The Rebirth of Black Power Part 1 - We Need a Black Private Sector!!!
I AM not a Republican nor am I blind to the structural inequalities of Capitalism. However, as a Black man I AM thoroughly convinced that my community needs to develop a strong, unified, and viable private sector, which would include at the very least:
1. Independent political organizations free from the constraints and contradictions of the Democratic, Republican or any other mainstream party. We need organizations with the freedom and commitment to develop goals that address the particular needs of Black people and serve as a respected voice on behalf of the Black community to world abroad
2. Black-owned businesses that service a significant consumer base in all communities, but continually utilize their earnings to employ and empower the Black community
3. Independent schools that teach our history and culture, yet also prepare our youth and young adults with the skills to compete in a global, high tech world
We must recognize that after 500 years of enslavement, lynchings, disenfranchisement, and economic exploitation Black people – as a whole – have become largely depended upon the government to provide us with political and economic power. Our concept of political power has been narrowed to the process of voting for practical strangers every four years to positions we honestly don’t understand. Our economic reality is largely defined by a middle-class sustained through dwindling unionized public service jobs or the poor subsisting on endangered government aid like food stamps and CalWorks. Conditions are such that a large portion of our community is literally owned by the State through incarceration in public-run prisons and the foster care system.
The consequences of this imbalance include the following:
1. Black people are largely seen as burdens, rather than power players in the United States. While many in power will not admit this publicly out of concern for being politically incorrect, they express this reality through the way they deal with our community on important matters. Our community is often ignored when important issues in society are being developed and debated. At best, we are alerted about decisions after they have already been finalized
2. Too much responsibility is ceded to elected officials in the Black community. This goes contrary to the fact that an elected official’s effectiveness is primarily defined by the political, economic and social strength of the communities they represent. Unfortunately, too many Black elected officials are counted on to be the SOLE SOURCE of political, economic and social strength of the community. However since the private sector of the Black community is relatively weak and our system of accountability is spotty at best, Black elected officials are courted and controlled often times by mainstream political parties, white corporate interest or a small circle of Black elites.
3. Black people are extremely vulnerable in times growing conservatism in government and budget cuts to public services. We see this currently in California and other states where our people are being disproportionately injured by eliminations to education, public aid and health care programs
On the eve of Black History, we need to know that we can change our current predicament. In order to do so, we will need to have what Marcus Garvey taught – namely a plan that emphasizes “action, self-reliance and a vision of self and the future…” With a small, but entrenched Black middle class, a plethora of community leaders and elected officials, and numerous community organizations, labor unions and churches, Los Angeles can be the epicenter for the re-birth of real Black Power. However, in order to do so, we must change our current thoughts and actions around the role government will play in our liberation movement. Furthermore, we must once again develop and expand Black-owned independent political organizations, businesses, and schools and do so in a principled and coordinated manner. This is the type of work plan that a people interested in power will take up. Lets get to work.