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By Elliot Booker — 5 years ago
Written by Amefika D. Geuka
An important occasion; an incident; an activity or one of a series of activities.
A set of actions; a system marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result. Webster’s
A group or arrangement of parts, facts, etc. that relate to or interact with each other; a group of logically related facts, beliefs, etc.; a method of classification, arrangement, etc.
*New International Webster’s Pocket Dictionary
Perhaps my favorite quote from the teachings of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey is: “The greatest weapon used against the Negro is disorganization.” I used to wonder why Mr. Garvey drew this conclusion from all other possibilities. I have come to agree fully with my hero, and am convinced that this too is a result of the conditioning black people were subjected to as part of the diabolical process used to convert us from the African human beings we were prior to the advent of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the slaves we became. The operative word here is process. No “slaves”‘ were ever brought to North America! Human beings were captured and brought here in chains, and through a process of dehumanization spanning nearly a century and several generations, were reduced below the level of beasts. No animals owned by our enslavers were treated so horrifically as the sons and daughters of Africa who were so unfortunate as to have been among those captured and transported here! As a collective group, we still suffer the psychological trauma infused into us as part of that process. Whereas our condition of servility and inferiority is the result of a process, most of our efforts to extricate ourselves from that mental and emotional bondage have consisted of events. If we are to regain our humanity, we must organize ourselves into a force capable of throwing off the shackles placed on our minds, and embark on a process of restoration.
By definition an “event” is an occasion, an incident, an activity, or one of a series of activities. By contrast, a “process” is a set, a system, that brings about gradual changes that lead to a particular result. Events cannot reverse or undo effects brought about by a process! Only through a counter-process can there be any possibility of doing so, and that counter-process must be designed and carried out in such a way as to lead to a particular result! To do this requires, at minimum — vision, organization, structure, resolve, and discipline. Truth be told, blacks in America have shown little if any of these invaluable traits and attributes of late! Not since the days of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) has there been an organized effort with structure designed and intended for the express purpose of restoring people of African descent in America to our African humanity! The challenge for our One Million Conscious Black Voters & Contributors (OMCBV&C) initiative is to pick up where Mr. Garvey left off when he was deported from America, take the baton firmly in hand, and run the next leg of Black Americans’ relay race toward the goal of ascending back to our “…rightful place among the constellation of nations and peoples of the Earth!”
Jim Clingman and I both were fortunate to have attended the Million Man March (MMM) on October 16, 1995 in Washington, DC, though we did not meet each other until 10 years later in 2005 when we both presented a plank in Dr. Claud Anderson’s “Powernomics” platform in Detroit, Michigan. As wonderful and inspiring as the MMM was, it was only an event; it had the potential to inspire attendees to engage in a process to realize the noble goals and objectives mentioned by the series of speakers that day. Unfortunately, the MMM’s convener did not have a plan of action to present to his receptive audience, and the only challenge we were presented with was to “…return to our respective homes and places, and join some organization that is working for the uplift and advancement of black people;” and if no such organization worthy of our support existed in our communities, we were “obliged to create one.” Just how many of the 2.5 million black men in attendance that day heeded Minister Farrakhan’s urging and did as he suggested is a story yet to be told, but we do know two “true believers” who took the Minister’s words to heart, and went back home to Cincinnati, Ohio and West Palm Beach, Florida respectively, and started planting seeds for improvement in the condition of black people. Here we are another 10 years later (2015), and those two (now) “old-geezers” are still in the hunt for solutions to the puzzle of how to get black people back to where our Creator and Ancestors intended us to be!
“Tomorrow is not promised to us;” and if there is to be a future for people of African descent, some element among us will have to step up to the plate and prove themselves capable of conceptualizing (envisioning), planning, organizing, implementing, conducting, evaluating, modifying, and bringing to fruition the particular results sought after! That is referred to as “organizing” brothers and sisters! Jim and I are trying to provide the caliber and quality of experienced leadership needed for this awesome undertaking, but leaders are only as good and effective as those they lead, and it is from among this group that the next cadre of leaders must evolve if there is to be continuity of effort and resolve. Jim is getting old, and I am even older (LOL); we both face health challenges daily. You all will have to pardon us if we appear sometimes to be impatient with the lack of or slow response from our folks to what appears to us to be “as plain as the nose on your face.” We KNOW this stuff ain’t “rocket science,” and it does not take a genius to recognize what we are up against and what would be required to overcome obstructions to our success. WE ARE and of necessity MUST BE the SOLUTION to our own problems; that is the way of life. The only question worth asking and answering is: Are we possessed of the qualities and attributes required to get the job done? If not, we will be forced to admit that as a Race we are, in fact, inferior and should throw ourselves on the mercies of our superiors as some notable blacks advise us to do!
Jim and I have started this process, and are committed to staying the course as long as we are able and have sufficient encouragement from the ranks of our people, but as the “Last Poets” warned us: “Time is running out on bullsh** changes,” so the true Black MEN and WOMEN must rise to the occasion, step to the fore, and captain our ship to safe harbor. This is not the time for fainthearted or halt-stepping negroes. Who amongst you is ready to take on this task? Events-oriented persons need not apply, because it is Nature’s law that only the strong have a right to survive, and that is because the strong are willing to assert their right to survival — and beyond that — to PROSPER!!! Start flexing your muscles people, and determine the place and role you will play in this PROCESS
By Elliot Booker — 9 months ago
by Norman (Otis) Richmond
The Afro American Progressive Association (AAPA) was one of the first Black Power organizations in Canada. It was organized by Jose Garcia, Norman (Otis) Richmond and D. T. in Toronto in 1968. Their first public event was a commemoration of the assassination of Omowale El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X). The meeting took place on Bathurst Street (Toronto’s Lenox Avenue) the Home Service. Guest speakers were Jan Carew, Guyanese-born scholar/activist who later would write:” Ghosts in Our Blood: With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean” and Ted Watkins. A year before ancestors like Austin Clarke, Howard Matthews and others started the ball rolling.
Watkins (1941-1968) was an African born in America who played Canadian football. Watkins played wide-receiver for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Rough Riders. He won the Grey Cup with Hamilton in 1967. He previously played college football at the University of the Pacific in
Stockton, California. Watkins was killed in 1968 allegedly robbing a liquor store.
This is a direct quote from a Canadian daily: “STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) -Ted Watkins, Negro professional Canadian football player, and a leading Black Power advocate’ in Canada, was shot dead in an attempted liquor store holdup Sunday, police said.”
“The AAPA’s newsletter was called Harambee (Swahili) for ‘Let’s pull together.’”
The Black Youth Organization (BYO), the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC), the Biko Rodney Malcolm Coalition (BRMC) and Black Live Matters spring from the AAPA. The AAPA’s newsletter was called Harambee (Swahili) for “Let’s pull together.” Harambee preceded “Contrast,” “Share,” “Pride” and the “Caribbean Camera.”
Chris Harris has been one of the few attempting to keep the untold history of the Black Radical Tradition and the AAPA alive. Harris’ article, “Canadian Black Power, Organic Intellectuals of Position in Toronto, 1967 – 1975” was published quietly. He is quoted extensively in David Austin’s 2014 Casa de las Americas Prize winning book on Caribbean Literature, in English or Creole, Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal.
Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report talks about how a Black miss-leadership is high jacking the African liberation struggle in the United States. Ditto for Canada.
The untold story of the Radical Black Tradition in Canada is beginning to unfold. A new autobiography, Burnley “Rocky” Jones Revolutionary by Jones and James W. St. G. Walker gets the ball rolling in this work. Jones gives credit to the AAPA in this volume for keeping the radical Black tradition alive in the Great White North.
Jones discusses how tribalism ruled during the late sixties and early Seventies in Toronto’s history. Africans born in Canada organized as Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Barbadians or Black Canadians. He talks about a rally that took place at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education on Bloor Street in Toronto.
“Jones gives credit to the AAPA in this volume for keeping the radical Black tradition alive in the Great White North.”
Says Jones: “The chair was José Garcia, of the Afro American Progressive Association, a Marxist, and Black Nationalist organization in Toronto. Although that organization was Canadian, its name reflected the interaction with the States; there was continual movement back and forth across the border with Detroit and Buffalo, with Panthers and CORE and various Black Nationalist associations. Many of these people were also at the conference, in particular a group known as the Detroit Revolutionary Union movement, DRUM, extremely militant and connected to the Panthers.”
Jones was incorrect on the name of DRUM; DRUM is an acronym for the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement. The Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement was an organization of Black workers formed in May 1968 in the Chrysler Corporation‘s Dodge Main assembly plant in Detroit. While I was a co-founder of the AAPA I was also a member of DRUM, which later would blossom into the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.
The term Afro-American had nothing to do with Black America. It was inspired by Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). The group was a Pan-Africanist organization founded by (Omowale) Malik Shabazz in1964. The group was modeled on the Organization of African Unity, which had impressed Malik during his visit to Africa in April 1964. The purpose of the OAAU was to fight for the human rights of Africans in America and in the Western Hemisphere who speak English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamento. One of the co-founders of the AAPA, Jose Garcia, could speak Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish, French and English better than me. We were internationalist from the get-go.
“It was Carlos Cooks who first defined the difference between the terms Black and/or African as opposed to ‘Negro.’”
While we were moved by Malik, he was influenced by a person who if imperialism has anything to do with it will be written out of history – Carlos A. Cooks. Cooks was a Caribbean man who used the term African-American to unite Africans in the West. He was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His parents were from the nearby island of St. Martin. Robert Acemendeces Harris, author of Carlos Cooks and Black Nationalism, pointed out: “It was Carlos Cooks who first defined the difference between the terms Black and/or African as opposed to “Negro” and fought to have the latter word abrogated as a racial classification. You can even ask Richard Moore, a foundation member of the African Blood Brotherhood (and author of The Word Negro And Its Evil Use) about this. Or you can read the documentation in BLACK NATIONALISM: A Search for Identity in America by Prof. E. U. Essien-Udom of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
I was blessed to have heard Richard B. Moore speak in Montreal in 1967 and met and work with Elombe Brath, a disciple of Cooks. Moore spoke at a Black community meeting that I attended during Expo 67. When I first went to Detroit and met General Gordon Baker Jr. I found a copy of Brath’s comic book “Color Them Colored” where he ridiculed everyone from Harry Belafonte to Malcolm X for not being “Black” enough. Baker explained to me how he had for a brief moment associated with Cooks African Nationalist Pioneer Movement.
There are aspects of Cooks philosophy I united 1000 percent behind. At their convention called in 1959 the ANPM called for the abrogation of the word Negro as the official racial classification of black people and to replace the term with “African” when speaking of land origin, heritage and national identity (irrespective of birthplace ) and the proud usage of “black” when dealing with color (in spite of complexion).
“Elombe Brath’s comic book ‘Color Them Colored’ ridiculed everyone from Harry Belafonte to Malcolm X for not being “Black” enough.”
There are others aspects of his views that I totally disagree with. I have always united with Huey P. Newton’s statement, ”Blackness is necessary, but not sufficient.” I was never down with Cooks’ anti-communism. When Fidel Castro visited Harlem, Cooks refused to meet him. Malik took the opposite view.
Brath is quoted in Rosemari Mealy’s book, Fidel & Malcolm X: Memories of a Meeting. Says Brath, “While Malcolm as an individual was developing as an anti-imperialist champion, he boldly met with Premier Fidel Castro when the Cuban leader stayed at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, arguing a class analysis in non-Marxist terms, that is, the field Negro versus the house Negro.
Cooks however, took a completely different position. U. Essien-Udom, a Nigerian who wrote Black Nationalism: A Search for an Identity in America, published in the early 1960s, discussed Cooks and Malik. Udom points out: “Nearly all of the present-day black nationalist groups are anti-communist. Recently, Mr. Carlos Cooks (African Nationalist Pioneering Movement) in a 4th of July speech in Harlem self-righteously explained how in the Thirties they (the nationalists) were having street fights with the communists and they do not welcome ‘the regime of Dr. Fidel Castro’s Cuba.’”
“Instead, Mr. Cooks expressed some admiration for ex-President Bastisa. He said that under Batista Negroes had a “fair deal” in Cuba and that Premier Castro’s regime was a returning to “white supremacy.” For a brief moment in my history I did have a problem with Cuba. This was because of the anti- communism propaganda we were taught from the womb to the tomb in the USA where I was born.
For a brief moment I supported Jonas Savimbi‘s The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Founded in 1966, UNITA fought alongside the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the Angolan War for Independence (1961 – 1975) and then against the MPLA in the ensuing civil war1975–2002). UNITA received military aid from the imperialist USA and apartheid South Africa while the MPLA received support from the Soviet Union and other members of the Socialist block at that time. We apologize to Africa for this error in judgment.
In the 21st Century Africa, Africans and the oppressed generally must be anti-imperialist, anti-racist, and anti-sexist and be for socialism — period. As Fred Hampton used to say, “If you are afraid of socialism you are afraid of yourself.”
Norman (Otis) Richmond, aka Jalali, was born in Arcadia, Louisiana, and grew up in Los Angeles. He left Los Angles after refusing to fight in Vietnam because he felt that, like the Vietnamese, Africans in the United States were colonial subjects. After leaving Los Angeles in the 1960s Richmond moved to Toronto, where he co-founded the Afro American Progressive Association, one of the first Black Power organizations in that part of the world. Before moving to Tronto permanently, Richmond worked with the Detroit-based League of Revolutionary Black Workers.
He was the youngest member of the central staff. When the League split he joined the African People’s Party. In 1992, Richmond received the Toronto Arts Award. In front of an audience that included the mayor of Toronto, Richmond dedicated his award to Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Pratt, the African National Congress of South Africa, and Fidel Castro and the people of Cuba. In 1984 he co-founded the Toronto Chapter of the Black Music Association with Milton Blake.Richmond began his career in journalism at the African Canadian weekly Contrast. He went on to be published in the Toronto Star, the Toronto Globe & Mail, the National Post, the Jackson Advocate, Share, the Islander, the Black American, Pan African News Wire, and Black Agenda Report. Internationally he has written for the United Nations, the Jamaican Gleaner, the Nation (Barbados), and Pambazuka News.Currently, he produces Diasporic Music a radio show for Uhuru Radio and writes a column, Diasporic Music for the Burning Spear Newspaper. For more informantion email@example.comPost Views: 904
By Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
By A. Peter Bailey
I had a recent conversation with a young, intelligent, hardworking African-American during which he expressed deep hostility towards Africans. When asked why he felt that way, he told me of two incidents that occurred when he dated a young African woman from Nigeria and another from Ethiopia.
The Nigerian’s father exploded when she brought the young brother to her home. He demanded that the young man leave immediately since he didn’t want his daughter involved with any African-American.
When the young Ethiopian woman took him to an Ethiopian club, she was angrily pulled aside by an Ethiopian male and asked loudly, “Why you bring him here?” Again, he had to leave immediately.
I told him that I understood his feelings, having myself had several run-ins with Africans who spoke with hostility and contempt about African-Americans. However, I continued, African-American are not innocent when it comes to dealing with Africans. On numerous occasions I have heard some African-Americans speak with contempt about Africans, even going so far as to call them “jungle bunnies.”
The image of Africa for too many African-Americans comes from Hollywood films and from American television, newspapers and magazine reporting. The Hollywood films often depict Africans either as scantily clad villages or providing some kind of service to “superior” White folks. The journalistic reporting much too often can lead readers to believe that one third of Africans are living in dire poverty, another third are sick or dying from AIDS and the final third are killing each other in endless conflicts. I have actually heard some African-Americans wonder if there are cities or universities in the continent.
I told the young man that such attitudes as mentioned above by Africans and African-Americans are among the most unfortunate victories of the proponents of White supremacy. I also told him that when the average person of European descent sees a Black man or woman, he doesn’t care if he or she are from Lagos, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Harlem, USA, Kingston, Jamaica or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. All that person sees is a Black person who he has been told is inferior to him or her.
White politicians, educators and business persons also see a Black man, but they are clever enough to know that one of the best ways to keep the upper hand over all Black people is to discourage unity among them by any means necessary. So they use psychological toxins to encourage Africans to believe that they are better than African-Americans and African-Americans to believe that they are more civilized than Africans. Way too many Black people have been infected by these toxins.
It is time for serious Black folks from throughout the the world to develop a psychological inoculation against this insidious, debilitating infection. It can be done, we just have to put our time, energy and resources into it. If we don’t, the temporary success of the proponents of White supremacy will become permanent.