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September 05, 2003

The Revolution

What were the ends of Black Nationalism? Have they been accomplished? Have they been partially accomplished? If so, for whom? If not, is Black Nationalism still useful? Who should be using it, to accomplish what, and how can it be considered complete? Is Black Nationalism a never ending story? Does it continue forever? How much attention does it require?

These questions, by and large, are settled for me. I bring them up because they go to the core of the African American Project, that is to say what is it that future historians will write about the African influence on America through the culture, presence and politics of its people? Who knows? Such questions are intimately bound up with questions of Republicanism and other expressions of black politics commensurate with our history. By asserting my own Republicanism I don't feel that I am doing anything particularly out of step with the standing, status or progress of my generation and class of African Americans. If only one out of 36 African Americans is Republican, that is more than enough good company. The question then is whether this represents progress, regession or denial.

Let's get a couple things straight. Whatever black politics is, it is not revolutionary. There is no revolution to be televised, so in that respect Gil was right.The Fire Next Time will be put out by next Wednesday. America has assimilated our worst and our best. We have changed the shape of its skeleton, but we have not transfigured the beast, nor will we leap from its body and clone a MiniMe of America, nor will we destroy it.

Revolution in America would look like revolution anywhere else. But there is no warfare going on. The Crips and Bloods are not revolutionaries. It's not because they are not too stupid or misguided to use terror tactics. Things simply are not bad enough for them. They needn't revolt. Their backs are up against ghetto walls, but there is too much ghetto heaven available to them.

I'm going to try an assertion here, which is that if blacks were an 'endangered species' and all the black men in jail constituted a real threat to the continuation of the people, black women would be standing for their men to fight an die in street battles against violent, systematic oppression. That is not where we are and it is not where we will be again.

The Army is too black and brown for America to return to the violent racial divisions of the 1968.

I don't believe that there is anything special about African Americans. What I mean by that is that we are neither extra strong nor extra punked for moving as we have through American society from slavery to freedom. If our slavery was worse, if our culture could not have survived it, we would have been eliminated. If our slavery was lighter we would have moved forward faster. If we were merely slaves and not pariahs in a racial caste, things would have been different as well.

We are where we are and that is in partial bourgie brotherhood with our fellow Americans. We all agree that formal education is key to our progress. That says everything about our status as a people. When you choose education over revolt, you are in bourgie brotherhood. Pick a socioeconomic class, aim, free your mind and your ass will follow.

This is a short introduction to a hell of a lot of things I don't have the patience to get in under 2000 words. That's because I'm trying to get Cygwin/XFree86 working with my headless RH 9. I'm punking out to geekdom, but since nobody's shooting I don't feel a moments remorse. Anyway this is to pick up on the provocation of black stances implied all over the place. I simply think we need to put thoughts of revolution to bed and then ask where the momentum of black nationalism ought to go.

I think if Malcolm were alive, he'd be Republican, as a necessary means to economic progress.

Posted by mbowen at September 5, 2003 10:51 PM

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