What is to be Done: When Reform of White Supremacist Culture Black Middle-class Opportunism is Not Enough(an addendum to a Davey D interview)The work of an revolutionary, is not so much to get others to politically think alike; it is, as a result of analyses, to re-examine assumptions and conventional wisdom. To disrupt the habits of both oppressors and oppressed alike, to dispel ways of working and thinking that lend themselves to the exploitation of people’s daily lives by ruling elites and authoritarian institutions. To deconstruct paradigms of dysfunctional institutional power in such a fashion that ordinary people arrive at a common political resolve, a collective reassertion of their humanity. It seems to me then, that the real political tasks before us is not reform of the institutional status quo, or even substitute Black anachronistic dogma for White supremacist cultural paradigms of control. This would be reactionary at best and opportunistic at worse.We have arrived at the present sorry state of affairs not because there wasn’t a historiography of revolutionary African social and political practice in America, but because, more often than not so called “Black Leaders” and sectarian formations failed to engage address and deeply analyze the accumulation and utilization of power by our enemy and the socio-political “deep state” forces that support that power. Abandoning revolutionary thinkers and activists while embracing reactionary actions and emphasizing legislative reform was subsidized by the state (“War on Poverty, Urban Renewal – the forerunner today’s gentrification of Black communities or “N…r Removal, the “War on Crime” – the opening campaign of Mass incarceration.
Each Generation is therefore compelled to reinvent the same solutions to not just racism, but class exploitation as well. To insure this seemingly repetitive devotion to systems of racial dominance and rejection of radical ideas of change reactionary leadership is a prerequisite, Time and time again it has been proven that African’s in America would rather listen to and follow a demagogic politician in a silk suit than a wise person in rags. The FBI put this precept in different words. In a COINTELPRO document circa 1968, J. Edgar Hoover, the then Director of the FBI, stated emphatically that the “Negro youth must be made to believe it is better to be accepted by white society, a sports figure, or someone who is a success rather than a revolutionary”…. Hoover understood that Perceptions can substitute for Reality. It is manufacturing of Perceptions of progress by mainstream Black leaders, the heirs of Hoover’s programs of repression, that have contributed to the vacuum we now occupy, and in which people are literally led from pillar to post by the likes of the Al Sharptons and various messianic ideologues who proposition that Being Black, Afro-centric, and culturally rebellious is sufficient. We even argue the parameters of the Perceptions of reality – who is Black enough to be called Black or what is genuinely African tradition. Totally facetious discussions when one considers the nexus between African Traditional cultures and the conditions of African people on the Continent. Traditional Leaders in Africa today are a huge contributing factor to Africa’s disunity and major contributors to legitimizing New Age Imperialism and the comprador political class that inherited a bifurcated Decolonization process.
The same holds true in racist America; establishment Black Leaders, Traditional Faith based activists, Afro-centric academia, have all contributed to White supremacy by dreaming out of season – confining a people’s national subjugation to Court litigation and rallies and morality sermons. We no longer share a collective “Freedom Dream” that gives us a common ambition, direction, and inspiration – we sponsor individuality instead, personal success over group success and legal reforms as the arbiter of sovereign thinking. Escape over confrontation is a Perception. Getting out of the Ghetto is perceived as the first step to personal empowerment, success, while the reality is, individual African’s in America are only allowed to go as far as Black people are collectively permitted to go. Which perhaps is Why Black success is predicated on becoming as acceptable to whites (or as non-threatening to white sensibilities ) as possible and the notion of “giving back” is circumscribed by giving out Turkey’s on Thanksgiving, and encouraging individual charity – never the creation of consortiums to redirect collective surplus wealth (it is estimated that the African population spends over 55 billion dollars in consuming non-essential goods and services, i.e. on music, fashion lines, cosmetics, movies, concerts, sports etc.) this rivals the gross national product of some developing nations. Power is not the ability to hold a rally, or proclaim broad sweeping overviews that may or may not have political utility, but to “define phenomenon and make it act in a desired fashion”. This is where power begins – to determine what goes down on the streets one must organize where people are at. Which brings me back to organized disruption of socio-political conditions of exploitation and oppression.
The idea that we must disrupt status quo power, criticize seemingly neutral and independent charitable institutions is important to understand The word “disrupt” is important because organized disruption of authoritarian infrastructures is a process – not an episode of spontaneous reactive violence, and random rebellion. The process of status quo disruption can take on many forms – each with its own utility and effectiveness. But if anyone thinks we are going to legislate white supremacy out of existence or that we can reform the NSS into a representative democratic state have only to look at the historiography of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation period of 60s and early 70s and the evolution of so called race and class politics from that period to today. Today’s headlines of Racial injustice, nullification of Black peoples of humanity, could have well been written in 1967. Nothing fundamentally changed except the dates. AfrIcan-Americans have more political representation ion municipal, state, and Federal levels than ever in history – there are more Black cops and soldiers – armed agents of the state than ever in our history, and yet the conditions and dynamics of white-skin privilege, racist violence, remain essential unchanged. Nonetheless that does not mean “reformists” cannot be allies of a radical movement to abolish white supremacy and its political and social mechanisms of control. But it does mean reformism must be challenged every step of the way. Because it is by reducing the radical demands and pressure on status quo power to reforms and political “neutral” charities that white supremacist power retains control over the lives of people of color. To disrupt racism, domestic colonialism of African people in the US, we must rely on principle first and foremost. Principles that constrain and neutralize meaningless reform by exposing it for what it also create the basis for abolitionist strategies of anti-repression, anti-containment, and dismantling of authoritarian control. by Yusef Bunch Shakur facebook Yusef bunchy Shakur Twitter.com/Z8YBS