that are highlighted rather than the  the hard work and sacrifices of and by the rank and file membership of such organizations. This represents yet another form of a top-down narrative of history which subtlety reinforces to everyday people both elitism and the fallacious notion that if it were not for the highlighted leaders they/we are (or would be) essentially powerless and/or inconsequential. Such a narrative is of course the exact opposite of reality and demonstrates that many writers, academicians, and alleged scholars replace genuine scholarship with elitism and systemic pretentiousness.  

Two notable and refreshing exceptions to the above-described narrative can be found in the excellent and unpretentious books, A People's History Of The United States, by Howard Zinn, and Body And Soul -The Black Panther Party And The Fight Against Medical Discrimination, by Alondra Nelson. These, and far too few similar such works, represent a people's narrative and emphasize and highlight the achievements of everyday ordinary people in the historical and ongoing political struggle for justice and real systemic change.

In the words of the late people's revolutionary Amilcar Cabral, we must not “leave history, our history.” And we must certainly never leave our historical narrative to the interpretation of the systemic gatekeepers of the power elite. We must collectively tell our own stories in the plain, simple, and powerful language of the everyday ordinary people of whom we are a part.

Our everyday people's history is of little practical value if it is not known and applied to today's 21st century people's struggles nationally and throughout our precious Mother Earth. There is a war on against ordinary people by the national and global power elite. This war is a political, economic, military, and most definitely psychological one against we the people. It is a war designed to crush our fighting spirit and our very collective humanity. It is a war whose “rot” must be, in the words of Frantz Fanon, “detect[ed] and remove[d] from...our minds as well.”

We must reject the colonization of our minds. Rather, we must embrace our own stories – our own collective narratives – and utterly dismiss the “rot” of stifling, debilitating, and inaccurate top-down narratives of and by the power elite and their many systemic minions.

Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Onward then, my sisters and brothers. Onward...!

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member and Columnist, 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 view Larry’s interview of October 26, 2012. Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.