Text: Black Power by Stokley Carmichael & Charles Hamilton
“Political relations are based on self interest”
- We cannot expect political parties to believe in something such as “good for the people,” “morally correct” or even “justice”. These qualities may hinder the party, and they are not in a position to want to lose any additional power.
“Conflict of interest, not conscious.”
- Morals do not determine political motivation, in fact, many will use the concept of morality to enact certain policies. If morality was truly a major factor, then we would have no business protesting the system. The morality of politicans and their parties is selective, choosing to express it when it has been deemed “profitable.” We as activists cannot depend on the moral compass of these individuals to sway their decisions.
“They simply do not want their peace disrupted and their businesses hurt.”
- A true political does not care for the well being of the people, he only cares for the power amassed from them. We cannot expect the oppressor to feel guilty for the transgressions or suffering of others; they do not operate on the same moral code as us.
“There is little time to reflect on creeds.”
- We allow the materialism of society to blind ourselves from the truth. The constant production of luxury goods and labor prevent the everyday American from understanding and examining, in detail, the doctrines that gave birth to our society. Without an understanding of the creed, how can an individual know what is written in it, and when they have broken that law?
“Building of an independent force is necessary.”
- With our own power, we may one day seek the change we do, but change is impossible without obtaining power. Our “concepts of advancement” have been mostly political strategies used by the oppressed to blindinly win our favor; we think we’ve made major transformations, but we have only done what they allowed us to do. I think back to the march on Bank of America Stadium, and how we did not go anywhere we “weren’t supposed to go.” Why not? Because master (read: police chief) said not to.
“Limited coalitions may be harmful”
- Why? By focusing solely on smaller issues, one group may believe they can tackle larger ones without realizing that they will be in direct conflict with their self interests, eventually causing allies to turn on one another.
A few thoughts on allies, what must be done to make a truly lasting alliance? The bond must go deeper than merely benefitting one another, an ally not only operates on a similar system of values, but a system of power and objectives as well. There is no such thing as “good will” because nine out of ten times, the person who utters this phrase will turn their back if a “conflict of interest” arises. For us, it is the issue of the individual’s values versus the community’s value; we are quick to aid our brothers and sisters so long as our family and loved ones are unaffected by our decisions. If potential harm to these parties presents itself, then most individuals will choose them over the alliance. I cannot fault a person who would choose this option, but it will be difficult to classify them as an ally. I seek those who will put the alliance over their own goals, because if the alliance wins then we all do.
The American Creed , does not apply to the oppressed. We must acknowledge this with haste, for the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were not drafted by black hands. We had no input in it’s creation, so how can we expect any positive output from these doctrines?
Now to form a coalition one must first have clearly defined objectives, not only for the party, but the ally as well. We cannot assume that “what is good for one, is automatically-without question-good for the other.” I think back to the phrase “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” this is an incorrect assumption. Although both may have a common goal, the enemy, one party may simply want them destroyed whereas the other seeks to conquer the land. Upon completion of their common goal (slaying the enemy), what is stopping the temporary allies from turning on each other, especially if their self-interests come into conflict?
The acquisition of true power is the second factor to consider, without power their is no progress. The role of victimization is an outdated tool to recruit. They demand power without truly holding any so what happens then? As stated before we cannot expect others to hear us out, in relation to morality, they simply do not care. Instead, we must use what little power contained within us and begin disrupting their peace and pockets. Once enough power has been amassed, and tested, we can then join with other organizations that have similar power levels. I’m curious about this phrase “the concept of the civil rights movement as a liaison between the powerful white community and the dependent black community.” I’ve always revered the CRM as a major force of dramatic change, but as I’ve studied more, I’ve discovered the shortcomings. What if, in fact, they paved the way for the oppressed and oppressive to meet? I think back to Fanon’s idea of the interpreter, the individual who was a focal point in listening to the native people and sharing conversations with the colonizers. A liaison is a necessary unit, but if we are powerless then what is the point? Any discussions will be laughable.
Our problem lies in not creating our own. Most of what we do is created for us, but then taken by those at the top. We have no organized institutions or systems, because we were never granted the opportunity to create them when slaves were first released. Now, we could very well craft our own economy, agriculture, and education, yet the white system controls a great deal of commerce, which makes this task seem virtually impossible…but it is not! We just believe that because we are, collectively, afraid to face the impossible. After examining today’s reading (pgs 75-80), I am beginning to understand that we must seek independence, definite organization, tangible power, and then alliances.