by Dr. Muhammad Ahmad, aka, Max Stanford
One of the principles of community organizing is for the organizer to walk the area he/she plans to organize. In canvasing the community, one finds out who are the bridge leaders the ones making organic connections between people in various strata or positions in society as well as those who are in organizations, institutions, those who are able to obtain resources, have connections with the local or regional power structure (the movers and shakers).
If at all possible, the organizers and their organizations or networks try to obtain research or a history of the community concerned.
The next aspect for the organizers is for them to decide what element of the community is most progressive, or receptive to the message upon which the social movement is based.
Then, they want to target that sector for their primary (re-education and mobilizing effort.) Within the analysis of the community, the organizers should assess the broad middle strata of where the people’s consciousness or mood is at.
Third, the organizers should analyze the various reactionary sectors, forces and/or organizational leaders, etc., who oppose progressive social change and the reason for their opposition.
Fourth is to “root in” or as Walter Rodney would say, “Grounding with my Brothers.” And of course, we also say, “Groundings with My Sisters.”
Fifth, is initiating a process which uproots and exposes opportunists reactionaries and racist opposition of all forms. This takes a mass re-education of people by the masses of the people or “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”
Now how does this enter into the deep roots of the Back Activist Tradition in knowing your local history? Often the light or spark of developing an endless self-educational process for a young person in the community is stimulated by an elder or elders who nurture young people through athletics, cultural forms or various civic activities or by an older peer. In every community there have been “unsung heroes and sheroes”, who have dedicated a lifetime to developing and contributing to the advancement of the community.
Forty or fifty plus years ago, a young person had various immediate positive role models. But with the contracting of the pool of unskilled or semi-skilled labor, combined with the 47 year assault of chemical warfare on the African American community, the African-American family has been devastated and the social ethos or traditional positive values of the community have been temporarily destroyed.
The once, all strata, African-American community has now become diversified, based on economic income. Many of the positive role models are no longer in the traditional lower working class African-American communities. Many have moved to the suburbs in order to raise their children and grandchildren in better schools and in a safe environment.
In an economy based on electronic production, employment is not longer expanding. This is reinforced by the racist financial monopoly capitalist system's labor pool, which is shrinking and uses the destructive drug culture which funnels African-American youth into prison.
This also keeps the white middle class (BA’s, MA’s, PhD’s), mental health, social workers, parole/probation officers, hospital workers, medical doctors, pharmacy workers, etc., and a large section of the white workers (police, prison guards, security personnel) and industrial workers related to prisons, prison construction, and maintenance employed. All of this is related to monitoring, maintaining and controlling the lumpenized African-American underclass.
Thus the United States of America has evolved into the Fourth Reich. (A Democratic Fascist Police State).
In the Inner City (Urban poor underclass), African-American community, the concept or image of a decent hard-working class person (mentality) has been marginalized and replaced by the 24/7 electronic media psychological propaganda warfare blitz (offensive) of the successful gangster/pimp/prostitute.
This is illusionary, because in reality it may bring “fast money to an individual,” but leads to massive death and destruction of the African-American community. Through the gangster hip-hop culture comes the socialization that creates the “school-to-prison pipeline.” It negates positive “self-consciousness” of African-Americans long struggle for human rights, self reliance and self-determination. Seeking the “knowledge of self”, “African-African-American history” becomes a “no-no”, because to aspire to be a freedom fighter might lead to the transformation of self and dis-engage one from the “self destructive genocidal process.
Thus the positive role models of the 60s and 70s are marginalized for the 21st century electronic based generation.
The existence of positive role models are very seldom projected in terms of educating African-American youth by the establishment. Each generation of African-American youth are thrust into the present contradictions of the racist monopoly finance capitalist system without any understanding of what in the past led to what they are facing now and how to struggle to advance the movement forward for their liberation.
This is due to the historical discontinuity that is forced on our community by the oppressive system.
The racist system negates the history of African-Americans 24/7, thru the negation of “national consciousness” or resistance of the African-American people to their oppression.
Each upsurge is social psychologically repressed by replacing the positive images or knowledge of self of the previous movement and personalities that attempted to uplift the community; replacing them with negative images, personalities or culture.
With the destruction of the African-American family due to the state policy of the welfare system, chemical warfare and the racist, anti-Black electronic media on a 24/7 basis; the socialization process in the African-American community is no longer the same as it has been since the end of slavery.
Due to the overseas expansion of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs; reducing Black workers both male and female to low-paying jobs which cause African-American parents to work two or three jobs just to maintain, often they have to work different shifts with no health benefits or retirement, which causes the traditional African-American family to continuously be destroyed.
The children of low income African-American families are forced to be raised on fast food (McDonald’s, etc.) and are baby-sat by the T.V. (racist anti-Black propaganda).
From eating habits, which transform the traditional structure of the African-American family where the family congregated at dinner time to social life and social morays, there is a social disconnect between them and their historical lineage.
Therefore, it is imperative that a new cultural, political, historical re-education process be initiated. Such an effort should not come from the traditional established institutions of this society because their initial orientation was and often is an anti-African-American liberation style.
For the overall local African-American community to heal and center itself in a positive direction it should know about its leadership, past and present in order to prepare its future leadership properly. Local Freedom Schools that are outside of the establishment need to be created.
Often, due to the years of chemical warfare against our community, many of our children are raising themselves. There was also a generation of parents who lack parenting skills to prepare their children for the future because many are parents before completing their adolescent years; were thrust into an economic, social and cultural crisis, while lacking basic survival skills.
Let me say at this point, at no time can one say ‘It’s their fault’. Our people (African-Americans) are victims of a vulturistic, capitalistic system which wages psychological war against African- Americans to break the “esprit de core” (or moral fiber), the will to resist and to crush the “national consciousness” that we are captives of war. This is done to derail African-Americans from realizing that the right reactionaries of the system are preparing to eliminate African-Americans.
We are being conditioned for self destruction, reduced to be only consumers and producers of products produced by “slave labor” behind the walls of “21st century slavery.”
When that slave labor can be replaced by robots as we self-destruct and go behind the walls (upstate), eventually, we will never come back. We will gradually disappear as a people.
All Americans are being programmed (numbed to allow), to accept the elimination of the African-American people. There is a continuous, gradual, silent genocide occurring. This is why all layers of the African-American community need to be re-educated or go thru a new cultural revolution that will prepare us to resist, arrest and counter our destruction.
Since those immediate positive role models are no longer there, then the historical positive role models can act as a substitute in re-establishing a positive self-esteem in our community, as example to emulate.
“What we are likely witnessing is a situation in which it is no longer possible for the capitalist class in crisis to rule the people of the United States in the old way. A process is underway that involves the withering away of liberal democracy and arrival of a not-so friendly fascist order meant to bolster capitalism through a resort to authoritarian discipline. How far this process goes depends on political events and the efforts of the ongoing economic crisis on public consciousness.”
So by knowing your local history one can pass on the baton to another, of each one, teach one, creating a continuous or a revivalist liberation movement for our survival and self-determination in the 21st century.
The problem of the 21st century is still “the problem of the color line”.
Black Lives Matter! We Will Win!
Dr. Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford, Jr.) has been involved in the struggle for self-determination, justice and equality since 1960 (55 years) and has taught at the college/university level for 27 years. Comments, inquiries, communication can be made through: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Mass Migration in the Stage of Electronics,” Rally Comrades/The Voice of the League Revolutionaries for a New America, Volume 25, Edition 2 March-April 2015, p. 1
Henry Heller, “The Nazi Threat in the United States: Imported or Homegrown?” Monthly Review, Volume 66, Number 12, April 2015, p. 56