Malcolm X was prematurely cut down by an assassin’s bullet 46 years ago today. The following is a presentation made by APSP

all art by kevin rashid johnson, imprisoned minister of defence of the new afrikan black panther party

Chairman Omali Yeshitela at a May 19, 1977 Malcolm X commemoration program in Tampa, Florida.

I would like to thank our sister and brother comrades who are responsible for organizing this program in memory of the great African patriot and leader, Malcolm X. I would like to thank you first of all for organizing the program, and secondly, I would like to thank you for inviting me to participate in the program.

For, as many of you know, I am a great believer in the teachings of Malcolm X, and I am chairman of a political organization based in several states of the United States of North America which believes that Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey were two of the most significant political leaders of African people within current North American borders.

For me and the African People’s Socialist Party, the life and teachings of the great patriot, Malcolm X, mean more than just an annual celebration of his life. For us, the life and teachings of Malcolm X are not something to be understood in the abstract, separate and apart from the material conditions of life experienced by our people. For us, the life and teachings of Malcolm X are revolutionary guides to the liberation of our people in the real world.

I want to make this point because today, when Malcolm X is not here to defend his philosophy, there is a great deal of revisionism going on. There are many people and forces who correctly understand the impact Malcolm X has had on the developing revolutionary consciousness of our people and who would distort Malcolm’s teachings so as to make it serve their own self-serving and dishonest motives and who would therefore turn Brother Malcolm’s politics against the very people he fashioned them to serve.

He Was Not a Saint or a Ghost

Malcolm, in his rightful place in the pantheon of revolutionaries and martyrs

First of all, it should be noted that Malcolm X was a black man, an Afrikan man, who defined himself as “one of 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism.”

Malcolm X was not a saint, or a ghostly apparition that descended mysteriously upon us. He was a man, a black man, an African man, who through his life experiences in America and through study, came to understand the meaning of life for African people held captive here in this North American prison.

It is important to mention this because attempts are often made to deify Malcolm X to an extent that we place the great ideals and aspirations he held for our people beyond the possibility of human realization. We do this so it will not be necessary for us to live up to those ideals.

After placing his ideals on some great, unreachable pedestal, the only thing we have to do is have annual celebrations, take the covers off his philosophy once a year, dust it off a little bit, sing praises to Malcolm, and then go home to wait for the next year to come around when we can come out and have fun with his memory again.

But when we realize that Malcolm X was a man, an African human being just as we are African human beings, it must be clear to us that we not only have the responsibility of unveiling his life and teachings once a year; we have the more important responsibility of living like Malcolm X. We have the responsibility of concretizing, making real in this world, the things that Malcolm X lived and died for. Otherwise, we are simply petty, little frightened and dishonest people who ought not to call his name.

Malcolm X was a great African patriot, a freedom fighter. Some of us are here because we believe and understand this. Others of us do not believe in the greatness of Malcolm X and his teachings, and are only here as political ambulance chasers, going where the action is, and opportunistically exploiting his greatness to push forward teachings which are contradictory to what Malcolm X believed in and taught.

But you and I know that Malcolm X was either a great leader or he was not. He was not “a great leader and teacher, but…” or “a great leader and teacher, except for…”

He was either a great leader or he was not. I say he was a great leader and his teachings should be continuously studied and developed as a guide for our struggle, and I challenge everyone here today to go beyond paying lip service to his memory. I challenge everyone here to be the human being that Malcolm X was, and to take up his philosophy and to live for struggle as he lived for struggle.

And what were some of the things Malcolm X taught and believed?

Malcolm X taught and believed that we, African people, are not Americans. In a speech in Cleveland on April 3, 1964, he made this very clear. In this speech Malcolm X stated:

“I’m not a politician, not even a student of politics. In fact, I’m not a student of much of anything. I’m not a Democrat, I’m not a Republican, and I don’t even consider myself an American. If you and I were Americans, there’d be no problem. Those Honkies that just got off the boat, they’re already Americans. Polacks are already Americans. The Italian refugees are already Americans. Everything that came out of Europe, every blue-eyed thing, is already an American, and as long as you and I have been over here, we aren’t Americans yet.”

This is what Malcolm X taught and believed. But most of us — or at least, many of us — don’t believe this. Most of us are so busy being Americans that we excuse every unjust act this country perpetrates against our own people, and against other oppressed peoples of the world.

So, for those of you who are “Americans,” it should be clear to you that you don’t believe in what Malcolm believed or taught, and to the extent that you are here today because you thought you did, or wanted to pretend you do, I want to make you aware of what is correct, and what it is you are pretending.

This is especially important for the pretenders because generally the pretenders do not serve, nor do they ever intend to serve black people, and if we can put what Malcolm X really believed and taught before you, it makes it more difficult for them to pretend. And it may even get them in trouble with their bosses, who I guarantee you will not appreciate the fact that their “Negro-Americans” are out here at a meeting commemorating a great African leader who correctly taught us that we are not Americans.

I know there are probably people here who want to pay homage to Malcolm X without paying homage to his ideas. These people are likely to say that Malcolm’s statement about not being an American was simply a rhetorical statement that he really didn’t mean.

But throughout the speech I just mentioned, Malcolm X made it very clear that he said what he meant and he meant what he said. For example, in another place in the same speech, Malcolm X strikes the same theme:

“No, I am not an American. I’m one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism; one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.

“So, I’m not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver. No, not I. I am speaking as a victim of this American system, and I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.”

So, there was no mistake. Malcolm knew exactly what he was saying. Therefore, when you and I get together to pay homage to Malcolm X on occasions such as this, we have to understand that we are not simply paying homage to the man in the abstract. We are paying homage to his ideas, to his political utterances — to all the factors which made him the great African patriot that he was.

We refuse to give you a politically sanitized Malcolm X. We refuse to give you Malcolm X without his ideas and philosophy. It’s not like Burger King where you “have it your way.” You have to have it the correct way, the Malcolm X way. You can’t just take the part of Malcolm X that makes you comfortable, that’s non-controversial, that won’t disturb your bosses or your lives.

Malcolm X had a political philosophy. It was not a philosophy that he picked up in some book and decided to try and fit the lives and experiences of black people into, like some of your recently-discovered North American misleaders are doing.

The philosophy of Malcolm X was derived from the terrible, real condition of our people in this world. Malcolm X experienced the U.S. as a black man, confronted with all the problems and concerns of other black people in this world.

The Same Problems that Malcolm X Fought Against are the Same Problems We Face Now

The problems and concerns of our people which shaped Malcolm X’s worldview are the same as the problems and concerns we are confronted with today, although some of us would rather ignore them.

They are police terror — the same kind of police terror that shot down Paul Barney, and snuffed the life from Larry Murphy, right here in Tampa; the same kind of police terror that murdered Curtis Murph just a month ago in St. Petersburg, across the bridge from here, and that takes the breath away from any black person in this country when we find ourselves accidentally passing a police station while traveling throughout this country.

The problems and concerns that shaped the worldview of Malcolm X are still with us today. They are economic terror. The same kind of economic terror responsible for one out of every four black adults, and one out of every two black teenagers being unemployed in this country; the economic terror that makes you too cowardly to do the things you ought to do because of fear you’ll lose your job. The kind of economic terror that makes you choose employment and so-called economic security over freedom.

No, Malcolm X’s ideas did not fall from the sky. They were products of the real world that we experience. And since they were born from the world they are good ideas, they are correct ideas, and we ought to know, study, understand and live them.

Malcolm X not only believed and understood that we are not Americans; he defined who we are exactly, and we ought to know what he said about this, too, if we are going to be having programs each year extolling Malcolm X.

In the same April 3 Cleveland speech I have been quoting, Malcolm X said, “…you and I, 22 million African-Americans — that’s what we are — Africans who are in America. You’re nothing but Africans. Nothing but Africans. In fact, you’d get farther calling yourself African instead of Negro.”

Malcolm X was an African Internationalist who realized that the particular problems of African people oppressed in different parts of the world are connected, and the solution for all our problems is dependent on international African unity and cooperation against a common enemy who stands between us, freedom, and a united and socialist Africa.

In a 1964 letter from Accra, which reported on an earlier meeting in Nigeria, Malcolm X had this to say about international unity:

“The people of Nigeria are strongly concerned with the problems of their African brothers in America, but the U.S. information agencies in Africa create the impression that progress is being made and the problem is being solved. Upon close study, one can easily see a gigantic design to keep Africans here and the African-Americans from getting together.

“An African official told me, ‘When one combines the number of peoples of African descent in South, Central and North America, they total well over 80 million. One can easily understand the attempts to keep the Africans from ever uniting with the African-Americans.’ Unity between the Africans of the West and the Africans of the fatherland will well change the course of history.”

Therefore when we commemorate Malcolm X we are also commemorating his views on African Internationalism — views which place us squarely on the side of our oppressed and warring sisters and brothers in Zaire, Azania, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, and Angola.

These are views which also place us on the opposite side of the oppressive and barbaric U.S. government, which is the main enemy of African and other peoples throughout the world.

To embrace the ideas of Malcolm X is to embrace the ideas of African Internationalism and the ideas of African Internationalism are opposite and contradictory to the ideals of Americanism. The ideals of African Internationalism promote freedom from oppression and injustice. These ideals promote freedom and independence.

On the other hand, the ideals of Americanism, ideals which were born out of a process that saw mass genocide committed against the native people upon whose land America was founded; the ideals of Americanism which were born of the process resulting in the forced immigration, enslavement, and deaths of millions of African people; ideals which flow from the process resulting in the colonization of Puerto Rico, the theft of Mexican land, the special oppression of our women — these ideals promote death, slavery, and war for all the peoples of the world.

To believe in Malcolm X, to honor and extol the ideas of Malcolm X is to believe in ourselves, our history, and our future. To extol and honor the ideas of Malcolm X is to honor and extol the absolute need to struggle against Americanism. To honor and extol the ideas of Malcolm X is to struggle for the liberation of Africa and the unity of all African people.

Did you come here today to do this? If you did not, perhaps you have come to the wrong program.

But Malcolm X did not believe in the struggle of African people in an abstract or mechanical way. Malcolm X did not have a one-sided view of our struggle as a people. He did not simply say we should identify with Africa and struggle to liberate our national homeland. He went further than this.

Many people like to forget this point, even many people who do believe in the ideas of Malcolm X. They like to pretend that because Malcolm X was an African Internationalist he was only interested in the liberation of Africa. This is a very safe belief for many of our sisters and brothers because it relieves them of the responsibility to struggle where we are.

But Malcolm X saw the whole struggle of African people, a struggle being fought in many different places under different conditions, as an integral part of the same worldwide African Liberation Movement. Moreover, Malcolm X defined the particular aspect of our struggle here in this country in a fashion designed to take the mystery out of revolution and give us the key to the direction we must take.

Malcolm X defined our struggle here within current U.S. borders as a struggle against colonialism. He defined it as a struggle for political independence.

Malcolm X never said we were struggling to prove ourselves to our oppressors. He never said we were struggling to integrate.

In an April 8, 1964 speech in New York, Malcolm X stated: “There are 22 million African-Americans who are ready to fight for independence right here.”

Later in that same speech Malcolm X continued, “And there is no system of this earth which has proven itself more corrupt, more criminal, than this system that in 1964 still colonizes 22 million African-Americans, still enslaves 22 million Afro-Americans.”

At another place in the speech, Malcolm X says of America, “America is a colonial power. She has colonized 22 million Afro-Americans by depriving us of first-class citizenship, by depriving us of civil rights, actually by depriving us of human rights.”

Explaining the difference between Integrationists and African Internationalists, Malcolm said in the same April 8 speech I have been quoting from, “So, in this country you find two different types of Afro-Americans — the type who looks upon himself as a minority and you (white people) as the majority, because his scope is limited to the American scene; and then you have the type who looks upon himself as a part of the majority and you (white people) as a part of a microscopic minority, and this one uses a different approach in trying to struggle for his rights.

“He doesn’t beg. He doesn’t thank you for what you give him, because you are only giving him what he should have had a hundred years ago. He doesn’t think you are doing him any favors.”

Further on in the same speech Malcolm asks, “How can you (white people) condemn South Africa? There are only 11 million of our people in South Africa. There are 22 million of them here, and we are receiving an injustice which is just as criminal as that which is being done to the black people of South Africa.”

Malcolm X told us that our struggle was a nationalist struggle, a struggle to build the developing African nation. Anticipating a statement that would be made later by another African patriot, Amilcar Cabral, Malcolm X clearly struggled against the notion that ours is a struggle for or against the ideas in anyone’s head.

In a speech entitled, “Message to the Grassroots,” delivered in 1963 in Detroit, Malcolm X had this to say about nationalism:

“When you want a nation, that’s called nationalism. When the white man became involved in a revolution in this country against England, what was it for? He wanted this land so he could set up another white nation. That’s white nationalism… All the revolutions that are going on in Asia and Africa today are based on what? Black nationalism. A revolutionary is a black nationalist. He wants a black nation.”

This is what Malcolm X stood for. Did you know that when you decided to come here today? We must not allow ourselves to simply come out to programs like this and recite poetry, make speeches in the name of Malcolm X and go home.

Malcolm X was a socialist and a black revolutionary. And although I imagine he must have participated in commemorative programs such as this one during his lifetime, he did more than that. He lived struggle and revolution. He acted out his belief in the right for African people to live in dignity, determining our own fate and controlling our own destiny.

He was not someone who just popped up on posters. He was not just a nice guy, voted most popular by some black college fraternity or sorority. He was a black socialist, anti-colonialist, African Internationalist revolutionary.

Can you embrace that? Can you commemorate that? Can you pay homage to all that? I hope so, because that is what Malcolm X was all about.

In a New York discussion in May 1964, Malcolm X spoke about the differences between capitalist and socialist economic and social systems:

“While I was traveling I noticed that most of the countries that had recently emerged into independence have turned away from the so-called capitalistic system in the direction of socialism.”

During that same discussion Malcolm X elaborated:

“Most of the countries that were colonial powers were capitalist countries, and the last bulwark of capitalism today is America. It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. You can’t have capitalism without racism. And if you find one and you happen to get that person into a conversation and they have a philosophy that makes you sure they don’t have racism in their outlook, usually they’re socialists or their political philosophy is socialism.”

On December 20, 1964, at the Audubon Ballroom in New York, Malcolm added these words about capitalism:

“You can’t operate a capitalist system unless you are vulturistic; you have to have someone else’s blood to suck to be a capitalist. You show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker.

“He cannot be anything but a bloodsucker if he’s going to be a capitalist. He’s got to get it from somewhere other than himself. So, when we look at the African continent, when we look at the trouble that’s going on between East and West, we find that the nations of Africa are developing socialistic systems to solve their problems.”

This was the Malcolm X whose memory you are honoring today. Malcolm X was an anti-capitalist. He clearly understood that there can be no freedom for our people under capitalism.

I suspect that some of the people who are here today identify with capitalism as the economic and social system which best represents their aspirations. If I am correct, you now know what Malcolm X thought of capitalism and you.

I hope none of the people on this program are aspiring capitalists. If there are some here they should confess and say they really don’t believe in the ideas and philosophy of Malcolm X. That would be the honest thing to do. Otherwise people will be consciously misled.

I have spent all this time quoting Malcolm X and talking about his philosophy, because I hold his memory very dear. Not in any romantic or idealistic sense, but because of his giant contribution to our people’s struggle for freedom.

In our Party, the African People’s Socialist Party, we consider ourselves heir to Malcolm X’s philosophy. We believe it is absolutely necessary for those of us who speak of freedom and liberation to study the philosophy of Malcolm X.

We believe it is absolutely necessary to continue to develop his philosophy, and to concretize his ideas by living like him — as a revolutionary totally committed in actuality, in the real world, to freedom for African people throughout the world.

In order to do this we must move beyond programs honoring his memory. We must make ideological choices, ideological positions.

Either we are Integrationists, which means we are pro-capitalists, pro-colonialists, and anti-socialist, or we are African Internationalist socialists. We cannot be both.

Either we believe in political independence for African people colonized within current U.S. borders, or we believe in continued colonial subjugation for our people. There are no multiple choices.

As for our Party and its members, we have chosen socialism and independence; we have chosen revolutionary African Internationalism, and we are building the political apparatus designed to give life and form to the vision of Malcolm X. We ask you to join us in this endeavor.

In any event, regardless of what you choose to do, or where and how you choose to do it, if you don’t believe in the ideas and philosophy of Malcolm X, let him be. If you don’t aspire to his definitions of revolution and liberation, don’t participate in programs such as this one, and if you’re not willing to take a philosophical stand for independence, for Africa, for our people and yourself, then don’t call the name of Malcolm X. He belongs to the people.

The following was a sidebar to the 2009 re-publication of this presentation in the APSP’s official organ “The Burning Spear” on what would have been Malcolm’s 85th birthday.

February 21 is the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, arguably the most significant African leader within the U.S. since the heyday of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African League in the first quarter of the 20th Century.

At the First Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party held in Oakland, California in September 1981, a resolution was passed that marked the significance of Malcolm X in the struggle for the liberation of our people.

The struggle of African people to liberate our national homeland, Africa; to resist oppression and exploitation; and to overthrow the system of imperialism and advance the cause of world socialism has seen hundreds and thousands of our people make the ultimate heroic sacrifice, the sacrifice of life itself.

The history of our resistance has been written in blood and flames. It has been punctuated by the courageous examples of such martyrs as Nat Turner, Steven Biko, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney, Nehanda Nyakasinkana, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, Amilcar Cabral, and Lawrence Mann, co-founder of the African People’s Socialist Party.

Historically, the oppressors of African people have attempted to turn history upside down and present the heroic examples of our freedom fighters as evidence of the futility, the hopelessness of our cause for political independence, African liberation and world socialism.

In many instances our oppressors have succeeded in demoralizing great numbers of our people by using the examples of brutally murdered African freedom fighters to prove the invincibility of imperialism and the permanence of African oppression and exploitation.

The African People’s Socialist Party rejects and denounces this reactionary view of the bourgeoisie and calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to proclaim February 21, the anniversary of the 1965 imperialist assassination of Malcolm X, as the Day of the African Martyr.

The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to take command of the history of our people’s struggle for political independence, African liberation, and socialism, by taking command of the definition of that history and resistance.

The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to raise high, in a revolutionary manner, the heroic memory of all our fallen martyrs, of all those in every city, village, community and country where they fell as evidence of the determination of our people to fight every battle on every front until liberty has been won.

The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to initiate special ceremonies and programs in every community where an African revolutionary has fallen and to raise the memory of our fallen freedom fighters to its proper revolutionary and historical significance.

The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all Party members to win the masses, within the U.S. in all mass organizations where the African People’s Socialist Party has influence, to unite with this resolution. We call on every Party unit, region and organization to take out this call to the masses and to actively work to institutionalize February 21 as the Day of the African Martyr.

Source: http://bermudaradical.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/long-live-malcolm-x-revolutionary-martyr-and-true-african-internationalist/

by michael hureaux perez

We must build a militant grassroots movement rooted in the working majority that is completely independent from the political organizations dominated by the big business classes.”

 

How good it is to know that if the world were burning to a crisp, the owners of society would let us know before we were completely toasted. First the oil spill from the late Deepwater Horizon was spewing out at a thousand gallons a day, then it was five thousand gallons a day, and today it is quietly admitted that it may be upwards of a hundred thousand gallons a day. Not that I’m shocked, you understand, I expect nothing from the ruling class of this country after Hurricane Katrina was used to purge better than a thousand black people from the planet five years ago.

What does intrigue me, however, is the banality of corporate thugs like British Petroleum, who announce such news with the demeanor of a waiter letting you know the short order cook burned your toast. As for the so-called democratic government of the United States, which should be arresting these criminals at this moment, we are treated to yet another display of Obama’s stentorian skills.

Un(/)fortunately, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

  

http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/eshu%E2%80%99s-blues-make-them-drink-it 

 The current ruling class of the United States of America is the most corrupt, bloated and incompetent group of gangsters to oversee this country since its founding. Their public face may be sleeker and wary of its “carbon footprint,” they may drink green tea and jog with their kids seated in ergonomically correct strollers through city parks, but they are as venal – nay, they are more venal than the top hatted, cigar puffing fat cats that were lampooned in the socialist press a century ago.

The robber barons of that era at least had enough social consciousness to know that public libraries and public hospitals were a needful thing. The current generation of new age merit class capitalists daily configure new strategies for selling off the public sector, lock, stock and barrel.

Market efficiency will take care of all, na?

 

So welcome to the new efficiency under the predator drone-guarded skies. The new generation of market gurus couldn’t foresee the depth of the banking crisis, they couldn’t foresee the endless nature of their atrocities in the Near East, they couldn’t foresee the disaster that has befallen the Gulf of Mexico. (Gaza, Johannesburg, Mtwapa, Ayiti…….)

Amazing, isn’t it, how people who were allegedly elevated through the magic of the marketplace can’t see a speeding train when they’re standing in front of it? The truth is that our new ruling elite do not care what happens to the economy or the ecology so long as their investment portfolios are yielding high dividends.

 

Certainly the charismatic they put in the White House this last go round wasn’t about to cop to how bad the mess in the Gulf of Mexico is until just a few days ago.

Obama’s response was his usual pursing of the lips, “cluck, cluck, cluck,” and a stentorian reminder to the hup-ho that from now on, they’ll have to play nice. Who needs manatees or pelicans anyway?

Obama’s daily concessions to the ruling gangsters have become the stuff of legend. Even people who never thought he was about much are perpetually astounded at what an opportunist and bloodstained piece of work he’s actually become. He is, in essence, the sort of black politician that all too many white folks – and unfortunately, a great many black people – have come to love and cherish as the best of all possible worlds under the current social order. He’s so obviously disgusting that many of us have grown tired of the topic. He’s just a symptom of our eighteenth century geniuses, Panglosses talking endlessly about their best of all possible worlds.

Our new age Panglosses have basically declared that what we have leading us in this country is the best that anyone can possibly do under the current arrangement. Unfortunately, if this daily grenade range is the best they have to offer, then I can only chime in with the terrible Leon Trotsky, when he observed seventy years ago that if global warfare and the common ruin of nature and humanity were required for the capitalist system to thrive, it’s time it perished.

A triad of transnational behemoths with the appellations Transocean, British Petroleum, and Halliburton have birthed an environmental catastrophe that will in turn imperil the hardwon economic gains of working class people in the deep southern United States for generations. The spill in the Gulf poses a menace to the economies of people of the Caribbean basin: Mexico, the Central American nations, the north of South America. The people who are responsible for this mess are vicious, and we must prepare to make them answer for their crimes against the planet and its peoples.

Obama’s daily concessions to the ruling gangsters have become the stuff of legend.”

So once again: There has been enough “skinnin’ and grinnin’,” and enough group deception around the actual intentions of the so-called “democratic” party. As usual, even as rivers of oil daily threaten not only the crabbing and shrimping industries that have fed our peoples along the Gulf Coast for generations – and not only as such irreplaceable creatures as the brown pelican, the blue fin tuna, and the manatee are threatened with extinction – the “democratic” party leadership stands with its hands in its pockets, and continues to mildly suggest that that the actions currently being undertaken by British Petroleum may not be adequate. Never forget: our ruling class knows that an unspeakable atrocity is palatable when it’s trotted out and played in minor chords.

Our peoples in this country must be made to understand that the destruction of a maritime industry that has kept the Southeastern states in the U.S. relatively solvent for generations and the slow immolation of an entire aquatic ecosystem is a crime against all of nature and all of humanity.

  

We have to stop fooling ourselves. There is a class war going on against our peoples and against the natural world, a calculated gamble that is being pursued by the ruling classes of this country.

If we are to survive, we are going to have to see this game, and raise the stakes………….

The eternal question is: who’s got the plan? There are lots of planners, there are lots of ideas in contention. At the very least, each respective strategy we adopt must retain as its watchword the complete independence of the political organizations of the wage earning majority from the political organizations dominated by the big business classes.

But I would like to modestly suggest that we begin by conducting a militant defense of the public sector of the economy through whatever grassroots community and labor organizations at our disposal – once again, with the notable exception of the “democratic” party, which is not an organization that belongs to the wage earning majority, nor will it ever be. Let’s get clear on that. A lot of us are going to go weak in the knees when the “democrats” break out with their usual “the monsters are coming!” show two years from now when the GOP rolls out creeps like Mitch Romney and Sarah Palin. Let’s declare their agenda irrelevant and organize differently. Let’s build upon what we do as a militantly independent grassroots movement.

The ‘democratic’ party leadership stands with its hands in its pockets, and continues to mildly suggest that that the actions currently being undertaken by British Petroleum may not be adequate.”

Obviously the only ideas that are excluded are racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, shapist, or anything else the capitalist system has come up with to get us to kill each other. No more false unities with people who clearly hate us. Let the polarization that actually exists be open, and let it declare itself openly under the rubric of a political organization rooted in the wage earning majority. There are beginning efforts like this happening in Pennsylvania and North Carolina right now, and there can be no doubt that this will be a long arduous road. All the same, we must get started.

We have to build a grassroots political movement that bases itself upon the energies of the wage earning majority, one that conducts a militant defense of the public sector in this economy. The ruling elite don’t want us to have any political power. Not any. Defend our unions, defend our community organizations, build, defend and expand the public sector of the economy.

The terrible Che Guevara used to say that to accomplish much, one must lose everything.

But be very clear: there are things we have no business losing, and the natural world is foremost among  them. We live in a moment when the ruling class of the most technologically advanced country on the planet is willing to flush all of nature down the toilet in order to preserve its imperatives. We cannot allow that. If all I’m talking about here is what amounts to an existential choice for most of us, maybe that’s going to have to be enough to get some people going. The choice is one of being or nothingness.

As for the fools who are destroying the Gulf of Mexico, who believe as the fool Ayn Rand used to argue, that pollution is good for the global economy – make them drink it.

 BAR columnist michael hureaux perez is a writer, musician and teacher who lives in southwest Seattle, Washington. He is a longtime contributor to small and alternative presses around the country and performs his work frequently.

 Email(s) to: tricksterbirdboy@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

Hadithi? Hadithi? Nipe mji…..nilienda isiolo na kampala, kiambu na malindi, nilirudi nyumbani, for the truth about stories is, they’re all we know, and (where) our heart is,

Leo ni leo….kweli si….

[re/posted]scribbles from the den

When the idea was first hatched to put forward South Africa’s candidacy for the 2010 World Cup, it seemed a far-fetched dream. And when FIFA actually awarded the tournament to South Africa, it was, in the view of many, a gamble destined to fail. However, after six years of turmoil, controversy and acrimony later, South Africa is finally set for the 2010 World Cup tournament.

For the next month, (legitimate) concerns about the financial toll of the tournament on South Africa’s economy, the absence of concrete benefits for large swathes of the South African population, or about FIFA’s stifling rules will be put on the backburner as the world enjoys the beautiful game.

Dori Moreno

Dori Moreno is one of those unapologetically afflicted by ‘World Cup Fever’:

I have been waiting for the World Cup to arrive ever since the announcement was made that it would be hosted in South Africa. It’s difficult to get excited about something happening so far into the future. But now, the World Cup is upon us, and in just 2 more sleeps, South Africa will face Mexico in the kick off game of the 2010 World Cup. And South Africa has woken up and is alive with energy, passion and enthusiasm.

 ‘Today, the Bafana Bafana team took to the streets of Sandton, Johannesburg in an open top bus. South African fans came out en masse to celebrate and get a glimpse of their national team. The vibe was indescribable and when the Soweto Marimba Youth League played the national anthem, I confess to being moved to tears from the sheer emotion and energy of the event.


‘I think even the die-hard pessimists out there will struggle not to get caught up in the positive energy that will carry us all on a cloud for the next month. To everyone out there, I say, ENJOY! To all the visitors to our awesome country, feel it, live it and fall in love. It’s time for AFRICA!!!!’

Jeanette Verster’s Photography

And talking about the June 9 ‘United We Stand for Bafana Bafana’ parade organised in Sandton to encourage South Africans to show their support for their national team, Jeanette Verster publishes a colorful picture essay that vividly captures the national excitement.

Brand South Africa Blog

Brand South Africa Blog hopes that the unity and patriotism demonstrated in the run-up to the World Cup will last long after the tournament:

‘The past few months have been an incredible sight. Road works, bridges being built and the most spectacular, the giant eye which watches over all of us from the entrance to the V&A Waterfront. To say I feel proud would really be an understatement, although true. Undeniably through all of this is the tangible feeling of patriotism, excitement and unified spirit in the air.

‘Flags, Zakumi’s (official World Cup mascot), soccer jerseys everywhere makes me feel that we can unite as a country, evident in the progress made.

‘*** I love SA ***

‘The feeling I hope for South Africa is that we stay this way long past the end game is played. Everyone is watching and can see that through working together and progress, we can be pushed into another league and be part of a set of countries people all of the world would like to visit sometime in their life.

‘So, Bafana, we are behind you 150%, make us proud and do your best.

‘Visitors to South Africa, our country is beautiful, take the opportunity to visit places off the beaten track you’ll be pleasantly surprised and p.s. don’t forget to shop!’

Constitutionally Speaking

Even as the excitement builds up, there is anger just beneath the surface over a number of (FIFA-inspired?) decisions which do not benefit South Africans. One such issue is the apparent blanket ban on public gatherings in many municipalities for the duration of the World Cup. Constitutionally Speaking argues that:



‘If this is true, it would mean that parts of South Africa are now effectively functioning under a state of emergency in which the right to freedom of assembly and protest have been suspended. This would be both illegal and unconstitutional. Other reports have suggested that such orders were indeed given, but that the police are now backtracking – probably because the police have realised that they are breaking the law and that the order, in fact, constitutes a grave breach of the law and the Constitution.

‘It is a sad day indeed when the police itself become a threat to our democracy and our rights because Fifa and the government want us all to behave and shut up for the next month and to forget about our democratic rights.’

Scribbles from the Den (and betwixt en between the lines: a video diary of the ‘Q[/t]’ werd)

Scribbles from the Den takes us back 20 years to a memorable World Cup game which is now part of the football folklore and which credited to have changed the World Football Order in favor of African countries:

‘Exactly 20 years ago on June 8, 1990 at the Giuseppe Maezza Stadium in Milan, Italy, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, “a humble team with an insignificant past” to quote the Miami Herald, defeated Argentina, the star-studded defending World Champions led by Diego Armando Maradona, in a thrilling Italia ’90 World Cup opening game that came to be known as the “Miracle of Milan”…



‘The victory over Argentina was merely the beginning of Cameroon’s Cinderella story which came to an end only after England ousted the Lions in an epic quarterfinal game that is also part of World Cup folklore. Cameroon’s brilliant run in Italia ’90 in general, and its historic win over Argentina in particular reverberated around the world and changed the Football World Order forever…

‘The aftershocks from that memorable Friday afternoon at the Giuseppe Maezza Stadium would be felt years later first with FIFA increasing the number of African teams taking part in the World Cup from two to five, then with the “browning” of European leagues which opened their doors to players from the continent and in the process unearthed African football prodigies such as “King” George Weah of Liberia, Same Eto’o of Cameroon and Didier Drogba of Cote d’Ivoire.’

Up Station Mountain Club

As the football fiesta goes on in South Africa, Charles Taku, a lead counsel at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, wonders whether Africa has any reason to celebrate as many states turn 50:

‘Africa is sick; very sick indeed. It is safe to state that at 50, there is nothing to celebrate. Rather than celebrate, Africa should be engaged in a moment of soul searching to find out where we went wrong and to generate ideas about how to resolve the myriad problems afflicting the continent…



‘There is no gainsaying that Africa is a victim of its colonial heritage. It is also true that many African problems are self inflicted. For that reason, according to Peter Schwab, Africa is its own worst enemy.

‘As Africa enters the second half of the century, there is a compelling need for it to eschew all pretensions to celebration and to use the opportunity of the moment to search for viable solutions to its plethora of problems. Our collective failure enjoins us to do a lot of soul searching at this point of our history rather than celebrate a failed past in anticipation of a bleaker future. Africa and the black race in general need to take their destiny into their own hands once again. Time has come for all black people of this world to invoke the spirits of Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, CLR James, the Osagyefo Mwalimu and others whose mere mention of name give us the inspiration, courage and hope to start all over again, in seeking a path of glory they once laid out for us.

The time to build and improve on what they started for our collective survival in a mercilessly competitive world is now. Waiting for dictators that preside over the destiny of most of the continent at present to pave that path to glory is simply foolhardy, if not suicidal.”



Kumekucha

Kumekucha explains how he believes the ruling elite plan to rig the August Referendum for the proposed new Kenyan Constitution:

‘Folks I am afraid that I have more bad news for you concerning the new constitution most of us are yearning for. Let me start by confessing that for a person with my years of experience I was rather naïve to believe that those who own Kenya would ever allow for an electoral system that they did not have any control over. The truth is that the so called “tamper-proof” electoral roll has already been tampered with and non-existent voters introduced. And since it is NOT the same electoral roll that we will go to the general elections with, the only conclusion is that the intention is to rig the August 4th Referendum.

‘The game plan by the powerful owners of Kenya is for the NO camp to catch up with the YES majority so that the difference is around 20% or less. What will then happen is that NO will win with a very slim majority. Enough to deny most Kenyans what they are yearning for so much that they can no longer sleep too well. Those wh o have read the document and realize the sweeping changes it will bring into the country and the deadly blow it will deal to impunity.

‘What really scares me is that so far these powerful forces have been able to get things done through the NSIS and have even influenced the judiciary to make certain bizarre rulings. To me that is evidence enough that they are quite capable of going ahead with their well laid plan even as the president tires himself crisscrossing the country campaigning for a new constitution.’


BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Dibussi Tande blogs at Scribbles from the Den.

 

I give thanks for El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (aka. Malcolm X), for (t)his birth (to)day, en for tomorrow, for the fruits of the work that not only (baba) Malcolm but so many other of our ancestors have done in liberating themselves en ‘other’ (people)s…

 

I give thanks for African Liberation Day (on May 25th), which is (depending on one’s ‘politics’) the biggest holiday of the year for (all) Afrikans, or more like, should be…. afrika moja!

Dis’  litany of love (en survival)  is embodied in ‘our’ symbols of resistance and the struggle of ‘everyday’, it explores the ‘other’ pieces of (where we) coming OUT from and embraces those ‘intersections’ in our diversity that (should) remind us we are all (from) one (Mama Afrika)….

so I give thanks for the work that the warriors of Blackness Yes! & Blockorama do to maintain positive & safe spaces for queer & trans folk of Afrikan descent, and for the folks who continue to do what they can to transform  not only themselves, but our communities for betta….

Like (in) dis’ litany of  pan-Afrikan realities sent out a moon ago, from (some of) the ones we’ve been looking for…ase.

April 19, 2010,

Dear Pride Toronto,

Thank you all for attending the community meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 to discuss the proposed move of Blockorama. At this meeting you were able to see the passion our community feels for Blockorama. Our communities came out Tuesday to support Blockorama because it is created by and for community, with a deep sense of ownership by the community. We would also like to thank you for your letter, dated April 15, 2010.

Since 1998 Blockorama has been a party at Pride where black queer and trans folks, their allies, supporters and people who love them came together to say no to homophobia in black communities and no to racism in LGBTQ communities. To say Blackness Yes at Pride – loud and proud. Pride Toronto’s inability to lead on racism in the LGBTQ communities and homophobia in black communities sends a strong signal to black queer and trans communities and their allies everywhere.

We have built Blockorama out of love, through sweat and toiling. For 12 years, we have claimed space, resisted erasure, found community, shared memories, built bridges, embraced sexuality, and found home. Blockorama is not just a party or a stage at Pride. It is a meeting place for black queer and trans people across North America- Blockorama is the largest space of its kind at any Pride festival on the continent.

Black queer and trans communities have been central to the diversity of Pride. At the same time Pride Toronto as an organization has continually marginalized those communities. It is indeed those communities that enable Pride to be the celebration of sexual life and freedoms that we all cherish. Pride Toronto’s inability to recognize its own constituencies is not only sad and disappointing it is indeed politically naïve and damaging to the still necessary struggles around sexual freedom in our city, province and country.

It has been incredibly frustrating to have our concerns regarding the space for Blockorama at Pride be not taken seriously by the arts and entertainment manager at Pride. It is very unfortunate that communication seems to be an issue for Pride Toronto, and that so much institutional memory has been lost through the many transitions that Pride has gone through over the last 2 years. We are glad to have begun a conversation about how to rebuild our connections with Pride Toronto.

Based on the feedback we have received from our communities following Tuesday’s meeting and what was offered through your letter, we are prepared to accept the following:

1. A full stage and infrastructure in George Hislop Parkette on Sunday July 4, 2010. This infrastructure will include power, insurance, tents, tables/chairs, toilets,
garbage removal, insurance, permits and fees, security, tech costs and labour.

We assume that the other site requests previously made available to us (pizza and water for volunteers, barricades to which we secure our banners, etc) will, although not mentioned in your letter, still be made available to us.

2. A reciprocal commitment from Blackness Yes and Pride Toronto to respond to emails with 48 hours of receiving them and to check in with each other (by phone or email) at least twice per week from now until the end of the 2010 Pride Week Festival.

3. We agree to your request for programming information to be provided to Pride Toronto no later than April 21st. In fact, we had already submitted this programming information before receipt of your letter.

4. We agree to the request for information for the Pride Guide to be submitted no later than April 21st.

We will provide you with:

o A 100 word intro blurb;
o Two 50 word blurbs for artists’ spotlights;
o Any photos associated with those artists in high resolution (300 dpi);
o A 100 word blurb about Blackness Yes and a relevant photo.

5. We are committed to and have always adhered to Pride Toronto deadlines for
information on Site Logistics, Tech, Press etc. We request that any changes to deadlines be given to us in a timely fashion to avoid any delay in information sharing.

6. We are happy to re-join the coordinators committee for Pride. We will send 2 delegates from Blackness Yes to each programming committee meeting as often as is manageable. We recognize that although some other programmers may be paid for their time, we are a volunteer-based committee. We welcome the opportunity to become reengaged with pride committee activities!

We are not able to accept the following offers at this time:

1. It will not be necessary for you to provide us with a Stage Manager for the weekend. We have a Blackness Yes member who will advance the show with the artists and ensure that the stage operates in a timely fashion.

2. We accept your offer to fund the previously agreed upon budget of $5000 for the Sunday stage. We also request that as in previous years, Pride Toronto cover the travel and hospitality fees of artists from out of town who are appearing on the Blockorama stage.

We feel that it is unfortunate that Pride chose to cancel stage-based programming in George Hislop without any consultation with the programmers who program that space. We understand that this decision has resulted in the re-allocation of the funding for this stage to other parts of the festival, thus now requiring Pride to find an “additional” $20,000 to create the stage in George Hislop. With proper consultation and collaboration, we could have worked together to both keep the needed funds for Blocko in the budget, and helped to save costs overall.

Your offer to program 2 full days in George Hislop Parkette is unfortunately not possible. This is not a viable offer as you have specified that you do not plan to cover any artist’s fees for Saturday programming. Although we welcome the opportunity to develop 2 days of programming, we cannot do so without money to develop this programming, and the suggestion that we do so is surprising. We welcome the opportunity to discuss options for 2 days of programming with adequate budget in the future.

Pride Toronto should not consider running programming for which local artists are not paid for their time. One of the wonderful things about the festival is that it engages artists and helps support the development of artistic practice in Toronto by paying artists to perform. Blackness Yes cannot consider developing any programming that would result in artists not being paid for their time and efforts.


We would like to request the following:

1. We request funding to rent a temporary floor for in front of the stage – something that can be used on the grass to facilitate dancing, to provide a less slippery and muddy experience for participants, and to deal with the regular rain flooding and seeping that we experience each year in George Hislop Parkette.

2. We thank you for the opportunity to commit to the George Hislop space for both the 2010 and 2011 festivals. However we can only commit to 2010 at this time. We would like to set a date to begin working together shortly after Pride 2010 to find a more suitable long-term home for Blockorama.

3. We note that in 2002, Pride’s entertainment budget was $31,040; and the Blockorama stage received $2500 or 8% of overall entertainment budget. This year, Pride’s entertainment budget is has increased to $335,027, yet Blockorama is received only $5000 or roughly about 1.4%. We would like to know why the proportional allotment for our stage is shrinking despite increased money in the entertainment budget?

4. We support the use of the stage on Saturday by other community groups and we encourage one of the 4 paid programming staff at Pride to outreach to some of the communities currently not represented at Pride to help program the stage. We feel strongly that artists fees should be paid for any artists that play on Saturday’s stage.

We are concerned about the steady removal of community involvement from the structure of Pride Toronto over the past 2 years. As an independent committee programming a stage at Pride, we recognize how far Pride has to go to ensuring that it’s programming is reflective of the diversity of Toronto. We encourage and support all community groups currently marginalized by Pride Toronto, and/or the larger LGBTTI2QQ set of communities in Toronto.

There are many other communities that should also have Pride Toronto’s full commitment and engagement to develop relevant programming at the festival (First Nations and Indigenous people, LGBTTI2QQ people who are Deaf and those with Disabilities, and many many others) and we encourage Pride to connect with and engage these communities. We are disappointed that this year has seen communities pitted against each other – competing for stage space and funding at Pride.

It is also very unfortunate that Pride has distanced itself from so many of the communities that helped build the LGBTTI2QQ activist movement. Racialized queer and trans people, many of whom were street-involved, working class and poor started both the Stonewall and Compton Cafeteria riots that kick-started the “gay liberation movement” in North America. It is on the backs of racialized and working class queer and trans people that mainstream queer organizations like Pride Toronto have been built.

Yet for many of these same people, Pride is now an inaccessible space, one that is not representative of them in any way, shape or form. Many of these revolutionaries that began the riots would not be able to afford the beer gardens (or this year’s Prism main stage party) that have become the cornerstones of the Pride festival.

We wonder if they would be banned from the parade for carrying posters that make people uncomfortable- posters calling for an end to targeted policing of Trans people, calling to an end to systemic racism and homophobia, and demanding the right to sexual freedom and the right to self-identified gender expression. These words of resistance have consistently made certain people uncomfortable, but they have been crucial to the struggle for liberation and self determination of LGBTTI2QQ people.

Blackness Yes is committed to creating a space by and for Black/African Diasporic queer and trans people and all of their allies and supporters at Pride. Blockorama will always remain a political space for resistance and celebration, and we stand in solidarity with so many other groups that have been left out or forcibly excluded from Pride. We will also work to produce a Blockorama that returns to its roots. A Blocko organized by and for a supportive community that has been dancing, laughing, loving and eating at Blocko now for over more than a decade.

Thank you,

Blackness Yes!
Blockorama Coordinating Committee

Tessa C. Duplessis
Mykell Hall
Nigel Holbrook
Abdi Osman
Nik Redman
Syrus M. Ware
Kyisha Williams
Akhaji Zakiya

Blogger’s note: hadithi? hadithi? Nipe mji? Nilirudi nyumbani, coz home is where the heart is, en I was blessed to learn (more) from babas (of Afrika) that spoke (big) love en truth, like Amilcar Cabral, Baba Tajudeen, Cheikh Anta Diop, Dedan Kimathi, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Elijah Masinde, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, Ngugi wa Thiong’o,…there are many kings (in the Q werd)….this post is from one of them……..

a non-fictional short story by Onyango Oloo

http://demokrasia-kenya.blogspot.com/2010/04/yes-from-apathetic-facebook-20.html 

 Claire M is a beautiful, ebony complexioned, twenty-something petit-bourgeois British accented Kenyan employee of a certain tech firm who commutes daily between her middle class neighbourhood in Nairobi’s east end and her posh upscale office in the capital city’s west end.

She is also a very good friend of mine.

Vivacious should be her middle name, so effervescent is Claire’s good natured spirit.

We met purely by happenstance about two and a half fortnights ago.

There she was, slightly after ten in the pm, sitting next to me on the Number 33 matatu on a Furahiday, Embakasi bound.

A spontaneous conversation sprung up in a matter of minutes and within days we were certified Facebook friends who turned out to be residing within mere hectares and baby wails of each other.

A few days ago, I hooked up with her and one of her girl friends for an evening after work beer sip upstairs at the Verandah, across the street from the Stanley-the old Cameo cinema for old Nairobi hands.

In the course of our random chat, she casually mentioned that she had seen my status update on Facebook urging Kenyans to vote Yes come the Referendum on the proposed new constitution.

“I am NOT voting and YOU can’t make ME!” she declared with an air of finality which startled me, being totally unexpected.

I didn’t even know she had seen my earnest online constitutional exhortation in the first place.

“Remember the last time in 2007, I woke up very early in the morning and voted for Raila and look what happened! We Kenyans started killing each other! Over WHAT? I am NOT voting for ANYONE! And you can’t FORCE me!”

Yawa Maembe”, I tried to butt in, gently pointing out that this time around Kenyans were not voting for anyone, just for the long sought after constitution, twenty years in the making and stained with our blood, sweat and tears.

“Well, the only person I will be voting for is the Man Upstairs. And in case you didn’t know, the world is COMING TO AN END. All the signs are there.

Have you looked at

Jay-Z’s latest CD?

Or wondered why Beyoncé Giselle Knowles calls herself

Sasha Fierce these days?

How about that thing with Kanye West and Taylor Swift?

or Rihanna’s new outfit?

There you go.”

Let me hasten to add that Claire M is perfectly SANE and quite intelligent, in case you were wondering.

At this point she reached deep deep into one of those humungous mobile ward robes that women call handbags these days

and fished out a slim volume with a silky, smooth, soft, shiny glossy black cover featuring a smiling handsome African man on the cover.

The booklet was captioned He is Coming.

I think the author was referring to the world famous dreadlocked Holy Nazarene nicknamed JC, but the image was more reminiscent of one of those Nollywood hunks that litter our television screens and have taken over our DVDs these days.

“You see this?” she said, thumping mercilessly on the poor innocent book.

“It is all in HERE. Tell him Sheila!” she said, turning to her bemused best friend who had been staring, wide mouthed, as this delirious conversation unfolded amid quaffs of this or that variety of Kenyan malt product among the trio of us.

“I am not particularly religious”, I offered, meekly.

“The last time I stepped into an actual Church to formally worship was waaay back in May or June 1982”, I explained, shocking Claire M, who was not even conceived back then when

Shalamar,Ray Parker Jr, Odyssey, The Whispers, Kool and the Gang, Lakeside,

and the Gibson Brothers ruled the world’s disco floors with their curly kits, afros, box tops, bomber jackets and tight jeans-the future Retro/Old Skool gear and wear of decades to come.

Earth, Wind and Fire

“You mean you DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD???!!!”

Reluctant to start another raging, never ending Kenyan sectarian edition of the Crusades right there at the Verandah-a veritable den of iniquity if I ever saw one- I carefully skirted the religious inquisition, side-stepping a possible urban, nocturnal lynching at the hands of an irate, determined and capable potential Kenyan female executioner by reverting back to the need for a Yes vote among all Kenyans with a functioning brain.

“Well, like I said, WE are NOT voting, are WE, Sheila?” Claire M hissed defiantly, turning to her hapless bosom buddy for solidarity and assurance.

“And you can write that on that BLOG of yours! And tell the WORLD that Claire M said SO! It is NO for ME and THAT is THAT!”

“Are you SURE????!!”

I tried to verify, knowing how far around the world the Kenya Democracy Project blog travels these days.

This morning I got an update from my Neo website counter which informed me that the blog had reached 11,950 cities in 186 countries around this

Blue Marble.

“Yes! And I am waiting to read it!”

So Claire M, in sunny Nairobi, here you go.

You did insist and demand that I put your views on this blog of mine.

And I am sending you a link via my Facebook wall so you can read this on your mobile phone my Kenyan digital sister. I will also email you the URL so that you can carefully jot down the put downs and rebuttals for our next Verandah soiree.

My generation and this Twittered, Digged, RSS Word Pressed Facebooked Twenty First Century Viral Marketed Kenyan Generation of Claire, Sheila and Co. Ltd are Worlds Apart I tell you.

It is like Mercury and Uranus.

Back in the 1980s-Yes, when David Onyango Oloo was still a deceptively innocent looking, fresh faced, slim, twenty something student cum political prisoner and not this bloated twenty first century Kenyan Rip Van Freaking Winkle with sprinkles of salt on my head and chin- it was a badge of honour among the Kenyan youth to be political, to be conscious, to be democratic, to be patriotic, to be militant, to be vigilant, to be a voter.

These were the days of Daniel arap Moi and his side kicks like Okiki Amayo, Kariuki Chotara, Mulu Mutisya, Jackson Angaine, Ezekiel Bargentuny, Sharrif Nassir, Philip Leakey, Stanley Oloitiptip, Krishan Gautama and John Joseph Kamotho.

The days of one party rule.

The days of detention without trial.

The days of the one finger salute.

Not that finger you are thinking of.

The KANU one finger is what I am talking about.

The days of silence, the days of terror and the days of fear.

The days of Fuata Nyayo.

The days of KANU Tawala, Tawala.

The days of fake peace, counterfeit love and non-existent unity.

And also the days of defiant university student demonstrations and courageous lecturers’ symposia.

Not to forget fearless editorials.

The era of George Anyona and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

The hey days of Willy Mutunga, Al-Amin Mazrui, Micere Mugo, James Orengo and Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

The political coming age of the Njeri Kabeberis and Mwandawiro Mghangas.

Some university students declared in public kamkunjis that it was time for Kenya to be ruled by Marxist-Leninists.

Others were abducted off trains to be charged with sedition because they had dared to draft in their hand written chicken scrawl, earnest essays about the role of youth in fighting for democracy and justice in this country.

Still others were thrown down flights of stairs by angry secret police torturers for celebrating the attempted overthrow of the Moi dictatorship.

Back in those seemingly long forgotten days, Kenyan youth, Kenyan students, Kenyan post-independence patriots yearned passionately to kick the status quo’s hind quarters swiftly, repeatedly and viciously.

Back in those yesteryears, Kenyan students and youth spoke out loudly in protest when spooky sycophantic fascist neo-colonial comprador politicians led by our current septuagenarian head of state wanted to declare Kenya a de jure one party dictatorship.

And back then, there were no cell phones, leave alone the internet, forget email accounts, scratch Messenger, ICQ, online forums, chat rooms, Facebook or Twitter.

Back in that recent technological Stone Age, when you spoke of a telephone you was either referring to an old gloomy looking black contraption which had a PADLOCK firmly attached to it or a relative of the same intimidating device trapped in an outdoor cage, looking like a forlorn statue which required you to feed it with numerous coins if you wanted to talk to anyone for a few hurried minutes- at the top of your lungs, obliviously unaware that science and technology had already carefully considered your vocally needs to communicate clearly and therefore taken care of the volume and modulation functions in that teleinstrument.

But we were MORE networked and pumped up those days-politically speaking that is.

If there had been a proposed draft constitution waiting to be passed as the country’s supreme document, Kenya’s militant and patriotic youth would have already formed kilometre long queues, snaking around entire villages-urban and rural- to vote YES, YES, YES! months before the actual referendum!

What a contrast that generation of mine is to the apathetic, blasé, cynical, bored out of their skulls, hip hopping techno Kenyan chini kwa chini ohangla wiggling genge kapukaring smoked out dazed raggamuffins of the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Ten who have more passion for Arsenal and Man U than for freedom or socialism; Kenyan youth who know more about the subliminal Satanic sub texts in Rihanna’s latest dress than which reproductive rights side to take on the raging debate about where life begins; Kenyan youth who can recite the last 98 minutes of the last episode of Lord Of The Rings or the 23rd Season of Sex in the City verbatim from their photographic memories while being totally clueless about the actual contents of the Bill of Rights in our new constitution; Kenyan youth who can tell you the exact alcohol percentage in a bottle of Kingfisher or Smirnoff Red, but totally blank out when you ask them about what percentage women of seats have been allocated in the projected Senate chamber.

Do I sound harsh, bitter, angry, judgmental?

You tell me.

Forgive me for this Cardinal Sin of having seen Better Scenes for Kenyan Youth in this very country, in this, my very own pays natal.

But frankly some of us, aging grey beards, the Kenyan youth of yesteryears, expect more, much, much more, from our younger siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, and for some of us now delving into our fifth decade of existence, our own sons and daughters.

We expect them to reap the harvest of our blood stained youthful endeavours for a more democratic dispensation.

We expect them to be more emboldened about defending our social justice gains.

We expect them to be more conscious than us, their prehistoric predecessors.

And yes, Claire M, that is why I expect YOU to VOTE YES for the new constitution come the referendum.

And I am talking to you too, Sheila.

But first, you have to register as voters my two Kenyan sisters.

And you can do it electronically these days you know.

So Claire M, there you have it.

You did ask me to write this, didn’t you?

Onyango Oloo

Nairobi, Kenya

 blogger’s note: braap! and those are the confessions of an angry afrikan baba, I hear where he’s coming from, those are my peers he’s talking about, apathy seems to be/coming a hall mark of our generation, but if you know where to look, then you will find those youth fulfilling the mission of their times…

 The truth according to makmende is……

blogger’s note: this is a spoof of a spoof of very serious matters. It is definitely not to be taken as the gospel truth of afrikan liberation, then again what is the truth of our freedom?…..FUN.damentalism na hadithi that affirm OUR power….

the beauty about stories is that WE re/tell them, en we change/d them, en we can re/vision almost  any parts  we want.

 The crux is (in) manifest.ing the truth en re/build.ing with others, much easier said than practised.

Like, all jokes aside, I love where Makmende comes from ( and if at this point you’re still wondering who makmende is, then this post isn’t for you), I love that he’s one of our own, a uniquely urban Kenyan (Afrikan) meme, en a super hero by most accounts.

But, seriously, what would makmende really do to the ‘bad guys’? and just who are the ‘bad guys’? and if Hitler’s having a near makmende experience, then shouldn’t Bush, Raila, Kibaki, Pattni, Kiplagat, en many many ‘others’ jus go hang themselves with tissue paper?

Because we sho’ as hell working hard on exploiting en breaking so many more of US down in private en in public, much more it would seem than figuring out this whole damu ni mzito kuliko maji thing….a concept that’s rendered alien when we deny kin/dred…..

what’s funny, sad, en much deeper than we can imagine are the connecshuns we share through our relationship to Afrikan/ness…..in the end, just a band, for all your hating on the ‘queers’ among us, you’re jus as bad as my ‘girlfriend’, a new Afrikan, (Goddess knows I love, respekt en admire her but she also has this divisive notion that she was taught) like many others  who insist that what they REALLY  are is African AMERICAN……to each their own, but  the question remains, what to do bout our own ?

is it really just enough to rewrite the script of white supremacist ideologues  with hateful/misguided beliefs of another flavour?

If you haven’t figured it out yet, these are the responses of an angry  Afrikan woman……one who’s laughed at en being inspired by the makmende videos, but who is definitely NOT  satisfied with the caricatures drawn of me en my sistas………I am NOT  Abscondita, Britannia Zimeisha, or one of Godfrey’s Laydayz, so technically I really don’t have no place passing judgement on their representations, I would love to hear THEIR  stories…..and I am definitely not (bigger than) makmende, so I submit to the power of the people speaking through griots, messengers, teachers en  facebook & youtube ratings.

All I have is a request, dear just a band, hadithi? Hadithi? Kitendawili? Would you tell me another story?

Like the true true legends of…..

Coz I love where you’re going with this, I been on this path many times before, so I suspect where we’re liable to get lost in the forest of black  nationalism & neo colonialist regimes. Do you think we may be missing the mark on the heart of the matter? If it’s love for our cultures, then is it really manifest? Do we even have to go across the oceans en use foreign scripts for our own purposes, are we not rich enough with our own?

From one (urban) Afrikan to another, do you think that (all jokes aside) WE are the problem?

I know there are so many more stories that we have, we know that we’ve denied many of them, even our sheng, the very language you use to re/tell makmende’s story, is divided along class/tribe lines, we all  KNOW the markers, but are we really manifest.ing our true true powers? is the current version of makmende really the best we can do?

If there’s many more pieces that I’m missing to the story about makmende’s  return, then please tell me me those bits, boss,  coz you got me hooked, but there really is plenty of fish in the ocean, so I’m prepared to swim with dolphins, en even on the back of a whale, anywhere to get to paradise….en I would prefer ogun or shango’s story any day to your (version of) makmende

a warrior by any other name

As many props as I give to the kings (en queens?) of just a band, I am still that ‘angry’ Afrikan woman who is NOT satisfied with the ‘latest’ picture, en is willing to work with my bredrin en sistren to change it, all the betta for us to build solidarity with……..

by any means necessary

so dear just a band, do you think you could change the script, to start just remove the ‘ushoga’  is the cause of our downfall parts……it’s a strategically homophobic en sinister connection that you’re drawing between sexuality and  the destruction of the ‘oppressors’, one that divides even comrades en families.

I am not Makmende’s enemy, yet in your video you try to make me one, and in your pieces, the enemy was supposed to be white supremacist ideologies, or was that just a matter of false advertising? Askyua mutha black militants en black sahara are really a big big joke, na tena, ka wahenga, nauliza je, hii ni ungwana? Again, is makmende really jus a spoof? will the ‘real’ revolutionary please stand up?

you see, Makmende is real because (s)he comes from the people, en dear just a band, not one person or group can  have  a copyright on makmende….so, I may not be able to take all your jokes, I may be taking this whole makmende goes after hitler thing too personally, and  too seriously, I may need to chillax with the whole defending queer rights thing…..but if I don’t name my anger then who will? En if you don’t take it seriously then who will?

Why even waste our time repeating the oppressor’s lies? Kitendawili? Mavi ya kuku ni….? and it don’t matter how much honey you pile on IT en laughter that you produce from IT…..what’s not true is…..new, en ushoga is as old as mama afrika herself…so why not just focus on what we need to re/member (about the ways of our ancestors) to move forward, en share some of OUR true true stories……

like the kinda shit that you just don’t have to make up

Dear just a band, we have much more in common than many would assume…….the beauty of makmende, is like the purloined letter, it’s an open secret that only a ‘nairobian’ can truly appreciate, en that all Afrikans should be able to translate…. makmende IS  bigger than just a band, congratulations!  You have achieved what you wanted en worked for…revived a legend through the creative use of media………now what?

makmende oh

What will makmende do next?

its a type of flowing power…we’re jus producing more en more people..

en you know how the story goes…..