Stop whining—Start grinding — May 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 1st, 2016

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
— William Arthur Ward

It’s interesting how the young folks have started using a term that describes what the older folks should be doing. I hear young people saying, “I’m grinding,” and I hear older folks whining. Young people know they have to “just do it,” as the saying goes, in order to achieve their dreams. In many cases they are willing to take risks and forego the creature comforts that could accrue to them via high level corporate salaries. They are willing to sacrifice in order to pursue their own path in life, unconstrained by the “rules” someone else sets for them.

We older folks are not as willing to do the work appertaining to progress; instead we are still relying on politicians to make things better for us. We do a lot more whining than grinding when it comes to our collective—and sometimes even our individual economic freedom.

I hear it on the radio and on news shows all the time from so-called leaders and from so-called liberated Black folks. They whine about what the “Man” is doing to us, how our collective fate is not in our own hands but someone else’s, what “we need to do,” how “unequal” we are in income, wealth, and social opportunities, and how many of us are in prison. They can recite all the stats and all the history surrounding our current demise. They reminisce about Kemet and other ancient African contributions to the world. They talk about “Black Wall Street” and invoke the names of our great icons; and they continue to lament and chronicle, as Maulana Karenga says, “Litanies of lost battles.”

While many of us are very adept at talking about our problems, far fewer of us are willing to get into the fray and do the work to ameliorate our problems—even though the solutions to our problems are relatively simple to implement.

Co-convener of the One million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors (www.iamoneofthemillion.com), Amefika Geuka,DSC_0108 wrote a “Black Paper” in 2007 in which he stated, “[Our] vision is of a transformed Black community where our people radically improve the quality of their lives and surroundings. We will accomplish this by implementing programs and ventures designed specifically for the unique needs of people of African descent – without apology! This will result in the complete elimination of the ‘slave mentality’ and dependence on the gratuity of others that it promotes. We will cease to be the ‘weakest link in the chain,’ or weakest ‘patch’ in the ‘quilt-like’ fabric of American society and that of the world.”

Rhetoric not followed by action is meaningless; and whining not supplanted by grinding only displays weakness and apathy. Booker T. Washington said, “The world might pity a whining nation, but it will never respect it [until it respects itself enough to do for itself].”

If we would turn our whining into grinding, not worrying as much about the external factors but concentrating on our internal resources with which to “accomplish what we will,” Black people would be much better off.

Politically speaking, Black folks are now so engulfed in Presidential candidates, thinking once again that our salvation somehow lies within them. Some of our Black political hacks are whining about which candidate will do the most for us, which is kinda like two enslaved people arguing over which plantation and “master” are better. If we continue to seek the largess of a political candidate without having a reasonable assurance that he or she will do more than talk about our situation, we will continue to get the same thing we have always gotten from them: more rhetoric. Stop waiting to hear their patronizing words regarding Black issues; start demanding what we want, and then be prepared to respond with our votes and our dollars. We must negotiate from a position of strength not with idle threats and saber-rattling, but by withholding our votes and our dollars if they do not support our demands. What do we have to lose?

The State of North Carolina is currently being economically punished because of its stand on which bathrooms transgender persons can use. Corporations are withdrawing their dollars and other threats abound by athletic groups and such. Question: Why isn’t the same thing happening on behalf of Black folks when it comes to voter suppression in that state? Have you heard any corporation threaten to leave or boycott Carolina on behalf of Black people? The POTUS even spoke up for the transgender people. Similar to the Indianapolis, Indiana case and the purported discrimination against gay people by businesses, corporations said they would move and the NCAA said it would cancel its events in that city if the law was not reversed. Guess what. The law was changed.

We are too busy counting votes to realize that our dollars count for more. Stop Whining and Start Grinding.

 

 

Black-on-Black Coalescence (Part Two) — April 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman April 23rd, 2016

Differences versus commonalities: Enslavement was different, for instance, in the U.S. from the brand that was practiced in the Caribbean and Brazil and other South American countries. Thus, we view our lives through different lenses when it comes to independence, entrepreneurship, and politics.

We must build bridges, learning from and sharing with one another as we go along, because we have a wealth of knowledge and command trillions of dollars in income. It’s simply a matter of pooling our intellectual talent and our economic resources to build and sustain our own economy within larger economies. Once that takes place, Black people will no longer have to worry about negative public policy issues that adversely affect our people. Economic leverage will take care of that and more.

Take a look at Caribbean economic enclaves established by various groups in this country, especially in New York City. Look at the number of businesses owned by folks from the “islands” and how some of those businesses started through the use of “Sou-Sous” or “Susus,” honor-based revolving loan funds used by the members.

Individual members deposit a set amount of money into the Sou-Sou on a regular basis, and the entire amount goes to one of the members each month. It runs at least until each member is given the entire amount. One person holds the money and makes the distributions. Businesses are started this way as well as other financial ventures, such as down payments for home purchases, paying off bills, and education expenses.

The concept of pooling Black dollars based on trust is a very strong and positive lesson for us, if we would just follow it. It is certainly not a new concept; we are just short on the trust factor. It is sad that, except for weekly church contributions, Black folks are very reluctant to pool our money and help one another. We trust preachers, many of whom use offerings to support their own lavish lifestyles, with no accountability and no benefit going back to the members. What would be so hard about trusting some of our brothers and sisters to manage a Sou-Sou?

The answer to that question is found in the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors, where the key word is “Conscious.” Amos Wilson describes it very well in his book, Afrikan-Centered Consciousness Versus the New World Order, Garveyism in the Age of Globalism.

Wilson used Garvey’s words to point the primary ingredient for Black progress: Love. “Marcus Garvey recognized as well that we must, as people, love one another. As all great teachers have taught, love is the foundation for any group’s cohesiveness and unity of purpose. Love is the greatest inhibitor of aggression and internal conflict.”

Love, respect, and trust among our people would lead to a higher level of consciousness among our people, which would cause us—compel us, to organize and cooperate for the uplift of the entire group. Wilson went on to say, “…the kind of world you exist in reflects the kind of consciousness you have.” He admonished us to elevate ourselves into a “new level of consciousness” in order to change the way we approach and use real power.

Many of the problems we face today exist because we fail to see ourselves as a nation, again, as Garvey taught. The OMCBV&C not only understands that but is working hard to emulate the principle within our ranks. Wilson explained that consciousness and power go hand in hand. If we are conscious about who we are, first, and then use that knowledge in a very practical and appropriate manner, via our dollars and then our votes, we would harness the real power we must have in order to move to our rightful and deserved position in this nation and the world. Please go to the website: www.iamoneofthemillion.com, read the information, and decide if you want to be a part of this movement. If so, sign up and get busy.

We cannot be timid and hesitant about it, as we watch other groups doing what we must do. We cannot be made to feel guilty for building strength and using it to our own advantage, as we watch other groups taking care of their business. Our consciousness must be raised, and we must love, trust, and respect one another to the point that we are able to wield the leverage of a committed and determined group of Black people willing to contribute our time, talent, and treasure to gain the freedom and power we must have to be respected by others.

It has come down to coalescence or obsolescence for Black people. The examples and lessons from our people in the Caribbean and here in America are bulwarks for coalescence and, thus, for empowerment and the prevention of our economic and political demise.

Our future depends on us.

 

 

Sticky: The “Little” Book – First, You Cry

Books and T-Shirt | Posted by Jim Clingman April 20th, 2016

firstyoucry_cover_final

A poignant and personal disclosure of the thoughts, feelings, fears, and hopes of a victim of ALS. A spiritual perspective tempered by real-life issues, the writer describes his particular trial in a way in which anyone, whether afflicted or in great health, can relate. He also acknowledges and describes the difficulties appertaining to caregivers of those who suffer from debilitating illnesses.

Uplifting and victorious in the end, but along the way, “First, You Cry” reaches deep into our hearts and souls to challenge and strengthen our fundamental beliefs, not in an ominous or fatalistic manner, but with a hopeful resolve and a buoyant spirit. This “Little Book,” as Clingman describes it, began as a personal journal for his family members to read, but is now a public disclosure of his trial, his tears, and his ultimate triumph over the scourge of ALS.

Price: $15.00. Also available in Kindle eBook version at http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks/b?ie=UTF8&node=154606011





 

 

Black-on-Black Coalescence (Part One) — April 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman April 18th, 2016

Coalition-building is the best way for Black people to make the kind of progress we need to make in this country, especially when it comes to economic empowerment. Some have posited that Black people are swiftly becoming obsolete. From the agricultural economy to the industrial and mass production economy Black folks, in some cases, had it going on. Many individual Blacks did quite well with jobs and businesses in those areas. As we moved through the technology/information economy and now into the knowledge-based economy, the rules for survival have changed.

Are Black people as a group becoming obsolete? Someone said, “All the shoes have been shined and all the cotton has been picked,” which suggests that Black people are no longer needed by white folks, therefore, if we do not change our ways when it comes to business and job development we will indeed become obsolete. Frederick Douglass, Booker T., and Garvey spoke of a time when we would have to consider the question of Black obsolescence if we did not awaken from our deep sleep and refuse to be dependent upon the largess of others for our sustenance.

The strength we gain from coalescence will bring about this much-needed change, and one major step is to reach out and connect with other like-minded people of African descent. This should be done on a national and an international level, the closest area being just south of our country—the Caribbean.

One of the greatest Africans in modern history was born in Jamaica. Of course, that would be Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Look across the Caribbean and you will find other Blacks who knew and followed through on solutions; they took action rather than merely talk about their problems. They stood up against aggression, ignorance, and oppression. They understood and followed through on the value of educating their people, and they subscribed to the lessons their elders left behind.

Haitian history shows us strength and refusal to submit to enslavement; it also shows us resolve and a willingness to help others, as in the case of Haitian soldiers going to Savannah, Georgia to fight against the British in the Siege of Savannah on Oct. 9, 1779, during the U.S. Revolutionary War. We also remember the irrepressible Toussaint L’Overture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and Henri Christophe, Haitians who led the only successful slave revolt in the western hemisphere.

Many Black people came to the United States from the Caribbean and brought with them the same spirit, the same dedication and drive, and the same resolute character that causes men and women to seek for themselves, as Richard Allen taught back in 1767. Our Caribbean brothers and sisters have come with the determination to do for self, to rely on self, to cooperate with one another, and build an economic system within their own ranks. This article is written in an effort to celebrate our people and establish relationships that will engender cooperation among our people.

Marcus Garvey instructed us to do one thing prior to taking on economic empowerment initiatives. He told us to “Organize!” He shared with us the truth about economic empowerment over political empowerment and how we should seek economics first. He said, “The most important area for the exercise of independent effort is economic. After a people have established successfully a firm industrial foundation they naturally turn to politics and society, but not first to society and politics, because the two latter cannot exist without the former.”

Lessons from Garvey and others have led a precious few of us to implement strategies that, in fact, will lead to economic empowerment; we need many more. One such effort is the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors (OMCBV&C), which was established on Garvey’s words, “The greatest weapon used against the Black man is disorganization.” The OMCBV&C movement is underway, actively recruiting that critical mass of Black people who will take action rather than merely talk about problems. The One Million will leverage dollars and votes to obtain reciprocity in the marketplace as well as in the public policy arena. See: www.iamoneofthemillion.com

In the tradition of Marcus Garvey, the One Million is organized, cooperative, and supportive of one another. It is entrepreneurial in its philosophy regarding ownership and control of income producing assets. The One Million is molded in the very practical notion of using our own resources to help ourselves and our children. We are committed, dedicated, sacrificial in our giving, and unapologetically Black as we pursue our ultimate goals of economic and political strength—in that order.

Black people, no matter where we were born or where we live, must appreciate the fact that we started out in the same place and our differences emanate from our experiences in the nations where our ships docked in the western hemisphere.