Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In My Classroom, Academy of da Corner

In My Classroom

In my classroom
Murder over rap contest
Winner lost his life
Stumbled into book store
place of light
eternal darkness for him,
Brother Purple.

In my classroom
Police inspired assassination
Broad daylight, Alice and 14th
Chauncey Bailey went down
“The hand that pulled the trigger
Didn’t buy the bullet, “ Baldwin said
Of Malcolm’s killers
We say the same of Chauncey’s.
Killers mentored by OPD
Kill three
Police mentor goes free.
In my classroom
Oscar Grant rebellion in the streets
14th and Broadway
Where I teach
Occupy the corner
Academy of da corner
Life threatened daily
Teaching truth
Healing sick and broken hearted
Micro loan bank
Dollar for a burger
A coffee
Bus fare
Let the people vent trauma
Let them rant into morning air
Let them shout into my ear
“Fuck the peckerwood
Fuck the peckerwood.”

In my classroom
Occupy Oakland
Wall Street Oakland

Came from Summit hospital that Tuesday
After Visiting sister with stroke
Bus ends route at 20th and Broadway
Join marchers to 14th.
I am proud of them
Though they are mostly white
Hear police shout
“You have five minutes to disperse
Before chemical agent released.”
I knew stampede was coming
Took refuge in Burger King
Tear gas soon followed into Burger King
Eyes nose mouth burning
Marine Vet escaped Iraq
Shot in head by police.

In my classroom
Eyes of the world on Oakland
General Strike called
First since 1946
Nov. 2, 2011
Ten thousand march
Port of Oakland closed
Peace all day without police
Imagine a world with no police
Until night came
agent provocateurs rampage
Police in disguise.

In my classroom
Whites rush pass my book
How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy
Except white girl from Fresno, with boyfriend from Sanger
They buy the book
Even the occupation is white privilege
When have blacks camped in front of City Hall
When have blacks unloaded in bus zones
Without $350.00 ticket?

In my classroom
There is discussion
What do we want from Revolution
What part of the pie
What land
What self determination
What sovereignty
Or shall we again take bottom rung on the ladder
As Neo-Whites assume power.
And we are lost in the multi-cultural chasm.

In my classroom

A sacred space
Free speech zone
Teachers are students
Students are teachers
We only give the MF degree
If you pass the test
If you survive the police
If you survive the nigguhs
You a bad Motherfucker!
In my classroom.

Killers leap from a car
Like paratroopers
In Iraq
Run across the street to Occupy Oakland
Then pop pop pop pop
Man down
Shot in the head
In my classroom.
Rationale for closing the camp
Police set up for sure.
We are not fooled by black on black murder
The hands that pulled the trigger didn’t buy the bullet, Baldwin said.
Mayor Quan recalled
To be or not to be mayor
All Oakland mayors suffer this conundrum
Become history
Oakland dies slow death
OPD occupation
Consuming every dime
Solving no crime.
In my classroom
Cat and mouse games
Chase the mice
Run hide
Arrest the mice
Close the rat hole cats
Bring in cats from all around
Homeland Security money
No jobs no education no housing
Occupation occupation
Indigenous say don’t use the word
They/we been occupied 500 years
In my classroom.
I need a dollar for the bus
Gimme a dollar man!
Can’t get to my classroom
Monkey Mind Media takes over
Cameras lights cameras lies lies
Like flies lies lies
In my classroom.
Go home Monkey Mind Media
Go home OPD cats
Leave the mice alone
Let them eat cheese in peace.
In my classroom.
Will American go down like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria
Will America learn
In my classroom?
Will she study
Pass or fail the finals
In my classroom?

--Marvin X
Revised 11/14/11

Marvin X’s Academy of da Corner is at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Contact him for bookings, readings, performance of his Reader’s Theatre production Mythology of Love. 510-575-2225. jmarinx@yahoo.com. www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com.

“If you want to learn about inspiration and motivation, don’t spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X at work. He’s Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland.”—Ishmael Reed

“Marvin X is one of the innovators and founders of the revolutionary school of African writing.”—Amiri Baraka, aka LeRoi Jones

“Still the undisputed King of Black Consciousness.”—Dr. Nathan Hare

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Marvin X on Wall Street Part 1 WBAI Interview

Mythology of Love at Joyce Gordon Gallery, Fri and Sat

Mythology of Love
by Marvin X
Friday-Saturday, November 11-12, 8pm

Joyce Gordon Gallery
14th and Franklin, downtown Oakland
Donation $20.00/Students $10.00
No one turned away
Adult Language
Call 510-575-2225

Aries Jordan, Eternal Woman
Marvin X, Eternal Man

Mythology of Love

A womanhood/manhood poetic rite of passage

(Focus on partner violence and abuse)


Marvin X

writer, director, producer

Reader’s Theatre

(a project of Academy of da Corner,

14th and Broadway, Oakland)

Mythology of Love empowered me. I didn’t know I had that much power.

--Young Sista

It helped me step up my game.—Young Brotha

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for writing this. I am going

To make my son and daughter read it.—A Mother

He’s the USA’s Rumi!—Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club, NYC

He writes the most powerful drama I’ve seen. Marvin X is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland—Ishmael Reed

His language is so strong it will knock the socks off old ladies!—Wanda Sabir, San Francisco Bay View Newspaper

His writing is orgasmic!—Fahizah Alim, Sacramento Bee

Mythology of Love is an honest account of how modern folk try to claim ownership of their mate’s sexual organ and body, thus causing many of the problems in relationships today throughout the world. Youth who otherwise don’t read, do read his Mythology of Love and even squabble over ownership, as if it were black gold!—Paradise Jah Love

Mythology of Love is based on a compilation of everything Marvin X has written over the past 40 years on psychosocial sexuality, including the 1981 drama In the Name of Love, which he performed while an instructor in the drama department at Oakland’s Laney College. There are those who will miss this opportunity to receive wisdom from our brother because of the language he uses and the perceived objectification of women and men. –Delores Nochi

Mythology of Love


Eternal Woman, Aries Jordan

Eternal Man, Marvin X,

The Other Woman, Latoya Carter

Parable of a Real Woman, Joyce Gordon

Woman on Cell Phone, vocals, Mechelle LaChaux

Parable of Woman in a Box, Latoya Carter, choreography, dance

Friday, October 21, 2011


Obama, Black Killer for White Supremacy

a fictional interview by Marvin X

MX: Mr. President, thank you again for allowing me this precious time to talk with you.

Prez: Marv, the pleasure is all mine.

MX: Mr. President, you are rapidly gaining the reputation as the black killer President.

Prez: That's a dubious honor, Marv. I certainly would label myself in that manner.

MX: Well, you took out Osama Ben Laden, Al Alaki and now Qaddafy.

Prez: I'm only trying to make America and the world safe for democracy.

MX: Are you preparing to eliminate the President of Syria, Assad?

Prez: We have no plans in that direction, of course if events continue to deteriorate in that nation, we may need to consider some type of action, in coordination with our friends in that region.

MX: Prez, your policy smells of selective action. You certainly are not thinking about taking out those repressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and elsewhere.

Prez: Well, we must think strategically. Those nations you mentioned are important to us in spite of certain human rights abuses, although we encourage them to extend more freedom to their populations.

MX: So your friends get a pass, is that it?

Prez: That's not the term I would use.

MX: Well it's clear those regimes are nowhere in your radar for radical change, especially as per taking out their leaders. But I want to know how you justify assassinating an American citizen without bringing charges against him in a court of law, considering you are a constitutional lawyer?

Prez: You're referring to Mr. Awlaki, of course.

MX: Yes, the man you took out in Yemen a few weeks ago.

Prez: He was an enemy combatant. He tried to killed American citizens. We had no choice but to go after him with all the weight of the American military.

MX: He didn't deserve a trial in a court of law?

Prez: In a normal situation, perhaps, but this war on terror has presented us with special circumstances.

MX: So do you envision the murder of other American citizens whom you deem a threat to the national security of the US?

Prez: It depends on the circumstances, the danger they pose to the American people.

MX: Have you not transcended former President Bush II in your interpretation of US law?

Prez: No, I'm only doing what I think is best to protect the American people.

MX: You seem to have this Manichean concept of good and evil in the world and that you represent good.

Prez: That is your view, not mine. I will say, as did President Bush, you are either with us or against us.

MX: And this includes American citizens as well, does it? No opposition allowed?

Prez: Marv, I think you're stretching it a bit. Of course, the American people have the right to differ with our policies.

MX: But you just murdered an American citizen, without trial, who differed with your policies.

Prez: He went to far.

MX: Who sets the limits, you, in the tradition of your predecessor Bush?

Prez: Circumstances establish the limits.

MX: Do circumstances supersede the US Constitution?

Prez: Not necessarily. We examine each situation on a case by case basis.

MX: Sir, now that you or NATO have eliminated Qaddafy in Libya, we see you are proceeding on an African campaign. You're quite ambitious and bold, don't you think?

Prez: Marv, I'm only doing what I think is right for the American people and the global community. You're referring to our intention to send troops to Uganda?

MX: Yes, and a few other African nations. Are you now the new King of Africa, especially with the demise of Qaddafy?

Prez: You have quite a sense of humor, Marv, but no, I don't desire to be the King of Africa, but I do desire to prevent mass slaughter in Africa. As a man of African heritage, I am deeply concerned about my people there.

MX: Not to cut you off, but you did receive the Nobel Peace Prize, yet you seem intent on continuing the permanent war policy of your predecessors, from Africa to Asia.

Prez: Don't you think the people of North Africa, specifically, Libya, have the possibility of a better future with the departure of Qaddafy. We all want peace, but sometimes there must be war to achieve peace. I appreciate the Nobel Prize, but I have a job to do, and my job is protecting American interests and human rights around the world.

MX: What about human rights in America? What about the two million men and women in prisons. Have you thought about giving a general amnesty to the mostly poor, ignorant, drug addicted and mentally ill who make up the majority of the prison population in America?

Prez: No I haven't.

MX: Why not?

Prez: I have other pressing issues, such as the economic situation.

MX: Don't you understand that many of those imprisoned were due to economic crimes, the type of crimes that the Wall Street protesters are presently fighting, including the call for a redistribution of wealth?

Prez: Marv, there are many reasons those two million people are in jail, but for the safety of the American people, we have no plans for a general amnesty.

MX: Do you see the Occupy Wall Street movement as a counterweight to the Tea Party movement?

Prez: I see the Occupy Wall Street protests in the American tradition and we support them.

MX: Do you and the Democratic party plan to use them in your reelection strategy?

Prez: Well, where their goals are in harmony with mine, I will call upon them. But I do not believe in class warfare, the rich against the poor. We are one people.

MX: Even when 1% own wealth equal to 99%?

Prez: There must be a some structural change to redistribute the wealth, the insure good wages and job security. I'm for this. But we can continue the Wall Street robbers, nor can we allow crime in the street. We want the rich to recognize their obligation to the poor and middle class.
I'm against corporate greed, but I'm for free trade capitalism.

MX: Are they the same?

Prez: Well, there's enough to go around, no child should be hungry in America, or the world for that matter. We must continue the fight the good fight so that every American citizen can pursue happiness or the American dream. I will do all in my power to convince the people on Wall Street and the people on main street that we must stick together and not destroy the American dream because of greed and selfishness.

MX: Mr. President, thank you for your time.

Prez: You're quite welcome.

--Marvin X

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wall Street Oakland: "He's The Reason!"

Wall Street Oakland: "He's the Reason"

A week ago Marvin X entered the campground of Wall Street Oakland in front of City Hall. The protesters renamed the plaza from Frank Ogawa Plaza to Oscar Grant Plaza, in honor of the slain black man murdered on New Year's Day a couple of years ago. While we honor the martyrdom of Oscar, we should remember Frank Ogawa as one of Oakland's most progressive political leaders, a man who seriously tried to serve the people.

As we walked through the campground last Tuesday, we first encountered a suspected agent provocateur named JR, whom we call the "minister of misinformation." We've had a ten year conflict with JR going back to the video tapes he stole from me after filming me in Newark, New Jersey with the Twin Towers burning in the background. He also stole interviews of me interviewing Mrs. Amina Baraka and Sonia Sanchez. Amazingly, he now calls me the victimizer. Miffed at a recent article I did with Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr., JR shouted at me that he had a big surprise for me, "bigger than Christmas." I proceeded my walk through the campground, stopping at the tent of Everett and Jones (Jack London Square) owner, Dorothy Everett, who sat chatting with City Councilwoman Delsey Brooks.

I departed the camp of mostly young whites and set up my Academy of da Corner on the concrete base of a flagpole at the entrance to the camp. Actually, my Academy of da Corner has been occupying 14th and Broadway for the last five years. As per Wall Street, Youtube has a 2007 video of my poetry reading in front of the Stock Exchange on Wall Street, New York City.

As I put my book display on the concrete supporting the flag pole, a black woman and man came up and asked me what was going on? I thought how shall I answer the woman since she was clearly ignorant of similar events across America and around the world. I told her, "They're trying to free the slaves!" She immediately took it personally, thinking I was calling her a slave.
I made it clear that anyone employed is a wage slave, part of the reason people are protesting against the bloodsuckers of the poor who control global finance, i.e. Wall Street.

When she replied she worked for herself, I said well so do I, so we are not slaves, but she would not have it. She was convinced I called her a slave. Then she spit at me and when a white businessman passed, she said I needed dress like the white man and get a job. She walked away giving me the finger. She walked across the street and from there gave me the finger, then returned, walking pass me to the three police on bikes who had been observing the incident from beneath a shade three. The woman spent about forty minutes talking with the officers who are familiar with me but no longer harass me as they did when I first occupied 14th and Broadway with Academy of da Corner.

The day was looking gloomy until a woman walked up to me that I recognized as Barbara Cox, former wife of Black Panther Field Marshall, Donald Cox, who recently transitioned in Southern France. Barbara had just got off the plane from Philly and took the BART to downtown. I was the first person she ran into and we were elated to see each other again and had a long conversation about DC, Wall Street, the upcoming 45th BPP Anniversary this weekend. Civil Rights attorney Walter Riley joined our conversation.

We had no problem at the camp until Friday when a march was scheduled at 4pm. Protest organizers had mistakenly scheduled Academy of da Corner Reader's Theatre to perform at 4pm. My performers arrived to perform but as march time neared the atmosphere became charged with the presence of hundreds of police in riot gear, with a helicopters hoovering above.
When the marchers departed pass my poets and actors, we decided to do what all performers like to do, perform wherever we are. Poet Aries Jordon stood on the flag pole support and read her poem Wall Street, engaging the crowed in a call and response. She said, "If you like a line of my poem, say, 'say it again.'" The crowed chanted after her most profound lines, say it again."

And then another drama began when a black woman emerged from the camp ranting "He's the reason. He's reason. He's the reason I'm homeless, he's the reason my baby don't have pampers.
He's the reason the police are here. He's the reason."

I was in a state of shock, so shocked I couldn't speak and didn't. And then another woman appeared and sat down on top my books, saying she needed to sit down since she was indeed the size of an elephant, but as soon as she sat, she asked me what I thought about the Federal Reserve. What a line of police at my back in full riot gear, I was in no mood to discuss the Federal Reserve, so I cut her off with, "Fuck the Federal Reserve." She then joined the other woman in the chant He's the Reason! I remained silent, shocked but calm enough not to engage with the first woman who was still screaming and hollering that I was the reason Wall Street is the blood sucker of the poor.

Then a young man stood on the pole platform and said so gibberish with the concluding lines, He's the reason, he's the reason. Lastly, the first woman's baby daddy emerged from the camp to join his woman in her tirade, "I done 18 years in prison and I'll die for mine, He's the reason, he's the reason....

As a student of drama, it was clear to me there were agent provocateurs reciting from a script. But I was too sharp to escalate the conversation, knowing the police at my back were eager to give me a head whupping.

Well, I told my poets and actors that we must remain calm and not feed into the action of the provocateurs. This was difficult because some of them were ready to fight. Instead, we eventually packed up and took the taxi to West Oakland to see a performance of Joe Turner's Come and Gone by August Wilson, performed by my former student and associated Ayodele Nzingha at her Lower Bottom Playaz. What a relief to see the beautiful performance of her playaz, with half the cast and product
We are scheduled to perform at Wall Street Oakland, Thursday, 5pm. Stay Tuned.
--Marvin X
Academy of da Corner
14th And Broadway,
Oakland CA
19 October 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wall Street and the American White Revolution

Saturday, March 5, 2011

America's White Revolution

Wall Street and America's White Revolution?

Is America in the birth pains of revolution, of joining the struggle of people around the world for social and economic justice? What is the end game of the Tea Party goers and the unions struggling for their definition of social economic democracy? Will there inevitably be a clash between the unionists and workers on the Left and the Tea Party Constitutionalists on the Right? Or will they merge into the American White Revolution? Events are moving fast, from the Middle East to Wisconsin, Ohio, California and elsewhere.

And now Wall Street is under attack, hub of global finance and imperialism. Ultimately the General Strike is in order to close America down, to bring her to her knees and seize the means of production and all institutions that deprive the people of their human rights. It is time to reclaim the wealth from the blood suckers of the poor.

We know dissatisfaction brings change, real change. The unemployed, the wage slave workers and other marginalized people will inevitably reach the breaking point. As the ruling class strengthen their stranglehold on the necks and backs of the middle and lower class, the more possibility for revolution with the great possibility that other ethnic minorities will join the liberation struggle. Sam Anderson has called for more North American Africans and Indigenous people to join the battle at Wall Street, that ancient slave mart that is yet a slave mart.

As in the Middle East and North Africa, things will hit the fan in America when youth take to the streets, suffering marginalization, high unemployment, homelessness and mental depression. The feeling of nothingness and dread shall propel them into forward motion of the radical kind.

The workers, unemployed, students, artists, intellectuals, and religious communities shall see the need for unity and will merge their agendas for the greater good. When the people refuse to accept wage slavery and the concomitant world of make believe perpetuated by the media magicians and the Center Right Democratic and Republican parties in league with the military/corporate complex, the American White Revolution will begin.

We should expect the reactionaries to mount the counter attack with state police power that may approach events in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere, outright mass murder under the color of law, mass incarcerations utilizing the terrorist laws under Homeland Security. The 700 people arrested this past weekend is a clear sign the police will need to get it right and decide what side they are on. Are they part of the problem or part of the solution. Just as the military in Egypt had to decide, the police of America must join the struggle or go down with the reactionaries. They cannot defend the state and the filthy capitalist swine. Their duty is to protect the people.

The Right will attempt to defeat the masses to continue the regime of the American neo-slave system. But a people united cannot be defeated. Fanon taught that all de-colonization is successful. The reactionaries will be forced to put down their butcher knives in the face of people power. They will be forced to share the wealth, to open the coffers of the rich, the financial and corporate bandits and distribute the wealth stolen from the labor of the poor and middle class who have long suffered from the greedy blood suckers of the poor and working class.

With a united people practicing eternal vigilance, the corporate and Wall Street bandits shall be forced to end their hoarding of the wealth they hoodwinked and bamboozled from the workers and poor; the wage slavery, the pyramid scheme loans of the housing industry, the wretched outdated white supremacy curriculum in the schools, the poor devitalized food of the petro-chemical industry and the pharmaceutical directed health care system, dominated by the insurance companies, even under President Obama's health plan that was a capitulation to the bandits.

We smell a fresh breath of air blowing in the winds, yes, the east wind is blowing west. We think white people will be forced to stand from their stunted position, backs broken by the bloodsuckers of the poor, the working poor and middle class.

North American Africans have long suffered a stunted life, full of poverty, ignorance and disease, even the middle class live in the world of make believe, traumatized by the hostile environment and addicted to conspicuous consumption.

So we see the great possibility White America and North American Africans may see their way to Liberation Square, and if necessary, in the manner of the Egyptians, lay their blankets in front of tanks and take a nap, daring the tank driver to run them over, for their best poet told them not long ago: even a tank driver must serve somebody, must answer to somebody.
--Marvin X
Revised 10/4/11

Friday, March 4, 2011

Reply to Marvin X from Rudolph Lewis on the American White Revolution


Dream on dreamer. If you wake up, you're hear the voice of the ancestors, "The worse is yet to come . . . we ain't nowhere near daylight."

Toppling a dictator and replacing it with an exceedingly wealthy military elite does not a revolution make.

Loving you madly, Rudy

Marvin X:

Rudy, you must look into the deep structure of things, far beyond the surface. When the husband beats a pregnant wife, this doesn't mean the baby won't be born. There may be some damage to the fetus but that baby is coming out for we know how much violence the woman is able to withstand, including the act of delivery itself. So we only know we are seeing things people predicted around 2012, a universal phenomenon that is beyond the imagination, and yes, we ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until the boys and girls rise up in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere on the oil lands and lanes. Wait til gas is ten dollars a gallon and a lemon five dollars. Just wait til the midnight hour.


Marvin, you're right: I do not know about the "deep structure of things." I do have my failings. But I suppose if I am expert at anything it is the nature of white people in America. I do wonder whether the same God who made my people made them. And if he did, what was he thinking: they have been a pestilence on the face of the earth. We need to have serious talk with His divine ways.

Let me be a prophet for a moment. As soon as the working class whites settle this matter with the Wisconsin governor, however it ends, they will be back talking about the intrusion of "niggers" in Milwaukee and Madison. Tell me, how do you think Walker got into office. I'll tell you: on a racist tip. These whites falling back into the pack of the poor thought the governor was going to take the war only to the Negroes. And what did they discover belatedly, it's gonna be class warfare and the poor whites and the marginal middle class whites, they too will be a sacrifice to the Koch brothers and other such wealthy bullies.

But this lesson will be short-lived as I suggested. As soo as these working class whites can they will betray the blacks for a farthing. That's a centuries old pattern. let us learn our history.

Hold out no hope for the struggle of black and white together, at least not in this decade.

Loving you madly, Rudy

Marvin X:

We can see from the Middle East that Arab zenophobia of Black Africans has tainted their freedom struggle. Yet this has been a long simmering problem in the Arab world just as it has been intractable and pervasive in the White Supremacy world of the West, especially in America. Thus, it must be clearly understood that liberation without recovery from the addiction to white supremacy, including Arab racism and American racism, will be short lived. As DuBois said, the problem in America is the color line, but we can expand this globally. Farakhan once said wherever he went on the planet earth the black man was on the bottom. When Cynthia McKinney was jailed in Israel she found Africans filled the jail, and we know the racial demographics of American gulags.

Without a global detox and recovery from the addiction to white supremacy in all its forms, and it is cunning and vile, surfacing its head in all religions and economic systems, there shall be no real peace in the world. Racism must be attacked in the Masjed, Church, temple, and all social institutions before the New Man and Woman can stand tall in the sun, racism and gender discrimination are pervasive in the global village. The new consciousness shall not function with any residue of racism and sexism.

We must note the Type II White Supremacy Dr. Nathan Hare speaks about that is the Black addiction to white supremacy mythology. Thus all forms of white supremacy must be eradicated before the modern world will be truly and thoroughly liberated.


Marvin, I speak that which I know and that which I don't know I excuse myself. I wrestled with the situation of Libya for days, reading and listening to as much as I could find before I finally posted the Pan-African piece.


But usually I post several points of view rather than one in that I am so far away from the scenes of counter-revolution. The corporate media is of little help nor is PBS (now under attack by federal defunding). Liberals fear any clarity of things on the ground. The truth I know is somewhere in the mix.

I shy away from ideology. I know with a certainty that foreign wars do not serve the American poor, to paraphrase MLK. We have two in the Mid-East already and an undeclared class war going on here in America. I hope Obama is not fool enough to be suckered into another Mid-East war now recommended by the Republicans and other imperial nuts.

White Americans are a strange breed and have little restraint when it comes to their racial prejudices. We are in the Age of the Neo-Confederacy, that is, white Americans are ever ready to shoot themselves in the foot to spite their face. Liberation is faraway from the dawn. Counter-revolutionatries are on the march and winning.

Loving you madly, Rudy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prosperity diAries: Day 18, Silence

Prosperity diAries: Day 18> Silence

The morning was gloomy filled with grayish clouds. It rained which was great it hadn’t rained in months.I let the rain drizzle on me and put my umbrella away. My sis and I went to the East Bay church of religious science. Rev. Elouise talked about giving yourself up to god. To some folks that means sitting up in church every Sunday, reciting holy text, rebuking anyone that is of another faith. For me it means honoring the god within me which goes beyond my doubts, worries, fears and expectations.

People always say “Aries your so patient” but really its the god in me. I believe in the power of prayer and divine intervention. Shoot, I would have givin up a long time ago if it wasn’t for the grace of god. After church, I felt the need to be in silence. No talking, no second opinion, no chatting about mundane things, no mindless talking to feel the air only silence.

I told Lil sis let's not talk for a couple of hours. As much as I love to talk even I have to shut up every now and then. Silence helps me to clear my head and be more in my body. I know folks that always gotta have some kind of noise in the background; radio, TV, gun shots or sirens. I remember in college one of my friends was like it is weird in upstate New York cause you don’t hear helicopters or ambulances like in the city.

We all have soundtracks to our lives that we hear on a regular basis and conversations that seem to keep repeating. When we turn down the volume and give words a rest many things arise. In silence we find the answers that we have been looking for, the clarity we need to move forward and insight if you listen.

In the words of the great Sufi poet Rumi

I took a vow of silence
And my tongue is tied
Yet still,
I’m the speaker without a speech

Enjoy the sweetness of silence. Peace yall

--Aries Jordan

Aries is author of Journey to Womanhood, poems, 2011, Black Bird Press.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ode to the Lady Drunk on Self Righteousness

Ode to the Lady Drunk on Self Righteousness

Who is this lady who loves modern day lynchings? Who is this lady who is never humble enough to admit her guilt, her fault, her wrongdoing? Who can be perfect every single time? Not one person and certainly not a large institution and never a nation. This nation is deeply embedded with the error of self-righteous ways that she has masked in pursuit of her own wealth, disguised in idealistic terms such as Westward Expansion, Religious Freedom, Democracy, Capitalism, The American Dream, Industrialism, and Rugged Individualism. All of these pursuits have led to the destruction of so many groups and ideals that stood in the way of narrow minded Euro-Americans fulfilling their own dreams. Dreams that have not been consistent with the idealism in that “perfect” doctrine known as the Constitution of the United States of America.

America has never apologized for her treatment of African Americans during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and thereafter. This failure to apologize has caused her tremendous guilt and pain when looking into the face of African Americans; as a result, we can never really deal with one another on equal footing. As a result, she is still able to lynch innocent individuals with no remorse, with no guilt, and with no shame. No matter what the world conscious says, her arrogance, her self-righteousness will not allow her to say or to even consider, “Perhaps I have made a mistake.”

America there has been many mistakes. More than 30 years ago Martin Luther King reminded you of the words of the bible which says, that pride and arrogance goes before a great fall. You are falling and you can’t even see it. You have been warned and you are being warned, but you’re drunk with your own quest for power and wealth. It is time to see that your imbalance will never lead you to seek truth, justice and righteousness on behalf of all of humanity. Wake up, before you begin to be a remnant of the past, like the Incas, the Mayans, the Babylonians, the Romans and other great empires of the past that are only relics of history. Wake up Amerimacka before Injustice comes knocking on your door.

And for those who think this doesn’t apply to you, if you’re not fighting against injustice, your complicity is guilt enough to condemn you.

There's is yet work to do...peace and blessings to all of us, for we are Troy Davis!



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Serendipity Books, R.I.P., Peter Howard

Serendipity Books, R.I.P.

Who doesn’t love buying online? It offers a bigger selection for less money, ordered from the privacy of your home and delivered there too. But if e-commerce is great for consumers, it is more problematic for citizens. The sales tax that people pay in physical stores helps pay for the upkeep of their communities. The physical stores also provide employment; these workers can afford in turn to buy things and thus keep the economy afloat. Few such benefits flow from e-commerce.

The bookseller Peter B. Howard, shortly before his death.The bookseller Peter B. Howard, shortly before his death.

California, with a colossal hole in its budget and 12 percent unemployment, is confronting this quandary as it tries to compel Amazon.com to collect sales tax. Amazon is so confident that bargain-hunting consumers will rally to its side that it is essentially ignoring the law. Maybe they will.

But as the battle between the state and the retailer was heating up late last week, news came that Serendipity Books in Berkeley was closing. Antiquarian stores like Serendipity were once plentiful. They specialized in winnowing the detritus of the past, plucking the important material for collectors, scholars and institutions. Serendipity was for decades one of the best such shops, and eventually one of the last. In the years to come, people will have a hard time appreciating there were such places, where anyone who wanted to could look and learn and buy, or maybe just while away a rainy afternoon. So let’s spend a moment giving Serendipity its due.

The store was founded by Peter B. Howard in the early 1960s with the notion that the best bookshop in the world would have one copy of everything. It sometimes seemed as if Serendipity fulfilled this dream. Potential customers were confronted with a warren of rooms, some two stories high, with good books stuffed absolutely everywhere, including in shopping bags blocking the narrow aisles. Although there was clearly an underlying order, its nature was hard to discern; there were no signs. People would wander in a daze, sometimes asking, “Do you sell books here?” They thought it was a library or perhaps a museum.

The lack of direction was on purpose and in earnest. Mr. Howard wanted people to search for books and find not just what they were looking for but the book next to it, which they might want more if they only realized it existed. “The bookstore is an infinite array of material and knowledge of which you know nothing,” he said. “If you’re focused, you go to the library.”

Or, these days, you go online. Serendipity largely ignored the Web
as a publicity and selling device and the Internet returned the favor.

Mr. Howard might have created a wonder-filled shop, but on Yelp the reviews were few and grudging. One reviewer complained that prices were too high. Another said the store offered too little when it was buying your old books. Neither seemed to appreciate that the store could exist only because there was a merchant in the middle of these transactions trying to make a living, and that there was a benefit to the community that it was this way.

Mr. Howard bought and sold collections as well as individual books, including the world’s greatest assortment of lost race fiction (a peculiar American fixation in the early years of the 20th century; Tarzan was its most famous exemplar); a 5,000-item gathering of material about baseball dating from 1819; proletarian literature from the 1930s; classic film scripts from all eras; geoscience and paleontology published between 1550 and 1850; pioneering collections of fiction and nonfiction about the oil industry and the Vietnam War. The store featured Carl Sandburg’s guitar and Jack London’s spears. The poetry sections were a trove of obscure versifiers, unrivaled by any store in the country. There were vast holdings of Canadiana, books in Russian from the early Soviet period, every book in seemingly every edition by John Steinbeck, from $20,000 inscribed copies of The Grapes of Wrath to paperback reprints. Mr. Howard believed in volume and breadth.

You needed to know what you were doing to take advantage of Serendipity, which used to be the way the world worked. Finding the books was only the beginning. After you stumbled on things you wanted to take home – perhaps through persistence, perhaps by serendipity – you would be making a mistake to take your choices to the bookkeeper in her alcove, the closest the store had to a checkout till. Instead, the smart customer would take them up to Mr. Howard, pausing first to see if the Giants had won their most recent game.

The fortunes of the team often affected how much he would charge for books. This quirk was so pronounced it was immortalized in print. In Samuel Gottlieb’s “Overbooked in Arizona,” the tale of a book collector gone mad, the protagonist is driving from Phoenix to Berkeley to buy books at Serendipity when the Giants lose a game they had been winning. He cuts across the median and heads back home, knowing the trip is now in vain.

If your chosen books were already priced, Mr. Howard almost always lowered the sum demanded for each unless he didn’t like you. If they were unpriced, four out of five would be less than you hoped while one would be much more. But you had to take all of them if you wanted a similar deal next time. The books would be written up by hand on an invoice, a tedious process but on Saturdays Mr. Howard nourished all comers with pastries and coffee. When the books finally changed hands, money did not necessarily follow. Like a good bar, which in some ways it resembled, Serendipity allowed customers to run a tab and pay more or less when they wanted. As I write this, I owe $388.

Suppose you took a book home and belatedly decided, for whatever reason, you did not want it? All Serendipity catalogs were emblazoned with the remark, “Any book may be returned for any reason.” I returned a book. Once. As Mr. Howard complained about my bad faith, I referred to the guarantee. Mr. Howard’s wife, Alison, who was listening, responded sweetly: “We said we’d accept back any book. We didn’t say we’d do it happily.”

Downloading ebooks was nothing like this. Serendipity was a refuge and an education.

And sometimes a pain. Mr. Howard could be a difficult man. “He always had an instant answer he would throw in your face in the manner of some biblical prophet,” the bookseller David Mason wrote. Yet he was also wildly generous, a quality never more on display than in his famous biannual parties when the store would be swept clean and a fabulous all-day feast put on, with suckling pigs and fine wine. It was a way of rooting himself in the community. Customers would walk in with an interesting tale and interesting books, and Mr. Howard would buy them. “Because I own the building, I can have a lot of books, and because I have a lot of books in a visible place, things can happen,” he said.

Mr. Howard was too irascible to train a successor but when he developed pancreatic cancer two years ago, he began trying to sell the store. The price would have been about the seven-figure sum that it takes to buy a nice house in Berkeley, a pittance really. There were no takers. Who wants a half-million books in the Internet Age?

The bookseller was 72 when he died on March 31, Opening Day, while watching his beloved Giants. He checked out in the bottom of the sixth, when the score was still 0-0 and before the Giants could lose. The store hung on a couple more months as the Howard family considered its options. Late last week, Nancy Kosenka, Mr. Howard’s longtime deputy, posted on her Facebook page that Saturday would be it. Sales were brisk. Late in the afternoon, a first-time customer walked in, scanned the shelves in bewilderment and inevitably asked, “Do you sell books here?” Not anymore.


Peter Howard, R.I.P., encouraged the Bancroft Library to acquire the archives of Marvin X. He also was agent for the archives of Eldridge Cleaver and Ishmael Reed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Congo Square West

Congo Square West

Ancient drum beats
rock Berkeley Flea Market
crossroads of Africans in the Bay
Legba land
drummers at the gate
like Peter
rhythms from a land forgotten
land reclaimed
somehow remembered
the ancient dance of Shango
fused with blues and holy ghost shout
these are not true Africans, you say
they cannot speak the mother tongue
dance the ritual moves of ten thousand years in Yorubaland
but sincere and pure they beat their congas, batas, djembes
healing what and where they can in the broken brain cells
wives drop off drummers
women join the circle
dancing to the wind
remembering what they can of sacred moves, leaps, twists, turns
the men from Pelican Bay take their turn
don't be surprised at these holy men
who move and shake and raise arms in praise to some most high god of long ago
but they believe
and they move in holy ghost rhythms
the sweat runs down their foreheads
they do the james brown on the concrete
leaping, sliding jumping
there are those on the sidelines chanting in tongues unknown
known only to the insane
yet the healing is in motion
one day at a time.
--Marvin X

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How Did I Get Here and How Do I Get Back Home?

How Did I Get Here, and How Do I Get Back Home?

Marvin X and Master Sun Ra, his mentor.

How Did I Get Here and How Do I Get Back Home?

I listen to the Kora
I wander into the self lost soul lost
how did I get here
yes, in this land of Babylon
stranger in a strange land
I am naked in the street
take me to the hospital
I am sick
it is the music that I hear
not the ancient music of my soul
call it sold music sold out music
demonic sounds of nothingness and dread
nursery rhymes for sleepy time tea children

Oh, Ancestors, deliver me from this unholy condition
lift me up to my Father's House
let the chains of the dungeon fly from my legs
let me fly home
send the space ship to the rescue
Sun Ra
spread your sacred wings around me
devour me in your love
Oh, Sun Ra we call upon your Wisdom
let us escape the box
let the Creator take us in his grace

We are better than this, wiser than this, more holy than this
the Holy Ghost fills us with His Holy Spirit
we talk in tongues
we fly into space
we are not in this place
we are in a world where our bodies dance into the sun
fly into the moon
we spread our wings and fly to Jupiter, Mars, to the Sun
Space is the Place
Space is the Place
--Marvin X

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened at Berkeley High's All Class Reunion Gathering

Berkeley High's Reunion

This past Saturday, Berkeley High held an all-class reunion at San Pablo Park. Ironically, although Berkeley High has been known as an integrated school, this all class reunion was 99% North American African. I had the pleasure of the 1%, a drunk white man who somehow found me among the two thousand North American Africans and decided to sit at my feet. And then proceeded to light a cigarette. I asked him to kindly get out of my Motherfuckin' face, which his girlfriend persuaded him to do, after all, it was clear they had wondered into the park, not knowing it was a Black gathering.

FYI, the gathering was a great gathering of Berkeley Black Unity, without incident and totally peaceful, with blues music and vendors selling food and Black Art. Old school mates embraced and enjoyed the sunny day.

Briefly, I stood talking with Dr. Robert McKnight, Chair of African American Studies at Berkeley High. He requested his remarks remain off the record, but I will say Black Studies at Berkeley High is in crisis and the District is doing everything it can to eliminate it, although it is perhaps the first high school Black Studies Department in America. Dr. McKnight gave out his business card that said the following on the back:
We Ain't Going Out Like That
Join the Struggle
"Keep the Legacy Alive"
Kiswahili 1
African American Literature
African American Psychology
African American Journalism
Psycho/sociology of Black Male/female relations
Gospel Choir/Black Student Union
African Dance
African American Economics
African American History

The reality is that Black Studies is under attack across America. It is part of the general attack on Black people, although we think Black Studies is suffering because it has become disconnected from community, thus ignoring its mission to serve the community. Of course, in crisis it returns to community for support to "keep the legacy alive."

We know the radical black scholars were long ago removed from most black studies programs, especially in higher education. The tenured Negroes were brought it and have remained to this day with a Miller Lite version of Black Studies, if not a totally escapist version that stresses Pan Africanism above local or the national needs of North American Africans. After all, the radicals were removed because they focused on local and national needs, putting Black Studies in harmony with community, not white academia that never desired black inclusion or black educational upliftment. Would this not mean the liberation of community or nation time?

We hope Mr. McKnight can save black studies at Berkeley High, although he admitted he is tired, exhausted from fighting the administration at every turn. He may get the community support needed if his program can indeed relate to the critical needs facing our people at this hour.
--Marvin X

Sunday, August 28, 2011

We take Credit Cards: Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality

Black Bird Press
Now Again in Print: Marvin X Classic!
Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, essays on consciousness, Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA, 2007, reprinted 2011

Order now: $19.95, plu
s $5.00 for s/h.
For credit card orders: call 510-575-2225

Credit Card Logos

This is an encyclopedia of knowledge. He's a griot if there ever was one!
--Mumia Abu Jamal, Live from Death Row

Marvin X has done extraordinary mind and soul work in bringing our attention to the importance of spirituality, as opposed to religion, in our daily living. Someone�maybe Kierkegaard or maybe it was George Fox who�said that there was no such thing as "Christianity." There can only be Christians. It is not institutions but rather individuals who make the meaningful differences in our world. It is not Islam but Muslims. Not Buddhism but Buddhists. Marvin X has made a courageous difference. In this book he shares the wondrous vision of his spiritual explorations. His eloquent language and rhetoric are varied�sophisticated but also earthy, sometimes both at once.

Highly informed he speaks to many societal levels and to both genders�to the intellectual as well as to the man/woman on the street or the unfortunate in prison�to the mind as well as the heart. His topics range from global politics and economics to those between men and women in their household. Common sense dominates his thought. He shuns political correctness for the truth of life. He is a Master Teacher in many fields of thought�religion and psychology, sociology and anthropology, history and politics, literature and the humanities. He is a needed Counselor, for he knows himself, on the deepest of personal levels and he reveals that self to us, that we might be his beneficiaries.

All of which are represented in his Radical Spirituality�a balm for those who anguish in these troubling times of disinformation. As a shaman himself, he calls too for a Radical Mythology to override the traditional mythologies of racial supremacy that foster war and injustice. If you want to reshape (clean up, raise) your consciousness, this is a book to savor, to read again, and again�to pass onto a friend or lover.
�Rudolph Lewis, Editor, ChickenBones: A Journal

Marvin X is available for readings, lectures and performance. jmarvinx@yahoo.com

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Keyshia Cole Rocks Oakland

photo Princess O. Davis

Keyshia Cole Day in Oakland

Marvin X reads poem dedicated to Keyshia Cole. The poet was accompanied
by Aries and Toya Jordan. As he ended his reading, Keyshia came on stage and the crowd went wild. Keyshia gave a wonderful micro-concert that revealed her awesome talent. Her remarks showed her love of community and she promised this is just the beginning of her giving something back. We need more conscious artists to advance the cultural revolution among North American Africans.

Keyshia Cole's event organizer was Muhammida el Muhajir,
daughter of Marvin X.

photo Princess O. Davis

Muhammida El Muhajir
Hip Hop, the New World Order

British Hip Hop Interviews Hip Hop Producer, Muhammida El Muhajir

Written by Esh
Thursday, 17 March 2011
Muhammida El MuhajirMuhammida El Muhajir was the first person to make a documentary about global Hip Hop. I was lucky enough to get hold of her and find out about her amazing experiences around the world.

Introduce yourself…

My name is Muhammida El Muhajir and I’m a producer and the director of the documentary Hip Hop: The New World Order.

Why did you make the movie?

I was initially inspired to make the film, primarily because here in America we don’t get a lot of information on things that are happening outside of our country, unless it’s… tragedy, you know, we don’t really hear about what young people in other countries are doing. You can find out but you really have to do a lot of research.

Whereas I feel in the international countries they all are aware of what’s happening in America, with American youth and our pop culture, and I just knew that Hip Hop was having a really tremendous impact on young people here in our country, and I imagined it was having similar impacts in other countries as well, but we just didn’t get a lot of the information.

Being here, you’d be at nightclubs and you’d see these Japanese kids, all decked out with timbs and gold teeth, so what’s happening over there that they are so into it. Also here in the States, for the most part, Hip Hop was looked at pretty negatively, you know, it’s very violent, it talks about women, all things that are very true, but I don’t think people were looking at the positive influences it was having.

How did you go about deciding which countries and artists to put in the film?

Muhammida El MuhajirMuhammida:
As far as the countries, I thought about places that it was interesting, that Hip Hop was there, or places where it was really popular. So, those were the countries that I went to: I went to Japan, Cuba, France, UK, Germany, Holland, South Africa and Brazil. So, again just being on this side of the water I didn’t have a lot of information about which artists were really big. Usually I would have one or two contacts and once I got to the country I’d find out who’s who and what’s what and be led to the right people like some kind of crazy Hip Hop domino effect.

You made some good contacts then?

Most of the artists that I interviewed and started some sort of relationship with, they for the most part are like the forefathers of Hip Hop in their respective countries. So it just so happened that those people are the people who set the foundation for Hip Hop in many of their countries. So we talk about Japan, DJ Muro, Zeebra, K Dub Shine, all those guys who are still very influential in the Hip Hop scene there, but were there at the beginning. That goes for pretty much each country.

The documentary was a totally independent project so it’s been about 10 years - I’ll stop and I’ll go off on some other project and come back to it. But now it’s like a historical reference. I think that there are a lot of other documentaries that have come out since that time, but I don’t think anything really touches on all those people and all those countries and really shows it - it was a guerilla style project so very intimate - you, me, my little camera and these guys at their homes or in their studios or in their car so you get a kind of birds eye view of these guys talking about their experience, and just seeing them, eating balls of super noodles or whatever it is. It was an interesting glimpse into their lives.

I interviewed the director of The Furious Force of Rhymes, Joshua Atesh Litle, who was the 2nd person to do a global Hip Hop documentary…

Actually I think I was the first person to do it. Mine came out in various stages, but before I started on my project I have never really seen or heard something similar, maybe something about Hip Hop in Cuba or little things… but I think what people have done has been amazing and just to see the growth and the interest in international Hip Hop, I am really excited about that.

So you’re still a fan of international Hip Hop?


I haven’t had an opportunity to see your movie in full yet…

Muhammida El MuhajirMuhammida:
Part of that problem is, as I said, it was a totally independent project so it has not been distributed yet, so I’m working on that for next year. Again, I put it on the back burner, but now it is a historical reference piece and when people are studying the art and the culture of Hip Hop, it can be a very useful reference, in addition to a lot of the other projects that you mentioned and have highlighted.

What year did you begin with the film?

I went to Japan in 1998, that was the first country I went to. It wasn’t like an ongoing project where I shot continuously. I was working full time, so maybe I’d take a holiday and go to another country. It was my own money, I’d raise money… so it was shot over a period of about three years.

Hip Hop has a political angle, did you put that in your film too?

What I put in my film was, I really tried to show how in each country people are using this art form. For what forms of expression is Hip Hop being used as a vehicle? So all the things that people here hate about Hip Hop are really the things that make it uniquely American. Those are all the things that are part of American culture and society that people are hating… It’s really not the Hip Hop. Hip Hop is a gun that you could use to kill, to do violence, or it could be used to protect your family… it’s not Hip Hop itself that’s violent or negative or misogynistic, it’s really the American experience.

Here, we are one of the most violent countries in the whole world. So that experience is going to be reflected in our Hip Hop. I think that other countries where materialism and consumerism and all those issues are not a factor - their Hip Hop does not reflect that. No other place in the world is like it is here in America. I dig that people were using it as a political platform. Artists like Racionas MCs in Brazil - when (former Brasilian president) Lula ran, he tapped into their power and popularity, and that’s a huge force, that can be used for positivity and really it’s become a youth movement.

I titled my film Hip Hop: The New World Order because I saw it as this new force and this new movement. If it was used in the proper way it could really make a lot of social change.

Muhammida El Muhajir

So being in New York, the Hip Hop capital, do you get a lot of attention for the film?

Well definitely in the past, people are looking for it. I get calls every week or so from Universities or somewhere that’s looking to purchase it or screen it and I’ve screened in the past and got lots of press internationally. The people are definitely waiting for it to come…

The title, Hip Hop: The New World Order, has some interesting parallels with the music right now…

Speaking about conspiracy theories and things like that, people here are looking at this commercial sort of Hip Hop in America as a way to forward some of those capitalism platforms and promote all the things that being in a capitalist country, benefits the system, the consumerism, the ‘me me me’ attitude. Just a lot of those things that are characteristics of this society and help it propel forward whether it’s positive or negative.

Then you hear stories about this artist or that artist who are part of the Masons, all those things, on YouTube, so you never know… Part of this New World Order is that we gonna have this common government and common financial and political system, and I thought it was kind of a play on that with Hip Hop because traveling around the world, you see that through Hip Hop, kids are having this commonality of language, of style, of dress. Because I was down with Hip Hop, I was immediately connected to other people - despite language barriers or anything else we had that in common and that immediately bonded us.

Tell me about your personal experiences of Hip Hop before you made the movie…

Muhammida El MuhajirMuhammida:
I grew up with Hip Hop. I am about the same age, maybe a couple of years younger than what we consider modern day Hip Hop. I am a fan, an observer, an analyst I would say, all those things. I worked in the music industry, I worked in the film industry, I was a casting director. I’ve been involved in Hip Hop and in music in a lot of different levels working with artists and record labels so I’ve had a very close relationship with the music and the culture.

Which artists would you recommend right now?

I have always loved artists who have been able to really combine social commentary with the art and do it a very cool way so it’s not totally preachy, but you can jam to it to. So I always loved Dead Prez for that, they’ve really been at the forefront of that. I love Mos Def, and some of the new guys out here like Lupe, and I’m still following some of the international artists, mainly the ones that are featured in my film, Anónimo Consejo in Cuba, Oxmo Puccino, he just put out a live album…

I mentioned the relationship I had with some of the artists. Oxmo Puccino was in New York and I filmed him just at a café somewhere in New York, it was just crazy. And with Zeebra riding around in his jeep in the streets of Toyko. I love to see the growth that those artists have had… Roots Manuva in London. People who are really innovators in the music and the culture, worldwide - Blak Twang in the UK. A few months ago I ran into DJ Vadim on the streets of New York. These are people who are like the major power players in international Hip Hop, and I was really grateful to have them all as part of the project.

Even some of the American artists like Questlove who was in Tokyo when I shot him. Method Man, who really gave a humorous perspective on international Hip Hop with his experiences travelling abroad… Dead Prez were also in the film and I shot them in South Africa, they were pretty much the first US artists to go to South Africa and do a concert. Some really historic things happening in Hip Hop are incorporated into the piece.

I cant wait to see it!

By: Esh | IBMCs on Facebook

Trailer on youtube:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Keyshia Cole in Oakland, Thursday, Frank Ogawa Plaza

Keyshia Cole

Oh, Sister Keyshia

Oakland loves you

Like you love Oakland

We honor and respect you

Your creativity, your humanity

The wisdom of your life

Lessons of love between you and your mom and family

All sisters and brothers need to know and master

The unconditional love that is you

The faith and determination

We love your inspiration

We need your love lessons right now in Oakland

We need you to let your little light shine

So we can see through the dark moments that consume us

When love is gone and bitterness makes us drunk

Hateful and spiteful, jealous and envious

Oh, Sister Keyshia

Sing us a happy song

How you got ova

In spite of all the blocks in your path

All the rats and vermin, the roaches and flies

Couldn’t turn you round

Just made you stronger

Made you the beautiful woman we love.

--Marvin X


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Notes on Teaching Youth

Notes on Teaching Youth


Marvin X

Be humble at all times, your future is in your hands, no matter what else, you will not be here always, a new generation is upon us that must be taught our traditions, all the technology of the global village, high finance, the essentials of capitalism no matter if we call ourselves Communist, Socialist, Pan African, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu.

There must be some economic system whereby men and women can engage in commerce, sell, barter, consign. We don’t give a damn what you call it; just organize a way to deliver goods and services to the people.

We only know this: no one should starve in the village, nor be homeless, or illiterate, or in ill health without a medical plan.

Your children shall need your counsel and advice always, so be there for them, first setting example, we know words are cheap. Let the children see us doing the right thing for ourselves, and then they will know what to do, more than likely they are doing the right thing already, just might need a little common sense advice.

In teaching youth, we should consider their level, not our superior educations, whether academic or self taught in the model of Merritt College students Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Ernie Allen, Marvin X, et al.

Was not the purpose of those rallies on the steps of the old Merritt College on Grove St. /Martin Luther King, Jr. to “break it down to the masses”? And so we must break down abstract terminology such as freedom, slavery, racism, capitalism, socialism, Pan Africanism, white supremacy.

Give definitions, break words into syllables. Do not assume a twenty-five year old male or female has any knowledge of the above subject matter. Do not assume they can read. Do not assume they have traveled ten miles out of their turf. Do not assume youth living in Newark have visited New York. Do not assume youth in Oakland have visited San Francisco. I took a twenty-five year old female to San Francisco recently, who grew up in Berkeley/Oakland. When we came up from the BART or rapid transit system, she said, “Wow, look at these big buildings. Wow, they are so tall. Wow, look at all these people on the street. Look at these big banks on every corner. And they treated me so nice at the bank, not like Oakland and Berkeley. I didn’t know this world existed. I have to come over here more often."

Mayor Jerry Brown, now California Attorney General, used to say Oakland was closer to San Francisco than San Francisco, in his racist attempt to gentrify West Oakland. But how often do West Oakland youth get on the BART for a visit to San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a romantic city based on tourism, yet how many youth are plugged into the multi-billion dollar tourist industry, mainly they are at the wharf as dummies, robots and hip hop dancers. Thank God for that.

But how shall we teach them economic self sufficiency? Get a job and be pimped for life? Become a wage slave and teach your children to go to college so they can also become a cog in the wheel of capitalism and slavery (C. Eric Williams, who himself became a victim of capitalism and slavery as prime minister of Trinidad, see Marvin X, The Black Power Revolt In Trinidad, Journal of Black Poetry, circa 1972).

Micro Credit Loans for Youth

This is a process of loaning small amounts of money, say one hundred to three hundred dollars to youth so they can “come up” in a legal endeavor, not selling drugs, pimping, murder, but some project to deliver what the people need, such as food, clothing, shelter.

Visit the cities of America and we shall see what needs are addressed on the street, not to speak of inside businesses.

On the street youth sell T shirts, incense, oils, jeans and other urban gear. They sell books, especially in New York. And there are Latin youth selling fruit, vegetables, DVDs and CDs, black youth do this also to a high degree, to the point police do not harass them since they are doing something for self and not causing mayhem.

Absent Fathers

No matter the age of your children, connect with them, they need you, whether they say so or not, no matter if your children are 20, 30, 40, 50, they need you, your guidance, wisdom, love and attention. Sons need you, daughters need you. Tell them what a man must do to be a man. Ask their forgiveness for your unmanly or unwomanly actions. And clean up your act. Do better. Make a visible recovery from your wretchedness. Let your children see that you love them and that your love is unconditional, no matter what they do, success or failure, you are with them to the very end of time.

Black on Black Crime

Black on black crime is symptomatic and problematic of the perilous condition under which we live on a daily basis in the hell holes of America. We shall continue killing each other until we come to know who we are as Divine beings in Human form, that our bodies are the temple of the Divine, our bodies and minds, thus we should delete all negative thought such as hatred, jealousy, envy, and other negative thoughts that prevent us from enjoying the Divine plane of life.

On the matter of murder, my wise adviser told me, “When you kill your brother, you kill yourself. Two of you are dead. The killer is a dead man walking. As the Bible says, As Thou Hast Done, So Shall It Be Done to Thee.

Don’t be hypocritical, youth and adults. I know so many youth and adults who have lost loved ones to violence. No one is rioting over their loved ones, no one is protesting their lost. No one cares. The relatives and friends suffer in silence. They cannot discuss their grief with anyone, no one wants to know of their lost.

There are few mental health and grief counselors in the hood. The Oakland Grief Centers the City set up are a good example of what must be done to alleviate the trauma of life in the Wilderness of North America. What can we expect? More importantly, what can we do to advance our agenda for the masses, the wretched of the earth? No struggle, no progress, power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and never will—our great ancestor Frederick Douglas told us this in the 19th Century.

There must be a higher level of organizing than rioting through the streets. If and when they come down on the people, do you have food, water, generators in reserve? Do you realize one flush of your toilet consumes five gallons of water? Do you have five gallons of water to drink, let alone in your toilet? Have you heard drought and famine are coming? Are you prepared? They taught us in Boy Scouts to be prepared.

Of Scholars and Teachers

Oh, my God, in the spirit of David Walker, let the poor righteous teachers do their duty to children and youth. We honor them and pray they shall remain on their posts, teaching the uncivilized youth who truly seek wisdom and knowledge. One need only converse with them in a moment of quiet, such as jail, prison or a depressed moment in the hood, away from peers and parents, on the street as I have encountered so many times on the streets of Oakland, especially at 14th and Broadway, my outdoor classroom, aka, Academy of da Corner, and the main scene of rioting over the New Year’s Day murder of Oscar Grant by the BART police.

Teachers and scholars must teach a new way. A radical approach is needed at this time, surely we all agree on this? We must at least have food, clothing and shelter, basic needs. All else is talk, hype, sham, don’t believe the hype!

Shall our children and youth be homeless, abandoned, school dropouts, prison bound, or shall we speak to them with parental authority, warning them of death on the streets, in unsafe sexual encounters, hanging out with drinking and gambling buddies. And please consider the tone test when encountering the police. They can kill you, jail you or release you, depending on your tone of voice. You must pass the tone test with another brother and sister as well. Everybody is on edge, stressed, so watch your tone of voice, watch how you look at people, don't stare. Many people come on the street in a mind-altered state, thus they often imagine you have said something you didn't actually say, or they assume you were staring at them when you weren't. So be cool on the street. Teach youth how to act to survive in the urban jungle. There is no other lesson.

Take Advantage of Obama Drama

Youth should take full advantage of this critical moment of change in the history of America and the world. In the next few months, take advantage of economic and educational opportunities the government will offer as a way out of the depression caused by greed and other cancers of the addiction to white supremacy, especially during Obama's reelection campaign. He will spend a billion dollars to get reelected or reselected, so figure out how much of that billion you can get hustling Obama gear, T-shits, caps, buttons, photos, etc. Don't sit around like a frog on a lily pad. You can copy color pictures of Obama for 35 cents, get picture frames from the dollar store, then sell them for $5.00-10.00 or more. Life is a thinking man's game, so think! You can do it, your ancestors did!

--El Muhajir/Marvin X