A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
Monday, May 12, 2014
Towards the Elders Council
I have been working on this project, in attempts to bring together some of the most progressive minds in our community to provide leadership on a National Level. One of the first orders of business is to begin the steps toward forming a viable and vocal Council of Elders, in consultation with Dr. Maaskelah Khemet, who has written the only book on the subject, as it pertains to the US. Dr. John Jackson, of the UNIA, has also offered his guidance and participation in building a COE. I will begin reaching out to other Elders around the country to employ their efforts also. The recent events in Nigeria demonstrate the conceerted need to have a unified, coordinated and conscious leadership Cadre coming from our community, who can speak on issues of Global and National conceerns to African Americans, specifically, and African people in general. Any recommendations you may have, please forward their email. We can no longer just depend to on the Congressional Black Caucus or Al Sharpton, to be the only voices of African people's interests. We need progressive voices willing to show leadership in advancing our collective interests. Please share your critiques and correctives of the plan below.
THE HARAMBEE MISSION
To represent and advocate for the collective interests of all African People in the Global Marketplace, and to engage African people in business and development enterprises, which reflect African values, goals and aspirations as component parts of the Global Community.
The Harambee Plan is designed to facilitate and protect the territorial and cultural integrity of the continent of Africa, and to define the substantive relationships between it, and its African Communities globally (diaspora). Residual vestiges of European and Western domination, exploitation and influences must be challenged, and the re-emergence of indigenous African solutions and approaches must be pursued and sought. It is the intent of the Harambee Plan to provide the institutional framework and structure to ensure and facilitate such a process. The Harambee Plan shall form relationships with persons and institutions which represent the values of African Community building in their development approaches for the African continent and diaspora. While Harambee will focus on African models and paradigms of Community/Nation Building, this is not at the total exclusion of other approaches, but does so with the recognition that their is a rich tradition in African Civilization which still requires exploration, and which inspires African Creative Genious. It is this creativity which Harambee Recognition seeks to penetrate and realize. The values which form the basis of this nexus are:
1. Respect for and Priority of the Human Interests
2. Respect for and Recognition as Spiritual Stewards of Nature, the Land and its Resources
3. Recognition of Health Care and Basic Education as Fundamental human rights
4. Fundamental Goal of Social Economy is economic equality which negates economic exploitation
5. In African Community, African values and ethics are Paramount, though we Respect and Recognize others.
6. African Creativity and Spirituality form a Synergy in how they are expressed in our culture
7. The Emerging African Personality does not seek to be Superior, but Supreme African in its Character and Expressions, as a value based proto-type.
There are basically two ways to become a part of the Harambee Family:
1. Person - One who has an invention, small business and seeks to become a part of the skills bank of Harambee Enterprises. Persons and/or groups can act as Consultants or Project Managers on any given projects
2. Institution - This would be a business, community institution and/or entity which subscribes to the Harambee Protocols, and which chooses to enter into an agreement, to partner on given projects as mutually agreed upon.
A database will be formed of such persons and institutions and determination made which have the needed and available resources to impact given projects as they arise. What will distinguish Harambee Consultants is not only their professionalism, proficiency, and ability, but their value orientation.
Harambee will also become clearinghouse for the authenticity and quality of goods and services which enter and exit the African Marketplace.
The House of Harambee is a communitarian concept, which means "Let' All Pull Together" in Swahili. We use this term because it captures the spirit of building family, community and nationhood in this Era of African Renaissance. African Renaissance is a term which refers to the period between 2011 and 2020, generally and it is the aim of the House of Harambee to qualify its meaning and significance, and to define in practical ways the parameters of the Renaissance Movement. As such, the House of Harambee (HOH) is a Think Tank which provides research and education which inform the formulation and promotion of policy, programs and projects which are based on fundamental and basic African values. Some of these values are to be found in the Kwanzaa Accords and are known by many, as the Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba); Unity, Self Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. Another set of values which form the foundation for the House of Harambee is the value system of Ma'at, which served as the social, moral, ethical, economic, political, cultural and spiritual foundation for the longest lasting civilization in history, Ancient Kemet (Egypt). These values are known as the Seven Virtues of Ma'at; Truth, Justice, Harmony, Balance, Order, Propriety, and Reciprocity.
Values matter in this context, as they form the basis upon which social policy is determined and as African and African descended people, we can no longer afford to base our social policy considerations on the "values" of those who seek to oppress, exploit or are otherwise indifferent to our collective needs, interests and aspirations as National and/or Pan African Communities. Thus, Harambee is a Liberational Project, which recognizes that if Renaissance goals are to be achieved, then we must engage in the cultural battle to win the hearts and minds of our people, first, for until we win that battle, not only are our economic and political objectives unachievable, they are unthinkable, without the categories and concepts to conceive them. The value systems above, and the others which we engage, give us the paradigmatic framework to meet these cultural challenges as we collectively seek to arrive at solutions, strategies, tactics, policies, programs and projects which advance our struggle forward to more progressive and final end.
In this regard, Harambee does not limit itself to just becoming a Think Tank, but also will take a pro-active posture of being an advocate and promoter for its' policy and strategic positions. This will be accomplished through our strategic partnerships with such groups as the Congress of African People, Friends of the African Union, African Scientific Institute, Urban Tech Fair, AJ Action Team, Simba Ghana, Yedma of Uganda, African Union, Sankofa Press, Harambee Women,Harambee Men, Harambee Youth (these three form Harambee Circles) and other affiliates with whom we share a common vision. While these will be vital institutions by which our research and educational findings will be disseminated, the following will be key and distinct areas of focus which formulate the Harambee Plan:
1. Spiritual Development - Research into various African spiritual/religious traditions and those derived from them. Study will be done on the value/ethical base and system, fundamental practices, and rituals. This knowledge will be taught in Rites of Passage, in addition to the role of spirituality in dance, song, storytelling, drumming, etc. This component will also be charged with researching, institutionalizing and promotion of re-enforcing cultural institutions such as holidays, naming ceremonies, Birth Whispers, funerary services, Rites ceremonies and protocols, morning/evening exercise, Fasting/Health days and practices, Puberty Rites, etc.
2. History - Study of methodologies to write corrected history; historiography; preserve archives, and the building of museums and libraries. Use of multi-media sources to discuss and disseminate Pan African History, and to promote this history in Theater, Film, Song, Storytelling, Radio, Dance and other communication instruments. These endeavors can form the basis of new industries. A true history of African history must be fully integrated into the educational system, such that parents and children benefit equally.
3. Social Organization
A. Education - Study into various forms of African pedagogy and teaching modalities (dance, song, storytelling, theater, drum); expanding and refining the study of Africology and teaching its concepts in distance/virtual learning; developing content and a more conceptual basis for Black/Africana Studies program; means of establishing Pan African universities and accreditation system, recognized on a global level. Feeder (K-12) schools, called Academy's will have specialized focus in STEM, Natural Healing, Communications, etc. Physical conditioning will include organized sports, yoga, capoeira, martial arts, nutrition, and weight training. Key to education is to discover indigenous forms of instruction which provide viable alternatives to Euro-centric forms, and which are more adapted to our learning capacities. Each of these modalities can and will be linked and channeled into the International Movement to bring literacy to all corners of the globe, based on our experience with African children and adults.
B. Health - We must explore health care delivery systems which are adapted to the needs of our people and their respective communities. Clinics for rural areas, and Coops for urban centers should be coordinated and linked with each other. A key distinction and value orientation of African Health Care is that it is people centered and not profit motivated. Health care is a right and not a privilege, and therefore ways should be found to make it free where possible, and where not free, at least affordable. The goal is for free universal health care. Study and research should be done of African herbs, plants and botanicals for their medicinal value, along with their interactions with each other and known drugs where Integrative Medicine is required. Comparative studies should be done with other indigenous and wholistic systems, such as Oriental, Native American, Ayervedic, etc. Plants must be tested for medicinal value, before any reforestation processes are initiated. New industries include herbs and botanical farming especially for such herbs as Moringa, Neem, etc. Multi-media will be used to build a global market for these new industries, as dependence on Western drugs are reduced.
C. Collective Concern - We must develop our own systems for caring for the disadvantaged, sick, autistic, and those not a part of the economy yet. A guiding principle and value in this regard must be that everyone in community has a role and function, and most look to contribute in some meaningful and humane way. Noone in African community is considered to be a Welfare recipient. Each are valuable to the building of Community. Again, traditional paradigms can serve as a model.
D. Rebuilding Family Structures - Research must be done into family forms, and how to build support structures for them to be/become successful. Family must be linked to community and nation building projects. An integral part of rebuilding family is to research ways and means of personal healing by both Men and Women, and to aggressively address Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS). Our healers must receive specialty training to address this Mass phenomena. A key therapeudic model to explore, is that all become actively engaged in community building and Adult Rites of Passage.
E. Youth Development - Providing youth with a quality childhood and preparing them to become responsible participants in Civil Society is one of our greatest challenges. While paradigms from traditional African society will be helpful, we must incorporate a Standardized Rights of Passage which can be applied throughout the Pan African Community, and which allows for social movement from one location to another, without loss of benefits and production. Certain principles of Rights of Passage must be institutionalized as part of the Curriculum. In exchange for Free or reduced rate for education, youth can agree to become trained for Crisis Intervention, Recovery and Rebuilding. Alternatives can be explored by being trained for survival training, working with infirmed Elderly, small children or other forms of National Service (Nigeria has such a system for study).
F. Labor - Modern society, whether industrial or agrarian, must address the question of labor's relationship to production and provide equitable policies which mitigate against the possibility of exploitation of one class by another. This will be be one of the great challenges of the African Renaissance, if it is to live out the true and real meaning of its goals. In a class based society, the idea that the market will balance these relationships is totally erroneous, and is an area for serious research and remedies as we seek to build a new social order for people of African Descent.
G. Gender - While certain of these areas of concern might be addressed in Family Development, family is not a remedy or solution for many, most gender issues. Africa has one of the longest traditions of inclusiveness of women in the social fabric. These traditions has been interrupted by the Holocost of Enslavement and the onslaught of Western Cultural Hegemony. Again, the challenge of our research would look into paradigms in our path which would be instructive in how we structure our social relations based on equity, complimentarity, mutuality and respect for each persons Role and Function in building Family, Community, Nation, and Global Pan Africanism.
4. Economic Organization and Development - This area deals with how we organize the production and distribution of goods and services in our communities in such a way that such a structural format reflects our values, goals and social objectives. Cooperative Economics, not Free Market Enterprise, is the value which guides economic arrangements in our community, and is based on the notions, that we are our brother and sisters' keeper, that we support our own businesses first, and that we practice social entrepreneurship. As evidenced by the African Union's 2063 Agenda. There is also a value for Planning our economic platforms far in advance in order to guide its direction in the interest of the mass number of people. Africa's long tradition for Communitarian ownership of land must also be studied, updated and upgrated to comply with current aspiration and need. It is the aim of Harambee to confront these issues from an African centered perspective and framework. Cheik Ante Diop in his seminal work, "Black Africa: Economic and Cultural Basis of a Federated State", states conclusively, the need to take inventory of every Economic Sector, and to critically assess its best locale, role and function in the impending industrialization process, and the cultural nuances which affect each sector. He also posits, that we must be clearly aware of caveats for given sectors, such as oils spills, and disposal of nuclear waste. Given the creativity of the African personality, as Fanon points out, each of these economic sectors have the possibility of giving rise for other forms of industry. These Economic Sectors include the following:
1. Construction - Africanized Architecture
2. Planning - New Community Structures
3. Energy - Solar, Wind, Bio, hydro thermal
4. Waste Management - Recycling
5. Creative Production - African Theater, Art, Photography, Film, Storytelling, Dance, Drum, Music, Spoken Word, Sport, Competitive STEM
7. Aeronautics - including Space Stations, Airplane building
8. Auto Industry
9. Fashion - Sankofa Concept Themes (Natural hair, henna, waistbeads, african adornments, body and beauty care, Dress)
5. Political Organization and Governance - Politics is defined as the means and structure by which society gains, maintains and uses power. Governance, on the other hand, is more about how the management of human, financial and material resources are structured in a given society in the best interests of the masses of people. Harambee asserts that we must determine how we best transition from one to the other. Rev. Dr. Nikita Imani has provided the best model for this process in his book on Mbongi (http://www.amazon.com/Mbongi-African-Traditional-Political-Institution/dp/0979895103) , a Governance system practiced by a large segment of Bantu peoples traditionally. The challenge of Harambee is to research this and other systems and find ways to adapt them to our needs, and then ways of implementation in a manner consistent with our collective aspirations.
Mwalimu Wesley Kabaila
Chief of Staff - Friends of the African Union's Congress (FAU)
Simbamaat Consultants - Principal
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