Tag Archives: black power

Eyes on the Prize

Excerpt from “The Black Book”

“Untitled” (9/24/16)

Cecil told me that he’s never been more scared at a protest. I initially thought of the unpredictable violence and how it could affect one, but that wasn’t the case. He was afraid because we were “not moving”. We united and took to the streets, but who were we following? “We looked like sheep, it looked like the perfect plan.”

I wanted to act shocked at this revelation, but that thought filled my head as well. It’s just as Ayn Rand stated, “the mob has no value, because there is no man (or woman) in the mob.” That’s what we were today, a mob of people, with no goal. Yesterday, I led the mob, today, I stood apart from it. At no point was I in the mob, I do not see myself capable of blending into the crowd. I must be my own man, and stand for my own values, not just the collective.  I admit that, within my heart, I felt nothing; we did nothing.

We didn’t disrupt the system, we didn’t halt the dollar; we peacefully marched through the streets of Charlotte on designated paths. We didn’t even go where we wanted to go! Instead, we were paraded by the pigs, or led by a sheepdog like lost lambs .

Last night, at the precinct, I met a woman from Ferguson. She told us of her trials, and then made statement that started some unrest. “Now that we’re here [at the station], we don’t need to leave, until they give us what we want.” What we wanted were the tapes (of the officer involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott). Again, my heart called to me, and I agreed; but, the mob did not. They believed that more marching would bring them closer to their demands (I’m hesitant to classify them as goals, because I am not sure if they have any).

We’re never going to win if we just march. It’s an act that appeases the masses, but it does not change anything. We moved at night, where there was little inconvenience for the city, aside from minor traffic detours; we walked on Saturday, on the weekend, while the citizens stayed indoors and watched us from the comfort of their couches.

WE DIDN’T EVEN OPPOSE THE POLICE!

We didn’t get those tapes released. Just because we had numbers does not mean that we are a force. There is power in unity, but if there is nobody to direct it, then, what is the point of having power? So much wasted potential.  There has to be a more efficient way to stake our claim.

However, there is beauty in this. The protests tore down the dividing lines that the government has erected between its citizens. Out there, on the scorching streets, we realize that we are all one people, God’s children. If it wasn’t for the protest, then we wouldn’t have come together. We wouldn’t be energized and able to uplift the city from this tragedy.

The black fists instill in me a sense of hope. I believe the revolution, and combating the system, begins with black power. Everybody has black power, it is the revolutionary spirit that rages within all of those who have been victimized by the oppressor. That is the power we will use to win, but before that, we must set glorifying goals.

Will I be able to lead when my time comes? I can only pray.

 

Black Power: It’s Need and Substance

Text: Black Power by Stokley Carmichael & Charles Hamilton.

“A new group may have to fight for reorientation of many of the values of the old order.” V.O. Key, Jr.

Since society was not created for us we must ask the questions, they cannot ask, only answer.

Redefine Ourselves

  • Reclaim history + identity
    • This gives us a starting point for our place.
    • We can then create terms for our society, once we understand what it was.

The oppressor forces his world upon us, and we, the oppressed, have to accept it; in return, losing grip of our own. It begins with wordings.

Ex. English:Victory::Indian:Massacre or White:Celebration::Black:Riot

Labeling the fight is half of the battle.

WE must define our image and destroy the stereotype. If we conform to what the oppressor wants us to do, then we have failed ourselves. We must know our roots and culture, beginning in Africa.

As black Americans, we are able to sympathize with other colored races. We can serve as the bridge between others, since we all have similar backstories. Does it make immigration a black issue? Yes! Does it make unfair labor a black issue? Yes! Does it make xenophobia and religious prejudice a black issue? Yes! We have the ability to unite the other races, because we understand, to a degree, their struggles as oppressed individuals.

Political Modernization:

  1. Questioning old values and institutions.
  2. Searching for new forms of political structure.
  3. Broadening the base to include more, politically.

Why the middle class won’t work for blacks? It is only a mindset without the true values of the aristocrats. People hope to achieve a life based on the material goods they possess, and the closed communities that they inhabit. They’d rather live isolated than exposed to the truth, trading their right to “true liberation” for “safety and false comfort”.

Why we must question the middle class? Because it has become the backbone of the institutions.

Vocabulary

System: The entire American complex of basic institutions.

Structure: Specific institutions which exist to conduct the system.

“We must devise new structures, new institutions to replace these forms. ” (Carmichael, 42.)

A Cause Worth Every Life

Imagine as you awoke to the sun’s gentle light, that you were unable to access knowledge of yesterday, being irreversibly bound to the moment. History ceased to exist as the dawn broke over the horizon; all the stories of the world vanishing like the low-hanging fog, leaving you only with the “now”.

Close your eyes.

Now open them and take a good look at the world, today’s world. As you stare out the cracked window, what is the first thought that enters your head, that you are willing to fight for and defend? This is the mindset that the modern activist must adopt if they plan to act in this world. We need a cause worth every life, meaning that every life must create a cause. This stresses the importance of a universal cause that all individuals can find comfort in joining. Our movement, our revolution, our destiny begins when this is no longer an ideal; but rather a manifesto of the movement, a doctrine with details of today’s world.

The harsh reality many activists must come to accept is that we cannot call others to action, based solely on sympathy for the past. Slavery happened nearly four hundred years ago, our lives are both reminiscent and removed from this act. I am not downplaying this tragedy because it inevitably shaped our entire world and existence, but we can no longer utilize this as the driving force of our cause. The argument “reparations for slavery” did not work during the post-Civil War era and it most certainly will fail in today’s times. We must imagine the oppressor as a moral-less being, for if they possessed even an ounce of it, then something would have already been done. Their inaction is the only proof we need to end this charade. By closing this door, we increase the necessity of seeking a new cause; the one’s from yesterday will not work, why? Because they were the reasons they fought in their present, and time-as it always does-has altered the elements, including the objectives of the activist. Whatever we choose to be our cause, needs to be something we can fight for today.

There is no past or future in a revolution, only now. There is no future because it is the actions of the day that will give definition to this nonexistent reality; there is no past, there are only blueprints of successes and failures and both are valuable instructions.What we are left with is the moment, a droplet of times ever-flowing river, and within this moment we are granted a choice: to stay silent and ignorant, or to be vocal and subject ourselves to the life of an activist. Every individual born under the sun has been granted the ability to choose; it is the byproduct of the mind, the gift of God. We must avoid forcing individuals to choose or else they will mindlessly join the collective, rather than the cause. They must decide upon their own accord, and the human mind-the tool for crafting our existence-will play a major role in the fight. Then what must be our cause?

Our cause should be an ideal that all choose to follow. If a man can choose his actions, then he willing to choose his future, and his world. Our cause ends and begins with freedom. The freedom to choose will ultimately yield the freedom that we all desire, for, whether we know it or not, we are mental slaves to society. By liberating the mind we can hope to discover the foundation and expound upon this cause. The man with closed eyes cannot hope to aim, it is first our duty to grant sight to those who have been blinded, including ourselves.

The revolutionaries greatest weapon is their words, and not just any form. Words that are able to remove the barriers placed on our brain, and jailbreak the cognitive prison system. Give your being to the chaos, allow the unknown to strip us bare, and then invigorate our spirit. Only chaos can best order, and what is a system but a set of reinforced orders. The chaos I’m calling for isn’t catastrophic or violent, in fact it does not exist within the physical realm. It is the chaos of the mind, the ability to let our beings be crafted by the ebony quill pen dipped in cosmic ink; it is up to us to determine what we write.

Everything we know about our world is a set of conditions that were placed on us from the day we were snatched from the soggy womb of our mothers. We are taught to be everything they want us to be; no one is born a citizen, they are created. In this society an acceptable citizen is nothing but a drone who operates based on the wills of another, an authoritative force who utilize fear and intimidation to conduct their bidding. How is it, then, that those individuals who are willing to create their own will are written off as “outcast”, “radical”, or “lost”? Simple, because the system was not built for the free thinker, which is born out of chaos. Don’t you see, this is the first step of the revolution. A single free mind is a greater threat to an empire than a thousand drawn weapons.

We are taught that our mind is a terrible thing to waste, which means that it is a fantastic thing to use. If humanity spent more time in their thoughts, rather than succumbing to materialism and greed, we would be free. Only when the mind is free can we hope to even understand the principles of the freedom we seek. When, then, is a mind liberated? This act can be done at any given time during an individual’s brief existence, however, history proves that universal enlightenment happens when society is plagued with corruption, government sanctioned violence, tyranny, lack of proper education and healthcare, and other failing elements (see: The French Revolution, American Revolution, Nat Turner’s Revolt etc.). All of these factors are examples of order being abused, and the best way to counteract this is with the chaos within our consciousness. We cannot be afraid of the cosmos inside our skull, the constellations within our eyes, and the black holes within our breasts. When we are able to come to terms with this, then we can begin to ignite the same pursuit in others, which is where art comes into play. How else, but art, can you aid in unlocking the mind of another?

By showing others what the unlocked mind is capable of can easily inspire others to attempt jailbreaking their own, and starting the process of defining their self. Once a self has been established then they are able to wholly fight for freedom. The collective, the mass of sightless gunmen, is a danger to the free mind; for they are a unit focused on one ideal. Oftentimes this noble ideal, as Ayn Rand describes, is the greatest lie disguised as the absolute truth. We must create our own ideal, our own values, and then connect with other like-minded idealists to develop the cause worth every life.

This will be my goal as an artivist; not only will I create works, but I will craft a cause, one that is rooted in freedom.

“Fist Up”

Text: Black Power by Stokley Carmichael & Charles Hamilton

Notes

“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.

Essays

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.

The State of the World

Today is September 23rd 2016, it’s a random unimportant Friday on the calendar, but that has failed to reflect in the day. Right now, I’m in Charlotte, on the same street where Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed earlier this week. This is the state of the world, my world. I am consciously aware that I could become the next hashtag based solely on my skin complexion. An entire life-full of dreams, memories and experiences-ended due to a simple concept such as skin. We blacks (and other minorities), are steadily realizing the truth about this nation, that it is not made for us. The elected officials are not going to truly provide aid to us. Obama smiled in our faces and deported millions, initiated drone strikes and continued to sign for police to have access to military-grade equipment. Donald Trump is enticing overt racial behavior, and willingly enflaming an entire society of white nationalists. They have been waiting for a man like Trump, who has made it “acceptable” again to say and speak whatever is on your mind, including racist and sexist slurs. The police force is becoming an extermination squad, killing civilians without caution; brothers and sisters are dying so rapidly that we are unable to heal before another name enters the death note (and that’s just the reported/controversial deaths). Yet, majority of white America and politicians want us to be “peaceful”. What have they done for us to greet them with peace? They know that if we were to truly fight for our rights, that their livelihood (not lives) would be threatened. We must make the quiet white supporters know what it feels like to be oppressed, even for one day.

On another note, it seems that the video for the shooting was finally released. Interesting how the officials are unable to determine if it was “justifiable”. They always claim they need more facts, but how much more information will change the fact that a man was murdered while waiting for his child to get off the bus. It’s that damn rhetoric that all the scared higher-ups utilize; language full of ambiguity and inconclusive statements. We must change the narrative. We must have enough power, not information, to make our narrative (one full of truth) heard across the world. We are on the road to conflict with America, again. We have to channel our revolutionary spirits again and stand. Honestly, this is a terrifying reality; but all oppressed individuals, who demand change, must accept. Change does not come from speaking the words and solely relying on wishes such as “hope” and “love” (both are necessary, but that can’t be the only thing you offer). Real change requires sacrifice, action, and the risk of failure.

They are trying to silence our voices, they know that they are not ready to hear what is going to be said. We must keep protesting, because they don’t like it. We must keep kneeling because they don’t like it. We must continue to do things our way, so they begin to see that we are real.

The Subtractive Color Theory

In the “Subtractive Color” theory, it is believed that black is the sum of all colors combined. When we imagine black, do we only see this solitary shade, or do we see brown, red, yellow, tan, white? All of these are involved in the creation of the color black; if one is missing then we do not have black. In short, black is the unity of all colors.

The term “Black Power” was used heavily during the Civil Right’s Era, and continues to be a prominent phrase today. This phrase, along with the raised fist, represented the solidarity and progression of the black race. Today , I am to give this powerful term an updated definition, one that ties in the color theory. Instead of dividing ourselves amongst race (a societal construct), we must include all of the oppressed individuals when we say “Black Power”. This term is an expanded umbrella, capable of shielding all of the “revolutionary organizations” within the various ethnic groups. It can become a unified banner, worn in times where cohesive action and collaboration are necessary. It is vital that allied groups are allowed to remain autonomous, and able to grow their own power. The core of Black Power must be something that all can agree on, and wholeheartedly support, what then is the goal? Freedom.

Not only in the political sense, but freedom from the mental strain that oppression pushes on us. This is a tangible goal that can be attained before conflict is even reached, but it will take an effort to keep this alive. Individuals must, first, be educated on what is mental freedom, or liberation. What good will it do if they are not exactly sure what they are chasing? It must be understood, and simultaneously, employed into the daily lives of the activists; only then can they become a proponent of change. Then, how do we teach liberation? Who among the masses has an understanding of mental freedom? The artists of our age.

Artists have always been a driving force for revolutions. Writers, poets, painters, photographers, etc. have found a way to transcend the shackles that society placed on their brains. The duty of any teacher is to educate the student on a specific subject, in this case…freedom. I am unsure how one can teach freedom of the mind, but if it can be learned then there must be a way. The answer may potentially lie within the product of the liberated mind, art. If art can make one feel, and think, then it is the best tool we have for teaching one to be.

After educating individuals on these values it is necessary to then find ways to implement them in a positive and progressive manner. Once the values are more than just words on a document, then we can officially organize. The organization should be filled with leaders at every level; individuals who wish to hold a position must represent the organization (professionally and personally).  Those who are morally corruption do not deserve a position for they will bring down the morale, this does not mean the organization is capable of making morally questionable actions. Acts such as these will be necessary one day, and leaders must be willing to shoulder the responsibility. Not only must leaders be sound, but general members should be as well. Each must have a true desire to be there, they must be willing to give every effort they have to fight for their cause. If they are unsure, then work with them to develop their assurance, but do not cast them as an ally until then. When organizations are finally developed, there will be no room for fickle individuals who will abandon the cause when it comes into conflict with self-interest.

Upon organization, the next ideal step would be to strategize and create tangible coals (short and long term) to combat whatever forces may arise. Some will focus on education, the economy, housing, intraracial and interracial violence, politics, armed defense, and healthcare. The two branches that all organizations should put their initial efforts into is protection and literature, pens and swords are the tools men use to fight each other. If we are able to cover both fronts then we stand a chance.

Once the foundation of an organization is established, and goals are defined, it must dedicate every effort to always represents its individuals. A checking system must exist. In that area I have little experience so my opinions will be greatly limited and implied. After this has been properly implemented, then it is time for organizations to recruit members. Doors must always be open for any activist to enter, but it will take understanding of the values for them to be granted membership. If this cannot be done, then we must question their motives. We are not creating a faction that is for the weak or confused, this is going to be a shield for those who desire protection, a tongue for those who are unafraid to speak, and a home for those who are lost. When one enters the fight, they must be prepared to apply it to their life with every breath. By focusing on our goals and setting new ones, we aim to create a lasting force that will continue to propel itself through generations; in order to do so, we must recruit from all ages and walks of life. Invitations should be extended to elders and children, it is vital that we always keep our eyes on the youth for they will one day become our greatest ally or toughest opponent. Allow them the opportunity to voice their qualms without resistance, and extract lessons from the tales of seasoned veterans.

In closing, I ask the reader, what more should an organization that has not yet formed desire? The only option left is to continue to develop this idea so that it does not die on paper. Make this your cause as an activist, and do not give it up.