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."
Friday, January 1, 2016
From the Black Bird Press archives: Artistic Freedom Fighter Harry Belafonte
entertainer/activist/ freedom fighter Harry Belafonte
came to Oakland the other week
for an event he puts on
called the Gathering for Justice. It drew more than a
from all over the world including a
number of former gang members who are concerned
the high incarceration rates and the increasing
challenges besetting our society.
* * *
Why was Belafonte’s Oakland star-studded
whited out by mainstream media? By Marvin X
Billed as Harry
Belafonte’s Gathering for Justice, the world renowned
a national conference of youth to
gather in Oakland Saturday to address their pressing
issues and spark their consciousness to continue the
work of his generation and those
before him on the train
of justice. Youth flooded into the Oakland Marriot from
Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Washington,
D.C., Brooklyn, Boston,
Chicago and Detroit, as well as
Youth from Oakland and the Bay Area, however, did not
seem to be well represented,
for some strange reason.
[Little publicity appeared before the gathering, and the
View has been able to find no mainstream media
coverage of the event. – ed.]
Nevertheless, the multi-cultural crowd was treated to
the likes of Belafonte,
Danny Glover, Barbara Lee, Ron
Dellums, Walter Mosley, Sean Penn, Santana,
Davey D and
yes, Marvin X, who was vending his books when the Hot 8
called him to the stage to join them in
electrifying the crowd.
Paul Robeson, the artistic freedom fighter supreme!
We cannot praise and honor Harry Belafonte enough for
his years in our liberation struggle.
Yes, he is in the
tradition of our great ancestor Paul Robeson, who
defined himself as the
artistic freedom fighter. At 81
years old, Harry is showing us that there is no
in the battle for justice in America or the
Just as the forces of white supremacy are relentless, we
must be also and never give
up until the last breath. In
his keynote address delivered at 9 a.m. on Saturday
morning, he talked about the suffering his mentor Paul
Robeson experienced as
the artistic freedom fighter, but
Harry said he is inspired to see Robeson’s spirit alive
actor Danny Glover.
Artistic Freedom Fighters Danny Glover and Marvin X
at Anti- War Rally, San Francisco. Both attended San Francisco
State University. Both helped establish the Black Arts Movement.
Danny was an actor in Marvin X's Black Arts West Theatre, Fillmore Street,
San Francisco, 1966.
photo Kamau Amen Ra
Even though he supported and marched with Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr., Harry was
hypercritical of the black
church today, calling it the "kidnappers of truth,"
with a few more choice words. DJ Davey D urged me
to write a poem using
Harry’s metaphor. Harry criticized
the reactionary rappers as well, calling them
to cultural imperialism.
A Poem for Harry (I'm Just Wild About Harry!) at the request of Davey D
kidnappers of truth
liars on the blood of Jesus
truth will never set you free
like JC said
you too in bed wit Pharaoh
selling out for a mess of pottage
you are Pharaoh's magicians
til Moses came with superior magic
Moses threw down you threw down
Most was the Master Magician
but you are Pharaoh's running dogs
a chicken bone will suffice
give your congregation a chicken leg
chitterlings with collard greens
and you all vote for me
I'll set ya free!
Vipers in the name of Pharaoh
snakes in the grass
coming in the name of Jesus
yet you do not free the captives
do not heal the broken hearted
you shame Jesus
like Peter you a scared of the water
Jesus must save you
deaf dumb blind
and you lead the people
when the blind lead the blind
they both fall into the ditch together.
Let's do the BAM Thang!
But his main message is that we can overcome the forces
of white supremacy
by organizing and non-violently
opposing evil. A mass movement of conscious
youth can be
a critical factor in moving the Movement forward out of
and passivity of the last few years.
Because of its revolutionary tradition, Oakland was
chosen for the first in a series
of national meetings of
the Gathering for Justice movement. Youth and adults
attendance included Native Americans, Latinos, Whites,
Pacific Islanders, Asians
and African Americans.
We don’t quite understand why more Oakland people were
especially with such high profile
personalities on the agenda. Did organizers
locally, or did they purposely limit information on the
Oakland is currently suffering so much
violence? Of course violence is nationwide.
maybe Harry, mentioned 16,000 persons were murdered in
America last year –
yes, far more than have died in
Iraq. Maybe conference organizers feared Oaklanders
mixing with youth from outside the city.
The Gathering for Justice must present a long-term
strategy to confront the myriad
problems facing youth,
including violence, mis-education, lack of jobs –
lieu of jobs we suggest entrepreneurship and micro
Since there are few Black teachers, we offer peer
teaching and independent study.
And the prison
population should be reduced with a general amnesty.
The problem of the church or faith community can be
addressed by noting the
liberation theology of Jesus and
Muhammad, and perhaps moving beyond
spirituality as the Native Americans spoke about so
and at great length.
If Harry Belafonte, at 81, can involve himself with the
Gathering for Justice,
surely I can do the same at 63,
and so I call upon my generation to become
a part of
this movement to save our children. Remember that James
The highlight for me at Harry’s Gathering for Justice
was seeing the new
generation of youth embracing each
other and us elders. The Creator is telling
little thing is going to be all ite. It was a blessing
hearing and performing
with that great group of young
people from New Orleans, the Hot 8 Brass Band.
See the latest book by Dr. M/ Marvin X How to Recover From the Addiction to White Supremacy: A
Pan African 12 Step Model for a Mental Health Peer
foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare, $19.95, Black Bird Press, Berkeley CA.