October 27, 2007

Something To Think About

"Although there are frequent suggestions that Africans in America are too afraid to make a militant demand for liberation, Kwame Ture often reminded us that our people have repeatedly demonstrated amazing courage. Little African children faced fire hoses and police dogs in Birmingham. African freedom riders were beaten and tortured by racist mobs.* Young gun-toting sisters and brothers in the Black Panther Party confronted racist police. The record of the raw courage of Africans goes on and on.

Even if we don't acknowledge our own courage, our oppressors have always been well aware of it. Our enemies (capitalists, the intelligence agencies, the police and Clarence Thomas- like lackeys) have always believed their task to be to ensure that our courageous young people misdirect their anger. Thus, the oppressor is always pleased when young Africans in gangs direct their anger at rival gangs. The enemy becomes concerned when, as in the wake of the acquittal of police who beat Rodney King, there is an interval of clarity. Gangsters united on that occasion and directed their anger at Los Angeles city hall and the police.

Our enslavement continues in spite of our militancy and courage only because we are disorganized. Our rebellions are usually spontaneous, and temporary rather than planned and sustained. There are many in our community who have recognized this deficiency and they are working around the clock on a remedy. In the meantime however, the enemy watches us carefully and develops a number of contingency plans.

Although we lack faith in the willingness and ability of our people to unite and fight, the enemy is absolutely certain that this will happen sooner or later. The only question for the enemy is whether the masses of Africans, once organized, will attempt to reform the existing system; or to instead engage in a revolutionary process that is calculated to dismantle the existing system and build a new one. Obviously, from the perspective of the enemy, reform is certainly the preferred option. Capitalists do not want to lose their ability to reap large profits from the exploitation of the labor and resources of Africans and others in America. If they can keep all of this by appeasing Africans in some way, that is certainly their preference. It is for that reason that it is almost inevitable that we will receive reparations.

On countless occasions, skeptics in our community have voiced the now familiar refrain: "Those white folks ain't never gonna give us reparations." But if one pauses to analyze our circumstances for only a moment, it becomes crystal clear that the enemy will do just that. Used skillfully, reparations can ensure the maintenance of the capitalist status quo for many years into the future.

Most of the activists who work diligently for reparations are among the most sincere Africans our community has produced. Many of them see reparations as an opportunity for true self-determination. Some want the money to be used to ensure that African people have their own land, economy, educational system, and maybe even an independent government. Others see reparations as a source of funds they can use to return to Africa for permanent residence. Still others would suggest that reparations be used to finance insurgent movements both here and in Africa for a serious challenge to corporate power. None of these options are acceptable to the enemy. They prefer an entirely different scenario.

The enemy's plan probably looks something like this: First, the government will resist all demands for reparations for as long as possible. As poverty, mass incarceration, police violence and other problems escalate, the anger in African communities will rise as well. It is only when Africans are on the verge of organized mass rebellion that the first hint of a willingness to grant reparations will be given. Government officials will refuse to negotiate with the "radicals" but they will speak with "responsible" Black leadership (i.e., mainstream civil rights leaders). Although a great show will be made about negotiations, corporate and government accountants will have, in advance, worked out an acceptable monetary figure that is calculated to impress the impoverished African masses, and at the same time not pose a threat to corporate profits and the government's treasury.

When the "negotiations" are completed, the President will host a grand White House ceremony where he will shed crocodile tears about White America's sins. Those in attendance will include all members of the Black leadership elite. With smiles and champagne glasses galore, they will announce great plans for use of the reparations money to develop corporate executive training programs for African young people that include guaranteed employment with Fortune 500 companies. Black-owned companies will be given new contracts with large corporations. Corporations will provide all Africans thousands of dollars in gift certificates. As they seek to preserve the status quo, they will give us lots of bangles, beads and opportunities for our children to be co-opted into their system. They will not give us power and independence."

~Mark P. Fancher is a writer, lawyer and activist. Books he has authored include: Misplaced Loyalty - Why U.S.-Born Africans Don't Believe They Are Africans Anymore; and Genocide With A Smile - The Campaign To Destroy Africans Born In America.

* An organization for which another of our presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, was the legal counsel.

Who were these heroes? The bulk of critics, whether they be on the right, left or survivors of the Panther group itself, agree that this militant organization was made up of — as one writer close to the action put it — an “amalgam of street hustlers, ex-convicts and disenchanted student radicals.” At their peak, the Panthers had around 5,000 committed members in 20 chapters around the country, plus legions of supporters, sympathizers and wanna-bes. They could mobilize mobs of 25,000 and more. Panther ideology, according to former member Salim Muwakkil writing in the Chicago Tribune, was a combination of black separatism, Marxism and other ideological “odds and ends.” A keynote of Panther speeches was a call for killing white leaders, beginning with President Nixon on down the ranks to San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto. They were allied with communist movements around the world and were particularly close to Fidel Castro. The militants were not joking in their advocacy of armed struggle, as they often proved. In one raid on a Panther arsenal, police seized more than 1,000 weapons ranging from machine guns to grenade launchers. No less violent toward their own than toward the “oppressors,” the Panthers disciplined those within the party using bullwhips and chains, if the targets were lucky, and executing others. Such an execution brought Hillary Rodham and Bill Lann Lee to Panther defense. Alex Rackley, a member of the New Haven chapter who was thought to be an informer, was clubbed, burned with cigarettes, doused with boiling water and stabbed with an ice pick before being taken out and shot twice in the head by his comrades. The ensuing campus protests were not about guilt or innocence but to express concern that the Panthers, as prisoners of war, “should not even be tried in the courts of the United States at this time,” as Hayden put it. The leader of the Panthers was Huey Newton, described by his close friend of that era, Ramparts magazine coeditor David Horowitz, as a “convicted felon with a history of violent crimes [who] had built a paramilitary organization dedicated to opposing police.” Newton was a master of the game who charmed wealthy and influential liberal and leftist whites. He was a centerpiece guest at Hollywood parties attended by Candice Bergen, Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda and others, a favorite of famous conductor Leonard Bernstein and depicted by academic allies as comparable in stature to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. At the same time, according to Horowitz, Newton was snorting prodigious amounts of cocaine, abusing women in the manner of medieval nobility and organizing the takeover of drug and prostitution rackets from his penthouse command post. Horowitz split with the Panthers as a result of the killing of Betty Van Patter, a Ramparts bookkeeper whom he had recommended as an auditor for various Panther enterprises. “In pursuit of answers to the mystery of Betty’s death, I subsequently discovered that the Panthers had killed more than a dozen people in the course of conducting extortion, prostitution and drug rackets in the Oakland [Calif.] ghetto,” Horowitz wrote. “While these criminal activities were taking place, they enjoyed the support of the American left, the Democratic Party, the Bay Area Trades Union Council, even the Oakland business establishment.” Horowitz, haunted by a belief that his own ideological blindness had led to Betty’s death, bought a 9mm Glock pistol and a sophisticated alarm system for his car and has only looked back in anger. Newton, accused of another killing and the target of a death contract by Oakland-area pimps, fled to Cuba. Other Panther leaders also fled the country or were killed in confrontations with the police; some did jail time and returned to society as political, spiritual and academic leaders, writers or entertainers.

Maybe you are thinking that all of this about black separatism, reparations, Obama, and Hillary, have nothing to do, one with the other. I'm not so sure. For one thing, our country has been, and is, in big, big trouble when it comes to social issues. My nightmare is that Hillary will become President, and Barak will become Vice President...then what?

There is unrest, feelings of inequality fueled by not only Black leaders, but the politically correct, far leftists.
There is violence, and crime, commited by those who think that something is owed to them, therefore, they feel they have a right to take it. It has gotten so out of hand, that the politicians are trying to convince everyone that the only solution is to take the guns out of the hands of the citizenry, or at least, they are pushing to pass laws that will make it impossible to obtain them, and if already in possession, to take them away.

Think about it.


Anonymous said...

Jan, as the country becomes more and more polarized along ethnic lines, things will only get worse. The point where I stopped believing that we could all just "get along" was when the blacks on the O.J. Simpson jury let him walk. Then I knew the system wasn't going to work, then or ever.

rockync said...

Apparently H Clinton has ties to the Panthers,I'm not sure I see the link between this writer and Obama. I think he is too young to have ever been a Black Panther.
I really don't think separatism and ethnic divide are anything new. It's been going on generation after generation because there will always be those on both sides who refuse to budge from the extreme fringe. For every Black Panther type there is a White Supremist counterpart.
The increase in violence happening today is very disturbing but is probably more attributable to the loss of the blue collar job market and the emerging increase in gang activity that feeds on economic downturns. Also the destruction of moral fiber in this country and easy access to extreme violence that our children are subjected to in its many media forms.
My approach to the coming elections is to let the front runners emerge, listen to their supposed stands on issues and then look at their records to see if their actions back up their words.
So many times politicians talk a good game, get elected, then do whatever they please. We as concerned citizens need to seek out opportunities to question the candidates about any discrepanices between what they have done and what they say, be it through opinion columns, town hall meetings or in person.
Bottom line, this is our country and we need to take responsibility for who we put in the White House. And I believe this will be the most important election in this century in regards to the survival of our nation and our constitution.

Jan said...

hermit..the system is not going to work, especially when it is moving more, and more, toward appeasing only one segment of the population

Jan said...

rockync..I understand what you are saying, but I don't totally agree.

I was not saying that there is a tie between Obama and the Panthers, per se, but it is obvious, to me, anyway, that his allegiance lies more toward the ideology of the Black separatists.

I knew, as soon as I posted this, that it would look like I was implying that there was a link, but having posted the previous information concerning Obama's affiliation with the church which preaches and teaches separation of races, I was hoping that anyone reading it would understand what was meant, and I decided to let others come to their own conclusions.

I guess the fact that Obama refuses to express his allegiance, by sticking his hands in his pockets when our National Anthem is played, reinforces my belief in what he really stands for.

As far as believing what the politicians say, and their actions backing up their promises, all I can say is that I think that they say what is needed to be said, in order to get a vote.

I wish that I hadn't lost faith in the leaders of this country.

rockync said...

You are right in that Obama has not been forthcoming in information about his idealology pertaining to race although I'm not sure I want to conclude that he must therefore support black separatism. I did explore the website of the church and found that although they are very proactive for the advancement of blacks in America, they did not present as militant extremists. I'm not sold on Obama as a candidate, but I am impressed with some of his answers and reflections during interviews.
Anyway, politics will no doubt be in the forefront of many discussions over the next year, so I feel like I'll have ample opportunity to form and reform my opinions over time.
One thing I think we both agree on is what you stated here:
"As far as believing what the politicians say, and their actions backing up their promises, all I can say is that I think that they say what is needed to be said, in order to get a vote.

I wish that I hadn't lost faith in the leaders of this country."

Let's hope someone emerges that can galvanize this country and restore our faith in the machinations of government.

Anonymous said...

So long as the Democrats can win by promising bread and circuses to the rapidly increasing population of poor and uneducated people, our two party system isn't viable. There was a quote on someone's blog recently to the effect that Democracy only works until the poor figure out they can vote themselves benefits out of the public treasury. I think that's accurate.

Jan said...

hermit..it certainly seems so.

You know something that bothers me, though? I have known people who were truly needy, and deserving of benefits, but were unable to obtain it, and when they did, finally, it had taken so long, that they were completely worn down. And then I have known of others who were flat out turned down. I knew a black female doctor, whose lawyer husband was one of the ones who determined disablity eligibility. One of her patients, who was an RN told me that she was afraid to cross her, even if she was wrong about something, for fear that it would eventually cost her her disability. She had severe back problems, having been hurt on the job at a nursing home where this doctor sometimes filled in for other doctors. I think that I could write a book just based on what I have seen and heard concerning such matters. If I come across jaded on here at times, maybe that's why.