18
Opinions Sat, 1 Feb 2014

The Prospects For Afrocentric Victory (lll)

The Prospects For Afrocentric Victory (lll): Toward A Solution

C. L. R. James believed that African Americans could eventually integrate themselves into the global capitalist society in an effort to control and change it. James had faith in our ability to extricate ourselves from our predicament of cultural disorientation. When speaking of an end to colonialism he once wrote:

“Revolution must call for an act to end white supremacy, colonialism and oppression embodied in Western ideas and individuals which affects and infects the existence of black people. The process of nationhood must conceptualize and structure the conceptions and possibilities of future black existence. The nation must be defined in terms of human and material and historical cultural resources of the people. The Black Education program has as its purpose the sustenance and revitalization of the black values which include undying love for black people.”

I offer both the condition and a way to make a radical assessment of the state of Africa America. These are the propositions that I argue:

1. Our intellectual class is totally subordinated to the European design of culture, economics, art, philosophy, and religion. 2. The education of our children is a massive psychological power grab by the hegemonic establishment of white privilege. 3. Our academic leaders must reject all paradigms of acceptability to the white supremacist world. 4. We must re-link the African American intellectuals to the anti-imperialist, anti-racism, and Afrocentric movement for total liberation.

The response to our condition in America must be to reject the postmodernist tendency as a destructive turn away from solutions to our marginalization. When the postmodernists question and attempt to deconstruct objective generalizations and effective narratives of liberation they are really supporting the status quo against the revolutionary thrust for freedom. It is an ideological position for those who control and rule; these are the very people that we must overturn. Although some have argued that postmodernism was intended to give us our voices since we were seen as being in the margins, it has turned out to be a part of our oppression. Our people must express themselves through the idea of nationalism as a way to consciousness; this is the way our voices are heard. I think that we cannot be guided down the path of European 18th and 19th century notions of nationalism. We are clearly not talking the same language as those who sought to advance a racist, elitist idea of nation; National Socialism in Germany during the Third Reich was a national idea protecting white racialism in its most dangerous form. Indeed, even now, if we speak about it in public, we know that nationalism is still very real in France, Catalonia, Germany, and the United States, especially as articulated by the right wing.

Another problem that must be solved in our community is the rise of religionism where Africans who are Muslim and Africans who are Christians are at each others’ throats over who is most devoted to their gods, one promulgated by the Arabs and the other promulgated by the Jews and Europeans. This is an absolute dislocation of identity and dignity and demonstrates that black people can be depended upon to become more fanatic about alien religions than they are about their own religion.

Wasn’t it of interest and sad that at the funeral of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in South Africa there was not one person of traditional African religion on the dais. What this says about us anywhere, even in Africa, is that we are willing to die for any idea except an idea created or invented by another black person. We are victimized by our fear of ourselves. The African sages said that the only chosen people were self-choosing people. In the United States one can now see struggles between the Muslims and the Christians that to me is one of the most pernicious and sinister legacies of our oppression.

We are disoriented and dislocated by the persistence of the doctrine of white privilege. As Maulana Karenga says, “We do not even know what our names are anymore.” We are pushed toward giving our children and even ourselves names that come from European or Arab cultures. We are not directed toward Africa, but we must learn to disallow the privileging of any body’s faith over our experiences and to protest the promotion of any belief over facts.

All sectarian movements are based upon some dangerous agendas that defy rationality and social sciences; this is the source of fanaticism that seeks to impose fascistic rules on the opposing side. What I worry about most in the African American community is the adherence to alien, that is, non-African, ways of seeing reality. Often these alien attitudes create wanton disregard for African life in the United States or elsewhere. Otherwise we could not have African people fighting against African interests in the name of some European or Arab god.

The stunning truth is that we are still captured in the clutches of the slave experience and the mythology that came with enslavement was one that discarded our allegiance to African history and culture. We were thrown, so to speak, off the horse that would deliver us to our goal and in the process dashed our heads against the walls of white privilege and felt that we needed to join the ones who had thrown us off of our horse. Let us refuse to trash the so-called “premodern” thinking of our ancestors as we sit at this juncture in human history.

We have learned from the traditions of others, so now let us re-open the can and learn from our ancestors. I wrestle with this tendency every day although I disagree with Du Bois’ notion of a “double consciousness” and have written about my disagreement with it. I do believe that the idea of getting Eurocentrism or Arabo-centrism out of our minds is a constant battle for people who have recently found the freedom to speak.

In gaining our voices we are often forced to take baby steps toward our self-emancipation worried that we will lose the patronage of our white or Arab cultural interventionists. Indeed, this is something that we must dispense with if we are to be considered free, independent, and proud African people. We must learn to call things as we see them always serving the interest of Africans.

Let me be clear about the African American position from my vantage point. There is no fear of the European or Arab; there is no attempt to discriminate against the European or Arab. There is, however, a highly conscious attitude among the vanguard Pan Africanists and Afrocentrists, who are vanguard by study and actions, that neither Europeans nor Arabs should seek to dominate African thinking. We are quite capable of taking care of our own business here and there.

Let me be clear about another point. There is no guarantee from the Left that the Marxists or Socialists will be any better in their regard for the position and perspective of African American people. They have written against Afrocentricity, against Africana Womanism, against Kawaida, and carry the same trashiness against African culture as one might find among the rabid Right. The attack and assaults are different. The Left, too, is influenced by anti-Africanism and seeks to promote Eurocentric visions of what the world should look like according to Europeans.

The Left has shown its willingness to trash nationalism, Afrocentric interests, Pan Africanism and all forms of African collective political and economic projection. The Left favors a subjected people willing to minimize the interests of the black masses and willing to abandon our own tools for the instruments created by our historic resistance to oppression. To accept this position is for us to abandon the instruments and forms that allowed us to resist in the first place.

To be sure, there are some blacks that have willingly given up their positions of power as a means of currying favors with those who control established orders. The platform for our victory must always be based on a construction of our own making.

Part lll is next…
Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis