'Power To New Afrika' Ignores Racism?
A USW comrade in New York sent a critique of the claim in Power to New Afrika that Malcolm X was not killed by racism:
“Is it then a coincidence that Blacks who seek Black power are killed/imprisoned by said”corrupt power structure" at a disproportionate rate than any other race… If white people kill/imprison Black people who seek Black power for themselves in order to maintain white power for themselves, what could this pattern be symbolic to other than anything but racism?"
Triumphant of United Struggle from Within responds:
No, it is not a coincidence, but neither is “racism” an exact description of the actual social, political, and economic components of Our national oppression. The State/power is going to kill/imprison, disproportionately, any and all threats or perceived threats, or perceived disposable populations. This is to preserve power, self-preservation of the status quote. In the period you’re speaking on when a large amount of Blacks who were imprisoned were politically active or politicized, the Black colony was the most actively radical populace in the empire. Therefore, its numbers in prison reflected such. In more recent times, and without the guidance of mass social-political movements, this would-be active elements have largely succumbed to criminality and gangsterism, a common thread in colonized population groups around the world. So to answer the second half of your above question, the other thing that the pattern could symbolize is common and routine government oppression, the wielding of power. It is what empire does to any historically oppressed and dynamic social force.
History shows that New Afrikans have been the key to opening social, economic, and political doors that have been shut in various times of Amerikan history. By being suppressed at the bottom of the social ladder, Our advancement, in its various forms, has always led to the advancement of the society as a whole, and due to the law of contradictions those advances that we often take for granted these days, have and will always come at a severe price. It will always come at a sacrifice, of mass struggle, and each time we’ve advanced despite it. It is the power structure’s role to maintain as much power and resources in its hands as possible, only conceding when forced or coerced to do so. That is another explanation of the phenomena you’ve mentioned.
Should oppressive exploitative power be evenly distributed against all and not disproportionately to one group? The power, again, represses those who resist, or threaten its power. This is irregardless of color. Case in point, during the high tide of revolutionary struggle, what made it a high tide? The same thing that has made recent years noteworthy, because all colors have been involved in struggle, one way or another. In the 1960s-70s era, there were a more or less proportionate number of PP/POW to the rate of participation by nationality. There were fewer Amerikan comrades, because Amerikans are the oppressor nation and not oppressed. However, all the groups that were active in the ways that most advanced Black revolutionaries were active were attacked and repressed the same. Many of them were co-defendants of each other.
I’m talking about: Marilyn Buck, Susan Rosenberg, Tim Blunk, Barbara and Jaan Laaman, David Gilbert, Richard Williams, Silvia Baraldini, Carol and Tom Manning, Oscar Lopez-Rivera, Alan Berkman, Jaime Delgado, Raymond Levasseur, Linda Evans, Laura Whitehorn, and many others.
We hurt ourselves by not sharing the full stories of those times. The BPP, BLA, RNA, SNCC, RAM, and others were not attacked and repressed because they were Black organizations. It wasn’t because they were Black political organizations. They were attacked because of the type of Black politics they organized around. The proof of this statement lies in the fact of people they worked with (Black, white, brown, male, female, heterosexual, non-heterosexual). These weren’t racial movements in the strict sense, and their actions show that for those who have eyes to see. Take an incident that gets a lot of hype, like Assata Shakur’s escape. The BLA did not liberate alone. In fact, those alleged to have been involved with it were majority non-Black. And they and their organizations were attacked, imprisoned, along with the Black revolutionaries they were in solidarity with.
My point? When people choose the revolutionary path and act it out, they become targets for repression and extinction, irregardless of color.
…Your notion that “white people imprison/kill Black people at disproportionate rates” is flawed and not in accordance with reality. Why? Because it is not white people who imprison/kill. In most cases it is representatives of the system (police, prosecutors, judges, jurors, C.O.s, etc) and in other cases it isn’t system reps at all. In fact, studies show we lose more Black lives to self-destruction than anything else. And since the early 1970s, colonialism has transitioned into neo-colonialism (mass integration into the social, political,economic and cultural apparatus of USA). So now when we talk about the system, or power structure, and other politicians are helping to invest in police forces in places like New York, Chicago, Houston, and elsewhere. Therefore the old notion of a simplistic black/white; white power/Black power worldview is overly simplistic and keeps us missing the mark in our analysis and in our subsequent practice in our organizing.
…You correctly say, “political power in all societal cases will always be the most efficient first step on a pathway to freedom for any race or people,” and because the power structure knows and agrees with this is why Malcolm and others were killed and/or jailed. And as far as you saying the power structure, despite their intentions “effected racism, by oppressing, exploiting and killing the futures and politics of the predominantly Black supporters he represented.” Now here is why we must really deconstruct “race” as a useful social construct in our spaces, because it confuses us as a people. What we’ve been bred to refer to as races are in actuality nations and nationalities of people who’ve developed organically and historically within the social realities of 400 years in North America. The assassination wasn’t merely to win the war for ideologies as you said, but to win, before it even began in earnest, the full scale actual war (of national liberation). These weren’t acts of racism, but much more! These were acts of national oppression, acts of warfare designed to do as you said, oppress, exploit, and kill the future of our politics. What is that then? Genocide? Colonial suppression/domination? National oppression designed to keep an oppressed and colonized social group in its place. This isn’t racism and calling it that limits our actions in correcting it. This is Warfare, the same war that began Black August 1619. It has always, despite intentions on either side, had the effect of national oppression. They implement the continued political, economic, social, and cultural inability to develop independently, or without being dictated to by the empire. Therefore, national liberation, is to enforce the opposite relationship, to dictate our own affairs. In other words, it isn’t a white/black thing, it’s a power struggle, hence the title, Power to New Afrika.
^Power to New Afrika is available for $3 to prisoners, or work trade through our Free Political Books Program, and free on our website.^