A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
UNITED NATIONS — More than 130 countries voted on Thursday to upgrade Palestine to a nonmember observer state of the United Nations, a triumph for Palestinian diplomacy and a sharp rebuke to the United States and Israel.
But the vote, at least for now, did little to bring either the Palestinians or the Israelis closer to the goal they claim to seek: two states living side by side, or increased Palestinian unity. Israel and the militant group Hamas both responded critically to the day’s events, though for different reasons.
The new status will give the Palestinians more tools to challenge Israel in international legal forums for its occupation activities in the West Bank, including settlement-building, and it helped bolster the Palestinian Authority, weakened after eight days of battle between its rival Hamas and Israel.
But even as a small but determined crowd of 2,000 celebrated in central Ramallah in the West Bank, waving flags and dancing, there was an underlying sense of concerned resignation.
“I hope this is good,” said Munir Shafie, 36, an electrical engineer who was there. “But how are we going to benefit?”
Still, the General Assembly vote — 138 countries in favor, 9 opposed and 41 abstaining — showed impressive backing for the Palestinians at a difficult time. It was taken on the 65th anniversary of the vote to divide the former British mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, a vote Israel considers the international seal of approval for its birth.
The past two years of Arab uprisings have marginalized the Palestinian cause to some extent as nations that focused their political aspirations on the Palestinian struggle have turned inward. The vote on Thursday, coming so soon after the Gaza fighting, put the Palestinians again — if briefly, perhaps — at the center of international discussion.
“The question is, where do we go from here and what does it mean?” Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, who was in New York for the vote, said in an interview. “The sooner the tough rhetoric of this can subside and the more this is viewed as a logical consequence of many years of failure to move the process forward, the better.” He said nothing would change without deep American involvement.
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, speaking to the assembly’s member nations, said, “The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine,” and he condemned what he called Israeli racism and colonialism. His remarks seemed aimed in part at Israel and in part at Hamas. But both quickly attacked him for the parts they found offensive.
“The world watched a defamatory and venomous speech that was full of mendacious propaganda against the Israel Defense Forces and the citizens of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel responded. “Someone who wants peace does not talk in such a manner.”
While Hamas had officially backed the United Nations bid of Mr. Abbas, it quickly criticized his speech because the group does not recognize Israel.
“There are controversial issues in the points that Abbas raised, and Hamas has the right to preserve its position over them,” said Salah al-Bardaweel, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, on Thursday.
“We do not recognize Israel, nor the partition of Palestine, and Israel has no right in Palestine,” he added. “Getting our membership in the U.N. bodies is our natural right, but without giving up any inch of Palestine’s soil.”
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, spoke after Mr. Abbas and said he was concerned that the Palestinian Authority failed to recognize Israel for what it is.
“Three months ago, Israel’s prime minister stood in this very hall and extended his hand in peace to President Abbas,” Mr. Prosor said. “He reiterated that his goal was to create a solution of two states for two peoples, where a demilitarized Palestinian state will recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“That’s right. Two states for two peoples. In fact, President Abbas, I did not hear you use the phrase ‘two states for two peoples’ this afternoon. In fact, I have never heard you say the phrase ‘two states for two peoples’ because the Palestinian leadership has never recognized that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
The Israelis also say that the fact that Mr. Abbas is not welcome in Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave run by Hamas, from which he was ejected five years ago, shows that there is no viable Palestinian leadership living up to its obligations now.
Marvin X's peripatetic journey across America extended beyond the USA mainland to the US colony of Puerto Rico where the poet enjoyed some R and R after three months on the road promoting his Revolution of the Rocks Book Tour 2012, including his Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables and fables, Black Bird Press, 2012. But his How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, a Pan African 12-step model, was the most requested title.
After spending time splashing in the waters of the Caribbean @ 87 degrees, the poet boarded a city bus for a ride through the hood of San Juan where he observed projects upon projects of poor people as opposed to the beachside condos of the rich and famous. X did not see the so called middle class unless they were mixed with the poor as the city bus went from hood to hood on the slow ride to the airport.
X also spent a few hours in Old San Juan near the cruise ships where he encountered many black bourgeoisie negroes returning to the ship with their bags of Gucci and other products from the White Supremacy world of make believe or conspicuous consumption as described by sociologist E. Franklin Frazier's 60s classic The Black Bourgeoisie. X wondered why they needed to travel to Puerto Rico to buy garbage they could buy in New York or San Francisco?
After a few days, Dr. M returned to the US mainland and decided to set up his Academy of da Corner in the hood of Bed Sty where his daughter lives. After getting permission from the numbers runners standing nearby, X set up his Academy of da Corner at Marcus Garvey and DeKalb, giving out free books and literature to all, including his classic Mythology of Pussy and Dick, a manhood/womanhood biblo-rites of passage. To the detractors, Dr. M says check out the news, look at the US military generals falling from power, the Secret Service boys who went down in Columbia, or the latest Kansas City Chief's linebacker who killed his girlfriend and himself due to twisted male/female relations, no doubt due to his addiction to White Supremacy notions of the patriarchal domination of females, that females are the chattel or personal property of males.
Throughout my Revolution on the Rocks Book Tour, I have tried to instruct males they do not own the pussy. Indeed, a woman at Marcus Garvey and DeKalb Academy of da Corner, stated, "I know I own my stuff, " echoing a line from Colored Girls.....
A young man demanded X give him his phone number since he might have need for it in his male/female relations. Brothers, if you need, please give me a call at 510-200-4164, 24/7. Call me before you want to physically, verbally or emotionally abuse your partner!!!!!!!
Marvin X has been ignored and silenced like Malcolm X would be ignored and silenced if he had lived on into the Now. He's one of the most extraordinary, exciting black intellectuals living today! --Rudolph Lewis, Chickenbones.com
BOOK MARVIN X
FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH
HE'S LIVING BLACK HISTORY
A live dog is better than a dead lion!--African proverb
NATION OF ISLAM, BLACK PANTHERS, BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT, Black Student Union, BLACK STUDIES Went into exile and served time in Federal Prison for refusing to fight in Vietnam! Removed from teaching Black Studies at Fresno State University, 1969, on orders from Governor Ronald Reagan, "Get him off campus by any means necessary!" Gov. Reagan removed Angela Davis from UCLA same year.
"Marvin X is still the undisputed king of black consciousness!"
--Dr. Nathan Hare, the Black Think Tank
"Marvin X was my teacher. Many of our comrades came through his Black Arts Theatre: Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Emory Douglas, Samuel Napier!"
--Dr. Huey P. Newton, co-founder, Black Panther Party
BOOKING AGENT: SUN IN LEO 718-496-2305
Marvin X is now available for speaking and reading at colleges and universities. He does require a freedom of speech clause in his contract. Fee: $5,000-$10.000. Contact his agent: Sun in Leo PR: 718-496-2305; firstname.lastname@example.org
Marvin X's Revolution on the Rocks Book Tour 2012
Tuesday, Sept 18
Africana Studies Department, University of Houston
Thursday, Sept 20 Elders Institute of Wisdom, SHAPE Community Center, 11:30am Friday, Sept 21 Texas Southern University, School of Business Saturday, Sept 22 Secret Word Cafe, 9pm Sunday, Sept 23 Third World Imports, 2-4pm
Kings Day at Oyutunji African Village, Sheldon, SC
Brecht Forum, Manhattan, New York
Joins Amiri and Amina Baraka at the Blue Mirror, Newark NJ
Thursday, 6-8pm, Sankofa Books, 2714 Georgia Avenue, NW, Wash DC
Black Power to Hip Hop Conference, Howard University, Wash DC
Sunday, 7pm, Umoja House, 2015 Bunker Hill Rd., NE, Wash DC
Friday, 7pm, Moonstone Art Center, 110 South 13th Street, Philadelphia PA
Friday, 3pm, Black and Nobel Books, 1411 West Erie Ave., Philadelphia
Saturday, 4-6pm, Black Power Babies, Restoration Plaza, Skylight Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
The Free Market Place, 905 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
Interview with PBS
Midnight flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico for R & R
Marvin X is Plato Teaching on Oakland’s Streets
By Ishmael Reed
Marvin X is not only a terrific writer but a Black Power historian…. However, if I had to pin down the influences upon Marvin X’s, “The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/Fables,” I would cite the style of Yoruba texts: texts in the Yoruba language reveal that didacticism is a key component of the Yoruba story telling style.
Africans use proverbs to teach their children the lessons of life. Marvin X acknowledges the Yoruba influence on his book. He imparts wisdom by employing cautionary tales and uses his own life and mistakes to consul the young to avoid mistakes.
Moreover, unlike some of the books written by popular African American writers, his book does not look backward to the period of slavery, though some of that is here. He writes about the contemporary problems of a community under attack.
He blames crack for causing “ a great chasm between adults and children, children who were abandoned, abused, and neglected, emotionally starved and traumatized.”
Marvin X exposes the situation of other ethnic groups invading Black neighborhoods and making the lion’s share of profits from vice, while the media focus upon the mules of the operation, the pathetic and disgusting pimps, the drug dealers who are killing each other over profits that are piddling next to the great haul made by the suppliers of the guns and the drugs.
Don’t expect the local newspapers to cover this end of the distribution. In the “Parable of the Donkey,” Marvin X writes: “ The so-called Negro is the donkey of the world, everybody rides him to success. If you need a free ride to success, jump on the Negro’s back and ride into the sunset. He will welcome you with open arms. “No saddle needed, just jump on his back and ride him to the bank.”
When you learn that the government ignored the dumping of drugs into our neighborhoods by their anti-communist allies, you can understand the meaning of Marvin X’s words. Not only are invading ethnic groups and white gun suppliers benefitting from using the Black neighborhoods as a resource but the government as well.
In “Parable of the Parrot,” Marvin X also takes aim at the Dream Team academics who “parrot” the line coming down from the One Percent that the problems of Blacks are self-inflicted.
“The state academics and intellectuals joined loudly in parroting the king’s every wish. Thank God the masses do not hear them pontificate or read their books. After all, these intellectual and academic parrots are well paid, tenured and eat much parrot seed. Their magic song impresses the bourgeoisie who have a vested interest in keeping the song of the parrot alive.”
Marvin X’s answer to this intellectual Vichy regime has been to cultivate off campus intellectuals by conducting an open air classroom (Academy of da Corner) on 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, which is how the peripatetic philosophers like Plato used to impart their knowledge in open air academies.
**** Ishmael Reed is the author of “Going Too Far, Essays About America’s Nervous Breakdown.”
CONTACT MARVIN X @ (510) 200-4164
Marvin X, also known as Marvin Jackmon and El Muhajirwas born May 29, 1944 in Fowler, California, near Fresno. Marvin X is well known for his work as a poet, playwright and essayist of the BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT or BAM. He attended Merritt College along with Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. He received his BA and MA in English from San Francisco State University.
Marvin X is most well known for his work with Ed Bullins in the founding of Black House and The Black Arts/West Theatre in San Francisco. Black House served briefly as the headquarters for the Black Panther Party and as a center for performance, theatre, poetry and music.Marvin X is a playwright in the true spirit of the BAM. His most well-known BAM play, entitled Flowers for the Trashman, deals with generational difficulties and the crisis of the Black intellectual as he deals with education in a white-controlled culture. Marvin X's other works include, The Black Bird, The Trial, Resurrection of the Dead and In the Name of Love.
He currently has the longest running African American drama in the San Francisco Bay area and Northern California, ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, a tragi-comedy of addiction and recovery. He is the founder and director of RECOVERY THEATRE.
Marvin X has continued to work as a lecturer, teacher and producer. He has taught at Fresno State University; San Francisco State University; University of California - Berkeley and San Diego; University of Nevada, Reno; Mills College, Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland. He has received writing fellowships from Columbia University and the National Endowment for the Arts and planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Marvin X is available for lectures/readings/performance. Contact him @ email@example.com.
The Wisdom of Plato Negro: Parables/Fables
In “Wisdom of Plato Negro,” Marvin teaches by stories, ancient devices of instruction that appeal to a non-literate as well as a semi-literate people. (Fables differ from parables only by their use of animal characters.) The oldest existing genre of storytelling used long before the parables of Jesus or the fables of Aesop, they are excellent tools, in the hands of a skilled artist like Marvin X, in that he modifies the genre for a rebellious hip hop generation who drops out or are pushed out of repressive state sponsored public schools at a 50% clip. Marvin X is a master of these short short stories. Bibliographies, extended footnotes, indexes, formal argumentation, he knows, are of no use to the audience he seeks, that 95 percent that lives from paycheck to paycheck.
These moral oral forms (parables and fables), developed before the invention of writing, taught by indirection how to think and behave respecting the integrity of others. Marvin explained to his College of Arts audience, â€œThis form [the parable] seems perfect for people with short attention span, the video generation… The parable fits my moral or ethical prerogative, allowing my didacticism to run full range” (“Parable of a Day in the Life of Plato Negro,” 147). But we live in a more “hostile environment” than ancient people. Our non-urban ancestors were more in harmony with Nature than our global racialized, exploitive, militarized northern elite societies.
Marvin X has done extraordinary mind and soul work in bringing our attention to the importance of spirituality, as opposed to religion, in our daily living. Someone'maybe Kierkegaard or maybe it was George Fox who'said that there was no such thing as "Christianity." There can only be Christians. It is not institutions but rather individuals who make the meaningful differences in our world. It is not Islam but Muslims. Not Buddhism but Buddhists. Marvin X has made a courageous difference. In this book he shares the wondrous vision of his spiritual explorations. His eloquent language and rhetoric are varied'sophisticated but also earthy, sometimes both at once.
Highly informed he speaks to many societal levels and to both genders'to the intellectual as well as to the man/woman on the street or the unfortunate in prison'to the mind as well as the heart. His topics range from global politics and economics to those between men and women in their household. Common sense dominates his thought. He shuns political correctness for the truth of life. He is a Master Teacher in many fields of thought'religion and psychology, sociology and anthropology, history and politics, literature and the humanities. He is a needed Counselor, for he knows himself, on the deepest of personal levels and he reveals that self to us, that we might be his beneficiaries.
All of which are represented in his Radical Spirituality'a balm for those who anguish in these troubling times of disinformation. As a shaman himself, he calls too for a Radical Mythology to override the traditional mythologies of racial supremacy that foster war and injustice. If you want to reshape (clean up, raise) your consciousness, this is a book to savor, to read again, and again'to pass onto a friend or lover.
“Rarely is a brother secure and honest enough with himself to reveal his innermost thoughts, emotions or his most hellacious life experiences. For most men it would be a monumental feat just to share/bare his soul with his closest friends but to do so to perfect strangers would be unthinkable, unless he had gone through the fires of life and emerged free of the dross that tarnishes his soul. Marvin X, poet, playwright, author and essayist does just that in a self-published book entitled In The Crazy House Called America.
This latest piece from Marvin X offers a peek into his soul and his psyche. He lets the reader know he is hip to the rabid oppression the West heaps upon people of color especially North American Africans while at the same time revealing the knowledge gleaned from his days as a student radical, black nationalist revolutionary forger of the Black Arts Movement, husband, father lover, a dogger of women did not spare him the degradation and agony of descending into the abyss of crack addiction, abusive and toxic relationships and family tragedy.
Perhaps because of the knowledge gained as a member of the Nation of Islam, and his experiences as one of the prime movers of the cultural revolution of the '60, the insights he shares In The Crazy House Called America are all the keener. Marvin writes candidly of his pain, bewilderment and depression of losing his son to suicide. He shares in a very powerful way, his own out of body helplessness as he wallowed in the dregs of an addiction that threatened to destroy his soul and the mess his addictions made of his life and relationships with those he loved. But he is not preachy and this is not an autobiography. He has already been there and done that. In sharing his story and the wisdom he has gleaned from his life experiences and looking at the world through the eyes of an artist/healer…”
Book of poetry by Black Arts activist, preface by Lorenzo Thomas. "When you listen to Tupac Shakur, E-40, Too Short, Master P or any other rappers out of the Bay Area of Cali, think of Marvin X. He laid the foundation and gave us the language to express Black male urban experience in a lyrical way." --James G. Spady, Philadelphia New Observer.
Have spent the last few days (when not mourning with friends and family the passing of my family friend and mentor in Muslim feminism and Islamic work, Sharifa AlKhateeb, (may she dwell in Rahma), immersed in the work of Marvin X and amazed at his brilliance. This poet has been prolific since his first book of poems, Fly to Allah, (1969), right up to his most recent Love and War Poems (1995) and Land of My Daughters, 2005, not to mention his plays, which were produced (without royalties) in Black community theatres from the 1960s to the present, and essay collections such as In the Crazy House Called America, 2002, and Wish I Could Tell You The Truth, 2005.
Marvin X was a prime shaper of the Black Arts Movement (1964-1970s) which is, among other things, the birthplace of modern Muslim American literature, and it begins with him. Well, Malik Shabazz and him. But while the Autobiography of Malcolm X is a touchstone of Muslim American culture, Marvin X and other Muslims in BAM were the emergence of a cultural expression of Black Power and Muslim thought inspired by Malcolm, who was, of course, ignited by the teachings and writings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
And that, taken all together, is what I see as the starting point of Muslim American literature. Then there are others, immigrant Muslims and white American Muslims and so forth, that follow.There are also antecedents, such as the letters of Africans enslaved in America. Maybe there is writing by Muslims in the Spanish and Portuguese era or earlier, but that requires archival research of a sort I am not going to be able to do.
My interest is contemporary literature, and by literature I am more interested in poetry and fiction than memoir and non-fiction, although that is a flexible thing.I argue that it is time to call Muslim American literature a field, even though many of these writings can be and have been classified in other ways—studied under African American literature or to take the writings of immigrant Muslims, studied under South Asian ethnic literature or Arab American literature.
With respect to Marvin X, I wonder why I am just now hearing about him—I read Malcolm when I was 12, I read Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez and others from the BAM in college and graduate school—why is attention not given to his work in the same places I encountered these other authors?
Declaring Muslim American literature as a field of study is valuable because recontextualizing it will add another layer of attention to his incredibly rich body of work. He deserves to be WAY better known than he is among Muslim Americans and generally, in the world of writing and the world at large.
By we who are younger Muslim American poets, in particular, Marvin should be honored as our elder, one who is still kickin, still true to the word!Love and War Poems is wrenching and powerful, combining a powerful critique of America ("America downsizes like a cripple whore/won't retire/too greedy to sleep/too fat to rest") but also a critique of deadbeat dads and drug addicts (not sparing himself) and men who hate.
"For the Men" is so Quranic poem it gave me chills with verses such as:
for the men who honor wives and the men who abuse them for the men who win and the men who sin for the men who love God and the men who hate for the men who are brothers and the men who are beasts"
"O Men, listen to the wise," the poet pleads: there is no escape for the men of this world or the men of the next
He is sexist as all get out, in the way that is common for men of his generation and his radicalism, but he is refreshingly aware of that and working on it. It's just that the work isn't done and if that offends you to see a man in process and still using the 'b' word, look out. Speaking of the easily offended, he warns in his introduction that "life is often profane and obscene, such as the present condition of African American people." If you want pure and holy, he says, read the Quran and the Bible, because Marvin is talking about "the low down dirty truth."
For all that, the poetry of Marvin X is like prayer, beauty-full of reverence and honor for Truth. "It is. it is. it is."A poem to his daughter Muhammida is a sweet mix of parental love and pride and fatherly freak-out at her sexuality and independence, ending humbly with:
peace Mu it's on you yo world sister-girl
Other people don't get off so easy, including a certain "black joint chief of staff ass nigguh (kill 200,000 Muslims in Iraq)" in the sharply aimed poem "Free Me from My Freedom." (Mmm hmm, the 'n' word is all over the place in Marvin too.) Nature poem, wedding poem, depression poem, wake-up call poems, it's all here. Haiti, Rwanda, the Million Man March, Betsy Ross's maid, OJ, Rabin, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and other topics make it into this prophetically voiced collection of dissent poetry, so Islamic and so African American in its language and its themes, a book that will stand in its beauty long after the people mentioned in it pass.
READ MARVIN X for RAMADAN! --Mohja Kahf Associate Professor / Dept. of English, Middle East & Islamic Studies, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville
Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, Essays (Signed Copy)
Somethin' Proper, the Autobiography of Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 1998
from the Introduction by Dr. Nathan Hare, the Black Think Tank
In SOMETHIN' PROPER, we quickly see that we are inside the pages not only of Marvin's private political papers, comprising a lyrical diary shaped to be read and enjoyed like a novel by the masterful hands of an internationally noted black poet, but we are being escorted to the cutting edge of a fascinating postmodern black literary genre in the making, the notes of an undying black warrior who refuses to give up, give out or give in!
Although easy to read by almost anybody wishing to do so, SOMETHIN' PROPER (apparently a phrase from the drug subculture, i.e., BREAK ME OFF SOMETHIN' PROPER), presents us at once with an opportunity for a deeper understanding of a panorama of participants in the often poignant but sometimes hilarious inner workings of the black male psyche, from the middle class bourgeois pretenders such as "tenured Negroes" on the academic plantation and their "negrocity," to "coconuts" in the corporations, and across the spectrum to brothers in the hood, particularly the way in which utility and haughty demeanor conceal and mask the panoramic and pervasive depression of the black male.
Before his death at the early age of 36, Frantz Fanon, the black psychiatrist who lived and wrote about the relations between the oppressor and oppressed in the battle of Algiers (Wretched of the Earth; Black Skin, White Masks, and A Dying Colonialism), presented us with clear psychiatric paradigms for the struggles Marvin deftly captures for us.
Marvin is able to give us insights into himself and his affiliates (Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Little Bobby Hutton, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis, et.al., that are original but reminiscent of Fanon, because Marvin is bearing the covers on his life and the life of others.
Of all the many disorders and distortions that plague the black male, each and every day, perhaps the ones that take the heaviest tool on his ravished brain are those that—if not contained by armed resistance—revolve around the painful difficulty of gaining control over his individual and collective destiny, around what is known in mental health circles as "the locus of control," the dilemma of resistance to the enemy from without and the enemy from within (including the self, if we consider that there can be no master without those who, for whatever reason, are willing to be a slave). Might makes right but not for long.
If we honor the likes of Patrick Henry for saying "give me liberty or give me death," it is no matter that when the Negro says give him liberty or death the white man tries to give him death! The so-called Negro is confronted with a choice Patrick Henry had not reckoned with, something Fanon called "reactional disorders" or "psychosomatic pathology" that is the direct product of oppression.
But out of a last ditch desperation in self-medication and the management of his pulverized and thwarted emotions, in a mindless effort to soothe his psychological and social wounds, the black male is introduced unwarily if discreetly to the vicious cycle of self-mutilation and induced addiction, which takes hold and spreads like an epidemic virus as part of the psycho-technology, historically, of the white man's oppression of the North American African and others around the world.
In his powerlessness and victimization, with nothing left to lean on, the black man is likely to mount the seesaw, if not the roller coaster of racial psycho-social dependency and messianic religiosity (becoming the mad-dog religious fanatic, believing in a savior other than himself) on the one hand and the individual chemical dependent on the other, i.e. the dope fiend.
Marvin decontructs both. In the bottomless caverns of addiction in any form, there seems no amount of religiosity, coke, crack, alcohol or sex sufficient to sedate the social angst and shattered cultural strivings.
The more the black man tempts to medicate his anxiety and to mask his depression and self doubts with pretense and hostility, the more he finds himself in trouble with the persons he must love and be loved by than with the alien representatives of the society that would control and castrate his manhood.
Novelist Richard Wright, addressing these paradoxes and dilemmas in his own autobiography BLACK BOY, explained that, "Because I had no power to make things happen outside of me in the objective world, I made things happen within. Because my environment was bare and bleak, I endowed it with unlimited potentialities, redeemed it for the sake of my own hungry and cloudy yearning."
The catch is in the way these things turn out after the boy has been taken through the meat grinder of growing up within the machinery of white social control. In response, the strategy or road most taken by both Marvin X and Richard Wright, to put it simply, is FLIGHT (what Wright as a matter of fact names the middle passage of his novel, Native Son, book 2 of 3).
As surely as the individual who accepts oppression is constantly in flight from his racial identity, the black man who rejects it is constantly on the run from the agency of white supremacy that must control him and wishes to annihilate him outright. And here is where Marvin's story is most valuable to us , helping us to grasp the meaning of the tradition of escape within our race, literature and history, stretching back to the slave trade and slave ships of the middle passage, down to the demanding requirements of escape from coercion, incarceration and surveillance in the modern era: he takes us through a childhood of continual efforts to avoid juvenile hall, to the flights of his father (despite punishing ambiguities, Marvin X dedicates his book to both his parents in memorial), calling upon pure personal honesty and the deepest levels of understanding to appreciate the parental struggles of his own and the resulting psycho-sexual and social conflicts.
Without professing to do so, Marvin X speaks here most effectively of all black men, exposing their triumphs and follies, telling all he knows about everybody, including himself, always seeming to exact the hardest toll of all on himself, inviting us openly and unashamedly into the intricacies of his youthful endeavors to love too many women, including more than one try at the practice of polygamy (at one point he had four wives, in the Islamic tradition), until he realizes that if monogamy is the love and marriage of one woman, polygamy is the love or marriage of one woman too many!
I predict that SOMETHIN' PROPER (the life and times of a North American African Poet) will readily emerge as an underground classic as well as a classic of the black consciousness movement and the world of the troubled inner city, a manual of value to any brother who has lost his way and the sister who would help him to understand or know how to find it, to find it within himself, in the intriguing story of Marvin X, who has been there and the women and political fellow-travelers in the black movement who were there with him in his often daring escapades, his secret flights and open confrontations with white supremacy.
In the end, is he bitter? Or is he happy as a negro eating watermelon on massa's plantation? Well, in the beginning white people are devils—but by the end, all people are devils—in Marvin's world. After all, this is his story. Nevertheless, by the end we are convinced Marvin has regained faith in himself, his God and his people.
And it is gratifying in an era of the sellout, the faint hearted and the fallen, to see that Marvin X was one black man who met the white man in the center of the ring and walked with him to the corners of psycho-social inequity, grappling with him through the bowels of the earth, yet remained one black man the white man couldn't get.
I'm glad I stopped that day on Market Street and bought a pair of Marvin's sunglasses, but I wish I knew where to find those sunglasses now, because I could feel so proud to wear them, or, better yet, I could lend them to some other brother who was trying to find his way to SOMETHIN' PROPER while moving in the direction of the sun. --Dr. Nathan Hare
Where I’d like to start this 2005 Poetry Roundup is Iraq, as in, how did we get there and how do we get back? The consciousness-altering book of poems that tells the tale, in no uncertain terms and yet always via poetry, is the astonishing Land of My Daughters: Poems 1995-2005 (Black Bird Press) by Marvin X.
Marvin X is the USA’s Rumi, and his nation is not “where our fathers died” but where our daughters live. The death of patriarchal war culture is his everyday reality. X’s poems vibrate, whip, love in the most meta- and physical ways imaginable and un-. He’s got the humor of Pietri, the politics of Baraka, and the spiritual Muslim grounding that is totally new in English –- the ecstasy of Hafiz, the wisdom of Saadi. It’s not unusual for him to have a sequence of shortish lines followed by a culminating line that stretches a quarter page –- it is the dance of the dervishes, the rhythms of a Qasida.
--Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club, NYC
Pull Yo Pants Up: Critical Notes on Obama Drama 2008-2012
Stay connected to new generation. they really can feel you. as much as you dislike rap. your style is very hip hop. Lol! brash. raw. in your face. not givin a F what anybody thinks albeit a much stronger message. --Muhammida El Muhajir
This is a dangerous book, for it reveals the inner workings of capitalist and imperialist governments around the world. It's a book that stands with and on behalf of the poor, the dispossessed, the despised, and downtrodden.--Rudolph Lewis, editor, Chickenbones
You are the voice of the Black Man whose cry has been muffled by the clank of prison bars, the explosion of gunfire, and the loud silence of apathy and compliance. --Fahizah Alim
ELDRIDGE CLEAVER - MY FRIEND THE DEVIL: A Memoir
Publisher: Black Bird Press (2009)
Marvin X‘s newest book, “Eldridge Cleaver: My Friend, The Devil” is an important Expose!, notonly of whom his good friend really was… (I confess I thought something like that, in less metaphysical terms, from the day we met, at San Francisco State, 1967) But also of whom Marvin was/is. Now, Marvin has confessed to being Yacub, whom Elijah Muhammad taught us was the “evil big head scientist” who created the devil. (Marvin’s head is very large for his age.)
What is good about this book is Marvin’s telling us something about who Eldridge became as the Black Panther years receded in the rear view mirror. I remember during this period, when I learned that Marvin was hanging around Cleaver even after he’d made his televised switch from anti-capitalist revolutionary to Christian minister, denouncing the 3rd World revolutionaries and the little Marxism he thought he knew, while openly acknowledging beating his wife as a God given male prerogative, I said to Marvin, “I thought you was a Muslim” . His retort, “Jesus pay more money than Allah, Bro”, should be a classic statement of vituperative recidivism.
But this is one of the charms of this memoir. It makes the bizarre fathomable. Especially the tales of fraternization with arguably the most racist & whitest of the Xtian born agains with Marvin as agent, road manager, co-conspirator-confessor, for the post-Panther – very shot- out Cleaver. It also partially explains some of Cleaver’s moves to get back in this country, he had onetime denounced, and what he did after the big cop out. Plus, some of the time, these goings on seem straight out hilarious. Though frequently, that mirth is laced with a sting of regret. Likewise, I want everyone to know that I am writing this against my will, as a favor to Yacub.
A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious,economic,psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
The black culture police are at it again, lead running dog is Rev. Jesse Jackson, perhaps the most hypocritical culture policeman on the scene--especially after leading president Clinton in prayer over Monica while himself engaged in extramarital shenanigans. I can't take Jesse Jackson with his twisted mouth ( from lying) pontificating on moral issues while he is the most immoral of men, even pimping the blood of MLK, Jr.
Doris Knight Samuels was recruited into the Black Arts Movement circa 1975 while we were teaching at San Francisco State University. When we taught drama at Oakland's Laney College, 1981, Doris performed the role of Eternal Woman in my play In the Name of Love. We last saw Doris at the 2012 San Francisco Juneteenth Festival. "I knew I would run into you," were her last words to me. Doris, we love you and miss, but know we will see you one day soon.
Right to left, Doris Knight as Eternal Woman, Ayodele Nzinga, the Other Woman, Zahieb Mwongozi as Eternal Man, a scene from In the Name of Love by Marvin X, Laney College Theatre, 1981. Doris and Ayo later performed in Marvin X's One Day in the Life, a docudrama of his addiction and recovery, 1996-2000, the longest running Black drama in Northern California.
The life of the great Guyanese scholar and revolutionary Walter Rodney burned with a rare intensity. The son of working class parents, Rodney showed great academic promise and was awarded scholarships to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and the School of African and Oriental Studies in London. He received his PhD from the latter at the age of twenty-four, and his thesis was published as A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, now a classic of African history. His most famous work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, is a mainstay of radical literature and anticipated the influential world systems theory of Immanuel Wallerstein.
Not content merely to study the world, Rodney turned to revolutionary politics in Jamaica, Tanzania, and in Guyana. In his homeland, he helped form the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and was a consistent voice for the oppressed and exploited. As Rodney became more popular , the threat of his revolutionary message stirred fears among the powerful in Guyana and throughout the Caribbean, and he was assassinated in 1980.
This book presents a moving and insightful portrait of Rodney through the words of academics, writers, artists, and political activists who knew him intimately or felt his influence. These informal recollections and reflections demonstrate why Rodney is such a widely admired figure throughout the world, especially in poor countries and among oppressed peoples everywhere.
Contributors include Robert “Bobby” Moore, Abyssinian Carto, Brenda Do Harris, Robert Hill, Amiri Baraka, Leith Mullings, Issa G. Shivji, Clive Y. Thomas, and Rupert Roopnaraine.
The personal recollections in this book leave no doubt as to the impact that Walter Rodney had on each individual, while they also reveal much of interest about each writer. Taken together they remind us of what a seminal historical figure Rodney was, and how his reading of history and his practice as an activist still resonate today.
—Edward A. Alpers, UCLA; co-editor with Pierre-Michel Fontaine, Walter Rodney: Revolutionary and Scholar
The interviews of these men and women who knew, studied with, and worked with Rodney provide a richly layered picture of the man, the scholar, the leader, and time in which he lived. Their recollections allow us to feel the energy and excitement as they collectively brought Caribbean history out from the shadows of British imperial history. You also feel the tension, anxiety and fear as the PNC government turned on its citizens. They help us appreciate that 1968 was as critical a time in Jamaica and the Caribbean as it was in Paris and Mexico City. Equally important, their stories convey the tremendous loss to them individually and to the peoples of Guyana, the Caribbean, and Africa when Rodney was so brutally killed. Chung has made Rodney accessible to a new generation of students. I hope they will be inspired to follow in Rodney’s intellectual and activist footsteps.
—Judith A. Byfield, Cornell University; Past President, African Studies Association
Walter A. Rodney: A Promise of Revolution is a compelling and intimate portrait of the life and legacy of Dr. Walter Rodney. Through the medium of oral history, Chung’s book provides insightful recollections on his experiences in England, Jamaica, Tanzania, the USA and Guyana from a diverse set of voices. The stories found here are honest, vivid and detailed—a wonderful example of the power of memory and the scale and scope of Rodney’s intellectual and political impact, past and present.
—Seth M. Markle, assistant professor of history and international studies, Trinity College
Clairmont Chung is a lawyer, teacher, and filmmaker. He grew up in Guyana and lived through the racial violence of the 1960s and the insecurity that followed. He settled in Brooklyn, New York in 1979, entered Columbia University in 1981, moved to Harlem in 1983, and taught public school in the South Bronx. Chung directed and wrote the documentary, W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney.
How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy
By Dr. Nathan Hare
Call him Dr. M, as I do, though I’ve known him by other names in other places and, like Diogenes, who went around holding up a lantern to the faces of the people he would meet in the streets of ancient Athens looking for an honest man, I have come to the realization that we as a people have been waiting and looking for somebody like Dr. M to come along for more than half a century, ever since America was stunned by The Mark of Oppression (the Jim Crow era book by two white liberal psychiatrists whose findings had brought them to the heartfelt conclusion that the race of people called “Negroes” was “crushed.”
In only four years after their epitaph was written, Negroes (now called “blacks,” “Blacks,” “Afro-Americans,” “African-Americans,” or as Dr. M sometimes calls them “American Africans”) had exploded in Montgomery with passive resistance. In four more years the “sit-in movement” broke out among the youth, followed like a one-two punch by the so-called “freedom riders” (roving bands of individuals who boarded and defied the segregation of interstate vehicles and included a future student of mine on spring break from Howard University by the name of Stokely Carmichael). Then came “Black Power,” in the context of which I first heard of a man who had metamorphosed from the slave-name Marvin Jackmon into a prominent “North American African poet” who went by the name of Marvin X (the X connoting “the unknown”).
While, despite the fact that I have known him through the intervening years, I cannot unravel every single quality of the brother, I can testify that Dr. M is a brand new Marvin, a Dr. Marvin, a social doctor, if you will, with a gift and a mission for a new black movement. I know this to be true because, aside from my Ph.D. and years of experience in the practice of clinical psychology, I specialized in the study of social movements for a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Chicago. But more than that, I have watched a dedicated Dr. M, up close and clinically, going about his fearless work in the mean streets of San Francisco.
Over a period of many months, on many a dark and dreary sometimes rainy Wednesday night, I served as a consultant in clinical psychology to Dr. M’s “Black Reconstruction Group” (the pilot to his twelve-step model now unveiled in this important book on “How to Recover from Addiction to White Supremacy.” In the Recovery Theatre’s pilot groups, I sat with diverse and ad hoc coteries of men and women gathered impromptu in the austere basement of a Catholic church, St. Boniface, located in the heart of The Tenderloin, the highest crime district in San Francisco, just down a few blocks from the famous Glide Memorial Methodist Church. Many a night I marveled at the ease with which Dr. M and his talented co-facilitator, Suzette Celeste brought out trickles of lost and unleashed hope and inspiration in the minds of destitute and degraded street people as well as in the confused and empty psyches of invited members of the black bourgeoisie who, still trying to be unbroken, had come where not many “bourgies” would dare to tread.
On many an appointed night I stood by silently looking on while Dr. M and his collaborators sauntered out into the shadowy mysteries of dilapidated streets to solicit and harness hapless homeless men and a woman or two and bring them in to meet as equals with the anxious representatives of the black bourgeoisie who had dared to cross momentarily back over their tentative territorial and social boundaries. This of course is not recommended for the feeble or the fainthearted; because, until the revolution comes, or the proletariat triumphs, there will be difficulties and perils in chance encounters of the social classes. So I must hasten to explain that a security conscious Dr. M was operating within a safety net of collaborators competent in the martial arts; like Geoffrey Grier, who has been an international martial arts competitor and is a son of a black psychiatrist, Dr. William Grier, coauthor with Dr. Price Cobb of the late 1960s blockbuster, Black Rage.
At the moment when the oppressed have had enough, their rage will explode -- Fanon had warned us in The Wretched of the Earth -- and it is at that moment, at the very point of mental and spiritual coagulation and defeat, when they will come together and rise. Frantz Fanon went on to tell of a category of reconstruction groups called “’djemaas’ (village assemblies) of northern Africa or in the meetings of western Africa, tradition demands that the quarrels which occur in a village should be settled in public. It is communal self-criticism, of course, and with a note of humor, because everybody is relaxed, and because in the last resort we all want the same things. But the more the intellectual imbibes the atmosphere of the people, the more completely he abandons the habits of calculation, of unwonted silence, of mental reservations, and shakes the spirit of concealment. And it is true that already at that level we can say that it spreads its own light and its own reason.”
However, psychiatric authority for a self-help peer group focus on individual feelings (or addiction) in relation to white supremacy became available anew in the late 1960s, when Jeffrey Grier’s father, Dr. William H. Grier, and his collaborator, Dr. Price M. Cobbs, published Black Rage. Dr. Grier has also consulted with Dr. M and his Recovery Theatre around the time of the pilot trial run of the first “Black Reconstruction Groups.” According to Grier and Cobbs, in the “Introduction to the Paperback Edition” of Black Rage, “The most important aspect of therapy with blacks, we are convinced, is that racist mistreatment must be echoed and underlined as a fact, an unfortunate fact, but a most important fact – a part of reality. Dissatisfaction with such mistreatment is to be expected, and one’s resentment should be of appropriate dimensions” among black warriors who would exact retribution. “Psychiatry for such warriors,” Grier and Cobbs went on to explain, should aim to “keep them fit for the duty at hand and healthy enough to enjoy the victories” that are likely to emerge.
Fitness for duty is a pleasant but likely side effect of Dr. M’s “Black Reconstruction Groups” working to free the minds of persons addicted to white supremacy. This no doubt is no doubt why they do not limit themselves in their group sessions to expressions of resentment of racist mistreatment and dissatisfaction but also calmly allow its hidden effects, which often remain unconscious in the way in which the relentless karate chops of white supremacy have killed our dreams on a daily basis and shattered our ability to love, to feel loved, to love ourselves and therefore one another. I listened with much satisfaction as Dr. M and his assemblies delved into the depths of fractured feelings and emotions of the brokenhearted in order to help them come to terms with betrayal, jealousy and rage, in their moving endeavors to learn to love again.
And so it is that you will find many a reference to love in How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. This includes, for instance, “Women Who Love” and the motivations of the men who love them.
Dr. M’s own fitness for duty is complex, unique and variegated. According to James W. Sweeney, "Marvin walked through the muck and mire of hell and came out clean as white fish and black as coal." Marvin can boast of “a Ph.D. in Negrology,” as he puts it,” the study of nigguhs” issued by the University of Hardknocks’s College of Hell), based on twelve years of research , independent study , and practicum in San Francisco's Tenderloin and other unlettered social laboratories throughout the United States.
There may still be hope, if it pleases you, for Dr. M to join the white man’s system of miseducation and mental health care, when we consider that psychologists, including one of my mentors, the late Dr. Carlton Goodlett, at first were “grandfathered” in when the licensure of psychologists was started in the state of California. Later came the oral exam (conversational, not dental), followed in time by an essay exam, before the boom in “standardized “ multiple choice tests for which workshops were offered to prepare you for a fee, causing excellent practitioners, especially black ones, to be blocked from licensure until they found out and forked over whopping workshop fees .
There is also a burgeoning market opening up in “clinical sociology” and “sociological practice” still cutting out its slice of the marketplace and finding its way in matters of licensure and credentialing in the field of sociology. But here it may be important to say that the self-help peer group does not require a sociological or a mental health professional, any more than the primordial AA groups from which the mental health profession has profited and learned. Dr. M is a social “doctor” (which etymologically means “teacher”) grappling with a social problem, white supremacy and its punishing residue in the minds of oppressed black individuals and white oppressors who have chosen to reject and come to places where their fathers lied. Oppressors pure and simple, who accept white supremacy, must be dealt with in a later context, as you will not very well be able to keep them in a Black Reconstruction or White Supremacy Destruction Group (or White Supremacy Deconstruction, if you will).
Much in the manner of Hegel in his essay on “Master and Slave,” Marvin senses that the oppressor distorts his own mind as well as the mind of the oppressed. Hence Type I and Type II White Supremacy Addiction. White sociologists and the late black psychologist, Bobby Wright, converged in their findings of pathological personality traits (“the authoritarian personality” and “the racial psychopathic personality,” as Bobby put it).
But if Hegel was correct in his notion that the oppressor cannot free the slave, that the slave must force the oppressor’s hand, then it is Type II White Supremacy Addiction which if not more resistant to cure, must occupy our primary focus. Type II White Supremacy may be seen as a kind of “niggeritis” or “Negrofication” growing out of an over-identification with the master, who is white. As in any disorder severity of symptoms may vary from mild to moderate or severe.
As Frantz Fanon put it when he spoke for the brother with jungle fever in Black Skin, White Mask: “I wish to be regarded as white. If I can be loved by the white woman who is loved by the white man, then I am white like the white man; I am a full human being.” In the twisted mental convolution of a brother in black skin behind a white mask, Fanon observed a “Negro dependency complex” independently chronicled in my own Black Anglo Saxons (black individuals with white minds in black bodies). They struggle to look, think, talk and walk white by day, then go to sleep at night and dream that they will wake up white. They refuse to realize that no matter what they may ever do they will never get out of the black race alive.
On the other hand, you are going to be seeing “nouveau blacks” and lesser Afrocentrics -- who faithfully and unquestionably follow twelve-month years and endeavor even to blackenize the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ -- jumping up to question Dr. M’s re-africanization of the “Twelve Steps” model for “using the Eurocentric twelve steps,” but they forget that the very effort to be practical and collective is the original African way. In any event, we must build on whites as whites have built on us, taking the best of the West and leaving the rest alone. But Dr. M has expressly and creatively added a thirteenth step; for his goal is not just recovery but discovery, his goal is not just to change the individual but to change the individual to get ready to change the world.
Meanwhile there is one thing on which we can all agree: in any serious attempt to solve the bitter mental ravages of white supremacy, we must face the unadulterated fact that we are limited when we look to the institutionalized “profession” and their professional “providers.” This of course is not to say that the institutionalized professionals cannot be helpful. Dr. M is quick to point out that a self-help peer group cannot cure all the diverse neuroses and psychoses that afflict us. Indeed he goes so far as to suggest that some of us “may need to be committed.”
The late Queen Mother Moore (who loved to boast that she had “gone as far as the fourth grade, and stayed in school too long to learn anything”) delighted in going around deconstructing our “slave mentalities” and saying somebody needs to “do some surgery on these Negro minds” – in which Queen Mother had diagnosed a chronic condition she called “oppression psychoneurosis.” Queen Mother Moore was basically joking, that is, laughing to keep from crying, but it is no joke that mental health professionals, operating under the medical model, think nothing of seeing a person suffering from a psychosocial problem and not only treating the victim instead of the problem but – much in the manner of any addict or drug pusher– use or apply chemicals and sometimes chemical abuse to deal with the inability of the “patient” to feel good in a bad place and thrive, to try to “have heart” in a heartless world. Many people are unaware to this very day that the practice once was rampant for psychiatrists to treat a person with chronic mental maladies by subjecting them to lobotomies cutting off a portion of their brains. Shock treatment was another method – you’re shocked by life, let’s shock your brain, Senator Eagleton (who later ran for the vice-presidency in the 1970s on the ticket with George McGovern).
It should never have been any surprise that the mental health profession would be of only partial help in reconstructing the psychic consequences of centuries of prolonged brainwashing and subjugation (this is not to mention “Sicko” and what we know of the crippling new effects of “managed care” on the medical profession). Many mental health experts, the overwhelming majority of them white, have long suggested that the “medical model” may be inappropriate in the treatment of the psychological, not to mention, sociological components of mental illness.
But you don’t have to be a mental health professional or a sociologist to know that we can no longer restrict our search for healing to professional shrinks, raring back in executive chairs and carpeted suites stocked with “psychometric instruments” standardized on the white middle class, far removed from the realities of the concrete social milieu of afflicted and homeless black “subjects” living lives of hardship and subjugation, with no assurance of available treatment.
Even when they are “insured they are limited to the care and treatment some insurance clerk is willing to “authorize.” In matters of mental health, this typically will include a few sessions of “fifty minute hours” of “talk therapy” before leaving with a prescription or chemical palliative to dull agony and the pain but not the punishment of life on the skids in a sick society.
The hour is up and time is running out, black people, but white supremacy is not. We are living now in the final and highest stage of racism and white supremacy. We’ve let our struggle slip back while sitting in classrooms and conferences crooning about “afrocentricity” and ancient African glories that have gone forever.
We have come now to a crossroads. We have lost control of our children’s minds, our future. We have lost their respect, and appear to be on a collision course to a war of words between the black generations, in which hip-hop youth disparage and mock our language, our music and our humanity with a creativity and a rime and a rhythm we can’t fathom, let alone equal in our pitifully fruitless endeavors to eliminate the “n-word” and box with the black-on-black random violence of dissocialized youth who have concluded that adults and their leaders cannot or will not fight the power. Who knows but it may be that Dr. M’s movement of recovery from addiction to and from white supremacy is offering us a final and effective chance to begin to “sit down together,” to get together and get our heads together.
Review of How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy
How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy Peer mental health group cures 'addiction'
by Reginald James Laney Tower Laney College Newspaper, Oakland CA May 22, 2008
Author, playwright, and poet Dr. Marvin X is a modern theologian and philosopher sent to earth to help others find themselves. He's not a prophet, but is certainly beyond worthy of his Oakland bestowed title of "Plato" (Ishmael Reed).
His most recent book is, "How to recover from the addiction to white supremacy: A Pan African 12-Step Model for a mental health peer group."
Using a poetic and personal prose, Dr. M, as he is known, leads readers of all ethnicities and national origins on a journey to recover from what he terms the earth's most deadly disease: white supremacy.
"White supremacy can be any form of domination, whether stemming from religious mythology and ritual, or cultural mythology and ritual, such as tribal and caste relations," writes Dr. M. "White supremacy is finally a class phenomena, the rich against the poor,thus the process of recovery must include a redistribution of global wealth, for there is no doubt that the rich became rich by exploiting the poor, not by any natural inheritance or superior intelligence."
Dr. M, a founder of the Black Arts movement, uses his life experience with drug addiction to create a recovery model for others. Similar to the "12-step model" used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the book reads like a personal narrative of not just one man's struggle to overcome a grafted sense of self-inferiority and a disillusioned projection of superiority in others, but a prayer of confidence that when others connect with their spirits, they will be able to overcome "stinking thinking," negative attitudes and self-destructive behavior.
After defining white supremacy in the introduction, the next chapter details how to detox and "rid the body and mind of the toxicity of decades under the influence of racist ideology of institutions that have rendered us into a state of drunkenness and denial."
After detoxification, patients are now ready to step into a new era. The first step to recovery is to "admit we are not powerless over self-hatred, racism and white supremacy thinking."
Dr. M's message of mental purification comes through strong in his accounts, and his vast historical knowledge of the experience of North American Africans" (so-called African Americans) encourages students to study. His vast literary references do not discriminate as he makes reference to Shakespeare and "classic" Greek tragedies as well.
"The Other White People," as he refers to them, "are an enigma to themselves, a conundrum of major proportions, transcending Shakespeare's Othello in tragic dimension, for their tragic flaw is lack of self knowledge."
"Such is the gracious gift of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. It has produced a Pan African people in love with all things European: women, clothing, religion, education (what people in their right minds would send their children to the enemy to become educated, especially without a revolutionary agenda), political philosophy, social habits, dietary preferences, sexual mores, etc" writes Dr. M.
While he seeks to create a dialogue with all, the sexism ingrained in this society leaps out at you. He attempts to make amends by apologizing for his past instances of sexism and emotional, verbal, and physical abuse of women.
The most powerful aspect of the book is the encouragement to the reader to gain a working knowledge of self. When speaking to the need for patients to take a "moral inventory," Dr. M puts a mirror up to all people.
Breaking down dynamics of interracial relationships with the analytical perception of a sociologist or psychologist, including historical context of relationships between black women and white men and the taboo of white woman with a black man, Dr. M simplifies the frustration faced by women who date outside of their "race" and the reaction of those who feel their "natural partners" have been stolen.
"In this war with the white woman over the black man's sperm, the black woman, in desperation and denial, tries to mimic the white woman as much as possible, donning blond hair and continuing the tradition of bleaching cream throughout Pan Africa."
Equally healing is the emphasis on seeking forgiveness. When under the influence of substances or mind altering racist ideology, people often hurt people that are closest to them. Dr. M apologizes for his own shortcomings while under the influence of not just white supremacy, but while using crack cocaine. The prolific writer fell victim to the "ghost" for 12 years, and apologizes to his family and especially his daughters.
He also apologizes on behalf of the "Black Bourgeoisie," "Pan African Professors" he attacked because they were "not as radical and revolutionary as I believed they should, after all, white supremacy institutions are not about to allow a radical Pan African ideology and philosophy to flourish within its institutional framework," writes Dr. M.
Dr. M is able to weave not only events in his life which were symptomatic of white supremacy, but the thought process and actions of others.
While some may be quick to write Dr. M off as a Pan-African revolutionary (which he is), or a "reverse racist" (which he is not), his book benefits people of all ethnicities to come to grips with their preconceived notions about one another.
He successfully differentiates between white supremacy and "white people" for only a few handsomely reap the benefits of white supremacy, while others simply enjoy white privilege. He also emphasizes that white supremacy has not, and will not, flourish without disciples and co-conspirators.
"The white supremacy rulers have used poor whites and working class whites to delude whites into thinking the blacks are the cause of their misery and economic exploitation, just as capitalism is presently using immigrant labor to suggest they are the cause of middle and lower class white economic woes, while in fact it is the white supremacy global bandits who are outsourcing for cheap labor." Dr. M equates the assertion with the current immigration debate.
Ultimately, after completing the 12-step model, patients are encouraged to join the "cultural revolution." Harkening to the era of he 1960s, Dr. M suggests "linguistic transcendence" in which North American Africans reclaim a regal self-concept.
In the great tradition of indigenous healers, Dr. M pours love into patients inspiring hope for a cure for what others have deemed the only reality.
Like all scientists, Dr. M is experimenting, hoping that patients will actively involve themselves in their recovery. The "peer group mental health model" accompanies the book and allows the reader to form their own circle to undergo transformation with friends, family, or those people you haven't met yet. Starting a much needed dialogue, Dr. M brings forward "5000 watts" of shock therapy to awake people to their senses.
Dr. M obtained his PhD in Negrology from the University of Hell, USA. Formerly known as Marvin Jackmon, he was born in Fowler, CA and grew up in Fresno and Oakland. He attended Merritt College and San Francisco State University where he received a BA and MA in English. He has taught English, African American Literature, Drama, journalism, and more at Fresno State, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, San Francisco State University, University of Nevada, Reno, Mills, and Laney College. He was an professor at Fresno State University when then Governor Ronald Reagan found out Dr. M refused to serve in Vietnam--he was barred from teaching.
His other books include Love and War, poems, 1995, In the Crazy House Called America, essays, 2002, and his most recent Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, 2007His books are available from Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA, 94702. $19.95 each. His Academy of da Corner is at 14th and Broadway, Northeast corner. He is presently organizing the Blackwell Institute of Art, Math and Science. How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy was used as a textbook at Berkeley City College and Oakland's Merritt College.
Marvin X is now available for speaking and reading at colleges and universities. He does require a freedom of speech clause in his contract. Fee: $5,000-$10.000. Contact his agent: Sun in Leo PR: 718-496-2305; firstname.lastname@example.org
THURSDAY, DEC. 6, DAY OF ACTION: We can't afford to let social service programs fall off the Fiscal Cliff! Join the NYC Central Labor Council tomorrow to gather in Times Square at 5 pm for a massive rally. NWU members will be meeting first at the NWU office at 256 West 38th Street. We can't afford to let social service programs fall off the Fiscal Cliff!
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It's now time for all professional scholarly associations who might possibly be impacted by the renewed drive to recruit academics or use academic cover for spying to take a firm public stand against such practices.
The academic community needs to create a clear firewall between itself and the military and intelligence communities.
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2012 13:27
The CIA's relationship with academia has gone much deeper than merely sponsoring research [Reuters]
Buried in a just published Washington Postexposé on the expansion of spying operations by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) is a sentence that should send shivers down the spine of any researcher, journalist, student or scholar working in the Muslim world, regardless of whether she or he is an American citizen:
"Having DIA operatives pose as academics or business executives requires painstaking work to create those false identities, and it means they won't be protected by diplomatic immunity if caught."
I'm glad to know it takes "painstaking work" to create the "false" identity of a scholar (it's most likely not as hard to fake being a businessman, given the CIA's long history of using front companies for its espionage activities). But I have little doubt that the US intelligence and defence communities would do so if they believed such a cover could help better collect and/or produce actionable intelligence. Indeed, it's quite likely they wouldn't need to fake it, as there are likely many "scholars" who would willingly sign up for the job. Long and sordid history There is a long history of co-operation and collaboration between American intelligence agencies and academics. Almost a century ago, the seminal anthropologist Franz Boas was ostracised for revealing that academics were serving as spies in Latin America, a practice that apparently started in Mexico and was strengthened in World War II. As Boas argued, any scholar "who uses science as a cover for political spying, who demeans himself to pose before a foreign government as an investigator and asks for assistance in his alleged researches in order to carry on, under this cloak, his political machinations, prostitutes science in an unpardonable way and forfeits the right to be classed as a scientist". Scholars were also part and parcel of the allied effort in World War II in various capacities, including with the CIA's precursor, the OSS (the Office of Strategic Services). Since its creation in 1947, the Agency has routinely enlisted academics to engage in research and analysis, and recruited new generations of agents from the "best and brightest" students at elite colleges and universities. While the relationship waned somewhat in the 1970s and 1980s, it had already started to rebound before the September 11, 2001 attacks and grew substantially in their wake.
CIA director Petraeus quits over extramarital affair
Whatever one's ideological or political views towards the CIA, it's natural that intelligence agencies would recruit employees in the same way as do the best corporations, or federal law enforcement for that matter. But it is one thing for the CIA or military to recruit students on campus. And under certain conditions, academics can do research for the military, diplomatic and/or intelligence communities, as long as the researcher doesn't hide this fact. It's also to be expected that experienced soldiers with higher academic degrees will do research and teach at military or even non-military colleges on subjects in which they've gained unique expertise or perspectives. But the CIA's relationship with academia has gone much deeper in the last sixty years than merely sponsoring research that can help it analyse intelligence data. The Agency has not merely relied on the expertise of scholars on countries and cultures it engages. It has sponsored research and journals without publicly declaring its funding, and used academics to help produce disinformation and engage directly in activities related to spying. Moreover, in Southeast Asia (particularly in Vietnam during the war years), Latin America and Africa, research on "third world" development studies and techniques in counter-insurgency became staples of CIA-academic collaborations. A January 2001 Los Angeles Times article by political scientist David Gibbs explained that "the 'cloak and gown' connection has flourished in the aftermath of the Cold War... Since 1996, the CIA has made public outreach a 'top priority and targets academia in particular. According to experts on US intelligence, the strategy has worked'." Gibbs was building on a longer 2000 article in the magazine Lingua Franca by Chris Mooney, which went into even greater detail about the renewed scholar-spy relationship. Discussing the issue with Gibbs after we'd both read the Washington Post article, he explained in dismay, "Such situations present classic conflicts of interest. The problem is compounded by the fact that academic consulting agreements with intelligence agencies are highly secretive - thus undermining yet another basic tenet of academic research, which is the need for openness and full disclosure." It's worth recalling here the response of the 1976 Church Committee Report, which investigated the abuses of the intelligence community, to the situation Gibbs discusses. The report declared:
"The Committee is disturbed both by the present practices of operationally using American academics and by the awareness that the restraints on expanding this practice are primarily those of sensitivity to the risks of disclosure and not an appreciation of dangers to the integrity of individuals and institutions."
Scholar-spies? Despite the ethical problems associated with such collaborations, over the years prominent scholars such as Columbia University's Robert Jervis, Harvard's Joseph Nye and Texas A&M's Robert Gates have not only supported the CIA-academia relationship, but have served at the highest positions of the CIA. Most recently, Gates, the former CIA Director and Defence Secretary, has spearheaded the Minerva Research Initiative, which attempts to achieve a "deeper understanding of global populations and their variance [to] yield more effective strategic and operational policy decisions". Even the leadership of UC Berkeley, home of the 60s' academic counter-culture, was directly involved in promoting research done under academic cover but in fact being produced by and for the CIA. In the context of the Cold War, even supposedly "liberal" public figures broadly supported the strategic - political, economic, scientific and cultural - competition with the Soviet Union.
"Franz Boas was ostracised for revealing that academics were serving as spies in Latin America, a practice that apparently started in Mexico and was strengthened in World War II."
However powerful and prescient Franz Boas' sentiment recalled above, it's not farfetched to imagine that in the present economic and political climate, finding people with a claim to legitimate status as academics to work as spies will not be that difficult, and that doing so will seriously damage the integrity of academia, diminish an already shrinking funding stream for non-military research as money is allocated to fund scholars who spy (the oldest carrot in the academic world), and most important, put the research and even lives of non-spying scholars in danger. One might ask, given the far greater levels of violence in which the intelligence community and military are involved, is the (re)joining of scholars and spies really worth getting up in arms about? Yes, it is. It's hard enough to go to a region of the world where one's government is engaged either in violent activities through war, occupation or drone activities (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen), supports the oppressive policies of the local government (Morocco, Bahrain, Israel, Egypt, etc) or as bad, is actively engaged in espionage against it (Iran, Sudan), and try to win the trust of social, religious and/or political activists who would naturally be on the radar of their own and foreign intelligence services. Such relationships will be even harder, if not nearly impossible, to develop if it becomes known that the US government is actively using scholars (and, we can presume, journalists) as covers for intelligence operatives. Equally bad would be the agreement by universities, without the consent or even knowledge of their faculty and students, to provide covers for clandestine intelligence operatives, thereby putting legitimate scholars at risk without them having any idea of their so being. Such a situation would permanently taint every scholar engaged in research in the field in the Muslim majority world, or with diaspora Muslim communities in Europe or North America. However it is done, such practices would undoubtedly make it well-nigh impossible either to produce the kind of well-researched and objective knowledge that is crucial for accurate policy-making by governments, or to know when the research being produced is done explicitly to promote clandestine strategic ends, or is in fact deliberate disinformation or is otherwise tainted as the product of espionage or otherwise clandestine activities. Scholars in the field In recent years, not just the Minerva Program, but also the Human Terrain Systems (HTS) programmes have attempted to place scholars in the field of "kinetic operations" in order to help advance military and strategic objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are numerous ethical problems with such programmes, as well as intellectual problems associated with the production of end-user determined knowledge. But at least such scholars, directly embedded with the military in the field, do not - as far as I have heard - pretend to be independent and outside military control. But to have scholars literally spying on the people they're studying, and in a way that puts their findings directly into the "kill chain" and thus can lead to the deaths of these subjects without any internationally accepted legal standard or judicial review, is in fact deplorable. Lest readers think that I'm being alarmist, in a follow-up article to the Washington Post piece, the Guardian reported that officials are having trouble filling the hundreds of spots that will be created by this programme, which means they'll be even more hard-pressed not to recruit members of academia. It further reported that the spying could be used to increase the efficacy of the US drone programme, which has been heavily criticised for the use of "signature strikes" that target and kill people merely for looking or behaving in a way those behind the trigger button declare is suspicious. We might imagine that most scholars, students or journalists would not risk their reputations, never mind their freedom and even lives, to spy on people while doing field work. But the success of the HTS and Minerva programmes show that in an era of deep budget cuts for research funding for students and professors, and a similar crisis facing journalism, there is likely no shortage of people who would feel compelled (or be willing) to engage in such work if enough compensation were offered to induce their participation.
Frost Over the World: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Even worse, as I have explained in earlier columns (hereand here), a parallel scholarly universe to the existing professional systems is being created, in part through the HTS and Minerva programmes and the rise of well-funded (neo)conservative think-tanks. This set of networks and institutions has access to comparatively large levels of funding from private, corporate and government sources, and is ideologically and professionally much closer to military and intelligence agencies and the policies they promote and serve than the existing professional scholarly establishment. There may not be much interaction between scholars in these parallel universes, but the differences between them will be largely lost to anyone on the ground who could now reasonably suspect that the academic interviewing them could be an intelligence operative. Protecting academics and the broader public globally It's perhaps not surprising given its past association with military and intelligence activities that the American Anthropology Association has taken the lead in prohibiting members from engaging in spying or other clandestine activities in the guise of research. Its current Code of Ethics declares that:
"Researchers who mislead participants about the nature of the research and/or its sponsors; who omit significant information that might bear on a participant's decision to engage in the research; or who otherwise engage in clandestine or secretive research that manipulates or deceives research participants about the sponsorship, purpose, goals or implications of the research, do not satisfy ethical requirements for openness, honesty, transparency and fully informed consent."
In 1982 and 1985, the Middle East Studies Association passed two resolutions that precluded scholars accepting covert funding or doing covert work while working as university-based academics. Other professional associations, such as the American Sociological Association and the American Academy of Religion, might have strong codes of ethics, but they don't explicitly address the issue of clandestine kill chain co-operation or collaboration between scholars and military and intelligence agencies.It's now time for all professional scholarly associations who might possibly be impacted by the renewed drive to recruit academics or use academic cover for spying to take a firm public stand against such practices. What is clear is that the academic community needs to create a clear firewall between itself and the military and intelligence communities now, before any programme is put into place to use academia as a cover for spying and other clandestine activities. If this does not happen soon, the inevitable disasters that result, including the arrests, imprisonment or even deaths of actual academics and/or the people with whom they work or study, will be on all our hands. Mark LeVine is professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine and distinguished visiting professor at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden and the author of the forthcoming book about the revolutions in the Arab world, The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharaoh. His book, Heavy Metal Islam, which focused on 'rock and resistance and the struggle for soul' in the evolving music scene of the Middle East and North Africa, was published in 2008.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
LINTON Kwesi Johnson, hailed by many as the father of dub poetry, has been awarded the 2012 Golden PEN Award, one of Britain's most prestigious literary accolades.
The newstatesman.com website reported yesterday that the 60 year-old Johnson confirmed reports that he is the latest recipient of the award in an interview with the Independent newspaper last weekend.
JOHNSON... erupted in the early 70s, a time of social unrest in Britain
"I'm not exactly in the mainstream of the British literary scene; I'm nearer the periphery," Johnson told the Independent. He added that he has not written in years.
"If a poem happens to come to me, I write it. But I am not bothered. If I never write another poem, so be it."
The Golden PEN is awarded to people whose work has "a profound impact on readers and who is held in high regard by fellow writers and the literary community".
Authors Salman Rushdie and Margaret Drabble and theatre legend Harold Pinter are previous winners of the award which was launched in 1993.
Johnson was born in Clarendon but migrated to the United Kingdom in his early teens. There, he was struck by the racism toward blacks and other minorities which inspired him to write some of the most powerful anti-establishment work of the 1970s.
His 1978 album, Dread Beat an' Blood, is considered by many to be his landmark work. Other notable collections include Forces of Victory which was released the following year and 1980's Bass Culture.
Johnson's work erupted in the early 70s, a time of social unrest in Britain. His fiery poems influenced first-generation British reggae bands like Aswad, Steel Pulse and Misty In Roots.
He also had a strong fan base in his native Jamaica which included young poets like Mutabaruka and Yasus Afari.
Johnson's last album, Live in Paris With the Dennis Bovell Dub Band, was released in 2004. He still tours with that band.
Marvin X is the USA's Rumi!--Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club, New York City
Don't say Marvin X didn't try to help you in your male/female relations. Don't say he
didn't try to stop you from beating each other to death because you think you own
each other as you have been programmed to think. Don't say he didn't tell you to stop
the physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Don't say he didn't tell you to love each other unconditionally, ignoring foibles and defects of character, ideological backwardness and other shortcomings that make you not want to love the one you're with. For the most part, it's cheaper to keep her/him, for most of the time when we go to another person, they are the same as the person we departed from, the only difference is their name!
You don't know me you had a chance to know me before we made love you had a chance to know my mind understand my fears learn about issues help me heal some things but you wanted to make love so you don't know me we made love but you don't know me don't have a clue think I'm a good dick or you some good tight pussy but you don't know me and never will now because you wanted to make love you wanted to get a nut we didn't even talk much a little bit leading up to sex I went along I was horny too but you don't know me and I don't know you now we never will we blew it forever because we made love too fast too quick too soon now you think you own me I can't breathe can't talk on the phone to friends because we made love because I gave you some dick you gave me some pussy now I'm no longer human I'm your love slave you my slave we're in love but you don't know me we gonna get married but you don't know me we're gonna have children but you don't know me you're gonna beat my ass but you don't know me you're going to jail but you don't know me we're getting a divorce but you don't know me now we're friends "Just Friends" Charlie Parker tune But you don't know me and never will. --Marvin X
Mythology of Pussy and Dick
by Dr. M, aka Marvin X
The Xmas holidays to Superbowl Sunday is the most violent time in America for partner abuse. Men get distraught when they can't pay their pussy bill, and wives and girlfriends lose tempers over the lack of attention and material goods, thus men commit economic crimes to satisfy their partners, but often end up in prison and/or jail. When does it end, this vicious cycle of psychosexual pathology? It shall not end until we get a healing, a consciousness of the spiritually of life rather than the insatiable striving for conspicuous consumption or pursuing the world of make believe; no, this scourge of violence, emotional and verbal abuse shall not end until we recover from the patriarchal notion that we own each other as chattel property, personal property, a mythology based on the ideology of white supremacy domination in personal and political/economic life.
Pussy is a many splendid thing. Pussy power has been known to help construct civilizations and destroy them. Wars have been fought over pussy. And the most powerful men in the world have been brought low behind pussy. What a powerful thing it is, totally confounding men time after time, season after season, century after century. The more men learn about pussy, the more they forget—or shall we say, they got it (theory) but didn’t get it (the practice). It would probably be proper to first discuss the mythology of dick before discussing the mythology of pussy, but for dramatic effect we will continue our discussion of pussy, for it is common sense that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
And furthermore, there is more oppression in the world caused by men’s attitude toward pussy than toward their dick, although the patriarchal society gives dominance to the dick, but in the male’s headlong rush to enter the pussy, he becomes blind to his own sexuality and consumed by the need to plunge his organ inside the vagina. In his blindness and his resulting sexual pathology, he becomes numb to the reality that the female is more than pussy, that pussy has a mind, a brain, a cornucopia of emotions based on phases of the moon. “If you think I am just a physical thing, wait til you see the spiritual power I bring”, says a poem by Phavia Kujichagulia.
But rather than consider the totality of pussy, let’s limit our discussion to the physicality of pussy, although we may, by the end of this essay, arrive at a more holistic attitude toward pussy. In our initial discussion here, let us then deal with pussy as a physical thing, somehow unconnected to the phenomenon known as “woman.”
Let us begin by saying pussy is transient, elusive and ephemeral. “See,” a woman demonstrated to me as she jumped, “When I jumped my pussy jumped—therefore my pussy belongs to me.” Thus the locus of control of pussy is with the pussy, not any external source such as a man, based on marriage rites and patriarchal social definitions of authority, or de facto slavery when the female is viewed as chattel (personal) property. “I pay the cost to be the boss.”
The time is way past for men to get a grip on themselves regarding the matter of pussy and their warped attitude toward it that is primitive, reactionary and in the modern world forces men into court mandated anger management classes, and often jail and prison as a result of domestic violence.
The purpose of this discussion is to bring about progressive consciousness on this matter so that men finally “get it,” and in the process free the woman of oppression and free themselves as well, so both man and woman can pursue their divinity by transcending the focus on sexuality to the higher level of spirituality. Of course the roots of this sexual dysfunction are religious based—and nearly all the religions are guilty, certainly the patriarchal religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam. The educational system enforces the religious order by the sin of omission or saying nothing.
After all, a person can attend the highest universities in the land, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, without ever having a class on human sexuality or male/female psychology and socialization. And so the male, in the absence of manhood training, is left to his own ignorant notions of the nature and value of pussy. His main concern is that the pussy is his and nobody else’s. That he can come and go into the pussy at will, at his beck and call. A Of course this is a mental blindness he must overcome immediately he can enter the road to spiritual maturation. He cannot continue throughout his life in these enlightened times with such backward notions of pussy. Pussy is never static but ever moving, dynamic and fluid. Pussy told me, “I can come with anyone.” But in the cave man’s mind, pussy is static, thus the man is shocked when pussy shows its fluid and dynamic nature jumping in tune with another dick or pussy for that matter. These days, pussies are jumping in tune with each other, partly due to male ignorance of feminine psychosexuality, but more importantly due to the feminization of black males by societal forces or institutional racism. The social construct has always been to keep the black male from the reins of power.
In the Sisyphusian mythology, we advance to retreat, for with each advance the rules change so we must renew the march up the hill, for the closer we get, the more the mountain top retreats to higher ground. The 60s was the great leap forward in black manhood, but it was crushed of necessity by the US government—black men were determined to take power by force of arms—which could only mean civil war, so they had to be stopped—no society can risk civil unrest by its slaves or former slaves and/or their descendants.
This rush to manhood had to be stopped by any means necessary, infiltration, agent provocateurs, disinformation, sabotage, conspiracy, murder, false charges leading to imprisonment or exile, drugs, sex and rock and roll. Perhaps a well disciplined army could have withstood the barrage from the oppressor America, but brothers went mad with power, misusing pussy while the government used pussy to destroy the movement by using pussy power to cause chaos in the movement. Sonia wrote, “What a white woman got cept her white pussy?” She also told us about brothers taking pussy in the name of Fanon, Fanon, Fanon—the “revolutionary screw!”
As activist parents were terrorized by the oppressor, the men in turn terrorized the women, often beating them in the name of black power. The children took note of this parental behavior and some of the males emulated their fathers. And daughters emulated their mothers by remaining passive and submitting to male oppression.
The religions enforced this notion of male domination or “leadership.” But when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the ditch together. How can the male lead when he is ignorant to knowledge of self? Has no knowledge of Supreme Wisdom, or if he does, he doesn't know how to apply it! So he is blind, yet he is supposed to be in authority over his woman—his pussy, rather. This doesn’t make sense!
The women fled from this ignorance to embrace each other, finally free from male terrorism, the man who only saw her pussy as pussy, never having a name, a personality and spirituality. The gay/lesbian revolution caught the fallout from the failure of the pussy culture, the deconstruction of the patriarchy that could not remain in the process of the modern technological revolution that forced the woman out of the house as chattel slave--and once she saw the city, she would never return to the country. World War II brought her the beginning of economic independence with the desecration of the male population from the war. It instituted the matrifocal household or female dominated culture that would become pervasive as we entered the new millennium.
The 60s revolution was the last outbreak of black manhood, after which came the crushing power of the state to crush his nuts back into the sands of time, drugging him out, imprisonment, lack of economic opportunity and homosexuality took its toll. After losing control of the pussy forever, some men turned into pussy, became weak and passive, a disgusting representation of the macho man so familiar to the female who concluded if she was going to have a woman she might as well have a real woman. Terrified of the new woman, the pussy man turned to his own kind for support, adding to the devastation of his gender.
Do not think societal forces had no play in his deconstruction, for the 60s terrorized him as much as he had terrified the state--and of course the state won with its awesome police and military power. The state went a step further: it turned the male against himself, his brotherhood, by supplying the drugs and guns that would further deplete the male population by creating internal fear as well as external. As his woman seized power allowed her by the state and given her by the powerlessness of her man who suffered a military and political defeat after the 60s rebellion, the next generation of males tried to continue the sexual domination with the rise of hip hop culture, the culture that is the direct descendant of 60s black power culture. The young males saw their fathers abuse their mothers and continued the tradition, even trying to extend the pimp/ho culture. So the black woman had a moment of glory when she became a "queen" in the sixties, but by the 80s she was depicted as ho, dog, bitch, even with her advance education and attempt at economic parity, thus equality. In short, his woman was completely and forevermore out of control unless he accepted reciprocity which was anathema to the patriarchal ideal of dominating the pussy.
But with female economic security, the woman would not tolerate his reactionary view of her as pussy. Or maybe she would flip the script and make him her boy toy, to be kicked out at her whim, depending on her emotional disposition or phases of the moon. Alona Clifton, a political woman in the Bay Area, asked what happened to the love revealed in the song, I Love You Porgy?
Indeed, the passion is gone, the chase, the capture, the triumph of domination. It is all fake these days. No one is true, but lies prevail and pervade the love ritual. What has love got to do with it, Tina asked? And Janet said, "What have you done for me lately?" And so we have arrived at a moment in the sun wherein the Creator has things fixed, as Sun Ra taught me, either do the right thing, or we can't go forward or backward in our relationships. Relationships are fragile at best, with men and women filled with insecurity. Look at the tragic love affair of the young quarterback. It represents the woman asserting her rights to the dick, and so the script has flipped. She owns the penis now, are we not to assume, to the extent that she would blast him four times while he slept. Young men beware, things ain't like they used to be and never will be again. "If you think I'm just a physical thing, wait til you see the spiritual power I bring," says Phavia.
Part Two Brother McNair, may he rest in peace, was an NFL quarterback who made it to the Superbowl, but in the Superbowl of Pussy he was an abject failure: he could not quarterback his team of pussies. In the end, pussy triumphed a thousand to one, meeting him on the one yard line and knocking him into eternity. Poor soul, his patriarchal mentality of "I pay the cost to be the boss" didn't mean anything when pussy stood up to confront his proposition of male domination. Clearly, he thought, like men of patriarchal socialization think, that he could have all the pussy he wanted, without a consensus from the pussies. At least the Muslims get a consensus in their polygamous fantasies.
I was lucky to escape with my head. One of my pussies said she thought about killing me in my sleep for abusing her. And my father-in-law said he would have killed me a long time ago if his granddaughters didn't love me so much. Pussy is a life and death matter, as we see with McNair and millions of other men who are meeting their fate these days in the pussy rebellion sweeping the planet. Some time ago I went to speak at a court-mandated domestic violence session. I had come early to the men's session, so when I arrived a women's group was in session, so I sat in. I was amazed to hear the women speak of what they were doing to men these days: from violence to threats of violence over the phone. They were charged with making terrorist threats. Men and women, know that you cannot make "terrorist threats" over the phone or in person. Verbal violence is the same as physical violence. Take a walk, smoke a blunt, chill out.
Whether in anger management or not, Brothers need to study the psychology of pussy. As the great mythologist Joseph Campbell noted, women know they are women after the first cycle. When do men know? All primitive societies had manhood rites that taught about womanhood and manhood, but in modern society this training is absent, so men rely on the ignorance of their friends or some reactionary pimp psychology. So when do men get the lesson they are dealing with a spiritual being, a being who can actually take more pain than they--who can bleed for five days without dying while a man cannot bleed for five minutes! Brothers need to get a healing real quick, quicker than you can say Jackie Robinson!
Brothers, don’t ask for the pussy. Wait until she offers it to you, after all it is her pussy. Please, brothers, get an immediate understanding on this, no matter how much you pay on your pussy bill, it’s still her pussy. Your ignorance on this point has caused many of you to be locked down in prisons and jails, some for the rest of your lives, simply because you thought, in your deranged patriarchal mentality, that you owned your woman, that she was your chattel or personal property, causing you to kill your brother or friend. I have friends no longer on this earth because they got caught up in the pussy game. I sincerely miss my friends and wish they were here to enjoy the fall of Western civilization with me—and the fall of Eastern civilization, for that matter—all the reactionary myths and rituals of the East must fall into the dustbin of history as well, the domestic violence, female genital circumcision, child marriage, honor killings, the whole range of reactionary, archaic, ignorant male mythology pervading the religions and culture of Africa and Asia.
And obviously, women need a healing as well. The woman who killed the quarterback thought she owned her man’s penis. Just as your pussy is not his, his dick is not yours, he can and will give it to whomever he likes. Get a healing on this point and you will advance in your spiritual maturation. These days, you can’t get on your cell phone and call baby boy to tell him you’re gonna “key” his car because your girlfriend saw him riding down the street with baby mama. Nobody owns nobody, no matter what the marriage papers say, no matter what shacking laws say.
We are free spirits and only when we recognize this will some relationships become lasting, after all, what does flesh have to do with it? Flesh has nothing to do with love and I can use myself as an example—read my essay The Maid, the Ho, the Cook, in my book In the Crazy House Called America. I describe my love for a prostitute who sold her love up and down San Pablo Avenue, one of the longest streets in the Bay Area. But when she showed up at my door I was happy as a puppy dog, so don’t tell me about flesh. It wasn’t a physical matter, but a matter of the heart. I didn’t give a damn how many men she had slept with since the last time we were together, just come on in the house and give me my moment in the sun.
And what is life except a moment in time? That’s all we have with each other, a moment or two, so enjoy the one you’re with for the moment it is and have no regrets. Get rid of all that sexual greed and guilt from religious socialization that have you inside the box of sexual madness and depravity. Ask any prostitute or sex worker, her pussy will be just as good tomorrow as it was yesterday. Come out of all that holy Joe bullshit that he violated my trust or she violated our vows. Grow up, what do vows have to do with the reality of life? Human beings are subject to do anything in the course of a day. A large percentage of black women admitted to having sex on the job with the boss in Jet Magazine some years ago. Now you know Jet is the Negro Bible, if it’s in Jet, it’s got to be true!
So love the one ya wit, give them all you can for the moment you are with them and have no regrets, since nothing lasts forever, know this and grow in your spiritual maturation. Let our boys become men with this knowledge and our girls become women. Don’t be a fifty or sixty year old man or woman still tripping about pussy and dick! Oh, he/she was unfaithful! He/she lied to me. He promised to be true. How can you worry about her pussy when you can’t safeguard your dick? You want to stick your dick in every hole yet worry about what dick is going in her pussy. Get a life! What does it matter what dick is going in her pussy when you don’t even know who she is as a spiritual being and she doesn’t know you accept as a hard dick? Again Phavia, “If you think I’m just a physical thing, wait til you see the spiritual power I bring!”
Part Three Brothers, clean your hands before entering the pussy, cut your fingernails, remove the dirt. Otherwise, you will wonder why your pussy is not feeling good, but it will be because of your filthy hands causing infection, to say nothing of your filty dick that might have been in any hole it could find, even a hole in the ground. Pussy is delicate, treat it gently, not like you are entering a machine, even though some pussies like it rough and hard, so accommodate those pussies, even though bad results will appear sooner or later.
A friend tells me her doctor friend told her we can't imagine some of the problems pussies come to her with as a result of how the men treat pussy, the objects they put in it, beyond dildos--sometimes fists and arms up to the elbow. But pussy is to be treated gently for it is a vital, the most vital organ of the female, well, maybe not equal to the heart, but life comes through pussy, so threat it right. Let it rest from time to time, something I had to learn in my cave man days. In general, the woman's body is precious and complicated. You cannot beat it down and think it is going to serve you forever because it is going to break down. If you beat on your car with a sledgehammer how would it look. We do the same with our woman in general, beat her down then expect her to function at her best. Sometimes we beat her while pregnant with our child. What can come of a savage who does this--nothing of good, no good luck, as my mother told me time after time when she learned I was abusing my women (as if I owned them).
Brothers in prison and jail behind women, either directly or indirectly (those who committed crimes to satisfy your pussy, i.e.,pay your pussy bill) need to think hard, now that you have a moment to think. There's a right way and wrong way to pay your pussy bill. Don't kill half the community to pay your bill. Figure out a way to hustle without killing people because that shit comes back on you. All money ain't good money. Money with blood ain't no good--it will never bring peace and happiness. Have you seen any movie where the gangsters and murderers went on to live a happy life?
And when you go to jail, you want to put your pussy in jail on the outside. You didn't treat your pussy right when you were free, so now that you're locked down your pussy wants revenge, and yes, your friend is the best way to get revenge--pussy knows how to hurt you real bad by giving some to your friend, best friend. Now you want to kill him and her over her pussy that you abused, disrespected time after time. You locked down with twenty-five to life, so let the pussy walk. Let it have a life. You can't stop it anyway. Go ahead and get with cellie Joe because your days with pussy are over--you blew it, buddy!
Don't stalk your pussy from the prison house. Got your boys following your pussy around town to make sure it doesn't find a dick. It's gonna find something, if only another pussy since you played yourself out of pocket, thinking out of your dick head. Now your girl's girl got your pussy. How you like that Mister Big Time? Life is a thinking man's game, so think before you act. There are very few things in life really important and pussy ain't one of them.
Can you take pussy to the bank? Even so-called pimps know pussy comes and goes, rarely does pussy stay forever, so why you killing over pussy that was going to leave anyway--it was just a matter of time, dummy. Ask Fillmore Slim how many of his ho's stayed forever? Ask him where are all those ho's he had, where did they go--they went to pussyland where all pussies go. So appreciate the pussy while you got it, if only for a moment. Like Fillmore says, if you treat pussy right, it might come back, but if you treat it wrong, it will be long gone.
Part Four Lick the pussy lightly, like a feather in the wind. Don't devour it like a Mike Tyson cannibal, "...so greedy for my lady, I turn her womb into a tomb.... Be cool, fool, go away and pray and pray and pray." Yes, pray on the pussy, bless it with kindness until the lips open and spread wide, stroke it til juices flow like Niagara Falls washing your face with love. Oh, the juice of love in the night or early morn. When joy comes do not spoil the hour with negative ideas, but open the heart of love as the bird cage opens for the bird to take flight only to return when it wills. There is no compulsion in love, for love is not to be forced but happens when it happens, so let it happen on its time not yours, for what do you know of love except when it speaks and you are silent, only then you gain understanding and wisdom. Be silent is the best mode, not the lips that chatter when silence is glory.
In silence all things come to you for pleasure, because you are deserving and so the pussy runs over with the juice of love. And you have not touched it with tongue or finger or penis, but the silence of your mind is read by the pussy and so it came running as a lover in search of lost love, that eternal love beyond pussy and dick and silly gender notions of the infantile ones who dwell on the animal plane. Imagine, the pussy is far away yet so near you smell it, feel it, stroke it until it comes, yet it is not there, only a thought, a memory of time past when pussy was young and fresh and wild, and you ran to it and it embraced you on the beach, in the wind and sun.
There was no shame, no guilt, no greed, just innocence of time and place, not even knowing you were in paradise, heaven. It was the best of times and they did not end but reappear even now in the fourth quarter of your life. There is joy and joy knows you and welcomes you home with open arms and lips. Be gentle, ask for nothing because all is yours. No one can have what is yours, for the door only opens for you and you alone. It is no effort on your part, it is the voice of the wind, the falling leaves say it is yours for your labor under the sun.
Part Five Pussy ruled the world until along came Crack. Crack diminished the respect and value of pussy forever. It did not destroy the power of pussy but it wounded it forever. After Crack, pussy will never be the same. Its value became so low on the stock market, one could hardly find it, for it dropped worse than in the Great Depression and in this Second Depression pussy is fighting for its life, especially with young brothers thinking they can pimp pussy because the dope game has played out. But these days pussy can take your life, with one drop a man can die from the myriad STDs, not to mention AIDS. Yes, pussy has gone from the giver of life to the taker of life, from the power of God to the power of the devil. Oh, will the glory days of pussy ever come again. The young brothers in the barber shop said to me, "OG, when you were young and caught something from a girl, you only got a drip--today, when we catch something we die!" The times, they are a changing and so has pussy.
Brothers coming home from prison are infecting their women from the joy of prison life. Some women are infertile as a result of their man's homosexual behavior in prison that he denies until it is too late: his poor, innocent woman suffers a death dealing blow because of his dishonesty and debauchery. See Ayodele's great play Death by Twilight. The woman has so much faith in her man she never admits he is the cause of her dying from AIDS. And then older women go to bars and nightclubs for that one night stand and never recover from their evening with undercover brother who looked like a man but was all bitch inside, even beyond bitch because he was a lier and deceiver, a wicked devil in the night, who stole the woman's heart, body and soul.
I wrote about the insanity of sex in my book The Crazy House Called America. As they say in sociology 1A, sometimes there's a cultural lag because the people are ignorant of the paradigm shift. They are caught unaware of the new order, so they play by the old rules and are naturally knocked out of the game. The Bible says the people were destroyed for lack of knowledge. There is no excuse for ignorance these days, in this information age with knowledge pervading the Internet, my space, face book, twitter and elsewhere. Yet the people walk in darkness. Young girls and old girls fall victim to the pleasures of life, or what used to be a pleasure, but what pleasure is there in making love to a dummy? Or a psychopath? I saw a girl with a T shirt that said, "Cute, but Psycho," at least she warned us, not that the boys will heed her message, for they are psycho as well. So when the blind lead the blind.... Michael said Remember the Time!
Remember the time when pussy was golden and pure, pasteurized and homogenized! Today pussy is filthy as the harlot's, or maybe hers is cleaner than the square girls because the harlot knows how to clean hers, the square girl knows nothing because mama taught her nothing because mama didn't know being the Crack ho she was. But I agree with Tupac, "You might be a Crack fiend, Mama, but you still a black queen, Mama!"
Part Six We support a woman's right to control her pussy and the fruit thereof. At the same time we condemn men who deposit their semen in the pussy of a murderer, for we agree with Mother Theresa who said, "Abortion is the first murder, after which all other murder is possible." And prophet Muhammad said, "Do not kill your children for fear of poverty." Abortion would not be possible if men did not have sex with women they know favor abortion, so I put the onus on men, not women. Men should ask the woman if she gets pregnant will she kill the unborn child? If she says yes, he should depart from her in haste, unless he favors murder as well. Why are you jumping in a woman's pussy you know is a killer? Now if you want her to kill your seed, that is another matter--the matter is why? What if your parents had aborted you?
What is wrong with putting an unwanted child up for adoption, since there are many women who cannot have children? There are couples who would love and cherish that unwanted child, so why is there a need to kill it? And even though a woman's body is her business, it seems to me the man should be informed--supposedly, in the woman's mind, it's none of his business. This is why I say the man was wrong to enter her pussy in adverse circumstances. Even in the case of rape, why not put the child up for adoption? If the life of the mother is in danger, this is another matter--abortion must be considered. We are absolutely opposed to the right wing Christian anti-abortion hypocrites who favor murder to stop murder, even to the point of assassinating doctors.
Furthermore, these right wing Christians--where in the Bible does Jesus advocate murder?--only want to delay the death of the child, allowing it to grow up so it can fight and die in imperialist wars across the planet. So these Christians are no different from the pro-abortion women, it is only a difference of time, the objective is the same. Does it matter if the child is killed in the womb or 18 years later in wars for the expansion of capitalism and slavery?
If the woman (and man) is too poor to feed the child, put it up for adoption. A dear friend of mine adopted a child from Jamaica whose family could not afford to feed. She brought the child back to America and raised him like a prince. She paid for him to received manhood training at the African Village in South Carolina. She adopted and raised four other Crack babies, giving them a wonderful life, even though they yet appreciate it--like most children (even the "normal ones")--they are ungrateful. Often times economics is not the problem but education and psychology or the mental state of the parents, especially the woman--although the young man or father is in the same situation, ignorant and often mentally ill. The result is child abuse.
Too many young mothers are ignorant of how to feed a child, even hold a child. I know young mothers who habitually feed their child and themselves at McDonalds--breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many young ladies were drug addicted when they got pregnant, thus unable to breast feed their child. These mothers need community support. We see these babies with babies on the streets of Oakland. We see their stress, how they curse the children, calling them motherfuckers and sons of bitches. They need community support because often grandmother (thirty, forty or fifty years old) says she's "too old" to be a grandmother. One grandmother whose son has two children, says she wants her son to stay home with her rather than live with his baby moma who's struggling for dear life with two children at 26 years old. This poor mother grew up in Berkeley but had never been to San Francisco. She is no different than young people in Newark, New Jersey who've never been to New York. Babies with babies is not helpful to our community progress. Often the mother, father and children are doomed to poverty unless they are determined to rise up in spite of circumstances. And community support is greatly needed.
Teach the young people manhood and womanhood rites or how to restrain themselves until they mature. At eighteen when I fathered my first child, I was a baby with a baby, and soon followed another child before I was twenty. I am happy for the children, but they could have been delayed until I finished my education. I am happy my children restrained themselves sexually until they completed their education. Thank God they had more discipline than I. I do know that one of my sons (now deceased, RIP) impregnated an Asian girl while in college. He asked me what to do and I told him not to abort, but he did so anyway because he said the girl could not return to Japan with a black child. As I've written elsewhere, she could have left the little Tiger Woods here and took her funky ass back to Japan. ve15.
Please don’t tell me that these reports in the business press touting Sallie Krawcheck as a front-runner for chairman of the SEC or even a possible candidate to be the next Treasury secretary are true. Who is she? Oh, just another former Citigroup CFO, and therefore a prime participant in the great banking hustle that has savaged the world’s economy. Krawcheck was paid $11 million in 2005 while her bank contributed to the toxic mortgage crisis that would cost millions their jobs and homes. Sallie Krawcheck. (AP/Mark Lennihan)
Not that you would know that sordid history from reading the recent glowing references to Krawcheck in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News that stress her pioneering role as a leading female banker—a working mother no less—but manage to avoid her role in a bank that led the way in destroying the lives of so many women, men and their children. Nor did her financial finagling end with Citigroup, as Krawcheck added a troubling stint in the leadership at Merrill Lynch and Bank of America to her résumé.
A woman who would be an excellent choice as the most experienced as well as principled candidate to head the SEC or Treasury is Sheila Bair, former head of the FDIC, who labored to protect consumers rather than undermine them. Indeed, her outstanding book “Bull by the Horns,” chronicling her fight in the last two administrations to hold the banksters accountable, should be required reading for the president and those who are advising him on selecting his new economic team.
The SEC is supposed to supervise the banks rather than abet them in their chicanery. And although the Treasury Department has been a captive of Wall Street lobbyists for most of the modern era, one would expect something better from the second coming of Barack Obama. Those are key appointments in determining whether the president can turn around the still-moribund economy by channeling the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Or will he continue to plod along on the course set by George W. Bush, bailing out the banks while ignoring beleaguered homeowners and the many other victims of this banking-engineered crisis?
Obama was given a pass on the economy by voters only because Mitt Romney was an even more craven enabler of Wall Street greed. But the outlines of the Bush Wall Street payoff remain in place, with the Federal Reserve continuing to bail out the banks with virtually free money and the purchase of $40 billion in toxic mortgage-based bonds every month to add to the more than trillion dollars in that junk that the Fed previously had taken off the banks’ books.
The money printing by the Fed is at the heart of the massive debt crisis. But it has been great for the bankers, with compensation at the 32 largest banks slated to hit an all-time high of $207 billion this year, according to a Wall Street Journal estimate. This reward for ripping off the public is almost three times the amount the federal government spends on education. Once again the bankers are blessed for their failures, receiving such wildly excessive compensation despite the fact that banking revenue is down 7.2 percent over the last two years.
A prime example is Krawcheck’s old bank, Citigroup, whose new CEO this week announced that the company has been forced to engage in a major retrenchment, eliminating 11,000 jobs and closing 84 branches. The bank has been deeply troubled ever since the housing meltdown it helped trigger first began, and it was saved from bankruptcy only by a direct infusion of $45 billion in taxpayer money and a commitment of an additional $300 billion in underwriting of Citigroup’s bad paper.
The ugly tale of America’s Great Recession is inextricably entwined with the deplorable practices of Citigroup, the too-big-to-fail bank made legal by Bill Clinton’s signing off on reversing the Glass-Steagall law that prevented the merger of investment and commercial banks. The first beneficiary of the revised law was the newly created Citigroup, saved from bankruptcy a decade later by the taxpayers.
I shouldn’t be surprised that Krawcheck would be considered a viable nominee for a central position in managing our economy. After all, her colleague in the top ranks at Citigroup during the years of financial depravity, Robert Rubin, is considered a significant adviser to the Obama administration, and his protégés, led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, are still directing policy. It was Rubin who pushed through the reversal of Glass-Steagall, an act of betrayal of the public interest that was rewarded with obscene amounts of money when he ultimately took the job of leading the bank he made legal.
The very fact that these folks remain influential, as witnessed by Krawcheck being considered to head the SEC rather than being the subject of one of its much-needed investigations, gives further evidence of the enduring but ultimately terminal illness of crony capitalism.
Hi, Marvin! We would be so honored to have you be in East Palo Alto anytime to be with us! Thank you so much for letting me know about your interest in doing this in the future. Congratulations on your upcoming appearance @ the San Francisco Public Library on February 1, 2013. When I saw this posting on Facebook, I decided to include the flyer in the Calendar of Events that I publish, & I thought about having a schedule of events happen here in East Palo Alto for performing artists & speakers to celebrate Afrikan History Month in the community. Seeing your email tonight, not only am I receiving confirmation from The Creator that this can be, but I now know how to make it happen. Thank you for the inspiration. I'm now hosting a monthly Friday Night Open Mic event @ the Live In Peace Academy in East Palo Alto. Attached is a copy of a flyer on the upcoming one & a program from the one held last month. I had presented (3) by the Summer. However, by the last one in October, people started talking about wanting the event to happen on a monthly basis. Of course, this was music to my ears because I've been spending the past year & a half working to create & launch new Cultural Arts Initiatives to help bring the arts closer to people's hearts. So, I forged an association with a new organization known as the Live In Peace Music Academy to help make more artistic programs happen in a space where creative events could thrive & flourish. Now, that I have a space to work out of, more visions are coming to mind about what more to do in the future. Under a separate email, I'll share with you information about the plans that I am making for 2013. Being inspired by your email tonight, what I'd like to see happen here in the community, in celebration of Afrikan History Month, is to to have every Friday & Saturday booked with activities. It's been a long time since anything like this has been done here in the community. Specifically, my vision is to have every Friday & Saturday night filled with a schedule of program presentations on Poetry, Music, Lectures, Community Forums, & Film-Screenings to benefit a multi-generational audience. I also want to have an Afrikan Marketplace @ all of the events, so that our people will have the opportunity to buy something Afrikan throughout the month, while they come out to fill their souls with Cultural Arts experiences. Additionally, I'll continue negotiations that are already underway to get Calvin Keys to come to East Palo Alto in February 2013. How does this plan sound to you? I'd like for some of the events & the Afrikan Marketplace to become fundraising opportunities because there is a great need for me to build a treasury to cover the expenses for the Cultural Arts Initiatives that I am creating. Soon, I will be meeting with some people to discuss ways for me to secure grants. I want to be able to offer an honorarium to the artists & speakers who agree to participate in Afrikan History Month 2013. Since you're the first person who I'm expressing these thought to, what do you think would be a good honorarium fee to offer a performing artist? Of course, for those who have products in the marketplace, they will be able to sell their work in this program plan. I tell you creativity & dreams go together so nicely! (Smile!) I'm going to be working on getting a group of us from the community to come see you all on February 1st @ the San Francisco Public Library. Attached is a copy of the flyer that I saw posted on the Internet for you to have for your archives, if you have not yet gotten a copy. As for the Friends of the East Palo Alto Library, I will check-in with the Branch Manager to see what the plan is for Afrikan History Month events happening @ the Library next year. I haven't heard anything, yet. Since the Friends of the East Palo Alto Library operates independently from the Library staff, we try to coordinate our efforts. I'm interested in having you appear @ the Library because it's been way too long since you've been here in the community. If this can happen, what would be the fee range for your appearance? I've had a conversation with staff in which I learned that if the Library pays an artist to perform, the artist can't sell their work. Surely, you must know how I feel about this! It doesn't make any sense @ all. Artists produce products to be sold. This is why I feel that the time has come for artists to rise, take our rightful place beneath the sun, & righteously show the world what can be. For too long, non-artists have been getting in the way of artists being able to live their day. We're rising. As a result, the arts are rising again! I'll be back in touch with you soon about the email that I talked about earlier. Work with what you have! ~Chaché~
We shall always remember the great Guyanese writer Jan Carew! I met him while in Toronto, Canada, 1967, having gone their as a draft resister to the war in Vietnam. I first met Austin Clarke, the Barbadian novelist, then he introduced me to Jan Carew. The three of us met several times during the six months of my Canadian exile. We had lively discussions because Jan and Austin were at opposite ideological poles, maybe I was in the middle, although I would say I was closer to Jan's position as a revolutionary. Since both these men were my elders, I would do a lot of listening, for Austin had published novels and so had Jan, plus Jan had been around the world, one of his novels was Moscow was not My Mecca, about the experiences of a black man in the Communist camp. Now as I recall Jan was a Marxist who had advised Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana. He told stories of the African Americans who were in Ghana during the Nkrumah years. As I recall he said their behavior was suspect, Julian Mayfield, Maya Angelou, et al. Some of these Black Americans may have contributed to Nkrumah's downfall. Black Americans were suspected of being agents of American intelligence.
As I said, Jan and Austin Clarke would argue often, either at the bar we met at or at their apartments. I remember Jan brewing that strong espresso coffee and the three of us drinking while conversing on African, the Black man in the USA and the Americas, especially the Caribbean. Austin would talk about the Bajans being more British than the British, Jan would talk about how the African leader had to not be feared by his people and not make them fear him. He talked about the ineluctable energy needed to maintain revolutionary consciousness, to transform oneself from the oppressed man to the brother man. Jan Carew, thank you for the wisdom you shared with me during that special time in my life as a young writer/activist. --Marvin X 12/9/12 Oakland CA
Guyanese literary icon Dr. Jan Carew dies
This year has marked the transition of two of our greatest scholars and elder statesmen--Dr. Edward Robinson and Dr. Jan Carew. I was fortunate to have known them both. Like many, I certainly loved and respected them and received some of the same from them in return. Jan Carew actually stayed in my apartment once. Like Dr. Robinson, he was a rare scholar with brilliant intellectual gifts coupled with a rare humility. Last year we lost two others--Abdias Do Nascimento of Brazil and Dudley Thompson of Jamaica. But while I met Dr. Nascimento and Dr. Thompson and briefly corresponded with the latter, I knew Dr. Robinson and especially Dr. Carew on a much more personal level. Dr. Carew was a mentor of my scholarly mentor Ivan Van Sertima. He told me many stories about Ivan. I always thought that he was the perfect scholar and gentleman and I loved being around him. In my life, he joins John Henrik Clarke, Charles B. Copher and Asa Hilliard as not only great scholars but people that I essentially revered. To me, they were more than scholars. They were very special people. Much love to you Jan Carew. You will be missed by many. And I treasure my memories of you, and of you and me.
In love of Africa, Runoko Rashidi
Guyanese literary icon Jan Carew dies
by Denis Scott Chabrol
Friday, 07 December 2012 23:13
Renowned Guyana-born literary icon, Professor Jan Carew has died. He was 92 years old.
Speaking to Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com ) from the United States, his daughter, Shantoba Carew said he died of natural causes at midnight Wednesday 5 December at his home in Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America.
Asked how she best remembered her father, Shantoba said: "He had a unique perspective on what it is to have a mission in life because every decade he seemed to have a new career but the goal is always the same to have done something in life." The only continuous career he had, she said, was being a writer but in the latter part of his life he was regarded as an academic.
His funeral will take place on December 29 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Carew was born in Agricola, East Bank Demerara on 24 September, 1920 and he also had very strong ties to Berbice.
"Ian was remarkable. Extremely brilliant! He was called the quiet revolutionary," Guyanese Dr. Juliet Emmanuel told DemWaves.
He was a Professor at the University of Louisville and received Emeritus Professor at Northwestern University, Chicago where he worked from 1973 to 1987.
He has led a rich and varied life as writer, educator, philosopher and advisor to several nation states. After his initial education in British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America, he studied at universities in the U.S., Czechoslovakia, and France.
In London, he worked as a broadcaster and writer with the BBC and lectured in race relations at London University’s Extra-mural department. He has also lived in Spain, Ghana, Canada and Mexico. He has taught at many universities in the U.S., including Princeton, Rutgers, George Mason, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, and the University of Louisville.
He is perhaps still best known for his first novel, Black Midas, and his memoir, Ghosts in Our Blood: With Malcolm X in Africa, England and the Caribbean. Black Midas , along with his second novel, The Wild Coast, originally published in 1958 and 1960s, respectively, were recently re-issued as special 50th Caribbean Modern Classics Series by Peepal Tree Press. Other than these two publications, his recent publications are The Guyanese Wanderer, The Sisters and Manco’s Stories, and Rape of Paradise: Columbus and the Birth of Racism in the Americas.
Despite the implosion that collapsed the Second World upon itself (leaving the Third World with only one super power with which to contend), and the profound changes that an electronic, communication and service industry has brought about, Jan Carew remained an ardent Pan-Africanist. His motto as a writer and artist comes from one of his poems: “Art and Literature” he wrote, “are like lightening, for lightning illuminates, and is never timid.”
Guyana's Ministry of Culture earlier Friday issued the following statement in tribute to Professor Carew who last visited Guyana in the mid 1990s for an event that had been organised by the Association of Caribbean Studies (ACS).
Just a few days ago, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport was moved to remark on the fact that this leap year of 2012 has taken quite a few creative Guyanese minds from us. From entertainment promoters to choreographers, musicians and vocalists to broadcasters and journalists, the exodus to a higher calling was evident and significant. It was therefore our pleasure and privilege to host an outstanding literacy son of the soil, the centurion-author E.R. Braithwaite, a few months ago.
Against that reflection the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport now pays tribute and bids farewell to another internationally-recognised Guyanese writer, poet and essayist, Jan Carew.
Though Mr. Carew has spent most of his adult life away from his homeland, his varied volume of work has depicted Guyana and the Caribbean, securing the region's literary legacy amongst the international literary and academic landscape. As playwright and educator also, Jan Carew wrote landmark novels - Black Midas, Wild Coast - set - in Guyana, the Caribbean, Europe and elsewhere. He has written for children, for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and for the British and Caribbean Pan Africanist Movement.
Carew has been describe as "the Gentle Revolutionary" for his work in promoting Black activism alongside such stalwarts as W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Cheikh Anta Diop, Kwame Nkrumah and his countryman Ivan Van Sertima, to name just a few. The Guyanese intellectual from Agricola must also be regarded as a citizen of the world living and producing work from bases in some ten countries across the globe.
The Ministry also notes Carew's earlier political and philosophical forays culminating perhaps, in his 1964 "Moscow Is Not My Mecca". It is recorded that Carew's numerous academic work - research papers, reviews theses and assays - reflected his determination to re-examined and present alternatives to the Westernised "traditional historiographies and prevailing historical models of the conquest of the Americans". Carew's works, along with Van Sertima's, are scholarly evidence of Guyanese contributions to the Third World mental re-orientation.
The ministry therefore offers condolences to the Carew family and all his international colleagues in the literary and academic world. "The Guyanese Wanderer" (2007) must be continuing his life's work at a Higher level.
The first 2002 edition of Race and Class, a "London Journal of Black and Third World Liberation" (Volume 43 Number 3) saw fit to devote itself wholly to the celebration of the activity and the being of Jan Carew, whose 80th. birthday, 24th. September 2000 is still being observed. He is so well known in so many countries of the world that some were late for the party.
Both the man himself and the special publication of Race and Class deserve all the attention possible. That is the aim of this article. After a review of Race and Class(Volume 43 Number 3), the article will leave aside its material, which readers may obtain from any worthwhile bookstore, and offer a unique perspective of this remarkable individual.
The special issue is fittingly titled "The Gentle Revolutionary: Essays in Honor of Jan Carew". It includes essays by notable scholars. Frank Birbalsingh, who explores 'Race, Colour and class in Black Midasan early Carew novel set in his homeland, Guyana. There is A. Sivanandan's "Jan Carew, Renaissance Man," which is closer to a definition of the person and his thought. My favourite essay is "Explorations into the 'Feminism' of Jan Carew" by Joy Gleason Carew, his present wife, who reveals not only his salutation of matriarchy, but the extent to which he has gone to create in his plays and other works women who, whether in interpersonal, private, domestic sphere or in social relations blazed the trail.
Clinton Cox reminds the failing memories of Carew's weighty contribution to the revelation of the true genocidal role of Cristobal Colon, for English speakers, Christopher Columbus; that Carew is far and away the outstanding Caribbean artist and activist to put Caribbean and western hemisphere history on its feet, shaking it roughly by the shoulders out of the drunken stupor of Euro-coated history, by his explanation of the critical and disastrous role of Columbus, a subject which easily raises the adrenalin of the gentle revolutionary.
Jan Carew's interest in cultures, as they have developed, is not enforced by decades-old state programs of multiculturalism. But his own inborn understanding of his origins and of the society which cradled him. He formally embraced, before it became the fashion, his country's and the world's marginalized cultures without discrimination, though distinguishing those ugly behaviors, seeking cover in the culture, from the culture itself. Race and Class (Volume 43 Number 3) also contains poetic tributes fromClaire Carew and Sterling Plumpp, and in prose from some of our most sensitive contemporaries in various climates.
I had declined the honour of writing for this issue on the ground that, living in Guyana as I do, I was not up to date with Dr. Carew's works over the years, only stumbling across one or two as the years rolled on. I felt unequal to the task. Now that I have read Race and Class (Volume 43 Number 3), "The Gentle Revolutionary," I am most excited by the excerpts of his plays and their whole amazing scheme, conception and setting. These plays broke the natural limits of human empathy and imagination. His resurrection of Thaddeus Stevens, another figure of my curiosity, and his spouse is fascinating and shows Carew's genuine closeness to all underdogs, regardless of breed.
I knew Jan Carew when we were both young, my year of birth being 1925, in another Guyana plantation. He was then an urban city dweller and he had the strange habit of cycling twelve lonely, uncomfortable miles on Friday nights to deliver a series of talks to the Buxton Discussion Circle. This was in the late forties, very likely in 1949 when, according to his odyssey, as given in "The Gentle Revolutionary." He was in his native Guyana.
His study of communities is holistic. That is why he must be credited with reviving knowledge of the magic of the grain amaranth and with launching a campaign inter-linked comfortably with his literary and historical productions which has brought amaranth to the notice of nutrition-conscious community. And a cross section of consumers. He really wanted to see amaranth cultivated by the indigenous and coastal populations of his native Guyana, as an economic crop.
His archeological curiosity of the life of Native Americans elsewhere in the hemisphere led him to the vital knowledge of a grain, which flourished during the ancient American civilizations. He wanted to see this grain officially promoted in Caribbean countries—Guyana and every country with under-developed, one-crop agriculture. I am sure that he still cherishes that dream which I also share. Jan has lived his own vision. He has served his visitors amaranth bread and given it to his friends. Amaranth for him was a factor in the cultural reconstruction of the Americas.
These are only some of his dimensions. A glance at his printed odyssey shows his after-school youth spent in a mood of expansion and motion, in teaching, serving in the military in the second world war, writing, working at the Customs as public servant in Trinidad and Tobago, and student at Howard University and then at Western University, like an artistic jack of all, but novice at none. He was active in a theatre group with Lawrence Olivier the British Shakespearean actor and has produced and acted in many countries.
For many years he and Dr. O. R. Dathorne and others provided the leadership for the Association of Caribbean Studies, which gathered annually somewhere in the Caribbean, assembling many from various places. In addition, to what the scholars have written there is more to be said about this enduring personification of thought and action. One of his deep concerns is his environmental intelligence.
He was an environmentalist long before it become fashionable. In the Guyana Law Books there is an Act with the following title, "An Act to provide for the sustainable management and utilisation of approximately 360,000 hectares of Guyana tropical Rain Forest dedicated by the government of Guyana as the Programme Site for the purposes of research by the Iwokrama International a Centre to develop, demonstrate, and make available to Guyana and the International Community systems, methods, and techniques for the sustainable management and utilisation of the multiple resources of the Tropical forest and the conservation of biological diversity and for matters incidental thereto."
Almost a million acres, offered by the Executive in Guyana from the people's endowments for the future of the planet! This law in the statue books of his native Guyana is witness to Jan Carew's aspirations for Guyana, his national spirit and the fact that he has had practical impact on the environmental policy.
He made this recommendation to the PNC President of Guyana, Mr. Desmond Hoyte recommending an international involvement for a million acres of forest and in Guyana. He was a supporter of the PPP, but gave the idea to the PNC which was in office. Mr. Hoyte at once made the offer to a Commonwealth conference, no doubt his first opportunity. The unique offer from a sovereign country was readily accepted. Carew was disappointed that it had been offered to the Commonwealth and not to the United Nations.
Jan Carew also has an unequalled curiosity about the world's peoples and especially of those of that world which endured and still endures centuries of suppression after the invasion of Columbus. For to him as well as to the historian Basil Davidson, it was Columbus who wielded the double-edged sword of medieval genocide on the two continents facing each other across the Atlantic, the Americas, and Africa, with extensions to Asia. Faced with the whole complex outcome of an accomplished, multi-faceted genocide, Carew seems early to have made the resolve to make his jihad the unearthing and revealing of the hidden strengths, hidden genius, and forgotten accomplishments of these magnificent peoples whom history had all but written off.
Carew lent his talents to the effort of the Nkrumah government to globalise the African revolution through communication with the literate world outside, absorbing the finest elements of the people's rich culture. His work on Malcolm and his dramatisation of the rape of enslaved Africans in the USA viewed through the windows of the civil war and its complexities drew him typically to Thaddeus Stevens, a white legislator whose empathy with the emancipated was remarkable.
Carew, I recall, earned early the reputation of an adventurer—here today, gone tomorrow, seeking out strange things among peoples he did not know and venturing into unkown seas. I learned from senior thesis (unpublished) by Iyabao Kwayana of the Trickster in Literature and how Carew's analysis of Tar Baby, along with Ivan Van Sertima's showed the continuity of Africa in the West, showing the force of mythology and the silent, elemental power of the folk in the composition and cultivation of a people's culture, in fact, in being the people's culture. She represents him as arguing, "Tar-Baby is an archetypal symbol of the oppressed black and indestructible, endowed with the strength and powers of resistance of both the male and the female. Its tormentors were themselves worn out raining blows on its head and in the end the aggressor becomes the victim."
Taking the road not trodden, his interest in Malcolm X and Carew's own family-bred matriarchy led him to a search for Malcolm's mother, Ms. Little, who, he was delighted to find, was a West Indian. This quest for the Mother always gives validity to the historical character. He seemed to have met Malcolm X in London in 1965 and then soon after to have gone to Ghana. Malcolm had visited Ghana not long before and had met Maya Angelo there along with Ras Makonen of Guyana, Nana Kobina Nketsia, a custodian of Akan culture, Kofi Badu of Ghanian Times, the late Nevlle Dawes of Jamaica and his Ghanaian wife, Cho Cho and Kofi Baacha of the Spark and others.
At the time Kofi Awoonor was a rather young man known as a poet and a film producer. The tension, some would say dialectic, between the USA and Africa is not easily understood from one shore. The civil rights movement in the USA and the African decolonisation movement mutually reinforced each other. No one visiting African countries then, any of them, could miss this interaction and interdependence. Every statement made by Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and other leaders was headline news in the newspapers of that continent. The hard-pressed African leaders not only instinctively supported the struggle of the down-pressed in the USA, but they perhaps saw news of it as welcome diversion for the political energies of their own populations.
The remarkable thing about Jan Carew, however, is his ideological self reliance. He was perhaps the most eminent Caribbean activist of the left community of change to emancipate himself and his line of thought from the apron strings of an invasive state, the USSR. Thus he challenged the USSR's monopoly of revolutionary theory. And its tutelage of the so-called Third World.
As a young writer and dynamic theatre personality Carew would have had the promise of ready made promotion and prestige in the soviet half of the world and in a large part of the rest of the world. He paid the price and was the subject of vilification from the left in the Caribbean. The price was heavy but he preserved himself and his tradition as valuable resources for freedom of the down pressed. He had gone to the promising new civilization, which had him as guest of the Writers Union. Moscow was the spiritual home of millions outside of the USSR.
Like [George] Padmore before him, like C.L.R. James who had not visited USSR, Jan Carew found some dissonance and wrote critically of the directions, Moscow Is Not My Mecca. He had disappointed many uncritical admirers of the Soviet system, such as the PPP in Guyana, but he bore it heroically. Carew's difficulty with Moscow was not its official commitment to socialism, but rather its missing the mark. His problem to be sure was not that of deviation, of which he was accused.
This is what he said about it to Malcolm X in 1965. In an answer to Malcolm's question [Read Ghosts in Our Blood.], Carew explained his own socialism as "a humane and resilient socialism that is sensitive to the rhythms of life and to all human needs—material, social, psychological spiritual, collective, and individual. Above all it must be a patient and tolerant socialism. 'But that is more socialism as a religion than socialism as a political ideology', derisory voices shout at me, and I reply, 'If it is, then so let it be!' Dostoyevsky voicing one of his prophetic insights, once said that should the Russian masses embrace communism, it would succeed only if it turned into religion."
The Russian masses did embrace communism, for a moment in history, but when religion was brutally suppressed and a parasitic bureaucracy with a lamentable absence of imagination tried to foist its own gods, saints and devils; push its own gods saints and devils only to that society for three quarters of a century, it collapsed. This collapse brings another Dostoyevskian adage to mind: If God does not exist then it becomes a carnival of devils."
Perhaps his singular effectiveness as teacher, activist, revolutionary, political worker, adviser, dramatist, speaker, researcher, explainer, came from the deep respect he accorded every human culture in its sane manifestations. Perhaps this respect sprang of his central rooting in culture. He knew that when the culture of a movement is imperiled the movement is imperiled.
His story reads at this time like an enjoyable romance but Jan Carew has known the hardship of the money-less condition, of poverty and confinement, hunger. A free man, he did not free himself of obligations A modern mariner he had to tell his story. Like his story was one of the unity of life. He would carry out his obligation as cultural evangelist in a poem, or a play or a pamphlet on a bean or grain, a grain good for human nutrition.
His marriage with novelist and thinker, Sylvia Winter Carew of Jamaica, was in addition a marriage of literature and philosophy. They lived a productive union. In Ghosts in Our Blood, he wrote of his marriage to a European woman. His current marriage with Joy Gleason Carew, a linguist and Russian specialist, also had its intellectual ingredients, apart from the physical or emotional. They have a daughter Shantoba, and many joint and individual productions of the imagination. Like the late Andrew Salkey and the late Walter Rodney, historian and revolutionary, he felt a compulsion to speak to children and help them out of the Caribbean rat race of which Bob Marley so eloquently warns.
The work on Malcolm X is a "return to source." Again as in his earlier works he explores the strength and dignity of his own Caribbean people. He finds the genius of Malcolm X, the amazing phenomenon, in his mother's psyche and his mother's blood and he is delighted because that is as it should be. To me his most influential political works are Grenada: The Hour Will Strike Again and Fulcrums of Change. For the composite diaspora which is close to his work and relies on them for cultural revelations through history, this work which helped prepare this hemisphere for the self-redeeming assault on the cult of Columbus, as the fifth centenary of his invasion, 1992, loomed. By the time it came the hemisphere had acquired many of the psychological and scholarly antidotes to one of the most powerful myths of the world. ThusFulcrums of Changeopenswith a chapter, "Columbus and the origins of racism in the Caribbean."
Grenada: The Hour Will Strike Again came two years after the Reagan invasion of Grenada in the wake of the implosion of the short lived evolution there. To heal the trauma of the masses of the people, Carew unearthed and revealed sources of independence in the country itself. It went back to and beyond the struggles of the rebellious African captives, but to the epic resistance of the island's indigenous population. A few impressions remain with me. One is the guerilla warfare waged by the African captives inspired by Fedon. Brightest is the Carib remnant which, following their versatile hero Kaierouanne, and rather than suffer defeat the hands the overwhelming force of Spaniards, leaped from a cliff into the more congenial ocean, the water the salty primordial matter.
Many Caribbean writers and in English thinkers have overcome the undignified foster mothering of their mother-deprived subjected populations and have sparked stream of thought and consciousness in the world's thinking. Carew stands out as the one who restlessly fought in the English language to restore the personality of ancient American civilisations and their descendants. Grenada also left a picture of the communications network which the indigenous people enjoyed even after Columbus, of their long boat journeys, their conferences, and federations in the interest of the sovereignty.
A tireless communicator, motivator, and teacher he has a long bill of indictment before the judgment seat of imperialism. Some charges will read: subverting innocent minds and immunising them against duping and self depreciation, preaching the damnable doctrine of human dignity and the entitlement of all. My senior of a few slight years pursues his mission. At eighteen he was precocious. At eighty he remains innovative.
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Jan Rynveld Carew, Emeritus Professor Northwestern University, was born in Agricola-Rome, Guyana, South America on September 24, 1920. Novelist, poet, playwright, educator, Carew describes himself as "an inveterate wanderer for whom travel is like the breath of life." In addition to his education at Howard and Western Reserve Universities in the United States, he also studied at the Charles University in Prague, Czechoslovakia and the Sorbonne in France.
He is a founder of the field of Pan- African Studies. Jan Carew has served as lecturer, professor or program director at Princeton, Rutgers, George Mason, Hampshire, Lincoln and London Universities.Writer, artist, and educator, Jan Carew moved to Louisville in Fall 2000 as a Visiting Scholar-in-Residence with the Pan-African Studies Department.
An authority on fields ranging from Third World studies to Caribbean literature to race relations, he has also served as an advisor to the heads of state of numerous nations on the African continent and in the Caribbean.
A founder of the field of Pan- African Studies, Carew entered academia after living for years in Britain as a writer, and in an Emeritus Professors of African-American and Third World Studies at Northwestern University. Among the many universities that. He is a permanent advisor to the University of Namibia in Windhoek, Namibia and to the St. Petersburg University of the Pedagodical Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia.
He has resided in Mexico, England, France, Spain, Ghana, Canada and United States. The men and women that he has interacted with include W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Maurice Bishop, Cheikh Anta Diop, Edward Scobie, John Henrik Clarke, Tsegaye Medhin Gabre, Sterling D. Plumpp and Ivan Van Sertima. They all form a veritable pantheon of illustrious African scholars and activists.
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Jan Rynveld Carew (born 24 September 1920 in Agricola, Guyana) is a novelist, playwright, poet and educator. His works, diverse in their forms and multifaceted, makes of Jan Carew an important intellectual of the Caribbean world. His poetry and his first two novels, Black Midas and The Wild Coast, were significant landmarks of the West Indian literature then attempting through writing to cope with its colonial past and assert its wish for autonomy. Carew also played an important part within the Black movement gaining strength in England and North America, publishing reviews and newspapers, producing programs and plays for the radio and the television. His scholarly research drove him to question traditional historiographies and firstly the prevailing historical models of the conquest of America. The way he reframed Christopher Columbus as an historical character outside his mythical hagiography became a necessary path in his mind to build anew the Caribbean world on sounder foundations.—Wikipedia
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The writer, Eusi Kwayana, 78, is a Guyanese who has lived in Guyana all his life except in the last year (2002-2003). He has been active in the political and cultural life of Guyana since the 1940s. He was once a government minister. That was in the first People's Progressive Party administration of 1953. He was a lifelong teacher . He was one of the founders of the African Society for Racal Equality (ASRE) and then of ASCRIA (African Society for Cultural Relations With Independent Africa ).
He spent four years as a member of the People's National Congress and in 1974 joined the Working People's Alliance. He and his wife; Tchaiko, of Georgia, are blessed with four offspring.
Guyanese author Jan Carew is best known for his 1958 novel Black Midas.In 1964, Carew also published one of his most controversial books, Moscow Is Not My Mecca (US edition, Green Winter ). And, as he learned much later, an unauthorized version of his book was circulated around the African continent as an “English language reader.” Carew’s novel was based on the stories of his cousin and other students from the Caribbean and Africa who had accepted scholarships to study in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Carew also drew on his own experiences as one of the first students from the English-speaking Caribbean to receive a scholarship to the Eastern Bloc countries when he went to Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s; and later, when he made two visits to the Soviet Union in the 1960s as a guest of the Soviet Writers’ Union. Following the publication of Moscow Is Not My Mecca, Carew was challenged by the Left and lauded by the Right, as each side tried to interpret his work from their often dogmatic and simplistic formulations. Carew, on the other hand, was exploring a complex set of relationships, which did not and still do not lend themselves to simple either/or divisions. Recognizing the potential of the Soviet experiment to provide much-needed support for the newly developing societies, Carew also felt he had a right to critique problems as he saw them and to call for reform.
Jan Carew is now ninety-one and in the process of writing his memoirs. This interview, conducted in Louisville, Kentucky, in July 2011, recounts aspects of his experiences as a student in Prague and, later, as a visitor to the Soviet Union, and his rising concern about the treatment of black students there.
Joy Gleason Carew: What was the response to your novel Moscow Is Not My Mecca? And, were there any differences between the responses of the white and black communities?
Jan Carew: I was determined not to produce a knee-jerk anticommunist work, but to tell the truth about the rise of racism in the Soviet Union. The regular Communists were against [the novel]. But, the Socialist Workers Party [SWP] in Toronto, Canada, was for it and had done a favorable review of the book in its journal. The SWP was Trotskyist and thus anti-Stalin. Their journal was also one of the few white journals to recognize the impact Malcolm X would have as a black leader and they had, for example, bought the rights to most of his speeches.
George Padmore, whom I knew in London and who had died five years earlier, would have approved of the book as well. Padmore’s theory was that race was more important than class when dealing with people of color. He had shared someof his reminiscences of the 1930s-era USSR during my visits to his flat in London. He told me that he had dared disagree with [Vyacheslav] Molotov. Molotov wanted to him to buy razor blades for him in Berlin. But Padmore refused to do it and told Molotov he wasn’t an office boy. Padmore was always impeccably turned out and the thought that he was being considered an errand boy was particularly insulting. At the time, Padmore was the Comintern’s Commissar for African Affairs and member of the Moscow City council.
JGC: Wasn’t there a pirated edition of the book being circulated around Africa?
JC: It was the Cold War time. You were either for or against; you weren’t dealing with nuances. Years later, my literary agent told me he had discovered the news about this pirated edition. He had been offered royalties to publish an edition of the book by certain people, but he had turned them down. Somehow, though, a blatantly anti-Soviet “English-language reader” version was produced and I came across it by mistake in the airport bookshop in Lusaka. This further fanned the flames. The Russians contacted Janet Jagan to complain about my accusations of racism. Later, when I went to Ghana to work for [Kwame] Nkrumah, I discovered that the Soviet cultural attaché had also denounced me to the Ghanaian cultural attaché.
JGC: But, you visited the USSR twice as a guest of the Soviet Writers’ Union and didn’t you study in Prague before that?
JC: My Prague studies were in the late 1940s, early 1950s. I went to the USSR as a guest of the Writers’ Union in the early 1960s. In the late 1940s, I attended Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where I met Martin Spitzer from Prague. Cleveland had a sizeable population of Czechslovaks and his father was the Czech consul general. At the time, I was willing to go anywhere where I could get a free education. Martin introduced me to the Students’ Union at Charles University in Prague, and we began to negotiate a potential scholarship.
As to my trips to the USSR in the 1960s, Black Midas had come out in 1958 and been translated into Russian. It was very popular and I had collected a large sum of royalties. In fact, the Russian version collected more royalties than the British and American versions together. They had serialized my book in their International Literature magazine before they brought it out as a whole book. It was also published in Georgian. Part of the reason for my visits was to spend those funds, as the Soviets had not signed the Berne copyright agreement which would have allowed me to take my royalties out of the country. I was also curious to see the country myself after reading about it for so many years.
For my second trip, I also had the advantage of having my cousin there who could take me around and translate for me. He was a student at Leningrad University.
JGC: Being a guest of the Writers’ Union probably meant you were given special treatment.
JC: I knew that the V.I.P. treatment I received was not only because of my novel, but because my Soviet hosts were out to win my political support. These Soviet invitations and visits, plus my relations with Soviet writers and artists, were taking place against a backdrop of political relations with my country, British Guiana. That is, relations with our Left-wing government and the Peoples Progressive Party, which by now had openly declared its allegiance to the communist cause. Both sides in the Cold War were aware of the fact that British Guiana, situated as it was on the northern coast of South America, had a symbolical, geo-political, and strategic importance—in spite of its relatively small size and its population of under a million. Also, my country was on the eve of gaining independence from Great Britain and had a popular Marxist Party, which was likely to win a majority, if free and fair elections were held. The Soviets saw this as an opportunity to infiltrate the region, while Great Britain, the US, neocolonialist governments in the English-speaking Caribbean, and Right-wing military dictatorships like that of Brazil saw it as a “communist threat.”
JGC: Back to the question of royalties, did you raise the question of changing this system with the Soviets?
JC: I put it to them that they were wrong to not sign the Berne copyright agreement which made it possible for authors outside their country to collect their royalties. Instead of penalizing Third World writers, they could provide for writers who needed their royalties. I got them to publish Vic Reid’s The Leopard, that poetic evocation of Caribbean writing, which created a sensation in the Soviet Union. They also agreed to publish John Hearne’s Stranger at the Gate. I also had a meeting of Caribbean writers living in England at Andrew Salkey’s apartment to discuss the importance of having these world-wide connections for our works. In this way, we wouldn’t have to remain dependent upon British and, to a lesser extent, American publishers.
JGC: When you got the opportunity to study in Prague, you said you were at a university in Cleveland, didn’t most West Indians attend Howard University, the historically black college, in Washington DC?
JC: I went to Howard first and was there about two years. But, I made my decision to leave Howard because I was spending so much of my time and energy looking for jobs or working them to help cover my costs. Seventy-five percent of my time was spent on this job search, while only twenty-five was left for my studies. My friends were afraid for me, but I was determined to leave racist DC. I had enough money for bus fare and one of my classmates who was from Cleveland told me about Western Reserve, so I decided to go there.
JGC: And, did you go directly from Cleveland to Prague?
JC: No, by this time, I’d been away from British Guiana for almost four years and I wanted to visit my homeland before I went to Europe. So I went home to wait for a response from the Students’ Union. This was also 1949, a time when the anti-colonial ferment had increased and I wanted to be a part of it.
JGC: What was the response to hearing about your impending scholarship?
JC: This was also the time when I first met Cheddi and Janet Jagan. Cheddi was a handsome, fiery Indian. I was so impressed with hearing him speak on a corner that I went to his house that evening to volunteer my services. I met Janet there and, as a result of this meeting, was introduced to many other young radicals. As I got to know them better, I offered my help to this new movement, which was in its formative stage.
When the scholarship notice came through, I still needed a recommendation from a progressive group, and Cheddi wrote a letter of approval for me. But, the contacts with Prague were tenuous, Cheddi had not yet formulated a foreign policy that included communist countries. The intellectuals in British Guiana at the time were all some version of Marxists. But, in 1949, the Left-wing parties weren’t as cognizant of the value of communist party linkages, though many were Stalinists. The communist countries had not yet awakened to the possibility of alliances with British Guiana, either.
As far as my Prague scholarship, another student who was studying in Prague, Samuel Bankole Akpata from Nigeria, had written to Paul Robeson for a recommendation before, and he suggested I get a letter from Robeson as well. Robeson sent the letter, which helped confirm my suitability for the scholarship.
JGC: What was it like to finally arrive in Prague?
JC: I left British Guiana and went to New York first. Then on to London, Paris, and to Prague. When I finally arrived in Prague, it was a dismal afternoon in the winter. The first thing I thought as I stepped off the train was that it was rather bleak and grim-looking. There were few passengers but many guards. I looked around to see if there were any porters and, in fact, there were none. So there I was, a lone Guyanese man in a country that my mother believed was somewhere close to the end of the world.
Two young women came up to me and asked if I was Jan Carew. The smaller of the two picked up my heavy suitcase and with the greatest of ease carried it to the end of the long platform. The one who spoke to me in English was Martin Spitzer’s fiancée and the two were University students. They assumed I was well off because of the way in which I was dressed. Food and clothing were still rationed in Prague in the late 1940s. Little did they know, but I had bought the outfit at a second hand shop in New York. My two hosts installed me in a fancy hotel, but, luckily, my contact, Ivan Svitak, came and rescued me, and I ended up staying at his family’s house.
JGC: What was life like in Prague? It must have been challenging taking classes in a different language.
JC: I had a great deal more freedom than the average student. The Czechs had never heard of British Guiana before and they didn’t know what to make of me. So, they couldn’t tell where I stood in the East/West divide.
They taught courses in a combination of French and German at Charles University—both languages I had studied. I actually had a good French background and had taken two years of German. English was also spoken widely. With the Nazi occupation still vividly in mind, German was not a very popular language in those days.
JGC: How long did you stay?
JC: I spent just under two years in Prague before returning to London, via Paris. My mentor, Ivan, was getting into political difficulties, so I thought it best to leave the country while I could. But, leaving was not so simple, I had to go to great lengths to get the right documents. I had to cross the border to East Germany at Pilsen. When I got to the crossing, there were American guards and German guards standing across the no-man’s land. The Czech guards inspecting my passport said I was missing a certain document and that I would have to return to Prague to get it before being allowed to leave the country. But, that was half a day’s journey to go back. I started arguing with them loud enough for both sets of guards at the border to hear—so there would be eyewitnesses to any incident that arose. So, the Czech guards had a brief discussion between them, and decided to let me go. I was welcomed by the other guards, and after glancing at my British passport (our country was still a colony of Britain), they waved me on.
JGC: Looking back over these experiences, what lessons might be learned from them?
JC: Looking at what’s happened in the last three decades, it seems that the world has changed, but when one thinks seriously about it, one realizes that it is we who have changed. Importantly, we, Caribbean people, have come to appreciate the value of shaping our own destinies, which sometimes means going against tradition, but also can mean taking the opportunity to refashion models to suit our purpose.
Joy Gleason Carew is an associate professor of Pan-African studies and associate director of the International Center at the University of Louisville. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees were in Russian and French studies. She, too, did some of her studies in the Eastern Bloc in the 1960s, spending several months in the USSR as part of a US university study group. Through the decade of the 1970s, she returned several times, initially taking her Russian language students and then taking other student groups and groups of professionals. More recently, she has made a number of visits to post-Soviet Russia to further her research or attend conferences. Her book Blacks, Reds, and Russians: Sojourners in Search of the Soviet Promise(Rutgers University Press, 2008) focuses on the perspectives of black intellectuals and others as they looked to the Soviet experiment for opportunities that their home countries denied them.
3,000 US troops secretly return to Iraq via Kuwait
December 10, 2012 by legitgo
3,000 US troops secretly return to Iraq via Kuwait 09 Dec 2012 Over 3,000 US troops have secretly returned to Iraq via Kuwait for missions pertaining to the recent developments in Syria and northern Iraq, Press TV reports. According to our correspondent, the US troops have secretly [not so much] entered Iraq in multiple stages and are mostly stationed at Balad military garrison in Salahuddin province and al-Asad air base in al-Anbar province. Reports say the troops include US Army officers and almost 17,000 more are set to secretly return to Iraq via the same route. All US troops left Iraq by the end of 2011, after nine years of occupation, as required by a 2008 bilateral security agreement between the two countries.
NCBS is currently accepting abstracts for individual paper, poster, panel, session, and roundtable discussions that explore the Black experience locally, nationally, and/or globally from a variety perspective. Of particular interest are presentations that comparatively explore these experiences, as well as those that examine the discipline of Africana/Black Studies using multi-layered frameworks and methodologies. Papers that incorporate various combinations of race/nationality, class, gender, and sexuality, through the lens of, but not limited to Afrocentric, cross-and multicultural, diasporic, feminist and womanist, post-colonial, post-modernist or transnational interpretative schemes are welcomed.
Send a 150-400 word abstract for a panel (one for the panel subject and one for each panelist), and/or individual paper and poster presentations. For roundtable discussions, submit a 500 word abstract that explores the discussion topic, specifying the roles of the facilitator. Each participant on a panel submission must submit their complete individual. Please submit abstracts by Friday, December 14, 2012 at: www.ncbsonline.org
Call for Papers for the 2013 NCBS Conference link: