Thinking Out Loud: Are We Witnessing The Decadence in U.S. Society That Makes Disintegration Inevitable?
December 16, 2015 by Herbert Daughtry
Greed: The Root of All Evil?
Marxism, Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism
Since I am comparing religion and economical/philosophical theories, it might be of interest to see how Black Nationalism relates. A simple definition of nationalism is the prioritizing of the love, development, and expansion of self or nation. It is the belief that a person has within him/herself the capacity to achieve empowerment and self-determination. It does not hate or exclude anyone or any nation. It seeks to engage others as equals. A Marxist-Leninist, seeing everything in terms of economics, would concentrate on change relative to re-arranging or taking control of the means of production and distribution.
The Nationalist/Pan-Africanist Position – A simple definition of Pan-Africanism is: identifying and attempting to work with people of African ancestry globally. The Nationalist/Pan-Africanist may or may not concur with the above analysis, but the Nationalist would say:
A) While the analysis may be correct, a deliberate decision was still made relative to who should be on the bottom, and who should be the most exploited of the exploited. That decision was based on race.
B) Even if the analysis is true, the historical conditioning of race has so ingrained itself in the very psyche of whites that far into the past, and contemporaneously, race has been/is dominant in the white mind.
The Socialist Position – The Socialist could be either Marxist or Nationalist, or both. Socialist thesis is that a socialization of society is the first step and should concentrate on consumer interests or the interests of the masses, concurrently with the development of political awareness, after which comes the complete collectivization of the means of production and distribution. All of these views hold fast hope – sometimes, with a zeal that would put religionists to shame. Ultimately, there would emerge a new man living in a new age.
Ideology influences the strategy for change. A Marxist would want to work with or organize anyone or any group to do whatever is necessary to replace capitalism. The Nationalist would argue that there is a need to build a Nationalist consciousness or there is need of a cultural revolution and this cannot be done with whites in positions of leadership and/or authority. For without the Nationalist consciousness or cultural revolution – pride in oneself, “I am Black and proud” – all the rearrangements of social structures will not usher in the day of the new person.
The very term, “new person,” suggests exactly what it says – new person. The Marxist would counter that the new person is born in the process of the struggle. They become a person as they struggle to be free. The Nationalist would argue that given the historical situation relative to race, the need to build self-hood must be, at least, for a time, done by Blacks, or people who have been marginalized.
In this context, the role for whites would be to become Black, be submerged in the Black experience, submit to Black leadership, and contribute whatever they can without attempting to take over with unduly influence, or control. This is true for all exploited, oppressed, enslaved, and colonized people, whose identity have been stolen or distorted.
In the movie, “Gandhi,” Mahatma Gandhi returned to India to lead the masses to freedom. A loyal white friend, who had been with them during their struggles in South Africa, wanted to accompany him. Gandhi said, “No.”
His white friend was startled by Ghandi’s refusal. Ghandi explained, and I’m paraphrasing, “If you’re with me, my people will always be looking to you for direction or approval. Whatever is accomplished, they will think you did it. They will never believe in their own accomplishments or my leadership in making it happen. For centuries, my people have been taught to idolize everything European and to depend upon Europeans for everything. No, I must do this without you. My people must know they have it within themselves to be free. There’s a role you can play. Go tell the world what is happening in India. Advocate abroad. Marshall whatever help you can. Then, one day, when we’re free, and India has come to know itself, we will renew our relationship at the first.”
This is also the same issue that the Black Power Movement raised in the 1960s and beyond. But, even before Black Power, there was the tension between Mr. Frederick Douglass and the Reverend Henry Highland Garnet. What should be the role of whites in the anti-slavery movement? Mr. Douglass, who was befriended and assisted by abolitionists, accepted the leadership of Mr. William Lloyd Garrison, the preeminent, white, anti-slavery protagonist. Rev. Garnet thought that Blacks should lead the struggle, or at least play an equal role.
It is really a test of white understanding, sincerity, and maturity. If whites truly understood the self-rejection, dependency, exploitative, and oppressive classes of structures inculcated in the minds of their victims, they would rejoice in their victims’ quests for self-respect and independence, and do all they could to promote their success. They would accept the fact that as long as the status quo prevails, they, the “whites,” could not be all that they could be. Freedom for some must be freedom for everybody, or there is no freedom at all.
…to be continued.