Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Critiquing Tavis Smiley's Covenant with BlackFolk-Part I

So far, these events have been large turnouts. In early March 2006, Brooklyn's Concord Baptist Church had an overflow room... and that was not enough. This means that there were at least 3000 folk who came literally on a couple of days notice.

Our people are hungry for social action. Hungry for comradeship in the midst of multiple states of emergencies. Hungry for a Malcolm X or Martin Luther King or a Marcus Garvey to lead us out of blinding oppression. Hungry for Organized Social and Political Action. Hence, they will come out to a celeberty-filled EVENT that's a talkfest to look for leaders and answers. They'll go away mixed with a sense of upliftment & racial solidarity coupled with frustration due to lack of putting talk into action by the talkers.

My issue with Tavis Smiley is that he has systematically excluded nationally and locally known Black revolutionaries/radicals from being part of the dialogue. He merely blackens what corporate-controlled media and academia does: render Black revolutionaries/radicals/PanAfricanists invisible or "old school." So his Town Hall meetings wind up being discussions between reformers and accomodationists who are incapable of (and not interested in) mobilizing their offices much less Black communities. They objectively and subjectively work on setting up Black America for the whims of the Democratic Party's presidential candidates and various NGO-izing foundations that suck the revolutionary spirit out of community organizing and morph our militancy into polite begging for some nanocrumbs.

I would support a sitdown with Tavis to try to convince him that wherever he has his Town Halls, that Black revolutionary/radical forces be equally on stage (at least 2). I also think we should do a written critique of Tavis's Covenant. It should not be left to float to th e surface as our 21st Century Black Manifesto.

I also recognize that we are in this terrible space where our people are hungry for social action and the traditional Black Resistance Fighters are far and few between among the under 40 folks but many among the 55 and older folk: the AARPs (Aged African Revolutionary Persons). Never before in our 500+ year history in the Americas have we had such a dilemma: where the Revolutionary Center is found among elders & near-elders. (I'm NOT saying that there are no Black young revolutionaries in the US. I know there are. I'm saying that the qualitative and quantitative center of this Black Revolutionary force is located amongst the older activists and praxtioners.)

The question of rekindling our Black revolutionary youth force is OURS to answer- not Tavis or Cornel or Sharpt on... and time is definately running out between mounting US fascism and so many of us aging out of struggle in so many ways.

In Struggle,


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