Thursday, August 26, 2010

'Where Do We Go From Here?" or Reclaiming Martin Luther King Jr.

“Tell the children the truth, yeah, the truth tell them about Martin Luther King, tell them the truth.”
-If I Were President Wyclef Jean

This Saturday August 28, 2010 is the 47th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. At this demonstration, Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) gave his most well-known and, at the same time, misunderstood speech. However, over the past few decades a controversy has erupted over the true legacy of MLK. The proto-fascist far right wing represented by Glenn Beck and the Tea party movement is sponsoring a march that, allegedly, supports the ideals of MLK. Similarly, the National Action Network and Al Sharpton are sponsoring a march to “Reclaim the Dream.” The truth is, neither one of these groups represent MLK. This weekend, as we are inundated with white corporate media propaganda, it is important to recall the final years of Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Following the passage of civil rights legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, MLK began to focus more on issues of economic justice. The economic problems that existed in the urban north were not the same as the segregated south. King began to question the very economic system itself stating “that something is wrong…with capitalism…there must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move towards a Democratic Socialism.”

His move towards socialism was also influenced by events in the so called Third World. King joined the Anti-War movement and took a stance against the War in Vietnam. In 1967, at Riverside Baptist Church in New York in a speech titled “A Time to Break the Silence” he called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” because of the destruction caused by napalm and other mass killing devices used by “his own government.” And finally, influenced by the anti-colonial movements occurring in Africa and Asia he started to refer to the slums and ghettos of America as a “a system of internal colonialism.”

As writers such as Frantz Fanon have shown, colonialism is not just economic but cultural and psychological as well. Centuries of oppression in the form of enslavement and segregation have had devastating effects upon the self-image and consciousness of African people. He noted that the assertiveness and confrontational style of the Civil Rights Movement helped to develop self-respect among Africans in the south.

Moreover, as Black Power advocates such as Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party gained ascendancy, he rejected complete assimilation into American society and strove for community empowerment. King stated “we must use every constructive means to amass economic and political power. This is the kind of legitimate power we need. We must work to build racial pride and refute the notion that [B]lack is evil and ugly.”

After the civil right victories and his move to advance community empowerment, Dr. King prophetically warned of the rise of the right-wing in the United States. He stated “the line of progress is never straight. For a period a movement may follow a straight line and then it encounters obstacles and the path bends….we are encountering such a period today. The inevitable counterrevolution that succeeds every period of progress is taking place.” In 1968 Republican Richard “tricky dick” Nixon won the Presidency and by 1980 the counterrevolution was complete with the election of Ronal Reagan.

These two elected officials would usher in a period of fiscal conservatism, state repression, color blindness, and personal responsibility. Unlike some of today’s negro leaders, King didn’t describe our problems as laziness, poor morals, or lack of personal responsibility but as a result systemic forces. He stated “true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring” and “the roots of [economic injustice] are in the system rather than in the faulty operations of men.”

At the end of his life Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. argued for a “radical restructuring of society” and “a revolution of values.” Before his assassination, he was in the process of building a multi-racial Poor People’s campaign for economic and racial justice. Any march that claims to follow in his tradition should continue where he left off. His political and economic program included: a guaranteed annual income, free housing, free education, free healthcare, and an end to all wars of foreign aggression. He believed this could be achieved by a massive civil disobedience campaign in major urban centers that causes the political and economic life of this country to come to a halt until issues affecting the poor are completely eliminated. Unfortunately, neither of these marches represents the real MLK, therefore, it is on those who believe in his vision today to build a real social movement for a revolutionary transformation of human society.

Forgotten MLK Quotes
“We must rapidly shift from a ‘thing’-oriented society to a ‘person’-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

“Although genuinely popular [Negro] leaders are now emerging, most are selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources and inevitably subjected to white control.”

“I contend that the debate over the question of self-defense was unnecessary since few people suggested that Negroes should not defend themselves as individuals when attacked. The question was not whether one should use his gun in his home was attacked, but whether it was tactically wise to use gun while participating in an organized demonstration.”

Cone, James. (1992). Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare. New York: New York, Orbis Books.

__________. “Martin Luther King Jr. and the Third World.“ The Journal of American History. Vol. 74, No. 2 (Sep., 1987), pp. 455-467.

Dyson, Michael. (2000). I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. New York: New York, Free Press.

Washington, James (ed). (1986). A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King Jr. New York: New York, Harper One.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Age of Reagan, 1980-present

In this year that we have now declared
the year from Shogun to Reagan,
I remember what I said about Reagan…meant it.
Acted like an actor…Hollyweird.
Acted like a liberal.
Acted like General Franco
when he acted like governor of California,
then he acted like a republican.
Then he acted like somebody was going to vote for him for president.

Gil Scott Heron “B-Movie”

Two weeks after the 2008 presidential elections, Cornel West, the preeminent negro intellectual in the world today, stated on Democracy Now! that the election of Barack Obama signals the beginning of the end of the ‘Age of Reagan.’ The Harvard trained intellectual proves that Carter G. Woodson’s famous saying remains true “Harvard has ruined more good negroes than bad whisky ever will.” In fact, the new administrations neoliberal economic advisors, bank bailouts, and support for wars of foreign aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate the current period of right wing conservatism has not ended. Actually, the Tea party activist and politicians might represent a move from the current form of democratic or covert fascism to the openly white supremacist fascism seen during the era of segregation.

The seeds of the contemporary period begin, oddly enough, at the highpoint of the African Freedom Movement and World Revolution in the late 1960s. In 1968, Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States on a ‘law and order’ platform that appealed to the white middle class and southern segregationist. In addition, the FBI through its COINTELPRO targeted African and other revolutionary organizations for infiltration, imprisonment, and assassination. Although in the 1970s there were attempts to rebuild the movement from its peak of 1968, by the late 70s it was apparent this moment of African insurgency had ended unsuccessfully.

The consolidation of the right-wing national security elites, the moral majority, and fiscal conservatives in the 1970s culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan. In order to prove his White Nationalist credentials, Reagan kicked off his campaign in Philadelphia, MS where three civil rights workers were murdered by white supremacists in the 1960s. Dr. Ronald Walters, former chair of political science at Howard University, states “White Nationalism might be defined as that radical aspect of the Conservative Movement that intends to use both unofficial power and official power of the state to maintain White Supremacy by subordinating Blacks and other non-Whites.”

At the same time, the Reagan administration adopted neoliberal economic policies advanced by the University of Chicago Economics department. According to neoliberal ideology, human beings are primarily rational, self-interested actors, therefore, the state should be eliminated as much as possible so that human nature can flourish. Its characteristics are 1) removal of trade barriers 2) privatization 3) elimination of social services and 4) liberalization of financial markets.

In relation to Africans in America, the most debilitating aspect of this period is the emergence of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). For example, according a study reported in the New York Times, there were 143,000 African men in prison or jail in 1980 but by 2000 the number had exploded to 791,600. Moreover, African women are one of the fastest growing prison populations in the U.S.

This process of mass incarceration was facilitated by the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, the Crime Control Act of 1994 and other draconian drug laws. Currently, in the United States a person convicted of possessing 5 grams of crack receives the same sentence in federal court as a person convicted of possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine. That is, literally, 1:100 ratio. What is the difference: the crack form of the drug is primarily used by lower income Africans and the powder form is the drug of choice for middle class and elite Whites. Then, in 1998, Rep. John Conyers entered into the congressional record a document called “A Tangled Web: A History of CIA Complicity in Drug International Trafficking” to show the role of the US government in the drug trade.

In 1994 the so-called ‘Republican Revolution’ facilitated the passage of White Nationalist legislation such as the previously mentioned drug laws. After gaining control of the House and Senate in 1994, the republicans revealed their Contract with America which focused on restoring so called traditional American values and fiscal conservatism. In an attempt to help the democratic party remain relevant, Bill “slick willie” Clinton began to chip away at the New Deal and Great society programs so that the democratic party platform corresponded to the Contract with America.

For example in 1996 Clinton signed welfare reform or PRWORA into law. The bill limited the amount of time a family could be on welfare to five years and had stringent work requirements. Unfortunately, the primary jobs available to undereducated and poor people are low-wage service jobs that do not offer a living wage. And, since Africans are disproportionately poor, they were and are unduly affected. Several of Clintons cabinet members resigned in protest asserting that the new law would cause increased poverty among children. Although these policies are a component of the White Nationalist assault, Africans are told the U.S. is a color blind, now post-racial, society. Therefore, according to the White Nationalists, their problems are the result of their bad morals and pathological behavior.

But don’t be fooled, Reagonmics is global. In 1980, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister of Britain. Both countries, particularly the U.S. uses the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, World Bank, and United Nations) to project imperial power. The IMF and World Bank utilize the Washington Consensus to impose structural adjustment programs (SAP) on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In short, poor formerly colonized countries with little to no capital must accept a neoliberal agenda to receive loans with interest thereby undermining their self-determination and further impoverishing the countries. For example, Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel prize for economics, claims that the policies of the IMF and World Bank have negatively impacted the economies of poor countries.

Iraq isn’t new, the U.S. will stop at nothing to impose its will on smaller countries. A case in point, in 1983 following a socialist revolution in Grenada led by the New Jewel Movement, the U.S. invaded the predominantly African nation of 100,000 people. Maurice Bishop, the prime minister, warned that the “state department views us as a threat because we represent a different path of socio-economic development.” A few years later in 1991, the CIA backed a coup on the predominantly African island of Haiti. Then, only returned Aristide, the democratically elected leader, to the country after he agreed to a SAP.

White Nationalist policies from Reagan to Obama are too long to list here. But, how can we transition out of this period? First, African activists, artists, intellectuals, and journalists must engage in an intense ideological struggle with, white and negro, White Nationalists who state “Black people are to blame for their own problems.” We have to unequivocally and boldly state our problem: imperialism and capitalism. This requires us to move from a defensive posture to an offensive posture. In other words, i am calling for something akin to Mao’s Cultural Revolution or the Black Consciousness Movement that challenges bourgeois values and elements in society. Finally, White Nationalism can only be defeated, i think, by Revolutionary Black Nationalism.

Butterfield, Fox. “Study Finds Big Increase in Black Men as Inmates Since 1980” New York Times August 28, 2002.

Cha-Jua Sundiata. “The New Nadir: The Contemporary Black Racial Formation” Black Scholar Spring 2010

DemocracyNow! Cornel West on the Election of Barack Obama: "I Hope He Is a Progressive Lincoln, I Aspire to Be the Frederick Douglass to Put Pressure on Him."

Harvey, David. (2005). A Brief History of Neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mitchell, Alison. “TWO CLINTON AIDES RESIGN TO PROTEST NEW WELFARE LAW” New York Times September 12, 1996.

Stiglitz, Joseph. (2003). Globalization and Its Discontents. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Umansky, Eric. “History 101: The CIA & Drugs.” MotherJones.

Walters, Ronald. (2003). White Nationalism, Black Interests: Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Global Capitalism & U.S. Militarism

The Washington Post published a provocative article on June 4th 2010 entitled “U.S. ‘secret war’ expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role.” The article shows that the Obama administration has continued the militaristic policies of the Bush administration by swelling the number of special operations troops in 75 countries compared to 60 at the beginning of last year. This illustrates that Black faces in high places (neocolonialism) doesn’t necessarily mean a change in policy. Therefore, its important to remember that the primary problem is not US militarism but imperialism and capitalism.

As the global economic situation worsens and the US is bogged down in wars, breaks in the system will occur which allow social movements to arise. To counter this trend, the United States, the military arm of transnational capital, will display more military aggression. Of course, the president is simply continuing the expansionary and imperialistic policies of the white settler regime in North America that started with the theft of First Nation (Native American) lands and enslavement of African people.

In 2008, the US navy reactivated the Fourth fleet. The Fourth fleet was established during World War II to combat the German Navy in Latin American waters. Following the end of the war, the fleet was deactivated. Although the US military contends the Fourth fleet’s reactivation is not a fundamental change in policy, governments in the region assert its purpose is to stop the rise of social movements in Latin America.

These fears are a product of the US Monroe doctrine beginning in the 1820s that stated the entire Western Hemisphere is the United States ‘sphere of influence.’ In keeping with the Monroe Doctrine, the US has overthrown virtually every government in Latin America from Guatemala (1954) to Chile (1973). The more recent coup attempts were in Venezuela (2002) and Bolivia (2008). Also, the leadership of the recent coup in Honduras (2010) was trained at the infamous ‘School of the Americas ’ in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Furthermore in 2008, the United States established the Africa Command (AFRICOM). While the US military declares that AFRICOM is only a restructuring of their command system due to Africa‘s ‘renewed importance’, African governments argue AFRICOMs creation is dependent upon the fact that the US will soon receive 25% of its oil from the African continent. These fears are not unfounded. The beginning of US diplomatic relations with the African continent were the European slave trade. Later, during the Cold War, the CIA supported several assassinations and coups such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1960) and Ghana (1966).

Moreover, in May 2008 the US conducted a war games exercise at the US Army War College in Carlisle, PA called “Unified Quest 2008.” The war games included a US response to continued “piracy” and insurgency in Somalia set in 2025 and the collapse of the Nigerian government in 2013. Although the details of the Somalia response were not disclosed, the response to the Nigerian scenario included the deployment of thousands of US troops to West Africa.

As a political commentator stated “you can’t have empire abroad and democracy at home.” Increased US militarism does not bode well for domestically colonized nations in the United States such as Chicanos and Africans. For example, the state of Arizona passed SB 1070 which de facto legalizes racial profiling and forces immigrants to provide documentation on request or risk being detained.

It must remembered, that Arizona was stolen from Mexico during the Mexican-American War. A case in point, in his newspaper the North Star Fredrick Douglass stated the US government “succeeded in robbing Mexico of her territory, and are rejoicing over their success under the hypocritical pretense of a regard for peace.” Similarly, in NYC residents are subjected to stop and frisk policies where upon ‘reasonable suspicion’ NYPD can search any individual for concealed weapons. The American Civil Liberties Union states over 80% those stopped were African or Latino. In addition, similar to checkpoints in Palestine or Afghanistan, in 2008, the DCPD set up checkpoints in the majority African neighborhood of Trinidad in Washington DC.

The African Freedom Movement in the United States has a long history of self-defense against state repression. Two notable works and organizations that should be studied by committed African activists, intellectuals, and street organizations (gangs) are the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB) and Kwame Nkrumah’s The Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare. Founded in 1919, the ABB was a revolutionary Black Nationalist organization that operated on a clandestine basis. They were crucial in the defense of Africans during white attacks on Black communities in the Red Summer of 1919. The Handbook describes how to conduct rural guerilla warfare on the African continent. The coming period of reaction will test our movement for national liberation and self determination.

Blum, William. Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Common Courage Press. 1995.

DeYounge, Karen & Jaffe, Greg. "U.S. 'secret war' expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role." New York Times Friday June, 4 2010

Douglass, Frederick. “Frederick Douglass on the Mexican America War,” in Herbert Aptheker, ed. A Documentary History of the Negro People. vol. 1 (New York: Citadel Press, 1967), 267.

Kozloff, Nikolas. “U.S. Fleet in Venezuelan Waters” CounterPunch May 24-25, 2008.

Nkrumah, Kwame. The Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare: A Guide to the Armed Phase of the African Revolution. (International Publishers 1968).

Volman, Daniel. U.S. Military Involvement in Nigeria. September 2009.

African Blood Brotherhood (1919-1925): An Organizational History

“NYCLU Class-Action Lawsuit Challenges NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Practice of Keeping Innocent New Yorkers in Database for Criminal Investigations” May 19, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Colonial Education and Neoliberalism

Throughout the United States, teachers unions are currently renegotiating their contracts due to the budget shortfalls on the local and state level caused by the global crisis of capitalism. Although teachers are often blamed for the failures of public education, the problems can be traced to the origins of the American education system. For example, in the September 2003 edition of Harpers magazine, educational historian John Taylor Gatto writes that the American education system was modeled on the Prussian system.

Prussian education was designed to socialize its population to submit and not question the authority of Prussian military and political leadership. After learning about the Prussian system in the early 19th century, Horace Mann, the father of American education, traveled to Prussia and would later base America education on the Prussian model. The current negotiations of teachers unions contracts are extremely significant for recipients of colonial education such as Africans in the U.S.

The current capitalist generated crisis is the result of economic changes since the 1970s. At that time, capitalism entered a new phase called global capitalism or “globalization.” One feature of this new phase is neoliberal economics. Dr. George Wright identifies the five characteristics of neoliberalism as 1) deregulation, 2) reducing the public sector, 3) cutting taxes for the wealthy, 4) privatizing public services, and 5) smashing unions. These changes have greatly benefited organizations such as the U.S. Business Roundtable (BR).

Founded in 1972, the BR is composed of the CEOs of the largest corporations in the US. In 1989, the BR dedicated their entire annual meeting to public education. Similar to northern industrialist in the late 19th century who saw the US economy transitioning from an agrarian to an industrial economy, the BR foresaw the current transition from an industrial to an service based economy. Therefore, they united with policy makers, think tanks and non-profits to reorient public education toward standardized tests which culminated in the No Child Left Behind Act. Standardized tests and charters are now hallmarks of public education in the U.S.

President Obama has made charter schools a central part of his education policy. To help his cause, he hired Arne Duncan the former CEO (yes, not superintendent but C-E-O) of Chicago public schools, as Secretary of Education. Charter schools receive public funding but are privately operated. Charters amount to the privatization of public education that allows hedge funds, private equity firms, and financiers to profit from investing in charter schools.

As part of the economic stimulus, the Obama administration instituted a program called “Race to the Top.” The program allocates $4.3 billion to eligible cities and states. One criteria for eligibility is the removal of caps on the number of charter schools in the state. Former Congressman Newt Gingrich, Arne Duncan, and comprador elite Al Sharpton have teamed up to ‘reform’ (i.e. privatize) public education in NYC. New York Daily News reporter Jaun Gonzalez writes that for their assistance with the ‘reforms‘, Al Sharpton and the National Action Network received $500,000 from a Connecticut based hedge fund called Plainfield Asset Management, where the former chancellor of NYC schools is the managing director.

In Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty has tapped, Teacher for America alumnus, Michelle Rhee to renegotiate the teachers contract. Since entering her post as chancellor, Rhee has had a contentious relationship with teachers unions. In 2009, she laid off 266 teachers in the DCPS ostensibly because of budget shortfalls. It was later discovered that, in fact, there was a budget surplus of $34 million.

In addition, to finance the new pay increases for teachers under the new contract, Rhee raised $64.5 million from private foundations (Broad, Walton, Robertson and Arnold). She is currently under investigation by the Office of Campaign Finance for stipulating that the leadership of the school district must not change or the donations will be discontinued.

Ultimately, the above information demonstrates that the education of African children must be in the hands of Africans themselves. During the Black Power Movement two important movements occurred concerning African education: 1) the creation of the Council of Independent Black Institutions and 2) community control of school movement. Both offer exemplar models for African education. The education of our children is central to the success of our movement for national liberation and self determination.

Brill, Steven. “The Teacher’s Unions Last Stand” New York Times May 17, 2010.

Emery, Kathy. (2002).The Business Roundtable and Systemic Reform: How Corporate-Engineered High-Stakes Testing Has Eliminated Community Participation in Developing Educational Goals and Policies. UC Davis, PhD Dissertation.

Gabriel, Trip & Medina, Jennifer. “Charter Schools New Cheerleaders: Financiers.” New York Times May 9, 2010.

Gatto, John Taylor. “Against School:How public education cripplesour kids, and why.” Harpers September 2003.

Gonzalez, Jaun. “Rev. Al Sharpton's $500G link to education reform.” New York Daily News March 31 2009.

Turque, Bill. “D.C. Agency to Probe Rhee‘s Critics Complain Over Ethics of School Funds Clause.” Washington Post June 8, 2010.

Turque, Bill. “Rhee’s Budget Surplus Revelation Angers Teacher’s Unions” Washinton Post April 14, 2010.

Wright, George. “Neoliberalism and the Assault on Public Education: A Brief History.” The Advocate May 2010.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Failure of negro Leadership

The New York Times printed a revealing article on February 13, 2010 titled “In Black Caucus, A Fund-Raising Powerhouse.” The article discusses the large donations the Congressional Black Caucus receives from corporations, foundations, and wealthy individuals. Moreover, it demonstrates the ongoing intergenerational failure of negro leadership in the United States.

i assert there are three crucial periods in African leadership: 1) the emergence of a ‘free’ northern based leadership in the early 19th century 2) the white appointment of Booker T. Washington as the leader of African America in the late 19th century and 3) the cooptation and incorporation of negro politicians in the post-Black Power era. This essay uses a theoretical framework of domestic colonialism. According to this theory, within a colonized nation, such as Africans in the United States, a portion of the indigenous colonized population is recruited to collaborate with the imperial power.

At the turn 19th century, a free primarily middle class northern African leadership emerged in the United States. At the same time, a new debate among African leaders developed concerning the identity and direction of the African community in the U.S. Unlike previous periods of the movement which advanced militant resistance such as maroons, insurrections, and emigration these leaders began to appeal to the liberal values of the U.S. founding documents and moral uplift. Dr. Leslie Alexander who examines this issue in her new book, African or American?, recently stated on Jazz and Justice radio:

“Black leadership in the 1830s and 1840s embraced a particular political strategy known as moral uplift…which states the way for Black people to gain freedom justice equality citizenship etc. is to present to white society the best possible face of the Black community to convince white people of their humanity and worthiness.”

A few decades later, Booker T. Washington echoed these statements preaching a doctrine of political passivity, moral uplift, and industrial education. Schools who taught industrial education such as Tuskegee Institute were funded by the leading Northern industrialists such as the Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Vanderbilt for the explicit purpose of producing a conservative negro leadership class.

By the late 1960s and 1970s, African leadership in the U.S. boldly moved in the direction of Black Nationalism, Pan Africanism, and Socialism. Unfortunately, due to their uncompromising stance several visionary leaders were assassinated, imprisoned, and forced into exile by the F.B.I.‘s COINTELPRO. During this same period, philanthropic foundations such as the Ford Foundation under the leadership of McGeorge Bundy financed a moderate to conservative negro leadership.

Today, the result are negro leaders such as President Barack Obama and Mayor Adrian Fenty in Washington D.C. Obama received $745 million in campaign financing, more than any other candidate for U.S. President in history. Although he is virtually silent in response to state terrorism against Africans (ex: police brutality), Obama is vocal in the defense of racist Zionist Israel who murders known pacifists delivering aid to poor, colonized people in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, Fenty who raised $3.9 million as of March for his upcoming mayoral race, breaking his own campaign donation record, promotes privatization of schools (charters) and homeless shelters in the U.S. capitol. Privatization has been shown to assist elites, who financed his campaign, to accumulate more capital.

The utter failure of negro leadership in the U.S. not only affects political leadership but also African America’s most revered civil rights organizations. Although the NAACP was primarily started by white liberal jews and, at one point, was used to watch “negro dissidents“ by the U.S. government during World War I, it is known more for its numerous civil rights victories.

Today they collaborate with companies such as Wells Fargo who target Africans in the U.S. for unaffordable home loans thereby causing one of the single biggest loses of wealth in the African community’s history due to home foreclosures. For example, although the NAACP initially sued the lending company for targeting African borrowers, they later dropped the lawsuit and named Wells Fargo a lead sponsor for their 101st national convention in July of this year. For this and other reasons, in 1920 Harlem radical Hubert Harrison referred to the organization as the National Association for the Advancement of Certain People.

Several scholars such as Jacob Caruthers, Cedric Robinson, and Sterling Stuckey have discussed the intergenerational failure of negro leaders. However, the U.N.I.A. in the 1920s and the Black Power Movement were periods when Africans had an ideologically and financially independent leadership. In the 21st century the African Freedom Movement must adopt three principles espoused by the esteemed African freedom fighter Ella Baker: 1) working class leadership 2) youth leadership and 3) participatory democracy. These three principles can help us to overcome our current crisis of negro leadership and move in the direction of national liberation and self determination.

Alexander, Leslie. (2008) African or American: Black Identity and Activism in New York City, 1784-1861. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Allen, Robert. (1992) Black Awakening in Capitalist America. Trenton, NJ: African World Press.

Lipton Eric & Lichtblau, Eric. “In Black Caucus, a Fund-Raising Powerhouse.” New York Times. Febryary 13, 2010.

Ransby, Barbara. (2005) Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Robinson, Cedric. (1997) Black Movements in America. New York: Routledge.

Stewart, Nikita. “D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty surpasses 2006 fundraising record.” Friday March 12, 2010.

Stuckey, Sterling. (1987) Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Watkins, William. (2001) The White Architects of Black Education: Ideology and Power in America, 1865-1954. New York: Teachers College Press.