Putting Our Dollars Under Arrest — September 2014

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman September 13th, 2014

dollars in prison3Here’s an intriguing concept: Arrest the Black dollar. Say what, Jim? You read it correctly. We should arrest our dollars and charge them with neglect. Put them on trial, call the witnesses to testify against them, and convict them of crimes against Black people. Sentence them to a minimum of five years hard labor with no possibility of parole. That’s right, lock them up and make them work for their keep by producing distribution companies, supermarkets, financial institutions, and entrepreneurs.

Since our dollars are not making sense, we should discipline and punish them by keeping them locked up and making them work until they do start making more sense. Right now our dollars are “wilding out” in the marketplace, making everyone happy and secure except us. They are “raining down” at strip clubs; they are beating a path to jewelry stores and exchanging themselves for gaudy trinkets and ornaments; they are hangin’ out at “da club” to pay for expensive vodka, champagne, and other top-shelf liquors. They definitely need to be disciplined.

Our dollars are filling the coffers of profiteers who know that all they have to do is make the most ridiculous item in return for them. Black dollars are strewn at the feet of shyster preachers who “anoint” them by running back and forth on top of them, as they shout, “Money cometh to me!” At least they are telling the truth about that part.

Black dollars are running wild, out of control, in our neighborhoods. They run as fast as they can to the businesses of everyone other than Black people. They are jealous as well and are always trying to outspend one another by purchasing a bigger car, a bigger house, the latest gym shoes, clothing, and all the accoutrements of what they believe to be the “good life.”

More than one trillion Black dollars are acting inappropriately, committing economic crimes against Black people. They really need to be controlled and contained before they destroy us. Our dollars are weak, and are vulnerable to the constant lure of trivial things and dishonest people who are waiting to trap them with their platitudes and false doctrines. If we put our dollars in labor camps where they could work for us all day long, imagine how quickly we could revive our economic power.dollars in prison

Keep in mind though, when we charge our dollars and put them on trial for neglect, we will be charged as willing accomplices and co-conspirators in their criminal acts. Yes, we are guilty too; even more guilty than they are. Slothfulness is a crime; poor stewardship is a crime; waste is a crime; and failure on our part to multiply the dollars we have is indeed a crime that carries the penalty of being “cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” because, “To whom much ($1 trillion) is given, much is required.”

The rich man in Luke 12 who had so much “stuff” that, when he asked himself what to do about it, said, “I will build bigger barns” in which to store my stuff, well, he was called a fool and his life was “required” of him because his dollars made no sense.

This graphic illustration of the crimes we commit with and through our undisciplined dollars is played out every day in our homes and neighborhoods, and we deserve the punishment we have received for decades now. We must now punish our dollars by first arresting them and then making them work for us.

Why don’t you start an Arrest the Black Dollar campaign? Look around; they are everywhere. Arrest your own first, and get others to arrest and charge theirs. Let’s give our dollars the charge to be responsible for taking better care of our children. Give them the charge to be more accountable to us and our families. Give them the charge to work harder for us. Give them the charge to act appropriately. Give them the charge to make some sense for a change.

Instead of allowing our dollars to run wild, let’s circulate and recycle them among ourselves as much as possible before they leave us. Instead of handing them over willy-nilly to others for their fried chicken and fish, let’s just grow and cook our own, and sell it to one another and to everyone else. Instead of whining every time a supermarket closes, let’s buy our own, bring in the best managers and support it with our consumer dollars. Rather than decrying what others are doing to us, let’s start doing more for ourselves. As we charge our dollars with being more responsible, let’s make sure we are taking responsibility in this matter as well.

Arrest the Black dollar; it’s wreaking havoc among Black folks.dollars in prisons4

 

 

No Justice, No Profit! — September 2014

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman September 6th, 2014

In a previous article, “The Profit of Protest,” I noted the ridiculous scenario of Black people protesting while others profited, how we travel across the nation to march and never march into a Black hotel, a Black restaurant, or to a Black owned bus company to get to the march, or fill up at a Black owned gas station. I ended that column by noting that we count people “at” our protests while others count profits “from” our protests. Through the years I have wondered when we would “get it.” It took a group of young people who went to Ferguson, Missouri over the Labor Day weekend to encourage me in that regard.

They get it. Howard3The Howard University Student Association (HUSA), led by its incoming President, Mr. Leighton Watson, organized a 13-hour bus trip from Washington, D.C. to protest alongside other students from Washington University and other colleges. They went to stand with the residents of Ferguson to seek real solutions to the issues that plague that city.

An interesting thing happened on their way to the march. Those young people marched to a Black company to charter their bus. When they got there they marched to a Black restaurant to eat. They made every effort to find a Black owned hotel, but the Roberts Hotel in St. Louis is closed. They did, however, manage to get accommodations at a black owned franchised hotel. They let their money speak as they protested; I even saw a sign that said, “No Justice, No Profit.”Howard in St Louis

I was blessed to speak at a teleconference of HBCU’s at which they sought appropriate responses to what took place in Ferguson—and what is taking place around the country between police officers and Black folks. The more I listened to the students, the more I knew that our future was in good hands with them. They are not only intelligent but they are conscious and they have the courage of their convictions. They showed their willingness to sacrifice for a just cause, to stand up against wrongdoing, and to speak truth to the powerful.

I could hardly hold back my emotions as I watched and listened. Leadership, discipline, and respect for one another permeated the teleconference. I thought about how long our elders, who now include me, have tried to make us understand the priority of economic empowerment and economic leverage, how they have screamed at us to use our collective income to obtain reciprocity and equity in all areas of our lives.

Howard13I thought about Joshua and Caleb, two young men who were not afraid to stand up against what the older men thought was an unconquerable obstacle, which led to 40 years of meandering in the desert until all of that older generation died, leaving only Joshua and Caleb. Instead of cowering in the face of evil, the students were willing to “go into the land” and fight for a righteous cause, and they were willing to do it in a way that makes economic sense.

Howard students attended Ron Daniels’ recent symposium in Washington, D.C. and Leighton Watson spoke from the perspective of young people, whom Daniels encouraged to be there and step forward to carry on the battle for justice. They heeded his call to show up and speak up, and now they are putting up, not shutting up.Howard7

Plans are in the works to confront the real powers in this country, those who are in charge and in control the vast majority of the money, primarily by leveraging our economic resources, Black “buying power” as it’s called, to elicit appropriate responses to Ferguson and elsewhere. Howard10 Money runs politics and everything else in the U.S. and the world, and college students understand that withdrawing their consumer dollars from various product categories is the only way to get the attention of those who can put an end to the blatant injustice that festers in our land.

Howard12Finally, HUSA members will be featured each week, Friday at 5:00 PM, on the Carl Nelson Radio Show (www.woldcnews.com and 1450 AM in the DC/Maryland area). They will give updates on their overall activities, which is another great way to connect with even more students across the country and build a coalition in the mold of Joshua and Caleb.

I am so proud of the students at our various HBCU’s as well as those in other colleges and universities, who have taken up the gauntlet by bringing not only their intelligence but their energy and seriousness to the frontlines of this fight. Like Moses and Dr. King, I may not see it or get there with them, but I am confident in their ability to take us to the next level of economic empowerment, from “No Justice, No Peace!” to “No Justice, No Profit!” Howard6

 

 

Optical Delusions — August 2014

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman September 2nd, 2014

Black life, for the most part, has become a myriad of frustration, doubt, hopelessness, desperation, despair, struggle, and fear. We fear one another; we fear the police; we fear discrimination; we fear racism; we fear injustice; and we fear for our children’s safety on several fronts. We have news shows that are nothing but “views shows,” that make every effort to drag us into the no-win world of political group-think, while we meander through life looking for the ultimate illusion of equality on various fronts.

Politically, we are bombarded with images, empty platitudes, and impotent strategies to alleviate our many societal problems. Promises, inspiring messages, and microphone bravado are the tools of today that keep us relatively docile and in a perpetual state of fourth-class citizenship in this country.

Much of what we see is meaningless, but we seem to thrive on useless and shallow responses to our plight; and we settle for the same from our “leading Blacks.” Amazingly we continue to fall for the same games and head-fakes, the same illusions, and the same rhetoric year after year. It’s all about the “optics,” as the politicians like to say.

For instance, politicians like to show their concern by doing meaningless things like rolling up their sleeves when they visit a city and come to the microphone. KerryThey like to wash pots and pans in homeless shelters. RyanThey like to serve in food lines. Obama serving They like to eat hamburgers in public. clinton They like to play games to give the impression they are one of us. They like to dance in conga lines in Africa. They like to be with celebrities to show they are “in.” They like to stand beside manufacturing robots to show us they are innovative. They like to stand on top of rubble and declare their grit and determination to avenge us. Bush at wtc

Optics compels our leaders to do dumb and meaningless things to get us to believe they are busy and engaged in the struggles of the common man. And it works. Does that mean we are dumb if we accept their empty gestures? Why do we care if they can play golf, if they can dance, if they ride a bicycle, if they jog, if they can play an instrument or sing, if they eat a cheeseburger, or if they shed their ties and roll up their sleeves as if they are going to do some real work?

Optics is nothing more than an illusion. A great example is what took place immediately after police shot and killed Kajieme Powell in St. Louis. The Mayor called his staff and they conducted an impromptu job training sign-up right there at the site where the man died. I truly hope those who signed up, all 80+ of them, will not only be trained but receive jobs—but I kinda doubt it.

When civil unrest occurs, the solutions are mainly centered on placating the offended group with more recreational opportunities, job training, diversity and sensitivity training, and other shallow remedies that are only supported by the optics of it all. After a brief period of time, everything usually goes back to normal, especially when it comes to the economic side of things.

Most politicians are, indeed, just political. They have their go-to guys and gals who will calm the masses but fail to neither offer nor implement economic solutions to the problems many of us face on a daily basis, including Black people being killed by other Blacks and by police officers.

I long for the day when Black people will stop falling for the optics and the antics, and start getting down to the business of economic solutions, not as a panacea, but at least as a tried and true way of making real progress when it comes to our survival in this nation. If we continue to use the same tactics in response to our ultimate demise, we will never be respected and we will continue to be the least regarded and the least protected people in this country.

If we keep spending the overwhelming majority of our $1 trillion annual income with businesses other than own, with no reciprocity, there will be no reason for those in charge to change. If we maintain status quo when it comes to crises, we will continue to get optics rather than substantive change. If we rely on optical illusions to control our direction we will end up in an even more dreadful place than we find ourselves now; and our children will have absolutely no hope at all.

Optics and optical illusions are mirages and pipedreams that keep us from using our economic means in pursuit of our safety, our progress, and our liberation. And we are delusionary if we believe otherwise. Mirage

 

 

Praying and Fasting in Ferguson — August 2014

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman August 22nd, 2014

Remember the Jena Six? Some 15,000 to 20,000 protesters went to Jena, Louisiana in 2006 to demonstrate against injustice. After all the speeches, threats, marches, and church rallies, the people went home and nothing really changed. The prosecutors did their thing and the system rolled right over Mychal Bell and the other five defendants. It was business as usual. Did we learn anything from Jena that we can apply in Ferguson?

What will take place in Ferguson when the protesters leave? What happened in Sanford, Florida when they left? What has happened in Staten Island since Eric Garner was choked to death and the marches have ended? The latest report says the prosecutor is still trying to “collect the dots,” much less connect the dots, and most have forgotten about Garner and his family and moved on to Ferguson, as it now becomes the crisis du jour for Black people.

Eleven years ago Kenneth Walker was shot and killed by a police officer on I-185 in Columbus, Georgia. He was in a car that was pulled over by mistake. He was on the ground, unarmed, when a police officer shot him twice in the head. After protesters and marchers went home, the officer was acquitted. Walker protest

There are many instances of Black men killed by police with impunity. So what’s my point? Well, as I watched the church services and listened to the speeches in Ferguson, I eagerly awaited the speakers’ solutions. I could have missed it, but I never heard a solution that centered on economics. I heard the obligatory voting solution, in light of an embarrassing 12% turnout among Black voters, but an “I Voted!” sticker will not stop a policeman’s bullet, and voting alone will not change our condition in this nation.

I also heard the praying solution, and I do believe that prayer changes things. However, I am suggesting that the folks in Ferguson and all across this country not only pray but fast as well. That combination will definitely create change.

Be clear now; I am not talking about giving up food for a period of time. The kind of fasting I am suggesting is a “product fast,” which does require doing without and less buying; but isn’t the cause worth it? Maybe the “leaders” who came to Ferguson were afraid to call for a product fast because they could lose a check or a contract or an endorsement or their status among corporate giants. Capitalism can tolerate marches that call for voting and prayer, but it has a great deal of angst when a decline in consumption and sales occurs.

“Black-Out” Days and other shotgun approaches are nice gestures but have no overall affect; they are simply more symbolism without substance. They make you feel good but won’t cause anyone to change. Folks just go out the next day and buy what they want.

A product fast is quite different. For instance, Black folks consume a lot of soft drinks, gym shoes, liquor, fast foods, and other items we don’t think we can do without. Just stop buying some of these products until corporate CEO’s tell the politicians who would tell the governors who would tell the mayors and prosecutors who would tell the police chiefs who would tell their officers to stop violating our rights. You better believe their voices will be heard.

Money runs politics, and when campaign donors are against something they will get results from the politicians they support, especially when their bottom-line is adversely affected. For example, can you imagine Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, Coca Cola CEO, Muhtar Kent, Pepsi Cola CEO, Indra Nooyi, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, Nike CEO, Mark Parker, McDonald’s CEO, Donald Thompson, Diageo Liquor’s CEO, Ivan Menezes, and even Anheuser Busch’s CEO, Thomas Santel, standing before national media and calling for an end to injustices against Black people? Nothing personal against these companies; it’s just as they say in war, “collateral damage.” But the damage would stop when the folks who run this country speak out.
Jackson Marching
Al, Jesse, and others have been marching for decades, and we got Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Timothy Thomas, Nathaniel Jones, Kenneth Walker, Patrick Dorismond, Amadou Diallo, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, and nameless others.

Stop the insanity of doing the same thing and hoping for different results. We need leaders who are unafraid to call for economic solutions, not leaders who will hurt you if you get between them and a news camera or microphone. Get the folks who are really in charge of this country to speak out, and we will see a positive change. Start your local Prayer and Fasting campaign now; and use the money you save to build businesses, create jobs, and recreate real Black communities.