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SRDC Practicing MA’AT

SRDC Practicing MA’AT

SRDC Practicing MA’AT in Organizing the African Diaspora

By David L. Horne, Ph.D.

Ma’at has been defined several ways, including, among other perceptions, as the unifying principle of ancient Kemetian religion and spirituality, symbol of truth and order, the antithesis of chaos and anarchy, the foundation of ethical civilization, and the personification of logos, universal harmony and balance (through the feather goddess, Ma’at).

In its primary existence, Ma’at is a system of conduct and life engagement based on balance, order, truth, justice, morality, wisdom and ethical behavior. For adherents to Ma’at, it requires responsible, non-exploitative choices in all human engagement, i.e., conducting one’s life and affairs in as decent a manner as possible. For adherents to Ma’at, except in defense of one’s life, liberty or family, one is obligated to do no harm and take no advantage.

In doing its work, the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC), which is a 21st century NGO which focuses on a grass roots approach towards unifying African descendants to join the African Union and to take their rightful place in the great struggle to achieve the Union of African States/United States of Africa, must conduct itself based on a set of ethical African principles. That is the foundation on which SRDC stands.  Such conduct is part and parcel of SRDC’s legitimacy and its credibility. Immoral conduct or engagement lacking integrity dishonors and disrespects the millions of warriors, activists and workers who have brought us this far. To maintain the tradition of positive, progressive work and to achieve more than a pyrrhic victory in this relentless struggle, SRDC members must have a system of conduct they adhere to that keeps them above reproach.

Based on a modern interpretation of The 42 Principles of Ma’at and other edifications of what Ma’at means, thefollowing constitutes Ma’at for SRDC and Other Pan African Organizations:

1.   From Amilcar Cabral, “Tell no lies, claim no easy victories.”

2. Practice mutual respect with each other in and out of organizational settings until such practice is perfected and becomes natural.

3. Acknowledge and constantly remind each other that one’s participation in the struggle to redeem and unify Africa cannot be based on gender, ethnicity, religion or age.

4.   In all engagements, meetings, projects and interactions, try to do no harm physically and psychically, and always find a way to move forward.

5.   Always resist being arrogant and ill-mannered. Be patient with the diversity of participants, some of whom will lack experience, and others who will always seek the limelight. Remember that the struggle is much too big for anyone or any organization to complete the journey alone.

6.   Find what you can do best in the struggle forward and do that well, rather than wasting precious energy undermining and obstructing what others are doing. Strongly resist being disrespectful to others in the struggle, but defend well against being disrespected, particularly without just cause.

7.   Learn to accept both accolades and constructive criticism in equal measure. Be honest and truthful to your colleagues.

8.   Always measure/evaluate one’s own worth by the quality and quantity of the Pan African work one has done and is doing; and if one must judge others, use that same standard.

9. Do not lie on, scandalize, make up or spread false rumors of, colleagues and fellow Pan Africanists. Demand compelling evidence of alleged wrong-doing or skullduggery, and if none is presented, disregard any charge as malicious gossip not to be tolerated.

10. In all things Pan African, conduct oneself with character, courtesy and common sense.

 

 

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The Case of Africville

The Case of Africville

Refusing reparations—The case of Africville, Nova Scotia

By David L. Horne, Ph.D.
Our Weekly Contributing Columnist
Originally published in OUR WEEKLY, Aug 04, 2011
Practical Politics
 
Africville, Nova Scotia, Canada, the original Eastern Atlantic settlement of the country, has been internationally famous since the Denise Allen speech at the Non-Governmental Organization portion of the World Conference Against Racism, Intolerance, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Discrimination in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. There, she introduced a large audience to the narrative of the broken promises and violent removal of people from land given to them by the British government back in 1781-82. As a consequence of that speech and subsequent meetings, the United Nations High Commission of Human Rights sent in an investigator to find out what really happened.
That investigator eventually recommended, in 2004, that because of its documented ill-treatment of the residents, expropriation of their land and community firebombing of Africville, Canada should pay reparations to those residents and their immediate descendants.
That’s when things got really messy.
Africville was an approximately 100-acre tract of prime land in the north end of the city of Halifax. The area had been occupied since the Black Loyalists had been transported by the British navy to the site, as a reward for their help in fighting against the American patriots in the War of independence, 1777-1783. These were some of the skilled Blacks who were not allowed to carry guns and join Washington’s Continental Army, and who were promised land in Canada and freedom from slavery as a reward for fighting for the British Redcoats. This population multiplied during and after the War of 1812, when the Black Refugees, some of whom had fought as British regulars again against Americans, and who were promised freedom from slavery, were transported to the site.
 In 1848, William Brown and William Arnold, two Black men, registered the first documented property deeds for Black residents in Africville, and are regarded as the two founding members of what became the modern Africville community. Together, they bought 16, 5-acre lots for settlement.
 From that 19th century watershed, Africville, whose name came from a French explorer who found Blacks living in an Atlantic seaboard area of Canada sometime in the 16th or 17th century (calling it Afriq Ville), the community grew into a self-reliant, independent group of approximately 80 families and 400 residents. It was prevented from expanding into a larger population by the relentless denial of city services like running water, indoor plumbing, building permits, garbage collection, police and fire services, etc. The city of Halifax, of which Africville was a part, consistently behaved as if it intended Africville to be rendered into a shantytown slum. So, out of necessity, the Africville residents built their own church, a school, post office, a general store, and light industry and crafts. The city of Halifax kept demanding taxes from Africville residents, and those taxes kept getting paid, but virtually no city services were ever provided.
 In 1964, after a series of preliminary actions to try to scare the residents off, including establishing two toxic waste dumps within 100 or so yards of occupied homes, the City Development Agency summarily ordered a bulldozing and burning of Africville homes and facilities, and a complete removal of Africville citizens. Those who could produce a legal property deed were slightly compensated, and those who could not were given $500 dollars. They were all placed in public housing projects designated by the city. Every year since 1986, there has been a ‘Never Forget Africville’ festival during late July in the Seaview Memorial Park (erected in a 5-acre remnant of Africville) to commemorate that tragedy, and the area was designated a Canadian historic site in 2002.
 So would have rested the issue—another dose of the consistent Black man’s burden of White racism and disrespect—had not some irate residents taken to the media. The Allen speech, radio interviews, U.N. requests and the like got the investigation done by the agency’s traveling rapporteur, Diene Diene, and his reparations recommendation. His report was devastatingly explicit regarding Canada’s culpability.
 Enter Mr. Irvine Carvery, the long-time head of the Africville Genealogical Society (AGS), and an advocate for reparations for the displaced former residents. He was the chief negotiator for Africville, and, reportedly, when a straightforward offer of direct monetary compensation for surviving Africville citizens and their immediate descendants was made in February 2010, by the city of Halifax, his answer, according to some of those present, was ‘we don’t need money, we need monuments.’
 Subsequently, a $3 million dollar offer to build a replica of the Africville United Baptist Church that the city had razed, and an all-purpose community center, both in Seaview Memorial Park, was settled on and signed by Mr. Carvery in the name of Africville survivors. The church replica is currently being built, however a quiet controversy and grumbling from many of the former residents persists, and at least two lawsuits by Africville citizens against the agreement are pending. Essentially, there is a challenge to the legality of the AGS speaking for all of Africville, and the absence of any community meetings agreeing to the settlement.
 During my visit to the area, the undertone of half celebration, half anger was palpable, and a number of otherwise very, very friendly folk made sure I heard “the real story” of Africville, and how they had been ripped off by their own.
It seems across the globe, justice and fairness, although still very worthy goals, remain amorphous, messy and exasperating to achieve. Good luck, Africville. You deserve the best.
 ***NOTE: After this article was published, an Africville advocate sent word that Mr. Carvery chose to request the monuments rather than the money because the money issue (individual compensation) had been withdrawn by the Halifax municipality from the negotiations, and Mr. Carvery concluded that the only reasonable option left was to get the best deal possible that was still available. That was the church replica and a multipurpose center as tokens of remembrance for Africville.
 Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). He is also the International Facilitator for SRDC (the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus), and the International Organizer for the partent body UNIA-ACL.

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PerAnkh Radio w/Dr. ChinziRA & Dr. Horne

PerAnkh Radio w/Dr. ChinziRA & Dr. Horne

International Organizer Dr. David Horne is interviewed by Dr. ChinziRA of PerAnkh, St. Croix, St. Thomas on PerAnkhLIVE.  June 19, 2011

The following text is courtesy of PerAnkh.

Dr. ChenziRA

PerAnkhLIVE! SaAnkhtified Sundays highlights our ancient mission in contemporary times of “REHK DJESEK TEPI NEFER” a MdwNtr term meaning “Know Yourself for the Greatest/Highest Good.”

Our invited guest is international educator, strategic planner, activist, lifetime NCOBRA member and global African Reparations expert- Dr. David Horne of PADU and a host of global organizations working for Afrakan Unity and Ascension.  Our topic for this broadcast is: “The PanAfrican Diaspora Union-PADU & Our Proactive Role in African Diaspora Affairs”. Includes Tributes to Baabas, Atef, Fathers & Real Men!

Our host is NswtMwtAst Dr. ChenziRa D. Kahina an NTR therapist & ankhcollaborative co-founding director of Per Ankh. Visit www.perankhu.org & www.facebook.com/perankh for a glimpse of our work!

Per Ankh collaborations, interventions, initiatives and institution-building actions with international bodies focused

Dr. David Horne

on sustainable economic development, liberation, unity and social change for A NU Humanity will be shared!  You are welcomed & invited to call in @ 1-917-932-8605, NTR our chatroom, share your wise teachings & be a part of maatikal solutions in Our Ancestral & Contemporary mission of Culture, Healing, Arts, Technology & Spirituality for Life, Inspiration, Freedom & Education=CHATS4LIFE! May we RAstore and RAclaim MA’AT in our lives for eternity.  Shm M Htp

Listen to internet radio with PerAnkhLive on Blog Talk Radio

____________________________________________________________

SRDC International Organizer Dr. David Horne is interviewed by Dr. ChinziRA of Per Ankh, St. Croix, St. Thomas on RAW on PerAnkhLIVE. May, 2011

Topics Discussed: “Malcolm X, Modern PanAfricanism, African Liberation Day/African Freedom Day/All Africa Day, SRDC, PADU, organizing, Malcolm X & more”

The following text is courtesy of PerAnkh.

RAW! Tuesdays @10pmEST/AST Call & Listen. Ascend. Live. Share. Liberate. Unite. Heal.

Our featured guest is David L. Horne, Ph.D., is a tenured full professor of Critical Thinking and African History, and the former chair of the Pan African Studies Department at California State University, Northridge. He earned a Ph. D. in history and political economy from UCLA, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from CSU, San Bernandino and a Master’s degree in South African History from the University of Florida. In 2005, he was selected as one of the 25 top Black movers and shakers in Southern California in the LA Wave. He is the author of Straight To the Point: An Introduction to Critical Thinking, and Meeting Maat: The Handbook of African Consensus Meetings and Gatherings and numerous scholarly and community-based articles. He is the founder and Chair of the Reparations United Front, a lifetime member of N’COBRA & more. The progeny of the Pan African Roundtable are the SRDC (Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus), and recently, PADU (Pan African Diaspora Union). He is currently writing a book, Organizing the African Diaspora, and serves as the International Organizer for the UNIA-ACL.

NswtMwtAst Dr.ChenziRa hosts PerAnkhLIVE! & serves as a NTR Therapist, Educator & an ankhcollaborative co-founding director of Per Ankh Khamniversity. Visit www.perankhu.org or Email perankh@gmail.com !

Listen to internet radio with PerAnkhLive on Blog Talk Radio

RAW! on PerAnkhLIVE offers holistic, creative and innovative initiatives & RAevolutionary mission-visions of Culture, Healing, Arts, Technology and Spirituality for Life, Inspiration, Freedom & Education (CHATS4LIFE) for A NU Humanity! May we restore MA’AT in our lives for eternity! Shm HTP!

Listen to internet radio with PerAnkhLive on Blog Talk Radio

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The Politics of May–Redux

The Politics of May–Redux

The Politics of May–Redux

by David L. Horne, Ph.D

Interestingly, a controversy and confusion stills reigns within the Black community (and within other progressive circles) over the annual celebration of African Liberation Day and its connection to more than the anti-apartheid struggle and other forms of militant protest. I wrote an article during May, 2010, that is repeated below in a slightly up-dated version, to clarify the situation. Since that confusion still exists among too many of us, the article bears re-publishing.

Just to be clear, African Liberation Day—May 25th–is the exact same holiday as All Africa Day, the only current continent-wide (and even world-wide) holiday for all African people. Like January’s MLK Day, it is still growing in status, acceptance and influence.

In fact, each month in the Western calendar has several dates of importance to offer as proof of the month’s significance. Of course January has the first of the year and Dr. King’s birthday celebration (as mentioned above) about which to stand tall. February not only has Valentine’s Day, it has two popular Presidents’ Days and the birthday of Frederick Douglass, not to mention Black History Month. The roll call of important calendar days in each month would find not one four-week period lacking in distinction.

The big dog in political months, however, hands down is May. That month starts off on the first day with MAY DAY, the seminal celebration of  Springtime rites and socialist activism. It ends on May 31st, Memorial Day (originally, Decoration Day), the preeminent celebration of loyalty and courage in America’s Civil War. In between, there is Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day (whoever doesn’t think Mother’s Day is political has been under a rock for a while), African Liberation Day and All Africa Day, just to name a few. In fact, May hosts over 25 distinctive political observances, including the annual Malcolm X birthday gala and festival (there’s also another Malcolm X festival held annually in April), held in most major urban areas in America.

The Kentucky Derby’s ‘run for the roses’ occurs during the first weekend in May, with its largely unknown history of Black jockeys like Jimmy Winkfield and Isaac Murphy, who dominated the Derby for its first 30 years, only to be replaced by Irish and Anglo riders as the Derby became more commercial and popular.  Holocaust Remembrance Day is in May, along with the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, the Public Service Recognition Week, the National Teacher’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Month, National Historic Preservation Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and American Armed Forces Day.

May is the birthday month of such luminaries as Socrates and Karl Marx, Willie Mays and Biggie Smalls, Ho Chi Minh and John F. Kennedy, the Ayatollah Khomeini and James Brown, John Wayne and Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis and Patti Labelle, plus Bob Dylan and Jim Jones, to name just a few.

In 1963, the newly formed Organization of African Unity established May 25th as African Freedom Day, to celebrate the recent independence of 32 former colonies. In the early 1970’s, that formal name was changed by community activists to African Liberation Day, and is now celebrated globally under that sobriquet. All Africa Day (aka, Africa Day) also on May 25th, is the African Union’s new official holiday (the AU is the organization that replaced the OAU in 2001) to help to convince the African continent to become one federated country–the United States of Africa or Union of African States. The old official name—African Freedom Day—has just evolved to the new formal name, All Africa Day, as designated by Africa’s singular official body. ALD is not only the same holiday, it is just the informal, unofficial nickname of All Africa Day.

MAY Day, originally celebrated by the Romans, Greeks and Celts (under various other names) is a huge party and love potion to the new Springtime blossoms, warm weather and freedom. However, socialists everywhere, and other labor activists speaking many different languages, annually thrust their fists in the air, sing militant songs of struggle and triumph, and march through streets, villages, shopping centers and universities in honor of working people everywhere. MAY Day is their Labor Day holiday.  It is not the only Janus-faced celebration in May.

The Malcolm X birthday holiday, for example, at once a reason to ‘speak truth to the people’ in fiery speeches, barbeques and people-friendly celebrations by Black Student Unions around the country, and urban volunteers, used to be the start of the Garveyite Black nationalist celebrations that continued right through college university graduations, complete with kente cloth collars and red-black-and green arm bands. The Malcolm X May Festival in Los Angeles, handled for a very long and successful time by Torre Brannon and Shaka Satori , has now been turned   over to the next generation of youth leadership, headed by Mr. Jimmy Lumoomba Lewis. This year’s event will be held at the Marcus Garvey School, 6th Avenue and Slauson.

So, the next time May rolls around, remember the political legacy of this turgid month as you watch a little roundball (this year, without the Lakers) and taste a few mint juleps. You can bet the political campaigners getting ready for the tough 2012 election season know what month it is. This is cutoff and decision-making time—to be a viable candidate or not (So long, Mr. Trump).

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Libya: One Race Man’s Perspective

Libya: One Race Man’s Perspective

Libya: One Race Man’s Perspective

The Politics of Saying Yes When You Should Say No

Mar 24, 2011

David L. Horne, Ph.D.  |   Our World Contributing Columnist

Practical Politics

I was, am and will continue to be a great supporter of President Barack Obama. That support comes from his stature as the first African American president and what that means to African descendants, and other people of color, all over the world.

It also comes from his style, grace, eloquence and record of accomplishment during 2008-2011. He has definitely made some major steps forward for both the United States of America in general and the Black American population in particular (please see Our Weekly, January 2011). He has promoted, advocated and signed significant legislation that will continue to benefit this country for years into the future.

But on the issue of the invasion of Libya, I have to stand and say, with all due respect, Mr. President, you are wrong. Not only did you make a very bad decision in this case, but to this point, it is the worse of your presidency. You were very ill-served by your principal advisors on this one, and this may be your Waterloo.

On what do I base this strong position? First, there is very little that the U.S. can gain by its involvement in this military exercise. Not only do we expend more money on another armed adventure, when money spent by this government is clearly a loud public issue, but we gain neither oil nor political leverage (a little more than 2 percent of America’s oil comes from Libya) from the involvement.
In fact, we lose many more friends in the region, and you will be compared with Bush’s recklessness and military gun-slinging.

Our president, as the Nobel Peace Prize winner, should now be expecting any day now a call from the Nobel Committee (remember Reggie Bush?) to return its award, and the insulting-our-intelligence reasons given for the invasion sound exactly like the lame prevarications used by others in getting America to invade Iraq.

From “We must take out his (Saddam’s) weapons of mass destruction” to “We must protect civilians from harm by Gaddafi’s forces,” is but one short step sideways.
To save civilians, the U.S.-led invasion must kill a few hundred more civilians, right? And that’s already started. This American involvement has nothing to do with saving civilians, and for a president to lie to both his supporters and enemies is not a good sign.

Many, if not most, of those civilians are armed. Even the television pictures of them have shown pistols, RPGs and AK-47s that they wave to the cameras. If we remember correctly, they brought down a Libyan jet fighter by themselves before the U.N. and NATO forces arrived, and one can’t do that with bows and arrows or rocks.
This is not about Libya’s high literacy rate, its free public education, its cosmopolitan-looking cities, its low infant-mortality rate, its high life expectancy (77.8 years), its allowance of Muslim women to be educated and have full-time employment, or its high standard of living (one of the top three on the continent) brought on during Gaddafi’s tenure. That’s actually irrelevant, as is the fact that the uprising in Libya was not over lack of food, housing, fuel or free healthcare. Libyans had all that. Compared to every other Muslim country in Africa and the Middle East, Libyans are not poor.  American citizens are not in danger in Libya (unless you count reporters who put themselves in harm’s way to get a story). We can easily substitute another supplier for the amount of oil we get from Libya, and the price will not differ enough to matter. Libya is a member of OPEC, the body that controls from 67 to 75 percent of the world’s known oil reserves, and there are plenty in that group ready to sign up America as a customer.

American involvement in Libya will not and cannot bring peace in that region, even if, heaven forbid, ground troops are committed, and we will have helped destroy the stability already there that’s necessary for regular trade and commerce. There is nothing good that will come from this. Libya is really not our business.

Just as former President Bush and his homies did, Mr. President, you listened far too sympathetically to an anti-government lobbying group that lives and operates outside of its own country, in this case the NFSL (National Front for the Salvation of Libya) anti-Gaddafi-ists who live and work in Virginia.

During the Bush administration, it was the mysterious Curveball informant in Germany who basically lied to U.S. forces and got them pumped up for an attack on Iraq. The NFSL is no better. This group has gained your ear and filled it full of horrors about Gaddafi’s tanks and planes smashing innocent civilians. Rebels are not innocent, Mr. President, and armed rebels are no longer merely civilians.

The fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood is in the city of Benghazi, as are the Wahhabis and Bini Walids, who all oppose Gaddafi’s interpretation of the Sharia and the Koran. There is a major quarrel going on there between Sunnis and Shiites, and Qadhafas (Gaddafi’s tribe) and the Zawiyas. Some soldiers and members of government in these tribes have quit Gaddafi and joined the rebels, and the soldiers have generally kept their guns and uniforms.

Some of these are people who founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group based in Benghazi, which allies itself with al-Qaeda and who have, over the years, been responsible for the assassination of leading members of the Libyan revolutionary committees, the attempted assassination of Mr. Gaddafi in 1996, several massacres of dark Africans, and other activities.

This is not violence vs. non-violence. Britain and the U.S. have even recognized some of these East Libyan residents as terrorists and have frozen their assets and put them on watch lists. There is too much going on in Libya for us to be able to sort out friend from foe this quickly. At best, we can only shoot in the dark trying to tell the good guys from the ogres. That is way too much uncertainty for bombs to be dropped.

The city of Benghazi also gives the rebels control of major oil-producing equipment, with no promise that change will benefit the U.S. So why are we indiscreetly supporting regime change in a sovereign country? Libya’s leader may indeed be polarizing and an irritating fellow, but is removing him worth the short- and long-term costs?
The no-fly zone is already a license to kill Gaddafi, so why are we involved in that? This is really too baffling and fallacious for a president who thrives on valid logical argumentation, and it looks at two or three levels, like we have gotten hoodwinked again into doing someone else’s dirty work.

Already the Arab League is repudiating any involvement and refuses to supply any weapons or troops. The league will certainly not lead any anti-Gaddafi brigade but will quickly devolve into recriminations against the U.S. and the West for attacking and bombing Libya. This is a no-win situation for America.

And here’s the greatest rub. In Afghanistan and Iraq, America has lost a great deal of blood and guts on the fields of battle. The primary aim, at least under the current administration, has been to beat back, destroy or fundamentally disrupt al-Qaeda. Mr. Gaddafi is a known anti-al-Qaeda head of state, and he has frequently rooted them out and expelled, jailed or killed them. Mr. President, your sending American troops to help the Libyan rebels may very well be nurturing and supporting the growth of al-Qaeda in Libya.

Mr. President, this is an internal Libyan Arab fight over tribal authority, factional religious domination and control of the resources from oil production. This is also a fight for preserving Italian, French and British oil interests in Libya. Already by March 2, Gaddafi had promised to expel Western oil interests and replace them with Chinese and India oil producers. That did not mean America’s interests. It meant Eni Oil (Italy’s biggest oil company), Total Sa (French), and Repsol (Spain), as well as Royal Dutch Shell and BP (British).

Walk away, Mr. President. You said we’d be there a few days only. Mean it. That is your, and our, only hope now. Don’t play the blackjack sucker 17 cards. The dealer usually wins those and takes your money and your dignity.
Walk away.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). It is the step-parent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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Decade of the African Diaspora

Decade of the African Diaspora

THE DECADE OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA: JANUARY 1, 2010—DECEMBER 31, 2020
By David L. Horne, Ph.D

This is either year two or year number one of the Decade of the African Diaspora (DOAD), depending on how you are counting. For yours truly, and the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC) organization, who jointly declared it, it is year one.

Last year, 2010, was the period of announcement and dissemination of information regarding the DOAD. Work not already begun, begins now. 2011 is also the United Nation’s declared Year of the African Descendants. This means the encouragement of action worldwide for, by and in cooperation with the African Diaspora. This year is to highlight the positive accomplishments and benefits of being an African descendant, and to expose the remaining bigotries, microracisms, xenophobia, and outright violence being perpetuated against the forward advancement of the African Diaspora. The African Diaspora must be organized, and there is a growing movement afoot—international, national and local— to do just that. What organization are you a part of, and what is that organization doing to move the African Diaspora into a higher level future? If you are not a part of a collective, organized approach, why not?

For those who need reminding regarding the Decade of the African Diaspora, please continue reading. Dr. Martin Luther King was a Diasporan. This was reflected in his statements at Ghana’s first independence celebration in 1957 as he shook Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah’s hand and joined him in envisioning a brighter future for Africans and African descendants in the world.  Malcolm X was a Diasporan. Not only did he advocate African American involvement in the Organization of African Unity, he created a group partially modeled after it, the Organization of African American Unity.  Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Negro History Week, which has now evolved to Black History Month, was a Diasporan . Many times in his teachings and in the Journal of Negro History, which he started, he discussed the Black American’s ties to those in the Caribbean, in Central and South America, in Europe, and in Asia.

In fact, there are well over 250 million Diasporans living in various parts of the world. What exactly qualifies one to be a member of the Diaspora? According to the African Union, one has to be an African descendant living outside of the continent, regardless of one’s citizenship, and one has to be committed to  African unification, that is, to helping to achieve a United States of Africa. The definition does not emphasize race and ethnicity as we have always done. That is, it does not say  you must be Black, first and foremost, to be a member of the Diaspora, nor does it say that simply because you are Black you are a Diasporan.  So, it is African descendants who are committed to African unification. Hmmm. That means within that 250 million plus population of African descendants, then, there must still be massive education to remind them of who they are and where the motherland is. Diasporans must educate each other. This article repeats an announcement made earlier in OUR WEEKLY NEWSPAPER (www.ourweekly.com) to remind us of our common, collective task. We are currently in the DECADE of the AFRICAN DIASPORA, from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2020. It is our time to stand up and shine. Our time to collect what’s due. Our time to show what we are made of and what we can contribute in a major way. During this heightened period of focused activity and accomplishment regarding the Diaspora’s work to help accomplish African unification—the United States of Africa, or Union of African States—the Diaspora will help to restore, regain and re-establish Africa’s dignity in the world, Africa’s earned respect in the world, Africa’s leverage and power in the world, and thereby help take continental Africans and African descendants to higher ground wherever they reside. During this fertile period, the Diasporan giant will  indeed awaken and move us all forward. Whether any of us decide to migrate to a unified Africa or not, the status and life chances of Black folk wherever they live on the planet will be increased, enhanced and more valued once there is a strong, credible and sustained African presence in the world. To understand the connection, simply look at the history of other peoples—Japanese Americans and Japan, Jews and Israel, Chinese and China.

HERE ARE SOME SELECTED EXAMPLES OF EXPECTED PROJECTS FROM DIASPORANS:

1. PAN AFRICAN PARENTS WILL TEACH THEIR CHILDREN TO HONOR AND RESPECT THEIR PARENTS, THEIR AFRICAN ANCESTORS AND ELDERS, AND THEMSELVES. THE CHILDREN WILL BE MADE TO UNDERSTAND THAT IGNORANCE OF THEMSELVES, THEIR HISTORY AND THEIR WORTH IN THIS WORLD IS THEIR ENEMY, NOT THEIR ALLY.

2. THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL REPARATIONS MOVEMENT WILL BE EITHER  VICTORIOUS OR ABANDONED BASED ON WHETHER THERE IS THE PRODUCTION AND AGREEMENT ON A VIABLE PLAN TO WIN, CONCOMITANT STRATEGIES AND TACTICS WHICH FLOW FROM THAT PLAN, AND RELENTLESS IMPLEMENTATION WITH A PURPOSE.  EXPERIENCE HAS ALREADY TAUGHT THAT WITHOUT A COGENT PLAN, VICTORY IS AND WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE.

3. PAN AFRICAN REPATRIATION WILL BE ACHIEVED–DUAL CITIZENSHIP THROUGH OUT AFRICA WILL BE AN ACTUAL, NOT FANTASIZED, OPTION—FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE DIASPORA.

4. BSU’s AND ASU’s WILL BE RETIRED TO LEGACY STATUS AND REPLACED BY PAN AFRICAN CLUBS AND ASSOCIATIONS FOCUSED ON AFRICAN REDEMPTIVE ACTIVITIES.

5. PAN AFRICAN CULTURE, WITH ITS MANY ARTISTS, INNOVATORS AND CRAFTS EXPERTS, WILL PROVE TO BE THE SOLID BRIDGE NECESSARY TO HELP CONSTRUCT AND MAINTAIN PAN AFRICAN UNITY.

6. THE SCATTERED GROUPS OF PAN AFRICAN ACTIVISTS WILL RECOGNIZE WHAT OPERATIONAL UNITY–UNITY WITHOUT UNIFORMITY–ACTUALLY MEANS AND OVERCOME THEIR OWN EGOS AND GRANDSTANDING LONG ENOUGH TO CONSOLIDATE INTO PAN AFRICAN PARTNERSHIPS THAT PRODUCE REAL LEVERAGE AND INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCE.

7. PAN AFRICAN INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND BUSINESS CENTERS (BUILT, OWNED AND RUN BY DIASPORANS) WILL PROLIFERATE THROUGHOUT THE DIASPORA AND INTERCONNECT ALL LEVELS OF COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY BETWEEN THE CONTINENT AND THE DIASPORA FOR THE BENEFIT OF BOTH.

8. PAN AFRICANS WILL RE-TAKE CONTROL OF THE EDUCATION OF AFRICAN FOLK AND PUBLICIZE TO THE WORLD THAT DIASPORANS, WHEREVER THEY ARE, ARE WORTHY OF SUCCESS, DIGNITY AND RESPECT.

9. MUTUAL RESPECT WILL INFILTRATE THE LIVES OF DIASPORANS AND HELP MAKE US WHOLE.

10. THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT WILL BECOME A VIABLE PART OF THE PAN AFRICAN MOVEMENT—SAVING THE PLANET IS ABOUT SAVING OURSELVES. AND MUCH MORE…….

The only real options in this period for those of us convinced we are here to do more than merely take up space before we transition, are where is or where will your involvement be?

Posted in Decade of the Diaspora, Op-Eds0 Comments

Libya Getting it Right…

Libya Getting it Right…

[PAOC-USA] This Is the Best Full Explanation Out on Libya

African World News & Views Winter 2011-3 (3/15/11)
Libya Getting it Right :A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective
By Gerald A. Perreira
Norah Owaraga noted that Libya, “unlike other oil producing countries such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, utilized the revenue from its oil to develop its country. The standard of living of the people of Libya is one of the highest in Africa, falling in the category of countries with a GNP per capita of between USD 2,200 and 6,000.Thousands of Indians, Egyptians, Chinese, Filipinos, Turks, Germans, English, Italians, Malaysians, Koreans and a host of other nationalities are lining up at the borders and the airport to leave Libya. It begs the question: What were they doing in Libya in the first place? Unemployment figures, according to the Western media and Al Jazeera, are at 30%. If this is so, then why all these foreign workers?
For those of us who have lived and worked in Libya, there are many complexities to the current situation that have been completely overlooked by the Western media and ‘Westoxicated’ analysts, who have nothing other than a Eurocentric perspective to draw on. Let us be clear—there is no possibility of understanding what is happening in Libya within a Eurocentric framework. Westerners are incapable of understanding a system unless the system emanates from or is attached in some way to the West. Libya’s system and the battle now taking place on its soil, stands completely outside of the Western imagination.
News coverage by the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera has been oversimplified and misleading. An array of anti-Qaddafi spokespersons, most living outside Libya, have been paraded in front of us—each one clearly a counter-revolutionary and less credible than the last. Despite the clear and irrefutable evidence from the beginning of these protests that Muammar Qaddafi had considerable support both inside Libya and internationally, not one pro-Qaddafi voice has been allowed to air.  The media and their selected commentators have done their best to manufacture an opinion that Libya is essentially the same as Egypt and Tunisia and that Qaddafi is just another tyrant amassing large sums of money in Swiss bank accounts. But no matter how hard they try, they cannot make Qaddafi into a Mubarak or Libya into Egypt.
The first question is: Is the revolt taking place in Libya fuelled by a concern over economic issues such as poverty and unemployment as the media would have us believe? Let us examine the facts. Under the revolutionary leadership of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has attained the highest standard of living in Africa. In 2007, in an article which appeared in the African Executive Magazine, Norah Owaraga noted that Libya, “unlike other oil producing countries such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, utilized the revenue from its oil to develop its country. The standard of living of the people of Libya is one of the highest in Africa, falling in the category of countries with a GNP per capita of between USD 2,200 and 6,000.”
This is all the more remarkable when we consider that in 1951 Libya was officially the poorest country in the world. According to the World Bank, the per capita income was less than $50 a year—even lower than India. Today, all Libyans own their own homes and cars. Two Fleet Street journalists, David Blundy and Andrew Lycett, who are by no means supporters of the Libyan revolution, had this to say:
The young people are well dressed, well fed and well educated. Libyans now earn more per capita than the British. The disparity in annual incomes . . . is smaller than in most countries. Libya’s wealth has been fairly spread throughout society. Every Libyan gets free, and often excellent, education, medical and health services. New colleges and hospitals are impressive by any international standard. All Libyans have a house or a flat, a car and most have televisions, video recorders and telephones. Compared with most citizens of the Third World countries, and with many in the First World, Libyans have it very good indeed. Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution)
Large scale housing construction has taken place right across the country. Every citizen has been given a decent house or apartment to live in rent-free. In Qaddafi’s Green Book, it states: “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.” This dictum has now become a reality for the Libyan people.
Large scale agricultural projects have been implemented in an effort to “make the desert bloom” and achieve self-sufficiency in food production. Any Libyan who wants to become a farmer is given free use of land, a house, farm equipment, some livestock and seed.
Today, Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of all charges. The fact is that the Libyan revolution has achieved such a high standard of living for its people that they import labor from other parts of the world to do the jobs that the unemployed Libyans refuse to do.  Libya has been called by many observers inside and out, “a nation of shop keepers.” It is part of the Libyan Arab psyche to own your own small business and this type of small scale private enterprise flourishes in Libya. We can draw on many examples of Libyans with young sons who expressed the idea that it would be shameful for the family if these same young men were to seek menial work and instead preferred for them to remain at home supported by the extended family.
No system is perfect, and Libya is no exception. They suffered nine years of economic sanctions and this caused huge problems for the Libyan economy. Also, there is nowhere on planet earth that has escaped the monumental crisis of neo-liberal capitalism. It has impacted everywhere—even on post revolutionary societies that have rejected “free market” capitalism.  However, what we are saying is that severe economic injustice is not at the heart of this conflict. So then, what is?
A Battle for Africa
The battle that is being waged in Libya is fundamentally a battle between Pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi’s vision of a united Africa, and reactionary racist Libyan Arab forces who reject Qaddafi’s vision of Libya as part of a united Africa and want to ally themselves instead with the EU and look toward Europe and the Arab World for Libya’s future. One of Muammar Qaddafi’s most controversial and difficult moves in the eyes of many Libyans was his championing of Africa and his determined drive to unite Africa with one currency, one army and a shared vision regarding the true independence and liberation of the entire continent. He has contributed large amounts of his time and energy and large sums of money to this project and like Kwame Nkrumah, he has paid a high price.
Many of the Libyan people did not approve of this move. They wanted their leader to look towards Europe. Of course, Libya has extensive investments and commercial ties with Europe but the Libyans know that Qaddafi’s heart is in Africa. Many years ago, Qaddafi told a large gathering, which included Libyans and revolutionaries from many parts of the world, that the Black Africans were the true owners of Libya long before the Arab incursion into North Africa, and that Libyans need to acknowledge and pay tribute to their ancient African roots. He ended by saying, as is proclaimed in his The Green Book, that “the Black race shall prevail throughout the world.”  This is not what many Libyans wanted to hear. As with all fair skinned Arabs, prejudice against Black Africans is endemic.
Brother Leader, Guide of the Revolution and King of Kings are some of the titles that have been bestowed on Qaddafi by Africans. Only last month Qaddafi called for the creation of a Secretariat of traditional African Chiefs and Kings, with whom he has excellent ties, to co-ordinate efforts to build African unity at the grassroots level throughout the continent, a bottom up approach, as opposed to trying to build unity at the government/state level, an approach which has failed the African unification project since the days of Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure.  This bottom up approach is widely supported by many Pan Africanists worldwide.
African Mercenaries or Freedom Fighters?
In the past week, the phrase “African mercenaries” has been repeated over and over by the media and the selected Libyan citizens they choose to speak to have,  as one commentator put it, “spat the word ‘African’ with a venomous hatred.” The media has assumed, without any research or understanding of the situation because they are refusing to give any air time to pro-Qaddafi forces, that the many Africans in military uniform fighting alongside the pro-Qaddafi Libyan forces are mercenaries. However, it is a myth that the Africans fighting to defend the Jamahiriya and Muammar Qaddafi are mercenaries being paid a few dollars and this assumption is based solely on the usual racist and contemptuous view of Black Africans.
Actually, in truth, there are people all over Africa and the African Diaspora who support and respect Muammar Qaddafi as a result of his invaluable contribution to the worldwide struggle for African emancipation. Over the past two decades, thousands of Africans from all over the continent were provided with education, work and military training—many of them coming from liberation movements. As a result of Libya’s support for liberation movements throughout Africa and the world, international battalions were formed. These battalions saw themselves as a part of the Libyan revolution, and took it upon themselves to defend the revolution against attacks from within its borders or outside.
These are the Africans who are fighting to defend Qaddafi and the gains of the Libyan revolution to their death if need be. It is not unlike what happened when internationalist battalions came to the aid of the revolutionary forces against Franco’s fascist forces in Spain. Malian political analyst, Adam Thiam, notes that “thousands of Tuaregs who were enrolled in the Islamic Legion established by the Libyan revolution remained in Libya and they are enrolled in the Libyan security forces.”
African Migrants under Attack
As African fighters from Chad, Niger, Mali, Ghana, Kenya and Southern Sudan (it should be noted that Libya supported the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army under John Garang in their war of liberation against Arab hegemonists in Khartoum, while all other Arab leaders backed the Khartoum regime) fight to defend this African revolution, a million African refugees and thousands of African migrant workers stand the risk of being murdered as a result of their perceived support for Qaddafi. One Turkish construction worker described a massacre: “We had 70-80 people from Chad working for our company. They were cut dead with pruning shears and axes, attackers saying: ‘You are providing troops for Qaddafi. The Sudanese were also massacred. We saw it for ourselves.”
This is a far cry from what is being portrayed in the media as “peaceful protesters” being set upon by pro-Qaddafi forces. In fact, footage of the Benghazi revolt shows men with machetes, AK 47s and RPGs.  In The Green Book, Qaddafi argues for the transfer of all power, wealth and arms directly into the hands of the people themselves. No one can deny that the Libyan populace is heavily armed. This is part of Qaddafi’s philosophy of arms not being monopolised by any section of the society, including the armed forces. It must be said that it is not usual practice for tyrants and dictators to arm their population.Qaddafi has also been very vocal regarding the plight of Africans who migrate to Europe, where they are met with racism, more poverty, violence at the hands of extreme right wing groups and in many cases death, when the un-seaworthy boats they travel in sink.
Moved by their plight, a conference was held in Libya in January this year, to address their needs and concerns. More than 500 delegates and speakers from around the world attended the conference titled “A Decent Life in Europe or a Welcome Return to Africa.” “We should live in Europe with decency and dignity,” Qaddafi told participants. “We need a good relationship with Europe not a relationship of master and slave. There should be a strong relationship between Africa and Europe. Our presence should be strong, tangible and good. It’s up to you as the Africans in the Diaspora. We have to continue more and more until the unity of Africa is achieved.
From now on, by the will of God, I will assign teams to search, investigate and liaise with the Africans in Europe and to check their situations . . . this is my duty and role towards the sons of Africa; I am a soldier for Africa. I am here for you and I work for you; therefore, I will not leave you and I will follow up on your conditions.”  Joint committees of African migrants, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and international organizations present at the conference discussed the need to coordinate the implementation of many of the conference’s recommendations. Statements are appearing all over the internet from Africans who have a different view to that being perpetuated by those intent on discrediting Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution. One African commented:
When I was growing up I first read a comic book of his revolution at the age of ten. Since then, as dictators came and went, Colonel Qaddafi has made an impression on me as a man who truly loves Africa! Libyans could complain that he spent their wealth on other Africans! But those Africans he helped put in power, built schools and mosques and brought in many forms of development showing that Africans can do for themselves. If those Africans would abandon him to be swallowed by Western Imperialism and their lies and just let him go as a dictator in the name of so-called democracy…if they could do that…they should receive the names and fate that the Western press gives our beloved leader. If there is any one person who was half as generous as he is, let them step forward.
And another African comments:
This man has been accused of many things and listening to the West who just recently were happy to accept his generous hospitality, you will think that he is worse than Hitler. The racism and contemptuous attitudes of Arabs towards Black Africans has made me a natural sceptic of any overtures from them to forge a closer link with Black Africa but Qaddafi was an exception.
Opportunistic Revolt
This counter-revolutionary revolt caught everyone, including the Libyan authorities, by surprise. They knew what the media is not reporting: that unlike Egypt and Tunisia and other countries in the region, where there is tremendous poverty, unemployment and repressive pro-Western regimes, the Libyan dynamic was entirely different. However, an array of opportunistic forces, ranging from so-called Islamists, Arab-Supremacists, including some of those who have recently defected from Qaddafi’s inner circle, have used the events in neighbouring countries as a pretext to stage a coup and to advance their own agenda for the Libyan nation. Many of these former officials were the authors of, and covertly fuelled the anti-African pogrom in Libya a few years ago when many Africans lost their lives in street battles between Africans and Arab Libyans.
This was a deliberate attempt to embarrass Qaddafi and to undermine his efforts in Africa. Qaddafi has long been a thorn in the Islamists side. In his recent address to the Libyan people, broadcast from the ruins of the Bab al-Azizia compound bombed by Reagan in 1986, he asked the “bearded ones” in Benghazi and Jabal al Akhdar where they were when Reagan bombed his compound in Tripoli, killing hundreds of Libyans, including his daughter. He said they were hiding in their homes applauding the US and he vowed that he would never allow the country to be returned to the grip of them and their colonial masters. Al Qaeda is in the Sahara on his borders and the International Union of Muslim Scholars is calling for him to be tried in a court. One asks why are they calling for Qaddafi’s blood? Why not Mubarak who closed the Rafah Border Crossing while the Israeli’s slaughtered the Palestinians in Gaza. Why not Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Blair who are responsible for the murder of millions of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan?
The answer is simple—because Qaddafi committed some “cardinal sins.” He dared to challenge their reactionary and feudal notions of Islam. He has upheld the idea that every Muslim is a ruler (Caliph) and does not need the Ulema to interpret the Quran for them. He has questioned the Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda from a Quranic/theological perspective and is one of the few political leaders equipped to do so. Qaddafi has been called a Mujaddid (this term refers to a person who appears to revive Islam and to purge it of alien elements, restoring it to its authentic form) and he comes in the tradition of Jamaludeen Afghani and the late Iranian revolutionary, Ali Shariati.
Libya is a deeply traditional society, plagued with some outmoded and bankrupt ideas that continue to surface to this day. In many ways, Qaddafi has had to struggle against the same reactionary aspects of Arab culture and tradition that the holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was struggling against in 7th century Arabia—Arab supremacy/racism, supremacy of family and tribe, historical feuding tribe against tribe and the marginalisation of women. Benghazi has always been at the heart of counter-revolution in Libya, fostering reactionary Islamic movements such as the Wahhabis and Salafists.  It is these people who founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group based in Benghazi which allies itself with Al Qaeda and who have, over the years, been responsible for the assassination of leading members of the Libyan revolutionary committees.
These forces hate Qaddafi’s revolutionary reading of the Quran. They foster an Islam concerned with outward trappings and mere religiosity, in the form of rituals, which at the same time is feudal and repressive, while rejecting the liberatory spirituality of Islam. While these so-called Islamists are opposed to Western occupation of Muslim lands, they have no concrete programmatic platform for meaningful socio-economic and political transformation to advance their societies beyond semi-feudal and capitalist systems which reinforce the most backward and reactionary ideas and traditions. Qaddafi’s political philosophy, as outlined in The Green Book, rejects unfettered capitalism in all its manifestations, including the “State capitalism” of the former communist countries and the neo-liberal capitalist model that has been imposed at a global level.  The idea that capitalism is not compatible with Islam and the Quran is not palatable to many Arabs and so-called Islamists because they hold onto the fallacious notion that business and trade is synonymous with capitalism.
Getting it Right
Whatever the mistakes made by Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution, its gains and its huge contribution to the struggle of oppressed peoples worldwide cannot and must not be ignored. Saif Qaddafi, when asked about the position of his father and family, said this battle is not about one man and his family, it is about Libya and the direction it will take.
That direction has always been controversial. In 1982, The World Mathaba was established in Libya. Mathaba means a gathering place for people with a common purpose. The World Mathaba brought together revolutionaries and freedom fighters from every corner of the globe to share ideas and develop their revolutionary knowledge. Many liberation groups throughout the world received education, training and support from Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution including ANC, AZAPO, PAC and BCM of Azania (South Africa), SWAPO of Namibia, MPLA of Angola, The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, The Polisario of the Sahara, the PLO, The Native American Movements throughout  the Americas, The Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan to name but a few. Nelson Mandela called Muammar Qaddafi one of this century’s greatest freedom fighters, and insisted that the eventual collapse of the apartheid system owed much to Qaddafi and Libyan support. Mandela said that in the darkest moments of their struggle, when their backs were to the wall, it was Muammar Qaddafi who stood with them. The late African freedom fighter, Kwame Ture, referred to Qaddafi as “a diamond in a cesspool of African misleaders.”
The hideous notion being perpetuated by the media and reactionary forces, inside and outside of Libya, that this is just another story of a bloated dictatorship that has run its course is mis-information and deliberate distortion. Whatever one’s opinions of Qaddafi the man, no one can deny his invaluable contribution to human emancipation and the universal truths outlined in his Green Book. Progressive scholars in many parts of the world, including the West, have acclaimed The Green Book as an incisive critique of capitalism and the Western Parliamentary model of multi-party democracy. In addition, there is no denying that the system of direct democracy posited by Qaddafi in The Green Book offers an alternative model and solution for Africa and the Third World, where multi-party so-called democracy has been a dismal failure, resulting in poverty, ethnic and tribal conflict and chaos. Every revolution, since the beginning of time, has defended itself against those who would want to roll back its gains. Europeans should look back into their own bloody history to see that this includes the American, French and Bolshevik revolutions. Marxists speak of Trotsky and Lenin’s brutal suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion by the Red Army as being a “tragic necessity.”
Let’s get it right: The battle in Libya is not about peaceful protestors versus an armed and hostile State. All sides are heavily armed and hostile. The battle being waged in Libya is essentially a battle between those who want to see a united and liberated Libya and Africa, free of neo-colonialism and neo-liberal capitalism and free to construct their own system of governance compatible with the African and Arab personalities and cultures and those who find this entire notion repugnant.  And both sides are willing to pay the ultimate price to defend their positions. Make no mistake, if Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution are defeated by this opportunistic conglomerate of reactionaries and racists, then progressive forces worldwide and the Pan African project will suffer a huge defeat and set back.
Gerald A. Perreira has lived in Libya for many years and was an executive member of the World Mathaba. He can be contacted at mojadi94@gmail.com

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The Political Economics of Dr. King’s Legacy

The Political Economics of Dr. King’s Legacy

The Political Economics of Dr. King’s Legacy

Jan 06, 2011
By: David L. Horne, Ph.D.
Our Weekly Newspaper
Contributing Columnist

Practical Politics

The Martin Luther King holiday is 25 years old this month. Not bad for a true product of American democracy at its ugliest and its best.

Remembering the loud, raucous, and sometimes racially vicious political war fought to get the holiday established, one is doubly honored to watch one of Dr. King’s movement progeny work his POTUS magic through a relentlessly dangerous minefield of negativity.

During the struggle to establish the holiday, there was intense conservative filibustering. Both the “respectable bigotry” of the John Birch Society and the “po’ white trash” physicality of the KKK engaged in local and state intimidation. There were legal assaults and judicial ambushes, as well as old-fashioned massive marches, both of protest and support. They were all testimony to the fact that the fight over the MLK holiday was another front in the continuing cultural war, with one side trying to impose a permanent inferiority and a stay-in-your-place condition on Black folk, while the other side fought (and fights) to reclaim and maintain racial dignity and self-respect.

It is instructive, in these present 21st-century days of continuing economic distress for a significant proportion of the African American population, to also remember that Dr. King’s legacy was multidimensional, and cannot be deconstructed to a singular speech, no matter how brilliant it was. As part of the political economics of the Civil Rights Movement’s stride forward, Dr. King gave us eloquently articulated and effectively organized inspiration in the economic realm, and it deserves more research, recognition and pride of place in Dr. King’s legacy.

As we remember, Dr. King was in Memphis on the day of his death to continue helping the Black Sanitation Workers, an AFSCME labor union affiliate, which was on strike for better wages, improved health benefits and non-discriminatory treatment on the job. He had been there several days, even though the struggle there was seen as a sideline detour by most of his staff members on the road to the much larger and upcoming Poor Peoples’ Campaign in Washington, D.C. In fact, for many in the movement, Dr. King’s involvement in an economic labor dispute did not fit the profile they had come to expect. However, to those paying close attention, it was pure Dr. King.

The sanitation workers needed him there, they asked for his help, and although the effort was not good for his reputation, he went anyway and stayed in spite of things going very badly. He insisted that the city deal fairly with the workers and grant them the economic relief they sought and deserved.

Additionally, regarding the Poor Peoples’ Campaign, shortly before he died, Dr. King said, “We call our demonstration a campaign for jobs and income because we feel that the economic question is the most crucial that Black people and poor people generally, are confronting.” In particular, Dr. King was an advocate of continental African-Negro American economic linkages, he strongly supported increased employment opportunities and advancement, and he consistently presented a case for Black self-sufficiency and self-help.

In March 1957, for example, Dr. King, his wife and family traveled to Ghana, West Africa. At first glance, one would have assumed this to be a vacation of sorts. After all, Dr. King had just helped to secure the tremendous victory of Black Montgomery citizens in the lengthy boycott of the city’s bus company. Dr. King was on the precipice of co-organizing the seminal civil rights group, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as one of the significant consequences of that successful boycott. So, the trip to Ghana, on the surface, looked like a needed respite from the battlefront.

In reality, the whirlwind tour of Ghana, in part to participate in the momentous celebration of the declaration of its independence from Great Britain—Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) was the first sub-Saharan African country to accomplish political, if not economic, independence from a European colonial power—was scheduled and occasioned as a business trip. (Ironically, Dr. King met Vice President Richard Nixon, who was also in Ghana for this first independence day. He briefly discussed with him the purpose and importance of the Civil Rights Movement then getting under way. Dr. King had not been able to speak to Mr. Nixon on American soil.) Dr. King spoke at length with Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah about what this new development in African history meant, and about how Blacks who were now thousands of miles apart could help each other, politically, economically and culturally. He said, “It was my hope that even people from America would go to Africa as immigrants. American Negroes could lend their technical assistance to a growing new nation… Nkrumah made it very clear to me that he would welcome any (Negro) persons coming there as immigrants.” Further, according to his autobiography, Dr. King remained interested in, advocated, and tried to maintain regular updates on the evolution of such continental-diasporan ties. In that regard, Dr. King was a true Pan-Africanist.

This viewpoint segued right into his Atlanta background, which had emphasized the continuing need for Black folk—Negroes—to stand up on their own in the world and earn the national and global respect that they so richly deserved. His father, Daddy King, and his grandfather, another minister, had taught Dr. King that it was through thrift, hard work, self-discipline, a relentless commitment to educational advancement, familial stability and self-improvement that Black folk could and would rise from poverty and become outstanding participatory citizens. This ethos was a guiding principle to Dr. King throughout his private and public life, even though during the last several years of that life he also strongly advocated guaranteed government-provided jobs for all Blacks who wanted to work as an approach to jump-start the self-help project. Sprinkled throughout Dr. King’s many speeches are phrases like “Let’s live within our means. Save our money and invest it in meaningful ends,” and “…Negroes must develop the habits of thrift and techniques of wise investment (so that) the Negro will be doing his share to grapple with his problem of economic deprivation.”

Dr. King wrestled with the very concept of government welfare for Blacks, and theorized about the creation of a Black underclass in America that had been consistently encouraged not to work or to develop self-sustaining habits. (That class would become self-destructive, regularly perpetuate criminality and gang violence, and prey on and disrespect Black women. Sounds like he got it about right.)

Developing a proud, stand-on-your-own-two-feet working class was what Dr. King advocated the most relentlessly for Black folk in America. Even in arguing for massive federal government intervention, including a guaranteed income as part of his economic bill of rights proposal, to solve “the Negro problem,” it was still about getting to the point of self-help. In a 1967 speech, he said, “The ultimate way to diminish our problems of crime, family disorganization, illegitimacy and so forth will have to be found through a government program to help the frustrated Negro male find his true masculinity by placing him on his own two economic feet.”

Dr. King’s proposal for the creation of a Public Service Job Assurance project to address the growing alienation of Black and White youth who were mired in hard-core unemployment situations still stands as a magnificent testament to his economic and political vision for modern America. “We must develop a federal program of public works, retraining, and jobs for all—so that none, White or Black, will have cause to feel threatened.”

In essence, Dr. King, justifiably famous as the nonviolent crusader and civil rights advocate, was indeed much, much more. He was an economic theorist and strategist with plans, proposals and even dreams to free Black folk of economic dependency and bondage. It is fascinating to contemplate what he would say now if he were here to assess the current economic conditions of African Americans. And in this time of economic turmoil for too many of us, re-looking at his economic and Pan African message can provide more hope and inspiration for us to carry on through to higher ground.

Professor David L. Horne, is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or Non Governmental Organization (NGO). It is the step-parent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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