16 January 2004

Frequently Raised Objections to Participation in the Political Process
by disaffected Africans in America

It is important to keep our eyes on the prize. The prize being "Freedom." Freedom, not neccessarily the vote.
  • I hesitate to respond seriously to such torturous logic, but since it was written in earnest I will respond in kind: If voting is futile, local and national politicos wouldn't court the numerous groups and sub-groups in the country. Some .:studies report:. that almost half of all registered voters don't vote. The power is in the people's hands; the onus is on them (us) to recognize it and to use it.

    But, and that is a big ol' BUT, voting itself has never been, and will never be the ultimate answer. Our responsibility doesn't begin and end in the voting booth. We have to know what's going on once our elected officials are safely ensconced in office, drawing a salary from public coffers. We have to notify our officials of our concerns about what they're doing, what they haven't done, what WE need done. Make the phone call, write the letter, sign the petition, attend the meeting, paint the sign and join the protest, etc. That's not asking a lot. That is the PRICE we have to pay for FREEDOM, for DEMOCRACY. We cannot continue to be consumed with the common minutiae of our daily lives, and ignore a system that can, and will, crush us while we're not looking.

    Democracy is not a spectator sport! (the author of that is unknown to me) They work for us! A bit of jingoism, right? Sure it is, but it's true!

  • Malcolm X made a historical speech entitled "The Ballot or The Bullet." In that speech he says that there is basically no such thing as a bloodless revolution. "Freedom" will not come by way of the ballot.
  • It borders on deception to use this particular reference, without also noting that Malcolm advocated a RETURN to Mother Africa in that same speech. He didn't say stay here and ignore the system. He said: "You and I should let them know now that either we collect our investment right here, right now, and then if we can't collect it here, our people will then be ready to go back home."

    He went on further to say: "In order to do this, we're starting a voters' registration drive. ...We're going to organize a corps of brothers and sisters who, after this city is mapped out, they won't leave one apartment-house door not knocked on. ...If you don't have the sense of responsibility to get registered, we'll move you out of town. It's going to be the ballot or the bullet..."

    Unless one is prepared to emigrate to the Continent, naysaying the efforts of others is pure negative energy. However, to those who are ready and willing to do that, they will soon find their short-sightedness has gotten the best of them. Many of the nations on the Continent are now struggling to throw off the chains of colonialism, disguised as IMF loans and World Bank regulations. The IMF, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, are run by Western powerbrokers, and that includes the U.S. As a result, the political shenanigans of this country will still adversely affect their lives.

    While addressing the NY Labor Militant Forum (1965), in reference to the Nation Of Islam, Malcolm said, "...at the same time itdidn't participate in politics. It didn't take part in nothing that Black people in this country were doing to correct conditions that existed in our community... It became powerful, but it was in a vacuum. And it was filled with extremely young, militant Black people who wanted action, more action than the organization could produce..."

    The lesson is: militancy without a productive outlet is useless.

  • The political process has been usurped by the powers that be and the vote is no longer a vehicle of progress, but is in fact a vehicle of regress and our tactics have to be rethought.
  • Though the system has definitely been corrupted beyond recognition (the last four years especially), nothing except cynicism and apathy is stopping the bent over masses from affecting change in the system, by simply STANDING UP. That means making informed choices based on our CONSCIENCE, not on foolhardy pragmatism—allowing our reality to be interpreted and redefined for us by others in this country.

    What kind of group doesn't participate in its nation's political system and lives well? I can think only of the .:Gypsies:., in various countries they live in, and they're always treated like scum. If we drop out entirely, what is to stop the complete regression into a type of sophisticated bondage? That isn't any more incredible than the suggestion that abandonment of the political process, by people of African descent, would be more beneficial than participation. Do you put anything past caucasians, who would have absolute power (which corrupts absolutely) over you? Do you think enough caucasians will object to stop their brethren from acting as barbaric as they have throughout history? It didn't stop slavery, the .:laws of manumission:. proved that. Jim Crow laws proved it again. The good white folks of both eras were silent (with a capital S), or fully complicit in following the unjust laws of the land. You have to recognize that the good hearts of some white people won't compel enough of them to stand up against their own in protest to what would happen to us.

    Though we participate in the system now, to a degree, we still see the Amadou Diallos, Nathanial Joneses, Mumia Abu Jamals, the Central Park Four, stolen land, predatory lending, unequal healthcare, etc. If we drop out, the situation will inevitably get worse. You cannot fight for yourself by refusing to engage the enemy! And, since we're all wise enough to know that violent revolution is not just distasteful, but not an option, the system is the only field of battle on which to engage said enemy.

  • The Presidency is completely locked up by the powers that be and they even dish out the viable candidates that you pick from on all sides of the table. No matter who you end up voting for they win and their agenda is advanced.
  • There'd be no need for complicated charades like the Iowa Caucus, or party primaries if things were all wrapped up... if the fix were in... They need, at the very least, the appearance of being democratically-elected to do what it is they want to do. Without our (we the people) cooperation or acquiescence, they can do nothing.

    There are only so many people at the top of the pile, those who are sometimes referred to as powerbrokers. They rely heavily on the bent backs of the teeming masses to hold them up, and to do their bidding. Those "powerful" folks aren't the footsoldiers in the armed services. They are not the dutiful factory workers assembling weapons of mass destruction, or the punctual office cube-dwellers churning out reams of white papers, or the early rising family farmers and commercial farm laborers making sure there's food to distribute across the nation. They certainly aren't the garbage haulers and sewer workers that contribute greatly to our "way of life", albeit without appreciation, by carrying away and 'treating' all the disease-laden waste we produce. They aren't the pipefitters, bricklayers or mechanics either.

    Do you really believe that those people, and all those people in the innumerable industries & jobs I didn't list, are a part of the ruling elite sitting on the Bilderberg Committee or the Council of Foreign Relations? If they knew the truth about was happening they wouldn't want to continue to be exploited. The people who do belong to those organizations have no power alone, they need the people to allow themselves to be manipulated.

  • To this day we have not been able to elect a candidate that can represents our interest. On the national level White people won't elect one
  • We can dispense with this lament using simple mathematics. We're 12% - 13% of the entire population. Of course, we alone cannot elect an official to solely represent our interests. We don't have the numbers to do so, and if we did, we do not want a Black representative who will act as white ones have acted all these years: dismissive of the real concerns of other human beings.

    To revert to dated adolescent lingo: It ain't gon' happ'n cap'n. We don't have the numbers.

    There are always those willing to sell us out from time to time (re: Clarence Thomas, Janice Rodgers-Brown, Jesse Lee Peterson, Denise Majette and Cory Booker), but we've made no real attempt to work the system as a group like other groups have, e.g., the .:Irish:. Farrakhan had a mind-blowing idea to unite the .:Black & Red:., it has yet to receive the attention it deserves. It's possibile we aren't ready to acquire greater power through partnerships because we're too influenced by the credo of "ruggid individualism", that it's champions rarely practice themselves.
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