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Passing of Giants of the Human Spirit: Ten Days When Death Came Calling, Part Four

May 18, 2016 by Herbert Daughtry

Remembering Afeni Shakur – Part B

The Speech (continued)

“Let me try something on you. We are always expressing our Anti-Americanism. We have heavy rhetoric on our hatred for everything American, and justifiably so. America deserves all the anger and contempt we can pour on her. But, what does this do? It wins some ‘yeah’s’ and ‘right on’s’ from the brothers and sisters, but it keeps ordinary brothers and sisters neutralized for the most part, or at least, it does not expand our support among our own people. In addition, to run a heavy anti-American, ‘I-hate-the-flag’ rap gives our enemies more ammunition.

“Posturing themselves as gleaming patriots, they condemn us for being unpatriotic, which we are, according to their definition and the definition they have made people accept. If you talk in those anti-American terms, the adversary will label you socialist, communist, etc. We would be wise to reject his definition of the kind of society we want. We should say, ‘You can call it what you will, but I am describing a social order I would love to see exist.’

“You see, ‘socialist’, ‘communist’, and ‘revolutionary’ are terms you should be very careful about using, because people in the United States of America have been brainwashed into believing that anybody who is a socialist, communist, or revolutionary is some kind of monster. To accept the socialist, communist, and revolutionary labels is to put you at an unnecessary disadvantage.

“As Malcolm X said, ‘And, I don’t believe that groups should refer to themselves as ‘leftist,’ ‘rightist,’ or ‘middle-ist.’ I think they should just be whatever they are. Don’t let people put labels on themselves and don’t put them on yourself. Sometimes, a label can kill you.’

“Suppose we say, ‘Let’s make America what America ought to be.’ First of all, it takes the moral, patriotic posturing away from your enemy. Secondly, to say you want to make America what America ought to be can mean all the things we talk about in our wildest revolutionary moment.

“What is it that America ought to be? If you had the power what would you make America? Well, it ought to be a land where freedom, justice, and equality abide; a land where there is quality education, medical services, and employment for all; a land where democracy and economic fairness exist – where there is war against racist, facist, and imperialist regimes anywhere; and a land that supports freedom struggles in the world and opens its door to all who are fleeing oppression. Can anybody argue with that?

“As a person and/or movement grows they must find language to express their expanding vision; and, if the vision is authentic, it must encompass the world, yet include – in a special way – the most oppressed. The greatness of Malcolm X and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther. King, Jr. surely was due to no small measure to this universality and particularity. They were the highest expression of humanity. They were ever-growing; and, therefore, ever reaching for language to articulate their universality.

“There are at least three principles we must remember in organizing:

1. Out-moralize Your Enemy

The most effective way to accomplish this is to beat him with his words, codes, laws, tradition, Holy books, and sacred documents. Show the world that he is a hyprocrite. Demonstrate that you are really doing what he is supposed to be doing. If he talks democracy, show the world that you are truly the democratic force, that you are the one truly for democratic ideals. Your enemy only mouths this ideal while denying human rights. Significantly, in America your accusations would be true, which gives you more moral rights.

2. Always Organize Within the Experience of Your Own People

Always organize outside the experience of your enemy. That is why any movement which does not take seriously the religious nature of Black folk is doomed to failure. The organizations and movements which have made the greatest impact among Black people have had a religious base or dimension -Marcus Garvey, Father Divine, Elijah Muhammad, to name a few. Anything with which your people are familiar and your enemy is unfamiliar can be used with great success.

3. We Must Win the Loyalty of Our People

Whatever else we do, we must win the loyalty of our people. Revolutions stand or fall on their ability to win the loyalty of the people. We cannot be so bad that we scare our people away from us. And, let us not forget our enemies are always trying to isolate us, always trying to show that we don’t represent the people, that we are a handful of hoodlums bent on self-destruction. We must say that we represent the highest aspiration of democratic ideals and economic equality. We have the support of the people. We are the people’s representatives. The people are with us. We are the people.

… to be continued.