The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action. – Malcolm X
The mobilization of the masses, when it arises out the of the war of liberation, introduces into each man’s consciousness the ideas of a common cause, of a national destiny, and of a collective history. In the same way the second phase, that of the building up of the nation, is helped on by the existence of this cement which has been mixed with the blood and anger. – Frantz Fanon
This subject is a very important one; we as a people have not addressed it in the way that it needs to be addressed. African American leadership has constantly run away from it. I also would have to say that most African American leaders have been integrationists. They were promised something that hasn’t been delivered and won’t be delivered. The African American is in dire straits, yet they don’t realize it. To this day we have outdated and no use for Civil Rights leaders. If they haven’t recognized that we need to identify ourselves with the Pan African community then there really is no hope for us here in America.
The Civil Rights leader of today has a investment in our suffering, which is why the relic is still around. They get paid to masquerade as if they’re working for the people, when they’re not. Theyre no need to name names now, but you know who they are, and they know what they do. Can you name any organization that has Pan African in their name or base any part of their program around Pan Africanism here in America that is recognized not only on a national level but a international level. I can tell you now, that there is not one. They have this belief that the African World needs to align with them, and not them aligning with the African World. Yet it is the African World that is going to save African people.
We as African People have to keep the focus on our issues, whether it’s here in America or anywhere else in the world. There is nothing wrong with putting your race first. This is what’s meant by a African Centered Consciousness, that your consciousness is based upon, what is best for the race, knowing your history, knowledge of self, how can I help the race, how can I help others to feel and think about the race as I do. And also most importantly that you belong to the first race of people on the planet and that you are the chosen people. You are the Original Man and Original Woman and that is just a fact. Yet you have people who don’t want you to know that or for that matter to learn it. And some of these people, sorry to say, are people who look like you and me.
You have people who deny the fact that they’re African, don’t want anything to do with Africa, and Dr Clarke had this saying to them.. “You left your mind in Africa” we can’t continue to deny what are, and who we are as a people. It is tantamount of committing mental suicide, what is it to mean, that you accept a slave history in America, and your children are taught slave history in school, as if thats all we ever been. Yet they’re not taught our history in Africa, and don’t demand that your children are taught about it in school. Well let me get off my soapbox, so that you can read the words of Amos Wilson.
– Organization of Pan African Unity
Blueprint for Black Power by Amos Wilson
By Dr. Amos Wilson
Afrikan Centered Consciousness Versus The New World Order
Thank you kindly for your warm welcome. Its great to be back here with you this evening. Its been a while.
I always appreciate coming and being with you, and do appreciate your support, of course. Each time I’ve been here I’ve promised you our next publication, but its definitely on the way. At last count Brother Sababu, my co partner, told me we were right about 800 pages. We intend to give you some good wintertime reading.
We ought to recognize that we are as complicated as any other people and one of the things sometimes we underestimate is the degree to which we must address ourselves as a people. Too often we think that our issues can be described in twenty-five words or less. There are people who think we are a small and a small-minded people so they dont have to write sizeable materials. As other nations and other people require libraries to deal with their issues, so then do we.
The interesting thing about the upcoming book is that at over 800 pages its basically a survey looking at various areas of life. We have entitled it Blueprint for Black Power. We are simply trying to lay out a blueprint, a prescriptive book. Now we are coming more and more into a prescriptive type of writing, laying out very practical steps and methods for achieving what it is we must achieve as Afrikan people. This means we had to survey a lot of territory. We covered psychology, history, sociology, a great deal of political science, economics and related fields (anthropology and so forth) because all of these have to be combined in the process of nation-building. This is what we really have to be about the process of building a nation. If youre not thinking in terms of nationhood, then I must say, frankly, youre not thinking seriously of being liberated. Trying to integrate and merge with our enemies is not going to solve our problems.
And its not going to happen. As a matter of fact, it is a fantasy that has kept us from taking care of business for far too long, the idea that were going to one day be one with these people, that were going to merge into invisibility with these white folks. Even if that were possible we should question our motives for wanting to do so. Why would we want to merge with the worlds greatest criminals and thieves, with the people who have the worst values the world has ever known? Its amazing to hear some of our parents saying to our children we want to be just like them. Its a joke. Its an insult to hear former Vice President Dan Quayle or to hear President Clinton come and lecture Black folks on values. How dare we let these people into our churches to attempt to lecture us on values and such, to lecture to us about population control another joke!
The first thing we think about when we think about population control is the overproduction of Afrikan people, so-called Third World people. We can solve the overpopulation problems quickly if we could reduce the European population drastically. Of course, as I tell you, this world has to always be backwards. The ones who need to be reduced most drastically have the world thinking the other way around. A good deal of the problem sometimes is not the number of people in the world, but the number of greedy people in the world; one where you have an oft- referred to as minority of people who consume the vast majority of the worlds resources. This large population they complain about could eat better if these greedy people weren’t eating up everything. To have more for everybody to eat you have to get rid of the greedy ones, the ones who are over consuming, the ones who are taking the food out of other peoples mouths. Here you have a people who rob you, take everything you’ve got and then they say you dont have enough to support yourself. This is the kind of joke we’ve got going out here. Were going to come back to this issue of values.
POWER AND CONSCIOUSNESS:
Were going to peruse Afrikan-centered consciousness, personality and culture as instruments of power. Ultimately this is what this whole struggle is about, one of Power! Not one of loving one another and all the things we hear. Largely, the problems we are confronted with today as Afrikan people in America
flow from our powerlessness or our inappropriate use of power. Weve been made to think that to even talk about and think of power is sinful, that to pursue it is immoral and wrong. But one cannot exist without power. Without power there is no life; a battery without power is dead. You need power to act, to behave in the world, to deal with the world. Consequently, we must interpret what we are about in terms of power. We have the power, Brothers and Sisters. We have the possibilities. We just need to reorganize ourselves, reorganize our consciousness, our personality and our culture, and see them as instruments of power and use them as instruments of power to transform our situation.
THE IMPERATIVE OF CONSCIOUSNESS:
We should not look at consciousness as some abstraction. As I often tell people, the most practical thing we could have is a good theory, a good concept to guide our behavior to be used as an instrument to measure reality, as an instrument to test reality. A good theory organizes the world and organizes ones approach to the world. It permits one to be able to evaluate the world in term of where one wants to go and what one wants to do. To be without theory is to approach the world on an ad hoc basis, to just meet it here and there and to not approach it in a systematic form. It is to live reactionary, always reacting to what other people are doing, always being overwhelmed by events and overwhelmed by the future, instead of creating events and creating the future and making the future. When one has a good theory and a good concept, one is able to do just that.
Without human consciousness there is no world. It is the presence of human consciousness that brings meaning into the world. Without conscious human beings in this world, in effect, there would not be a world. We bring the world into being through our consciousness and through our consciousness create the world we live in. Out of the totality of reality our consciousness hews a world that fits itself. In other words, the kind of world you exist in reflects the kind of consciousness you have. Notice if you change your consciousness or change your values and orientation you enter into a different world; you interact with different people, people who you often didnt even know existed in the world, social situations that you might not have even recognized until you entered into a new level of conscious ness. You observe people, for instance, who become addicted to crack or other mind-altering substances now enter into a whole world or social system that before they became addicted they hardly noticed; they didnt know what it was all about. They picked up new friends, new relations, entirely new ways of acting, altogether new purposes in life.
They lost old friends, broke with old families. In other words, that addictive consciousness brought into the world a new foreground and put other things into the background.Mans consciousness is a creative act and the kind of consciousness one has will determine the kind of world one creates. Consequently, when we look at the world we live in, Afrikan people; we must recognize that to a great extent it is a world of our own creation! It is a world generated by the kind of consciousness that we have permitted to be instilled in us as a people. We talk about the white man as having power. Recognize that power ultimately has to do with a relationship between people and that the white mans so-called power is to large degree based on the nature of the relationship he has with the black man. We empower him by the nature of our own behavior and attitudes as a people. He cannot be what he is unless we are what we are.
The European is largely our creation. When we look at our behavior, we will see that to a good extent it is our behavior, our values, our consciousness, the kind of personalities we have established in ourselves our tastes, our desires and needs that maintain the European in his position. Lets examine the Civil Rights Movement and the apartheid system of the South. When blacks decided just to get out of the buses and walk, the system changed. When they just stopped sitting behind the white driver, just changing that relationship changed the nature of power in that system. When they decided to walk side- by-side, when they decided to walk abreast and ally themselves collectively, the relationship changed. They had not aligned that way before. When they kept their monies in their pockets, sat on those stools and blocked the other people from them and changed the nature of the interactions between themselves and whites, the nature of the system changed. Therefore, we have tremendous power. It depends upon how we align ourselves as a people and how we decide to relate to other people in the world. They cannot have what they have unless we are who we are. That is why we dont have to spend a great deal of time always appealing to them and analyzing them. We can better appeal to our sense of self and our own consciousness. We waste a lot of time trying to transform them when through transforming ourselves they will be transformed automatically. The power is in our hands.
BLACKS AS JOB CREATORS:
We are not destined to be the servants of white folks. That is not the destiny of black folks. We have to change this idea. Many of us are still operating on that concept. Many of us go to these schools to become qualified, to work for whites. Why do we assume that they are going to have jobs for us? These people are having difficulty making jobs for themselves. The greatest problem the Europeans are facing today and the European economies are facing today is that they are not generating enough jobs for their own people. Even though the United States is bragging about the millions of jobs it is creating, the bulk of those jobs are part-time jobs, low-wage jobs, and jobs that have little or no future. So when people talk about creating jobs, youve got to ask what kinds of jobs are being created. That is why, of course, the system is not investing in black education. It no longer needs black people to maintain its employment structure. You see it bringing in people from outside of the nation to be employed. You see it even is hiring in the world itself, in other nations and other places. Already it has reached the point where its need for black males is pretty much saturated and it literally is warehousing us in the jails and the prisons and provoking us to kill each other and destroy each other out here in these streets. Yet we are still organizing the education of our children as if the white man still has jobs waiting for them in multitudes.
How different our education would be if we sent our children to school to create jobs for themselves, to create their own economic and political systems, to see themselves as the major source of their own employment. Earlier today I heard something about some people out here protesting for jobs and pushing these other people for jobs. I asked the question: Do we know how many jobs we really create for other people? We are a job-creating people. We dont realize it because we dont think in terms of nation. If we saw ourselves as a nation, we could see that we create jobs like any other nation. Look at how many jobs are created by black music? Look at the whole structure of the music industry, from promoters to manufacturers of records and tapes, to a whole entertainment field, to the sellers of music in the stores, the Tower Records and other great sellers of records, CDs, videos etc., advertising that uses our music and so forth. How many thousands of jobs are we creating as people? We are creating them, but they have them. We sing the music; they sell it. We sing the music; they market it. We sing the music; they promote it; they produce great conglomerates like SONY/CBS Music, creating all kinds of jobs. We are creating tremendous jobs for lots of other people.
How many jobs do we create just buying from Koreans, buying from other ethnic groups out here? How many people are we creating employment for in terms of our spending and our consumption habits as a people? How many jobs are we creating going to jail? We are creating all kind of jobs and wealth and we must come to understand this. We are creating these jobs and yet we are begging for jobs. This means that somewhere our consciousness has been impaired. We are begging for what we are making already. We cannot use our own creation as a source of our own wealth.
BLACK WEALTH EXPROPRIATED:
Creator could not have intended for us, as Afrikan people, to be a poor people if the Creator implanted in our soils such wealth as was planted there. We talk about the minerals, the oils, gold, copper, bauxite, manganese, precious stones and that which has been implanted in Afrikan soil. So it seems that the Creator blessed us from the very beginning with wealth and possibility. Therefore, for us to be going hungry over this wealth, starving in the midst of it, to be perceived as a dependent indebted people while our wealth is being shipped out to other people were actually selling a lot of it for pennies, nickels, dimes and less it means that there is something wrong with our consciousness. Ultimately, the wealth of a people is not in their land; its in the mind. The wealth of Man is in his mind, in his consciousness.
We mentioned the example of Japan. No mineral wealth to speak of whatsoever, nothing at all. A nation, by the way, which is totally dependent. Of course we get things backwards, dont we? We see ourselves as depending on Europeans when the reality is the other way around; they depend on us, on our soil and on our people. We have to be backwards in order for this situation to be the way it is. Our reality has to be turned backwards and we have to live in almost a permanent state of deception in order to be used the way we are used. The Japanese must depend on others for their vital resources. Those products they use to create their technology and so forth are taken from the soils of other people and then sold right back to them.
Yet they are seen as rich and powerful, and the people whose wealth they take or buy are seen as poor and poverty-stricken. Ultimately, then, you cannot rob or take wealth from a poor people. You cannot extract wealth from a poverty-stricken people. People who have nothing, you can get nothing from. So if youre getting all your diamonds, gold, magnesium and all this other stuff from Afrikan people, then Afrikan people must be wealthy. Therefore, if Afrikan people are poverty-stricken with this material wealth, then it must be because our consciousness as a people is impoverished and we are suffering an impoverishment of our mentality.
As we have said before, if you have a good mind you can con another joker out of his land, you can con him out of his diamonds and his gold. This is what the other people have done. They have used their minds and their cleverness to take from us what they did not have originally. Therefore, consciousness is not an abstract concept. It is not just a theoretical concept. It is a concept that is directly related to the reality that one lives in and to the reality that one experiences. It is directly related to the type of life one will live and does live. So Im going to look at this for a minute, particularly the consciousness of Afrikans in America.
DENIAL OF SLAVE CONSCIOUSNESS:
Im often somewhat amused and taken aback by the number of people in this society who claim that slavery occurred somewhere back there. Youve got some so-called black conservatives who claim that slavery no longer influences the nature of Afrikan people. I wonder what those people have to conserve in the first place! Are they conserving power? Are they conserving wealth? What does a black conservative conserve? Theyve got to conserve something. And since they have very little, if anything, they must only be conserving the system that has created their poverty to begin with. And you see them ultimately justifying the poverty of Afrikan people and justifying the political, social and economic subordination of Afrikan people in the name of some kind of manufactured higher principles.
So the experience of slavery is not supposed to be operating in the mentality of black folks and youll hear a lot of our youngsters say that as well. Why do you talk about slavery? That was back there. Or youll hear whites offer, Well, we dont have anything to do with that anymore. Its an amazing situation because you have to remind them: You are still living off the interest of the wealth that your forefathers earned from slavery. You are still enjoying the accumulated wealth that began with the enslavement of our people. If youre going to enjoy the wealth that was generated by evil, then you must take the curse that comes along with it. Therefore, even though you personally had nothing to do with it, because you have received stolen goods you must pay the price as well. And because you fight and struggle to protect those stolen goods and you defend them and organize your society and our relationship to white people to maintain them and to continue to enhance them, then you must pay the price.
Thats why you live in terror; thats why you are stabbed in these streets; thats why youre going to suffer, no matter how good you are, no matter how liberal you are. Ladies and gentlemen, when we behave as adults we must recognize that our behavior will be visited upon our children and that our children will pay for our misbehavior. As we say and act does not end at the point of its occurrence; it continues to reverberate into the future and down across the generations. Thats why when you behave in a particular way you have to think in terms of seven generations from your behavior as to how what youre going to do is going to affect those generations later on. Even though those children may appear to be so-called innocent, they will still pay the price of their parental misbehavior. This country, whose parents and whose adults have misspent its treasure and while they have enjoyed that treasure, ultimately their children will have to pay the taxes and have to pay the price. So we have a bunch of people out here who think they can rape and rob the world, think that they can enslave the world, then delude themselves that theyre going to sleep well at night. It doesnt work that way.
So we have some of our people who think that slavery was back then and has nothing to do with them. Brothers and Sisters, we have never escaped slavery. We still share the slave consciousness of our great-great grandparents. We are of the same mind (to a great extent) that they were. We have not advanced beyond these people. To explain this I generally ask a series of questions. You say that slavery has nothing to do with you and slavery was back there, I ask you then: What language do you speak? When did you learn that language? Was that the language Afrikan people were speaking when taken into slavery in the Caribbean and the Americas? In other words, the language we speak at this moment is the slave language, the language that our slave ancestors were forced to learn. We still speak it and you can still hear the pidgin, the creole and the other carryovers in our language right at this moment, the experience that they had to go through.
That language, with its words defined by history and by an experience, is the language we use to guide our behavior. Its the language we use today to talk to ourselves. Its the language we use today to learn about ourselves and to learn about the world. Its the language we use today to understand ourselves. Is there any wonder then that we are still confused? So we have not escaped slavery. We are still using a slave language and we speak the language of slaves. What kind of food do you eat? You say soul food. Was that the food of Afrikan people? Slave food, the food that we find most satisfying, the food that we find sticks to our ribs, the food we call down home, the food that we learned to eat in the slave quarters and yet we dare say that we have escaped slavery that we have nothing to do with those people back there. That was back there, we proclaim, yet our entire life and social relationships, our very definition of ourselves as a people, our very attempt to commune with ourselves is mediated by the food of slaves! Understand what Im trying to get at? Then how can you say that you exist in another consciousness from those people? What kind of uniforms are we wearing? What kind of clothes are we wearing? Were these the clothes of Afrikan people? This is what weve got to look at. Yes, what is this then to say that weve escaped slavery?
What kind of names do we respond to? Tamika and all these other names weve got going on out here. What kind of names do we identify with? Why is it that Afrikan names sound strange to us as a people and yet we dare say that we have a different consciousness from our slave great-grandparents? How can we say that? We are still of the same consciousness; we are still in the same position because we are still servants of the white man. Our reason for being in America is to serve white folk and to generate wealth for them. There has been no change at all in terms of our relationship to these people. The values that we pursue are slave values and the values of servants. The social relations that we create and interact with were built and developed during the periods of slavery. We have not escaped it at all. It is time for us to change the slave consciousness, this consciousness of servitude that is still too much with us today.
Ultimately, I ask the question thats closest to home for a lot of our people who claim that we have escaped slavery and that slavery was something back then which has nothing to do with us today. I ask you: What kind of god do you worship? Whats the name of it? Who taught you to praise him? Was this the god you were praying to before you were brought to these shores? Is this the religion you had before you were brought to these shores? Can you name one Afrikan god? How can you then define yourself the very essence of yourself, the very essence of your soul and organize the very nature of your life here on earth based on a god handed to us by our slavemasters and claim that you have no slave consciousness and are not related to slavery? In other words, ladies and gentlemen, we are not Afrikans: We are possessed by spirits and demons! We have let another peoples spirit take possession of our bodies and take possession of our minds.
When we speak, it is not with our Afrikan voice, it is with the voice of that demonic presence that uses our lips to speak its own language. Yes, we have to recognize this. We are possessed. If we are to transform ourselves and to transform the nature of our relationship with those who are our masters, we must engage in an exorcism and thus clear the devils out of our minds. And you have to be demonically possessed be cause, if we talk about black-on-black violence, self-defeating behavior, self-destructive behavior, then we could not be possessed by a beautiful arid wonderful god: We must be possessed by a demon.
Somnambulistic Possession At this time it is worthwhile to read a bit about demonic possession. Its interesting to look at the literature on possession. We have a couple types of possession. One is called a sonmambulistic possession. Somnus in this instance having to do with sleep; you hear it in the brand name sominex. Ambulistic, to move around, ambulatory. So were talking about people who are sleepwalking. Theyre not awake but theyre walking around. The body is moving, it is walking in an organized fashion and walking systematically but the person is still asleep. In somnambulistic possession, the individuals original self has been repressed and displaced and he identifies with the spirit that possesses him. His eye and the spirits eye are one and the same. We have a lot of that here today where the spirit that has been implanted in us, we have taken to be us and weve identified with it.
This is why in defending ourselves we end up defending the people who rule over us. In defending our ego, we end up maintaining the social structure which has destroyed our ego to begin with. You see it in our youngsters who will fight and kill in the name of respect and fight because their egotistic orientation has been insulted. Therefore, in defending their ego they do not kill who destroyed their ego they kill each other and maintain the ones who destroyed them in the first place in power. Thats why the subtitle of my book Black-on-Black Violence was Black Se Annihilation in Service of White Domination. We are killing each other in order to maintain this system. We have let ourselves become possessed by a spirit such that when we become aggressive, we aggress against the self instead of at those who are the source of our aggressive orientation.
SELF-HATRED AS A WHITE DEFENSE MECHANISM:
Self-hatred is a personality configuration. It is a form of personality organization. It is an orientation toward the world and toward ones self. Self-hatred, then, is the white mans greatest protection against being destroyed by the black man. To a good extent self-hatred is the white mans defense mechanism, the white mans form of self-defense. How can we say that? To a great extent, one function of the personality is to direct energy, to direct aggression, to channel aggression, energy, wishes and impulses in particular directions, to organize feelings, to organize energy to achieve certain ends. Those things that we hate often when we are angry or hostile, we aggress against them; we often attack them; we destroy them. We have a problem then, dont we? If we attack the things we hate, if we attack the things toward which we hold hostility when we are overly frustrated and when we are angry, then what happens if that thing which we hate is ourselves? It means that when we become frustrated and angered, when we are overwrought by feelings of hostility and our self- hating personality seeks to channel that hostility and that aggression, its going to channel the aggression right back onto the self because thats the thing we hate most. Consequently, black anger becomes a conduit for black self- destruction, for black self-defeat.
The object of our hostile, aggressive feelings becomes ourselves. You can see then how the white man is protected by that personality structure. While he stokes our anger; while he stokes our hostility; while he stokes our frustration; while we get mad and want to strike out; when we decide to strike out and aggress we strike out and aggress against the self. By doing so he, the white man, is left untouched and un scathed. Therefore, our self-hatred becomes his principal means of defending himself and of maintaining himself. One of the things that frightened him most about the Colin Ferguson case was that Fergusons self-hatred mechanism broke down! Unlike many deaf, dumb and blind negroes, he knew who his enemies were. So when he got angry and hostile, instead of going out to drink himself to death, instead of going out to smoke crack and destroy himself, instead of going out to kill someone who looked like himself, instead of going out to commit suicide and put himself in a place to be destroyed by somebody else, he went directly to the source of his frustration. This is what frightened those people. They were wondering how many more are there like that and are their numbers increasing
You can thus see why the seed of self-hatred is planted in the minds of the black man. We spend a lot of time looking at what it does to us, but weve got to look at it from another angle. As Ive told you before, every maladapted characteristic in the black psyche is there for white folk. Its not purely there because they hate you, or they misunderstand you, or they dont know who you are; it has nothing to do with all of that. When you analyze the so-called aberrations in the black personality, you must always ask the questions: What are their social functions and roles? Who benefits from this aberration in the black mans mind? What are the social, political and economic benefits, and for whom? Who gains from this particular orientation in our minds? Then you begin to see why its there and what its function is. Thus every complaint we have about ourselves has a political, economic and social intent beneficial to white folk and detrimental to ourselves. Somewhere along the way we became possessed by these orientations and they were implanted in our personality. We have come to identify with them as our natural selves, as our natural orientation. We have assumed that they represent who we are and we have now found many ingenious ways to defend the demons that possess us. And ultimately those demons destroy us and have us destroy others like ourselves.
Theres another form of possession we call lucid possession. In this case the person at least has a sense of self and they have the sense that theres another spirit in them and they struggle with that spirit, sometimes losing the battle. They become obsessed in their struggle with their spirit, and in a sense are disenabled by that struggle. So some of us are in that state where were not quite satisfied with the identity we have; we know some how that there is a deeper Afrikan self in us. We are also aware that theres a eurocentrically implanted demon in us and we wrestle with it daily.
SPONTANEOUS AND ARTIFICIAL POSSESSION:
Theres another type of possession we talk about here and that is spontaneous possession, one that has sort of occurred spontaneously against our will. This is in contrast to one we refer to as art one deliberately created. What do we mean by that? When we go into a particular social setting such as a church or a rock concert or the like, and we go through a set of rituals and behavior, we go there and go through these behaviors, rituals, songs and dance as a means of deliberately being possessed by the spirit and having our bodies taken over and being possessed. And then we say we feel the spirit; we feel the spirit living within us. Consequently, much of our life is about provoking through artificial means spirits which take over us and assume control of our behavior.
When we are possessed and we do not even know we are possessed, this is referred to as latent possession. I think that defines a lot of us. We are not even aware, and those are the hardest ones to break through because they dont sense any kind of split within the personality. They and their possessing spirit are one and the same. When you try to exorcize their possessive spirit, they feel as if you are attacking them personally. In defending their person, they defend the spirit that possesses them. Lets be a little more concrete and I want to just give you an example of what I mean by this. In the literature we talk about these spirits which are called the incubi and succubi: a spirit that lies in the body or on the body, the incubus, and the one that lies under the spirit, the succubus. When we talk about this spirit that possesses us; when we talk about this spirit that the European implanted in usin terms of the language, in terms of the food, the religion, the values, the social relations, the name we are talking about a spirit thats just not a spookish entity in ourselves. It actually incamates in us.
What do we mean when we talk about incarnation? We are dealing with the Latin root carnes which has to do with meat, flesh. In other words, the spirit comes to dwell in our very flesh and comes to sculpt our very bodies. Therefore, the spirit is a physical thing as much as it is a psychological thing. The bodies that we have tonight, ladies and gentlemen, are bodies that have been created by the European experience and are not our natural bodies as Afrikan people. Just as the surface of our bodies reflects the influence of another people, the very internal nature and the physiology of our bodies reflect those people as well. Thats why when you get rid of them youre going to have a healing experience and your whole body will change.
The Multiple Personality and Enslaved Afrikans This is most dramatic when we study the so-called multiple personality. Though I have read some of this before, just indulge me again in this context. Ill read to you the description that was printed in the New York Times. It begins:
When Timmy drinks orange juice, he has no problem. But Timmy is just one of close to a dozen personalities who alternate control over a patient with multiple personality disorder. And if those other personalities drink orange juice the result is a case of hives.
What are we saying here? Weve got one body, but depending on what consciousness possesses that body it will react to the drinking of orange juice with or without hives; it will break out in blisters. So, to drink orange juice when one of the other personalities is possessing it, welts and hives will break out right there. If Timmy comes back, if the new consciousness comes back and takes over that body, the hives will disappear almost on the moment. In other words then, theres a different body for a different consciousness. It goes on to say that medical disorders are found to differ from one sub-personality to another. In other words, even though these so-called personalities possess the same so-called body, each personality has a different order of illnesses associated with it. Each person ality is vulnerable to a particular type of ailment, one way or the other.
So what are we getting at? We are saying that each consciousness which is represented by each personality creates its own body, creates its own physiology and thereby creates its own vulnerability to various ailments and so forth. You have people in medical school who try to teach you that disease is a result of some kind of viral syndrome or some kind of entry into the body of some bacteria. Certainly that is a part of it. Certainly there is reality there. But the body must interact with the virus and the disease entity. This is what we mean when we talk about the immune system, that health is not necessarily the absence of the disease but is the capacity of the body to resist disease, to stand up against disease. Consequently, when these bodies are taken over by different personalities, these personalities apparently change the nature of the immune system of those bodies, making them vulnerable to diseases when one personality is present and not so when another is present. Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that the nature of the consciousness which possesses us as persons will to a degree determine the illnesses to which we are vulnerable as a person and as people.
A lot of the illnesses, physical and other diseases that we suffer from are thus mediated by the nature of the consciousness we have permitted to possess us as a people. So, to a great extent the defeat of disease the maintaining of health must not only be pursued in terms of discovering new drugs and such things but must involve self-discovery and self-knowledge. It goes on to state that, In people with multiple personalities there is a strong psychological separation between each subpersonality, each will have his own name and age. Does that strike a bell? What did we say earlier? To what names do we respond? Are they the same names to which we responded prior to slavery? In other words, as we got the new slave personality we got new names. . . and we were changed. To a good extent our names were given us to designate our new consciousness and our new situation. Each will have his own name and age and often some specific memories and abilities.
In other words, each personality has its own history, has its own biography, has its own memory. Just look at negroes when they have a certain consciousness and look at the history they remember. Look at the things they keep in their memories and look at the histories they study and identify with. Look at them fight Afrikan history. Look at them wanting to identify with the history of Europeans. Look at them wanting to define themselves in terms of that history and look at them having memory only for that history. Look at those Afrikans who are still under the possessive influence of the European implanted spirit and know that they have little or no knowledge of Afrikan history and therefore little or no knowledge of their own history as a person and as an individual. So theres a consistency between the consciousness and the history that a person has and the memory that an individual has.
Frequently, for example, personalities differ in handwriting, artistic talent, or even in knowledge of foreign languages.
They speak a different language depending on the personality thats in there.
Multiple personalities typically develop in people who were severely and repeatedly abused as children, apparently as a means to protect themselves against the pain of abuse.
Does that strike another note in you? The Times continues:
Often only one or two of the subpersonalities will be conscious of the abuse while the others will have no memory or experience of the pain.
To a great extent the personality of the Afrikan American today has been shaped by desires to escape the memory of the slave experience, to deny its existence. We dont want to talk about it; we dont want to come to terms with it; we dont want to re-experience it psychologically; we dont want to know about it. Therefore our lives become defined by eternal escape and avoidance of reality, history, and of a knowledge of who we are and how we came to be who and what we are. Consequently, we cannot act upon the reality of our history and guide our behavior and define it in terms of a fantasy of history and a misinterpretation of reality.
How did we get this religion we talked about earlier? I previously mentioned Star Trek, the time-warp that Star Trek depicts quite frequently of how people move from one state of consciousness and one world, then are suddenly flipped into a new world. They go through a warp and all of sudden everything they formerly used to guide themselves no longer counts. The language they used to speak can no longer be understood in the new world. The values they previously used to guide their behavior are no longer workable; in fact it gets them into trouble. The gods, the culture, the nature of the social relations and all of the things that they used prior to meeting the warp no longer suffice. Now they must learn new values, new behaviors and new orientations in order to adapt themselves to the new universe that they live in. We are in that kind of position today.
Consider the Afrikan and the world the Afrikan lived in prior to being brought across the ocean. Think about the gods we praised. Think about the organization of our society. Think about the languages we spoke, the food we ate, the dress we wore, the music, the songs, the dance and all of the things that defined us as Afrikan people. Think how horrendous it must have been for us to be thrown into a world where there was a whole new language, a whole new social hierarchy, a whole new set of authority people pushing you around who you dont understand, people who are putting strange tools in your hands, people who are trying to get you to relate to them and to relate to each other in a very different kind of way from what you are accustomed. Think about the stress and the confusion and think about the abuse.
Think about the horror of that situation our parents and great-grandparents were put in. And then there was someone who said, If you pray to this god, if you talk this way, if you dress this way, if you relate this way you will get a greater sense of security. Your anxiety will be reduced; you will feel good and you will be able to withstand the pain of your existence. The god Im going to hand you is one that I have created for you and the theology that comes with it is one that I have created so that you will continue to serve me as you continue to serve it.
We have come to believe in the veracity of that god and that religion. Why? Because we feel so secure when we follow it and we feel so relieved as we follow it. Yet we wonder why, despite all of our prayers, despite all of our devotion, we still suffer the way we do? I often ask the question: Why is it that the people who pray the most have the larger numbers of their children in the jails of America today? We who shout and kick over the benches and so forth, yet are filling up the prisons, our children killing each other and becoming addicted out here in these streets! There must be a problem here, ladies and gentlemen. We must re-orient ourselves to our religion; we must re-orient ourselves to our gods. Apparently we do not have the appropriate orientation, because as that book you read says: You can tell a tree by the fruit it bears! Therefore, if it bears bitter fruit or if it bears no fruit at all, the god you worship says, It is but fit to be hewn down and thrown into the flames and consumed. Read your own bible! It
gives you a very practical measure as to whether the religion you are pursuing is an appropriate one. That measure exhorts us to look at the fruit that it bears. If the kind of religion and the god youre pursuing end up having your Sons in the jails of America and end up maintaining Afrikan people in slavery and servitude in their own lands and everywhere, then something is wrong in terms of how we relate to that religion and that god since the outcome is wrong and destructive. All because we dont want to confront the abuse that we went through and deal with it.
When you go through that time-warp the only way you can ultimately come to understand the new world is to understand what happened when you went through that warp which transformed the personality, and that which made the personality what it was originally. I find that interesting when I read here what happens when the personality moves from one personality to another, when the body is possessed by one personality and that personality displaced and another one comes in.
During the switch there is typically a period of seconds or even minutes when heart rate, breath rate and other physiological markers show a disorganization that is followed by a new pattern typical of the personality that is emerging.
In other words, we go through a period of disorganization and stress and then the personalities reorganize to fit into the new circumstances. We cant continue to pursue this but its interesting to look at the changes in blood pressure that each personality brings about and the many physical changes that are representative of the personality. What we are saying here is that each personality has its own name, its own history, its own memory, biography, way of speaking, language, way of thinking, way of perceiving itself, its own vulnerabilities. Each personality generates its own life-space and generates its own type of social relations. Each personality has its own tastes and appetites and its own morality. To a great extent, if we look at the problems and issues that confront us today as Afrikan people and see those issues in terms of the consciousness, we would recognize we must rid ourselves of the consciousness that has been implanted in us by our European masters.
One other thing I want to bring to light relative to this situation of multiple personality. When you engage people in behavior therapy and you scan their brain to look at how their brain metabolizes energy, you notice there is a relationship between the areas of the brain that are rapidly using energy, the type of mental activity a person is undergoing, and the type of physical behavioral activity the person is undergoing. Each personality, each type of orientation has a blueprint in the brain in terms of the various areas of the brain that are functionally relating one to the other. It is of interest to note, for instance, something called the obsessive-compulsive personalitythe person who cannot stop repeating a particular behavior no matter how irrational it may be; the person who must wash their hands every thirty minutes even if they are not dirty, but who are compelled to the point that they wash their hands to rawness, because they cannot stop; the person who is absorbed by a particular type of image, by particular kinds of thought or orientation that they cannot get out of their minds.
This is what we mean when we talk about the obsessive-compulsive personality, a rigid, repetitive personality. We note that if you scan the brain of these personalities, certain areas in their brain are intensely active. For example, we talked about their frontal lobes, the so-called orbital lobe of the brain, the orbital cortex of the brain the part of the cortex that is above the eyes, the part of the cortex that concerns itself with intentionality, purpose, direction and motivation and the connection of that cortex to the lower brain, to what we call the cordate nucleus, that part of the brain that deals with repetitive behavior, that deals with modulating behavior, that deals with (in its connection with the hypothalamus and the thalamus) the distribution of the senses and with organizing the senses. When we look at the compulsive personality we notice that these areas are intensely active, and active in a way that they maintain the symptoms of that personality. It has been shown that when these people take a drug such as prozac and they respond to it in a way that their symptoms are relieved the intensity of interaction between these three brain areas is decreased or de-linked.
It has also been noted that you can put these same types of people through behavior therapy; that by changing the nature of the social relationship between the therapist and the patient changing the nature of the reward and punishment that the patient undergoes in an effort to change the patients behavior, changing the way the patient thinks about what is in his mind, thinks about the problems that hes in when you can successfully reduce the symptoms of the compulsive disorder through this social conditioning, we note, too, the same kinds of physiological brain changes that occur with the intake of the drugs occur with the intake of social training. We are saying ultimately that the nature of the consciousness and the nature of the experience of the individual physically transforms the brain and physically transforms the way the brain operates. Therefore, when we talk about consciousness we are talking about something that is real; we are talking about something that transforms both the psyche and the body.
One of the things you note when the individual is possessed is that the facial muscles change and the body itself changes in a way that it literally incarnates and represents the nature of the spirit possessing the individual. To a good extent, if youre in certain religions you can tell what particular spirit is possessing the person by the very nature of the behavior that the individual is exhibiting and the very shape of their very physiological body and face. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, once we get rid of the spirits of these demons that the Europeans have implanted in our bodies, our very faces and bodies them selves will be transformed. A lot of the ways we look and a lot of the ways we organize ourselves physically is a result of the type of consciousness we have.
Culture, Consciousness and Possession
The kind of consciousness that inhabits us largely reflects the nature of culture we live in, the nature of the culture we are a part of. Recognize, ladies and gentlemen, that culture cannot exist outside of our minds and of our bodies. Culture does not exist out there. History does not exist out there. History and culture can only exist in the minds and bodies of people. If there were no people in the world, there would be no history in the world, no culture in the world. Culture does not stand outside and direct us; it is inside of us and it directs us from the inside. Culture is instilled in our bodies and in our minds. We have to keep that in mind because sometimes we tend to see it as something separate from ourselves.
Culture dwells in us and it inhabits our bodies. Our history dwells in us and it inhabits our bodies. We reflect our history and we reproduce our history when that history becomes a part of us and is one with us. We tend to see culture in terms of music, in terms of the kind of dance we have, in terms of the songs we sing. That is a part of culture. Culture is deeper than that, however. Culture is a way of thinking. Ultimately, culture is a conspiracy. It is a means by which a group of people organizes the way they think, organizes the way they believe, organizes the way they see the world so as to create a consciousness by which they can cooperate in achieving certain ends such that they can mutually aid each other and gain ends they cannot gain as separate individuals. Thus, culture is an instrument of power.
The individual through culture extends his power and the culture extends the power of the group. When we talk about music, song and dance, what we are talking is how culture ultimately comes to be implanted in our bodies. We tend to look at song, dance and music as entertainment. This is our serious mistake. We have a lot of our youth out there looking at music as mere entertainment. When we say that we are being enculturated, it means that a spirit is being implanted in us by the culture. It means our group is instilling in our bodies and in our minds a possessing spirit such that when our culture calls our name we respond to it. When our culture is in need of defense and support, we then defend it and support it because we are at one with it. In other words, why does the black man respond to the white man? Why does the black serve the white man? Why does everything that black men do benefit the white man? Why does the black man say that freedom is doing what I want to do? Why is it that every thing he wants to do enriches the European?
Why is it that as our youth proclaim theyre are free, that they are doing what they want to do and they are expressing themselves, that it involves buying a $100 pair of sneakers from white folks? Why? Because the spirit that is implanted in the human mind and human psyche is there only to respond to its creator and to its master. Therefore, when you let another people generate a spirit in you; when you let another people generate certain values in you; when you let another people generate a certain reality for you; when you let another people let you see yourself and see your own people in a particular sort of way, they have implanted a spirit and that spirit has been created by and for them and only responds to them. It only responds to them in terms of furthering their interests and working against the interests of the body it possesses. This is why theres that self-destructive spirit in us.
The demon that possesses a body is not there for that body. It is there for the creator that placed it there, and if necessary to obey its creator it destroy that body, it will destroy that body which it inhabits. The tastes which that spirit has will be tastes that can only be satisfied by buying from its master creator. The values which that spirit wishes to satisfy and realize can only be realized by going through the aegis of the master that created it. That is why every value and every taste, every desire and every need that provokes us, every one of these things that we seek to desire, ends up having us going through white folks. And thats why we think we need them. Hence every time we satisfy them, they in someway benefit in our seeking satisfaction because the demon that we call ourselves is answering to the call of its master.
CULTURE AS A SOCIAL ENGINEERING / ENTERTAINING VEHICLE:
A culture creates its own possessing spirits and enculturates and inculcates those spirits into the bodies of its members so that those members, in defending their own egos, in defending their own interests, in defending what they perceive as their own needs, in satisfying their own tastes, in satisfying their own values, satisfy the needs of the culture, enrich the culture, empower the culture, defend the culture, and advance the interests of the culture. How then does the culture implant its spirit into its members? It does so in a very strong and primordial way. It uses vehicles. One of the major vehicles it uses is music. Rhythm, song, dance. A culture involves people moving together, in tandem, in rhythm. It involves them having the same temporal sense, the same kind of time clock so that they can move in synchrony one with the other. And music is about synchrony, poetry is about synchrony, song is about synchrony. Music is about symbols and ultimately it is through symbols that you evoke behavior from people. So when a culture creates symbols, those symbols are designed to evoke particular types of reactions, feelings and moods in its members. A culture establishes the potency of those symbols through rituals, through song and through dance?
One of the best ways to inculcate cultural values, a cultural spirit, is through entertainment. Its while the members are being entertained, while they are feeling good, that the song is carrying the cultural values into the mind and into the body. The lyrics that represent the cultural interests and the cultural values are being carried on the vehicle of the music, carried through the vehicle of the poetry. The togetherness, the cooperativeness, the mutual movement together and the synchrony of the culture is being entrained through the music and through the rhythm of the dance. Therefore when you let another people take over your music, when you let another people take over your dance and attach their content to it, they will use your own music, your own dance, your rap lyrics, your poetry and your own cultural symbols to carry their message into your bodies and into your minds such that you can only respond to their beck and call and to their wishes. As a consequence they get you to buy those sneakers and other items by associating them with your music, with your poetry, with your rhythms, with your cultural symbols.
So they attach their content to our rhythm, their content to our songs. In this way they take our own instruments and turn them against the self. Notice how quickly ,when one of our youngsters [ was rhyming Kill the Police; that kind of content was washed right out, immediately. But what wash-out occurs when they talk about shooting each other with their glocks and the other weapons, when their contents of self-destructiveness ride on the rhythm of their song and dance and the symbols are loaded with self- destructive elements and content? What we are saying is that enculturation is a process of building in responsivity and ultimately, responsibility the ability to respond to a particular call. We then have appropriately enculturated ourselves when we can respond to our own culture, to our own values and to our own needs.
CULTURE, PERSONALITY, AND INDIVIDUALITY:
We have to look at personality in this light as well. We think our personality is ours. We must however recognize that the human being is a social animal. We exist in society; we exist in groups; we are born dependent, not independent. We have long periods of dependency and it is the social relationship between our mothers, ourselves and our group that protects us during our long periods of dependency. In a sense, we never quite get over our need for each another, our interdependency. Consequently, we are social animals and we must then respond to social situations. That they may be our personalities does not mean that they are not inculcated with a social spirit and they are not designed for a social end. In other words, the individual exists for the social unit, not for himself.
We often see individuality as something that is just for ourselves. Why are we individuals? We are individuals, to a great extent, because when our culture and group confront problems, we want to maximize the possibility that we will solve those problems by the fact that different individuals look at those problems in different ways and can contribute to the group particular perspectives which can be used as means of solving the problem for the group. So even individuals, are there to strengthen the group. If all the people in the society thought and saw the world just alike, if they thought no differently one from the other, the society would be soon defeated because it would be more creative. It would not be innovative. It would not be able to change its perspective of a problem such that it could resolve it. So what does it do then? It creates individuals. Its alike the reason we have genetic variations. We note no matter how intense a plague may be in a nation or people, there are always one or two people left standing, because in someway or other, their unique genetic structure has permitted them to survive or withstand its devastation. As long as we have a few of those survivors and as long as they can reproduce, the race continues on. But if the race all had exactly the same genetic structure, then a plague would wipe out the total race and the species would cease to exist.
The same principle operates in terms of differences in personality. We differ in personality ultimately because these differences contribute to the survival of the species. Hence our differences appear to maintain the whole. So the main problem of a society is to maintain enough cohesion so people can behave together and act in synchrony one with the other, cooperate with each other, but yet not be too rigidly organized so as to inhibit the creative perspectives of its individual members to problems and issues. This becomes the problem of society. Consequently there must always be that tension between being in the society, obeying its rules but being a little bit off, so that we can say, if we look at things this way maybe we work it out and thus we can deal with the situation effectively.
PSYCHOLOGY AND POWER AS CULTURAL CREATIONS:
The personality itself must carry the element of society within itself. Most importantly, the thing we must note is that personality, consciousness and culture are cultural creations. The type of culture people exhibit, the type of consciousness we exhibit, the type of personality we exhibit, reflects the type of history and experience we have undergone as a people. When we let another people be the determiners of our history and experience, they then become the determiners of our consciousness, our personality and our culture. Ultimately, we must recognize that we use consciousness to deal with the world. Culture is an adaptive tool; its an instrument by which we deal with reality, by which we adapt to reality and by which we adapt reality to ourselves. The kind of consciousness we have will determine how we deal with reality. Consciousness, then, in the fact that it determines how we are going to deal with reality, how we change reality, is a power. Categorically, power is about enabling something to take place, the ability to do something, the ability to change something, the ability to adapt, the ability to defend ones self, the ability to change oneself in order to solve a problem. And therefore consciousness must be measured in terms of the degree to which it maintains our survival, advances our interests, puts us at the center of our concerns and at the center of our purposes. This is what culture connotes.
CULTURE, A REVOLUTIONARY TOOL:
Culture is not static. Culture is not stuck in one place. Culture itself must reconstruct itself if the system in which it exists is reconstructed and rearranged. Some of us get in trouble because we want to find an Afrikan culture stuck somewhere back in the thirteenth century and want to apply it to ourselves at this point in a different context. Afrikan culture is not a culture stuck in place and time. Afrikan culture is constantly changing and evolving because the context in which Afrikan people live changes and evolves. What makes it Afrikan culture is that it operates in the interest of Afrikan people, is designed to advance Afrikan people. When then we talk about Black culture, be sure we are not talking about a reactionary culture, a culture that has been generated in reaction to our abuse by white folks and to our control and domination by them. Theres a large part of what we call Black culture that we need to exorcize from our psyches so that we can evolve an Afrikan-centered culture to advance our collective interests.
VALUES AS DIRECTIONAL FACTORS OF CONSCIOUSNESS:
Another very important aspect of consciousness is what we call values; those things that we prefer, those things that we see as right, those things that we think we should need, those things the pursuit of which determines our behavior and organizes our minds. Values are what I call the directional factors of consciousness. What are we talking about here? When you value something and that value is implanted in your brain, the brain calls forth all of its resources all of its contents, the knowledge that it has available to it, the behavioral skills, the cognitive skills, the thinking skills and such things that it has available to it organizes those things and relates them one to each other in such a way that the value can be achieved. When then we think about something we value and want to realize that something, we consciously or unconsciously assess our minds and ask: Do I have the relevant knowledge? Do I have the relevant skills?
Do I have the relevant thinking and cognitive skills so that I can organize this knowledge and skill in a way that can achieve those values? If we believe we have those skills, if we believe we have the content, if we appropriately organize those contents through thought, then we pursue those values and chances and thus may realize those values. If though we have those values and we assess ourselves, we recognize that we dont have the appropriate skills, we dont have the appropriate knowledge and content, we dont have the appropriate thought styles and so forth, we then say, Well, maybe we should develop the requisite skills, maybe we should learn the requisite knowledge, maybe we should develop the means of thinking. Once we do this we will then organize in a way to achieve our values.
Once we have values, are guided by values, and those values guide skills, content and so forth, we are empowered to realize those values. Therefore, values are a type of power. Where am I going with this? I am going with this to underscore that: If values are a type of power; if values are the things that guide our behavior; if culture is a type of power and consciousness is a type of power and personality is a type of power; if we let another people determine the nature of our consciousness, our personality and our values, they then gain power over us. If consciousness, culture, personality and values are instruments of power, they then use our consciousness, our values, our culture as their instruments of power. How does this work in reality? They take our cultural products (our music, our song) and use them as their instruments of power and benefit from them.
WHY AFRICAN CENTERED CONSCIOUSNESS
What then is an Afrikan-centered consciousness? An Afrikan-centered consciousness is one that is based on Afrikan-centered content, Afrikan-centered knowledge, Afrikan-centered values, Afrikan-centered consciousness. To the degree that our consciousness is based on Afrikan centered values and so forth, we are empowered as Afrikan people. To the degree those values and consciousness are determined by other people, we become their instruments of power and they use us against ourselves.
Consequently, if we are to be empowered and our power is to work in our interests, then our consciousness must be an Afrikan consciousness, our values must be Afrikan values, our personality must be an Afrikan-based personality. If not, we may suffer first ethnocide and then genocide. What were saying here is that our culture will not be functional in a way that it protects our interests. We must then, as a people, develop a new Afrikan consciousness, an Afrikan-centered consciousness, and that means we develop it based on an Afrikan history, Afrikan culture and Afrikan values. Most of all, we must develop an Afrikan sense of nationhood.
THE NEED FOR NATION CONSCIOUSNESS AND VISION:
Many of the problems we suffer today are because we do not see ourselves as a nation. We complain about how we are segregated from everybody else, about how we are not a part of the mainstream, how we are not a part of the economy, how we are shut out from the government and the political process. If we are not a part of these things and yet these things are what define a nation, then we are not a part of the American nation: that nation is a White nation! We are in effect a defacto nation, but we are afraid to recognize it. If we looked at ourselves as a nation wed see many of the reasons why we are where we are as a people. If we looked at ourselves as a nation, we would see why we have the problems we have. Why do we have some of the problems we have? For the same reason other Afrikan nations have the problems they have. Because we permit our resources, human, and material, to be used by another people. We export them. We, like any other Afrikan nation, are an indebted nation; we are over- indebted. When talk about the Afrikan nation suffering from being overburdened by debt, we dont recognize that we are talking about ourselves.
If I ask here tonight how many of us owe another black institution or another black person major debt, we would get very few hands. But if I ask how many of us owe a white person, a white institution, a non-Afrikan institution great debt, wed all probably have to raise our hands. If you recognize this and add this up in terms of a nation, not just yourself as an individual but if you look at all of us individuals in terms of a nation, you will recognize that as a nation we owe an enormous debt to other people. One of the reasons why we are poverty-stricken is not because we dont have money; its because all of our money is being used to service the debt that other nations own that the White nation in America.
AFRICAN NATIONS AS MONOCULTURES:
We shall talk about Afrikan nations as monocultures, meaning that they often exist by shipping out one or two major products (cocoa beans, oil, gold, bauxite etc.) into what we call a buyers market. That is, the people to whom they sell these products set the prices they are going to pay for these products such that many of these nations are now being paid less for their products than they were being paid thirty years ago. Yet the nations that buy their products and lower the prices on their products are selling them back those products in processed form, selling them back their own products that have been manufactured here for higher and higher prices. Then we wonder why Afrika is in debt and impoverished. Thats because they are caught up in an impoverishing mechanism. But we need not talk about the continental Afrikan, because we are in the same situation today.
AFRIKAN AMERICAN NATION AS MONOCULTURE:
The Afrikan American nation is a monoculture. The commodity we sell is labor. Were not selling much manufacturing; were not selling much other products. The major product we have to sell is the major commodity we were brought over here for in the first place labor. Now we are selling our labor in a buyers market, meaning that the people who buy our labor are buying it at the prices they set. And they keep devaluing the price they are willing to pay for our labor. On top of devaluing the price, they are no longer even demanding the labor. So after a while we wont be able to sell our labor at any price and we will then be totally deprived as a people. Therefore, we are caught in a similar position. And just as there is social disorganization in the Afrikan nation, there is social disorganization in the Afrikan American nation. You cannot have your wealth flowing out of your nation; you cannot enrich other people at the expense of yourself and not have social disorganization.
PRESCRIPTIONS FOR THE AFRIKAN AMERICAN NATION:
If we look at ourselves as a nation, then the Afrikan American nation must do what all other nations do. We must capture our own internal resources; we must capture our own internal markets; we must trade within ourselves as a people and as a group and generate wealth within our own nation as a means of counterbalancing our dependence on Europeans and upon the white nation itself. In order to do this we must have a nation-consciousness; we must now organize and relate to it ourselves as a nation of people.
When we look at our relationship, say, to the Koreans as a nation, we see the same relationship JapanUnited States of America as a nation. We notice that they are bargaining and negotiating trade agreements. Japan is building up its resources; it is blocking out U.S. industry from its nation, yet it is entering into the American markets and selling there and taking out the wealth from American markets. If we look at our relationship to Koreans, to Dominicans, to other groups, we will see the same relation ships where those groups have entered into the Afrikan American nation, set up shop, and shipped out its wealth day-by-day and night-by-night. Yet the Afrikan American entrepreneurial nation is not permitted to set up shop in their midst, is not permitted to carry wealth from their nations.
They then grow fat on the surplus they gain from the Afrikan American nation. This means then that if we think of ourselves as a nation we must protect our internal markets from the intrusion of outsiders. We must not permit them entry into our nation. As I look down 125th Street and see our people locked out on the outside, I agree with our vendors that if black men and black women cannot make a living on that street, then no other people should be permitted to make a living on that street. We are not obligated in any kind of way to feed the children of other people before we feed our own! But its only if you think in terms of nationhood that you can resolve this kind of problem. We have tremendous possibilities as a black nation.
You can see these white boys over there pursuing China, dont you? Theyre in China knocking each other over trying to get to it. What is the China market worth to the European? The China market to the European is worth $500 billion at this point. Do you know what the Afrikan American market is worth to the European here in America? Over $400 billion. Our market is worth as much as the Chinese market, the Mexican market which they have drawn into NAFTA. It is worth more than the market of Canada. In other words, Afrikan American people have more to spend with this nation than does the nation of Canada. We have more to spend with this nation than many nations on this earth. Our population as a people is larger than many of the European nations and other nations on this earth. But because we are not organized as a nation, we do not force other people into NAFTA agreements with us. We are not able to place conditions on their entry into our market by saying, If you enter here you are going to pay taxes; if you enter here you are going to leave something here; if you enter here you are going to leave money in these institutions; you are going to contribute to our schools; you are going to contribute to our recreational centers; you are going to contribute to the employment of our people and to the stability of our families. If you cannot contribute to these things, if you cannot contribute jobs, if you cannot contribute to the education of our people then we cannot permit you to operate within our borders. This is the way a nation runs.
You do not let another people walk in, have their way, walk out and leave you impoverished as a people in the name of free markets. Theres no such thing as a free and open market. Thats white folks propaganda! They force people into their markets. Fidel Castro was not free to say he wont be a part of it. When he refused to be a part of it they embargoed him, locked him out. The Japanese in the early part of the century said we dont want to be a part of your market. What did the United States
We’ve got the markets but we are not taking advantage of it. We have gotten ourselves into a situation where we are locked out of other peoples markets and we permit them into our own such that we are locked out of our own markets. Then we wonder why we suffer the way we do. It is not because we are poor. If we were that poor and impoverished then, why did those people come to us to earn their living and earn their wealth? It means then we must be a wealthy people. We have as people everything that we need to make a nation. We have telephones, fax machines, computers, highways, bridges, railways, airways, waterways, trucks, everything that many nations in the world desire. In fact, the vast majority of nations wish they had available to them what the Afrikan American community has available to it. They wish they had the highways; they wish they had the trucks; they wish they had the trains, the ships, the computers, the telephones and equipment that you can just pick up and dial right away and dont have to be routed through France or somewhere else. They wish the electric lights didn’t go off sporadically every day. They beg for consistency. We’ve got it all right here! Why then are we not better off than we are?
It is not enough to have gold in your soil, oil in your soil, diamonds in your soil; you must have a consciousness. It is only with an appropriate consciousness that these things can be transformed and converted into wealth and power and can be used for the advancement and survival of a people. The same is true here then. We cannot just have telephones, faxes, money in our pockets and such. Thats not enough. We must have a consciousness that transforms those phones and those faxes into a communication network that unites a people across cities, regions, continents, and it becomes a basis for a system of distribution, a basis for creating and uniting a market from which one earns wealth that feeds ones family and thus stabilizes ones social situation. We can have all of these things, but if we dont have a sense of nation if we do not have a group consciousness, if we do not identify ourselves as a nation then these are but mere instruments. As a matter of fact, these become the means by which we destroy ourselves.
We are looking at the black buying power in the United States here 1990-95. Weve got a report here called The Georgia Business and Economic Condition, published by the Selig Center of the University of Georgia entitled Black Buying Power by Place of Residence, 19901995, the second of a two-part analysis of buying power in specific markets. What are we talking about here? Was this published for us? No! It is published for white folks and its telling them how much money black folks have. Its telling whites that the money black folks have is the difference between their success and their failure. It reads in part:
Georgia’s African American population thus controls approximately sixteen cents of each dollar in spending power. That is, about one dollar in six is spent by black
How are we aware of the kind of power we have as Afrikan people? Clearly, they are a substantial economic force throughout the state. But without a national consciousness we dont recognize that. However, whites recognize it. They go on to say:
For many of Georgias businesses the ability to capture black spending can make the difference between success and failure.
They are putting it right in your face. If black spending power can make the difference between success and failure of Georgias business and were talking about white folks businesses that means black folks have got Power,
because power is about the ability to succeed or to bring about failure. When somebody elses success or failure depends on your behavior then, you have power.
New York State is the largest black market in this country, the largest black market in the world. How much money are we worth in New York State, Black people? We are worth $61 billion. That is a lot of money. It represents well over 10 percent of the buying power in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area. What does that mean? But dont look at that absolute figure; look at what would happen if we reinvested that $61 billion; if we put that $61 billion in black businesses, in black trade, if we invested that $61 billion in gaining equity in the major American corporations, if we used that $61 billion to gain equity in Afrikan countries.
I was reading a piece this week about the fact that a couple of black investment bankers are selling as much $100 million of bonds for the African Development Bank. Another black investment banker is selling something like $500 million of securities for Afrikan businesses and infra-structural development. What does that mean, Afrikan people? That means that if we were knowledgeable of corporate finance, if we were knowledgeable of investment vehicles, we could literally finance the development of Afrika by buying securities in the Afrikan Development Bank, by buying bonds and buying over investment instruments in Afrikan corporations even if they are owned by white folks because once we buy the shares we become the owners. In other words, by using black wealth we can become the vehicle for financing Afrikan growth and development. By using our own wealth and financing our own businesses, developing our own economic systems, we would multiply our wealth and we would not only be worth $400 billion but wed be worth $800 billion or more and growing stronger.
The stronger we grow the more others would depend upon how we spend in order to survive and to that degree we will gain power over them. What if tomorrow we decided, as Afrikan people, to build coop supermarkets across this country so that we could sell our people groceries and food below wholesale prices? If we decided, using our church organizations as a means for sponsoring these co-op food markets across the country, we can open them literally simultaneously and center then the buying power for all of those co-op centers in a way that we would have billions of dollars to spend with the suppliers of food. We could then manipulate those producers in terms of the buying power we have. We could begin then to place our people on their boards; we could begin then to have real and substantial power in America. We have it in our hands, but weve got to think in terms of nation.
It becomes interesting when you study this particular breakdown of black spending in Georgia. I wish we would get these breakdowns across the country. When you become a state and a nation you develop statistics; thats where statistics come from. It is the means by which a state and a nation gathers information about itself so that it can use that information to reorganize itself and to set itself up in ways to advance its interests. Once you become a nation, you become sensitive to the fact that you need a lot of information so that you can use this information. When I read about the percentage of black buying power in Georgia by county, something becomes very surprising. You note, for instance, that black buying power is as high as 25 percent and 26 percent in many of these counties. For example, in Liberty County, Georgia, black buying power there is 22 percent of the total buying power. In Merthwether, 25 percent; Peach County, 25 percent. In some of these black counties, black buying power is as much as 45 percent. In other words, the black consumer has these counties by the neck. They are able, if that buying power was to be coordinated and used, to have real impact and to transform the power relations of those societies and of those counties. They would be able, if they are buying half, 25 percent or 30 percent of what is being bought in those counties, to establish their own businesses and enterprises there and they would be able to defend those business enterprises through the use of the boycott weapon.
What we are saying here unequivocally this evening, Brothers and Sisters, is that Afrikan power is based on an Afrikan consciousness, based on an Afrikan-centered culture, based on an Afrikan-centered personality. The degree to which our personalities and our culture are based on Afrikan values, based on Afrikan interests and based on Afrikan goals, to that degree we empower ourselves as Afrikans and to that degree we escape the power of others over us.