A good friend of mine shared this conversation with me that took place (on a South African-centered listserv) in response to the recent article in The Zimbabwean by Dr. Ali Mazrui, "Mandela, Obama and The Post-Racial Age". As a black American citizen I find it healthy to stay up how black folks in majority black countries view Obama, mainly because they are free[er] from being affected by the marketing hype that says a black man as U.S. President will bring adequate change. Here's the preface from my friend:
"In light of the ludicrous article penned by Ali Mazrui, I decided to share some other perspectives emanating out of the Afrikan continent. I'm a member of this listserv. The group are committed to extending the work of their esteemed elders in the struggle. While I take issue with some of their views, particularly their subscription to orthodox Marxism, it is evident that everyone abroad is not sold on the Obama "miracle." Not surprisingly, the most critical bloc appears to be based in Azania [South Africa], a country that has yet to see their own "miracle" bear adequate fruit."
Lesego Sechaba Mogotsi said:
Let us make a simple dialectical comparison between the assassinated Dr. King and the assimilationist advocate Barack Obama. First lets us start with a snap shot of Dr. Kings his early and then his mature views: "So we must continue the struggle…We must face the appalling fact that we have been betrayed by both the Democratic and Republican parties. The democrats have betrayed us by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the southern dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed us by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of the right-wing reactionary northerners. This coalition of southern Democrats and northern right-wing Republicans defeats every proposed bill on civil rights."
From "Facing the New Challenge of a New Age" speech 1st Annual Institute on Non-Violence and Social Change, Montgomery Alabama, December 1956 "The dearth of positive leadership from the federal government is not confined to one particular political party. Both parties have betrayed the cause of justice. The democrats have betrayed it by capitulating to the prejudices and undemocratic practices of the southern dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed it by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of the right-wing reactionary northerners. These men so often have high blood pressure of words and an anemia of deeds." From "Give us the Ballot We Will Transform the South" Keynote Speech at Lincoln Memorial, Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, May 17, 1957 In the brief period of time before his assassination by the US elites, he had dropped the fetters that restrained his criticism of the political system – evident in the above two quotes – and was directly attacking the system itself, instead of attributing its faults to good capitalists' reluctance to oppose the wishes of the bad capitalists. "...the black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all of its interrelated flaws – racism, poverty, militarism…exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of …society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced... "It is time we stopped our blithe lip service to the guarantees of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness." From "A Testament of Hope .', published after Dr. King's assassination. And a year or so before his assassination he made the following observation: "I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about "Where do we go from here," that we honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question the capitalistic economy...one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ..questions must be asked..."Who owns the iron ore?"..."Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two thirds water?... "...Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of RACISM, the problem of ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION, and the problem of WAR are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated. " concluding Chapter, "Where Do We Go From Here", Dr. King But when we come to Obama, everything he ask of us, everything he tells the people is to sacrifice for the good of America, that is like asking Pa lestinians to sacrifice for the good of Israel, or Irish Republicans to work to make Britain stronger, or asking Native peoples of this area to help the Great White Father in Washington to wipe them out so that they can steal more of their land, it is insane at best, and treason in the perspective of African nationalism... In yesterday's speech he says things like this: About America, he says it must "...take a new direction. It will take new leadership in Washington. It will take a real change in the policies and politics of the last eight years. And that's why I'm running for President of the United States of America. " As if the problem is the fascist Bush regime; Bush and Co. do not deserve our support that is clear. but in point of fact neither the Republican or Democratic candidates of today are offering any thing different from what the Bush administration forced down our throats? Nor did the problem start with the Bush fascists, as Dr. King pointed out it started when these people20landed in this hemisphere and slaughtered millions upon millions of the indigenous people and then enslaved the African people. Ask yourself: Is either McCain or his colored Twin Obama talking about ending American aggression around the world, emphatically not. McCain is an overt war hawk, everyone agrees on that. When it comes to the colored guy, that is to say the house negro candidate, he is just as much of a war hawk, except that he has the intelligence to hide his policies -- he says he will talk to Iran but he want to surround them with weapons and threaten them with war, he says he will withdraw combat troops in Iraq, when the Pentagon says its okay to do so --- and then send them to Afghanistan! What's more he says that he will leave other troops in Iraq, to secure US facilities, that is garrison the permanent occupation, still more troops to train the lackeys who will run the phony state for the imperialists, and of course a complement of troops to fight terrorism..when in point of fact it is the USA itself which is the main terrorist in the world and has been for some time, as Dr. King pointed out time and time again. He says he will expand the US military, give them more troops, more weapons, more bases, more money, taxpayer money will be a big part of this largess mind you. He has made it clear that20he will continue the Bush policies of threatening Zimbabwe, Sudan, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, the Palestinians with military and other forms of attacks and aggression.. .he has made it equally clear that he sees the illegal state of Israel as a primary element of his whole foreign policy. The man is an out and out fascist imperialist flunky and his policies are a direct reputation of the policies of honest men and women such as Dr. King...go back and read again what Dr. King has to say about the nature of the America that Obama is the mouthpiece for, the America that Dr. King correctly said was the world's worse purveyor of violence, a society that was completely immoral and hostile to all basic human rights...this is not what Obama says about America he says that America is the best hope of the world....despite the millions upon millions of people, many of them black peoples, that America has killed and is killing...was it not America who killed Dr. King? Malcolm X? Fred Hampton? Patrice Lumumba, overthrew the CPP government in Ghana, killing thousands of Ghanaian in the process? that invaded Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Grenada and many other places? Was it not this America that propped up the racist regime in South Africa, Rhodesia and through out the African continent? Does this sound like the world's best hope to you? But on the flip side of all this, the revolutionary forces in the African world have not for the moment been deceived by America's trick or their pet negro Obama. The African revolutionary forces have continued to quietly organize continued to help our people educate themselves about the true nature of the world political and economic systems....and these forces are committed to continue the same process, because the African revolutionaries, like the revolutionaries who preceded them, know that the secret is to properly assess the global and local situation, make the principled decision and act...the revolution knows that the enemy can never win if it not allowed to set the agenda, to control the pace and direction of action, the revolution has always set the pace of change, not the reaction...this is why Dr. King was so effective, he spoke to the reality of the peoples' existence, not tried to fool them with the hackneyed cliches and sound bites of the racist system as the colored candidate those. If you believe voting is the way forward, then vote for McKinney and Clemente, they have fought for you...Obama has never in his political life fought for Africa or Africans; in fact just the opposite his posture has been consistently anti-Africa -- as yourself what has he done for the Africans in Hyde Park? the South Side of Chicago? Chicago? Illinois? Midwe st, the country as a whole, the Caribbean? Africa herself? What he has done is worse than nothing, for he has advocated and advanced the policies and plans of the racist capitalist system in every single instance...and I challenge any Obama advocate to demonstrate that this conclusion is incorrect... and they won't even try because they know they will be exposing his true record, and that they do not want you to know. They don't dare argue his true record, what his bills say, what his voting commissions and omissions demonstrate, what his choice of policy advisers clearly indicate -- people like Zbigniew Brzezinski, Susan Rice, Anthony Lake, and a whole slew of other fascists, what his candidacy advocates just the other day Biden said that they were considering the current secretary of "defense" Robert Gates as their choice for the same position.... nor will they talk about his relationship with real estate criminals in Chicago, his vote to bailout the merchants of death to the tune of 700 billion dollars, nor his relationship with corporate America, such as the war industry mega-corporation General Dynamics...this is what they do not want people to know about this true donkey. And it is this hypocrisy, this deliberate lying, that will turn people all over the world against him, because if he wins, his policies will educate them much faster than any polit ical education the revolution can produce, as in point of fact, even if he wanted to do good by people, the capitalist system would not allow this too happen, and he knows this is true...that is the real crime of the man...he isn't very bright, but he has enough "schooling" at the feet of his masters to now that the things he says are lies. And yet, this "honest", "honorable", "compassionate" , "incorruptible", "kind", "loving" colored boy...this true HUMANITARIAN (as opposed to Humanist) political operative, continues to spew the most deadly lies in the vain hope of saving the world's and history's most rotten system and Society. What a champion chump he is. The capitalist must come close to laughing themselves to death every time he praises them. Thank God for the African Revolution!
Thank you for your analysis, it is one of the best on the subject, Cde Mogotsi. Yebo, tho Obama may not be the last desperate tactical move of a dying capitalism. Capitalism is undergoing a crisis. However, it is not because of a strong anti-imperialist movement. It is not because of a strong labor union movement. It is not because of anti-colonial struggle. Capitalism will not die until we kill it. We must lay capitalism in its grave, we must strike it down, and only thru our revolutionary work can it be destroyed and all reactionary forces with it. While the crisis in capitalism occurs at the point of production, the workers are not at this time poised to take down the system because they are on the receiving end of a crisis aimed at undermining their existence. If racism is the sharpest expression of the class struggle, if racism is the concentrated class struggle, then neo-colonialism is the dilution of the racist class struggle. If we remember only what Nkrumah said, that Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, and neo-colonialism is the last stage of Imperialism, that informs us that we must sharpen the class struggle in order to first defeat neo-colonialism, and then strike down Imperialism. The crisis that Imperialism faces is not the economic sector meltdown we see today. That is a red herring, obviously, since the bankers have been paid off to the tune of nearly US $1 trillion. No, the crisis Imperialism faces is that US imperialism must come up against a growing capitalism in China and the Russian Federation, which have their own strategic military issues and political ones. US imperialism must also come up against the European Union and its competing interests. How these interests play out within the context of the present US-EU linkages has become increasingly complex and unmanageable for America. For instance, France and Italy were unreliable partners during the US invasion of Iraq; Germany, in competition with England for leadership over the EU, aims to drift away from NATO, particularly with the US placing missile shields in Poland and stirring the resentment of the Russian bear. Within the next twenty years, all these contradictions will come to a head, if the working classes do not have an uprising. Obama, coming to the fore and diluting the racist class question on all sides, serves as the perfect foil to articulate a new US policy which militates against the historic policy of militarism ("gunboat diplomacy") that the US imperialists have turned to as a salve for their resource problems. This policy cannot endure, because the military solution is extremely toxic, environmentally and politically. Because he has a somewhate affinity for the African world, the most miserably oppressed and exploited sector of the world working class, he will not be expected to carry out the strict neo-liberal policies of the Democrats. Simultaneously, Imperialist history has a way of transforming idealists into men of brutally efficient action, and this is what we can expect from Obama in reality. What you said about the Black Revolution is the most important aspect of your analysis. Ourselves being the self-led proletariat blazing the trail first marked out by Cabral and Fanon and Nkrumah and Sobukwe and Biko among others, we should not be concerned with anything more than deepening our analysis and work among the masses. We must find ways of effectively attacking neo-colonialism, even if at first we make blunders. We have to destroy neo-colonialism and undermine its effectiveness. Lenin left us the analysis of Imperialism, which he correctly anticipated by fifty years or more, and Nkrumah extended his great analysis with the theory of neo-colonialism. Both of these giants were scientific socialists, and each of them sharpened the class analysis to a more heightened level. We now have to relate this in the language of the masses. This is why we must say "RACISM IS THE CONCENTRATION OF THE CLASS STRUGGLE, AND IT IS THE SHARPEST CLASS CONTRADICTION. " And neo-colonialism is the dilution of the racist class struggle. I keep repeating that, yes, however it is the principle of today's class struggle, and we have to realize that. Amandla!
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