Saturday, February 17, 2018

Phuk Blk Panther: SHAFT lives!

In 1971, Gordon Park's independently produced film SHAFT cost $1.125 million to make and release.

Why are Black people in the US so excited about Black Panther, a comic-book fantasy on screen? Is it because it is a box-office success? It demonstrates a new-found Black prowess in the Hollywood cesspool? In other words, we Blacks can now make Walt Disney so much richer, so he can make us that much more prouder?

HMMM. Well, I hate to snatch away your koofis and the traditional African earings you bought at Macy's,but Black Panther is a piss-poor box-office draw for investors, so far. For the Presidents' Day, 4-day weekend, Black Panther is expected to make $213 million. It cost $200 million to make, so say Brother Imhotep Disney's boys at Marvel. That is $13 million over cost.

But let us go back to July 2, 1971 and the release of the Black cult classic SHAFT. That movie cost $1.125 million to make. It earned $10.996 million over cost by December 31, 1971--5 months.That means its investors made about $8.00 back on each dollar they put into the movie. For SHAFT, a $100,000 investor made $999,592 ($6.176 million in current currency). A $100,000 investor in Panther, over the weekend, will get about $760.00 or $128.00 (adjusted for inflation by the US Labor Dept. for buying power in Dec. 1971).

But these figures are moot to the vast hordes of Black Panther freaks, since they are highly unlikely to have any stake in the MATERIAL SUCCESS of the movie whatsoever. Even at $32.00 per day in actual 1971 buying power, today's movie makers have something to show--maybe a dinner for 2 at Applebees. What do Black Americans have to show, except that they are bigger chumps for Hollywood's Black Exploitation con-game now than they were in 1971. You tell me.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Have you seen the BLACK COMMUNITY lately?

By William Pleasant

I raise this issue because I was recently asked why the "Black Community" needs leadership today.

Here is my response...Here is my provocation!

Firstly, there is no such thing as a "Black Community." There are Black neighborhoods (usually urban slums), Black churches, a few Black civil society formations, etc., but NO Black community.

The term presupposes a coherent and widely held political analysis and consequent strategy among Black people in the US. That does not exist anymore. Prior to the social reforms of the 1960s and 70s, a Black Community (civil society formations and institutions) did exist as those folks who formulated and executed What Needed To Be Done to overthrow de jure Jim Crow apartheid across the US. Once Jim Crow's harhest and most apparent facets were erased, that Black Community withered away as a singular, Black-for-Black social formation. It had no further historical raison d'etre.

Leadership? Lead whom? For what? Where? Currently, There is no Black leadership, merely contesting brand-names for brokers of discontent among the lower stratum of the Black working class and de-classed (primarily impoverished youths) elements.

Black Community is not even a BLACK term. It is a modern German term (Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft) that eventually evolved into the Frankfurt School's critical race theory, which took root among social and cultural activists-scholars who emerged from the civil rights and New Left philosophical trends of the 1960s. At that time, the Black Community was perceived as the social seed from which The Black Revolution would spring.

No revolution came, so no Black "community" was necessary, and none emerged. But the term had some lucrative non-Black applications, especially in terms of ethnic micro-marketing of goods and services. The term "Black Community" evolved into a euphemisim for an urban target population for retailing "Black" stuff. Ironically, history shows that the "Black Community" finds its most ardent proponents among white corporate America and hack Democratic Party politicians (Black Empowerment), drooling to gnaw the last dollars and votes from Black urban populations. They are, unfortunately, the ultimate beneficiaries of buying and voting "Black." in the mythical "Black Community."

In the current epoch, "Black Community" has come to mean a shared socio-cultural experience among American Negroes. On the face, this is an absurdity, given that the experience of being Black in the US varies by geographical location, social class status and even skin complexion. There is no such thing as culturally "Black" because there are many, many cultures among the Black folks who inhabit the US. Today's "Black Community" is a romantic formulation that manifests itself as, among other things, Kwanzaa, African-inspired fashion fetishes and Rootsism. But even this notion of "Black Community" is embraced among a very small sliver of the Black population in the US.

"Black Community," in the end , is a political nonsense term. It has no political applications that can even be remotely associated with the political challenges faced by the de-classed and working class elements of the US Black population.

Here is the challenge: What is the appropriate term for Black people who by necessity must confront and overturn white supremacy and the monopoly capitalistic system that socially feeds on racial oppression?


Friday, December 16, 2016

Afrocentrism 2016: If your hairdo won’t liberate you, then try twerking!

By Lofton A. EMENARI

Straight from the MOTHERLAND, right?

“Hey, my conscious African queen, put on them stretch pants and let’s kick it. On the wa,y we’ll grab a couple of dem afro wigs at the nearest corner Korean owned beauty sto.”

Before you call me a sexist, let me preface this lawful rant with a piece of wisdom that Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) laid on us before he got outta here.
“The duty of the conscious is to make the unconscious aware of their unconsciousness.”

I’ll unpack that nugget as this piece progresses, but first things first. Some would wager the so-called conscious ain’t so conscious. I am among the some.

Afrocentrism and its most fanatical apologists would have unconscious Negroes believe the hype that anything with even the whiff of Africa—usually associated with vulgar exotica—ranks as authentically African and hence an emblem of Black political resistance. They are instructed that even concocted hybrid names like Kafereekah, Fabuleesha, Donvontontre…gleaned from an endless diet of hood rat videos rate as at least conscious political posturing. Never mind that posturing at its most genuine is the leading social symptom of political impotence.

Acts of how-to-make-up-your-own-Afrocentric-wannabe-isms are really only noteworthy for their comical desperation for social attention at any price, including simple self-respect.

One of these current trends are natural afro hairstyles so grotesquely caricatures of National Geographic stereotypes that actual native men and women are provoked to loud and derisive laughter. The once golden crown of the big puff natural afro hairdos of the 60s has degenerated so much so that folks are just not combing their hair. Simple. The unkempt has been designated the official Afrocentric fashion moda.

Picture Angela Davis shaking her iconic coiffed ‘fro back and forth in disbelief. But then again, I dunno. She flips flops on so much political content these days that maybe she might just make an appearance afro-less, bald, scaring the shit outta e’rybody!

The other Afrocentric rage, to quote an old Ohio Players song, are “those skin tight britches” which seem to be chasing the flabbiest thighs on this side of the Milky Way. I am not just talking about bulging thighs but abounding malformed, lopsided  asses and hips. Talk about an Afrocentric anatomical landscape!!! An Afrocentric friend once told me she wears tight elastic stretch pants to show men “what she’s working with.”

Stretch pants come in all colors and patterns. There are even kente cloth varieties, manufactured in the sweatshops of Bangladesh and South Korea! (How Afrocentric is that fo’ yo’  UJAMAA ass!). Stretch pants conform and detail the crevices of almost any and every female form. Younger, unconscious would-be Afrocentrics love ‘em for “showcase” utility.

Envision Michelle Obama with a puffed-out, insane afro, straining the seams of some sequined Beyonce’ stretch pants, rolling out of the White House for the Trump inauguration. In tow is her hubby Barack, familiar strident swag, rockin’ some sagging designer jeans with neon yellow, kente-paterned boxer shorts flashing around his waist. Many devotees of the Afro and the centric would cheer themselves into convulsions and declare Obama and his First Shorty revolutionary icons! Yes. And among the leaders of the hysterical multitudes would be many folks with degrees who occupy choice jobs in Africana Studies departments at several of this country’s leading universities!

Wasn’t there a time when men and women held a modicum of dignity about appearance, head to toe? Back in the day there was something called shame. Shame came from disgraceful acts against a collective culture already downtrodden, abused and shackled by white supremacy.  In fact, shame could come from a parental tongue lashing more severe than a slave master’s lash.

"Am I free yet?"

There was also a time of pride. There was pride in appearance which had nothing to do with bourgeois attitudes or class distinction. Pride was derived from self- determination and the practice of Black Liberation. For example, pride often looked like a Black mother shielding her daughters from vile slave rapists—Black or white. There is simply no pride to be had in today’s narcissistic debauchery, even when it is wrapped in a red-black & green flag!

Examine twerking? Does the dance step probably originate in Africa? Probably. Does it bestow ethnic authenticity upon one who twerks? The Afrocentrists would either hold their tongues or find some hustle to be hatched around marketing truly conscious twerking. But there is really is no material revolutionary political content, Afrocentric or otherwise, in twerking. If that was the case, then the captive, neo-colonized nations of Africa today would have twerked their way to freedom 50 years ago! After all, logic would dictate that they must know how to twerk the best.

Lofton A. Emenari is a “Black Boy”, “The Invisible Man Who Cried I Am,” fed by John and Alice Coltrane’s “Fire Next Time” and Nkrumah’s Pan African scientific socialism - a “Message To The Grassroots”.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bernie Sanders & the liberal zionist psychosis

Bernie Sanders wants to overthrow every aspect of US policy, he says with passion. But when it comes to supporting Palestinian human rights and abandoning pro-zionist militarism in the
Middle East, the self-proclaimed  "revolutionary" Social Dem becomes comically befuddled.
"On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders called for the U.S. to approach the Israel-Palestine conflict to be a 'level playing field.' Speaking after his surprising victory in the Michigan Democratic primary, Sanders asserted that there are people of goodwill in both 'Israel and the Arab communities' whom he would seek to bring together as president.

“ 'All I can tell you is I will make every single effort to bring rational people on both sides together, so that hopefully we can have a level playing field, the United States treating everybody in that region equally,' Sanders said."

This is, of course, some sly bullshit from Bernie Sanders. Muslims and Arabs in Michigan gave Sanders a fistful of votes that enabled him to top the openly Likudnik Hillary Clinton. He has now tossed them a dry bone in gratitude.

What can Sanders' "level playing field" mean in the absence of a US policy of removing $3+ billion per year in US taxpayer funding to the squatter colony in Palestine? What could it mean in the absence of a PUBLIC policy of politically and financially sanctioning the zionist regime for its ongoing violations of international law and UN Security Council Resolutions? Can de-possessed Palestinians, scattered and impoverished around the world by the zionists, count on Bernie Sanders to enforce their legal rights to return to their homes and reclaim their stolen properties? Certainly, Sanders cannot believe that we are stupid enough to consider the colonized Palestinians and the US-financed and armed zionists colonizers as two peas in the same pod, equally-endowed teams on a game court. Sanders' playing field can only be equilibrated by ending US support for Israel. Is Sanders suggesting this as his answer to resolving the "Israel-Palestine" conflict? Let's see. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
This is the current US-financed and politically defended "PLAYING FIELD"
for Palestinians that Bernie Sanders seeks to level, he says.
But Sanders gives a stunning clue to his real intentions, maybe inadvertently, when he says that there are people of goodwill in "both Israel and the Arab communities" that he will bring into negotiations. Sanders lets his zionist cat out of the bag at that point. You see, even liberal zionists like Bernie, for racist ideological reasons, cannot admit that there is a Palestine or that there are Palestinians who live there. He could have more accurately reached out to Israelis and Palestinians after the defeat of Hillary Clinton. But Sanders actually can't even utter the words Palestine or Palestinians. For in the psychotic zionist cosmology, Non-Jewish (Europeans and wannabe Europeans) residents of occupied Palestine can only be "Arabs"--a hostile racial group--in short, Wild Indians, varmints, etc., in the wild west lexicon.This denial syndrome, common to ALL zionists, precludes any peaceful resolution of the anti-colonial struggle for Palestine because there is no Palestine and there are no Palestinians to lawfully lay claim to any national or human rights. To accept their existence negates the entire zionist nation-building myth and renders Israelis as existential non-entities. This is a cruel version of the Pauli exclusion principle, i.e., two electrons in an atom cannot occupy the same space at the same time. As such, one particle has to vacate the premises. Is Bernie Sanders willing to countenance the "Jew" supremacist State of Israel withering away to be replaced by a non-racial, secular, democratic social entity (to be properly named later) on the Palestinian landmass where all ethnic and religious/cultural sectors can live and thrive in peace? Naw,,,Sanders is afflicted with the liberal zionist psychosis. But let's see if he can be cured. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Malik Sekou Osei: The Preface…


This is not an epitaph for Malik Sekou Osei, my dear friend who left this world on November 9, 2015, but the preface to a publication of his writings that he and I composed and published in our on-line journal known as LIBERATOR. I will produce and publish a book version in his honor in 2016.


I never knew that Sekou was chronically ill. He never gave me any indication that he was anything other than filled with vigor and hope. On November 8, 2015, the last of our daily conversations, I called him from a hackneyed ribbon-cutting ceremony in Baltimore. After glad-handing with the locally elected Black Democratic Party hacks and their epigone and frightening all the local TV news reporters, I called Sekou and had a big laugh. For more than an hour I explained how the best thing that the Democratic Party and its Black camp followers could answer the mayhem that gripped Baltimore after the police-gangland rubout of Freddy Gray was a politically neutral mural exactly at GROUND ZERO (Pennsylvania @ North Avenues a.k.a. zip code 21217, one of the most devastated urban regions in the USA), the point where young and de-classed Black people engaged in a battle royal with the Baltimore City Police Department, Maryland State Police and the Maryland National Guard. When the world heard “RIOT,” “BLACKS,” “BALTIMORE” the mass media was talking about the corner of North and Pennsylvania Avenues. After the bloodshed, mass arrests and destruction, the only thing that the authorized negroes of Baltimore could come up with was a “Black, culturally positive” mural against a wall facing exactly where hundreds of Black youths were tear gassed, beaten and arrested by the armed forces of Maryland.

The absurdly ahistorical and apolitical mural @ Baltimore's "Ground Zero."

On November 8, 2015. Sekou and I spoke by phone and plotted the next installment of LIBERATOR that would address this absurd historical/cultural/political failure. Anxiously, I awaited our next conversation. The next day, I did receive a phone call from Sekou’s number, but it was not from my colleague but from his wife Ama Tanks. She was distraught. She found our dear Comrade Sekou asleep forever.

What was our history together? Sekou and I spoke on a daily basis by telephone. We created LIBERATOR together from the substance of those conversations. Where did I first meet Sekou? It was in 2010 at some un-remarkable and impotent street demonstration in Lincoln Square (14th St @ Broadway in Manhattan). I did not know him, but he knew of me from my work at the DAILY CHALLENGE (NYC’s only sort-of-Black daily journal) as the deputy editor.

He admired me and I admired him immediately. Nonetheless, our social histories were extremely different. I came from the US South, from a rather culturally conservative but severely radical political family dating back to the ante bellum era. Sekou came from the culturally florid Caribbean milieu, but his family sang the obligatory, politically conservative immigrant song, so he said. Sekou politically evolved from his teenage encounters with the Nation of Islam and the legacy of Malcolm X. I politically evolved from the radicalism of my family, the University of Chicago and the literal street fights that led to the election of Harold Washington to the mayor seat in 1983. It is true that we were both relatively well-trained musicians—he played bass, I played Euro-concert trumpet—but that was about it in terms of commonality. We really came from different social planets. But through dialogue, we discovered that we politically and philosophically agreed upon everything. We simply came to the same conclusions through different social paths. That is how our collaboration on the on-line LIBERATOR was born.

What did we agree upon? What were the philosophical and practical foundations of our UNITED FRONT?
·         We were both Marxists and Lenin-inspired political economists on the question of party organization and revolutionary practice.

  • ·         We agreed that nothing could be done to reform the system of monopoly capitalism and the dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie.
  • ·         We both concluded that the leading edge of class oppression, especially in the Western Hemisphere, resided in the 500-year history of white supremacy, socially characterized by genocide against the Indigenous Peoples, the chattel enslavement of Africans and the outright theft of Latin American lands and natural resources.
  • ·         We saw Africa as a continent of great social and material resources continuously laid waste by neo-colonial regimes and other compradorial bourgeois political formations that aided the US and its European junior partners in looting the labor, agricultural and mineral wealth of the land for the benefit and only for the benefit of imperialism.
Africa's neo-colonial trash
  • ·         We recognized that the violence of white supremacy could only be answered with extreme counter-violence from the oppressed strata of society, and the poor desperately required the appropriate social and theoretical training to bring grief to their tormentors around the world.
  • ·         We dismissed much of what was left of the Black Liberation Movement as hopelessly theoretically under-developed and mired in cultural nationalistic mysticism/romance, giving rise to a herd of so-called Black leaders who stroked the backwardness of the de-classed and working class strata of Black America as stooges for the Democratic Party, as petty sideshow brokers of Black discontent.
Brokers of Black discontent
  • ·         Sekou and I were unrelenting in our denunciation of the erstwhile “Black” Pres. Barack Obama, who we castigated as a Trojan Horse designed by the ruling strata to mystify and pacify the historically restive Black, Latino and Native populations, as well as  much of the US Left. We readily referred to him as BUCKWHEAT, that affable little colored boy who tailed OUR GANG but was never actually granted membership in the white mob.
  • ·         We realized that subjective circumstances of oppression do not necessarily lead to objective social circumstances of revolt. Overwhelmingly, the collective suffering of the people simply de-evolves into crass survivalism and escapist routines that promote social atomization and further political disorganization.
Why do we call Pres. Obama BUCKWHEAT?

  • ·         Lastly, Sekou and I observed the deterioration of Black culture and art into a de-historicized corporate commodity, aesthetically driven by the illusions of sexual gratification (sado-masochism) and the quest for the trinkets of conspicuous consumption. In short, Black art and culture lay dead amongst the political and intellectual ruins of the Black Liberation Movement. There can be no humanistic or revolutionary art and culture without the theory and practice of revolutionary social development.
No love, no art...
Malik Sekou Osei was foremost my friend and political co-conspirator. He kept me going when I was disheartened. I returned the favor. He inspired my writing and re-affirmed for me that the quest for human fulfilment lived on among people like him who would never bend a knee to superstition, opportunism or even the threat of terror. In presenting Sekou’s writings through book form in the coming months, I hope to inspire a larger audience and a new generation to recognize that THE REBELLION OF THE SLAVES WILL BE THE WAR OF THE LANDSCAPES and, as Sekou always signed off in his writing: HISTORY IS ON OUR SIDE BUT NOT TIME.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Understanding the forms of capital

KARL MARX          
By Malik Sekou OSEI

 Here we all must begin in a not so easy discussion and that can be rather complex that everyone may need to examine more than once. To the reader it’s important to pick volumes I, II, III of Capital by the thinker Karl Marx to approach a level of rigor beyond the American phenomenon of intellectual sloganeering. Also what will be needed is two other books, the first one is by Rudolf Hilferding and called Finance Capital (1910),  the second book is by Geoffrey Kay Development and Underdevelopment, A Marxist Analysis (1975).
Rudolf Hilferding.jpg

 Capital as a social relation is an energetic occurrence following a circuit of capital in which it takes on different forms at different points of the circuit and its development within history. If we can start with capital in the form of money (M), it is transformed into commodities (meaning of the production and labor power) to become then productive capital (P). The result of this process of production is commodity capital (C) which has to be actualized through sales and thus re-transformed into money capital. In that sense, capital assumes different forms, but M and C by themselves are lifeless; it makes more sense to talk of capital having specialized occupations and meanings within each stage of the circuit.

      Productive capital, (P) is a process. It is the factory or farm at work. In the case of a hypothetical and theoretic, simple capital system the enterprise that runs the factory may also have full control over dealing in commodities and money, but in reality these processes have been specialized functions and are distinct forms of capital. Merchant capital has the specialize function of dealing in commodities. It is typified by the great trading houses that make profits by buying and selling the raw materials for industry or by the many  multiple stores that trade in finished commodities (the C in the circuit), but there are a variety of intermediary forms. To the degree that banks simply deal in money (the M in the circuit) by exchanging it, they, too, are operating a type of merchant capital. However, the development of the monetary system in relation to these processes gives rises to CREDIT and the development of a different, specialized form of interests-bearing capital. Interests bearing capital is involved in the practice of lending money capital to industrial capital so that the initial M in the circuit of industrial capital is increased and expanded from that source.

    We have to go back to parts IV and V of Capital III. were involved with the specialized forms of capital. They are a significant component in authenticating and confirming Marx’s claim to be able to explain the complexities of the world from principles uncovered by examining highly abstract, general categories, for Marx reaches these chapters after having examined the nature of capital in its undifferentiated forms. In Capital I and II and the early parts of Capital III, Marx presented the laws of capital in general, and of much industrial capital in competition, and Marx believed that the specialized forms of capital could only be understood on the basis of these laws. In particular, the earlier analysis uncovers the way in which SURPLUS VALUE is produced and distributed between industrial capitals, whereas in parts IV, V and the VII of Capital III the question is how this surplus value is distributed in various types of revenue between different specialized form being industrial capital alone, to industrial capital plus merchant capital plus interest-bearing capital. And whereas in the earlier analysis surplus value takes the forms of PROFIT. Industrial capital receives only profit-of-enterprise while interest-bearing capital receives a portion of surplus value as interest and merchant capital also receives profits, commercial profit, which is a deduction from the total surplus value. The revenues received by merchant capital and interest-bearing capital and their separation from other forms of surplus value, merit further analysis.  
19th  century Europe

    Merchant capital, operating in the realm of circulation does not directly generate surplus value, but it does appropriate as profit some of the surplus value that is generated in the only place possible, the sphere of production in capitalist industry and agriculture. Merchant do more than simply buy commodities for resale; order to accomplish their role they also expend capital upon the labor power of shop-workers, clerks and so on. However, this labor is unproductive according to objective laws; it does not directly produce surplus value, although by reducing the cost of circulation below what they would have been if non-specialist industrial capitalist had undertaken it, it may indirectly contribute to it. Given that merchant capital does not generate surplus value in a process of production controlled by it, its profit is obtained from its dealing with industrial (and agriculture) capital. Merchants buy commodities from industry below their value and sell them at their value. The difference, which they appropriate, has a tendency to equal the general rate of profit; competition ensures that the rate of profit accruing to merchants on the capital they advance equals that accruing to industrialists on their capital, and each equals the total surplus value divided by the total of the (merchant and industrial) capital.

    That consideration of commercial profit ignores the deduction of interest; and the nature of interest-bearing capital, too, is considered by concentrating on its relation to industrial capital alone. Interest is paid by industrial capitalize out of their profits, and what remains is profits-of-enterprise, a proportion of the total. Marx considered that the proportions which result from this division are a matter of “accidental” forces of demand and supply, so that no general principles determining the rate of interest (or rate of profit-of-enterprise) could be postulated except as the general limits to the range of values it could take. .
    The final type of revenue which derives from surplus value is RENT, but this return to land ownership is not the same as a return on a specialized form of capital.

    The specialized forms of capital are more than simply the basis for the division of surplus value into different types of revenue, for the development of each has an important historical impact. Although merchant capital depends on industrial capital for the source of its profits, it arose in an early form before industrial capital. Indeed, the role of trade and plunder in the rise of capitalism, the process of PRIMITIVE ACCUMULATION, means the merchant capital was crucial for amassing the resources and stimulating the growth of social relations that were necessary for capitalism. The early monopolists trading companies were its typical representatives in this respect. However, although merchant capital laid the origins of capitalism in Europe, it has been argued that its predominance in Europe’s relation to the so-called third world blocked the ability of the countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America to undertake capitalist development. In the work of Geoffrey Kay, in his book Development and Underdevelopment (1975) he argues that merchant capital within Europe lost its independence as industrial capitalism developed, and therefore did not hinder the development of the latter, the rise of a class making profits through organizing production. In many countries of the Third World however, merchant capital has continued to predominate, at least until recently, and to exercise a rather deal of independence in pursuing profits through trading rather than developing capitalist production. Geoffrey Kay argues this independence has had a paradoxical character at least since the mid-nineteenth century when it gained and lost its independence. Independence was retained in the sense that it was the only form of capital in the underdeveloped countries, but since, in the world as a whole, it coexisted with industrial capital it had to modify its actions to act partially as an agent. It had to trade in the later in the Third World. As an agent it had to trade in the manner required by industrial capitalism (shipping raw materials and food to the capitalist countries and selling their manufactured goods in captive 3rd World Markets), and only influenced local production in the minimal manner necessary to serve Europe’s need for raw materials and food.

European imperialism and the suppression of 3rd World economic
development laid the political foundation for contemporary capitalism.

    Interest-bearing capital’s role in history was recognized and acknowledged by Karl Marx in terms of the effect of the credit system on the centralization of capital and mainly on the founding and quick development of JOINT-STOCK COMPANIES. These developments were seen as exhibiting a new step and as having an important and noteworthy consequence.  This is to give rise to the responding and thwarting tendencies to the FALLING RATE OF PROFIT, since those who advance capital to the joint-stock companies are believed to accept a lower return as a result of the control of interests as a form of surplus value. And they give rise to a change in class configuration as the actually operational capitalist is distinguished from owners of the capital which the industry uses. Interests-bearing capital, however, does not lie in repose unchanged once it arises; it develops more complex characteristic and Hilferding back in 1910 laid out in his book called Finance Capital  the other factor that he identified as the transformation into FINANCE CAPITAL as especially complex, but through it all there is a needed rigor of understanding beyond protest slogans.

   This discussion has never been easy and too many approach this river without the ability to swim and they drown by their lack of training and rigor. I have suggested the review of three important works that lay foundations for study.

     Right now it is important to understand, living in the imperialistic epoch, the different forms of capital and their functions and the maintenance and power of an economic system that thrives on the spread of material underdevelopment and human suffering and which fosters a culture of urban degeneracy, of urban rugged individualism and information ignorance as the norm. Our intelligentsia, meanwhile, postures in performance only to entertain everyone to death.

For History is on our side, but, not time.   

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Let "Bernie" feel our BURN: The People's Agenda for 2016

Sekou OSEI
Bernie Sanders must support the agendas of People of Color,
the working class and progressives before he can count our votes.
Let us assume that the self-described socialist candidate Bernie is something other than a pantomime leftist shill for Hilary Clinton in the upcoming 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries. Let us take on faith that he pursues a radical reorganization of US society that will truly benefit working and poor people, a new political awakening that will promote international peace and human rights, a revolutionary social dawn that will bring the current racist legal and extra-legal onslaught against Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Indigenous Peoples to an end. If these assumptions are correct, then Sanders is worthy of the support of all progressive people, particularly people of color.

At this time, Bernie Sanders’ stated program and public performance do not support the above assumptions. We are treated with his eat-the-rich, populist platform that fails to even remotely address the concerns and aspirations of the very people who are critical to his success at the polls.

There is no basis for People of Color, feminists, anti-imperialists, civil libertarians, environmentalists and SOCIALISTS to cast their votes for Bernie Sanders, except as an impotent gesture of revulsion against Hillary Clinton.

As long as we fail to make Democrats accountable to our demands,
they laugh their way to elected office on our backs.

In 2008 and 2012, the US progressive and non-white communities were seduced by Barack Obama to support the slogan “HOPE and CHANGE.” They stampeded to the polls for the first “Black” president with the assumption that Obama would revolutionize US political culture. Obama actually made no promises to anybody and, in two terms, he has delivered nothing to his most passionate core constituencies. The charge that Obama “sold out” is utterly false. The fact of the matter is that he was never “bought in” to a pro-working class, pro-Black or progressive agenda. Bernie Sanders declares that he is committed to an anti-racist and socialism-driven society. We have an obligation to hold him accountable to his erstwhile radical sophistry .

But does Bernie Sanders’ current political offerings address a progressive or pro-People of Color agenda? No!

Frederick Douglass
Grazed silly on identity politics and operatively disarmed by the US Left’s inability to forge a mass party with anything approaching ideological and practical clarity, America’s needy are doomed to exchange their electoral support for the Democratic Party for social crumbs or less. As it stands now, there is no power in supporting Bernie Sanders for the sake of supporting a dubious anti-Hillary Clinton or Sanders’ milky notion of “democratic socialism.” We must support our agenda and give our funds and votes to candidates who pledge to support our agenda, nothing less is acceptable at this historical juncture. 

As the firebrand abolitionist crusader Frederick Douglass remarked, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

As such, Bernie Sanders’ program must be amended to include our Political Demands. He may choose to ignore our demands or obscure them in his campaign, but we must be willing to equally ignore his plea for our support at the polls. The age of feel-good politics is over. It died in the neo-liberal, imperialistic disaster of the Obama regime.

So that there is no confusion over what we aim to attain by supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Party primary election process, our fundamental policy demands are stated below.


·         A race-targeted jobs program for African Americans and other deprived adults and youths of color.

·         Reverse the Hyde Amendment. Free or low-cost abortion on demand. Federal prosecution for anyone attempting to interfere with a patient’s access to ANY clinic and medical procedure. Mandatory public School contraceptive and parenting training.

·         Strengthen unions--overturn laws that ban workers' right to strike. Make it easier for workers to organize via a card check system.

  • Single payer national health insurance. Promote Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) in urban areas as alternatives to nursing home confinement. Keep the elderly and the infirmed in their homes! End psychiatric patient de-institutionalization schemes. Replace drug-driven behavior control regimens with actual, holistic psychiatric therapy. Decriminalize narcotic use. Provide a national system of federal drug rehab centers.

  • End homelessness by converting fallow commercial spaces into temporary dormitory facilities. Provide permanent housing through the rehabilitation of abandoned houses. Give homeless veterans first priority.
Workers need a living wage but they also require political power.
That means they must have an alternative to the white,
male-dominated twin parties of monopoly capitalism.

·         Strengthen voting rights. Automatic voter registration at the age of 18. No felony disenfranchisement. Criminalize gerrymandering as conspiracy to violate the Voting Rights Act. Pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling.

·         Re-submit the Equal Rights Amendment for states’ ratification.

·         Reverse the 5-year limitation on public assistance cases.

·         Increase the federal minimum wage to $20 per hour and index it to inflation. Introduce a constitutional amendment establishing a nation-wide minimum income.

·         Strict and robust federal enforcement of the Civil Rights Acts (1866, 1871, 1875, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1987) and the re-introduction of the anti-job discrimination Kennedy-Hawkins 1990 Civil Rights Act, with the extension of protections to Lesbian, Gay, Queer and transgender populations.

·         Financially sanction state governments that incarcerate non-white peoples in excess of 5.0% more than their representation in the overall state population.

·         Federal investigation and prosecution of all charges of police brutality and corruption. Establish a federal prosecutor and standing grand jury in each congressional district dedicated to pursuing charges of official misconduct under the color of law. Provide federal funding incentives to municipalities and counties that establish civilian-only law enforcement oversight commissions. 

·         Free all political prisoners, especially those incarcerated during the liberation struggles of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s—FREE MUMIA ABDUL JAMAL and LEONARD PELTIER!

Mumia Abu Jamal, framed by the US government 
like 100s of other activists and radical intellectuals.

·         Stop the persecution of whistleblowers. Free Chelsea Manning and all imprisoned whistleblowers. Drop all charges against Edward Snowden.

Reopen the investigation of the 2001 9-11 Massacre. Make ALL findings public. Indict and prosecute US elected officials and assorted personnel who may have acted as conspirator in the atrocities.

·         Permanent Resident status for any undocumented migrant who has paid federal wage tax for 12 consecutive months. Place a moratorium on ALL deportations where parents may be separated from minor children. Cease incarceration of all non-criminal undocumented migrants, especially minors, facing the deportation process. Strict and robust enforcement of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. Cease immigration discrimination against Chinese females and others based upon country of origin.

Thousands of undocumented migrants, including minor children,
languish in filthy and disease-ridden prisons-for-profit.

·         Financially sanction states that deny IN-STATE post-secondary education tuitions to resident undocumented migrants.

·         Promote a comprehensive program to modernize, rebuild, and strengthen the nation's infrastructure, paid for through a federal stocks and bonds transaction fee and taxes on commercial banking transactions.

·         Establish a federal WPA-style fine arts and performance program in each congressional district to provide stable employment to cultural workers and enhance the cultural sophistication of the residents.

·         Reverse Race to the Top, high stakes testing educational policies. Allocate federal educational funding based on the needs of the students in public school districts. Establish a minimum federal school subsidy based on the average national cost per student per school district statistics. End federal support for charter schools and vouchers that undermine public schools. Federally mandate fine arts training in all public schools.

·         Robust enforcement of the CLEAN AIR and CLEAN WATER Acts. End fracking. Provide income tax incentives to private and commercial property owners who utilize renewable energy sources.

·         Ban GMO livestock and vegetable products.

·         Promote family farming cooperatives through income tax incentives.

·         Create a bullet train and super highway system that links Chicago, Illinois to Santiago, Chile.


·         Reduce the US military budget by 50% in the next five years.

·         End all US applications of mercenaries and other armed proxies in neo-conservative schemes of “regime change.”

ISIS, al-Nusra, al-Queda, Free Syrian Army  and other assorted barbarians 
are really trained and paid  mercenary tools of US imperialism.

·         Complete military non-intervention in the domestic conflicts of any nation unless endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

·         Strict adherence to the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions with special emphasis on the (1949) 4th Geneva Convention statutes pertaining to the treatment of civilians during armed conflict.

·         Strict and robust enforcement of the Neutrality Acts (1794, 1935, 1937), prohibiting the participation of US citizens in foreign armed conflicts as political partisans or mercenaries, and likewise outlawing arms sales and bank loans to foreign belligerent parties. End the practice of granting dual citizenships, except through an explicit act of Congress and on a case-by-case basis.
Israeli soldiers and squatter lynch mobs indulge in 
atrocities against the Palestinian people with impunity solely thanks to 
US political corruption and $10 million-plus per day in direct US funding.
·         Strict and robust enforcement of the Leahy Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act which prohibits the U.S. from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity--including the repression of girls and women. The Leahy Amendment must be expanded to cut military assistance to ALL military programs of human rights offending regimes. Moreover, non-signatory nations to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) must be likewise barred from receiving any US financial aid, as currently demanded by existing US law. This calls for the immediate removal of all US military and police force financial aid to:
  • ·         India
  • ·         Pakistan
  • ·         Israel
  • ·         South Sudan
  • ·         Indonesia
  • ·         Burma

·         Immediate recognition of Palestinian statehood.

·         Commercial and political sanctions against Israel until the illegal siege of Gaza is lifted. Declare the  American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) an agent of a foreign nation (Israel) and rescind its tax-exempt status.

·        Establish US membership in the International Criminal Court system. Ratify the Treaty of Rome.

·         Cash and in-kind reparations to the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.

·         Indictment and prosecution of Bush regime operatives who engaged in war crimes, including torture.

·         Close Guantanamo Bay Prison. Release all detainees. Abandon the Guantanamo navy base. Give the land back to Cuba.

·         Promote potable water, electrification, swamp drainage and internet access projects throughout Africa, Latin America and under-served regions of Asia.

·         Rescind the TPP and other trade regimens that harm the interests of workers, loosen environmental and health laws and promote neo-liberal monopoly agendas.

These few demands should be publicly adopted by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign if Sanders expects the support of progressives and People of Color. The ball is in Sanders' court and the clock is ticking.