Archive for May, 2016

From Black Power to Green Power — May 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 28th, 2016

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Have you ever wondered what happened to Black Power? Remember the days of the clinched fist, the afro, the dashiki, and black berets? Remember Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, H. Rap Brown, and the Black Panthers? How about Shaft and Foxy Brown? Black was beautiful and “powerful” back then, right?
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If you were around in those days, and even if you were not, you will also recall J. Edgar Hoover’s Counter Intelligence Program, otherwise known as COINTELPRO. It kept watch on MLK, Malcolm, and any Black person who stood up and spoke out against injustice and had the temerity to actually fight for Black Power. Those were the days, right? Wrong. Ask Tommie Smith and John Carlos.Power

Years before Hoover began his COINTELPRO tactics against those mentioned above, he set up a scheme to destroy the man many believe to be the progenitor of real Black Power: Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Hoover called Garvey a “notorious negro agitator,” and did everything he could to dig up dirt on him. Historian, Theodore Kornweibel, said, “Hoover and the Justice Department were clearly hooked on a fixation on Garvey which would before long become a vendetta.”

Hoover had relied on part-time black informants to track Garvey’s movements and U.N.I.A. activities. Ironically, in December 1919 his determination to go after Garvey led Hoover to hire the first Black agent in the Bureau’s history, James Wormley Jones. “His job,” says Kornweibel, “was to go into Harlem and infiltrate the Garvey movement and find evidence that could be used to build the legal case for ultimately getting rid of Garvey.” We know what happened to Garvey when Hoover and his gang found that Garvey would not buckle and was not about to sell his people out.

Notwithstanding Garvey’s refusal to sell out, many of our “leaders” in the glorious 1960’s, those who chanted “Black Power” were conquered by green power. Hoover was doing his thing on an even larger scale, from character assassination to murder, and in a relatively short period of time, we looked around and saw former militant Black folks writing proposals to get funding for social service agencies and all of a sudden going from hardcore freedom fighters to CEO’s and Presidents of those organizations.

Green power worked the best among all of Hoover’s tactics. A few “guvment” dollars here and there and voila! No more Black Power. Don’t get me wrong, there were those who remained faithful to the principle of Black Power, but their numbers slowly dwindled due to lack of funds and certainly the murders on George Jackson and Fred Hampton. Hoover wasn’t playing, but the “guvment” was paying. “Party over here!”

Some of the problems for Black Power advocates back then can be attributed to several things. An article on PBS, American Experience, explained it this way: “Originally motivated by goals of quick reforms, 1960s activists were ill-prepared for the long-term struggles in which they found themselves. Overly dependent on media-oriented superstars and one-shot dramatic actions, they failed to develop stable organizations, accountable leadership, and strategic perspective. Creatures of the culture they so despised, they often lacked the patience to sustain tedious grassroots work and painstaking analysis of actual social conditions. They found it hard to accept the slow, uneven pace of personal and political change.”

“What proved most devastating in all of this was the effective manipulation of the victims of COINTELPRO into blaming themselves. Since the FBI and police operated covertly, the horrors they engineered appeared to emanate from within the movements. Activists’ trust in one another and in their collective power was subverted, and the hopes of a generation died, leaving a legacy of cynicism and despair which continues to haunt us today.” Source: How COINTELPRO Helped Destroy the Movements of the 1960s, Jan 24, 1991
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Hoover’s 48 years as FBI Director taught him, and influenced even Presidents, that Black Power could be diffused, first through the use of force, trumped up criminal charges, and clandestine subterfuge, but later through the use of green power. Pay off a few Black folks and eliminate or at least minimize the positive effects of Black Power as we know it.

A great example of this truth is “Little” Al Sharpton, now his alter-ego to “Big Bad” Al Sharpton. He didn’t have a lot of money, but he had a lot of bluster. He called someone out on Morton Downey’s TV, referred to him as a “punk-faggot,” while he fought for Black folks (at least that’s what we thought). He went from Black Power to green power, to the tune of $750,000 on MSNBC. “Sharp” move, wasn’t it?

Let’s use our own green power to fund and support the Black Power we seek.
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Solid Foundations — May 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 23rd, 2016

For decades several conscious and committed Black men and women have spoken, written books, taught, advised and, more importantly, initiated economic empowering projects and movements to help propel us to a higher level of mutual support and, thus, creating a solid foundation upon which our children can stand and build upon. We have demonstrated, in many ways and by several means, the solutions to the economic problems to which many of our “leading Blacks” just give lip-service.

This article is dedicated to Black folks who are willing to pay their blessings forward by helping others among us. It also cites, by way of relevant example, the magnitude and power that has accrued to one relatively small group of people in this country who work collectively in support of one another.

Sheldon Adelson, the international casino magnate, with a net worth of $25.5 billion (Source: Forbes Real Time Ranking), is among the ten wealthiest persons in the U.S. and ranks high among the wealthiest in the world. Of course, if you have not heard, he gives hundreds of millions to the Republican Party and its candidates. But he also started the Adelson Family Foundation in 2007, the primary purpose of which is to strengthen the State of Israel and the Jewish people; the Adelson Medical Research Foundation focuses on healthcare.

Aside from Adelson’s political ideology, something most of us would concentrate on and spend hours discussing, he is using his wealth to empower his people and to pay for medical research, special housing for the afflicted, and education for children with special needs—laudable by any measure. His is just one example of a member of what could be called a “minority group” that should, among other things, cause us to reflect on our philanthropic actions toward one another, that is, the power to control our collective financial assets to empower ourselves.

Sometime in the very near future, the Blackonomics Foundation will be introduced; formally established a few months ago, it will not be unveiled for several more months. Timing is everything, you know. Until then, and even afterward, there are Black foundations that are doing great work and are worthy of our praise and our dollars.

In my first two books (1998 and 1999) I lauded basketball great, Dikembe Mutombo Mutomboand his foundation, whose mission it was to build a hospital in the Congo. I also acknowledged Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning for contributing to that worthy cause. By the way, only three or four NBA players helped Mutombo in his effort to raise $49 million for the hospital. (The lack of support for our foundations, however, does not only exist among those who are super-rich; those of us at the lower rungs of the economic ladder fail to support them as well.)

There are others, but here is a great example: For nearly two decades now, NBA Hall of Famer, Alonzo Mourning, Mourning foundationand his wife, Tracy, have headed many charitable efforts as part of their commitment to “give back” to their community, especially to the young people of Miami. The Mourning Family Foundation has raised tens of millions of dollars toward that end and helped thousands of people; they are truly exemplary of what more Black folks should be doing.

In 2013, Mourning hired the former President of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, Bill Diggs, who invited me to speak at a chamber function in Miami a few years ago. With Diggs at the helm as President, and the Mourning’s having paved the way and set the tone, their Foundation will continue to maintain its high standards of excellence for years to come.

You folks in Miami should direct some of your money to the Mourning Family Foundation and show that you are willing to support this worthwhile charitable organization. Go online, check it out, and make it a monthly recipient of your overall tax-deductible donations. We must do a better job of supporting those who support us and our children.

Relatively speaking, each of us can do better, not only rich athletes but also the rest of us. If we would simply reflect on the greatness of our ancestors, their will to live and to provide for us, their progeny, we would do better. If we would consider the benefit of collective economic activity, the potential treasures we could amass for our progeny with our resources, Black people would surely live up to the greatness that is within us all.
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Mutombo cited a proverb to drive home his message, “Judge not the poor for their poverty, but judge the community for its indifference.” Well stated; but well-done beats well said every time. So I also say, “Well Done,” Alonzo and Tracy Mourning. http://www.mourningfamilyfoundation.org/

 

 

Let’s stop the bleeding — May 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 16th, 2016

There is a crisis of monumental proportion in our so-called “Black communities;” a crisis that if not checked will prove to be our demise. We are bleeding so badly that we are in a comatose state and on life support right now. But we still have a strong heartbeat; so we can be revived by those who have the financial and intellectual talents and the willingness to make the requisite individual sacrifices necessary to restore us to a more healthy state.

A cadre of individuals, not featured in the dominant media, is devoted to leading the charge for economic empowerment among Black people. These brothers and sisters are not afraid; they are not ashamed of being Black; they are not hiding behind organizations and in corporations; they are strong and unwavering in their message of economic empowerment. They are our Emergency Medical Technicians, the first ones on the scene to stop the bleeding and take us to a place where we can be treated and recover from our wounds.

Yes, we are bleeding profusely brothers and sisters, and we must stop the bleeding, not with a Band-Aid but with stitches. Our life-blood—our dollars are flowing out of our neighborhoods. The professionals call this phenomenon “float” or “expenditure leakage,” which translates into what the experts at the Brookings Institution called a “market opportunity to provide competitively priced goods and services to inner-city consumers.” A 1999 report issued by the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, written by Robert Weissbourd and Christopher Berry, cited some glaring and, quite frankly, embarrassingly stark statistics that portray Black people as nothing more than “economic opportunities” for others.

Please note the report was not casting aspersions on Black folks, rather it was simply pointing out some facts about inner-city neighborhoods and their consumers and suggesting ways that businesses and government entities could better serve the residents as well as their own interests. It stressed investment opportunities within under-served neighborhoods and was positive in its approach to suggesting ways to effect much needed change.

Nevertheless, my take on this issue conjured up visions of massive hemorrhaging, and it very strongly suggested that we need to stop the bleeding. The report compared one of Chicago’s Southside neighborhoods to the affluent northern neighborhood of Kenilworth. It stated, “…urban neighborhoods like South Shore in Chicago have more buying power than the wealthiest of suburbs. South Shore’s median family income was $22,000 back then; Kenilworth’s was $124,000. But South Shore had $69,000 of retail spending ‘power per acre,’ nearly twice that of Kenilworth’s $38,000.” That means inner city residents, despite their tremendous resources, are virtually bleeding to death. Literally millions of dollars are leaving our neighborhoods, which in turn, also negatively affects our employment opportunities. It continued, “For business, this translates into lost sales, or what marketers call ‘float dollars.’ For inner city residents, these are ‘float jobs,’ as crucial dollars that could employ local residents and fuel the neighborhood economy are spent elsewhere.”

The only thing that has changed during the last sixteen years is our collective annual income, which is much higher. The problem is that we don’t learn from information like this and use it to improve our situation.

We are bleeding, brothers and sisters, and our blood is Type O, the “universal donor”—everybody benefits from it. We have EMT’s ready, willing, and able to apply the tourniquets and even to stitch up our wounds. It’s up to us, however, to access their expertise, to follow their instructions, and to take the prescriptions they write for us. If we are going to stop the bleeding, if we are going to put an end, once and for all, to the preventable loss of life blood – our dollars – from our neighborhoods, we must make the changes being recommended by our true economic leaders.

We must consider our “spending power per acre” as cited in the Brookings Report, just as others are considering it and gaining a stronger economic foothold in the billions Black people earn and spend each year. We must redirect a greater portion of our $1.2 billion aggregate annual income back to ourselves via our own businesses, and we must develop a culture of wealth retention, a culture of collective economic empowerment among our people, regardless of where we reside.

“Being poor doesn’t always mean being without resources. Anacostia is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., yet the total income of all its households is $370 million per year. The principal affliction of poor communities in the United States is not the absence of money, but its systematic exit.” Michael Shuman, Going Local

So, put the Band-Aids away; we need sutures. Let’s stop the bleeding, Black people. If we fail do so, our words are merely “Sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

 

 

Power Talk Three — May 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 9th, 2016

carl2Veteran radio talk show host, Carl Nelson, will present his third Power Talk event on June 17-19, 2016 at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. The event has featured the likes of Tony Browder, Ashra Kwesi, the late Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing, Pastor Willie Wilson, Dr. Claud Anderson, and Dr. Patricia Newton, among many others. The speakers are called “Power Talkers,” and rightly so because they are most knowledgeable in their particular fields of endeavor. They are unapologetically Black, and they impart their wisdom to a Black audience in an effort to create what I will call, “Power Doers.”

But, no matter who is doing the talking, if there is no subsequent follow through, quite frankly, what’s the point? Do we talk merely so that Black people can have more information, or is it merely to repeat the information we already have? Or is information just a “booster shot,” a reinforcement of sorts to keep us from being so discouraged that we give up on ourselves? If we do not respond appropriately to what we hear, specifically by executing strategies to eliminate some of the problems we discuss at these kinds of events, then we have relegated ourselves to mere cheerleaders for those who share their information with us. We do that so well (“Ase!” “Amen!” “That’s right!” “Teach!” “Tell it!”), but then we leave our haven of knowledge, go back into the real world, and do absolutely nothing except wait for Power Talk Four.

Our events should have legacies that we can celebrate and share when we meet again. We should have victories as a result of thousands of us coming together at an event, especially at a Power Talk event that showcases some of our top brothers and sisters. They are not the run-of-the-mill, milquetoast, talking-head Blacks who earn a great living discussing mundane issues and offering meaningless solutions to Black problems. Not only should we hear their words; we should act upon them.

At this year’s Power talk Three, there should be something that has taken place over the past year as a result of the information and instructions discussed at last year’s event. Doesn’t that make sense? I was one of the Power Talkers last year and have been invited to come back this year; as many of you know, I am also a “doer” even more so than a talker. So, during my speech last year I noted 16 things Black folks can do in response to my words.

I posited that some of our people are waiting for the world to end; some are waiting to be put into FEMA camps; some are waiting for racism to end; some are waiting for reparations; some are waiting for political fairness; some are waiting for equality; some are waiting to be rescued by who knows whom; and some of us are just waiting to be exterminated by the powers-that-be. My question was: “What are we doing while we wait?” As Red said in the movie, Shawshank Redemption, we had better “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’”, thus, I offered the following things to do while we wait:

♦Work to raise our consciousness to a level of “unconscious competency;”
♦Leverage our collective dollars against injustice and inequity by withdrawing them;
♦Use our collective consumer dollars to create conscious Black millionaires;
♦Leverage our collective votes against “politricksters”;
♦Establish more viable, professional, well-managed businesses, and support them;
♦Establish Black owned and controlled trusts, equity funds, revolving loan programs, legal “offense” funds, and endowments;
♦Form strategic alliances and partnerships that can take on larger projects;
♦Scale up our businesses to the point of being able to hire our own people—our own youth;
♦Teach our youth the history of Black business—even before we were brought here;
♦Teach entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking to our young people;
♦Make our demands on politicians from a position of economic strength;
♦Vote as a bloc for those who publicly state and commit in writing their support for our interests;
♦Withhold our votes from anyone and any party that does not support our interests;
♦Hold ourselves accountable for our own freedom;
♦Organize ourselves around practical economic and political solutions that benefit us; and
♦Commit some of our time, talent, and treasure to the uplift of our people,
WHILE WE WAIT!

I will add one more: Join the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors at www.iamoneofthemillion.comone million2

To the attendees of Power Talk Three, commit to being “Power Doers” when you leave. That way, when it returns next year, we will have much to celebrate. And to the Power Talkers, as my colleague, DSC_0108Amefika Geuka has proposed, commit to joining the Harvest Institute Think Tank, and use your collective talents to help us actually solve our problems.