Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Many will not agree with some of the strategies and tactics worked out in this film. But, we will definately be discussing this film like Sistas & Brothas discussed "The Battle for Algiers" and "The Spook Who Sat By The Door" some 30+ years ago. It will be a positive politicizing experience BECAUSE it will provoke discussions and reveal to the less politically aware viewer some serious lessons in imperialism's plunder of Africa and the Diaspora.
"Quiet Storm" is a must-see flick... but be prepared to sit thru a long but worthwhile movie for the discussion.
We also need to help get the film shown thruout the nation and help raise the $3million it cost Brotha Shango (and others) to make "Quiet Storm."
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Because science is a human endeavor situated within a society, it is impacted -directly and indirectly- by that society's cultural, social and religious norms. Hence, in the US -where racism/white supremacy is the norm- science is being impacted by this powerful but false belief-system. The scientific breakthrus in the study and applications of genomics mentioned in this important article below are rapidly being defined by both capitalist and racist paradigms and will bring forth a new and even more powerful form of "White Superiority-thru-Science" than the Nazis could ever dream of. And as long as US society is being deskilled and dumbed-down, the bearers of this genomic knowledge will be looked upon as 21st Century wizards to not only be in awe of, but to TRUST as advancers of society thru science.
One of the immediate challenges is for progressives to publically critique every corporate/adacemic aspect of the known research (there's lots of covert neo-eugenics research going on within US government's labs and other Western nations' labs). Another immediate challenge is to struggle to get more Blackfolk and Latinos involved in this new and rapidly expanding research area of genomics. This means we have about a 10 to 15 year window of opportunity to launch a campaign within US urban elementary schools to make science study not only achievable but about the hippest thing a young African-descendent or Latino person could aspire to do.
If we don't have a significant number of Black and Brown scientist in this mix as early as possible to keep eugenics policies at bay, then a truly brave new white world will prevail... relegating peoples of African descent to the periphery of the periphery: truly superfluous and expendable....
We have reached that critical moment where genetic science and technological "advancement" is evolving exponetially in hands and minds of scientist embedded within a white supremacist Euro-American civilization. Our challenge-- humanity's challenge is to find ways to not only stop their advancements, but to also reverse them and transform them into a gentetic science from and for the People of Earth.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Larvester Gaither: How and at what age did you personally become politicized around the issue of the death penalty?
S.E. Anderson It goes back a ways. I think it goes back to the late 1960s. I was politically involved in student activism and stuff like that during the mid sixties. Specifically, however, it was in 1968 when my old comrade and good friend from the Harlem Black Panthers—Eddie Ellis—was arrested and sent to prison in New York for “killing somebody.” It was a COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program) set-up. Eddie served twenty-five years and if the death penalty was active then, we knew that he would have been burnt. That was when I became very, very aware of the harsh reality of the death penalty.
Gaither: The reason that I asked you this question is that it isn’t an issue that’s really talked about in our nationalist community and very little is written on the subject.
Anderson: In the movement there is a real shortage of this material. I think it may have stemmed from the history of Black folk vis-à-vis the law in general. We understood that we would get the harsher deal from the times of slavery to the times of Reconstruction to the times of lynching. We understood that we wouldn’t get true justice and that often times many of us would be tried and sentenced before the “Bourgeois Law” could be enacted and, in effect, be lynched, or burnt.
It seems to me that the specific concern around the death penalty up until the 80’s really had no impact both in terms of the African American population in general and activist in particular because of this overarching assumption and understanding of the racist nature and class inequality of the law. And as we became more entwined within the US system at various levels and also more sophisticated towards it, the question began to be raised both in terms of the political reality of the death penalty as well as the moral aspect.
The other part is that the state through J. Edgar Hoover’s counterintelligence program operations—and even before from the days of the African [Blood] Brotherhood in the 1900s—would execute us before there was even a trial in many cases. So, for the vast majority of our activist brothers who may have been in a position of being accused of murder, they would usually be dead before they went to trial. In many cases, if there was murder involved, they would get extraordinarily long terms.
Gaither: From your experience as an active participant in SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and a founding member of the Black Panthers in Harlem, what differences do you see in the response of Black youth today to state repression versus the responses from your generation? And if there are any differences, why do you feel they exist?
Anderson: Yes. For me as a young person in the sixties, for tens of thousands of us, there was a mass social context in which we were operating. That social context was something we called The Movement. There was something happening both in the North and the South; and primarily in the South, with the Civil Rights issues, it spurred a number of us to get involved. So there was a context that shaped our developing consciousness towards militancy and struggle; whereas, with today’s young people—those who are trying to be militant and are trying to do something—there is no social context. There may be for many of them the glorification of the Lumpen or as they say, the “gangster” reality, and they get their cues from that element. They also get their cues through a filtered, distorted view of what happened thirty some odd years ago. It’s filtered and distorted through Hollywood eye lenses. So the militancy now for young people is all turned around and grounded in superficiality and anti-intellectualism.
One of the things that's fundamentally missing with the young folk involved in the struggle is the need to study and to be organized in their efforts. I think over the past generation, the normalcy of anti-intellectualism in this country has really taken a stronghold in our young Black activist forces. So it is rare to come across young sistas & brothas who are both looking at the classical works and who are studying and struggling, trying to figure out how to organize and mobilize beyond the spontaneous.
Gaither: It seems that the academization of black intellectualism parallels the deradicalization of it in a sense? The whole notion of the “public intellectual” who engages in commodified discourse centered on every issue except “What is to be done?” and we, of course, consume it.
Anderson: Yes. You talked about it, you listened; therefore you are involved. You’re engaged in struggle because you’re listening. That’s today’s perception of struggling. You don’t have to be active in the community or work place…just attend the latest meetings or cultural events.
Gaither: And the whole commoditization of it. That’s something we must figure out a way to move beyond.
Anderson: The commoditization is a very big stumbling block. In that process when things are commoditized here, everything is reduced to sound-bites and imagery. There is no substance or foundation.
Gaither: Is that a sign then that “Capitalism has usurped the Black Liberation movement?”
Anderson: It’s a sign that an aspect of the Black Liberation movement has been sucked up into it. Those of us who are aware of it and are revolutionary in consciousness have a lot more work to do now. The capitalist system is very sophisticated. It learns from the past and knows how to absorb and put a spin on or redirect a lot of the reformists’ efforts that are so essential to building a movement. So we have to constantly be on the move for counter-action. I mean, crudely back in the late sixties and early seventies, what the system crudely did was to take the slogans and depoliticize and de-Black them: Revolutionary New Tide. Tide Power. The concept of power, for example, is absorbed into tings that you have to buy. It trivializes them. The same thing with individuals or the imagery of individuals. They were trivialized.
The powerful political and cultural statements made on T-shirts were just absorbed into the dominant fashions. You had the Hi Bourgeois Fashion people such as Calvin Klein and Pierre Cardin running everything on T-shirts. So the depoliticization which is so important happens also. You had that kind of absorption happening in the 70’s.
Gaither: I would like to talk more about the literary S. E. Anderson. What influenced your decision to write Black Holocaust for Beginners? How did you arrive at producing it the way you did; the illustrations and all? There’s never a dull moment and, perhaps this is the type of creative approach we will have to take towards politicizing young audiences.
Anderson: The book evolved out of a discussion with Writers & Reader’s publisher Brother Glen Thompson. He already had the title as part of his series. He told me that there was a person who was doing it but couldn’t meet the deadlines because of other obligations. He asked me if I’d be able to do it. “I’ll need it in four months,” he said (laughter).
Fortunately, over the years I had begun to look at the Middle Passage and the slavery experience. And I have tried to look at it from the perspective of the captured African and the transformation of the captured African into what one can refer to as the first modern person: The African-American. That’s in the broad sense: North America, the Caribbean and the Americas. I realized that there was really nothing out there that focuses on the Middle Passage as such or that focuses from the perspective of the captured African.
I saw this as a kind of challenge to put together something that was in everyday language, accessible to people and to use the imagery that docu-comic series developed. But this book had to be a serious one because it was a serious subject. I wanted to formulate the material in such a way where the reader is drawn from the objective to the subjective while never losing the documentation aspect of it. That’s why it goes from the broad historical overview of African civilization to the individual experience of the young Seke sister who is captured. It ends at the beginning of the enslavement of Africans in the Americas. This leads us to the next book that is entitled Slavery for Beginners. In this book I will be talking about the enslavement process itself.
Gaither: In Defense of Mumia? What led you to this interesting anthology?
Anderson: Being involved in the Black cultural movement I realize that the power of culture is formidable. There are a number of people in the world who are supportive of Mumia and we needed to show this. There was a broad spectrum of support for Mumia in the cultural field. It was also another way of chronicling the whole struggle and documenting the artistic component to it.
So, Tony Medina and I approached Glen Thompson with the idea of bringing these voices together and he said, “Yes, we’ve got to do something for the brother and as a publisher, this is my contribution to it.” So this was in the summer of 1995 and in August of 95 Tony and I had organized a very successful poetry jam at the Schomburg. The original intent of the book was to just have poetry—a poetry contribution to Mumia. But when the word got out hat we were putting his book out on Mumia, it just spread like wildfire. People started sending in material. No one looked for money. Like John Edgar Wideman, we talked to him directly and he said, “We’ve got to support this brother. I’ve got two pieces that I want you to look at.” And it was fine.
Interestingly, we sent the book to about one hundred and seventy-five reviewers and got nothing. Literally. Race & Class eventually did something. That, of course, is in England and it has a very small readership in the United States. If this was an anthology put together for Mumia by Skip Gates, it would’ve—
Gaither: --received an award, high reviews, best seller status, critically acclaimed, seminal work, et al.
Anderson: (laughter) well we did get an award. We received the Fire Cracker Award from the American Booksellers Association for best alternative non-fiction work. Also, I believe that if it was not a black publisher, it would’ve been picked up. He’s been around for over twenty years, he’s established, has all of the connections with Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, etc.
Gaither: You mentioned the issue of definition: their pillow is softer than mine, et al. Why else do you think this was the case? Because with Live From Death Row, your sentiments are vividly confirmed. There was enormous pressure to silence Mumia Abu Jamal through censoring the book—and this censorship continues in myriad ways as we speak.
Anderson: In this country, two things converge with Mumia: the racist hypocrisy of the death penalty and the reality of political prisoners. The powers that be don’t want anybody to know about either. And the “mainstream media” in the United States follows that line because of their class interest. In Defense of Mumia received more publicity and recognition in Europe because Mumia is very well known in Europe. It’s being circulated there and people are talking about doing translations in German and French in particular. So that’s a strong possibility.
Gaither: For people that listen and look to the “mainstream media” to inform them, talk to us about the status of the Movement in support of Mumia and where we are legally with the case.
Anderson The Mumia case is now scheduled for January 27, 1997. At this time, there is supposed to be a decision from the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania. It doesn’t have to happen on that date but that’s one of the dates that have been confirmed. The sense is that they will reject the request for a retrial. But his lawyers are prepared to go immediately to the federal level at that point. He’s still on death row. His condition is that he can only call out. People can’t call in. The press contact, which was already extremely limited, is no longer there.
We had a successful December 1996 rally on Wall Street with Mumia as the focal point, but it was also about the realty of the growing poverty in this country and the prison-industrial-complex, the opposition to the death penalty in general and exposing the reality of political imprisonment in the US. However, none of the major “Bourgeois” press was there—on any level—even though they were notified and we had, I would estimate 1,200 or 1,500 demonstrators and the thousands of people who work on Wall Street checking it out.
So his case is one in which we feel in order to get any kind of justice moving on this, the Black community must be mobilized and informed. There are various ways to do that and it varies from community to community throughout the world. Earlier this year on King’s birthday in New York City, we had a successful fundraiser with Max Roach, Cassandra Wilson, Greg Osby, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez and others. Numerous celebrities—Spike Lee, Johnnie Cochran, Susan Taylor—were there to lend their support.
Gaither: The media, in their effort to trivialize movements, ran the line that the case of Mumia Abu Jamal was a “cause célébre.” Is there any truth to that?
Anderson: Yes, there are celebrities who see him as a cause. (Laughter) But it’s much bigger than that. Look at the worldwide effort of his support: tens of thousands of people in Europe, different countries in Europe amounting to half a million. He’s honorary Mayor of Venice! You know what I mean? That’s a slap in the face to the US because that’s an official status that is usually reserved for dignitaries and such.
So it’s a movement that is growing internationally but because of our Black Liberation movement being weak, he is not a known entity among the grassroots folks here in the United States. That’s what we’re trying to work on. The video that HBO put out is important. We have to promote that video and they’re going to do a ninety minute version in the summer again. The first one was a sixty minute version.
Gaither: All of the hoopla over the issue of crime in this country has really had a negative impact on Black and Latino youth. We are certainly faced with a challenge as we march toward the twenty-first century.
Anderson: That’s the essence of the late capitalist system. When a significant chunk of the labor force is no longer necessary, with a combination of “their” laws and racism, we are criminalized. Our potential labor force (i.e., Black and Latino youth), who are now superfluous, becomes criminalized. All of these efforts at pushing a harder and harder crime bill are the central focus of it. In addition, money can be made from it by certain people because the prison industrial complex is one of the most profitable businesses outside of the drug business in this country.
We have to in every way, shape, and form lay out to our young people the social, political, and racial reality of this country. And if we can capture an element of the hip hop community (referring to rappers) to get them to incorporate this reality into their lyrics, that will be helpful. I think that this is happening. There is a loose cadre of young activists who are really concerned about developing instead of just being spontaneous and opposed to study. There is a loose group throughout the country—in many cases they may not even be aware of each other—who are attempting to do the necessary work of pointing out that the highest form of organized crime is capitalism. And all things flow from there. It’s up to the young people to be in motion to not reform something that’s not reformable but to create revolution.
Friday, September 17, 2004
N° 20 Novembre 2002
Out of Barbados: The birth of the Global Afrikan Congress
|par S.E. Anderson||
Over the past few weeks much has been discussed and debated about the African/African Descendents Caucus post-Durban gathering in Barbados from Oct. 1 to 6. This is, in part, an indication of the historic importance of the gathering.
Let’s be clear from the outset: despite a frustratingly negative start and a blow to PanAfrican-Cuban solidarity that needs to be immediately rectified, the African/African Descendents Caucus-sponsored conference achieved one of its primary goals.
We – more than 600 Sistas and Brothas from all regions of the Black World – established the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC). It is a necessary work-in-progress of a developing united front of African/African descendent organizations. About two years from now, GAC will hold another international conference to democratically ratify its constitution, sum up its work and plan for future struggles towards the liberation of African peoples everywhere. By the end of the conference, the vast majority of us recognized that this is a monumental task that requires us to be principled, open, united and in it for the long haul.
Now, about that frustratingly negative start
As many people have written and spoken of recently, there were mixed messages sent out by the key conference organizers about whether or not non-Africans should attend. To a veteran radical activist white American documentarian and his Asian activist wife - who have been, with their own monies, documenting the global rise of the Reparations Movement - were told by the conference organizers up to the Sunday before the conference that it was OK to attend. These two documentarians were only interested in filming the open plenaries and doing individual interviews of Sistas and Brothas active in Reparations struggles outside of the U.S. They were not interested in filming any of the 15 working groups because they understood the sensitive nature of the content of these sessions.
When the need for interpreters was raised during the planning months, the organizers opted for a Barbados-based professional translation service that had the technical apparatus - wireless headphones - and personnel to do simultaneous translation in at least four languages. Their staff included three or four white Barbadians.
In addition, there was a young Asian male student within the Canadian delegation and a young Lebanese activist woman who had planned to deliver a solidarity message from forces within the Palestinian Intifada. There might have been about four to six other whites and other non-Africans present during the hours of debates about whether or not non-Africans should attend.
These were the non-Africans that the British delegation initially objected to. After heated debates - unfortunately, I was still en route to Barbados - and a vote carrying 70 percent in favor of expulsion, subjectivity took over. This meant that you had “security” checking you out to see if you were “African” enough to enter the plenary meetings. If Bob Marley had showed with his pops along with Adam Clayton Powell during these moments, they would have been kicked out!
Fortunately, the working group leaders encouraged the delegates to stay the course and make real the reason they came to Barbados.
Political and economic fallout for Barbados
Another aspect one needs to take into consideration: the use of the conference center was underwritten by the Barbados government, which had openly invited the African/African Descendents caucus to hold its founding meeting in Barbados. The government has a nondiscriminatory policy that we as guests of the government should have respected. In addition, because the major corporate media focused only on this issue of expelling non-Africans, it can have a direct impact upon Barbados’ tourist-dependent economy as well as its relationship with a U.S. government hell bent on smashing all support for Reparations.
Anticipating some of this wrath, the delegates passed a unanimous resolution stating that there should be no reprimands placed upon Brotha David Commissiong and the semi-governmental Pan African Commission he heads up because of the terrible mis- and dis-information being spewed out by the international corporate press.
Speaking of the U.S. government’s rabid anti-Reparations policy, you can rest assured that they want to kill this growing movement before it matures into a powerful global force challenging white supremacy and imperialism’s crushing globalization. Of course, there were at least three CIA agents present in Blackface.
The Cuban delegation
The Cuban delegation – and, therefore, government – was not and is not in opposition to the formation of a global PanAfrican organization or of Reparations. They were and are opposed to the expelling of non-Africans when there was publicity saying this was an open meeting for those interested in being in solidarity with and helping to form the united front of Africans and African descendents.
We need not go into Cuba’s solid credentials of supporting with their own lives and medical and technical expertise African Liberation causes on the Continent and throughout the Diaspora. We don’t need to point out that Cuba has stood behind our Sistas Assata Shakur, Nihanda and other Black U.S. Freedomfighters for over 20 years - providing political asylum for them in spite of U.S. economic and military threats and bribes. We also need not point out that it was Fidel at the Durban UN World Conference Against Racism last year who laid out to the UN delegates the logic and moral necessity of Reparations. No other head of state took such a bold and clear positive stance for Reparations.
It is absurd for some of us to think 1) that Fidel and the Cuban government have been opportunistic in their steadfast support of African Liberation as it struggles to endure a 42-year U.S. induced economic blockade and psychological, chemical and germ warfare. Remember, tens of thousands of Cubans volunteered to go and Fight and Die alongside Angolan, Namibian and South African Freedomfighters during the 1970s because they understood their African roots and the evils of imperialism grinding Africa and Africans into horrendous poverty and illness.
2) that Cuba is a “white” or “Latino” nation like Argentina or Paraguay. Cuba’s 11 million people are overwhelmingly of African descent and a very mixed group of folk. The majority of the “white” Cubans now reside in Miami and northern New Jersey. The spiritual base of the Cuban people is Santeria, a Yoruba-based religion. Cuba’s overall culture has an explicit African base that they no longer deny, but openly embrace.
Brothas and Sistas, we, as the Global Afrikan Congress, will get absolutely no respect from many of those African/African Descendents we are going to try to join us in the monumental task of building the Congress if we do not immediately rectify our mishandlings with Cuba. It will haunt the Global Afrikan Congress and render us globally isolated as a bunch of narrow-minded super-Black nationalists seeking to unite only with the mythical “pure” African.
The birth of the Global Afrikan Congress
Through the various working groups deliberating over three days, the Global Afrikan Congress began to take shape. Keep in mind, the work was being done by hundreds of African people coming out of a very wide range of ideological and levels of activist experiences. The working groups were very open, lively and democratic in their deliberations, which rolled over to the final hours of plenary debates and discussions on structure and name.
Reparations for the crimes of slavery, slave trade, colonialism and the lingering vestiges of these through white supremacy has become our centerpiece, which all our work informs and is informed by. There was no debate on this.
The task now is to 1) immediately plan out the regional meetings so that they all occur within the next three to six months working towards a Global Afrikan Congress constitutional convention sometime in 2004 or 2005.
2) find ways to heal the wound between those Sistas and Brothas who chose to leave the conference after the vote supported the exclusion of non-Africans and bring them into the work ahead.
3) disseminate the working groups’ tasks and all the plenary resolutions to as many African/African Descent organizations as possible.
You and I, Sistas and Brothas, along with countless millions of our brethren and sistren imbued with a lot of hard work and principledness are the only ones who can make the Global Afrikan Congress the real thing: powerfully Black and victorious for us, our ancestors and our future.
The Black Holocaust for Beginners , by Sam E. Anderson: Unlike Addicted to War, Anderson's The Black Holocaust is not a comic book. It is heavily, and expertly illustrated, yet what drives the book is the text, as raw as new wounds on the skin of the psyche. It is a brilliant telling of, not just the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but the equally monstrous Arab slave trade along the eastern shores of Africa, which lasted some 600 years longer, and lasts up until our age. It is written in matter-of-fact style, straight forward; a chilling portrayal of foreign rapes and exploitation of Africa. It shows that the trade in human bondage was a global process, which involved and impacted millions of people. It uses both classical texts (like Cheikh Anta Diop's Civilization or Barbarism ) and numerous records from the period to give the speech, and flavor of the times to illustrate how economic, political, and social forces converged to justify slavery, and exploit the labor of millions. It's not 'fun' (it's not supposed to be), but it is informative. It really is the roots of America and much of the West.
OF EDUCATIONAL GENOCIDE?
Fifty years after the powerful impact of a combined legal strategy and activism across Black America that brought forth the Brown victory, we are worse off. The US political and economic system found ways to absorb our militancy and reformist demands because we– for the most part –wanted in to this rotten–by–nature system.
In the South, our Black- run schools were allowed to be dismantled… and most of our wonderful Black teachers wound up not teaching our children. In the North, white flight from the cities were the order of the day and we– for the most part– were uncritical of what and how our children were being taught by racist white teachers until… the rise of the Civil Rights/Black Power era of the 1960’s. It is in this era of the 60’s and 70’s that we dreamed of and struggled for POWER. Today, we need to rekindle that righteous fire to dream of and struggle for POWER. Especially the POWER to develop our children’s minds to be proudfully Black; to be inquisitive and critical thinkers; to embrace science and math….
…But today, if we randomly chose 100 eager wide-eyed Black kindergarten children from throughout the five boroughs entering Mayor Bloomberg’s “public” educational system, they have less of a chance of graduating from high school and going to college and graduating than their grand parents and great–grands did back in 1954 when the US Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional.
In fact, given the present quality of education provided for our children, this is what is happening and will most likely happen to them:
• Out of the 100 kindergarteners, only 40 will make it through to the 9th grade to high school––
• Out of the 40 who made it to high school only about 15 or 16 will graduate from high school––
• Out of the 15 or 16 who will be high school graduates, at most 6 will go on to college––-
• Out of the 6 who will go on to college at best 3 will graduate from a four–year college… and only 1 of them will be a Black man–– What happens to the 97 young Black men and women who never graduate from college?
We know only too well. Just walk down our neighborhood streets any workday afternoon and look at who’s hanging out. Just visit Riker’s Island… or any of NY’s prisons anytime. Just look at who’s behind the Burger King, KFC and McDonald’s counters for slave wages. Just look at who is getting killed in Iraq and other US imperial war zones of the world. It would be a horrendous criminal situation if we are only talking about 100 young Black men and women. But we are talking about witnessing tens of thousands of kindergarten-aged beautiful, inquisitive Black children being sent into these anti–education centers to be transformed into intellectual zombies destined to be bling–bling consumers, prisoners and warriors protecting white supremacists’ wealth in the name of “Democracy.
"We are also talking about us Black adults complying with these terrible institutional acts to render our children 21st century slaves. At the start of the 2004–05 school year we, African-American adult citizens of New York City, are allowing nearly 36,000 5 to 7–year-old Black children to enter the first stages of educational genocide, the systematic institutional miseducation of African- American, Latino and Asian youth based on the racist assumptions and policies of white supremacy that are embedded within the very structures of the US educational system. Let’s never forget that some 520,000 elementary and secondary Black children are also being subjected to this educational genocide policy.
This institutional mis–education process renders our children and our future “superfluous” (useless) to the needs of capitalism and white supremacy. At the start of the school year, we eagerly look forward to seeing our children go into these buildings of Education Hell. Sometimes we smile. Sometimes they smile or cry. We cry with pride & joy and with an undying assumption that our sons and daughters will learn and grow into prosperous men and women. We hope beyond hope that their experiences will be better than what happened to us.
Many of us either deny the horrors we see right in front of us or have fallen under the white supremacist spell that this is the best we can do because of our limited intellectual capacities. But since 1954, the reality is monstrously opposite of our dreams. For out of the 36,000 beautiful, bright Black tots happily skipping or tearfully being torn from moms or pops on that first day of school, 31,000 will end up with miserable lives of dropouts: jail, death, drug addiction, hustling, prostitution, teenage moms with no support, AIDS, dead–end jobs…. If we allow school year 2004–05 to go on as business as usual.
Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence (BNYEE) is here to say that we don’t have to have “business as usual” with Bloomberg and Klein cranking up their educational genocide machine preparing to transform our children’s brilliance into madness and criminal self–centeredness. BNYEE – Black men and women who are educators, parents and students – is here to take a stand and organize to regain community control of public schools so as to implement a curriculum that stimulates intellectual growth, critical thinking, scientific & technological knowledge, Black pride and respect for community.
BNYEE is prepared to go into every corner of the Black community to help build a mass movement to not only combat educational genocide currently operating within the public school systems, but we are also prepared to implement a totally different, more egalitarian, educational system where parents and students have a direct and equal say (as do the teachers and administrators) in the day–to–day operations of schools and the entire system.
BNYEE is a fighting organization. We know that this $12–14 billion/year educational system is run by ruthless men and women primarily concerned with making a profit and maintaining the criminalization and dumbing–down process of Black and Latino children. They are not going to give up their control through moral suasion and nice negotiations.
They have a “white supremacist” mandate to carry out… and have the backing from the governor, the US president and Congress through all kinds of racist and criminal policies including the No Child Left Behind Act that’s leaving our children behind at faster and faster rates than back in 1954.
A half–century after Brown v. Board’s promise of Black freedom and equality, we now have the possibility to unite and confront the educational genocide currently ravaging Black America in general and New York City in particular. BNYEE is just a local representation that is growing across Black America: organized resistance and struggle for education and liberation. It is ONLY You and I reading this that can fight to make this Black Freedom Promise a Reality.
BNYEE invites you to join us in this righteous work to bring educational excellence to our children. For information about our next meeting and actions please call: 718–270–6287.
(S. E. Anderson is Education Director, Medgar Ecers College Center for Law and Social Justice, and author of The Black Holocaust for Beginners)