Struggle is the Answer

Obama’s two recent successes, killing Osama bin Laden and toppling the government of Libya. Should Black folk be celebrating? I don’t think so. Obama “s presidency has overseen and done nothing to reverse the greatest economic disaster since the 1930’s and the greatest build up of US military power in our history and three wars in Muslim nations, while cities collapse, Black and Brown youth languish in poverty and no future. What does a parent say to her child? Perhaps educate her/him on the words and teachings of our great thinkers and leaders. Start with Frederick Douglass, “Without struggle there is no progress, there never has been and there never will be. He who wants progress without struggle wants the crops without the rain or the sea without its mighty roar.”

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There Comes a Time When Capitalism Must Give Way to Socialsim

Capitalism as a system is a modern form of economic production.It is based upon exploiting labor and producing profits for the owners of capital, factories, machines, land,etc etc.Capitalism is not a permanent system. People can change their mode of production and create a new one, more in keeping with their interests and desires. As capitalism evolved by the 20th century it had transcended its free market , individual capitalist form has gone over to large joint stock corporations and large monopolies. At the same time these monopolies or joint stock corporations with the backing of their national governments were aggressively taking on colonies. This new stage is what is called imperialism, or state monopoly capitalism. In this stage large banks, called too big to fail , control the economy. These banks are part of a system called finance capitalism. What we are living through now is a crisis of the system of finance capitalism. Many theorists and economist argue the present crisis is built into the system of finance capitalism. This is seen as the final stage of capitalism and the current crisis will only get worse, leading to a global depression. Such as crisisi will inevitably produce resistance all over the world. the events in London recently, the strikes and riots in Greece, Spain and China, the general strike in Madison Wisconsin and even the flash mobs are part of this resistance. Economic depressions lead to strikes, riots and protests by the working class, poor and even the middle classes. Along with imperialist wars like those in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan we have a convergence of events that combine to weaken the system and undermine the legitimacy of the government and politicians. This leads to what is called a revolutionary situation, that is a situation where the ruling class cannot rule in the old way and working people and the poor will not allow themselves to be ruled in the old way. When such a situation arises the system often reverts to fascism, which is most often financed and supported by the largest banks and richest individuals in society. However, the people, in the face of this and in the interest of their survival and wellbeing will demand fundamental change and radical policies .. In this type of crisis the masses often demand an end to capitalism as a system and its replacement with socialism. A revolutionary process of transition from capitalism to socialism starts that usuaally takes at least one generation to complete.

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Huey P Newton: The Making of a Revolutionary Intellectual

Huey P Newton says in his memoir Revolutionary Suicide that when he graduated from High School he was functionally illiterate and tested , measuring 72 on the Binet IQ test. He says he never accept the white world’s measure of his ability or of his humanity. He taught himself to read by reading first his brother Melvin’s books, starting with Plato’s Republic. By the time he went to jail for the first time for political activity he was on his way to being a revolutionary intellectual. He says he found freedom in jail. An ironic situation indeed. The freedom he found was mental; an intellectual freedom. Once he came to terms with material deprivation he was free to think and he did. Quite possibly the intellectual he became had a lot to with the intellectual discipline he developed in jail. But this tells us something quite important about thought, the mind and the development of intellect. First, it requires periods of severe solitude, something similar to social deprivation. Second, this mental discipline must be applied to taking on great books and complex ideas. Huey read difficult books. He didn’t read from the course syllabus from some professor’s course in philosophy or sociology. He chose his books based on how they related to the needs of revolutionary struggle. He read Les Miserable, Das Capital, Wretched of the Earth, Black Reconstruction in America, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind and so on. Third, the mind must be directed to a high purpose. In other words he didn’t read just to read in order to show off in social conversation. In other words he wasn’t a diletente. He read because he knew that knowledge when connected to the masses and related to revolutionary practice could become a world transformative force. George Jackson , one of Huey’s closest comrades in arms, tells a similar story. Jackson a Black Panther Party member, was imprisoned for twelve years of life sentence for stealing from a grocery store. From his memoir Soledad Brother, george Jackson stated “Locked in jail, within a jail, my mind is still free…What if a person was so oriented that the loss of no material thing could cause him mental disorganization? This is the free agent”

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A Tragic Irony

The tragic irony is that our “first Black President” is not actually Black. He does not share our history, knows little about our suffering , is an observer of our cultural life and maintains as much of a distance from us as possible. To the extent that he is black it is as a performance (something like the white rapper Eminem), not an organic connection to us and our history and current struggles. In reality he doesn’t see himself as a part of us.The tragedy is that most Black folk haven’t realized the game that’s being played and are therefore caught up in identify something that is not them as them. Like seeing Eminem as Black. In many ways Obama deals with Black folk the same way a white Democrat or Republican would; maintain discreet and polite, yet not committed connections to the Black community. Political education is the key to our overcoming this dilemma. Du Bois’ theory of double consciousness is a good place to start, Baldwin’s ruthless critiques of white racial practices and black compromise to them, Huey Newton’s vision of revolutionary resistance and internationalism, Toni Morrison’s idea that Black folk seek to physically transform themselves so as to become invisible and thereby acceptable to whites. And then there is Fanon’s notion of having a black skin and a white mind at the same time. And then to all of this Karl marx’s critiques of capitalism and Lenin’s studies of imperialism.

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Christian and Sexual Love: The Common Ground

The greatest obstacle to Christian love in America today is the Christian church. The greatest obstacle to love itself is the oppressive and exploitative capitalist society we live in. Lastly, the greatest obstacle to Christianity is capitalism and racism. Love, at the end of the day, is a form of consciousness tht recognizes the oneness of humanity. At the same time it is a web of complex and intimate human bonds. Romantic, sexual and individual love, rather than the antithesis of social being manifests it. The problem of romantic and sexual love (which are two sides of the same coin) is not those forms of love themselves , but the society within which they exist. In an anti-love, exploitative, thing oriented, war directed society and culture, Christian Love, romantic and sexual love are corrupted and cheapened. And this is not because people are necessarily insincere about love, but because the culture they live in bears down upon them making love difficult and many cases impossible. Because it is human and social it is part of society. Without struggle against a society that cheapens love romantic and sexual love is more often than not a sham and fraud. The promise of flying your lover to the moon, turns out being a one way trip into a living hell, a prison of never to be fulfilled expectations.Many people incorrectly believe that love is transcendent and above society. For most love is viewed as an escape. In the existential sense an escape from the responsibility to free society from the chains of racism and exploitation. Love is this never never land, a paradise, where the proverbial Alice discovers her Wonderland. I call this love as escapism .
The essence of Christianity morality and for that matter the Christian life, and its magnificent spiritual and philosophical contribution to the world (the Good News, if you will), is Love. God is Love, the Bible teaches. However, the Christian Church rather than struggle to help people realize love, by upholding the current system and usually being quiet about injustice, turns out being an obstacle to love in general and Christian Love in particular. to Love in the Christian sense is to serve, to struggle to overturn all forms of injustice. to be a Christian is therefore to be a freedom fighter, a revolutionary. Anything else is a distortion of the meaning of Jesus’ life and the Christian call to love your neighbors as you would yourself. In the end most Christians are not Christians at all, they are American nationalists seeking justification for living in an unjust world while doing nothing to change it.
For me love is first and foremost a revolutionary impulse, a commitment to struggle for freedom and to change society; it is an investment in humanity as such and Black humanity in the first place. My lover is my comrade, my associate in the long journey towards a better world and better humanity. Sexual love is not the end, but a means by which we deepen bonds of ideology, morality and commitment. I love you because we love freedom; I love you because we love humanity; I love you because we hate capitalist exploitation, racism and imperialist wars. Without struggle romantic love is an empty vessel. Without struggle romantic love turns into a prison of disappointments, a house that is not a home, a series of proclamations and high sounding claims that cannot be fulfilled. Lastly, the crisi of love , both Christian and sexual in our society, and especially among black people, is in the end the cris of capitalism and its cheap morality. Capitalist propaganda insists that either in the transcendent Christian love or the escapist romantic love we can find fulfillment in a decadent society. This is one of the Big Lies of out time. To paraphrase Frederick Douglass, Without struggle there cannot be Love. She/He who wants Love without struggle wants the crops without the rain, or the sea without its mighty roar.

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Christian and Sexual Love: The Great Contradiction

Christians are too often is the greatest obstacle to Christian love . This because the deamnds of Christian love as articulated by Jesus and his closest followers, challange the very foundations of the society that makes it possible for the church to thrive. The other thing is that Christian love is a revolutionary force, demanding more of the bleiever than mere kindness, but the destruction of the conditions that lead to the inhumanity of man/woman towards man/woman. Moreover, the greatest obstacle to love itself is the oppressive and exploitative capitalist society we live in. In the end, the greatest enemies to Christianity are not the non believes, atheists or agnostics but capitalism and racism. Love, at the end of the day, is a level of consciousness that recognizes the oneness of humanity. At the same time it is a web of complex and intimate human bonds. Love, rather than the antithesis of social being manifests it. Love is not transcendent, but concrete and human. It is about people and the transformative power inherent in people. Sexual and romantic love (individual manifestations of love) must always be measured against the larger collective and all embracing love of humanity and the struggles for freedom and justice. The problem and contradictions of romantic and sexual love (which are two sides of the same coin) is not those forms of love themselves , but the society within which they exist. So often condemned to fail because they are sabotaged by a society which says that the highest good is the individual and her or his wellbeing. Thus romantic love fails because it is undermoined by a society which gives it little sapce to flourish and grow. In an anti-love, exploitative, thing oriented, war directed society and culture, Christian , romantic and sexual love are corrupted and cheapened. And this is not because people are necessarily insincere about love, but because the culture they live in bears down upon them making love difficult and in many cases impossible. Because it is human and social it is part of society. Without struggle against a society that cheapens love romantic and sexual love is more often than not a sham and fraud. The promise of flying your lover to the moon, turns out being a one way trip into a living hell, a prison of never to be fulfilled expectations.Many people incorrectly believe that love is transcendent and above society. For most love is viewed as an escape. In the existential sense an escape from the responsibility to free society from the chains of racism and exploitation. Love is this never never land, a paradise, where the proverbial Alice discovers her Wonderland. I call this love as escapism .
The essence of Christian morality and for that matter the Christian life, and its magnificent spiritual and philosophical contribution to the world (the Good News, if you will), is Love. God is Love, the Bible teaches. However, the Christian Church rather than struggle to help people realize love, by upholding the current system and usually being quiet about injustice, turns out being an obstacle to love in general and Christian Love in particular. to Love in the Christian sense is to serve, to struggle to overturn all forms of injustice. to be a Christian is therefore to be a freedom fighter, a revolutionary. Anything else is a distortion of the meaning of Jesus’ life and the Christian call to love your neighbors as you would yourself. In the end most Christians are not Christians at all, they are American nationalists seeking justification for living in an unjust world while doing nothing to change it.
For me love is first and foremost a revolutionary impulse, a commitment to struggle for freedom and to change society; it is an investment in humanity as such and Black humanity in the first place. My lover is my comrade, my associate in the long journey towards a better world and better humanity. Sexual love is not the end, but a means by which we deepen bonds of ideology, morality and commitment. I love you because we love freedom; I love you because we love humanity; I love you because we hate capitalist exploitation, racism and imperialist wars. Without struggle romantic love is an empty vessel. Without struggle romantic love turns into a prison of disappointments, a house that is not a home, a series of proclamations and high sounding claims that cannot be fulfilled. Lastly, the crisi of love , both Christian and sexual in our society, and especially among black people, is in the end the cris of capitalism and its cheap morality. Capitalist propaganda insists that either in the transcendent Christian love or the escapist romantic love we can find fulfillment in a decadent society. This is one of the Big Lies of out time. To paraphrase Frederick Douglass, Without struggle there cannot be Love. She/He who wants Love without struggle wants the crops without the rain, or the sea without its mighty roar.

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A Crisis That Could Lead to Revolution: What Is To Be Done?

No jobs created in the month of August, the economy on the verge of a Great Depression, poverty, homelessness, illness , three wars, the rise of racist, fascist and right wing forces, headed by the Tea party, the two dominant political parties turning into self serving , billionaire controlled instruments of the big banks and corporations;the question is , what is to be done. Significant elements of the billionaire class see fascism and out and out dictatorship of the right as their answer to growing mass anger and militant action. Revolutionary young people are being targetted and spyed on, and calls for socialism are being called unpatriotic and threats to social order. Black and Latino communities are being bled through horrific unemployment and inprisonment.We are nearing a revolutionary crisis; that is a crisis that can only be addressed and resolved through a revolutionary change in the social system. Already the government is putting in place measure to attack potential uprisings in our cities and to protect the rich. A new leadership in the African American community must be forged. This leadership must see itself as a vanguard of the people in the way the Black Panther Party and the Communist Party did. The concept of vanguard leadership is a unique and specific one. It is almost always applied to revolutionaries and revolutionary leadership. Reformist, bourgeois and petit bourgeois leadership, while capable of joining and supporting a progressive and revolutionary movement, seldom lead it. They usually lead from behind the masses , wishing for compromise and capitulation to the elite class and dominant political forces. Petit bourgeois leaders establish themselves as media personalities, television talk show hosts, and celebrities. Vanguard leadership is formed and constituted from the masses of working and poor people and out of the day to day hard work of understanding the world, analyzing the current crisis , explaining the direction of events and coming forth with programs of ressitance and social change that the people can support. A revolutionary situation is defined when the ruling elite cannot rule in the old way and the working class , the poor and the middle classes will not be ruled in the old way. This is what we saw in South Africa as apartheid crumbled, it is what occured as the Cuban revolutkionaries marched on Havana in 1959, it is what occured in China as Mao and the Communist Party took power in Beijing, we saw something similar to this in the 1960’s and 70’s in the US, especially among African Americans; we are coming close to this in the US now. Revolutionary circumstances require revolutikonary ways of thinking. The young generations must learn from the past and study it. Seasoned revolutionaries must learn from the youth. Theory and ideologies of social transformation must be at the center of the life worlds of young and old revolutionaies. Let’s think in new ways and prepare for the difficult future we face. This crisis will not be resolved within the framework of free market capitalism. This moment is both the best of times and the worst of times.

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