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17986Re: National Reparations Congress: Re: [BlackLeftUnity:8479] Why A Black Liberation Theoretician Directory?

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  • Yusuf Nuruddin
    Jul 2, 2014
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      . . . .the local neighborhood working class mosque. . . .


      On , Yusuf Nuruddin <yusufnuruddin@...> wrote:


      One of the main aspirations of the working class is for their sons and daughters to “go to school, get an education and make somethin’ out of yourself.”
      The ideology of the nationalist community has been “go get the best education possible and come back to your community and work to empower it.”
      So let’s be REAL!
      I am out all day to meetings, the first one working with a groups of brothers I went to college with to see if we can start a college prep program in Harlem thru the West Harlem Development Corporation, and then I’m off to go help paint the  Prince Hall Lodge  (a very working class organization in the community, that my father, a mailman, was a member of and which me and my two brothers followed in his footsteps to join decades ago)  and to see if I can help network so that some cultural nationalist brothers can use space in the Lodge for their programs, and then after that I am going to the local mosque to break my fast for Ramadan, so I won’t be back until late tonight to answer any of y’alls responses.


      On Wednesday, July 2, 2014 2:11 AM, 'Yusuf Nuruddin' via BlackLeftUnity <blackleftunity@...> wrote:


      It is not personal as I have no net worth but rather net debt or net liabilities. School loans that I can’t pay back because I don’t earn enough money as an adjunct which is the low totem pole of academia and the truly exploited class or workers in the university.  No, I don’t feel so ensconced in the middle class that I see this as a personal attack.  It is not personal, this is ideological.
      But I do get pissed off, or in your words “rise up angrily“ because I don’t like people playing word games or mind games with me, as it is an insult to my intelligence. People are telling me that the middle class can’t lead a movement, and I look around –at the leadership of BLUN and a number of the people who are in the Black Liberation Theorists Directory and a sizable number of them are middle class professionals.  Please run mind games on somebody who can be fooled and mystified by double-talk, but I am neither fooled nor mystified. You know the old adage: “Don’t piss on me and tell me that its raining.” The whole leadership of the BRC which preceded BLUN was middle class.  So the anger is personal because I think that people are trying to play me and everybody else for a fool. But my mama didn’t raise no fools.
      But no the issue of the middle class is not personal, it is ideological, because as I have said before I subscribe to the theory of internal colonialism, and I view the African American community as a multi-class oppressed nation or colonized nation, and I do not see sharp cleavages between the black working class and the black marginal middle class.  I do have an intense dislike for boojie black people and buppies, just like the rest of you do, but everyone who is “middle class” is not bourgeois in their attitudes or values and many feel the pressure of racial oppression and have undergone it (in the childhood, adolescence or early adulthood) and in many cases still undergo class exploitation (as they are not paid their worth).  And I am quite aware of Robert Allen’s discussion in Black Awakening in Capitalist America of internal or domestic neo-colonialism, but the marginal middle class whom I am speaking about are not the neo-colonial exploiters of the black colony.   And in any case there are no Mobuto Sese Sekou’s reigning in the African American colony.  We can get into long discussions about the difference between the national bourgeoisie who were loyal to the black community and the comprador bourgeoisie who are sell-outs, at any time in the future but I want to get to some other pertinent points right now.
      One major point is that the aspirations of the working class are for their children to “get an education.” And as I have said this strict working class rhetoric actually splits families up by generations: Your mother was relevant because she was working class but as her son the medical doctor you are no longer relevant to the struggle. You act as if people are not bonded to their parents and grandparents and don’t know or understand the struggles of their family.  This is a very un-African and in fact even anti-African perspective and it is what happens when we borrow Eurocentric concepts without examining them and their ramifications thoroughly.  We are vitally linked to each other as a people, and those links do not weaken based on someone earning a few thousand dollars more.  Like I said, “We are an African People” and our common shared experience of racial oppression, our historical roots, common Ebonics language, economic life (especially when middle class folks grew up in the ghetto), shared cultural and psychological traits, our music, etc. makes us ONE People. And that’s not mystical that’s real.  And by the way it should be stated clearly that we are a deeply spiritual people, which is why I could never be a Marxist no matter how many decades I study and get insights from Marist thought.  I will always have to revise and modify Marxism because I cannot accept some of the key premises of dialectical materialism.
      Furthermore, I am persuaded by the following arguments in Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies.  I quote from the 4th edition, page  18 and pp. 31-32, and before you start Karenga- bashing and talking about the US-Panther shootout, remember that when Geronimo Pratt was released from prison, that he spoke clearly on this and exonerated Karenga from all the accusations of being a police agent, etc.
      A third objective of Black Studies was “creating intellectuals who were dedicated to community service and development rather than vulgar careerism. Restating W>E>B> DuBois’s argument against Booker T. Washington’s overstress on vocation at the expense of education for social competence and contribution, Black Studies advocates stressed the need for Black Intellectuals who were conscious, capable and committed to Black liberation and a higher level of human life. “
      “A sixth ground of the relevance of Black Studies is its contribution to the development of a socially conscious Black intelligentsia and professional stratum. Here, black Studies seeks to cultivate a body of intellectuals who are committed to using their knowledge in the service of community, society and ultimately humankind. It is also an effective response to DuBois’ callin his seminal essay “the Talented Tenth” for academic and social cultivation of conscious, capable and committed men and women who would assume leadership of the Black Community, set its ideals, direct its thoughts and aspirations and lead its social movement in the struggle for social change. It is also reflective of Mary M. Bethune’s call for service oriented professionals and intellectuals to “discover the dawn and to bring this material within the understanding of . . . the masses of our people.” Such stress reaffirms the historical, intellectual and activist thrust of Black education and reflects an important continuity of thought and practice.”
      Now in the first quote Karenga goes on to mention Harold Cruse and Fanon. And I know that Du Bois repudiated his Talented Tenth thesis, and that E. Franklin Frazier in the Black Bourgeoisie makes a devastating critic of the Talented Tenth and its failure as a leadership class.  But yeah, let’s talk about Du Bois, and Frazier and Cruse and Fanon and other thinkers in the black radical tradition.
      So this is IDEOLOGICAL not personal.
      And furthermore like I said, the people who repudiate these Karenga quotes as being elitist, etc., are an intellectual elite themselves. The whole leadership of the Black Radical Congress was black middle class professionals most of them academics, ditto for much of BLUN, and then you sit here and tell me that the movement must be led by the working class, and then you wonder why I get pissed at all this double talk –I get pissed off ‘cause my mama didn’t raise no fool!


      On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 5:21 PM, "Saladin saladin62@... [repconinfo]" <repconinfo@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


       
      No place in the statement explaining Why a Black Liberation Theoretician Directory is there an attack on the Black middle-class. Pointing out that the Black liberation movement must be rooted in the Black working-class who must rise to fight for themselves and be the leaders, because the middle-class can't and will not free poor and working-class Black people is both a statement of necessary class base and leadership of a  sustained revolutionary struggle against capitalism where and what class base should be the emphasis of the work and politics of the Black middle-class.
       
      It seems like any mention of the Black middle-class having limitations or contradictions as a leading force for Black liberation, your angrily rise to defend the Black middle-class as a personal matter. Comrade Abdul is part of the BLUN advancing a position about the need for the Black liberation movement and especially a Black left to focus on developing leadership from the Black working-class.  This is consistent with the BLUN 3 core principles: 1) We are Black people  fighting for power and liberation; 2) We fight to end the system of capitalist exploitation, patriarchy, homophobia, and all forms of oppression; 3) We organize by connecting the local battlefronts rooted in a working-class perspective to build national unity of action and international solidarity with other struggling oppressed people.
       
      When one examines the links of the Black Liberation Theoreticians, they are focused on issues and struggles mainly impacting the Black working-class and the need for power, reforms and radical change to address the many injustices of racism, national oppression and working-class exploitation.  Those who are part of the Black middle-class are not promoting or defending aspirations or tendencies associated with the middle-class.
       
      It seems that your responses to the BLUN calls for Black left unity centers around what leadership role the Black middle-class is given. Part of the contradiction of capitalism is private property and upper-class control of everything.  The universities orient intellectuals and their degrees to claim control of ideas, information and education, not to see that it is a human right for all regardless of social status. 
       
      This is an important reason for the Black Liberation Theoretician, as it helps to promote that ideas and theory is not the private property of the middle-class, or that makes one part of the middle-class.
       
      The BLUN does not agree that the struggle for Black left unity should take the form of contentious polemics and personal attacks. Frank struggle is needed, but it should be connected to practice and concretes, not simply arguments of the past or personal dislikes.
       
      The BLUN has developed a Draft Manifesto on Black Liberation to engage Black activists in discussing, debating and refining a strategic unity program that rebuilds the Black liberation movement.  We are forming regional organizing committees to help ground this discussion in local areas, to bring forces together to assess local and national campaigns, to identify points of unity in coordinated actions and to build for a National Assembly for Black Liberation to be held in the Spring of 2015.
       
      Join a regional organizing committee and build a local committee in your city to engage in the work of building for a National Assembly for Black Liberation.
       
      Contact Saladin Muhammad at saladin62@... if you want to connect to a convener in your region.
       
       
      -----Original Message-----
      From: 'Yusuf Nuruddin' via BlackLeftUnity <blackleftunity@...>
      To: Ajamu Baraka <ajamubaraka2@...>; 'Abdul Alkalimat' <mcworter@...>

      And my point here is not to call out or mock anyone's class background.  My point is that middle class individuals in the Left indulge in a fantasy of exceptionalism, that they are exceptional individuals who are drastically different from other members of their class in their values, beliefs, commitment, dedication, etc., to the project of black liberation. This nothing but a conceit.  There is a sizable proportion of the black middle class who are equally committed, dedicated, and oriented to black liberation values and ideology. Certainly the former students who many of these college professors have taught for the past two generations are among that conscious and committed middle class sector.


      On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 1:22 PM, Yusuf Nuruddin <yusufnuruddin@...> wrote:


      I am referring specifically to Abdul's assertion: "Most now know that Black people must unite and fight against racism and national oppression, and that this has to be rooted in the class struggle because middle class Black people can not and will not free poor and working class Black people who must rise to fight for themselves and be the leaders."
       
      This flies in the face of objective reality, as there are so many PhD's, former or present faculty members, etc., who are middle class professionals and in the leadership of BLUN (unless we want to redefine these people as academic laborers, but then we are playing games with definitions of "middle class" -- using strict Marxist definitions when it is serves one's argument, and then slipping into common usage when it serves a different argument).  Then people want to argue, "Oh, well I'm different, I'm not representative of the middle class. I committed class suicide, etc."  That is pure BULL.  It is clear that the middle class are front and center in the leadership of this organization. So stop playing semantic games. 



      On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 1:07 PM, Ajamu Baraka <ajamubaraka2@...> wrote:


       
      Brother Yusuf, a point of clarification. I am trying to follow the conversation regarding brother Abdul’s efforts but I can’t decipher the meaning of your comment. There seems to be a critique of Abdul’s very clear explanation for the project, especially his argument around the issue of what constitutes theory and who is/can be a “theoretician,”  but your comment about college departments and line about class suicide is a little confusing for me.  Forgive me in advance if I am missing something because being here in Latin American and working with militant black organizations where there is not the strange class sensitivities that we find in the U.S., I am probably missing some nuance that I would have probably gotten a few years ago.  
       
      Ajamu B
       
      From: blackleftunity@... [mailto:blackleftunity@...?]
      Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2014 11:49 AM
      To: Abdul Alkalimat; Black Left Unity
      Subject: Re: [BlackLeftUnity:8471] Why A Black Liberation Theoretician Directory?
       
      This is the kind of outright denial and distortion that makes people suspect of whether people don't have a realistic appraisal of their own class backgrounds or are living in some kind of fantasy world.  There are enough middle class professionals --specifically academics, i.e., college professors and instructors -- involved in the leadership or Continuations Committee of BLUN to constitute a full-fledged academic department in a regular -sized university.   Yet you persist in this fiction.  WHY??  WHY??? WHY???? Then you are going to run this bogus line about your having "committed class suicide, as your stock answer. 
      Most now know that Black people must unite and fight against racism and national oppression, and that this has to be rooted in the class struggle because middle class Black people can not and will not free poor and working class Black people who must rise to fight for themselves and be the leaders.
       
      On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:52 AM, Abdul Alkalimat <mcworter@...> wrote:
       
      There has been some discussion about the daily mailings regarding the
      Black Liberation Movement.  Attached find a response to this discussion.
        Dialogue is welcome.

      aa


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      • Promoting male supremacy, homophobia or chauvinism against other oppressed peoples shall not be tolerated.
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