I Propose Economic Warfare

Is it fair to say that at this point we’ve exhausted the utility of marching and protesting? Is it fair to say that the gains that can be made from further marching and protesting is minimal? Given our present reality, and the persistent and seemingly uncompromising flow of brutality the white supremacist state of america continues to meter out to black bodies, a flow “traditional” forms of protest has failed to stem, I would like to propose a more radical alternative; Economic Warfare.

The religion of White Supremacy demands the routine, ritual sacrifice of black bodies and it is prepared to pay a notional price for these sacrificial ceremonies in the form of compensatory pay-outs to the families of victims of its executioners. What I wager that it is not so eager to pay would be the price of its economy potential collapsing or facing severe economic pressure if the black community was to withdraw from the mainstream economy in mass numbers. When the white colonialist planters of early america decided that the solution to their labour shortage was to kidnap Africans in mass numbers and import them to the “new world”, they did so for economic reasons. When they discovered that labour solidarity between African and Europeans workers threatened their wealth and manufactured whiteness to destroy the solidarity between both groups, they did it for economic reasons. When elites in the South and North went to war to decide the fate and future direction of the new country, whilst incidentally freeing enslaved Africans in the process, they did it for economic reasons. When the united states government props up dictators and fascist regimes around the world in exchange for unfettered access of US corporations to their country’s resources, it does so for economic reasons. The foundation of empire is economy.

Trade and its dividends greases the wheels of empire. The army, navy, air force, security services, private contractors, police departments, congress, lobbyists. To undermine the economy is to undermine empire itself. The white supremacist media, in its enduring quest to hypnotize the oppressed masses of black folk into docility, regurgitates images of how marching Negros took their punishment peacefully – batons in the face and Alsatian jawlines on the thighs and crotch – before the good white government of white america finally acknowledged their humanity and granted them civil rights and integration. Integration has however also wrought a dependency on the excavation of black wealth to sustain the wealth of american society. On aggregate black Americans can lay claim to be the wealthiest group of Africans in the world at $1.3 trillion, the closest competitor is Nigeria (Nigerian economic ineptitude will be discussed at a later date) at a relatively feeble $500 billion or so, give or take the current exchange rate of the comically volatile naira.

As a group Black americans also share an unfortunate trait with other groups of Africans, a lopsided relationship between consumption and production capacity. An affliction which means that whilst other groups recycle the wealth inside their communities for up to a month, the figure for the black community is a meagre 6 hours. At the present moment the black community globally has become a stepping stone other groups of people use to scale the ladder of wealth. As an oppressed group in america its economy is one of the few but powerful leverages the community has to make its voice heard. That power can only be harnessed however if the community exorcizes its naivety and self defeating thirst for “brotherhood” with other communities. An economic boycott is the first reactive step, followed by building a black integrated economic network that serves its community and starves the predatory dominant society of the black dollars it craves so much whilst treating the patrons behind that dollar with utter disdain.

There’s a reason why none of the mainstream approved civil rights negros recommend a boycott. They are not talking business, finance and how the community can empower itself economically, just more marching and attention seeking. Marching has done its job, it brought visibility to the impunity under which the police operate. Has it stemmed the flow of killings? It hasn’t, bodies continue to drop like dominoes. Each new killing demonstrating a new variety of sociopathy and callousness with which the police regard black lives. Marching has exhausted its usefulness, violence is a last resort so I propose the next best alternative – Economic Warfare. It is not a panacea; it does however represent a critical component of a radical departure from the current endless loop of reactive and ultimately ineffective protests.

Literary Multisyllabic Flow: The Obituary of @TheColourDeebs

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This is the obituary of a young man who came looking for a wolf and got more than he bargained for.

You think you can write like me? Maneuver words like me? Internalise diverse epistemologies and diffuse them into a coherent analysis of contemporary social issues, like me? I’ve seen your blog posts and I have to say I’m not impressed. Whilst you’re sleeping, snoring your head off, I’m wide awake in the middle of the night reading new books, extracting knowledge from distinct sources, scouring the vastness of the black and African literary archive searching for new insights. New insights that will bring new questions that will demand new answers.

You call yourself Ghanaian but I’ve never seen you breakdown Kwame Nkrumah’s proposed system of scientific socialism. An African alternative to capitalism that places our communal heritage at the heart of its wealth distribution and societal organisation whilst utilising scientific methods to achieve optimum results.

I’ve never seen you break down how Ghana, the so called black star of Africa, squandered the legacy of one of the greatest leaders in Post Colonial Africa and devolved into a basket case that now needs IMF loans to save its economic soul or face certain economic ruin after spending unrealised projected oil revenues. Oh the irony. To save its soul a nation bargains with the devil.

I see you’ve written about Pan Africanism. That’s cute. I went one step further and explained to the people how imperialism and capitalism thwarted the march of Pan Africanism and substituted in its place Neo-Colonialism on the African continent.

I’ve been out in the streets of post colonial African thought and the failure of contemporary African nation states and I ain’t seen you dawg. I’ve been out in these streets questioning the value of Abrahamic religions in facilitating the emancipation of the African mind and I aint seen you dawg. I’ve been out in these streets breaking down the anti-intersectionality of black male leadership and I aint seen you dawg. I’m sure you call yourself black. Have you ever explained to the people why it’s important to fly that black flag and embrace that black identity? I aint ever seen you dawg. Where you at dawg? Why you always missing?

I saw you wrote a post about your appreciation of black women. That’s nice. Once again I went one step further and explained why they are a special group of people. Once again I’m one step ahead of you. When you’re not missing you’re in the wrong place, dawg. Step it up.

You wana dance with a wolf but you don’t know how to trap. You don’t know how to shoot. You don’t know how to place your analysis in comprehensive and nuanced context in order to make sure all logical gaps are filled. You claim technology is stifling writing but without technology you wouldn’t have a platform to write, share your thoughts with people all over the world and challenge me in the first place. Come on dawg, this is embarrassing. Without technology we wouldn’t have eBooks, kindle, WordPress, blogspots, Tumblr. All these technological innovations have made writing more accessible, not less.  There are numerous self publishers on both our twitter time lines. Was this possible 15/20 years? No. It is possible now. Why? Technology.Your analysis and critiques are outdated and lack cutting edge. Your facts are wrong.

You picked the wrong target. Bhattousai is at the frontline of the vanguard. Bhattousai can teach you how to be a man. Bhattousai can teach you how to be a man of integrity.  Bhattousai can show you how to embrace the God within. Bhattousai can teach you how to represent your country. Bhattousai is a wolf and he devours stray poachers like you for breakfast.

You think blogging is your ally? You merely adopted the blog life. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see a blog post until I was already a man, by then it was already blinding!

One more thing: I’m not a ghost writer but I can make a writer into a ghost, starting with you.

I’m on the time line, get at me.

 

Book Review: Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Ta-Nehisi Coates Between The World And Me 1c2

A few pages into Coates’s highly anticipated book and you almost get the feeling that the author was on a one man mission to banish any naiveté and false optimism about America’s racial reality on the reader’s part. America’s racial climate is cold, dark, dangerous and if you are black – extremely vulnerable. The vulnerability and lack of sovereignty which governs the black body is drilled into the reader’s psyche from the very first page. Weaving historical, contemporary and personal anecdotes seamlessly – Coates – rejects religious mysticism and post racial romanticism and instead pulverises you with the unvarnished truth of the black experience under a white supremacist regime. Yes, the black experience, where pretty lies perish and the stark reality of the physical world where black bodies are forced to exist in overwhelms the fantasy of the post Civil Rights racial utopia American society deluded itself into believing it lived under. As Coates puts it, this utopia only exists in a dream and you can only live in that dream if you are white, or those who have come to believe themselves white, to further borrow a Coatesism.

One of the three central narrative themes of this book is the idea that white people, white Americans, White America lives in a dream. The Dream. In this Dream they live perfect lives of privilege. They are free from harassment by the police. They are Gods, masters of the universe, authors and captains of their own destinies, living in 3 storey houses with manicured lawns, gated communities, the best schools, ancestral wealth and on all multimedia platforms the benefits and pre-eminence of whiteness, displayed in its full glory 24/7. However, Coates reminds us this dream is based on the expropriation, exploitation and violent brutalisation of the black body. Wake up from the dream and all you see is blood, carnage, hypocrisy, broken dreams and a sea of lies. This is what Coates tells us the dream is based on, no wonder that group of people who have come to believe themselves white refuse to wake up.

The second central narrative theme of the book is the life changing experience Coates encountered at Howard University, or as he refers to it throughout the book, The Mecca. It was here he met the love of his life and future wife, it was here the contradictions of black intellectual discourse became clear to him, the limitations of the black liberation effort and the vastness and cosmopolitan nature of blackness itself. In the Mecca Coates met black people who spoke Spanish, who spoke Portuguese, who spoke French, who were light skinned, dark skinned, mathematicians, aristocrats, nationalists and it was there also that the notion of black being beautiful was not only mere slogan, it was living breathing reality, out there in The Courtyard. And it was there also that Coates met Prince Jones, the perfect respectable black man who loved Jesus and lived a good life but was killed by a police officer who mistook him for a drug dealer.

This takes us to the third central theme of the book, the black body and the lack of sovereignty those who possess it have over it. White supremacy cheapens black life and reduces it to an amorphous entity lacking uniqueness, easily interchangeable. Prince Jones was a good man, Coates tells us, but he was black man so he was marked for death and when death came it did not care that he was a loving husband with a wife and child who came from good home and was a pillar to his community, it cut him down in cold blood. Coates goes further to remind us that the conditions under which the black citizenry of America are forced to live under is not a result of accident or circumstance, it is the result of deliberate democratically sanctioned policy by “majoritarian pigs”.

If you are looking for hope, you will not find it in this book. If you are look for a message of black triumph, you will not find it there. As Coates grimly puts it, black liberation may not even be “up to us”. What you will find is a call to struggle nonetheless because struggle we must. If we are to live a life of dignity and sanity then you must struggle, brother. This is a good book, it is a good read. I felt my soul being stirred on at least three different occasions. If you want a brutally honest account of the black American racial experience from an unapologetically black perspective then you need not hesitate in purchasing this book. Based on your vantage point your perspective on race is either about to take a nuanced or dramatic turn. Go ahead and find out.

Neo-Colonialism and The Underdevelopment of Contemporary African Nation States

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Original caption: 3/4 length photograph shows Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister of Ghana. Undated. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

In Africa today we have a neo colonialist problem and as a result we have a leadership problem. In every society the architects of said society are the political and economic elite. The political and economic elite set the development & transformation agenda. If the elites are enlightened, a prosperous and relatively egalitarian society is often the result. If the elites are greedy, avaricious, venal and irresponsible – you will have the opposite. Globally elites everywhere are venal, however it is without doubt the western elite is more enlightened than its African counterpart.

Although they too exploit their people, there is still a commitment to maintain a reasonable standard of living, a minimum standard of service delivery. However the African elite – chastened and corrupted by the historical experiences of slavery and colonialism – has come to accept western hegemony as a fact of reality. Beyond acceptance in fact, they have come to internalise it. As a result, they have abandoned all hope in the African people. At the epoch of the decolonisation effort that swept the continent in the 1960s, the seeds of neo-colonialist sabotage were already been planted by the imperialists. Now their seeds have fully blossomed, the result? The embarrassment and total disgrace that currently constitutes African political “leadership”. There is no current worthwhile effort to challenge the neo-colonialist status quo, the sacrifice for the people is not deemed worth it. The conundrum is this: Africa will remain underdeveloped until it restores its full political and economic sovereignty. This sovereignty will not be given; African progress is contradictory to capitalist exploitation by the western metropoles. The consequence of this conundrum is that African political leadership is not accountable to its people. It is accountable to itself and its western masters, the people, an after thought.

The only solution to this is simple, the restoration of full sovereignty and a severing of the neo-colonialist chord.  The restoration of the connection between leadership and people and its inherent accountability to the people. A word to the people, also. The people, although united in their dreams and aspirations, are also divided. Divided across ethnic, regional and religious lines. Ethnic power struggles and mutual suspicion in many cases remains the predominant order of the day. The euphoria and unifying effect of the decolonisation effort has long since passed.

However, the people still dream, but before reality enters the dream, hatchets must be buried. Mutual understanding reached. Forgiveness sought, forgiveness granted. African people must forgive each other and reflect on the part they played in the collective enslavement of the whole continent under a capitalist white supremacist, imperialist doctrine.

Compradors, cadres, quislings and collaborators willingly cavorted with the imperial colonists, the documents of history bears out this most unpleasant fact. This fight for sovereignty is not only necessary, it is paramount. This fight is also for dignity, for respect. According to Kwame Nkrumah neo-colonialism is the final stage of imperialism and consequently the most dangerous. I am in full agreement with this assessment. Extrication and graduation from this stage will also possibly be the most brutal. You have all the outward superficial trappings of sovereignty, you have presidents and ministers that look like you, so why is there no progress? Why do the children of Africa remain poor, undernourished and brutalised by people who look like them? This is neo-colonialism.

The mental aspect of neo-colonialism is perhaps even more fraught than the physical; the enemy is not immediately obvious because he looks just like you. Regardless, this is a battle that must be waged; this battle will be akin to exorcism. Not only are you fighting an enemy from afar, you are fighting an enemy from inside. I don’t know how fate contorted in such a way as to designate us as the group of humans who will become the most exploited and brutalised. We did not volunteer for this; nonetheless, lamentation of this fact will no longer be my preserve. Wage this battle I will, wage this battle we must. And if you brother, choose to side with those who have held us in chains and enslavement: I will not hesitate to do to you what our comrades in Haiti did to those white men who came and made them slaves. In the same ditch, you and your master will be buried.

What Is The Purpose of Religion?

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Is religion salvation? Is religion a moral code? Is religion inspiration? Is religion a way of life? Is religion a substitute for personal autonomy? Is religion, as one famous 19th century economist and philosopher put it, an opiate of the masses? As ever, my vantage point is from the African one and recent global events have once again led me to question the value of Christianity especially from a Pan-African perspective. Since the advent and creation of race by white western capitalists to consolidate their economic and social domination and rationalise their brutal exploitation of enslaved Africans, race has become the dominant conduit through which humans interracially interface with each other. Expressed in plain terms; for the non African towards the African, race trumps all other identity markers including religion.

The inescapable fact of the matter is that the manner in which Christianity was introduced to Africans on the continent and on the plantation fields of the Americas and the Caribbean was in the form of conquest. The enslavement of Africans was rationalised by the pseudo scientific notion of biological inferiority and the enslavers further elaborated that this inferiority was ordained by God. Thus religion and “science” joined in unholy matrimony to justify the domination of Africans.

It is within this context then that we must question the efficacy and usefulness of Christianity to the descendants of the enslaved and descendants of the colonised. Religion then, must serve practical purposes. It must be functional. It must be liberating, it must serve the people, it must bring hope, it must bring solace, in must be inspirational, it must bring pride, it must bring confidence, it must serve as the fuel for righteous anger – for an oppressed group – it must be revolutionary. For the African has Christianity served as a fuel for revolutionary fervour? On the balance of the available historical record the answer in the author’s opinion would be no. There exists of course isolated instances, the case of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion is a famous example, but this case remains well known because it was exceptional.

Review of the historical record will also show that black and African liberation movements at their most successful either utilised nationalist, socialist and Marxist anti imperial ideology or in the case of the diaspora utilised traditional African belief systems as a source of inspiration. Let the record further illustrate that the only successful slave rebellion in contemporary history was that of the Haitian Revolution, which used voodun as its main source of inspiration and liberation theology. An achievement Christianity & Islam as practiced by Africans cannot lay claim to.

At this point I will willingly concede requesting many Africans to cast aside oppressor imposed Abrahamic religions in favour of indigenous beliefs is too tall an order, these religions have become so integral to the way of life of many that they are willing to murder their fellow kinsmen in the name of said belief. Not to also mention that in many cases they have been thoroughly demonised and discredited. Many Africans will gladly label their ancestors heathens and espouse the supposed benefit of the “salvation” that western Christian conquest wrought, these same people then turn around and wonder why their societies remain undeveloped and under the boot of western and Arab imperialism. Christianity and its Islamic Abrahamic counterpart however has never and will not provide the necessary liberation framework needed for African people worldwide. Can a man liberate himself from an oppressor whose internalised God image is that of the oppressor he is trying to liberate himself from? To ask the question is to give the answer.

African docility has often times been excused and rationalised with Christian theology, turn the other cheek and forgive your oppressors. Forgiving individuals and groups who have displayed not a single ounce of care whether you forgive their acts or not is simply an invitation towards increased sadism and brutality from said oppressors. At that precise juncture what the misguided theologian will encounter is an emboldened violator, emboldened by the seeming naivety and cowardice of his victim.

So with this in mind when I ask what is the purpose of religion I suppose what I’m really asking is what is the purpose of specifically Abrahamic religion for the oppressed African, when his and her oppressor practice the same belief system? Who is God listening to then? By virtue of your continued oppression at the hands of those who forcibly introduced these religions to you, it is not you, African. The inspiration for liberation will be found once more when the African refers to his own saints, to his own messengers, articulating the unbridled truth of his and her reality. Where Christianity and Islam have failed miserably, African liberation theology will succeed. Like it has done in the past, like it will do in the future.

If we have a future.

 

@Bhattousai

Play Time Is Over, It’s Go Time

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marcusgarvey

Play time has been over for a while now but events this past week has really put in stark terms the renewed sense of urgency that needs to take root amongst black people world wide concerned about the welfare of the race as a whole. When recent events in the Dominican Republic and the shooting in America on Wednesday are put in wider global perspective, an eerie ambience and echo fills the air. A sense of foreboding engulfs me. There’s a pattern to these attacks, a pattern some people are perhaps failing to fully grasp the magnitude of for a variety of reasons.

The fight for African people to preserve their dignity and humanity, to be respected as an equal member of the human family is not a new one. This is an age old battle. This fight did not start when Europeans came to the shores of East, West, North and South of Africa looking for slaves to capture to plough the plantation fields of South America, North America and the West Indies. This fight dates back and perhaps even further back to thousands of years ago in Ancient Egypt when King Menes drove back the white and Asian hordes, reunited Upper and Lower Egypt and began the greatest dynastic civilisation the world has ever seen, the achievements which remain unsurpassed to this very day. Despite the achievements of that civilisation it still had to battle for the right to rule and be independent. And now despite the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, Decolonisation in Africa and the Caribbean, African people worldwide are still collectively at the bottom of the human map. Still mistreated, still catching hell, still battling to be seen as human, still crying out that our lives matter too. One wonders how much more can a race of people take.

Events in the Dominican Republic where the actions of that particular repugnant government – as black and as African by anyone’s but theirs’s delusional judgement, is threatening and seems determined to deport hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent back to Haiti due to a racist policy and the result of a societal psyche thoroughly intoxicated by the foul and inhuman ideology of white supremacy – must be viewed in a global context for the real significance of what is taking place to fully take hold. In Israel you have African migrants either forcibly deported or forcibly sterilized. After the destruction of Libya by NATO forces, hundreds of black Africans have been lynched, a refugee crisis has emerged, thousands more everyday are fleeing across the Mediterranean to the perceived salvation of Europe in boats akin to the conditions their ancestors suffered through during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. When they are not thrown overboard and brutally abused during the voyage, when they do reach their destination they are either turned back or detained in what can only be reasonably characterised as concentration camps. All over Europe and North America attitudes are hardening against migrants and refugees, the march towards deliberalisation is accelerating, visa restrictions are been tightened towards citizens of Caribbean and African countries.

For the discerning the writing is on the wall, the writing is on the wall for our oppressors also, but unlike us, they are most adept at taking care of themselves and making sure their interests takes priority. Europe is in debt, many of its member states are an economic basket case and soon they will be swept aside by the tide of their own greed and financial gluttony. When that happens what is our plan? Although groups here and there are putting in the necessary work a mass collective movement is still yet to take root. The coons are still having a merry time distracting, distorting, shocking and jiving to a boisterous banjo dance. The music must stop. The banjo drums confiscated. The tap dancing shoes put back in their shoe box. The clown paint wiped off.

Events in the Dominican Republic and then the white terrorist massacre of peaceful adults and grandmas at a African Methodist Church founded by an African revolutionary who was on his way to leading the largest slave revolt in US history and then escape to Haiti before been betrayed by other Africans should put anyone concerned with our collective welfare on red alert. Its time to work, playtime is over, its go time.

@Bhattousai

The Exposition of a Negro Apologist

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He quoted Martin Luther King out of context in the service of derailment. A favourite white supremacist/white liberal tactic

He thinks those who say #BlackLivesMatters are seeking to elevate black life over all others instead of seeking to bring it on par with the value of white life. His response? “All Lives Matter”. But of course.

He proposes the discontinuation of a representative body and officers dedicated specifically to a marginalised group.

He thinks that young black students reiterating the importance of the education curriculum reflecting their cultural background and how white supremacy affects their lives makes them “misguided activists”.

He thinks that human beings are “one people” with no differentiation and a racial caste system that privileges those with white and pale skin and oppresses those with more melanin.

And then the final straw, the coup de grace, he thinks that the best way to stop racism, quoting Morgan Freeman, is to “stop talking about it. My Goodness.

Ladies and gentlemen meet Maz Hussein, a consummate 21st century Negro Apologist.

I was at work during my lunch and logged into twitter when I saw a series of tweets retweeted unto my timeline in response to the aforementioned Mr Hussein by a mutual follower elaborating on his misguided stance in response to this article. Essentially Mr Hussein, our dearest Negro Apologist, thinks that black students demanding a white free space for them to discuss issues pertaining and specific to them at a National Black Students Conference is the same as white discrimination and prejudice. As a result Mr Hussein categorised this event as the first time he has ever being ashamed to be black.

This racially and politically unconscious statement is indicative of a man completely out of touch with the daily reality and experiences of young black people and other marginalised ethnic minorities. Mr Hussein clearly has no understanding of structural power relations. He has no understanding of who controls institutions of power, who grants access, who monopolises them and who utilises them to their benefit and to the detriment of others.

Instead of proselytising warped interpretations and the pathologising of his fellow young black people, Mr Hussein needs to pick up a book and educate himself on race relations and how the daily experiences of young black people despite their many achievements and relentless stride towards bettering themselves is still impacted by racism and white supremacy. Yes, white supremacy Mr Hussein, the idea you derided by putting it in quotation marks in your worthless self demeaning article. A day will come Mr Hussein where you will suffer the kind of discrimination that will pierce your coonish heart to the core and when that day comes it is those young people who you have judged as “misguided activists” whose help you will seek in order to deliver justice on your behalf.

It is *I* Mr Hussein who is ashamed to share the title of black with a man such as yourself so lacking in integrity and racial pride, I can only hope one day you see the light and atone for this sordid and embarrassing episode.

 

@Bhattousai

Truth

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MalcolmX

The truth cares not for the feelings of any man or woman. The truth is alive and well. The truth can be hidden, the truth can be obscured, the truth can be demonised, the truth can be vilified, the truth can be ostracised, but the truth cannot be killed. Truth is immortal. The truth can be buried but one day it will rise, like Lazarus did, in one of your favourite fairytale bible stories. The truth is light; it will guide you through the darkness of lies. The truth will set you free; it will break the chains of dishonesty.

The truth can make you a martyr, the truth can make you a saint, the truth will make sure your name is never forgotten, the people will remember you stood by truth, when lesser men and women withered in the face of tyranny and oppression. The truth is your ally. The truth can make you a better man; the truth can make you a better woman. The truth can make you suffer, it can bring you pain, but through pain, the journey through pain, on the other side you will meet a new man, you will meet a new woman and you will like what you see. The truth will make you proud of whom you are. It can also make you ashamed, but if you dedicate yourself to the path of righteousness, the truth will become your greatest ally.

The truth is not universally accepted. The truth has many enemies. The enemies of truth are the liars, the dishonest, the conniving, the treacherous, the deceitful, the mendacious, the fraudulent and corrupt, dressed in cloaks of truthful verisimilitude. These are the enemies of truth who have built themselves an empire of lies. They despise the truth; the truth will not set them free because their whole reality has being built in a vacuum absent of truth. Truth is the hurricane that will sweep aside their domino of lies. They do not want the truth or anything to do with it. When they embrace the truth it is only in the service of further manipulation and lies.

I have but one message here, if you want a life of peace, a life of congruence with your innermost desires and your outward expression, embrace the truth brother, embrace the truth sister. When darkness comes, the truth will be by your side, the truth will be your ally, and should you fall the truth will be your legacy, it will tell your story long after you’ve gone. Someone will remember you, your story and your truth won’t die with you.

Truth remains undefeated, truth is immortal, truth is everlasting.

Fundamental Determinants of Male Receptivity to Feminism

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Dave-the-Riveter

I think as a man your receptivity to feminism is governed by 3 major interconnected factors (additional factors are derivatives of this primary 3, IMO).

  1. Is your notion of equality between the sexes sentimental or substantive? Is your claim as a respecter of women mere sentiment or does your behavior and actions substantively reflect this.
  2. Is the foundation of your masculinity built upon the assumption of a natural superiority in relation to women? Is your ego and self esteem built on the notion of men being superior to women and does it form a core part of your identity?
  3. The level of your internalised patriarchal conditioning and your malleability or resulting rigidity to the fluidity of gender assigned roles. Do you believe gender roles are automatic and preordained and any attempt to expand this remit violates some preeminent law and tantamount to sacrilege?

The degree to which you hold these beliefs and values will largely determine your receptivity to feminist discourse and activism. Evaluating myself against the 3 prescribed factors how do I personally measure up?

  1.  My notion of equality between the sexes is substantive, logical, instinctive and assumed as the natural state of being between the 2 sexes (gender is a fluid continuum but I’ve restricted it here to two for simplicity purposes). To contextualize: I view women as potential partners (romantic & non romantic) and potential competitors but I *do not* ultimately view them as adversaries.
  2. The foundation of my masculinity is built upon the belief of my *inherent* capability as a human being. The feedback from action and reality continually confirms the belief I have in my capability and thus a positive feedback loop begins and perpetually reinforces itself.
  3. I have always being an independent thinker; the patriarchal notion of inherent male superiority to women was therefore never acceptable. My reality couldn’t confirm it, it contradicted it. My instinct couldn’t accept it either and as a consequence found it unconsciously unacceptable.

Although I refrain from labeling myself a feminist, I do believe it has a valuable contribution to make to the world and it will be a part of our collective reality for decades and perhaps centuries to come. The better men become accustomed to this new reality and adapt to it, the better.

Exploring The Objective And Subjective Definition Of Success Within A Black Context

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During one of my many introspective moments it recently dawned on me that it is quite difficult to arrive at an objective, universally acceptable definition of success. Success means many things to many people. As a black man, the definition of what constitutes success or more specifically what constitutes black success is even less objective. For example, I am sure most people either black or white will categorise Barack Obama as an example of a successful man, a successful black man.

I personally do not.

Obama, by every conventional metric available constitutes a success. A Harvard graduate, a millionaire, a married father with two daughters, a wife every bit as successful in her own right, a bestselling author, a Nobel prize winner and the first black president of the United States of America. Despite this impressive sounding list of accolades a hollow feeling always grips me when I evaluate what this kind of success truly means. In order to be accepted into the mainstream there is an unwritten demand that you must sever links to the community you come from. At the very least you cannot publicly take their side in a political dispute that pits the dominant group of society against the community you come from, lest you upset the true patrons of your success. Obama is supposedly the most powerful man in the world yet he remains impotent to act decisively in favour of his community in the face of relentless attacks by agents of the white supremacist state machine.

This rather unbecoming turn of events brings into illumination the fact that mainstream white society demands a separation of individual success from group uplift. It also demands a strict adherence within narrowly defined parameters of what it defines as acceptable behaviour in exchange for the success granted and the platform given. This bargain, this exchange is what many characterise as black success. It is one I reject wholeheartedly. The underlying theme is this, “we will allow you to become successful in our world and give you this platform but you must never do or say anything that will make us uncomfortable, even if it means having to stand aside and watch whilst your community suffers”.

This version of success sacrifices the collective in favour of the individual. It is a conception of success steeped in the western, capitalist tradition where the pursuit of individual desires at the expense of the collective is deemed justified and acceptable. Practising and chasing this form of success for a marginalised and already exploited group often leads to disastrous consequences. It leads to a desperate fight in which members of a marginalised group fight for a singular form of success and the “winner” is he or she who proves to be the most adept and equally prepared to exploit their community in the same fashion as the dominant group who created the structure and system of exploitation in the first place.

There is also an issue of pride here. As a black man, how can I call myself a success if the terms of that success is determined and policed by a system created by another group of men who have historically and contemporarily terrorised the community from which I come from? This version of success is thus unacceptable to me.

My definition of success links the individual to the collective in order to aid mutual growth and benefit. Being from a marginalised group makes this especially imperative. Success must equal freedom or else it is incomplete. Black success must equal the ability to stand up for values and ideals that represent core tenets of group advancement but brings it into an adversarial terrain with the forces of oppression. Black success must mean the ability to embrace blackness it all its blackness without the need to saturate it in order for it to qualify for white consumption and remain below the threshold of white comfortability.  Finally, black success must be unique and original, not bastardisations of white capitalist success with all its poisonous individualism and group oppressive permutations.