Blueprint for Black Power

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"The oppressed and downtrodden, having been traumatized by the abuse of power by their powerful oppressors, often come to perceive power itself as inherently evil, as by nature corrupting and therefore as something to be eschewed, denied and renounced. The pursuit of power is viewed as unworthy of virtuous persons, and the desire to possess it as sinful. Therefore, many among the powerless and poor feel compelled to find in their powerlessness and poverty the emblematic signs of their Godliness and redemptive salvation. How convenient a precept for rationalizing and maintaining the power of the haves over the have-nots! As the result of their ideological manipulation by the powerful and their own reactionary misperception of reality, the poor and powerless have been made to perceive the pursuit, possession and application of power in their own behalf as unbecoming to themselves. This is even more the case when through their naïve acceptance of the self-serving deceptive propaganda perpetrated by the powers-that-be, their own reactionary self-negation, and their nursing of their internalized inferiority complexes, the poor huddled masses perceive the possession and exercise of power as the inherent and exclusive prerogative of the ruling classes or races." "To a significant degree Afrikan Americans accept and obey predominant White American power and its authorities (at least from social-psychological standpoint) because they agree with the rules of their establishment and expression as defined by White Americans; share with White Americans the moral, legal, and other values and perspectives which justify them; and to some extent (limited and of recent origin) because they, i.e., Blacks, have been permitted by White Americans to participate in political and social processes by which White power is given legitimacy. To a limited degree, Afrikan Americans have been permitted access to certain positions of competent and legitimate authority. These factors contribute mightily to their acceptance of White American power (domination) and the White American monopoly of positions of authority as legitimate. These forms of giving consent to the social power status quo on the part of Blacks help to obscure as well as deny the fact that they are in fact a dominated and severely exploited group (regardless of class); and helps to obscure the fact that their uncritical acceptance of the 'rules,' moral beliefs, perspectives, and their customary-traditional participation in the 'American (White) political-economic process and system is tantamount to the legitimating of their own oppression and to the consensual ensurance of their own powerlessness. Rules, beliefs and consent are manufactured by those in power to justify, legitimate and serve their interests. In its origins White American power was not legitimated (i.e., voluntarily or contractually consented to, morally justified or politically-socially ratified) by Afrikan Americans who at the time of its origination were held in captivity (slavery) and to this point in time have been largely excluded from significantly participating in American legitimating processes. From the historical point of view of Native and Afrikan Americans, White power, in whatever form, is illegitimate. This is because such power rests essentially on the near physical and genocidal decimation of Native Americans, the theft of their properties, on the exploitation or forced labor (enslavement) of Afrikans, and on the systematic exclusion by Whites of both Black and Native Americans from the influential exercise of practically all forms of 'legitimate' power and authority in the United States. The rules and beliefs which provide the means for legitimating White power were in fact pre-established, preordained and imposed on Blacks against their will by Whites from the beginning. The illegitimacy of White American power is founded on the illegitimacy of its original sins--genocide, theft of property, and enslavement." "For social power to be exercised effectively the power holder must possess or control some important or valued material and/or social resource(s) which is the basis of his power. By strategically rewarding or depriving others of these resources, he may use them to influence behavior in ways compatible with his interests. Resources when used for such ends is referred to as power bases or resources. Power bases or resources may include physical safety, health and well-being, wealth and material possessions; jobs and means to a livelihood; knowledge and social skills; social recognition, status and prestige; love, affection, social acceptability; a satisfactory self-image and self-respect… We have no intentions to review the quite sizable number of possible power bases here. We shall constrain ourselves to brief, but pertinent, discussions of those power resources which are of important relevance to Afrikan Americans and the power relations between them and European Americans. These power resources include property, organization, race consciousness and ideology. We do not include state politics in our discussion at this juncture because in the context of contemporary Afrikan American social, political and economic culture and the more basic issues it must resolve, state politics is of secondary importance to the Black community. Black politics and activism without the Black ownership of and control over primary forms and bases of power such as property, wealth, organization, etc., is the recipe for Black political and non-political powerlessness. The rather obtuse pursuit of political office and the ballot box as primary sources of power by the Black community and its politicians without its concomitant ownership of and control over important resources, has actually hindered the development of real Black power in America. More ominously, there appears to be a paradoxical and positive correlation between the number of Blacks elected and appointed to high office and retrogressions in the civil and human rights extended to Black Americans during the past twenty years. Increases in homelessness, poverty, unemployment, criminality and violence in the Black community; disorganization of the traditional Black family, inadequacies in education, increases in health problems of all types, and a host of other social and political ills have all attended increases in the number of Black elected and appointed officials. That is, the more elected and appointed Black politicians, the more social-economic problems the Black community has suffered. While we are not implying a causal relationship between the increase of the number of Black appointed and elected officials and the increased misery indices of the Black community, we are implying or asserting that their increase obscures those things which are responsible for and do little to ameliorate or uproot the increasing prevalence of social and economic problems in the Black community. The community's concern with the election and appointment of Black political figures helps it to maintain false hopes that their attainment of office will significantly resolve its problems. The activities of Black politicians, given the current inadequacy of social organization and economic resources, harmfully distract the Black community's attention from recognizing and eradicating the true causes of its problems and the remediation of its powerlessness." "The responsibility of the Afrikan American community [is to ensure] Afrika's economic development. The ignoring of Afrika by the Western nations provide windows of opportunity open to native Afrikans to drastically reduce the massive outflow or flight of capital, which has been estimated to exceed 80 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, and to reinvest it in their own countries. Afrikan peoples and nations across the Diaspora must apprise themselves of a full, ongoing knowledge of the social, economic and cultural history of Afrikan nations as well as their contemporary status and reorganize their sociocultural and economic structures so as to initiate and fuel continental Afrika's growth and development. The Afrikan American community, especially, should vastly overhaul and reconstruct its educational orientation toward a knowledge of the Motherland. It must realize that its own economic salvation is coterminous with or tied to that of Afrika's. It must invest money and human resources in Afrika's development and perceive its economic prosperity as its special responsibility and mission… The Afrikan American community must become vigilantly and jealously interested in U.S. and European policies toward Afrika and seek to influence those policies in both its own and Afrika's favor."

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