Home » Uncategorized » The Time and What Must Be Done

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.

————————————————————————————————————————————

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…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s