There is most certainly no shortage of activism occurring within the African-American community. Today’s African-American political activists are incredibly diverse in regards to their ages, value systems, political perspectives, strategies and tactics. This alluded to diversity raises what should be a natural query of what is it all for? Put simply, how do you know if you are ‘winning’ at the high-stakes game of political activism?
Sadly, I have discovered that so many of today’s African-American political activists have failed to consider such political matters. It is this omission that severely curtails every aspect of their activism as there cannot be a reasonable strategy without the presence of what can only be termed an end-goal. There is no doubt that African-American activists need to take a step-back, study, and tehn replicate the path that other groups have taken in their own desperate attempt to liberate their people by articulating their program via a political ‘manifesto’.
What is a manifesto? Put simply, a ‘manifesto’ is a developed and then publicly articulated plan that reveals the intentions, motives, and view of those that created it.
Consider for a moment the following statement of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that reads in part like a manifesto as it articulates his vision of the two-stages of political activism that were needed to achieve the ‘end-goal’ of an American racial equality that extended well beyond this nation’s law books and extended into the daily existence of Black America.
[W]ith Selma and the Voting Rights Act one phase of development in the civil rights revolution came to an end. A new phase opened, but few observers realized it or were prepared for its implications. For the vast majority of white Americans, the past decade — the first phase — had been a struggle to treat the Negro with a degree of decency, not of equality. White America was ready to demand that the Negro should be spared the lash of brutality and coarse degradation, but it had never been truly committed to helping him out of poverty, exploitation or all forms of discrimination. The outraged white citizen had been sincere when he snatched the whips from the Southern sheriffs and forbade them more cruelties. But when this was to a degree accomplished, the emotions that had momentarily inflamed him melted away,
When Negroes looked for the second phase, the realization of equality, they found that many of their white allies had quietly disappeared. Negroes felt cheated, especially in the North, while many whites felt that the negroes had gained so much it was virtually impudent and greedy to ask for more so soon.
Black America’s current cadres of contemporary activists and so-called leaders have been figuratively operating in the dark, meaning without a plan also known as a manifesto.
It is this lack of a coherent and cohesive manifesto that reveals much about the disarray within Black America’s activist community.
Although it is disappointing and daunting to state the following, the reason that the Black manifesto does not exist is that the dogmatism, rivalries, and superficial disagreements that are omnipresent within the African-American activist community has proven more powerful than worthy goals such as economic freedom and political independence. Instead of rallying around what should be a universal goal such as “the liberation and salvation of the Black nation”, contemporary activists fight amongst themselves over mundane issues such as:
- What should we call ourselves? (Black, African-American, Moors, God’s, Hebrews)
- Did the slave trade actually occur?
- Are African-Americans actually Native Americans?
- Are we descended from Alien beings?
- Who are the legitimate heirs to the Black Panther Party legacy?
- Who has the right to claim Malcolm X’s legacy?
When taken together, such minutiae amounts to a prolonged session of ‘mental masturbation’ that allows its participants to remain in the cowardice position that they have historically occupied by busying themselves with things that not only matter little, but also fail to be integral in any way to the potential liberation of their people.
It is time that the African-American activist community abandons their self-created diversion that closely resemble ‘busy work’ and get about the business of institution building, educating their own, supporting Black businesses, and organizing our political currency to use at an opportune moment. Anything less is simply scattered-brained thinking that allows them to avoid facing the unadulterated reality that they are little more than cowards who are afraid to engage those that oppress not only themselves, but also everyone they profess to love.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.