Truth will not make you rich, but it will make you free.
--Francis Bacon

Black Bird Press News


Friday, October 24, 2014

Black Liberation Theoreticians Directory

Why a Black Liberation Theoreticians Directory? And, why now?
Homage- by the late Elizabeth Catlett

Abdul Alkalmat 
To grasp the importance of these questions we will first define our terms, set the historical context, advance our selection criteria, and finally state what we hope to accomplish with this project.
Black liberation is a multi-dimensional concept.  It is the strategic goal of freedom, a revolutionary process to end all forms of racism, national oppression, and capitalist exploitation. 

 It also includes the tactical battles that defend Black people in their everyday struggles against the constant attacks on all fronts in the evil system.  Black liberation involves strategy and tactics, reform and revolution.
Theory consists of ideas that sum up what is and has been (the current condition and history), what can be (the future), what processes of change are possible, and what social forces (eg classes, nations, etc.) are in battle to advance or resist these changes.  One kind of theory is idealist, when people begin with their imagination and make up their questions and answers without any serious investigation of the actual conditions of society.  They can always think of themselves as being correct regardless of how the world is actually turning out.  A quite different kind of theory begins with perceptions of actual conditions and uses empirically based dialectical logic to generalize perceptions into conceptions.  The linking together of these concepts with (again) dialectical logic creates sentences with theoretical content.  The first approach has concepts valid only in the abstract while the latter is linked to actual social reality guiding one to practice that can have an impact.
What is interesting is that everyone is theoretical in this way.  Theory is part of cultural knowledge.  Folk wisdom is materialist and based on the accumulated lived experience of a people.  We must avoid the error of only valuing “approved” theory legitimated by some authority or traditional standard, analytic concepts that attempt to be systematic.  Most theory is not systematic, even if that is a desirable goal that we work for.  So by Black liberation theory we are beginning with a very broad inclusive approach.  This is necessary in this historical context.
There are four main aspects of our current historical moment that create the necessity for this Back Liberation Theoretician Directory.
1.  Transformation of the global capitalist system:  The old national based industrial capitalism has been transformed into a new global informational capitalism based on the revolutionary transformation of information technology.  There is an unprecedented polarity of wealth producing permanent war and new polarities of ideology and religious fanaticism of many varieties.  It has produced a global surveillance state.  If there ever was a time for the movement to have “all hands on deck” it is now.
2.  We face the great set back of historical gains:  The national liberation movements in the African Diaspora for the most part have been reversed and now face failing state structures and unprecedented impoverishment and terror for African peoples throughout African and the Caribbean.  The movement toward social equality by African Americans has been reversed and exists now for an ever smaller section of the Black middle class.  The autonomy of our social justice movements, and movement for political empowerment has been replaced by state and foundation funded NGO’s who set the agenda and parameters for “radical discourse.”  Voting rights are being eliminated state by state.  Much of this is being implemented by a government led by Black people.
3.  Black people have moved to the left:  Check the PEW study that reports the only demographic group that rejects capitalism and approves of socialism are Black People.  This is something that the movement has yet to fully grasp:  There is no need to relive the ideological battles of the African Liberation Support Committee of the 1970’s, the last great confrontation of narrow Black Nationalism and dogmatic text based Marxism Leninism.  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.

4.  The spontaneity of our peoples fight back needs organization and leadership:  The most recent national example of this, following on Jena La. and Katrina, is the response to the murder of Trayvon Martin.  People rose up in every community.  Opportunist elements funded by the state and the corporate mainstream tried to rush in and claim leadership of national coordination.  This kills the movement.  Elitist “public intellectuals” get TV time to talk about the movement with little or no links to the actual social motion on the ground.  There is a great need for grounded local forms of coordination, moving things toward the unity that can produce higher forms of struggle, a bluing of our flame on a regional and national level.  This is the mission of the Black Left Unity Network.
Given this historical moment it is clear that our approach to the BLT Directory has to embrace fight back on all fronts, to embrace writers of text, public speakers, and activists on the front lines.  All represent some level of theory, some explicitly stated and sometimes implicitly encoded in their acts of resistance.  Everyone in the directory is committed to advancing the freedom of Black people with language that represents the articulation of theory.  Some have the big picture, grand schemes for the revolutionary process, and some with a focus on a particular battle front.  Some say it, and some sing it.  Look forward to more artists, more ministers, and certainly more prisoners and labor activists.
Critical to this is our focus on gender.  No excuses – 50% men, and 50% women, with full embrace of the diversity of lifestyle and sexual orientation that exists in our community and in our movement for Black liberation.
We have initiated this project for several reasons, with clear goals in mind:
1.  There are many of us fighting back, formulating ideas to advance the struggle for freedom, men and women.  Some of us write, some talk, most actively organize to build the movement – step by step.  We need to acknowledge who we are, respect each other and begin once against to listen and learn.
2.  Our goal is to establish a base line of unity, something we call the 80-20 principle (lots of agreement allowing for some disagreements).  We are building a movement not a unity homogeneous organization that speaks in one voice.  We have many voices that need to be heard and while unity will be the dominant aspect we embrace the fact that there will be a diversity of views, even some differences.
3.  We do this as a frontal assault on gender inequality.
4.  We do it to challenge the dogmatists or elitists who narrow the discourse to what they think are important questions or their key conceptual framework.  We want to engage the actual discourse that exists, and practice the mass line – engage what the movement is saying, synthesize it, clarify the contradictions and move toward greater and greater degrees of unity.
5.  Finally, our goal is to build a movement, and we think showcasing a directory of BLT folks is a positive step in that direction.  If people listen to what they are saying we might beg8n to believe a movement is possible and overcome a debilitating Afro-pessimism.
Note that the list is a work in progress, many names yet to be included.  You can have a role to play by making your suggestions.
We have focused on living people as the critical factor right now, but soon we will begin to include the ancestors and those in the African Diaspora.
One essential methodological point is the need to have digital material, text and video.  This is a style of work issue.
The debate over ideas is welcome as we need information and clarity.  Lets do this in the spirit of searching for unity – if you know something of value then teach the rest of us, but also be prepared to learn from others as well.
Forward, Comrades!
We have a Movement to build!

UNITY- The Late Elizabeth Catlett

 We have been at this for over three months, hitting it everyday!
We hope you are feeling us on the need to have an equal number of women and men.

Now, to continue this process you must step up and start nominating people or the list will soon come to an end.

Who are the people on the ground in your area or in your organization that need to be on the list?  Not the media oriented public intellectuals but the real deal, the militants who are advancing our struggle

Why not nominate yourself?

Silence at this time is not acceptable... and later you will regret not stepping up helping us to reflect our reality in this directory.

SISTERS - step up and make the nominations so we can put the lie about men lead to rest.

Bird played IT and now we have to do it - NOW IS THE TIME!

Parable of Fallujah

Update: As we know, the city of Fallujah fell into the hands of ISIS recently, yes, after all the death and destruction it suffered by the Americans during the second Iraq/US war, especially after the Americans were hanged from a bridge. In revenge, the American leveled the town, using poison gas among other weapons of mass destruction. 

Parable of Fallujah

A former US soldier who fought in the Battle of Fallujah, Iraq, told Plato Negro he and his buddies kicked in 400 doors in Fallujah. He said they became professional home invaders. Once inside, they were able to discover a weapons cache in 90 seconds, whether hidden in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, attic , under the floor, etc.

They separated men from women then searched and seized anything of value, money, jewelery, whatever.

After awhile, the soldier said he no longer dodged bullets. He accepted his fate for he knew he deserved death or whatever. He was wounded several times, once by an IUD, a stabbing, bullets. He showed Plato Negro is wounds.

He said it is very difficult if not impossible to defeat a people who do not fear death, who relish death  like a thirsty man craves water. He mocked the insurgents who desire to die for virgins in the sky!

His remarks reminded Plato Negro of another former soldier who also said after a time he did not bother to stay on his post at night because he knew he deserved death, so he went to sleep.

A Special Forces veteran told Plato Negro America deserved 9/11 for the crimes she had him doing around the world, mainly murdering in cold blood and other despicable actions. He loves Plato Negro but says he cannot read but twenty pages of his writings at a time because it inflames him and makes him again want to kill, this time the real enemy!

As per Fallujah, Plato Negro is aware the town is suffering an epidemic of birth defects in newborn children, supposedly from depleted uranium used in bullets, shells and bombs. The birth defect rate is higher than in Japan after the US dropped the atomic bomb in WWII.

In Fallujah, babies are born with no arms, no legs, no head, two heads, etc. The town was brought to its knees after being one of the most radical centers of Sunni resistance to the US occupation. It had to be broken--and it was!

The veteran who was a master home invader is now working security at an after hours club in Oakland. He appreciated Plato's book Pull Yo Pants Up fada Black Prez and Yoself. The brother said it is ironic Plato's classroom is at 14th and Broadway and his after hours club is two blocks away at 14th and Webster, but he does not allow youth in his club wearing sagging pants. He encouraged Plato Negro to attend the after hours to distribute his literature.

At the club, the brother is as armed as he was in Iraq, body armor, tasser and side arm. The women must be searched as well since the men hide their weapons with the women. He said the brothers and sisters don't understand he is not going to take any b.s. from them, especially after facing death angels in Iraq. And even though he is only 5'8'' or 9'', no one is going to push him aside and enter the club. He presses 400lbs. One night a tall, drunk brother tried to go pass him but it didn't happen. The brother departed but returned to apologize to the man who had faced death angels on the streets of Fallujah!
--Marvin X

Marvin X and the Academy of Da Corner performs Pull Yo Pants Up fada Prez and The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Friday, August 6, 7pm, Third Eye Video, 6040 Telegraph, Oakland. Donation $10.00.

They perform Sunday, August 8, 11:30 and 4:30, at the San Francisco Theatre Festival, Yerba Buena Center, 4th and Mission Streets.

Amnesty International reports Ferguson Pigs violated human rights

Police in Ferguson committed human rights abuses: Amnesty report

Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:04am EDT
Protesters rally during a demonstration outside the Ferguson police department in Ferguson, Missouri October 13, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Protesters rally during a demonstration outside the Ferguson police department in Ferguson, Missouri October 13, 2014.
Protesters rally during a demonstration outside the Ferguson police department in Ferguson, Missouri October 13, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Protesters rally during a demonstration outside the Ferguson police department in Ferguson, Missouri October 13, 2014.


(Reuters) - Police in Ferguson, Missouri, committed human rights abuses as they sought to quell mostly peaceful protests that erupted after an officer killed an unarmed black teenager, an international human rights organization said in a report released on Friday.
The Amnesty International report said law enforcement officers should be investigated by U.S. authorities for the abuses, which occurred during weeks of racially charged protests that erupted after white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9.
The use by law enforcement of rubber bullets, tear gas and heavy military equipment and restrictions placed on peaceful protesters all violated international standards, the group said.
Amnesty said it sent a delegation to Ferguson from Aug. 14-22 to monitor the situation.
When asked about the allegations, Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department, which helped oversee law enforcement operations in Ferguson, said police "had one mission, and that was the preservation of life."
The report also criticizes a Missouri law that the group said may be unconstitutional because it allows police to use deadly force against someone even if there is no imminent threat of harm.
The report calls on state lawmakers to make Missouri law comply with international standards making lethal force by police a last resort, said Rachel Ward, director of research at Amnesty International.
"Lethal force is only to be used to protect life when there is an immediate threat," Ward said. "The Missouri statute goes far beyond that. It is of grave concern."
Amnesty cited a Missouri statute that says a police officer may use deadly force "in effecting an arrest or in preventing an escape from custody" when that officer "reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested ... has committed or attempted to commit a felony."
A grand jury in St. Louis County is weighing whether or not Wilson should be charged in Brown's death. Wilson has not spoken publicly about the incident.
The Justice Department is investigating Brown's killing and the Ferguson Police Department.
Witnesses and law enforcement officials have said Brown and Wilson got into an altercation after Wilson told Brown to stop walking down the middle of a street. Wilson shot Brown six times. Some witnesses have said Brown had his hands up in surrender when the last shots were fired.

"Michael Brown was unarmed and thus unlikely to have presented a serious threat to the life of the police officer," the report said.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Marvin X poem: THIS

This is not about making money
Not about selling books
Not about ego or fame
Not about women or children
Old age and sex
This is not about sin or some preacher
Some holy book or how one prays
It is a simple thing
Like tears in the eyes
Like working the last nerve
Like standing when feet are tired
Talking when silence is the desire
Like showing love when hatred is behind the smile
Like feeding the poor when they ask
Like listening to an old woman who is homeless
Like hearing the story of a mad negro and a mad African one after another
Like listening to street children with grills in their mouths tell stories of the spirit world
This is the daily round
This is the work unfinished
To express truth no matter who is around
And knowing truth is a circle coming round and round and round 

This is not about the personal or the lover who is lost in traffic
This is not about the teacher but the student who will learn to stand to teach what he is taught
About the comrades who will gather as peers on the corner to save themselves
Not about the black the white the mixed or the mad
It is coming together to realize life is a moment to seize or be lost in eternity. 
It is knowing action and reaction
Passing the tone test in the presence of the beast.
It is about getting through the day so one can fight tomorrow.
It is about seeking knowledge above food, rent and pleasure.
Knowledge is the power that turns the universe into a ball
We throw into space and time until it explodes into particles of a new world for all to see and wonder.  

--Marvin X


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sun Ra - A Joyful Noise

Poem: The Post Black Negro

he ain't black, never was
his mama wasn't black
some colored lady from mississippi
not black
not to him
when she served miss ann
not black in the cotton field
yellin for his black ass to hurry up youngin
not black when she sent him to college to be a man
not black man just man
be human
love everybody and get ahead in life
so he became a success
hid from the black girls in college
did mama tell him that in the cotton field
tell him to hate his sisters
don't lie on mama post-black negro
don't lie
you just dreamed of white girls in the cotton patch
wanted masta's daughter but knew he would lynch yo ass
so you waited til you got up south
got smart read two books on whitenss and crossed over jordan
wouldn't join the BSU too black for you
you multicultural now
no more collard greens in yo canning jar
you crossed where mama never told you to go
no nigguhs in yo world
no negroes
no coons
no diggaboos
no burnt matches
you did it all by yo self
came on the slave ship by yo self didn't you
you was the only sardine on board
even had a restroom just for you
no black history month for you
world history is yo thing
european history really
want nothing to do with Africa, Asia, the Americas
that's a black thang
ain't into that shit
nigguh history, hell no
we is americans 100%
we is citizens
don't know why we renew voting rights
whites don't
chicanos don't
why us blacks
that's why i ain't claimin black
too inconvenient being black
cross over and love everybody
leave dem nappy headed girls alone
don't want no nappy headed kids
don't care if I went to Yale and Stanford
Harvard and Princeton
I don't see color
I'm beyond such a thing
this is the post black world
get hipped.
We got Alambama for president
see he ain't really black
he African and white
that ain't black that' black
he american like bush and hillary
imperialist too
will send troops to Iran and Pakistan
will hunt ben laden like bush didn't
will prove his post blackness
so you too.
blond that weave
cross the line and be right for the new times
still stuck in blackness
going nowhere
we american so like it or leave it
don't call me black we go fight.

--Marvin X