Thoughts on Ferguson

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The Time and What Must Be Done

(This writing reflects my thinking in May of 2011. I am no longer building the organization that I describe here. However, the principles here are still at the core of what drives my work.)

rbg flag

Soundtrack: K-Rino “Annihilation of the Evil Machine”

Since the election of Barack Obama in Novemer 2008, we have entered an interesting period in American history, and African American history. The mainstream media and many within the Black community have posited that we are now in a postracial society. The past 30 months have proven that to not be the case. We have seen a rise in police brutality against Black people. We have seen the rise of an ultraconservative movement in America, led by the Tea Party, that is openly racist against Black and Brown people. We have been presented with new statistics showing that there are currently more Black men in America’s criminal justice system than were ever held as slaves in America at any one time. We have seen the Black unemployment rate continue to be double the rate of America at large. Black people are losing ground in terms of how much of the total wealth of America that we own.

And yet we have so-called Black leaders literally arguing with one another on television about whether the president should have a Black agenda. Every politician should have a Black agenda if they have Black constituents! We are the only people silly enough to even question this. Every president gets their foot held to the fire by the Jewish community, the GLBT community, the National Rifle Association, those who are for abortion, those who are against abortion, the Hispanic community, the environmentalists, and especially the business community. We are the only people in America who have to debate about whether a politician should be forced to respond directly to our interests. And in the mean time, we are getting a progressively smaller piece of the American pie while our brothers, uncles, and cousins continue to get locked up at alarming rates.

I was thinking about issues like these when this 12-point platform came to me. I didn’t intend to write it. At first, I didn’t even know why I had written it. It just came out of me. After I looked at it for a while, I knew that I had a responsibility to organize people around the ideas contained in the 12-point platform. This is the path that my Ancestors had chosen for me. I am creating an organization called the XODUS MOVEMENT. This organization is not in opposition to any organization that already exists. It is just a way to build toward power for Black people in America that is specifically youth and Hip Hop driven. The Xodus Movement is starting off with two membership requirements:

1) You must identify as a part of the group that is alternately called Black, African American, Afrodescendant, Moor, Nuwaubian, etc. Current events agree with history in showing us that we must protect our interests as a group because everyone else is looking for their own interests. The whole world is run according to politics and politics is a team sport. Whether we like it or not, the outside world views us first and foremost as Black people (or whatever racial slur they prefer). It is in all of our best interests to make sure that the world’s perception of Black people is as positive as possible.

2) The second requirement for the Xodus Movement is that your birthdate be on or after January 1, 1975. Black America underwent a fundamental change in 1975 and this organization is for those of us who grew up our whole lives with the spirit of this era. We have much more in common than we have that divides us. Let us unite with one another and pool our resources to get freedom, justice, and equality for ourselves.

More information about the Xodus Movement’s activities will be coming soon. I would love your feedback about the ideas contained in this platform. It is time for our entire community to have some serious dialogue about these topics.

1) We must control the politics of the areas where we live. We must determine that no politician or policy issue affecting our community can be elected unless we approve. This requires that we form a lobbying group and political action committee to protect our political interests.

2) We must control the economics of the areas where we live. Ownership of businesses in our community should reflect the ethnic and racial makeup of the community. To achieve this, we must develop Rotating Savings and Credit Associations that can connect our talent with capital to foster entrepreneurship.

3) We must control the education in the areas where we live. That includes controlling the district school boards and the administration of the public schools as well as forming independent schools that can operate without the constraints of the public schools. Recognizing that we can’t make an immediate mass exodus out of the public schools, we must make them accountable for educating us properly while we take the initiative to develop schools that can educate our children no matter what the government sponsored schools do.

4) We must control the food in the areas where we live. This includes growing our own food and also providing our own markets where our growers can bring their goods to the community. It is imperative that we put an end to the existence of Food Deserts in the Black community.

5) We must control the security and emergency services for the areas where we live. This includes having our own well trained firefighters, paramedics, and peace officers. We cannot continue to place our lives into the hands of those who have proven themselves to be our open enemies.

6) We must own as much land in the United States as possible. This includes making a concerted effort to buy millions of acres of useful land in the southern part of this country where there is a year-round growing season and where our Ancestors fertilized the land with their blood, sweat and tears. This land is to be owned and administered by our Council of Leaders.

7) We must form a Council of Leaders that can speak with one voice to the outside world for the various Black organizations and serve as a central address for key world leaders to consult on issues of critical concern to our community. The Council of Leaders will also own and administer land and enterprise on behalf of the community.

8) We must form a Council of Public Affairs that will shape a consensus on public issues and develop strategic responses while working with the media, elected officials, coalition partners, and others through public relations and advocacy. This body will also deal with Africa-United States relations, global anti-Black racism, and the well-being of Africans in endangered areas.

9) We must attain reparations from the United States government for slavery. It is undeniable that the United States’ unparalleled wealth and power is rooted in our centuries of unpaid labor. We deserve payment and we will not rest until we get it. And we will go about achieving reparations in a more politically astute fashion than what we have attempted in the past.

10) We must focus our local development first and foremost on the inner cities where there is the largest concentration of Black people. All of our people must support the inner city whether they choose to move back or not. That includes patronizing Black owned businesses in the inner city and working to turn quality organizations into institutions that can benefit future generations.

11) We must push toward a United States of Africa. Malcolm X gave us the best strategy for dealing with African heads of state in his speech “The Ballot or The Bullet.” All political leaders in Africa must put the unity and development of the Continent above their love or fear of Western powers.

12) We must promote the use of the name “Bakala” for the newly formed African tribe which is Black America, along with the well defined cultural identity that it points to. Also we must rename ourselves as individuals and families, staying consistent with our African identity. We absolutely must stop wearing the tag of our former slavemasters.

Just one other thought about this 12-point platform. It is obviously formatted to be very similar to the previous platforms given by the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party, and others. I respect those programs and their authors very much. One thing that sets this platform apart is its focus on things that we can do ourselves without any assistance. It does not ask for anyone else to provide us with housing or jobs or justice. It is a list of COMMANDS, not DEMANDS. We will not be begging and pleading any outside entity to do for us what we are capable of doing for ourselves. This is the way of the future. This is the way of the youth.

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PART 2

   It is necessary for me to give further explanation of the vision behind the Xodus Movement. I would like to give some historical background as to how we have gotten to our current situation in 2011.

 

The 1970s were a critical turning point in the history of Black America. The 1960s saw a rise in the revolutionary spirit of young people all over the world. There were a plethora of organizations for Blacks in America that were eager to shake up the status quo. However, they ran into the force of the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (CoIntelPro).

I don’t have space to go into the details of CoIntelPro here but I will say that considerable resources were put into the destabilization and neutralization of these Black organizations. And they were tremendously successful. With the departure of Elijah Muhammad in 1975 capping off a series of losses including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, the leaders of the Black Panther Party and many other lesser known but important figures, one could say that the wind was knocked out of Black America. It was the straw that broke our community’s back. The Movement/Struggle/Revolution was over.

 

This situation coincided with a few other phenomena. Jobs were leaving America’s inner cities in a stampede of outsourcing and offshoring. Because of this, the inner city tax base shrunk and so did the amount of funding for the development of human beings in the inner cities. This meant less arts being taught in schools, less physical education, small businesses leaving and going to more affluent markets in the suburbs and more desperation. That desperation led to many people taking advantage of the abundance of heroin that seemed to be present in every ghetto in America, courtesy of the United States government.

 

This vacuum of leadership and desperate set of living conditions produced a different spirit in the people of Black America. Because we are the Blues People (see Amiri Baraka and Cornel West) that we are, a wave of creativity was unleashed in us. This creative Spirit is what we now call Hip Hop. Hip Hop was formally born in the Bronx but it could’ve happened in any Ghetto, U.S.A. This is why Hip Hop was so well received in every city and town that was exposed to it. The same Spirit was present everywhere. The generation of children who have spent their whole lives living with the conditions that produced Hip Hop, those born after the 60’s, are a special bunch.

 

Right around the time that the children born in 1970 were graduating from high school, Hip Hop music was coming into what is called its Golden Era. 1988-1992 or 93 or 94 (depending on who you ask) is a time of unmatched creativity and critical acclaim for Hip Hop and its artists. And the music of this period served as the soundtrack for a time of political upheaval in the communities where most of the artists making the music had grown up. It was time to really do something about apartheid South Africa. It was time to address the rampant police brutality that existed throughout America against Black men. It was these children of Hip Hop that were the driving force behind this activity.

 

But, somehow that movement got derailed, just as their parents had twenty years earlier. The music and movies and television shows that were shaping the attitude which led to this social upheaval started to disappear. I don’t have space to go into showing how and why that happened. But suffice it to say that there were a small number of people controlling the content in music, film, and television and they decided at their executive board meetings and shareholders’ meetings that they were going to go in a different direction. Some people would classify a small group who meets up to decide what information the masses are going to be exposed to as a conspiracy.

Immediately after the removal of funding for art that dealt with explicitly pro-Black or anti-establishment messages, the preparation started for the Million Man March. Obviously, that event was extremely successful. And the 2 million men who were at the march went back to their communities determined to make some positive changes in their lives. So crime rates went down across America. The numbers of registered voters went up. Membership in organizations like the NAACP and the National Urban League saw sharp increases. There was a spike in the number of Black foster children being adopted by Black families. But, the community itself didn’t continue the massive group organizing activities that led up to the march.

The Local Organizing Committees that had gotten the 2 million men to Washington D.C. all disbanded shortly after the march. Our community had not properly learned the lessons that were provided for us in the 60s and 70s. We had already seen that individual change for the better is not going to produce a higher standard of living for the masses of our people.

When America was integrated and we were allowed by white people to have access to public facilities, there were many individual Black people who made good on the opportunity and escaped from poverty. However, the majority of our people who had been in poverty only fell deeper into poverty. They added another generation or two of people in their family who had only known poverty. So it would be even more difficult for individual members of those families to will themselves to excellence because their self-images are totally shaped by poverty and molded by squalor.

So, at the same time as the Million Man March was inspiring millions of Brothers to atone for their faults, the Clinton White House and the Newt-Gingrich led republican Congress were making a Contract with America. “America” here means white people. This nation’s elected officials promised the true Americans that their money would no longer be used to contribute to an equal playing field for people of color (the Contract with America was literally a republican creation but Bill Clinton was determined not to be outdone in moving the country further to the right). The economic safety net for poor people in this country was removed and the gains that the civil rights movement had bled and died for were rolled back. That set the stage for an eventual resurgence in crime rates, incarceration rates, and high school dropout rates across Black America.

 

About ten years later, “Obamamania” happened. A Black community that was slipping further into the status of permanent second class citizens experienced a surge of pro-American patriotism. The Barack Obama marketing machine convinced Black people that the days of racial struggle were over and “a rising tide lifts all boats.” There was no more reason to be concerned with fighting for the rights of Black people because Obama was going to make things right for everybody.

Well, that has turned out to not be the case. Things are getting worse for Black people, not better. That brings us to 2011. Where do we go from here? What time is it, and what must we do? And how can the Hip Hop Generation help?

The Xodus Movement is our response to what Hip Hop needs to be doing at this time. Why the name “Xodus?” In the Bible, the book of Exodus (Greek ἔξοδος exodos “departure, expedition, procession”) narrates the story of the children of Israel leaving Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Moses rescues them from the harsh bondage and oppression they had experienced in Egypt and promises to lead them to the “Promised Land” in Canaan. However, the people refuse to do what needs to be done to enter the Promised Land.

The God of Israel instructs Moses that the people will have to wander in the wilderness for forty years and then their children will be the ones to enter and inhabit the Promised Land. Moses’ young protégé, Joshua, is the one who leads Israel after their 40 years of wandering aimlessly. But what does all of that have to do with us?

Our position is that the youth of the 1960s had the organization and sense of purpose necessary to gain real progress for the masses of Black people in America. But for various reasons, they refused to do what was necessary to win the struggle. They fumbled the ball. 40 years later, we, their children, have an opportunity to pick up the ball and score. We can learn from the mistakes of our parents and lift ourselves up out of the second-class citizenship we have become so accustomed to. That is the goal of the Xodus Movement.

The reason that we use the spelling of “Xodus” is to bring attention to the “X” and the fact that we are going to stop being some things that we have been in the past. We are going to determine our future for ourselves and no longer allow people outside of our community to dictate our agenda. We will no longer provide entertainment, cannon fodder, and a prison population for America without extracting some real power from this nation for ourselves. We know that this requires organized group action and that individual hard work is no longer sufficient as a game plan for our liberation.

The Xodus Movement is for people born since January 1, 1970 whose forefathers were captured from Africa and forced to serve as slaves in the western hemisphere. We believe that a common experience has shaped a common spirit in the people of this group that can be used for our common good. And we share a common taste in music that can serve as a soundtrack to our Xodus.

We have developed a 12-point platform that will guide our activities. That platform is as follows:

1) We must control the politics of the areas where we live. We must determine that no politician or policy issue affecting our community can be elected unless we approve. This requires that we form a lobbying group and political action committee to protect our political interests.

2) We must control the economics of the areas where we live. Ownership of businesses in our community should reflect the ethnic and racial makeup of the community. To achieve this, we must develop Rotating Savings and Credit Associations that can connect our talent with capital to foster entrepreneurship.

3) We must control the education in the areas where we live. That includes controlling the district school boards and the administration of the public schools as well as forming independent schools that can operate without the constraints of the public schools. Recognizing that we can’t make an immediate mass exodus out of the public schools, we must make them accountable for educating us properly while we take the initiative to develop schools that can educate our children no matter what the government sponsored schools do.

4) We must control the food in the areas where we live. This includes growing our own food and also providing our own markets where our growers can bring their goods to the community. It is imperative that we put an end to the existence of Food Deserts in the Black community.

5) We must control the security and emergency services for the areas where we live. This includes having our own well trained firefighters, paramedics, and peace officers. We cannot continue to place our lives into the hands of those who have proven themselves to be our open enemies.

6) We must own as much land in the United States as possible. This includes making a concerted effort to buy millions of acres of useful land in the southern part of this country where there is a year-round growing season and where our Ancestors fertilized the land with their blood, sweat and tears. This land is to be owned and administered by our Council of Leaders.

7) We must form a Council of Leaders that can speak with one voice to the outside world for the various Black organizations and serve as a central address for key world leaders to consult on issues of critical concern to our community. The Council of Leaders will also own and administer land and enterprise on behalf of the community.

8) We must form a Council of Public Affairs that will shape a consensus on public issues and develop strategic responses while working with the media, elected officials, coalition partners, and others through public relations and advocacy. This body will also deal with Africa-United States relations, global anti-Black racism, and the well-being of Africans in endangered areas.

9) We must attain reparations from the United States government for slavery. It is undeniable that the United States’ unparalleled wealth and power is rooted in our centuries of unpaid labor. We deserve payment and we will not rest until we get it. And we will go about achieving reparations in a more politically astute fashion than what we have attempted in the past.

10) We must focus our local development first and foremost on the inner cities where there is the largest concentration of Black people. All of our people must support the inner city whether they choose to move back or not. That includes patronizing Black owned businesses in the inner city and working to turn quality organizations into institutions that can benefit future generations.

11) We must push toward a United States of Africa. Malcolm X gave us the best strategy for dealing with African heads of state in his speech “The Ballot or The Bullet.” All political leaders in Africa must put the unity and development of the Continent above their love or fear of Western powers.

12) We must promote the use of the name “Bakala” for the newly formed African tribe which is Black America, along with the well defined cultural identity that it points to. Also we must rename ourselves as individuals and families, staying consistent with our African identity. We absolutely must stop wearing the tag of our former slavemasters.

 

As has been stated in part 1 of this writing, these 12 points are “commands” and not “demands.” We will no longer ask or beg or request or demand that people outside of our community do for us what we can do for ourselves. All of the points on this platform are 20-year goals, starting from the year 2012. This platform spells out where we intend for our community to be by the year 2032. Setting group goals of this magnitude requires a high level of organization and vision. But this is what civilized people do. One of the reasons that our previous efforts toward full liberation have fizzled out was because of lack of proper planning. 150 years removed from the vilest form of slavery that the world has ever seen, we have now reached the point of being able to plan our future as all civilized people should do.

 

Now, how are we going to achieve these goals? The first thing that we have to do is remind ourselves that there is a need for these goals. As was stated earlier, many of our people recently have come to believe that we need to support the United States President and he will make everything better for us. Many of us are actually opposed to the very idea of any kind of group activity that is specifically designed to address the unique needs of Black America. This is a problem.

 

We have to direct the conversation of our people going into the future. We have to inject the possibility of an independent future for ourselves into the general discussion of Black people. In addition to discussing the newest reality show gossip and the latest viral video of buffoonery floating around the internet, we have to raise the subject of using group organizing to lift our standard of living. This has to be done first and foremost by us just talking to one another.

 

The Xodus Movement will be hosting “ciphers” in cities across this country. This is a uniquely Hip Hop way of gathering people together. Instead of an audience all facing one way and looking at a speakers’ stand, the Xodus Movement meetings will sit in a circle. Everyone is equal in a circle. There are no big “I’s” and little “You’s”. If any outsider walked into a room set up this way they wouldn’t be able to tell who the “leader” is. These ciphers will be opportunities for those who are interested to discuss and learn more about the underlying issues for each of the 12 points on our Platform.

 

We have to understand that there are many organizations working hard every day to raise the issues of freedom, justice, and equality within the Black community. But these concerns are not resonating with people like they have in the past. The only way to change that is to constantly keep presenting people with the ideas. Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising. That is what we are going to use to popularize the prospects for freedom once again.

 

One good thing about living in 2011 is that the Internet has made this kind of communication among people much easier than it has even been before. At the beginning of 2011 we have seen Facebook and Twitter used to spark massive uprisings among the youth in Tunisia and Egypt and smaller rebellions in Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain. The same can be done here in America.

 

We will allow these discussions of the 12-point platform to progress from conversation to direct action in an organic fashion. As people come together to study the idea of independent African-centered education they will eventually attract the people into their cipher who have the desire and interest to make African-centered education a more prominent reality in their town.  The same idea applies for the study and eventual formation of investment clubs, volunteer fire departments, farmers’ markets, etc.

 

The national organizers of the Xodus Movement will provide some guidance and assistance to the local chapters toward the realization of these goals but it will not be a top-heavy process. We believe in allowing people to use their unique gifts in the way that makes the most sense where they are. We will not force anyone who is uninterested or unqualified to hold positions that they won’t do well in anyway.

 

We will adopt a “by any means necessary” approach to the realization of our Platform. All options are on the table until they are demonstrated to be ineffective. We will not allow ideology or party loyalty or any artificial division to prohibit us from doing what must be done for the approximately 40 million of our people here in America.

 

I must make a statement here about the relationship between Hip Hop music and our fight for freedom, justice, and equality as a people. As was stated earlier, when the Hip Hop Generation first started to come of age in the late 1980s, the music that they listened to played a significant role in driving them toward changing society. We know that the same thing can happen today in 2011. We are also aware that the handful of companies that market Hip Hop music today for mass consumption share no interest in promoting a pro-Black or anti-establishment message through music. So we are going to have to demonstrate that this kind of music can thrive in today’s market.

 

Cedric Muhammad, author of The Entrepreneurial Secret, has stated that “business acumen, institution building, and shrewd political maneuvering are the only way to protect conscious artistry.” Cedric is absolutely on point in his assessment. As part of our organizing efforts, we must identify Hip Hop artists who deserve our support because of the quality AND the content of their music and then throw the weight of our collective dollars behind those artists. We cannot afford to complain about what is on radio or on the video countdown show(s). We must support the artists who support us. I have taken it upon myself to take the lead in providing Hip Hop music that is conducive to our fight for freedom and I will be encouraging all of my fellow artists to join me.

 

We also have to wield the sword that is the withholding of our dollars. There are some artists that intentionally appeal to the lowest common denominator and make a conscious decision to give us the most ignorant music that they can. These people must be held accountable. Part of our discussion in the community must be about refusing to accept this “crap rap” any longer. The people can decide who is worthy of support and who isn’t, once they have become reacquainted with the idea that not every kind of artist or song has to be deemed acceptable.

 

We will be assembling an Xodus Movement college tour where we will bring “edutainment” to colleges across America. College campuses have always been the most fertile ground for the planting of revolutionary ideals and we will be taking the message directly to them. Upon our exit from every school that we visit, we will leave a functioning chapter of the Xodus Movement in our wake.

 

Word is Bond. Bond is Life. I will give my Life before my Word shall fail…

Time To Build The Ark – With Knowledge, Love and Will Power…And Through Suffering

noahs-ark-replica-slideshow-2

Soundtrack: Willie Hutch “The Glow”

A Writing from Cedric Muhammad from February, 11, 2008. This message is more timely than ever.

 

” There is a critically important difference between information and knowledge. And it has a bearing on the ability of all of us to move effectively, and improve our condition on the basis of what we learn. Generally speaking we learn through four means, conversation, observation, reading, and experience. The last of these always involves suffering, and that is one of the reasons I always stress to my Christian Brothers and Sisters, who are undergoing life’s challenges, trials and tribulations, the principle of elevation described in Hebrews 5:8, ”

 

 

Some of my friends listen and some don’t (smile).

 

But I always note how many of us say they believe the scriptures, but when they undergo certain difficult circumstances, they throw the book that they believe away, or at least place it back on the shelf, to collect some more dust.

 

Similarly, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad reminded Muslims of the oath they have taken, ‘My prayers, life, sacrifice and death are all for Allah.’ To those of us Muslims who say they believe and then, in the excruciating hour of pain begin to put their faith (and the Word that it is based upon) behind their backs, if I am able, I direct our attention to Surah 9: 111 which says (emphasis mine):, “Surely Allah has bought from the believers their person and their property – theirs (in return) is the garden. They fight in Allah’s way, so they slay and are slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is more faithful to his promise than Allah? Rejoice therefore in your bargain which you have made. And that is the mighty achievement.”

 

All of us, whether religious or not have made a bargain, or some form of agreement or covenant with life or death.

 

Read Isaiah 28 from as many different translations as possible.

 

Get as many commentaries on verse 18 as possible.

 

Then learn what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught about the meaning of that verse.

 

Start with his book, Message To The Black Man.

 

****

 

Whether one refers to it as the The Garden, Kingdom Of God, Heaven, Total Liberation, Full Freedom, Self Improvement, Community Development, the Promised Land, The End Of The State, The Hereafter, Nirvana, The Common Good, or The Pursuit Of Happiness, all of us, who come to this website, in one way or another, are part of a process – from one stage of growth or state to another – that will bring us closer to an ideal or concept, or thoroughly disappoint our expectations. Take a moment to think over why so many people are said to have become ‘disillusioned,’ in or by life itself. Study people who believe they have been betrayed by leaders, movements, organizations or institutions, and try to learn the root of their anger or bitterness, and how it relates to the ambitions, ideals and concepts they had, before they ‘joined’ a movement, organization, or institution or before they came in contact with a certain leader. The way we handle disappointment and dissatisfaction truly manifests who we are, or are not.

 

Now, what is an ideal? How does it differ from an idea? Is it true that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come? Is an ideal only an idea in the best possible or most appropriate time and circumstance?

 

Imagine what it is like to live your life in pursuit of a state of existence that does not currently exist in the reality that most experience. Reflect over those who carry an idea that exists more in their heads and hearts than it does in the world that they currently find themselves. We can see this phenomenon at work among both men and women.

 

Aren’t the ‘greatest’ stories those that involve some human being overcoming obstacles and difficulty to bring forth an idea, vision, creation, product, service, or institution that no one else thought possible?

 

Why are human beings seemingly drawn to such stories?

 

Does this not point to something in human nature, and suggest something of our emotional, mental and spiritual (not religious) power, and our connection to something coded into the nature of the universe itself pertaining to destiny, and our ability to co-create – in harmony with its laws – new ‘realities’?

 

Big subject.

 

In some respect, almost all of us, consciously or subconsciously, are looking forward to, and striving for that which ‘no eye has seen, nor ear has heard…’

 

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote of this, and stated for decades that the Muslims were headed into a condition of life, and a physical world (which existed in space and time), that only existed, at that time, in the Mind of the Supreme Being, and was written of only in a Book that the Supreme Being had not revealed to the public, or anyone else for that matter. He described that this Book was promised to one man in particular, and then through that man, the rest of the world could experience the Unlimited Progress that this Book represents and would make possible.

 

To a lesser degree, ‘The Messenger’ described how each of us could experience the ‘Hereafter’ on this side of things, but that such an experience would be fleeting until those most responsible for breaking peace were removed. He also spoke about how we would have to develop our ‘inner self,’ in order to be qualified to make it through a great final war that would precede and usher in the new world. His National Representative, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, has taken us deeper into what His Teacher referred to, than anyone I know of, through his Study Guides: “Self Improvement, The Basis of Community Development.”

 

If you have never seen or read these Study Guides, please don’t waste time in getting acquainted with them at:

 

http://store.finalcall.com/hmlf_cat/hmlf_books.htm

 

Recently, I had the privilege of spending some time with Minister Farrakhan. At a certain point, he said to me, “Brother Cedric, I do not know what you have suffered, but I do know you have suffered.” Later, in conversation, I told the Minister that when I look at what he has suffered (and continues to), as well as that of a couple other individuals whom I personally know, that Labor with him, I am very aware that whatever I have gone through, it simply does not compare. I then said to him, “and I know that all of it (the suffering) has been preparatory.”

 

The Minister gave me that beautiful smile of his, and nodded saying, ‘that’s right.’

 

To me, what the Minister and I were acknowledging that day is perhaps the secret that so many acknowledge in a variety of ways, but seem so unwilling to accept as part of life’s pattern. Napoleon Hill discovered and summed it up essentially as, every adversity contains within it a seed of an equal or greater success. Some Christians I know sum it up as one cannot obtain the crown without first accepting the cross. The best athletes and performers, in training, know it as ‘no pain, no gain.’ Farmers understand it in certain principles of cultivation, and who really knows it any better than the Woman, who through pleasure conceives a child, then through pain and travail delivers that child, and through pleasure, again, enjoys the beauty of nurturing a new life.

 

Perhaps, the Holy Qur’an states it best in Surah 90 verses 4 and 11 which read, “We have created man to face difficulties…But he attempts not the uphill road.

 

The principle of being able to face difficulty and endure pain and discomfort in the service and pursuit of a greater good is ever-present to those with spiritual eyes to see.

 

The more we realize it, the more successful we will be individually and as a people.

 

There is untapped power in grasping the power of what we have suffered as a people.

 

Could it be that the saying that many of us apply at times only to art and entertainment – that ‘suffering is the mother of creativity’ – is universal, and suggests something about the power ready to be unleashed by Black people – who have suffered and endured the most, in all of recorded history?

 

At some point, before the year is out I hope to finally begin reading a book entitled, “Suffering For Science: Reason and Sacrifice In Modern America,” by Rebecca M Herzig.

 

When and if you have time, read the powerful introduction to “The Adversity Advantage” by Paul G. Stoltz and Erik Weihenmayer.

 

Our suffering has created an atmosphere and fertile ground for the greatest ideal and idea to take root and be born.

 

As well as that critical mass or foremost group of human beings who best embody it.

 

We are almost at the time of delivery.

 

As with all births there will be blood, but eventually only joy over a new quality of life will remain.

 

 

*****

 

At BlackElectorate.com for over 7 years we have chronicled the life (and death) experience of Black people, all over the earth. We have not done this without a purpose. Although the individual visiting the website has benefited from this free display of information, in a variety of ways, that we are pleased to learn of, this website was never established for a casual, or strictly individual or professional benefit. We hope we have served each and every viewer in a way that is suitable and meaningful to their individual experience but our greatest desire and intention in doing what we have, is to serve a community of individuals, not only through information, but through learning and the application of what they understand, in service of the very people they are reading about.

 

In this area an important distinction has to be made between data, information, knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

 

First consider this from a book that was the final report of a group of senior Canadian government officials, private-sector executives, and researchers between 1990 and 1997. The primary focus of this group – the Roundtable on Governing in an Information Society – was to explore and develop more effective ways of governing in this rapidly changing world. In Renewing Governance: Governing by Learning in the Information Age by Steven A. Rosell we read:

 

We are exploring a territory for which there is no reliable map. The inadequacy of our conceptual apparatus to make sense of proliferating and unfamiliar information is usually described and experienced as ‘information overload’. But it may be more accurate (and useful) to see the real problem as the insufficient capacity of our existing frameworks and methods of interpretation – our existing mental maps – to translate that data and information into meaningful knowledge. This formulation is based in part on a distinction suggested by Harlan Cleveland:

 

– data are unrefined ore, undifferentiated facts without contexts;

 

– information is refined ore, organized data, but data that we have not yet internalized (the newspapers we have not yet read, the course we have not yet taken);

 

– knowledge is information that we have internalized (integrated with our own internal frameworks.)

 

These distinctions became important parts of the vocabulary of the project, helping us to see that the process of translating data and information into knowledge (the process by which data and information are interpreted, given meaning, and so made useful as a basis for action) is central to effective governance.

 

Although not perfectly how I would describe knowledge, the above is helpful in making a point about a difference between information and knowledge, particularly in this age of talk radio, Internet news, the 24-hour cable news and opinion cycle. Information is more of an external or superficial phenomenon, while knowledge involves the internalization of information with an awareness of its factual nature. Understanding revolves around the meaning of knowledge, and wisdom is the application of what you understand.

 

Again, this generally constitutes learning which revolves around conversation, observation, reading, and experience (which always involves suffering). To place greater emphasis on spiritual and unseen processes of learning, one could add revelation and intuition, but that could be a qualification of the previous four methods as much as it would be a fifth category of learning.

 

One of the factors that all of us – particularly those who have been oppressed though improper or miseducation – must be careful of, is the degree to which we increasingly rely upon exposure to information sources as our primary means of learning. There are too many of us that are not making the distinction between data, information, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

 

In a critically and increasingly dangerous time for human beings of all colors – in the streets or in the suites – to be misinformed can be fatal.

 

*****

 

When people ask me about the essence of the Internet and why people utilize it, I always boil it down to two factors – convenience and anonymity. Essentially that is what makes the Internet so attractive. It is a wonderful vehicle, for so many different things, and it has been a blessing to so many of us.

 

Having said that, I believe that improper use and disproportionate reliance on the Internet has aggravated an aspect of the so-called crisis of the Black Intellectual, and compounded some of the problems inherent in our miseducation. Especially over the past few years, I have noticed how the use of e-mail blasts, the circulation of stories and articles, and the ability to make rapid financial transactions has enabled some wonderful activity, as well as some harmful or anemic advocacy, passing as revolutionary, productive and progressive activism. I have referred to some of this in terms of the phenomenon of ‘talking and typing.’ And I have tested it by inviting and challenging the most vocal and articulate to take ‘small’ action steps in support of their arguments, points of agreement, and passionate expressions.

 

It has been a fascinating experience to see the loudest do the least, and those with the least volume in their words, demonstrate a volume of work.

 

Could it be that the most brilliant sounding and intelligent among us lack a form of intelligence, capacity, or ability to truly activate on the basis of information? Is it perhaps most alarmingly true in the Black Community that our intellectual community (and those of us while exercising the greatest intellectual ability) has – to borrow the understanding of Nathan Hare – become more of a disconnected elite, than a vanguard connected to the masses (and the rest of our ‘normal’ or ‘down to earth’ personality)? Or could it be that the work of the intellectual is inherently a different kind of work than that of the grassroot activist, community organizer, or institution builder?

 

I don’t believe that ‘yes’ is the answer to the last question but I do think there is something to the so-called right and left brain thesis. Many of you know I certainly make distinctions between critical thinking and creative thinking, and am always impressed by the very few that I have seen who have been able to do both – creatively and critically construct ideals and ideas into models and then, creatively and critically give birth to and then establish them in reality .

 

One interesting and rare example of an intellectual able to execute and apply his insights successfully in the competitive world of business is Gary Loveman who left Harvard Business School to head Harrah’s in Las Vegas. Read these articles about his path at your leisure:

 

http://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/1007/048.html

 

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2004/03/08/363688/index.htm

 

http://www.forbes.com/2003/07/14/0714mckinsey.html

 

I’ve discussed this factor with Reuven Brenner for years, as it relates to economists who only know from theory as opposed to those who have that ability, as well as deep experience in business and as entrepreneurs.

 

There is something important and ‘real’ that I see missing in so many who have the strongest and dare I say ‘most informed’ opinions on Black politics, culture, and economics.

 

It is not that they are purely intellectual in a professional sense. Many of these folks are laypersons, everyday people. But when they think into our problems there is a disconnect between their knowledge and its practical relevancy to their circumstances on the ground.

 

Part of it is the lack of a forum to work together with other thinkers, to refine that thinking while faced with a real challenge to solve the problems that face our people, while being held accountable to produce a working result. If you can’t give folks an opportunity to do more than talk and type about these important areas, they will do just that. .

 

…From a speech made by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, “The Will of God” Part I we read:

 

Will is Power but Power must be guided. Guided by what? The Power of Will must be guided by Knowledge. But there is an emotional force that gives direction to Will. And the emotional force – which is the creative force upon which the entire Universe is constructed – is Love. And it is out of this awesome power of Love that the Will springs up; it springs up out of this emotion and it is directed and guided by that emotion. When you couple Will and Knowledge and Love, then you have a balanced individual, whose Will is being used in a creative, constructive way; not in the way of destruction.

 

…Read Isaiah Chapter 59.

 

Truth, although always powerful, has fallen in the street.

 

It must be lifted up, not only in word, but in deed.

 

****

 

I recently came across a very important article in The Muhammad Speaks newspaper which I intend to get to every member of our “Business and Building” Community. In the February 21, 1969 edition, an article was published entitled, ” Reeducation of Intellectual New Cry In World Movement.”

 

As it relates to what was happening in Cuba at the time, the article states, ” ‘Education from books is necessary for all of the masses,'” any Cuban will tell you. But, they will add that ‘such education is not enough. The practical realities of life are also of prime educational importance.’ ”

 

On what was taking place in China, at the time, the article states, “Mao Tse Tung of China has recently called on the educated peoples of China to get in touch with the working people of that land. Presently, a great exodus to the countryside is going on in China with millions of young Chinese returning to the land for an education in rural life. Mao’s purpose is as much to remind the educated Chinese young of the reasons for the revolution as it is to acquaint them with the hardships of rural life.”

 

There is so much in these words for us to study and with which to perform introspection. As it relates to rural life, something powerful has been dawning on me of late as it concerns Black people’s general disrespect or ignorance (greater among those residing in the North or Urban areas) of farming and true land ownership (not just real estate investing in houses and properties). My thoughts have been deepened on this point since participating in a review of the Nation of Islam’s farmland, led by Minister Farrakhan, in Georgia last month, and my recent interaction with several brilliant Black Farmers, Businesspersons and Politicians, based in the South.

 

In the February 28, 1969 edition of Muhammad Speaks the Honorable Elijah Muhammad places an important article called, “Build Black Economy.’ In it he points out how Black intellectuals, professionals, and businesspersons fulfill some aspects of negative prophecies described in the 56th Chapter of Isaiah and the 23rd Chapter of Matthew.

 

One of the things the Honorable Elijah Muhammad brilliantly pointed out about the Black educated class of our people, which the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has repeated, spoken into, and worked out of, for decades, is the reality that it will only be working among our own, outside of the current system of things, that any Black intellectual or professional will truly be able to practice their skill on behalf of their people. We all know the frustration, dissatisfaction, and disappointment in the hearts and minds of Black social scientists, academician, professionals, and government employees who studied what they did to be qualified for what they do, only to be unfulfilled once they realize that their best efforts benefit those outside of their community more than those within it, or, are generally ineffective in solving the problems that their training was advertised as enabling them to address and overcome.

 

What is at the root of this?

 

On one level it is the impossible scenario of someone being content and satisfied performing any endeavor without knowing who they are. Having the knowledge and expertise of a trade, skill or craft while being ignorant of one’s true self, and your contextual and historic relationship to your people, while sensing you are being improperly utilized, is a recipe for deep depression, and in the case of some, suicide.

 

We all can find in recorded history the accounts of our best and brightest who had emotional breakdowns and bouts with serious depression due to their inability to reconcile where they are in life, with the ideal they hold for the upliftment of their people.

 

We all can find this same dynamic at work much closer to home, and the workplace.

 

This pain grows out the yearning, longing, and deep hope in the heart of most all of us for change for the better for the masses of our people, while realizing that we are not in the best position to effect it. In the case of some, it is the realization that our talent, skill, labor, wealth and brainpower is being used against this legitimate aspiration. Related to this is that September 17, 1960 article by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, “What Must Be Done With The Negro?” In it, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that Blacks were a people who give their brainpower, skills, talent, labor and wealth to another civilization and until we stopped doing this – as well as increasing land ownership – we would not move beyond freed slave and dependent status toward independence and self sufficiency. On the point of self-sufficiency, in his 1969 writing, “Build Black Economy,” the Honorable Elijah Muhammad stated of the members of the Black business professional class, “If you make the Laborer wealthy, he is still in your orbit and you share in it. He will love and honor you if you enable him to become self-sufficient.”

 

The question can be posed today as it was decades ago – how much of these five factors: wealth, brainpower, skills, talent and labor of Black people, is being deployed on behalf of Black communities and how much for communities and individuals other than themselves? How much of what the Black political, and economic intellectual, or the Black professional and businessperson knows, is actually being applied to “make the Black Laborer wealthy”?

 

This goes way beyond what is popularly referred to as ‘prosperity preaching.’

 

 

****

 

 

One of the questions that anyone providing information, knowledge and education to people should be concerned with is – what is the most appropriate of all information, knowledge, and education that can be shared?

 

Just consider all that could be learned.

 

The Holy Qur’an states in Surah 31 verse 27, ” And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea with seven more seas added to it (were ink), the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.”

 

The Bible illuminates this same principle in John 21:25 with the following: ” Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would have been written.”

 

Every day we are bombarded with information – how do we know what is most appropriate and timely for us to know?

 

At BlackElectorate.com we have tried to help make that determination for you for over 1,500 days since the year 2000.

 

And now, it is my intense desire to work with a critical mass of you – who have not only fed from the table we have set, but who have much to offer to expand the menu of learning – to deepen our mutual understanding of that which we have been informed about and know, and ultimately, to apply it to contribute to the solution of specific and carefully selected problems.

 

****

 

…I came across some insight in reading Minister Farrakhan’s Study Guide # 5 Building The Will Part I. A particular focus of the material deals with Section 3 and 4 of Surah 11 of the Holy Qur’an, which centers around Noah’s interaction with his people. I encourage you to read these sections carefully.

 

They are loaded.

 

In summary, Noah’s people debated and disputed with him over the message he was delivering to them. Eventually, his people asked him to bring on the ‘painful day’ of which he was warning them. Soon after their challenge, it was revealed to Noah that he had reached the numerical limit of those who would ever accept and believe his message, and that it was time for him to ‘make the ark.’

 

Immediately when I read this, I thought over the nature of some of the recent coverage we have been featuring at BlackElectorate.com, and the kinds of articles people have been forwarding to us regarding the decay and decline of this world’s systems.

 

I often wonder about the thinking of many of us who point out the obvious signs of the fall of America – politically, culturally, and economically – but who seem unwilling to prepare for its eventual reality by doing for self.

 

Just think about it, as the evidence mounts that the house is falling apart, shouldn’t those most closely observing the decay be foremost in preparing for its effects or consequences?

 

An example of this are the numerous and increasing conversations I have with some very intelligent folks regarding the fall of the dollar which do not include any mention of what Blacks as a people need to be doing to prepare for the decline and eventual hyper-inflation of the world’s most powerful currency.

 

As I write this I glance at today’s Wall St. Journal lead story entitled, “Recession Fears Weigh Heavily On The Markets.”

 

If I sent this article around to many, I am sure I would get an interesting debate and dialogue going on the nuances of this story, but very little in the way of lying those insights with a recognition of the time and what must be done.

 

This is what I mean by excessive intellectualism.

 

Perhaps I should send this November 26, 2007 Wall St. Journal article as an e-mail blast along with the February 28, 1969 Muhammad Speaks article, “Build Black Economy” by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Final Call‘s report on the May 13, 2007th speech by Minister Farrakhan entitled, “One Nation Under God: Part 5 – The Fall of The Dollar” (http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_3518.shtml).

 

How long must we debate, read, and observe the signs before we are compelled to engage in that dialogue and cooperation that results in united action?

 

…along with those who understand the time and what needs to be done, we would like to contribute to building the ark that can survive the difficult days that are surely on the horizon.

 

The Philosophy of Huey Newton

huey

Soundtrack: Dead Prez “Malcolm Garvey Huey”

(I’m going through some of my old notes and have decided to share a few things here on my blog.)
This is from July 11, 2011

I am a philosopher by training. I was taught in the land of academia how to research and to ask questions. I’m not often able to deal with people from a philosophical standpoint because most people don’t unerstand what philosophy is and aren’t able to engage ideas without resorting to their beliefs in things that can’t be proven. Being educated in America’s universities I was taught to respect Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. One thing that they all have in common is that they are white.

Recently, my wife gave me one of the best gifts I have ever received. It was a copy of the book “Revolutionary Suicide” by Huey Newton. It didn’t take long for me to realize that everything I had ever read ABOUT Huey didn’t do justice at all to Huey in his own words. He was/is an extremely brilliant man. And he was a philosopher. Incidentally, another philosopher whose words I have dug into and loved recently is Kwame Ture.

I am inspired to share a couple of excerpts from “Revolutionary Suicide” that really spoke to me and my current circumstance in life:

“…It was my life plus independent reading that made me a socialist–nothing else.

I became convinced of the benefits of collectivism and a collectivist ideology. I also saw the link between racism and the economics of capitalism, although, despite the link, I recognized that it was necessary to separate the concepts in analyzing the general situation. In psychological terms, racism could continue to exist even after the economic problems that had created racism had been resolved. Never convinced that destroying capitalism would automatically destroy racism, I felt, however, that we could not destroy racism without wiping out its economic foundation. It was necessary to think much more creatively and independently about these complex interconnections.”

“These thinkers had used the scientific method by applying their ideas to particular formulas. They excluded those things that did not fit into the formulas. I explained this to the brothers (on the block), and we talked about such questions as the existence of God, self-determination, and free will. I would ask them, “Do you have free will?”

“Yes.”

“Do you believe in God?”

“Yes.”

“Is your God all-powerful?”

“Yes.”

“Is he omniscient?”

“Yes.”

“Therefore, I told them, their all-powerful God knew everything before it happened. If so, I would ask, “How can you say that you have free will when he knows what you are going to do before you do it? You are predestined to do what you do. If not, then your God has lied or He has made a mistake, and you have already said that your God cannot lie or make a mistake.’ These dilemmas led to arguments that lasted all day, over a fifth of wine; they cleared my thinking, even though I sometimes went to school drunk.”

“Once (I got) into petty crime, I stopped fighting. I had transferred the conflict, the aggression, and hostility from the brothers in the community to the Establishment…I burglarized cars parked by the emergency entrances of hospitals. People would come to the hospital in a rush and leave their cars unlocked, with valuables in the open. I never scored on Blacks under any condition, but scoring on whites was a strike against injustice.

Whenever I had liberated enough cash to give me a stretch of free time, I stayed home reading…Albert Camus’s “The Stranger” and “The Myth of Sisyphus” made me feel even more justified in my pattern of liberating property from the oppressor as an antidote to social suicide.

I felt that white people were criminals because they plundered the world. It was more, however, than a simple antiwhite feeling, because I never wanted to hurt poor whites, even though I had met some in school who called me “nigger” and other names…With those who had money it was a different story. I still equated having money with whiteness, and to take what was mine and what the white criminals called theirs gave me a feeling of real freedom.”

“When I was very young, I accepted the institution of marriage. As I grew older and saw my father struggling to take care of a wife and seven children, having to work at three jobs at once, I began to see that the bourgeois family can be an imprisoning, enslaving, and suffocating experience. Even though my mother and father loved each other deeply and were happy together, I felt that I could not survive this kind of binding commitment with all its worries and material insecurity. Among the poor, social conditions and economic hardship frequently change marriage into a troubled and fragile relationship. A strong love between husband and wife can survive outside pressures, but that is rare. Marriage usually becomes one more imprisoning experience within the general prison of society.

My doubts about marriage were reinforced when I met Richard Thorne. His theory of nonpossessiveness in the love relationship was appealing to me. The idea that one person possesses the other, as in bourgeois marriage, where ‘she’s my woman and he’s my man.’ was unacceptable. It was too restrictive, too binding, and ultimately destructive to the union itself. Often it absorbed all of a man’s energies and did not leave him free to develop potential talents, to be creative, or make a contribution in other areas of life. This argument–that a family is a burden to man–is developed in Bertrand Russell’s critique of marriage and the family. His observations impressed me and strengthened my convictions about the drawback of conventional marriage…

I was involved with several beautiful young women, who loved me very much. I loved them just as much…but only after I had explained that our relationship probably would not work because I was unprepared to follow the old road. If they wanted to be with me, I told them, they would have to do certain things. I never forced or persuaded them. As a matter of fact, I said that in their place, I would not do it at all. I also explained my principle of nonpossessiveness. I believed that if I was free, so were they, free to be involved with other men. I told them they could have any kind of relationship they wanted with someone else, but that we had a special relationship that could not be duplicated with any other person, no matter how many people we might we involved with at the same time…”

“The Black Panthers have always emphasized action over rhetoric. But language, the power of the word, in the philosophical sense, is not underestimated in our ideology. We recognize the significance of words in the struggle for liberation, not only in the media and in conversations with people on the block, but in the important area of raising consciousness. Words are another way of defining phenomena, and the definition of any phenomenon is the first step to controlling it or being controlled by it.

When I read Nietzsche’s “The Will to Power”, I learned much from a number of his philosophical insights. This is not to say that I endorse all of Nietzsche, only that many of his ideas have influenced my thinking. Because Nietzsche was writing about concepts fundamental to all men, and particularly about the meaning of power, some of his ideas are pertinent to the way Black people live in the United States; they have had a great impact on the development of the Black Panther philosophy.

Nietzsche believed that beyond good and evil is the will to power. In other words, good and evil are labels for phenomena, or value judgments. Behind these value judgments is the will to power, which causes man to view phenomena as good or evil. It is really the will to power that controls our understanding of something and not an inherent quality of good or evil.

Man attempts to define phenomena in such a way that they reflect the interests of his own class or group. He gives titles or values to phenomena according to what he sees as beneficial; if it is to his advantage, something is called good, and if it is not beneficial, then it is defined as evil. Nietzsche shows how this reasoning was used by the German ruling circle, which always defined phenomena in terms complimentary to the noble class. For example, they used the German word “gut”, which means “godlike” or “good,” to refer to themselves; nobles were “gut.” On the other hand, the word “villein,” used to describe the poor people and serfs who lived outside the great gates of the nobleman’s home, suggested the opposite. The poor were said to live in the “village,” a word that comes from the same root word (Latin: villa) as the term “villain.” So the ruling class, by the power they possessed, defined themselves as “godlike” and called the people “villains” or enemies of the ruling circle. Needless to say, when the poor and common people internalized these ideas, they felt inferior, guilty, and ashamed, while the nobles took their superiority for granted. Thought had been shaped by language.

We have seen the same thing in the United States, where, over a period of time, the adjective “black” became a potent word in the American language, pejorative in every sense. We were made to feel ashamed and guilty because of our biological characteristics, while our oppressors, through their whiteness, felt noble and uplifted. In the past few years, however–and it has been only a few years (this was written in 1973)–the rising level of consciousness within our Black communities has led us to redefine ourselves. People once ashamed to be called Black now gladly accept the label, and our biological characteristics are sources of pride. Today we call ourselves Black people and wear natural hair styles because we have changed the definition of the word “black.”…

In the early days of the Black Panthers we tried to find ways to make this theory work in the best interests of Black people…One of our prime needs was a new definition for “policeman.” A good descriptive word, one the community would accept and use, would not only advance Black consciousness, but in effect control the police by making them see themselves in a new light…

Even thought we came to the term accidentally, the choice itself was calculated. “Pig” was perfect for several reasons. First of all, words like “swine,” “hog,” “sow,” and “pig” have always had unpleasant connotations. The reason for this probably has theological roots, since the pig is considered an unclean animal in Semitic religions…The pig in reality is an ugly and offensive animal. It likes to root around in the mud; it makes hideous noises; it does not seem to relate to humans as other animals do…To call a policeman a pig conveys the idea of someone who is brutal, gross, and uncaring…”

“Another expression that helped to raise Black people’s consciousness is “All Power to the People.”…(it) sums up our goals for Black people, as well as our deep love and commitment to them. All power comes from the people, and all power must ultimately be vested in them. Anything else is theft.

Our complete faith in the people is based on our assumptions about what they require and deserve. The first of these is honesty. When it became apparent in the early days that the Black Panthers were a growing force, some people urged us to take either accomodating positions for small gains or a “Black line” based solely on race rather than economic or social strategy. These people were talking a Black game they did not really believe in. But they saw that the people believed and that the Black line could be used to mobilize them. We resisted. To us, it was both wrong and futile to deceive the people; eventually we would have to answer to them.

In the metaphysical sense we based the expression “All Power to the People” on the idea of man as God. I have no nother God but man, and I firmly believe that man is the highest or chief good. If you are obligated to be true and honest to anyone, it is to your God, and if each man is God, then you must be true to him. If you believe that man is the ultimate being, then you will act according to your belief. Your attitude and behavior toward man is a kind of religion in itself, with high standards of responsibility.

…(Black people’s) acceptance of the Judaeo-Christian God and religion has always meant submission and an emphasis on the rewards of the life hereafter as relief for the sufferings of the present…Justice would come later, in the Promised Land. The phrase “All Power to the People” was meant to turn this around, to convince Black people that their rewards were due in the present, that it was in their power to create a Promised Land here and now. The Black Panthers have never intended to turn Black people away from religion. We want to encourage them to change their consciousness of themselves and to be less accepting of the white man’s version of God–the God of the downtrodden, the weak, and the underserving. We want them to see themselves as the called, the chosen, and the salt of the earth.

Even before we coined the phrase, I had long thought about the idea of God. I could not accept the Biblical version; the Bible is too full of contradictions and irrationality. Either you accept it, and believe, or you do not. I could not believe. I have arrived at my understanding of what is meant by God through other means–through philosophy, logic, and semantics. My opinion is that the term “God” belongs to the realm of concepts, that it is dependent upon man for its existence. If God does not exist unless man exists, then man must be here to produce God. It logically follows, then, that man created God, and if the creator is greater than that which is created, then we must hold that man is the highest good.”

The Self Guided Ones

fard

Soundtrack: Talib Kweli “Self Savior”

In July I spent four days in Detroit as one of the stops on my Tantra Tour 2014. I was there during the time that Muslims from all over the world observe the Ramadan fast in remembrance of the revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad. Detroit is a city of major significance for Islam in the United States.

When I was fifteen years old I was introduced to Islam as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and I decided to discipline my life to that body of knowledge. Several years later I switched my college major to Religion and Philosophy and my overall outlook on religion and spirituality changed. My knowledge of how and why human beings do religion was deepened and broadened. I was influenced to change the direction of my spiritual focus from the Nation of Islam, established by Elijah Muhammad and led by Louis Farrakhan, to the 5% Nation of Islam, innovated by Father Allah (Clarence 13X) using the foundation laid down by Elijah Muhammad.

Over time my Islam has become more and more of a personal matter for me. It is not something that I wear on my sleeve. Though this may be a crass analogy, Islam for me is like undergarments — I keep it very close to me but I cover it up with the appearance that I choose to show to the world. Being in Detroit during Ramadan was the first time in a while that I was made keenly aware of my own Islamic identity and heritage.

I stayed in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. Dearborn has the largest Arab population of any town in the United States, 42% of the population is of Arab ancestry. The inner city of Detroit is where the Nation of Islam was founded by an Arab man named Wallace Fard (W.F.) Muhammad, who is pictured above. I went sightseeing to the location of the first Nation of Islam headquarters and other historic Islamic sites in the city. All of this caused me to think about the philosophy of Islam from the perspective of where I stand now as a Tantra practitioner.

W.F. Muhammad is regarded by the members of the Nation of Islam as the “Mahdi”. The word Mahdi means guided one, divinely guided one, or self guided one, depending on who is doing the translating. It is a prophesied figure in Islamic tradition who is expected to appear in the last days along with the Messiah, bring justice to the world, and remove all tyrants. I’ll come back to Mahdi in a bit.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught that “God is a man, and Man is God”. He taught that human beings are direct descendants of the Originator of the heavens and the earth. He said that Knowledge of God and Knowledge of Self are one in the same. In his talks about the Originator, he constantly emphasized that that First God was self-created, He brought Himself into existence. What practical benefit can we get from accepting that concept as truth? (I’m skipping over a lot of what I could say to provide context to these things in the interest of brevity. I hope I’m not losing anyone)

If it is true that we are created in the image and likeness of God, that we are all gods and children of the Most High God, that we are direct descendants of the Originator, then it makes sense that we share in God’s attribute of being self created. It is important that we understand that the First God was self created because that is the most crucial thing for us to understand about ourselves. We bring ourselves into existence.

It’s important that I mention that I’m only speaking for myself when I say these things. Pretty much all of the different divisions of Islam would disagree with my position here for one reason or another. This is not mainstream Muslim thought by any stretch of the imagination. This is revolutionary MJ’s perspective on what I have read and practiced of Islam for nearly twenty years.

It is my belief that there is one Consciousness at the root of the universe. There is one Ultimate Reality which is aware of itself as having existence. That Infinite Intelligence is the ultimate root of every single living being. As human beings, with our unique level of self awareness, we have a unique relationship with and connection to the Ultimate Reality. God experiences his/her/itself through us as human beings. We are God’s eyes and ears and hands. We are individuated pieces of the Ultimate Reality. We are eternal beings. We were all THERE/HERE in the beginning when the Ultimate Reality became aware of his/her/itself and decided to split into separate parts so that he/she/it could perceive what he/she/it was made of.

Before we come into physical existence as embryos in the womb of our mothers, we make a conscious decision from the Ancestral realm of what kind of body and life we want to be born into. Based on that resolute decision we attract that situation (parents, family, body) to ourselves and take on a new physical life. Even though we forget about the decision we made once we start adjusting to living in this realm of relativity and perceiving the world through our physical senses, at our core we are still deciding what life we choose to live and we attract life to us based on our thinking. We are self created.

W.F. Muhammad, the self-guided Mahdi, represents a frequency that we can all tune into. He’s like a tuning fork and we’re all musical instruments. He sets the tone and we can all tune up according to him. He represents a body of knowledge that allows us to fully remember that we are gods and then function according to that knowledge. The modern world is making it very difficult for the major western religions to maintain their grip on the minds of the people. The theology and mythology of these religions was developed at a time when people were ignorant to many scientific truths. The people needed some sort of explanation about natural phenomena in order to put their minds at rest. Now, technology and the information age are quickly making these ancient inventions obsolete. The people are yearning for something that matches their modern minds.

Elijah Muhammad said:

“Master Fard Muhammad aims to raise the Lost-Found (so-called Negro) into the knowledge and wisdom—the very ideas—of the Gods of the past.

“He also aims presently, to raise His people into His own ideas, in Himself, that the scriptures may be fulfilled: that those to whom He reveals Himself become the sons (and the daughters) of God—sons and daughters in the wisdom of God.

“He aims not only to reveal His ideas for the present creation of the universe, but also to give to man the nature and the creative wisdom to produce creative ideas as The Father of Civilization.

“This is what was prophesied: that God would make man like Himself. He aims to make The Nation of Righteousness, who will rule in the Hereafter, with the potential knowledge of producing and bringing into action, or existence, that which He has been able to produce. We call this ‘ideas.’ He aims to make each one into a God.”

The people of the future will no longer rely on books of scripture, priests and reverends, or divination systems to access the mind of the Divine. We are moving toward a time when humanity will be reunited with our true identity as extensions of the Ultimate Reality. We will remember how to consult our heart and our feelings as the Messenger of God. We will learn to trust our intuition. We will become the self-guided ones.