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."
June 5, 2016: Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber smiles after being crowned Miss USA during the 2016 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas. (Jason Ogulnik/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
LAS VEGAS – The newly crowned Miss USA is a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia who gave perhaps the strongest answer of the night when asked about women in combat.
"As a woman in the United States Army, I think ... we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated," Deshauna Barber said. "Gender does not limit us in the United States."
The winner of Sunday's 2016 Miss USA competition held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.
Barber is the first-ever military member to win Miss USA. In a press conference following the event, the 26-year-old lieutenant from Northeast DC said she plans to take a break from the Army Reserve and had already discussed with superiors the possibility of going inactive for a couple of years should she win the title. She said she currently serves two days per month.
"My commander should be watching right now," Barber said. "Two days a month is definitely not active duty. It is an obligation that I signed up for but they are very flexible in the United States Army Reserves."
Barber said she plans to use the pageant's spotlight and her title to support veteran's causes and tackle the issue of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among military members. When asked what message she had for the presidential candidates -- including former pageant owner and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump -- Barber said they should focus more on veteran's issues, including the backlog at veterans hospitals.
"I think that a lot of the topics that they discuss isn't as important," she said in a glittering gold gown.
Barber's not the only contestant who had to address the election and the Republican candidate, who had a public break-up with the beauty pageant organization last year.
Trump offended Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House last June. He at the time co-owned The Miss Universe Organization with NBCUniversal, but the network and the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision quickly cut ties with him, refusing to air the show. Trump sued both networks, eventually settling and selling off the entire pageant to talent management company WME/IMG.
Miss Hawaii, who came in second Sunday night, punted during the question-and-answer segment when asked who she would vote for among the likely presidential candidates, Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Chelsea Hardin acknowledged that there was no way to correctly answer the question during the beauty pageant. The question was framed with Clinton's likely status of being the first woman nominated by a major political party in the race for the White House. The 24-year-old college student from Honolulu responded that gender doesn't matter when deciding the next commander in chief.
The other women in the top five were asked about voting rights, income inequality and the recent death of sports icon Muhammad Ali.
Fan favorite Miss California, Nadia Grace Mejia, had stumbled and paused when answering a question about social and economic inequality. The 20-year-old model, who is the daughter of the 1990s one-hit-wonder singer known as "Rico Suave," had also talked about suffering from anorexia and wanting to promote body confidence earlier in the show.
The beauty pageant organization also didn't shy away from addressing another controversy from last year -- Miss Universe.
Steve Harvey made a cameo in a video at the start of the Miss USA show to poke fun of the Miss Universe crowning that he botched in December.
Harvey was hosting Miss Universe last year when he mistakenly named Colombia's Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo the winner before correcting himself on the stage. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines was then given the crown. Officials later said it was due to human error. The talk show host said he had re-read the card and noticed it said "first runner-up" next to the Colombia contestant's name before clarifying with producers his mistake.
He took to Twitter after Miss USA Sunday night to mock himself again by highlighting the similarity of the two locations, the District of Columbia and the country of Colombia.
As I've previously shared and you've acknowledged, we will resume the culture keeper work after we complete the time sensitive Affordable Housing and Budget work that's underway. Ultimately good policy requires the focused attention of the City Administration, which comes down to four people. It is not possible for us to initiate the next steps in the banner contest, securing funding etc. at this time.
I'm sure you and others on this thread are fully aware that the Council, Administrator and City Attorney are extremely dedicated to fulfilling our commitment to completing the work we began with the adoption of the Housing Equity Roadmap within the rental moratorium. This essentially condensed what might have taken 120-150 days to 90 days. In addition to those critical efforts, the Council is also considering revisions to police oversight. Both of these matters require intense research by the City Attorney and analysis by the City Administration.
I am fully committed to bringing our collective vision of a robust Black Arts Movement and Business District to fruition. As you know, I had begun working on this vision when I first took office in 2013. When I met you in 2014 I thought it beneficial to combine the vision for the Black Arts, Tech and Business District with your vision of a Black Arts Movement district. After completing my initial research we convened a series of meetings in the Fall of 2015 that led to the successful unanimous decision to name the district. Those who attended the Black Culture Keeper meetings will recall that we intentionally established the District with a 3 phase process: 1) naming & defining (complete); 2) establishing the legal structure for fundraising and management; 3) Fundraising & Programming.
Thank you for your support in promoting the independent, on-going work of businesses and artists that are in the BAMBD (eg. MCFTA, Betti Ono, JoyceGordon Gallery, Geoffrey's Inner Circle). I believe it is important to continue to highlight these institutions are there programming. I am also pleased that Dr. Nzinga is working with the BAM supporters in cultivating additional interests and ideas to contribute to the furthering the City's investment in the BAMBD. I continue to hear from a broad group of business leaders and artists and expect that the final structure will be one that establishes a strong foundation for future funding and will reflect the diversity of African arts, business and culture that is uniquely Oakland.
During my next convening, I will review what we have learned about the next steps and report on our early progress for preserving two of the existing institutions, namely the Malonga and the Oak Center Cultural Center. I hope that we will have learned what's needed to initiate the contest for the banner design and have a scope for costs that will enable us to place the banners along the 14th Street Corridor.
In the meanwhile, my staff and I continue to research other cultural districts throughout the nation, work to define and introduce legislation designed to protect cultural institutions, explore how best to address the need for film, art and entertainment commissions and revisions to the noise ordinances to protect churches from harassment.
We have a lot of work to do and our success is predicated upon our ability to work methodically, strategically and with a strong sense of prioritization. At present our focus is on housing and police accountability measures which must be decided upon in the very near future.
Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to our next discussion.
Kind regards, Lynette
Sent by Lynette Gibson McElhaney from my personal iPad
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In the manner of the character in the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, Marvin X has pleaded with Oakland City Hall to acknowledge the Black Arts Movement Business District by displaying the Black Liberation flag along 14th Street downtown Oakland. He has pleaded to have vendors along the corridor; to place certain properties in the district such as the Malonga Cultural Center under a land trust; to entitle those persons living in SRO hotels with the life estate to help eliminate homelessness. So let us go down memory lane to Egypt, 1800BC, to the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant.
Marvin X has repeatedly appealed to Oakland's African Queen, Lynette McElhaney, President of the Oakland City Council. but to no avail. photo Adam Turner
Marvin X also appealed to Pharaoh Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland
Ishmael Reed's The Complete Muhammad Ali: Chapter 30, Interview with Marvin X
Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland
photo Adam Turner
If you want motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland and watch Marvin X at work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland.... His play One Day in the Life is the most powerful drama I've seen.--Ishmael Reed
Ishmael Reed interviews Marvin X on Ali As A Black Nationalist
San Francisco, January 2004 Black Liberation Book Fair
Some of the pioneers of the 1960s Black Nationalist movement are gathered at a book fair organized by Marvin X, a writer who is much venerated in Black Nationalist circles. Some of those gathered are die heart Maclolmites who are cool to Ali and attribute mainstream acceptance of Ali as the white public gloating over the fact that the man once called “ The Louisville Lip,” has been muzzled by a disability.
Though still regarded with respect, some black nationalists will never forgive Muhammad Ali, their one time hero, for turning his back on Malcolm X, their idol. Some of those who dismissed Joe Frazier as an Uncle Tom are giving Frazier a second look. He is no longer regarded as the usurper who deprived the exiled champion of his glorious comeback. As an example of Joe Frazier’s lack of sophistication was his mistaking “Uncle Tom,” for “Peeping Tom.”
“Malcolm gave me political consciousness. He stood up against America. Ali on the other hand is now speaking on behalf of America.”—Marvin X
Marvin X provides further evidence of the influence that the Nation of Islam had on Muhammad Ali’s decision to forfeit his duty to serve in the armed forces. He provided a biography, which gives a historical background to the presence of African-American Muslims in this country.
“I would like to delineate my lineage. As a spiritual descendant of West African Muslims, I begin my literary biography in the Mali Empire, among those scholar/poet/social activists of Timbuktu: Ahmed Baba, Muhammad El-Mrili, Ahmed Ibn Said, Muhammad Al Wangari, and the later Sufi poet/warriors of Senegal and Hausal and, Ahmedu Bamba and Uthman dan Fodio.
“In America, this literary tradition continued under the wretched conditions of slavery with the English/Arabic narratives of Ayub Suleimon Diallo, Ibrahima Abdulrahman Jallo, Bilali Mohammad, Salih Bilali, Umar Ibn Said. (Note:There is some suggestion that David Walker, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington and Benjamin Banneker may have been descendants of Muslims.) In 1913,Noble Drew Ali,established his Moorish Science Temple in Newark, New Jersey, later Chicago, and created his Seven Circle Koran, a synthesis of Qur’anic, Masonic, mystical and esoteric writings.
“And most importantly, Master Fard Muhammad arrived in Detroit, 1930, to deliver his Supreme Wisdom, mythological Sufi teachings, to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, later summarized in Elijah's primers of mystical Islamic theology and Black Nationalism, Message To The Black Man and The Theology of Time.
“The next major work is Malcolm X's Autobiography, with the assistance of Alex Haley. This neo-slave narrative bridged ancient and modern Islamic literature in America. Let us also include Louis Farrakhan’s Off-Broadway drama “Organa” and his classic song “A White Man’s Heaven is The Black Man’s Hell,” anthem of the Black revolution of the 60s. Amiri Baraka utilized the Muslim myth of Yacub in his play ‘A Black Mass,’ one of his most powerful works, an examination of the cloning of the white man. Askia Muhammad Toure must be credited for his Islamic writings, along with poetess Sonia Sanchez (Laila Mannan) who served a brief tenure in the Nation of Islam. Yusef Rahman and Yusef Iman created powerful Islamic poetry as well.
Marvin X continued (Black Liberation Book Fair, January 31, 2004)
“Well, you know we both had the draft problem as Muslims. Ali followed Elijah Muhammad’s directive to go to prison instead of going into exile like I did. I went to Canada. I was there about six months. Well because I got tired of Canada. There is an expression, ‘Racism is as Canadian as Hockey.’ First I went to Chicago and linked up with the group around Black World, which was edited by Hoyt Fuller, Haki Madhubuti and others. I was in Chicago when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. After I left Chicago, I went to Harlem. This is now ‘68. I went to New York to work with Ed Bullins at the New Lafayette.
“I went to Montreal for a visit. I had met a girl from Montreal. At the same time there was a struggle at Sir George Williams University. Bobby Seale was up there and a brother from Dominique, I think it was Dominique, Rosy Douglas. There was a student struggle going on; I got busted coming back from Montreal. Coming across the border without papers. And so I [was] put in jail in Plattsburg, New York, and then released on OR [Own Recognizance] and then they gave me a trial date, a court date in San Francisco, for the draft. I was invited to lecture at Fresno State in the Black Studies Department. Richard Keyes was the chair. So actually I was going to two trials. One with Reagan at Fresno Superior Court and one in San Francisco at the Federal Court.
“In 1967, I had met Eldridge Cleaver upon his release from Soledad Prison, who was then working for Ramparts magazine. He was supposed to interview Muhammad Ali, but he couldn’t go because he was under house arrest, so he arranged for me to do the interview. I went to Chicago to wait around for the interview. Muhammad Ali was in Detroit. He finally came back to Chicago. We were at Elijah Muhammad’s house. I saw Elijah Muhammad’s wife, Clara, and Muhammad Ali, but I didn’t see Elijah. Before we got ready to do the interview, Elijah Muhammad called him into a room, and when he came out he said, ‘Elijah Muhammad said not to do the interview.’ That he had said enough about the draft. This was like ’67. Well, we were probably in the house for about an hour. He said that Elijah was ‘the man I am willing to die for so I do what he says.’ Well that’s how most Muslims felt.
Both Black Panther and NOI attitudes about the draft influenced me. That’s why I was in Canada. What I’m saying is that Elijah said, ‘Resist the draft.’ The Panthers said, ‘Resist arrest.’ So I resisted the draft and I resisted arrest. That’s where I was coming from.
“Ali asked me if I needed any money, and I said, ‘Yeah.’ He gave me a hundred dollars. Why did he? I don’t know. I guess maybe it was his personality.
I was at Merritt College with Huey [Newton] and Bobby [Seale] from 1962 to ’64 and we identified with Malcolm X and so I didn’t join the Nation until ’67. I think I was looking for something more than what the Panthers were offering, because I could have easily gone to the Panther Party because they were my friends. It was a spiritual dimension that I was looking for. But I also got some Marxist material from the Panthers. But, you know their Ten Point Program was just a rehashing of the Muslim Program and put into Marxist language.
“Malcolm gave me political consciousness. He stood up against America. Ali on the other hand is now speaking on behalf of America. That’s not really strange for him to do that and I think I say that about him in my review of the movie ‘Ali’ in my book In The Crazy House Called America. He became a follower of Wallace Deen and Wallace Deen has an American flag on his newspaper. So Wallace accepted his American identity and I guess his followers follow that. Wallace left his father before Malcolm. He never came back. Ali said he followed Wallace after Elijah made his transition, because as far as he was concerned, Wallace came with the true Islam, the spiritual Islam, after the Nation had become corrupted. And then Norman Brown told me last night that as far as he was concerned Wallace just bought into Arab Nationalism and Arab racism and turned Negroes into Arabs.”
In his book, In The Crazy House Called America, Marvin X is far more critical of Ali’s move to the right. He blames it on the champion following the teachings of the late Wallace Muhammad. In the book he writes,
“We understand that he [Ali] has been requested to make public service announcements supporting America’s war on terrorism. Would this be a more dramatic ending: the people’s champ who fought against oppression, finally broken down to a servant of the oppressor… the tragic truth is that Ali is a member of Warith Din Muhammad’s sect that was known for flag waving before 9/11. Warith had rejected the teachings of his father, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in favor of orthodox Islam, dismissing the Black Nationalism of Elijah for Americanism, so it is not whack for President Bush to call upon Ali to be the ‘voice of America’ to the Muslim world, nor for Ali to accept. If indeed, our hero has been co-opted, let us be mature enough to realize humans are not made of stone and we know in real life people change, not always for the good—thus the danger of hero worship and thus the Islamic dictum: nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allah.”
In 1998 I received a three-year grant fromthe Lila Wallace Foundation, which required me to accompany adults, who were learningEnglish at Oakland’s Second Start Literacy Program, to the theater. In the course of threeyears, I saw a number of plays and musicals, many of which were overrated, and quite anumber of which were insulting to minorities, like “Ms. Saigon” and “Rent” and the mostreprehensible of all, “Stonewall’s House,” a play that tried to clean up the Confederateinsurgents’ reputation and which argued that blacks were better off in slavery, andthat because of political correctness, white male playwrights were oppressed. In other words, plays by blacks dominate the Great White Way. The play that I found the mostcompelling was produced by the Black Repertory Theater in Oakland. It was called “ADay In The Life,” and it was written by Marvin X. Like some of the other black revolutionaries of that period, Marvin X turnedto drugs after the disillusionment set in, and the revolution was busted, partially due toa sinister COINTELPRO operation (Counter Intelligence Program). Some of the more vibrant, charismatic and militant of the activists were permitted to morph into non-threatening positions as college professors, where they still engage in correcting those whom they feel are not revolutionary enough. All one has to do is contrast the swell-headed boastfulplay, “Big Time Buck White” in which Muhammad Ali starred, with “A Day In TheLife” to determine the corrosion of the sixties optimism and the pessimism of the currentpolitical climate. Black Nationalists and those on the black left have been among PresidentObama’s harshest critics, while black support for the president has remained in the ninety percent range.Cornel West, whom white progressives were agitating for a run in a primary against thepresident, referred to the president as “a black mascot for Wall Street,” which makesyou wonder why Wall Street backed his opponent, Mitt Romney. Marvin X has calledthe president “a black hangman.” The Marvin X play includes a scene in which the lateBlack Panther leader Huey Newton with whom I appeared on an 1988 ABC TV show (https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=VHL7glIcP4o&feature=share) a year before his assassination over a drug deal gone wrong. In Marvin X’s play he shares a crack pipe with the man who would laterassassinate him.
Inspired by the Harlem Book Fair, Marvin X decided to organize his own.Thus the Black Liberation Book Fair was held in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco,San Francisco’s Skid Row, on January 31, 2004. This event included a veritable Who’s Who of Black Nationalist personalities. With the tendency of the segregated media to tokenize every aspect of African-American life, some of these people are unknown to the general public, but connoisseurs of black politics and culture know about themand recognize their important contribution to the modern slave revolt of the 1960s. Ifanyone would give an unsparing portrait of Muhammad Ali, it would be they. For the 1960s, Muhammad Ali was their leader, but some, like Haki Madhubuti still resent thechampion’s betrayalof Malcolm X, who, among black nationalists, is regarded as a deity.
The book fair was held in the basement of Saint John’s Church. While themedia of the 1960s made a few Civil Rights and Black Power personalities famous, someof those who had worked behind the scenes, those who did the intellectual heavy lifting,were present at this book fair. Poet Askiá Toure, my 1960s roommate, Nathan Hare,the lateSam Greenlee, whose film version of The Spook Who Sat By The Door, about an armed uprising against the government drew the attention of the FBI, and the late Reginald Major, the author of The Black Panther Is A Black Cat, which remains one of the best books on that group’s career.
The Complete Muhammad Ali
“…it will become the truly definitive book on Muhammad Ali.” Professor Sam Hamod, PhD
“twelve solid rounds of writing… stands above its competition.” Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch
More than a biography and ‘bigger than boxing’, The Complete Muhammad Ali is a fascinating portrait of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. Ishmael Reed calls it The Complete Muhammad Ali because most of the hundred odd books about the Champion are “either too adoring or make excessively negative assertions.” They also omit many voices that deserve to be heard.
Ishmael Reed charts Muhammad Ali’s evolution from Black Nationalism to universalism, but gives due credit to the Nation’s of Islam’s and Black Nationalism’s important influence on Ali’s intellectual development. People who led these organizations are given a chance to speak up. Sam X, who introduced Ali to the Nation of Islam, said that without his mentor Elijah Muhammad, nobody would ever have heard of Ali. That remark cannot be ignored.
Reed, an accomplished poet, novelist, essayist and playwright, casts his inquisitive eye on a man who came to represent the aspirations of so many people worldwide and so many causes. He also brings to bear his own experience as an African American public figure, born in the South in the same period, as well as an encyclopaedic grasp of American history.
People interviewed include Marvin X, Harry Belafonte, Hugh Masakela, Jack Newfield, Ed Hughes, Emmanuel Steward, Amiri Baraka, Agieb Bilal, Emil Guillermo, Khalilah Ali, Quincy Troupe, Rahaman Ali, Melvin Van Peebles, Ray Robinson, Jr., Ed Hughes, Jesse Jackson, Martin Wyatt, Bennett Johnson, Stanley Crouch, Bobby Seale, and many more.
Reed also places the Muhammad Ali phenomenon in the history of boxing and boxers from before the times of Jack Johnson, through Joe Louis and Archie Moore to Floyd Mayweather. He also includes Canadian fights and fighters like Tommy Burns, George Chuvalo and Yvon Durelle. “The Heavyweight Championship of the World,” wrote Reed in a 1976 Village Voice headline article shortly after third Ali-Norton fight, “is a sex show, a fashion show, scene of intrigue between different religions, politics, classes; a gathering of stars, ex-stars, their hangers-on, and hangers-on assistants.”
The author of the much cited Writin’ is Fightin’ has now produced what will likely be known not only as The Complete Muhammad Ali but also “the definitive Muhammad Ali.”
Praise “great book, a lot of hard work, and I know that it will become the truly definitive book on Muhammad Ali.” Professor Sam Hamod, PhD; Former Director of The Islamic Center, Washington, DC
Ishmael Reed is a prize-winning essayist, novelist, poet and playwright. He taught at the University of California-Berkeley for thirty-five years, as well as at Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. Author of more than twenty-five books, he is a member of Harvard’s Signet Society and Yale’s Calhoun Society. He lives in Oakland, California.
Terry Collins will interview Marvin X on a wide range of topics, including the transition of Muhammad Ali, the presidential primary, but the focus is his recent article Will we resist America's Black Removal Plan? The interview will air on the Spirit of Joe Rudolph Show, Tuesday, June 7, 10PM, 89.5FM, www.kpoo.com
As the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party approaches, the following article by Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya should be considered by those attempting to establish the Black Arts Movement Business District in Oakland. We should study the pitfalls of the BPP in ideology, organizational structure, relationship to social classes, especially the grass roots or the people on the street in particular; programs and program funding, economic independence and the united front. One thing should be clear: conditions in Oakland are critical and thus require radical solutions. Conservative approaches will not move the Movement but only hinder progress that will be slow enough as we see with BAMBD caught in the bureaucratic quagmire of Oakland City Hall politricks.--Marvin X, BAMBD
Why You Shouldn’t Romanticize the Black Panther Party
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP). It is arguably the most revolutionary and impactful organization created by the African-American liberation struggle. There is much that may be learned from the legacy of the BPP in advancing today’s struggle for freedom, justice and a world that is free of capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism and racism.
The BPP’s explicit commitment to revolutionary socialism was a notable development, which serves as a contrast to the failure of many current activists and social justice organizations to openly embrace socialism. Well, we are not referencing Bernie Sanders’ “socialism” that is really capitalism with a human face. In Eldridge Cleaver’s On the Ideology of the Black Panther Party (Part I), he states that the BPP was committed to Marxism-Leninism or state socialism, while altering it to the Afrikan-American social reality. It should be expected that the ideas of socialism will be adapted to the concrete conditions in specific societies.
It is not enough for the radical forces to assert that they are anti-capitalist. That is a politically negative and vague position. Radicals must name the political ideology to which they are committed. If progressive individuals and organizations appreciate the BPP’s radicalism, they need to seriously explore socialism as the antidote to capitalism.
However, given humanity’s experience with authoritarian or state socialism in the former Soviet Union, the radicals of today would need to move away from the socialism of the BPP that promotes an all-power state and top-down leadership. The anarchist Mikhail Bakunin is on-point here: “Liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice. Socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.” Revolutionary socialism must commit itself to ending all hierarchical relations in society. The creation of the classless, stateless and self-organized (communist) society is impossible through the path of state socialism.
The BPP’s survival programmes served as an excellent way for the group to implant itself among the people as well as to organize with them. The BPP provided and/or initiated a comprehensive and impressive range of programmes. Huey P. Newton explains the context for these programmes:
We recognized that in order to bring the people to the level of consciousness where they would seize the time, it would be necessary to serve their interests in survival by developing programs which would help them to meet their daily needs. For a long time we have had such programs not only for survival but for organizational purposes.
There are two things that might become obvious to the reader after going through the book The Black Panther Party: Service to the People Program. Firstly, the programmes were not sustainable. They depended on donations from individuals, businesses and religious organizations or foundation funding to survive and they generated no revenue. If a radical group gets locked into this operational mode, it might degenerate into a social service, reformist political entity. Since revolutionary organizations will not be funded by the state and foundations, they must find other ways to self-finance the struggle for liberation.
Secondly, the BPP’s survival programmes provide a compelling case for self-organizing the people to autonomously operate their projects, programmes or institutions. The people should not just serve as volunteers, advisors or clients. A central role of the organizers is to equip the people with the knowledge, skills and attitude to collectively address their needs. This approach would affirm in practice the slogan “All Power to the People” as well as operationalize participatory democracy within the ranks of the labouring classes.
Furthermore, in the event that the revolutionary organizers and organizations are rendered ineffective by the secret police, regular cops, the court and prison system, as happened to the BPP, the people would be able to continue running their programmes and institutions. The state would have to repress the people, as a whole, in order to stop them from living the resistance through their projects, programmes and institutions.
In this “Age of Vulgar Identity Politics” wherein each oppressed group retreats into the protective cocoon of its particular identity, the BPP’s practice of solidarity could instruct us on the strategic value of principled alliances among different people in society. Uniting the oppressed against the forces of oppression should be seen as a positive and essential action. In the paper Black Panther Party: 1966-1982, Michael Carpini states that “the Black Panther [P]arty connected the self-determinacy of blacks to the self-determinacy of other marginalized groups such as the poor, women, and homosexuals.” The preceding approach of the BPP offers a way forward in uniting the people who experience exploitation.
Some Black nationalists viewed the BPP’s alliance with largely White organizations such as the Patriot Party, White Panther Party and Peace and Freedom Party with suspicion. Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) claimed that the BPP would play the role of cannon fodder for the White left. Ture’s position reflects a lack of confidence in the capacity of Afrikan revolutionaries to enter into alliances with White organizations on an equitable and non-exploitative basis. One would not argue that there will not be difficulties in the coalitions or alliances between revolutionary Afrikan and White organizations. But they must create principles of unity that will guide their actions and processes to deal with the unavoidable problems that will emerge when people work together.
A problematic element of the BPP’s programme was the central role that it gave to the lumpenproletariat as agents of revolutionary transformation. Eldridge Cleaver channelled the BPP’s position on the lumpen when he asserted that“the Lumpenproletariat is the Left Wing” of the working-class in the Afrikan-American nation and the “Mother Country” (the United States). It argued that the working-class had embraced the values and aspirations of capitalism and had carved “out a comfortable niche for itself.” As a result of this development, the unionized working-class is now a part of a “most un-revolutionary, reformist minded movement that is only interested in higher wages and more job security.” The lumpen cannot be the left-wing of the working-class because it has no direct relationship with the world of work.
According to the BPP, the isolation of the lumpen from the means of production and the dominant institutions leaves it with “no choice but to manifest its rebellion in the University of the Streets.” Cleaver and the BPP viewed the urban rebellion as the defining feature of the struggle for emancipation in the United States. This line of thought led Cleaver to declare that “One outstanding characteristic of the liberation struggle of Black people in the United States has been that most of the activity has taken place in the streets.” Since the urban uprisings are episodic and short-lived, the bulk of the organizing work among the Afrikan-American working-class takes place in the spaces in which it lives, works and plays. It is not the members of the lumpenproletariat who carry out the consistent, systematic and ongoing organizing that is the basis of effecting Afrikan liberation. It is the working-class and its radical or revolutionary petite bourgeois allies who shoulder the task of organizing and mobilizing the people.
Cleaver rebuked some Marxist-Leninists when he wrote that “It can be said that the true revolutionaries [the lumpen] in the urban centers of the world have been analyzed out of the revolution.” There is no question about the fact that the ruling-class sees urban insurrections as frightening affairs and that the street becomes the theatre of the oppressed during those infrequent moments of resistance. But Cleaver’s claim that “by and large, the rebellions have been spearheaded by Black Lumpen,” ignored the fact that many of the young people who actively participated in these uprisings were members of the working-class.
The typical rioter was a teenager or young adult, a lifelong resident of the city in which he rioted, a high school dropout; he was, nevertheless, somewhat better educated than his non-rioting Negro neighbor, and was usually underemployed or employed in a menial job. He was proud of his race, extremely hostile to both whites and middle-class Negroes and, although informed about politics, highly distrustful of the political system.
The typical participant in the rebellions were members of the Afrikan-American working-class and that may be deduced from the fact that he was “underemployed or employed.” It is reasonable to assume that the lumpen-proletariat do participate in urban uprisings but given its social characteristics, this class might simply use this festival of resistance in the streets for its own immediate material gains.
Alongside decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin, alongside ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie, vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni,1 pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, maquereaux [pimps], brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars — in short, the whole indefinite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the French call la bohème.
The Marxist Internet Archive lists the 21st century members of the lumpenproletariat as “beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables… and all sorts of declassed, degraded or degenerated elements.”
In the autobiography A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story, Elaine Brown, former BPP Chairperson, incorrectly includes members of the working-class (“black domestics and porters, nurses’ aides and maintenance men, laundresses and cooks, sharecroppers, unpropertied ghetto dwellers”) in the lumpen category. Brown demonstrates a lack of ideological clarity on the question of the people who constitute the working-class. But she did capture key members of the Afrikan-American lumpen: “gang members and the gangsters, the pimps and the prostitutes, the drug users and dealers, [and] the common thieves and murderers.”
How realistic is the expectation that the criminalized lumpen elements, Huey P. Newton’s “illegitimate capitalists,” will serve as agents of liberation? If members of the lumpen are transformed into agents of the revolution by way of methodical political education and disciplined organizing within the working-class, they have essentially committed “class suicide” and, as such, would no longer be lumpen.
The BPP was ill-advised in believing that the lumpen, especially the criminal elements, could serve as a revolutionary force. The lumpen panders to predatory behavior, self-destructive lifestyle of the street and “militarism.” The lumpen can become a useful part of the revolutionary force, but only after extensive political and ideological education. There is not even a single case, since the emergence of capitalism, of the lumpen serving as the revolutionary force in struggles for liberation. Samuel Farber’s essay The Black Panthers Reconsidered is a good source on the challenges of the lumpen as political actors or activists.
From a SNCC perspective, the organization seemed to me entirely too hierarchical. With a quasi-military chain of command even. Not enough serious political education instead of slogans. Also, there apparently was no time, and absolutely no provision, for full internal discussion within the organization. Instead, “mandates,” “orders,” and “directives” were handed down whether or not folks agreed with or even understood them.
In this climate, to raise questions, even legitimate and sincere ones, was too often seen as disloyalty or as challenging authority, an error to be corrected with physical or ideological intimidation, expulsion, or both… C’mon, “beat downs” may be a common gang tactic, but they are no way to build loyalty, unity, or even discipline in a radical black political movement.
The BPP’s revolutionary legacy offers us many useful lessons in our organizing work to create the just and emancipated world. We should fully explore and draw insights from the BPP’s legacy in other areas such as gender relations in movement organizations, practising principled anti-imperialism, role of armed resistance in the global North and the centrality of systematic political education in preparing organizers. Romanticizing the contribution of the Black Panther Party would make adoring fans of us, and not clear-eyed, unsentimental revolutionaries.
Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an educator, organizer and writer and a member of the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence.
It is no secret that “African-American women are the largest group of readers in the country,” states Dawn Davis, head of Simon & Schuster’s 37 Ink imprint. It is also no secret that the publishing world is very, very white, with books by black authors published at an abysmal low, never rising above 10 percent of the industry’s output. Indeed, a recent survey by Lee & Low publishers found that “just under 80 percent of publishing staff and review journal staff are white,” with “Black/African Americans [at] 3.5 percent.”
But even with such conditions, key figures such as Chris Jackson, Dawn Davis and others have shepherded books by black authors through their fellow gatekeepers and to the public. Other organizations, like Cave Canem, the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction and the African Poetry Book Fund, support black literature by offering writing retreats, workshops and small-press publishing opportunities. Here are some of the wonderful titles by black authors that readers of all tastes can look forward to in 2016.
In fiction, Darryl Pinckney offers Black Deutschland, the story of a gay African-American man who escapes his troubles in Chicago to seek refuge in 1980s Germany. The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, from playwright and TV writer Kia Corthron, is an ambitious, brilliantly executed tale of race and family across generations. There is also the latest installment of Rachel Howzell Hall’s Los Angeles-based Elouise Norton mystery thriller series, Trail of Echoes,which comes out in May. Literary legend Terri McMillan publishes a new book in June titled I Almost Forgot About You, the story of Dr. Georgia Young, who one day decides that there’s more to life than what she has been doing—and decides to go find it. There is also The Underground Railroad, a novel from acclaimed author Colson Whitehead, which will be published in September. And in April, Diane McKinney-Whetstoneis giving us Lazaretto, her fictional account of race, lies and murder that rock the close-knit community of the island-based Lazaretto quarantine hospital. In May, from Afro-Caribbean British writer Yvette Edwards, comes the riveting novel The Mother, which explores how one mother copes with the murder of her son—and the courtroom drama of the trial that follows.
Six strong fiction debuts from black American women are a high point of 2016. In June, Los Angeles-based writer Natashia Deon gives us Grace, a tale of the love between a mother and daughter set against American slavery and emancipation. Desiree Cooper’s Know the Mother, out in March, explores race and motherhood in a series of interconnected vignettes. Jamaican-American writer Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn crafts a tale of unforgettable Jamaican women fighting for selfhood and independence in Here Comes the Sun, due out in July.
Cole Lavalais pens a tale of love, redemption and self-discovery on the campus of a historically black college in Summer of the Cicadasdue in the spring. In We Love You, Charlie Freeman, out next month, Kaitlyn Greenidge has created an absurdist social commentary on race in the form of an African-American family paid to adopt a chimpanzee as a member of their family and be observed by a scientific research institute during the process. And Fabienne Josaphat’s novel, Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow, is the riveting tale of a man trying to save his brother from unjust imprisonment during the brutal regime of Haitian dictator François Duvalier in 1965.
Memoirs, Biography, Essays and More Nonfiction is equally strong. Memoirs from literary powerhouses Roxane Gay and Kiese Laymon, both meditating on blackness and the body, arrive in June. In Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Gay discusses her relationship with food, body image and self-care, a memoir couched in her usual honesty, vulnerability and depth of observation that have endeared her to so many readers. Laymon’s memoir, titled Stank: A Fat Black Memoir, is replete with his trademark wit and astute analysis. Out now is All Jokes Aside, a memoir by Raymond Lambert and Chris Bournea, which explores the rise of the African-American comedy scene centered at Lambert’s club. April brings Kill ’Em and Leave: Searching for the Real James Brown and American Soul, a nonfiction work from 2013 National Book Award winner James McBride. Here, McBride turns his considerable talents to biography and explores the life of James Brown—from his birth into a Southern sharecropping family to musical success—against a backdrop of racism in America. A collection of essays on race called—in homage to James Baldwin—The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward, will be released in August. The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, by Natalie Y. Moore, coming out in March, is a particularly timely and necessary work. New York Times Magazine contributor Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah is the author of the forthcoming The Explainers and the Explorers, an in-depth look at fearlessness and black art.
Voices From the Motherland African writers are well-represented this year. In March, Nigerian writer Chris Abani gives us his memoir, The Face: Cartography of the Void, as part of a new series from Restless Books. Also in March comes fellow Nigerian writer A. Igoni Barrett’s allegorical, Kafka-inspired novel Blackass, the story of a Nigerian man who wakes up one day to find that he has become a white man. Another Nigerian writer, Jowhor Ile, has released his highly anticipated debut novel, And After Many Days. And acclaimed Nigerian-British novelist Helen Oyeyemi brings us a collection of short stories—What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours—thisMarch.
In The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Magician, Zimbabwean writerTendai Huchuexplores the lives of three Zimbabwean transplants to Great Britain.In Homegoing, out in June, Ghanaian-American writer Yaa Gyasi crafts a sprawling, epic tale of two 18th-century half-sisters: one safe in Ghana, the other sold into slavery in America. Sudanese writer Leila Aboulela’s The Kindness of Enemiesis an exploration of contemporary Muslim identity.
In June, Moroccan writer Fouad Laroui brings us The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers, a linked-short-story collection that won the Prix Goncourt de la Nouvelle, France’s most prestigious literary award. Another acclaimed Moroccan writer, Tahar Ben Jelloun, gives us The Happy Marriage, the story of a marriage told from the differing perspectives of husband and wife. The Queue, by Egyptian writer Basma Abdel Aziz and translated by Elisabeth Jaquette, is a dystopian novel exploring the aftermath of political upheaval.
Words in Verse On the poetry side, in April comes Jamaal May’s The Big Book of Exit Strategies, his second collection of poetry. Kevin Young has given us his collection Blue Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1995-2015. Ethiopian writer Mahtem Shiferraw’s Fuchsia,winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, explores themes of identity and translation. This year, literary heavyweight Kwame Dawes will be releasing a new collection of poetry, The City of Bones; a new Spanish translation of his book Vuelo; and, in April, a compilation of his poetic correspondence with the poet John Kinsella, titled Speak From Here to There. Chris Abani and Dawes also edited Tatu, a collection of contemporary poetry by African poets due out in the spring, as part of their yearly New-Generation African Poets Series. But these books are just the tip of the iceberg. And as the publishing industry becomes more diverse, we will hopefully have even more titles by black authors to choose from in the coming years.
Tonight, Terry Collins interviews Marvin X on a wide range of topics, including the transition of Muhammad Ali, the presidential primary, but the focus is his recent article Will we resist America's Black Removal Plan? The interview airs on The Spirit of Joe Rudolph Show, Tuesday, June 7, 10PM, KPOO Radio, 89.5FM, www.kpoo.com
Hillary Clinton has apparently won the Democratic presidential primary, and it should be a proud day for women except for the sad fact her political persona contains a plethora of flaws equal if not far surpassing those of her likely opponent, Donald Trump. The polls have indicated both of these personalities are not liked by a great percentage of the electorate in both parties. Shall we say we have two white elephants and must choose one of them?
As per Hillary, her baggage from her past political life and personal life as the co-dependent and enabler of a sexual psychopath, dampens the joy of many who would otherwise love to honor her historic achievement of winning the Democratic presidential primary. She has done what Shirley Chisholm and Geraldine Farraro failed to do.
And yet her baggage includes possible indictments for email improprieties while Secretary of State, the Libyan fiasco that released ISIS upon the world; the abysmal failure of the Arab Spring; the fraudulent Clinton Foundation, including its receipt of millions in donations (while she was Secretary of State) from antiquated Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia who don't allow women to drive (yet she sings Silent Night about rights of women in these autocratic regimes who are also helping destabilize the Middle East by perpetuating sectarianism); her and her husband's (along with the Bush crime family) role in the rape of funds for Haitian earthquake relief; her support for the Honduran coup against a democratic elected president, etc., etc, etc.
Personally, I would like to be proud of her gender victory, especially since I am the father of three high achieving women that I would like to see smash the glass ceiling of patriarchal culture as she has done, but something is rotten in Denmark! But we know what the people said as the Savior Jesus hung on the cross between the two thieves: give us the thieves and away with Him! America, your choice is between two thieves (forget about Bernie, he's Jesus! lol). May God have mercy on your soul! --Marvin X 6/7/16
Marvin X is the author of 30 books, including poetry, essays, autobiography, memoir. He has taught at Fresno State University, University of California, Berkeley and San Diego, San Francisco State University, Mills College, University of Nevada, Reno, Laney College, Merritt College. He received writing fellowships from Columbia University (via Harlem Cultural Council) and the National Endowment for the Arts; planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, via the Nevada Cultural Council. His archives were acquired by the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Most recently, Marvin helped the City of Oakland create the Black Arts Movement Business District along the 14th Street corridor, downtown.
Muhammad Ali reading Message to the Black Man, Black Studies 101, a must read for people serious about regaining aboriginal consciousness not tainted by white supremacy mythology, including much "tenured Negro" academic white man approved scholarship.
As we say goodbye to our beloved brother Muhammad Ali, I submit the following notes on the most recognized man on the planet earth, the man who made the transition from Toby to Kunta Kinte or in his own right or rite, made the revolutionary transformation from a man of Clay (dirt) to Muhammad Ali, (Arabic: Ali:one who is most high; Muhammad: one who is worthy of much praise).
In my essay The Psycholinguistic Crisis of the North American African, I wrote:
...The proud African was beaten down from Kunta Kinte to Toby, perhaps the first level in his psycho-linguistic crisis: who am I, what is my name? Once in the Americas, he was no longer Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, Congo, Ashanti but Negro, and according to Grimm's law (the consonants C,K, and G being interchangeable) he was dead, from the Greek Necro, dead, lifeless, without motion and spirit.
Of course, he retained some of his African consciousness in the deep structure of his mind, in the bowels of his soul and he expressed it in his dance, his love life, his work habits, his songs and shouts, but basically he was a traumatized victim of kidnapping, rape and mass murder--genocide, for after all, when it was all said and done, between 50 and 100 million of his brothers and sisters were lost in the Middle Passage, the voyage between Africa and the Americas, thrown to the sharks trailing slave ships, one ship named Jesus, the one whose captain had the miraculous conversion and wrote the song Amazing Grace!
But changing the African into Negro was a primary problem in terms of identity which persists until today, even as we speak a new generation is now in the psycholinguistic crisis trying to decide whether they shall be called by Christian, Muslim or traditional African names, trying to decide whether they are Americans, Afro-Americans, African-Americans, Bilalians, Kemites, Sudanese, or North American Africans. For sure, the white man may not know anything else but he knows he's white!
With the term North American African I've tried to emphasize our cultural roots by making Africa the noun rather than the adjective. Also, I wanted to identify us geo-politically: we are Africans on the continent of North America, as opposed to Africans in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia or the Motherland. As such, we are unique and have created an original African Culture in North America, imitated throughout the world. For our unique improvisational genius, the Black Arts Movement mystic Sun Ra said we were, "The Latter Day Egyptian Revisionists".... (See The Psycholinguistic Crisis of the North American African by Marvin X, revised 2016)
Muhammad Ali is the grand persona in our psycholinguistic crisis, for he represents our battle for identity formation and verbal expression, i.e., his verbosity and poetics, and yet he transcended psycholinguistics to encompass and express the crisis of the African physique (the struggle of the African body in time and space) as well as the political struggle of the North American African nation to achieve liberation from oppression in America and throughout the world.
In the manner of his model, Jack Johnson, the North American African who beat America's great white hope, Jim Jeffries, to win the heavyweight championship of the world and caused one of the worse race riots in American history, July 4, 1910, Ali also expressed unforgivable Blackness, minus the white women of Jack Johnson's delight.
Alas, America established the Mann Act after Jack Johnson's ritual (and conviction) of transporting white women across state lines for prostitution. Psycholinguistically speaking, call it the Black Man Act, a more precise definition of the term.
Jim Jeffries and Jack Johnson
Ali’s greatness transcended the boxing ring to advance our struggle beyond civil rights (civil rites, Sun Ra) into the arena of human rights that Malcolm X tried to teach Ali and us.
Of course we cannot mention Ali and Malcolm X without including their teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Ali and Minister Farrakhan
Imam Warith Deen Muhammad
aka Wallace Muhammad
Ali and Malcolm, both inspired by Elijah’s son, Warith Deen or Wallace, attempted to transcend the Nation of Islam’s unorthodox theology for Sunni orthodoxy but we see today with the turmoil in the Sunni Islamic world, North American Africans are being forced to reconsider the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad (evidenced by the Hip Hop generation’s embrace of 5% Islam and Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science), especially his cry to leave Sunni Islam alone and embrace North American African Islamic mythology in the same manner Africans, especially West Africans, have their unique version of Islam, no matter what Arabs, Pakistani or others say about it. West Africans have their own holy city in Touba, Senegal, a city as sacred to them as Mecca to Sunni Muslims. (While writing in North Carolina, when a taxi driver told me he was Senegalese, I asked him if he knew about Bamba? He turned around to show me his T-shirt with a picture of Bamba. I then asked if Bamba was a holy man? He replied, “Bamba was beyond holy!” Of course, Bamba was a Sufi or Islamic mystic revolutionary who fought against French colonialism in Senegal. The story goes that he was under arrest aboard a ship being transported to an island prison when he wanted to pray, so he jumped off the ship, prayed in the water and returned to the ship for the ride to prison.
The madness of Sunni inspired ISIS and the Sunni denunciation of Shia Islam, Ahmadiyya Islam and other sects to the point of annihilation of their members, is beyond the human imagination in barbarity except we know Christians have been known for similar savagery, e.g., Irish Catholics and Protestants, not to mention genocidal Hindu attacks on Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhist; or Buddhist attacks on non Buddhists. We are of the Sufi belief: the only religion is the religion of the heart!
In the end, we think Muhammad Ali saw himself as a divine being in human form, true to his name,i.e., the most high, worthy of much praise. And we think the world agreed with him, for he revealed himself to be one of the greatest human beings who walked the earth.
As-Salaam Alaikum, Muhammad Ali! Surely we are from Allah and to Him we return!
6/7/16 Chapter 30 contains notes by Marvin X on Muhammad Ali; also see his review of the film Muhammad Ali starring Will Smith, Black Bird Press News and Review.
Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, Black Arts Movement Business District, downtown Oakland CA
Muhammad Ali with Malcolm X HOUSTON—“Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali––a free black name.”
These are the words of the great Muhammad Ali following his super upset victory over Sonny Liston in Miami Beach, Florida on February 25, 1964. On that day Ali also declared, “I am the Greatest!” This great son of Africa passed away on June 3, 2016 following a 30-year bout with a form of Parkinson’s Disease. Ali was 74 years old. Funeral services will be in his birth place of Louisville, Kentucky on Friday June 10. Let’s look at his life.
In a sense there were two Muhammad Ali’s. One, squarely in the camp of the oppressed and downtrodden of the Earth. The other side in the camp of neocolonialism.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1942, Ali began his boxing career at age 12. As an amateur fighter he compiled a 100 wins, 5 loss record. He won all sorts of Kentucky and national Golden Gloves awards including winning a Gold Medal as a Light Heavyweight in the 1960 Summer Olympic Games at age 19.
By the time 1964 rolls around with 22-year old Muhammad Ali’s stunning victory against the previously considered “unbeatable” Sonny Liston, the peoples of the entire colonized world––from Harlem to Congo to Vietnam–– were engaging white imperialism in open revolutionary struggle for control over our own lives and resources.
Ali’s refusal to be a tool in U.S. war of aggression
Ali and the stance he took with the rejection of the slave masters name to his refusal to be cannon fodder in the U.S. war of aggression against the heroic people of Viet Nam was the embodiment of the Black Revolution of the time.
As he was called for the draft into the U.S. Military in Houston, Texas in 1966 his response was “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet Cong. No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.”
And “You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for four or five more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fighting you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Viet Cong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice.”
What Ali was saying is what was being articulated by the Black Revolutionary Movement as it’s most coherent leader, Malcolm X was articulating it. Malcolm was Ali’s mentor and teacher as he was by his side before and after Ali defeated Liston down in Miami.
Much of the political era of the period consolidated in what Ali manifested to the world. The ideological influence of Malcolm X, whom he would later desert, but who defined a new political era of struggle that would capture the imagination of millions of Africans in the U.S. and worldwide, in addition to the colonized and oppressed everywhere.
Malcolm X’s views on Ali
Here is what Malcolm had to say on the militant image and projections of Ali: “The power structure created the image of the American negro as someone with no confidence, no militancy. They had done this by giving him images of heroes that weren’t militant or confident. Then here comes Cassius, the exact contrast of everything that was representative of the Negro image.
“He said he was the greatest; all odds were against him. He upset the odds makers, he won. He became victorious. He became the champ. They knew that as soon as people started to identify with Cassius and the typo of image he was creating, then they would have problems out of these negroes. They would have negroes walking around the streets talking about I am the greatest!”
The Mau Mau in Kenya, the National Liberation Front and Vietnamese Workers Party in Vietnam and the colonized throughout the world was the era of national liberation revolution. Mao in China and the Great Cultural Revolution; the anti-colonial struggles in Africa, Asia and Latin America were the main trend in a world where white power had gone uncontested for decades.
Malcolm X as the National Spokesman for the Nation of Islam recruited millions to join this great movement that was sweeping the earth. Cassius Marcellus Clay was also swept up in this euphoria of freedom on the horizon. Malcolm was proving concretely on the ground that we could win.
The war of the flea
Malcolm’s organizational children: The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party, the Junta of Militant Organizations, etc. also came to fruition in the era of guerrilla warfare, the war of the flea.
Ali translated this into a boxing style of a small, weaker force defeating a larger, more powerful force. Malcolm often gave the example of the underdog, little nation of Vietnam taking on the big bad U.S. tyrants and bullies. He said they had nothing but a blade and a bowl of rice and the will to win; knowledge of when to hit and run, when to mount and offensive and when to go on defense. In most of Ali’s professional fights his opponents were larger and stronger, but nonetheless he devastated them.
Thus, Ali’s “Sting like a butterfly, and float like a bee.” It was the war of the flea. So it was true, that with Ali’s never before seen skills in a heavyweight boxer and the teachings of Malcolm X, he was indeed the greatest.
Ali had contradictions
But Muhammad Ali, probably the most recognizable human in world history also had contradictions. He could not go all the way with the Black Revolution. While the Nation of Islam made great contributions to our movement, especially it’s “Do for Self” philosophy and toward breaking the myth that the white man was god.
The Spokesmen for the Nation of Islam posed the proposition that the white man was the devil right here on earth. The history of the white man––genocide, lynchings, rapes, murders and slavery provided proof that the white man was indeed the devil and should be struggled against.
The Nation of Islam itself was incapable of going all the way precisely because this ideological perspective represents a class question––it is incapable of carrying out the revolutionary project in the interests of the vast majority of Africans who are of the African working class.
Malcolm could not take the Nation of Islam nor Muhammad Ali on his Revolutionary path. Both refused to follow his lead. Both fell victims of the U.S. governments COINTELPRO anti-black revolutionary operation designed to assassinate African leaders and to destroy our organizations that stood for self-determination.
The inability to go all the way to the revolutionary conclusions is what can be expected of the African petty bourgeoisie and their organizational formations. The only class capable of leading the African revolution to the seizure of State power is the African working class, guided by its revolutionary vanguard Party.
The imperialists’ Ali
Muhammad Ali who actually never fell from favor from the African masses, did however fall from grace with those still devoted to overthrowing U.S. imperialism and fighting for black workers’ power.
We saw Ali in 1978 masterfully destroy George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (Congo) in one of boxing’s most memorable moments. But what is not talked about here is that fight also promoted Mobutu as a credible African leader. When in fact Mobutu was a dictator of the foulest order who was responsible for the murder of tens of thousands on Africans in Congo and for the overthrow and murder of the great African patriot Patrice Lumumba.
In 1984, after the failed bid by Jesse Jackson to win the Democratic Party nomination, Ali stood firm with Ronald Reagan’s reelection bid although Reagan had a long anti-African history. Not the least of it, was the 1983 invasion of Grenada where the legitimate New Jewel Movement government was overthrown, it’s leaders including Maurice Bishop were killed and imprisoned among much Reagan braggadosio.
Ali even participated in the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California aboard the Constitution and Bill of Rights Float as one who pontify the freedoms of the United States during it’s 200-year celebration.
Then Ali let the powers that be send him into Iraq in 1991 to negotiate prisoner of war release after George Bush had invaded and murdered thousands. In addition, he was sent into Afghanistan as a “Messenger of Peace.”
These were all efforts initiated by our colonial bosses to meet their strategic goals––goals which include the total subjection of the non-white peoples of the world.
The Ali of the people
So indeed, when Cassius Clay stood up in Miami, Florida and said my name is Muhammad Ali, he was in fact the greatest boxer and African patriot.
When he stood up in front of a federal courthouse in Houston, Texas and said “my fight is right here with you.” That was the Ali of the people. That was the greatest.
But we accept those contributions he did make, and the imperialist will take that from us if they can and make Ali all theirs to serve their own needs. They want Ali to serve their interest as they use Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and now Harriet Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill to serve them.
Former U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton is scheduled to deliver the Eulogy at Ali’s Funeral. What a hypocritical love affair the U.S. had with King, Tubman and Ali. If Clinton had the opportunity, he would have locked Ali in prison.
But neither Clinton, the U.S. and none of those, journalists included who are professing to love Ali now, loved him when he was the voice of the oppressed. In fact, they were all hostile to Ali. They hated him. He was the “uppity nigger.”
He only became their darling after the defeat of the Black Revolution and his capture by our enemies. Right now as we celebrate the life of Ali, we are still confronted with the defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties. We are entering a new era of struggle under the leader of the African People’s Socialist Party which is based in the African working class and has the ability to take us all the way to the realization of black workers’ power.
We are set to reproduce and surpass the era of the sixties characterized by Malcolm, black power, black is beautiful and “I am the greatest and the prettiest.”
The African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) represents the National Liberation that Malcolm was talking about––the liberation of the African working class while the NOI’s national liberation meant the liberation of the African petty bourgeoisie.
So let’s take that fighting legacy Ali left us and move on toward the Revolution. While Clinton and the others can have the Ali they created, the Ali created by the revolution of the oppressed will forever belong to us.
We will win! Uhuru! Subscribe to The Burning Spear newspaper!
On Saturday, July 3, contributors to the anthology Black Hollywood unChained, edited by Ishmael Reed, Third World Press, will discuss their contributions: Cecil Brown, Dr. Halifu Osumare, Ishmael Reed, Jesse Allen Taylor and Marvin X.
Cecil Brown is a writer and actor, known for the film Which Way Is Up? (1977), Horror Vacui (1984) and Doctor Dracula (1978). His most famous novel is The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger; his biography of Richard Pryor is Kiss My Rich, Happy, Black Ass. Another work is Hey, Dude, What Happened to my Black Studies?
Dr. Halifu Osumare is currently Professor of African American and African Studiesat University of California, Davis. She was the Director of AAS from 2011-2014, has been a dancer, choreographer, arts administrator, and scholar of black popular culture for over thirty years.
Ishmael Reed is a prize-winning essayist, novelist, poet and playwright. He taught at the University of California-Berkeley for thirty-five years, as well as at Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. Author of more than twenty-five books, he is a member of Harvard’s Signet Society and Yale’s Calhoun Society. He lives in Oakland, California.
Douglas Allen Taylor’s first novel,“Sugaree Rising,” was released by Freedom Publishers of San Francisco. He is a journalist who has written for many Bay Area publications.
Marvin X is the author of 30 books; also a playwright, essayist, educator and activist/organizer of the Black Arts Movement. He is co-founder of the Black Arts Movement Business District, downtown Oakland.
San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium, Saturday, July 3, 2016, 1:30-3:30PM. 100 Larkin Street, Civic Center, San Francisco.
This event is co-presented by the African-American Center of the San Francisco Public Library and the Before Columbus Foundation.
About the Book In Black Hollywood Unchained, Ishmael Reed gathers an impressive group of scholars, critics, intellectuals, and artist to examine and respond to the contemporary portrayals of Blacks in films. Using the 2012 release of the film Django Unchained as the focal point of much of the discussion, these essays and reviews provide a critical perspective on the challenges facing filmmakers and actors when confronted with issues on race and the historical portrayal of African American characters. Reed also addresses the black community’s perceptiveness as discerning and responsible consumers of film, theatre, art, and music.
Twenty-eight contributors including this book’s editor, Ishmael Reed, offer insightful, informed and provocative points of view on the ever changing, yet unchanged, landscape of Hollywood and film production in America. While the 2012 release of Django Unchained was the film that generated nation-wide conversations and many of the essays in this collection, this book intentionally extends that dialogue about race, history, entertainment and the image of Blacks on the screen to include an examination of the culture of contemporary films and television. Black Hollywood Unchained is critical of the roles of actor, film-maker and viewer as it asks questions that redirect our thinking about the multi-billion dollar industry we call “the movies.”
Contributors J. Douglas Allen-Taylor, Houston A. Baker Jr., Amiri Baraka, Playthell G. Benjamin, Herb Boyd, Cecil Brown, Ruth Elizabeth Burks, Art T. Burton, Stanley Crouch, Justin Desmangles, Lawrence DiStasi, Jack Foley, David Henderson, Geary Hobson, Joyce A. Joyce, Haki R. Madhubuti, C. Liegh McInnis, Tony Medina, Alejandro Murguía, Jill Nelson, Halifu Osumare, Heather D. Russell, Hariette Surovell, Kathryn Waddell Takara, Jerry W. Ward Jr., Marvin X, Al Young
Few African-American writers, no, make that American writers, have been as productive and insightful in their literary careers as Ishmael Reed. Whether fiction or nonfiction, Reed’s publications never fail to be provocative and provide a fresh perspective on our culture and history.
During a recent appearance at Quincy and Margaret Troupe’s salon and gallery in Harlem, Reed discussed his latest book, “The Complete Muhammad Ali” (Baraka Books, 2015). Only a few days from their monthlong sojourn in Mississippi to participate in their Gloster Project, which provides cultural enrichment to the children of the area, the Troupes presented Reed with a platform and forum to showcase his assessment of Ali.
Reed, accompanied by his daughter Tennessee, began the session by reading briefly from a chapter in the book that focused on the ties between the Nation of Islam and organized crime. But Reed is a raconteur, a beguiling storyteller who is at his best reciting his encounters, and for nearly an hour he regaled the audience.
“The Nation of Islam sent a message to the Gambino family that if anything happened to Ali, they would kill all of the family members … including Frank Sinatra,” Reed said, recounting what Agieb Bilal had told him about the tension between the NOI and the mafia.
This episode was just one of many that Reed discussed in wide-ranging comments about the book and the people he had interviewed over the past decade or so. At the beginning of the presentation, he had given the listeners some indication of the book’s purpose, which was very similar to what he wrote: “I call this book ‘The Complete Muhammad Ali’ because most of the 100 books about the champion, the majority of which are worshipful, are either too adoring or make excessively negative assertions, like Jack Cashill’s blaming Ali and Gerald Ford for the loss of Vietnam. For Mark Kram, Ali is a malicious buffoon. For Thomas Hauser, he’s a saint, though Hauser’s opinion has changed.”
And after reading this book, others will probably be changed in their opinions about Ali because Reed allows his interviewees a grand opportunity to express themselves in responding to Reed’s probing questions and sometimes to his questionnaire, one of them asking if there’s a feud between Ali and Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Of the many respondents, Bilal was among the most interesting and informative, particularly his remarks on the relationship between Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. From his position as assistant national secretary in the NOI from 1972 to 1975, he was in the catbird seat to witness the inner workings of the organization. He explained that Muhammad sent Malcolm overseas in 1959, “to test the waters.”
Bilal told Reed that there were three different things that led to Malcolm’s disillusionment with the NOI. “He didn’t feel the Nation of Islam was involving itself enough in the struggles of Black people on the frontlines,” Bilal began. Another issue that bothered Malcolm, he continued, was the NOI’s inadequate response to the police murder of Ronald Stokes, a NOI member, in Los Angeles in 1962. Then, of course, there were the revelations that Muhammad had fathered children with his secretaries. Even more telling was when Bilal said how Malcolm witnessed Muhammad “slapping a sister, which was totally out of character.”
Reed’s revelations are astonishing and a few of them from his informants beg for confirmation, for example, that Betty Shabazz was separated from Malcolm, which seems incredible because she and her children were at the Audubon Ballroom when he was assassinated. There are other moments when informants could have been challenged and pushed to elaborate on a response, but that would have made the book even more expansive. Overall, Reed has done a splendid job of rounding up the voices who help to humanize a man who deemed himself “the Greatest,” and who, for many of his fans, was a “Black Adonis,” impervious to insult and ridicule.
We can certainly question some of the people he chose to interview, which in many respects are like a poll with a margin of error. But the author has the last word on what his informants have to say and what comments are included or edited out. After winnowing answers from such notables as Quincy Troupe, Stanley Crouch, Jill Nelson, Marvin X, Hugh Masekela and Emanuel Steward, what’s his final word on Ali? “How do icons like JFK and Muhammad Ali maintain their saintly status by overcoming flaws that would ruin an ordinary person?” Reed asked. “Like those lofty ones, King David, for example, an adulterer and murderer? They get a pass and are mythologized.”
There’s no mythologizing by Reed, nor sniping, just his way of stepping aside to let others reflect on a giant of our culture in an almost complete fashion.
Ishmel Reed and his daughter Tennessee / CONTRIBUTED
Dr. Ayodele Nzinga replies to President Lynette McElhaney's response to Marvin X and Tale of the Eloquent Peasant
Dear Madam President McElhaney,
Marvin X, my mentor and elder, found your response quite eloquent and urged me to respond to you since you referenced my efforts in engaging the community to help with the implementation of a Black Arts Movement Business District. I am deeply committed to the creation of a Black Arts Movement Business District as envisioned by those who dreamed it fifty years ago. Marvin X and the late Amiri Baraka, both internationally known founding members of The Black Arts Movement envisioned Black Cultural Districts nationwide. In his hometown, Newark, New Jersey, Baraka called his vision The Jazz District. Marvin’s vision for his hometown, Oakland CA., is an immense one. It is in service to that dream that I join the conversation.
Your reply reminds us of the weight of your responsibilities as a council person and you state your current priorities. Thank you for offering us your understanding of where BAMBD fits into current City of Oakland matters as well as the short outline for implementing the stages of BAMBD. As a resident of District 3 who works and lives in the BAMBD footprint, I appreciate your timely update. There is a great deal of community interest in the successful implementation of a vibrant cultural district that will help address some of the issues that are priorities for you.
The things you are prioritizing should indeed be pressing issues for the entire council. I note that some of your priorities align the proposed pillars of BAMBD, which we envision as a comprehensive entity with a design that addresses pressing needs of Oakland’s disenfranchised and marginalized North American African communities in a wholistic fashion.
In my humble opinion, the successful implementation of the Black Arts Movement Business District is the only tangible solution currently offered to provide relief to a portion of the city’s population who feel they are part of a purge. Neither 90 day moratoriums, nor plans to provide affordable housing in 2020 will serve those who need solutions to exorbitant rents now.Considering the fact that $2,270.00 a month is the median rent for a one bedroom in Oakland according to Zumper which places Oakland in a tie for 5th on a list of the most expensive cities in America for renters, housing is certainly a pressing issue, which if unaddressed will result in the continued exodus of low and moderate income people from Oakland.If something is not done there will be no substantial North American African population in Oakland to enjoy or benefit from a Cultural District.
We look forward to the implementation of BAMBD and its potential to provide additional economic opportunity in Oakland. The same population plagued by negative interactions with law enforcement is by and large the same group that is affected by housing issues and urgently needs the work you are attempting with police reform. A recent report cites that much of the cycle of violence in Oakland can be tied to structural disparity; that cycle of disparity places the disenfranchised in negative relationship with law enforcement and hastens gentrification while amplifying displacement.
I applaud your efforts to speak to the negative relationship with law enforcement and its deadly effect. I eagerly await the opportunity to assist in the implementation of BAMBD to offer a space to grow solutions that speak to your priorities as well as our vision for North American African survival and meaningful progress in Oakland.
I am also encouraged by your acknowledgment of our community organizing, our visioning and collaborative research of existing cultural districts to better inform any decision of what form our own district should adopt. To that end I request a meeting with you to discuss pending development in the BAMBD footprint and to formally request the assistance of your office in the process of drafting community benefit requests for any and all pending development within the footprint.
I look forward to the reconvening of the Culture Keepers to hear your progress on these matters and to work closely with you to make BAMBD a comprehensively designed vehicle that offers tangible ways to address our total needs.
Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD
Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc
BAMBD Servant & Architect
Agenda of the Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall Meeting, Sunday, June 12, 3-6PM by Aries Jordan
The next Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall is scheduled for this Sunday, June 12/2016, 3-5pm at East Side Arts Alliance, 23rd and International Blvd, Oakland.
Tentative Agenda: Report back, event planning & next step strategy. Come to the table & help fight displacement, save culture, add services, create access and job opportunities. Bring your hands, your minds and determination!
We are excited to announce "The Movement" Newsletter of Black Arts Movement Business District Oakland.
Do you or your organization have any cultural events coming up June-August?
Are you interested in submitting original artwork, poetry and writing?
*At this point all submissions must be culturally specific to the North American African community and related to the 5 pillars of Black Arts Movement Business District
Commerce Equity for artists and cultural workers Development of intellectual capital Increased access to services
Helpful links to learn more about B.A.M.B.D
B.A.M.B.Historical sites within B.A.M.B.D corridor 14th street:
NEWSLETTER OF THE BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT BUSINESS DISTRICT
The next Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall is scheduled for Sunday, June 12/2016, 3-5pm at East Side Arts Alliance, 23rd and International Blvd, Oakland.
Table of Contents 1. Geoffery's Inner Circle 2. Calendar of Events 3. Will we resist America's Black removal plan? Marvin X 4. Marshawn Lynch's Beast Mode opens in the BAMBD 5. Joyce Gordon Gallery 6. Anyka's Betti Ono Gallery 7. Marvin X and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 8. Lynette McElhaney replies to Marvin X and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 9. Dr. Ayodele Nzinga replies to President of Oakland Council, Lynette McElhaney's response to Marvin X and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 10. African American Museum/Library 11.The Last Rites of Muhammad Ali and review of film Muhammad Ali 12. Malonga Center for the Arts 13. Kiss My Black Arts 14. Two poems by Aries Jordan 15. Economy tied to gun violence in Oakland 16. Oakland Main Library 17. Book discussion of Black Hollywood unChained edited by Ishmael Reed, San Francisco Public Library, July 3, 2016 18. Hillary Clinton wins Democratic presidential primary: a good or bad day for women? 19. Black woman crowned Miss America 20. The Black Panther Party and the Black Arts Movement Business District 21. Black people in the USA are in a state of economic emergency 22. BAMBD Town Hall meeting agenda Aries Jordan 23. Poem by Black Arts Movement chief architect ancestor Amiri Baraka 24. Qatar and the BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund 25. BAMBD Supporters: Donald Lacy, Fania Davis, Margaret Gordon
BAMBD Culture keepers will meet soon.
Businessman Geoffery Pete, Post News photographer Troy Williams and BAMBD planner Marvin X
2. BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT BUSINESS DISTRICT
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAMBD Town Hall, Sunday, June 12, 3-6pm, Eastside Arts
San Francisco Juneteenth Festival, Saturday, June 18
Berkeley Juneteenth Festival, Sunday, June 19
West Oakland Juneteenth, June 25, San Pablo and Brockhurst
Book Discussion of Black Hollywood unChained, San Francisco Public Library, July 3, 1:30-3:30 100 Larkin Street, Civic Center, San Francisco
25th Oakland Black Expo, Saturday, July 23, Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza
City of Oakland Cultural Keepers, Tuesday, July 26, 6-8pm, Oak Center Cultural Center, 14th and Adeline
Black Arts Movement Theatre Festival, Sept, Flight Deck Theatre, Broadway
Donald Lacy's play Color Struck, Laney College Theatre, Sept.
Black Arts Movement South 51st Celebration, Dillard University, New Orleans LA
America loves and honors all resistance fighters when they are dead; will even turn them into American heroes, naming streets and schools after them, even putting them on twenty dollar bills in the case of Harriet Tubman, but will they quote Harriet on the twenty dollar bill when she said, "I could have freed more slaves if they had known they were slaves!" As they say in Houston, Texas, "You better ax somebody!"
Oh, Billy boy, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? I hear Ali singing from Paradise, "Oh, Allah, look what they did to my song!" And as per Hillary for president, Dr. Nathan Hare taught us,"The white woman is the white man in drag!" Our esteemed sociologist and clinical psychologist also taught us the "fictive theory," i.e., everything the white man says is fiction, i.e., a lie, until proven to be fact!" How can Hillary speak before Planned Parenthood when the most dangerous time for a Black child is in the womb?
Ask the Native Americans about American's forked tongue! In our hour of grief and mourning at the transition of our beloved Muhammad Ali, let us take off our rose colored glasses and see clearly we must guard against being deceived and remain ever on the alert for we are in the midst of devils of the worse kind, who have no good intentions for us, yes, all of us in the 99%, whether white, black, brown or yellow, no matter what gender.
Elijah taugh us to trust no one but wear the armor of God and walk through the midst of our enemies as Jesus did until we reach the Upper Room of our Father's House!
Attalah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm Shabazz. "Oh Sister Queen, we love you in the name of Allah for keeping the light of your father, Malcolm X, a burning flame of freedom fire! We love you and honor you and all your siblings. We honor little Malcolm Shabazz as well for all he did of righteousness! And we honor and respect your dear Mother, Betty Shabazz, Queen Mother of the Black Nation in the wilderness of North America!"
Even on the day of this last rites to a true American hero, it's amazing how language can trick us, especially when we are ignorant of it. This is why I stress part of our condition is due to our psycholinguistic crisis. As my elder and associate, Dr. Nathan Hare explains, "We cannot claim to suffer amnesia because amnesia presumes we have forgotten something that I maintain the connection was so disconnected that it is beyond amnesia, i.e., we simply have no memory of our past history; not that it was totally erased but close to it." For example, when I listen to kora music, I am enraged to think this is the music we listened to ten thousand years ago, as Ancestor Ali Farka has told us when they asked him was he playing the Blues when he accompanied the Rolling Stones and B.B. King. He responded, "My people have been playing this music for ten thousand years, long before they found themselves captives of the American slave system (Ed Howard term) in the Mississippi Delta and created the music you call Blues." Surely you never imagined the Blues originated from African music of ten thousand years ago when we were in peace, when a man could lose his wallet and recover it years later; yes, Blues originated from a culture without jails and prisons--in you did wrong you were simply banished from the tribe, sometimes forever!
Mrs. Muhammad Ali
All praise to Sister Muhammad for caring and loving Muhammad Ali!
When Muhammad Ali (may he rest in the grace of Allah) told the world he was the greatest, we thought he was ego tripping, but in fact he had been taught the most simple lesson in Islam, i,e, Alllahu Akbar or God is the Greatest! Along with: La-ee-laha-ee-la-illah, Muhammadan rasulullah, i.e., there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.
So Ali was not ego tripping but expressing fundamental Islamic and Nation of Islam teachings, 101. Such teachings are not foreign to the Super Sunnis who suffer their dogmatic version of orthodox Islam, but just note that after four hundred years in the American slave system, we care nothing about orthodoxy, whether Islamic, Christian, Communist, Socialist or any other ideological or theological madness imposed on us by some foreign entity that is forever coming to us in their paternalistic manner to teach us the right way, again, no matter the theological or political persuasion, as if we can't think for ourselves.
I am so thankful my Mother (Marian MurrillJackmon) taught me, "Boy, use the mind God gave you!" Thank you, Mom! If we don't, we may surely end up in Jonestown feeding ourselves and our children poisoned Kool-Aid.
Imam Muhammad and Rev. Jim Jones. We cannot condemn the Imam for associating with Jim Jomes when the entire Black leadership of San Francisco supported him even after he was exposed as a devil and departed for Jonestown, Guyana, South America. Before Jim Jones arrived in Guyana, we interviewed Prime Minister Forbes Burnham for Muhanmad Speaks and Black Scholar Magazine, then soon discovered he was working for the CIA to prevent Guyana from becoming another Communist regime like Cuba. America would accept a Black Power government before another Communist regime in South America. The USA will use puppets like Prime Minister Burnham to assassinate Dr.Walter Rodney, one of our greatest minds for Pan African liberation. When he allowed Jim Jones into the jungle, it only happened after a pay off and compromise of Guyana officials just as he had done with the Black leadership of San Francisco who are guilty with Jim Jones in the mass murder of 900 of mostly North Americans Africans who were brainwashed enough to drink poisoned Kool Aide and give it to their children. Moreover, the Jonestown massacre is a demonstration of the utter desperation of our condition in America as I write.
Alas, imagine Muhammad Ali's so called Sunni teacher was Imam Warith Deen Muhammad, close friend of Rev. Jim Jones who murdered 900 mostly Black people in Jonestown Guyana, South America. What is more tragic is not only did Rev. Jim Jones hoodwink and bamboozle the poor masses but the entire Black leadership of San Francisco (no need to mention names, but we will say his personal physician was Dr. Carlton Goodlett, publisher of the San Francisco Sun Reporter Newspaper; Goodlett could have administered Rev. Jim Jones his personal poison to prevent the death of 900 poor, mostly North American Africans who fled American seeking solace in the jungles of South America). After all, Elijah taught us the Yacubian mythology that informed us Dr. Yakub used three workers in his bio-tech lab (such as those bio-tech labs in Emeryville Ca., a few blocks from where I live in Berkeley Calif), but we accept the fact they are cloning humans in the best of the Yacoubian myth-science manner. And who were his three main workers: the doctor, nurse and undertaker. Who was with Michael Jackson, his doctor! Who was with Prince, the doctor's son! And you want me to believe the teachings of HEM is poppycock? We suggest you examine your Super Sunni mythological notions that force you to kill people at the drop of a hat because you are suffering the addiction to so-called orthodox religiosity.
Any religiosity is religiosity and we don't excuse ideology in the same manner of dogmatism that allows one to slip into darkness to the degree one will commit the worst acts of barbarity and savagery. So much for the crisis of spirituality and crisis of the intellectual who refuses to do what my Mother said, "You the mind God gave you." Alas, we are often so smart we outsmart ourselves, as my father told me. He said, "Boy, you should be a billionaire but you outsmarted yourself." And Mom added, "Boy, you don't need them Nigguhs, them Nigguhs need you! They just using your mind. You need to use the mind God gave you and leave them Nigguhs alone!"
In truth, Mom was just like me or I was just like Mom: in her Real Estate business, she devoted her life to helping our people, in short, she was a Race Woman, just as my father was a Race Man, but Mom went further once she adopted the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science that afforded us not medicine cabinet in our house; we had to know the truth and the truth would set you free, according to Christian Science. Mom was thus a half century ahead of most Negroes in spirituality although today many have found their way closer to her spirituality when they come upon the teachings of Science of Mind, founded by the white man, Ernest Holmes. How amazing so-called Negroes can accept Science of Mind's theology that man is god but not Elijah Muhammad's.
Surely there is some addiction to white supremacy here, and we must note most of the new-found followers of Science of Mind are the petty-bourgeoisie so-called Negroes who found the theology of a "Nigger" unacceptable but the white man saying essentially the same thing, quite acceptable. One of my elders, now ancestor, heard my partner (at the time) deliver the opening message at my concerts, he whispered to me, "Marvin, that girl teaching Islam, that's Islam," although my partner was convinced she was teaching Science of Mind religiosity. I allowed her to give the opening address only became I knew, as my elder said, she was teaching essentially Islam or quite simply, the truth! And how many versions of the truth exist? Either it's the truth or it's a lie!
And so we end today with the last rites of Muhammad Ali, and as ancestor Betty Shabazz taught us, "Find the good and praise it!" And so we do as she said, we find the good in Muhammad Ali and praise it, not ignoring his glaring contradictions that we all have upon examination!
What a joy it was to travel along the path with Muhammad Ali, to suffer his sufferings, even transcending his suffering when we experienced exile from America twice, then jail and prison. Yet, we are so thankful for the experience, for every minute of it: yes, exile, jail and prison was a learning experience and we are thankful to be a fellow traveler on the highway of the Most High, Worthy of Much Praise, Muhammad Ali. We are thankful for that brief moment we met at the home of Elijah Muhammad's house, even though we did not do the interview I came to do; even thought I did not meet Elijah Muhammad, but I met Clara Muhammad, first lady of the NOI, and I appreciate my interchange with Ali. He went into a room to converse with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and came out to tell me he was instructed to not do the interview for Ramparts Magazine. He said, "Brother, this is the man I'm willing to die for; so what he's says, I do!"
Ali noted I had blood on my shirt from shaving and asked me if I needed some money since I had waited for him several days in Chicago while he was in Detroit. When I said, yes, he reaching in his pocked and gave me a few hundred dollars. I departed Chicago as high as I have ever been, after all, I met Ali in the house of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and exchanged greetings with the first lady of the Nation of Islam, a story I will tell about later in more detail since I was able to interview Sister Nisa Bey who lived in the house of Elijah off and on for ten years and gave me her story of ten years in the House of Elijah! All praise is due Allah for Muhammad Ali. Ali Ali Ali Ali Ali Ali!
Solidarity Rally with Locked Out UAW Honeywell Workers!
Follow the NWU!
Join us in supporting our locked-out sisters and brothers at UAW Local 1508, Honeywell Aerospace!
Wednesday, June 15 5:00pm - 7:00pm
(Busses will leave from 256 W. 38th St. at 1pm and return by 10pm)
Almost 400 workers, members of UAW Local 1508 in Green Island, NY and UAW Local 9 in South Bend, IN, have been locked out by Honeywell Aerospace since May 9. They were locked out after they rejected a contract that would double their health care costs, eliminate their pensions, use non-union sub-contractors and leave them at the mercy of the company.
The workers at both plants make braking systems and parts for commercial and military aircraft. Their average pay is $21.83 per hour. Honeywell CEO David Cote's income last year was over $33 million, while Tim Mahoney, the head of Honeywell Aerospace received $8.6 million. What's wrong with this picture?
Stand with our locked out brothers and sisters at UAW Local 158 in the fight against corporate greed!
To reserve your seat on the bus, contact Scott Sommer: email@example.com, or call 212-529-2580.
BAMBD planner Marvin X was interviewed for the Alice Street film project
photo Bert Johnson, Eastbay Express
We are proud to announce that we are currently in Post-Production for the Alice Street documentary! Today we are releasing our new website, trailer and crowdfunding campaign! Click below to see them all!
To quote from the film, "the level of mastery of this piece must reflect the level of mastery of the artists that we are depicting." We know that we have something relevant and powerful here. We want to ensure that this film is worthy of the community and city whose story we are telling. Up to this point, everything that we have created has been on a shoestring budget, far below that of your typical documentary. Despite our limited resources, we generated 100s of hours of breathtaking content and a powerful story. We need a swelling of community support to translate this effort of love into a powerful film.
Our goal is to raise $12,000. The first $8,000 will be matched by the East Bay Community Foundation, giving us a total of $20,000 from this effort. Its a daunting task. Two years ago, we did our first fundraiser and over 100 people came out to help us meet our goal. This time, we're going to need even more people to step up.
We're asking for you to participate in telling this uniquely Oakland story. Please dig deep and contribute what your heart tells you! We have great premium gifts on our Generosity page to offer you for your contribution. Let your community know about this project and please give generously.