Thursday, July 5, 2012


Marvin X is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland.

-Ishmael Reed

The Wisdom of Plato Negro Parables/Fables

Marvin X

He’s the USA’s Rumi! The wisdom of Saadi, the ecstasy of Hafiz!—Bob Holman

Marvin X has been ignored and silenced, like Malcolm X would be ignored and silenced if he had lived on into the Now. He's one of the most extraordinary, exciting black intellectuals living today. 
--Rudolph Lewis, Chickenbones.

Marvin X was my teacher. Many of our comrades came through his Black Arts Theatre: Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Emory Douglas and Samuel Napier.
-Dr. Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party


To all seekers of truth living in the post modern world, this volume of literature is your pragmatic hustler’s guide and intellectual syllabus for success. Some people found it strange when scholar Ishmael Reed first compared Marvin X, the son of Owendell and Marian Jackmon to the classical Greek Philosopher Plato (427 B.C.), son of Ariston and Perictione.

No one can argue that both Plato and Marvin X have proven in their dialogues/writings to be great thinkers and critics of their respective eras. Although separated by over two thousand years of history and clearly two distinct worldviews, research proves that these poet/philosophers strangely share similar souls.

Recently while reading about the Dialogues of Plato, I came across a quote by William Chase Greene, former Professor of Greek and Latin at Harvard University. Greene describes Plato’s works by profoundly stating, “In yet another field the Platonic Philosophy seeks to find an escape from the flux.

Those poets and artist who are content to record the fleeting impressions of the senses, or to tickle the fancies and indulge the passions of an ignorant people by specious emotional and rhetorical appeals, Plato invites to use their art in service of truth.”

These are timeless words describing Plato’s classic works, yet if you simply replace Plato’s name with Marvin X in the above quote, and review Marvin’s work over the past 40 years, you won’t be surprised why he has adopted the title “Plato Negro”. In this classic volume Marvin X truly becomes Plato personified, as we see him transcend from master poet to philosopher.

Plato was once a master poet until the death of his teacher Socrates in (399 B.C.). This marked a turning point in Plato’s life causing him to fully convert to philosophy. The same can be said now with Marvin X who recently lost his master teacher John Douimbia and has since elevated beyond poetry, reincarnating as the philosopher “Plato Negro”.
These “New Dialogues” of The Wisdom of Plato Negro provide a post modern Gorgias, Sophist, Symposium of Laws, on how to hustle and survive in the new Obamian American Republic.

It is clear that Marvin X has become the true Platonist of the day by demonstrating his Platonic love for the people, taking us on a symbolic trip through the parable of the Cave, where all true analysis takes place, inside the true self.

As an African Philosopher, as ironic as it sounds, the works of “Plato Negro” prove to be a major contribution to the field of African Philosophy. These works provide a model for a standard approach toward reflective thinking and critical analysis for African people, still trying to define their own philosophical worldview.

What Plato’s works did to inspire classical Greece and the European generations to follow, we hope this brilliant piece of literature from “Plato Negro” will shed light on Africans today and future generations to come. Write on “Plato Negro”.

--Ptahotep A. El (Tracy Mitchell)
Minister of Education, Academy of Da Corner 


Introduction by Ptah Allah El
Preface: A Dialogue—Ishmael Reed, Dr. Nathan Hare, Dr. Rodney D. Coates

Parables and Fables

Parable of Love p.1
Fable of the Donkey 5
Fable of the Elephant 7
Parable of the Heart 8
Parable of the Sacred 10
Parable of the Poor Righteous Teacher 12
Parable of the Parrot 14
Parable of a Happy Dope Fiend 15
Parable of the Man who loved his Mama 17
Parable of the Madpoet 21
Parable of the Witchdoctor  24
Parable of the Preacher’s Wife 29
Parable of the Rabbit 32
Parable of the Black Bourgeoisie 34
Parable of Iraq  37
Parable of the War that is not War 39
Parable of the Colored People 41
Parable of the Man Who Left the Mountain 44
Parable of  Girl Ignut of Men 48
Parable of the A Students 50
Parable of the Good Children 52
Parable of  Man, Beasts, Ancestors, Nature  53
Parable of the Drunk Man 54
Parable of the Hustler 57
Parable of the Woman at the Well 59
Parable of the Gambler 61
Parable of Letting Go 62
Parable  Death of Dreams 64
Parable of the Bar 66
Parable of the Table 67
Parable of the Bitter Bitch 68
Dialogue on Bitch 70
Parable of the Weather 75
Parable of the City of God 77
Parable of the Sick Soul 78
Parable of the Criminal Society 80
Parable of Monks and Ministers 83
Parable of the Dirty South 85
Parable of the No People  86
Fable of the Black Bird  87
Parable of the Real Woman  89
Parable of the Cell Phone  91
Parable of the Man With the Gun in Hand  94
Parable of the Gangsta  96
Fable of the Rooster and the Hen  98
Parable of the Pit Bull  100
Parable of Black Man and Block Man 102
Fable of the Sleeping Lion  103
Parable of the Baby Carriage  104
Parable of the Woman in the Box 106
Parable of the Fire  107
Parable of the Basket  110
Parable of the Man Who Wanted to Die  111
Parable of Snow in Oakland 113
Parable of Neo-colonialism at University of California, Berkeley 115
Parable of What  Right? 118
Parable of Gov. Moonbeam 120
Parable of the Family 123
Parable of the North American African as Haitian 125
Parable of Same Sex Marriage, Straight Men, Prostitution 128
Parable of Zionism and National Insanity 130
Parable of the Green Revolution 132
Parable of Gang Violence and Political Power 134
Parable of Who Asks the Negro? 137
Parable of broken systems, broken minds 139
Parable of Cornel West as angry black man 143
Parable of the Sub-prime Negro 144
Parable of the Man Who Talked with Cows 146
Parable of A Day in the Life of Plato Negro 147
Dialogue on White Supremacy 151
Parable of Grand Denial 155
Parable of Imagination 159
Parable of Dope, Mamas and Preachers 167
Parable Fall of America  170
Parable Evil in the World 171
Parable of American Gangsta J. Edgar Hoover 173
Parable of Sobriety 177
Parable of Michael Jackson 180
Parable of Suicide 181
Parable of the White Man 183
Parable of the Ash Cloud 188
Parable of One Million School Dropouts 190
Parable of Creativity and Sexuality 192
Parable of Desirelessness 195

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