"When we get into social amnesia - into forgetting our history - we also forget or misinterpret the history and motives of others as well as our motives. The way to learn of our own creation, how we came to be what we are, is getting to know ourselves. It is through getting to know the self intimately that we get to know the forces that shaped us as a self. Therefore knowing the self becomes a knowledge of the world. A deep study of Black History is the most profound way to learn about the psychology of Europeans and to understand the psychology that flows from their history. If we don’t know ourselves, not only are we a puzzle to ourselves; other people are also a puzzle to us as well. We assume the wrong identity and identify ourselves with our enemies. If we don’t know who we are then we are whomever somebody tells us we are." —The immortal OG Dr. Amos N. Wilson (The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness," Afrikan World InfoSystems, New York (1993) p. 38)

Boondocks, "The Hunger Strike" [Banned from TV]

Monday, November 12, 2007

March Madness


The triumphant, luminary, giant, John Henrick Clarke indicated that the most fundamental question to ask any leader is “Leader, where are you leading me to?”.

The prospect of Rev. Al Sharpton’s leadership has taken on a reckless terrifying dimension. He is the default black leader who has become increasingly relevant in the absence of genuine Black leaders who’ve either passed or have been neutralized.

Rev. Al is an indispensable, courageous and welcomed soldier for his abilities (within the cultural media propaganda war) to combat the talking head pundits who spew lies from the pulpits of corporate news media institutions. He has a pronounced ability to articulate and boldly defend the popular attitudes and positions held by his largely conformist "African American", constituency. His analytical insights are typically appropriate, witty, unmistakably down to earth, humorous (at times), colorful and marked with the charisma of a natural leader. His talk show ‘Sharp Talk’ is an excellent forum that gives voice to some of our brightest and best thinkers to address relevant issues in our community. Hence, the value of Rev Al within the context of these public spaces is justified and holds enormous value to Afrikan people as a whole.* However, these qualities of Rev Al’s leadership are not being brought to question herein. Despite, all his wonderful qualities, what is questionable is his persistence on promoting ineffective, reactive, dead-end solutions to the issues that he so eloquently illuminates. He does a wonderful job of articulating the issues and bringing them into public focus but falls short in being able to provide thoughtful, evolutionary, forward thinking solutions to effect real change as a result thereof. In other words, the good reverends diagnosis of issues tends to be correct but his prescriptions for treatment are largely flawed. This is why his rhetoric is tolerated and even welcomed on FOX news and other racist media channels. The white power structure welcomes Black leadership that promotes slow, reformist measures that operate within the legal confines of the system. A natural Afrikan leader must be well rounded, forward thinking, flexible, and be able to define, contextualize, and analyze crisis issues to most importantly put forth meaningful, effective strategies to mediate and manage crisis situations towards the achievement of progressive ends.

Most recently, Sharpton has called for yet another rally on November 16, 2007 in Washington, DC in spite of the proven ineffectiveness of these impotent, reactionary, wimp marches. These rallies are nothing more than victim support groups where abused people get together to collectively vent and express their frustrations or simply attempt to deal with their problems by just showing up. The stategy of the battleplan is to simply show up without a plan or weapons. His most recent rally in Jena was a huge effort, which yielded relatively minor results considering all the effort and time put forth. The following official statement on Al Sharpton’s ‘National Action Network’ website is unbelievably ridiculous, dangerously absurd and highlights the pathology of a leader who has yet to break the spell of Post Traumatic Slave syndrome (which unfortunately happens to the best of us):

“With hate crimes and noose hangings on the rise across the country, we must have the federal government protect us from local hate and bigotry. From Mychal Bell in Jena, Louisiana, to Sean Bell in New York, it is time for the federal government to intervene, and you can help us achieve this objective. “**

While I too believe that the federal government should intervene I'm also of the belief that you would have a better chance getting your 40 acres and mule. The vanguard leaders and organizations who hold the historical distinction of effectively elevating Black status & advancing the conditions for Afrikan people would be livid at the bizarre reasoning behind these assumptions and strategies. How could the same federal government that implemented Cointelpro and covertly sold cocaine to the black community (creating the crack epidemic) be relied on to administer justice? Where is the revolutionary logic and spirit of black leaders of past like Assata Shakur and Dhoruba Bin Wahad who in their time not only advocated for the ideological necessity to rid the Afrikan community of drugs but went a step further and literally took the drugs and profits from the drug dealers? Progressive, revolutionary individuals and groups effectively sought the use of internal resources and organization as the only dependable means of demonstrating power over their oppressor. Genuine leaders such as Robert Williams, Malcolm X, The Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, MOVE, etc, never sought assistance or cooperation with or from the overarching theoretical “justice system” because it was obvious that the government was in concert with the efforts to neutralize our progress. Unlike Sharpton, leaders like Assata were never allowed media space to speak openly and candidly about her leadership ideology and strategies because they were effectively threatening to the status quo. Malcolm X warned in his classic 1964 speech “The Ballet or the Bullet” that “When you take your case to Washington, D.C., you're taking it to the criminal who's responsible; it's like running from the wolf to the fox.”

These rallies are not empowering because they place us in a fragile position as victims to plead for relief from our abusers thereby reinforcing our psychological acceptance of inferior status as secondary citizens and our dependence on others. Rev. Al’s ideology (or idiot-tology in this case) cedes the power to effect change in the hands of our abuser. Rev Al practices what I call “the politics of pity” wherein he seeks to use our tears to seek remorse from the people who caused us to cry in the first place.*** He believes that he can assemble Black folks en mass to stand before a numb and insensitive, justice department to collectively demonstrate how poorly we’ve been treated, in hopes that this will appeal to their sense of compassion. Why does he expect the “federal government” to conflict their own nature in granting us political justice (as if the justice department is somehow unaware of our mistreatment)? Rev Al suffers from Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome because his mentality is such that his concept of justice requires the cooperation and consent of his white slave master who in this case is represented by “the federal government”. In doing so he seeks meaningless protection from someone or something outside of himself. It should be quite clear that anyone seeking assistance from the government to provide protection is inherently weak and accepting of their own powerlessness. True Black Power will only be demonstrated when the federal government attempts to seek us out to make concessions, not the other way around. This reckless dependency will only effectively serve to increase the vulnerability of black folks thereby allowing more of us to be killed and abused.

These rally’s serve to bolster the local economies in which they are held. The residual effects of the large influx of the thousands of people who attend these rallies is such that local white owned business, including fancy hotels, convenience stores, restaurants, airlines, gas stations, public transportation services, taxis services, bus companies, etc... tend to benefit from the added business. Hence, we ironically serve to strengthen and reinforce the existing power structure by feeding it our money. Any jurisdiction that needs economic stimulation need only to scandolously abuse a black citizen so that we can show up en mass to effectively jolt their local economy.

I dare to suggest that if Malcolm X were alive he would have charged that this rally is also an opportunity for bourgeoisie blacks and political inverts to convince themselves that they are actively involved in “the struggle” while in effect having done nothing or risked anything necessary for change. These rallies are often simply low risk protests, and forms of mild entertainment that people attend for status enhancement, bragging rights or just to break the monotony of the everday, uninvolved, life experience that the uninitiated called boredom. Some attend these rally’s to hustle t-shirts (and I don’t blame them). Malcolm fittingly referred to the “March on Washington” as the “Farce on Washington” for many of the same reasons (minus the t-shirts).

Rev Al’s ideology is rooted in the disillusionment that transplanting the passive, civil rights movement tactics of the past into today’s struggle will effectively change the system. The belief that the civil rights movement was the principal factor in effecting black progress is a gross falsification of historical fact and one of the greatest disinformation achievements of the elitist white media and public fool system, which seeks to hide the real effects behind America’s great compromise. Nonetheless, It must be noted that the Civil Rights movement and it’s principal leader Martin Luther King Jr. was hand picked and co-opted in service of the white power structure to nullify or overshadow the public’s perception of the progress and potential of black militant organizations that pre-existed and operated simultaneously. The growing cultural awareness and political acuity of Afrikans in America was heightened with the advent of the Black Muslim movement, (which started with the Nation of Islam and later manifested into groups such as Orthodox Black Muslims, Nation of Gods & Earths, Moorish Science Temple, etc…) many of which advocated for serious Marcus Garvey type, militant, nationalist agenda, that included economic and political sovereignty amongst it goals. The thought of a potentially, powerful, liberated, sovereign, unified, Black political force (or Fear of A Black Planet) was petrifying to the white power structure, who quickly and defensively sought cooperation with civil rights leaders who’s goals and strategies were a welcomed alternative to it’s more radical Muslim inspired predecessor and cousin The Nation of Islam. The civil rights movements strategies were preferred by the white power structure because while it forced the power structure to make some concessions to black people, it did not seek to rearrange or challenge the hierarchical relationships of white dominance. The so called civil rights leaders who exist today are still willing to leave the hierarchal structure of white dominance unchallenged, which is why they go to Washington to plead with the stubbornly persistent white power structure to offer it relief, as opposed to organizing a force to orchestrate that relief. Rev Al appears either unwilling or unequipped to utilize the bargaining chip that includes radical economic boycotts or militant organization. The unfortunate, inaction and timidness of these civil rights inspired leaders and the neutralization of genuine Black leadership has allowed the white power structure to grow stronger by enveloping itself within the apparatus of advanced police protection.

While, I’m reluctant to pass judgment on Al’s personal integrity or genuine commitment and passion for the advancement of our people, I’m not beyond considering the plausibility of a self motivated, profit driven motive either. All logical, feasible possibilities must be considered when analyzing our state of affairs and the leaders who influence them. The sad reality is that there are many amongst us who profit from our dire circumstances. Given the exclusivity of having pertinent information, skills or access to key resources many abuse their positions for personal gain by actively regenerating or ignoring socio-political inefficiencies (and disasters) in order to establish perpetual dependency on themselves and their services. Figuratively speaking, the plumber who fixes broken pipes with band-aids does so to remain gainfully employed. This is not a far reaching concept for many (but not all) politicians (federal, state, local), judges, lawyers, bailsman, correction officers, union leaders, school board officials, neighborhood community leaders, etc… Remember Barbara Bullock the former president of the Washington DC teachers union? Even some drug dealers, rappers and certain church leaders have a vested interest in maintaining the problems within the community. Many of the problems that plague our communities are engineered, built in glitches & inefficiencies that serve to bolster the strength of the system. The victims of this system are often times unsuspectingly naïve in their assumption that the system exists to serve the people. What many believe to be inefficiencies within the system are often times oppurtunities for intelligent mid level cooperators who are willing to exploit the trust of the people in exchange for personal gain. The system benefits because these potential agitators of the system are instead willingly used to pacify the people into submission and acceptance of the status quo. Sharpton has made a career as a type of ambulance chaser attaching himself to crisis issues impacting the Afrikan community and Afrikan victims of social injustice, which in and of itself does not condemn him. However, when this is considered in combination with his suspicious persistence in promoting obvious dead end solutions it does raise flags. Sharpton would arguably be out of a job if these circumstances ceased to exist.

Power over or within the system will only be gained when we learn to use our collective efforts to willfully affect the flow of capitol on which the system depends. Any leader who cannot put forth a strategy towards these ends may in essence only be concerned about the capital flowing in the direction of their pockets.

*Unfortunately, these victories over media pundits are largely symbolic victories that are largely insignificant and disconnected from real life. While we cheer Rev. Al on television, we must realize that these a victories hardly amount or translate to anything tangible in real life. When the television is turned off we are forced to deal with real life situations without Rev Al at our side to speak for our bold and subtle inevitable encounters with modern racism and white supremacy. Moreover, the 30 minute Sharp Talk show is much too short of a duration for serious discussions and airs at odd times.

**I refuse to comment on the statements made by SCLC president, Charles Steele who sais, “Every day, every day, we must fight for our freedom. Dr. King says it will be either non-violence or non-existence. That’s why we must march on a continuous basis.” I don't make these things up. See article 'Justice March on Washington Nov. 16' in the Amsterdam news. These coward leaders are willing to pay the price of extinction in order to avoid a fight with their master. It's a sad day indeed.

***He also seeks to use the supposed superior morality of Black people to shame the government into action for allowing the unwarranted abuse of our people. The morality package is a hard one to sell Washington (and white folks generally) provided the public perception and media promotion of corporate inspired, black minstrel, hip hop, circus like, cartoonish, Snoop Dogg culture. Subconsciously, Cosby amongst other Civil Rights type strategists have been particularly critical of this negative perception because it destroys or contradicts the ability to exploit this political currency. Afrikan people are the only known people to assume that morality (good behavior) should afford us political gain.

Brother Okra



Bakare said...

Brother Okra:

I applaud your engagement of this issue, however, I do disagree with your overall ascersion that marches, such as this, are not beneficial to the struggle for justice and equality. Though I have my doubts about the impact the march will have on racism/white supremecy, I do believe that these marches serve as galvanizing agents for peoples of like minds to connect for further local grass-roots movement. Further, there must be an agency of visibility. That to say, if their is no vocal, visible agitation to skin that is riddled with cancer, it goes unnoticed by the body, in this case the world over.
That said, your analysis of the current state of affairs of Africans in the American portion of the diaspora is riviting.

Okra Afrika said...


Asante sana Bakare.
Your comments are greatly appreciated!

Let me be clear. I’m in no way advocating that marches are not necessary nor am I an absolutist. Our issues are complex and require a variety of organization mediums to activate the people. Moreover, there must be a balance of organizational planning (marches) and (revolutionary) action. We have instead overplanned an agenda of inaction. The habitual addiction and sole reliance on marches as a principal organizational tool distracts attention from more effective modes of mass action. Aside from the marches there is very little concerted organization to direct or sustain mass action.

There are two principal types of marches/rallies. There are proactive goal orientated demonstrations & reactive, protest marches. The demonstrations are mobilization efforts where citizens are organized to effectively participate in a ritual of action. For example, The Black Panther Party organized rallies of community police watch teams to monitor and curb abusive police conduct. Police officers caught abusing their powers were subject to militant repercussions of mass proportions. The results were effective and motivating. Protest marches on the other hand, are largely symbolic. The action is confined to lofty speeches and self-fulfilling rhetoric. The result is that people are left with a sense of achievement for just showing up to the march. In addition, the soft leadership and tone that tend to permeate these ‘Sharpton-styled’ marches serve to dissipate the natural aggression, charge and adrenaline that should be channeled into real action. The atmosphere of protest marches are typically and highly, emotional but tend to fizzle within days of the march because there are no results to be seen. What really kills the momentum is when most of the attendees must go back to work the following Monday, at white owned companies to pay the high credit card bills that they generated from attending the march. Ouch!

I agree with your assertion that marches can be a galvanizing force for grass roots efforts but unfortunately they’re highly inefficient in that regard. Marches are no longer necessary to establish a social political network because anyone capable of attending a march can potentially conduct the same networking more efficiently through technological mediums. We are networked with the world through phones (lan, cell & voip), fax machines, the internet (myspace, youtube, email, websites, blogs, etc…). We also have limited but potentially effective capabilities within tv and radio communications. These mediums were largely absent from civil rights organizers in the 60’s who sincerely benefited from the networking aspects of the marches.

The money that it frivolously spent on expenses to travel to (and clothes that we buy to look fly at) these marches could be spent towards the establishment of defense funds, technological development funds, a military budget, credit unions, black credit cards, etc…. Serious groups don’t show up en mass to Washington to protest or implement political agenda, they organize lobby groups made up of chosen, specialized and highly talented, skilled, organized, agenda driven groups to execute their cause in Washington. See article (outdated but still applicable)

Moreover, serious groups don’t broadcast their strategies and agenda publicly in open air. Our leaders must understand that the ‘art of war’ is the ‘art of deception’.

Admittedly, showing up en mass does give off the impression that we are more organized then we really are which has some benefits. But any bluff will ultimately be tested. Our visible protests set off alarms amongst our enemies that genuinely motivate them into preparing for action against us. We should prepare ourselves to back the bluff.

(As a side note, Sharpton should be extremely careful in distancing himself from the potential soldiers that constitute the Hip Hop community. Any real leader must be capable of galvanizing that force!!!)

Revolutionary Salute,
One Street Nation,
Brother Okra

James Tubman said...

On the Amos Wilson lecture, "Negro Assimilationsist fantasies and the reality of white supremacy," Wilson quotes the Rev. Al Sharpton going to Korea to be a keynote speaker at the meeting of one of their major organizations.

This was in 1994, but it might ilustartae that maybe he's using the same old fashion civil rights solutions to our problems because he's being paid by Koreans and others not to use viable economic solutions that might threaten the Korean business and other communites.

In one of Malcolm's speeches he talks about how a whole bunch of civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkens and others were funded by White and Jewish sources.

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Sharpton travels everyday. He goes all over the country and the world.

Who is financing him to do these things.

Follow the money then you will find the puppet master.

Please respond to this.

And I would appreciate it if you sent me a copy of Male/Female Relations via email at tubmansolution@gmail.com.

Ashe, and Amandla!

Okra Afrika said...


You hit it on the nose brother James!!! Excellent points made. These leaders are getting paid to police and curb the actions of the Black community. They keep us quiet and docile in exchange for personal, material gain. Heavy pimp game.

The Male/Female Relations video that I have is in VHS format. I'm trying to digitize all my video. When I do, I'll be sure to send or transmit a copy.

Otherwise, since you live in Baltimore, you can contact my good friend Sister Yaa, at 410-889-0477 or visit REALITY SPEAKS BOOKSTORE AND MEDIA CENTER, 219 E. 25TH STREET. She would most likely have a copy for sale. If you do tell her Okra said peace.

www.blackconsciousness.com is another online video retailer based in Baltimore. They're very professional. The videos are good quality videos and fast delivery.

Sorry to sound like a commercial but it's imperative that we support the enterprise of Black Business

Brother Okra

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