Thursday, April 25, 2013

Black Scholar Magazine Hits the Streets of Oakland at Academy of da Corner

This week the Black Scholar Magazine's pamphlet series was given out on the streets of Oakland at Marvin X's Academy of da Corner. The poet had found in the Hare archives a box of Dr. Hare's pamphlet Combatting Black Apathy. Dr. Hare said he didn't mind if they were given out freely to spread consciousness in the hood. The 1973 pamphlet is a classic on the social psychology of life in the hood then and now. The essay opens with the following:

There is a problem gripping the black movement--and crippling it. One encounters it in every college audience and every pool room or house party or wherever black people gather and ponder the revolutionary course for the black future or try to clarify the confusion of the present. It is the problem that revolves around apathy and it correlates, futility and despair....

Dr. Hare continues:

...Within this nothingness, we remain convinced of our own powerlessness, which we magnify, by identifying with the all-powerful oppressor. We are reluctant to rebel against the oppressor who has, so to speak, come to represent our ego ideal. We turn, therefore, into intransigent pessimism, into put-down militancy, labeling everything anybody tries to do as somehow jivetime, niggerish, bourgeois, or not "for real." In compensation, we jump super bad, so bad that it is not necessary for us to act. And since there can be no real solution of us, our solution is escape....

In the course of our escape we run the gamut of preoccupations with palliatives. One wave of brothers and sisters may trip out on the excessive use of drugs or religious fanaticism ( or even astrology....

Thus we are engulfed in a forest fire of pessimism and quiescence. And there is a danger that this pessimism can lead (at worst) to a fratricidal crossfire of bullets; at best to perennial or pathological bickering--which it has done. Historically, fratricide occurs at a certain stage in a movement, when an oppressed race begins to feel too weak to fight the real enemy, the oppressor himself. They begin to turn their anger in upon themselves and develop self-hatred. This self- hatred is projected on to their brothers.

The more acute case of this syndrome will manifest itself in maverick assassination, which in its more hideous forms, amounts to collective suicide. We must come to see that to kill a brother or sister similarly victimized by oppression, but struggling for freedom in a different way, is like killing a part of oneself, the hated part of oneself. Unfortunately, fratricide will increase. But we can offset it by shaping a clear picture of who our real enemy is and by moving to combat white racism; so that the frustration and anguish otherwise unrelieved will not accumulate and get turned inward upon ourselves. 

Another way of offsetting fratricide and pathogenic squabbling is to build a genuine love for our black brothers and sisters, to replace self hatred with self love.... For this is our basic task, to build a sense of unity, unity of struggle, even when there is no unity of opinion. Because it is necessary to realize that we are all in this quagmire together; and it doesn't move us any closer to freedom when we unload our misdirected anguish on ourselves.

As things now stand, we have broken off into minute ideological camps, into tiny cults and revolutionary cliques--each believing itself to be in possession of the only way to fight the enemy....

The people were happy to receive the pamphlet that sold for 35 cents in 1973 but could sell for $35.00 today. Marvin gave  multiple copies to some of the street people to pass out. They did so gladly
for a couple of dollars so they could get something to eat.

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