BLACK REVOLUTIONARY WHERE ART THOU?: IS IT TIME FOR BLACK REVOLUTIONARIES TO CHANGE THEIR FOCUS FROM REVOLUTION TO REFORM?

I have found that on the average day that I will come across a self-proclaimed “Black Revolutionary.” I am confident that if you have had any exposure to the so-called conscious community that you have also had the misfortune to meet one of the alluded to armchair revolutionaries. You know the type, an individual who has by-passed any semblance of introspection or much-needed personal improvement in their rush to address and solve the cavernous problems facing Black America. From their perspective, the only obstacle to black liberation is the foolishness of their people who inexplicably refuse to adhere to their revolutionary rhetoric and unrealistic freedom plans.

Introspect I find it slightly humorous that I have concocted many ingenious means designed to avoid or elude the so-called Black Revolutionary. My avoidance of the self-appointed Black Revolutionary is borne of experience that for the vast majority of the so-called conscious community such discussions are intended to do little more than to busy their minds with a tapestry of foolishness that includes illogical conspiracy theories, falsification of a historical path that they have little understanding of beyond some “knowledge” that they have found on the internet, or the re-identification of persons of African descent for purposes that will never bear significant fruit. Particularly frustrating is the reality that few of the “superstars” of the conscious community have a full understanding of the multitude of interlocking factors surrounding either the path to a domestic revolution or the large issues that would result from a successful revolution.

The failure to consider the matters listed below displays Black Revolutionaries lack of understanding and planning for the world that they hope to create. Questions such as the following must be addressed by the black revolutionary class.

  • What will the new governmental structure be?
  • Who would head the new governmental structure?
  • What would we use for currency?
  • What would the educational system look like?
  • Who would control the modes and means of production?
  • Will we be a communalistic, Communist, Socialist, or Capitalist nation?
  • Will we continue the current system of representative democracy? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • What will be the role of women in this new “Black Land”?

 

Inexplicably, black revolutionaries are perplexed at the large issues that a successful revolution creates. Whenever I raise such questions to the amateur revolutionaries encamped all around me, their response is either a deafening silence or a continuation of verbal nonsense that they consider a suitable substitute for sound reasoning.

Although they will never admit the obvious, it is time for the Black Revolutionary abandons calls for a domestic revolution and turn their attention toward improving the politico-economic status of Black America within the existing system.

Of course, the insinuation that the efforts of today’s Black Revolutionary will be more productive if they were re-calibrated to assist Black America in “creating a nation within, but without a nation.” Nevertheless, Black Revolutionaries abandonment of what amounts to unachievable goals of overthrowing the U.S. government in favor of traditional avenues of group improvement: the pursuit of a relevant education, social civility, collectivist economics, and political solidarity; paths that other groups have traveled during their ascension in America. The above steps — education, political engagement, and economic collectivism — are not only a rational expression of “Black Power,” but also the most reliable antidote to the politico-economic powerlessness and social dysfunction that has shadowed Black America for far too long.

Unfortunately, contemporary Black Revolutionaries ownership of “Black Power” slogans has done little to increase their understanding of the political philosophy. The foremost consequence of this ineffectual use of “Black Power” imagery and concepts is that the political philosophy has lost much of its luster. In many ways, contemporary Black Revolutionaries ignorance regarding what “Black Power” politics are has led to them betraying a rich tradition of black political astuteness and the pursuit of tangible gains to improve the collective plight of Black America.

Black power is concerned with organizing the rage of black people.…Black power (1) deals with the obviously growing alienation of black people and their distrust of the institutions of this society; (2) works to create new values and to build a new sense of community and of belonging; and (3) works to establish legitimate new institutions that make participants, not recipients, out of a people traditionally excluded from the fundamentally racist processes of this country.

It appears that today’s Black Revolutionary has chosen to ignore Fred Hampton’s famous quote that “We understand that politics is nothing but war without bloodshed and war is nothing but politics with bloodshed.”

The so-called black revolutionaries apparent hesitation to replace rhetoric with an actual confrontation with their enemy in politics, education, and economics is an anomaly to prior expressions of “Black Power.” Consider for a moment the words of Charles V. Hamilton and Stokely Carmichael in their brilliant book, Black Power.

The concept of Black Power rests on a fundamental premise. Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. By this, we mean group solidarity is necessary before a group can operate effectively from a bargaining position of strength in a pluralistic society. Traditionally, each new ethnic group in this society has found the route to social and political viability through the organization of its own institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society . . . the American melting pot has not melted. Italians vote for Rubino over O’Brien; Irish for Murphy over Goldberg, etc.

There is little room to debate that Hamilton and Carmichael are calling for political organization and a major confrontation with American powerbrokers in the real world, not some fantasy world filled with Kings, Queens, God’s, Earth’s, Angels, Moors, Hebrews, and other superheroes.

The current class of black revolutionaries would benefit from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lamentations regarding Black Power. According to Dr. King,

{Black Power activists} must use every constructive means to amass economic and political power. This is the kind of legitimated power we need. We must work to build racial pride and refute the notion black is evil and ugly. But this must come through a program, not merely through a slogan…The words ‘black’ and ‘power’ together give the impression that we are talking about black domination rather than black equality.

Black Power is a call for the pooling of black financial resources to achieve economic security.… Through the pooling of such resources and the development of habits of thrift and techniques of wise investment, the Negro will be doing his share to grapple with his problem of economic deprivation. If Black Power means the development of this kind of strength within the Negro community, then it is a quest for basic, necessary, legitimate power.

It is past time for today’s Black Revolutionary to abandon the fantasy world that he/she has situated themselves in and muster the courage to fight their enemies in the real world where groups are fighting over limited politico-economic resources. In many ways, the hesitation, if not the outright resistance of the Black Revolutionary to fight others over limited resources says much about their seriousness, abilities, and belief in their abilities. Of all the things that such cowardice conveys, it will never be termed revolutionary. And for that reason, today’s Black Revolutionary should be ashamed.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

3 thoughts on “BLACK REVOLUTIONARY WHERE ART THOU?: IS IT TIME FOR BLACK REVOLUTIONARIES TO CHANGE THEIR FOCUS FROM REVOLUTION TO REFORM?”

  1. Great analysis. I suppose we are to arrive at some sort of inductive conclusion from this article that will layout a thorough road-map and agenda that will spell victory.

    However the enormity of the set of problems we Black folks face I fear precludes that objective. Your thoughts Dr. Jones are obviously cultured and manicured well enough to lead realistic discussions and round-tables.

    I don’t know however who these superstar revolutionaries you are referring to, I hope it’s not the popular and bombastic or otherwise social media folk. They don’t know, they are just just expressing exasperation and looking for support.

    I wood love to dialogue with you about this subject. I wouldn’t be able to claim anything more than an amateur status with regard to being any sort of activist or writer but I am a concerned Black brother. Peace

  2. It is time to close ranks. It is time to aggressively pursue political and economic power in our communities. Collective work, safety and responsibility are essential for African American to get a seat at the table to determine our destination. It’s a shame that we have put our greatest thinkers theories behind us instead of using them to motivate us to greatness!

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