Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Practical Nationalism — March 2017

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman March 24th, 2017

Nationalism: “A desire by a large group of people (such as people who share the same culture, history, language, etc.) to form a separate and independent nation of their own; a sense of national consciousness.”

Practical: “Of, relating to, or manifested in practice or action; not theoretical or ideal; disposed to action as opposed to speculation or abstraction.

The “conscious” among us often get into discussions about nationalism. Some say Blacks should leave the United States altogether and start a nation of our own, while others say we should carve out a few states and make them our nation. Others say Black people should denounce and refuse to participate in capitalism in any form because of its individualistic, dog-eat-dog, selfish aspects.

Co-convener of the I Am One of the Million Movement, Baba Amefika Geuka, describes these differences in a video titled, What is a Nationalist?, available on www.amefika.com and YouTube. For more depth than I can go into in this article, please watch the video below.

Geuka explains the differences within the conscious community when it comes to what Black people should do, where we should go and how to get there, and how we can achieve a communal, self-sustained, and self-determined “nation.” He also discusses the practicality of actually doing what many of us advocate vis-à-vis taking a nationalist approach to solving our social, economic, political, and educational problems.

The abovementioned definitions point to a “desire” to form an independent nation, and to move from theory to practice in order to bring our ideal to fruition, respectively. Thus, the term “Practical Nationalism, something I had not heard until I met Amefika Geuka, when describing conscious people should move us beyond mundane and superfluous conversations to a constant state of action. And for purposes of this article, I mean practical action—action that makes sense for us within the framework of the society in which we live. In other words, it’s great to have the “desire” to do something, but if that desire is not followed by a constant and consistent effort, based on a specific plan of action, it will remain a “desire.”

THE One Million
(www.iamoneofthemillion.com) believes it is not enough just to be “conscious;” we are looking for “conscientiously conscious” Black folks, because being “conscientious” will cause a “conscious” person to work on our “desire” to have the best for our people.

As Geuka questions, where will we go, en masse? How will we take over five or six states in this nation? How will we pay our way for self-determination, and what will we offer the folks who already live in whatever country we decide to move into? These and other questions must be answered as we move beyond the rhetorical and philosophical discussions about liberation, separation, and communalism.

We may not like it but virtually everything in this country is the result of an exchange of goods and/or services, produced by someone, distributed by someone, and sold by and to someone. We say we “need our own,” and I wholeheartedly agree, but how do we get our own? No one is giving anything away; no one is providing free transportation; no one is giving away land; and no one is feeding our people without having to pay something to do so. Thus, since we are in this belly of the beast called capitalism, which some of us hate, do we abandon it or do we find ways within it to survive and thrive?

Our culture is the link that should bring and keep us connected, but romanticizing that culture without the work and sacrifice to takes to build “our own” just makes us feel good. The practical side of things dictates that Black people can use our culture best by practicing what we celebrate. Take Kwanzaa, for instance; seven days of celebrating, remembering, and reflecting on our culture is great, but if we really wanted to be practical about our nationalism, we could actually practice Kwanzaa year-round. Implement one principle for fifty-two days each by doing the things each principle represents. By the way, one principle, Ujamaa, has to do with economic empowerment.

Amefika Geuka is a self-described “Practical Nationalist;” and I know from my personal interaction with him over the past twelve years or so, that he definitely practices his brand of nationalism in an effort to bring to fruition his “desire” to see real progress for our people in this country and beyond. He understands the real work that must be done and is willing to do his part, first by giving us a reality check on the world in which we live. Now, that’s practical.

“I’m supportive of practical nationalism, like the kind we need in Canada to avoid being absorbed into a much larger country.” Steven Heighton

 

 

Do we love ourselves? — March 2017

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman March 22nd, 2017

Our greatest challenge as a people is to love and value ourselves. Self-love is the key and necessary factor for loving others and being willing to work with them, share with them, and trust them. We fall short on self-love in that we help, support, and advocate for others over ourselves. We trust others more than we trust our own people; we help them create wealth without creating wealth for ourselves. Self-love would lead us to create our own wealth, and motivate us to multiply and channel that wealth through our businesses and institutions.

If we loved ourselves we would not hold our businesses to a higher standard than we do others. We would use the same measuring rod for every business, and not continue the decades-long boycott against Black businesses by Black people because, “I tried one and they messed up, so I’m never going to use a Black business again.” If we loved ourselves no one would have to beg us to support Black businesses. We would be seeking out, searching for, and running to them with cash in hand.

If we loved ourselves we would not sell or buy bootlegged copies of DVD’s like Hidden Colors, Black Friday, or copy our books, infringe on our copyrights, and use other intellectual properties produced by our brothers and sisters for our own profit. We would understand that they must make a living and a profit from their own work, and when they do that, honestly and professionally, we should rejoice in their success and rally to support them by purchasing their products, because we know they will return some of their profits our overall cause.

If we loved ourselves, we would not tolerate a government that makes light of our past and present oppression. In fact, the government would not dare dismiss us and play “politricks” on us if we loved ourselves. In fact, we would get the same or even more support than the LGBT community gets when they feel like they are discriminated against. We must organize ourselves, be unapologetic about who we are, and be willing to sacrifice for one another, like they do, in order to be taken seriously though.

If we loved ourselves corporations would standup for us the way they do for other groups when they are being mistreated. They would know that if they did not support us and speak against our mistreatment they would not continue to receive the billions they get from our purchases. We must show that we have the power to move them to a genuine and proactive concern for their Black consumers, and turn away from their “depraved indifference,” to borrow a term from Bob Law.

If we loved ourselves, as a group it would be no problem for us to leverage our dollars and our votes to empower ourselves economically and politically. We would invest our dollars in our own projects, our own corporations, and our own businesses. We would turn away from politics as usual by changing our party affiliation to “NPA,” No Party Affiliation, and vote according to our “permanent interests.” If we loved ourselves we would not allow politicians, preachers, and self-appointed or establishment-appointed Black folks to sell us out and still call themselves “our leaders.”

If we loved ourselves, our children would have an excellent education. We would not settle for less. We would take up the gauntlet of educating them ourselves by being the first voice they hear reading a book to them; we would instill in them a thorough knowledge about and appreciation for themselves and their ancestors. Parents and other relatives would be their primary role models.

If we loved ourselves we would find ways to keep our families together. Our communities would be stronger and safer. We would desire a better life for ourselves as a people and then use our God-given gifts to make that happen. Collectively, we would place ourselves first and see to it that we are never taken for granted or ignored—and if that did happen, we would fight back with the weapons of choice these days: dollars and votes. Most of all, we would take responsibility for our security, our sufficiency, and our own success by working together with trust, respect, and love.

Dr. Earl Trent, Pastor of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., wrote in his book, “A Challenge to the Black Church,” that Blacks are taught to “love everybody, especially Whites and other groups,” but we are not taught to a greater extent to love ourselves first.

Of all the elements needed for a people to have true and total liberation, the most critical is love of self. Even the Bible says to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” not instead of yourself.

 

 

Sticky: Sweet Unity Farms Coffee

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman March 13th, 2017

 

 

Let’s hear it for the ladies! — March 2017

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman March 13th, 2017

“Do you ask what we can do? Unite and build a store of your own. Do you ask where is the money? We have spent more than enough for nonsense.” Maria Stewart

“When it comes to success the choice is simple. You can either stand up and be counted or lie down and be counted out!” Maggie Lena Walker

“Let the Afro-American depend on no party, but on himself, for his salvation. Let him continue toward education, and above all, put money in his purse.” Ida B. Wells

Over the years many Black women have stood, spoken out, and fought against mistreatment; they have also advocated for Black people to use our economic resources to empower ourselves and propel us on to self-sufficiency. Last week I selected three strong Black men; this week it’s three strong Black women.

Maria Stewart was an educator, abolitionist, and author; but she was also an advocate for Black self-sufficiency. A contemporary and personal friend of David Walker, (Author of David Walker’s Appeal), Maria spoke passionately to our people in attempts to guide us from dependency to independency. “Her dedication to fighting Black oppression through teaching, writing, and speaking was relentless.” (PBS.org) It took strength to shoulder and promote the issues Maria fielded in the mid-1860’s. She is one of many in the pantheon of Black women who were not timid when it came to espousing her beliefs in support of Black people.

Maggie Lena Walker was the first female to charter and successfully preside over a bank, the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, in Richmond, Virginia. Walker founded the St. Luke Herald newsletter, and she opened a department store for Black women in 1905. She ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction on the Republican ballot but was defeated, and was instrumental in keeping her bank open through the great depression by merging it with two other banks in 1929. Cooperative economics? Strategic alliance? Working collectively for the good of the whole? Sound familiar? Walker’s spirited and determined leadership takes a backseat to no one and should be held up as an example of what we must do, even today, to help ourselves.

Ida B. Wells, after enduring a horrendous childhood, losing both her parents – within twenty-four hours – and her youngest brother to yellow fever, went on to be one of the most feared journalists and bravest women in the history of this country. This gun-toting original “sister souljah” wielded a pen with the aplomb of any expert in the field of journalism. Long before Sister Rosa Parks did her thing, in 1884 this diminutive but strong Black woman refused to move from her seat in the “ladies” section of a train to one that was reserved for Negroes. Wells, who was referred to in the Memphis newspaper as the “Darkey Damsel,” sued the train company and won, only to have her victory overturned by the state supreme court.

These are the kinds of examples we must share with our young people and hold in high esteem, especially when it comes to being conscientiously consciousness about what it means to be Black in America. Too often, as Carter G. Woodson warned, we choose “mis-leaders” instead of authentic leaders. We must do better because we have men and women of old that showed us the way.

Our women worked as housekeepers, journalists, teachers, bankers, and other occupations, but they understood, advocated, and practiced basic economic empowerment principles. They knew that unless Black folks established a solid economic foundation, we would never have the power we need to become self-reliant.

What’s it going to take to get us organized and moving in the right direction? Will we continue to languish in meaningless rhetorical gymnastics espoused by talking heads, politicians, organizational leaders, and amongst ourselves? Or, will we cast off the mundane, the nonsensical, and the time consuming back-and-forth that continue to keep us at status quo?

Maria, Maggie Lena, and Ida B. did not settle, sell out, or give in to the social pressures they faced in the 19th century. This is the 21st century; we have tremendously more resources than they did, yet we are still allowing ourselves to go through much the same as they did. They already paid the bill for what we should be enjoying today. All we have to do is take our appropriate place in this society, despite any and all resistance, carve out a niche and control it, and not get caught in the snares of jealousy and selfishness.

After forty-five years of watching the selfishness of his brothers and sisters, W.E.B. DuBois said, “I assumed that with knowledge, sacrifice would automatically follow. There were especially sharp young persons [at Fisk University] with the distinct and single-minded idea of seeing what they could get…for themselves, and nobody else.”