ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Elder Osiris’s esoteric postings confuse many of the readers who lack

his sources of information and Lil Joe’s Marxist rants about black

revolutionaries  overthrowing the capitalist system do not jibe with reality.



Let’s Grow Up and Move On

By Junious Ricardo Stanton


Vernon Johns, a human rights activist and Baptist minister who in many ways set the stage in Montgomery, Alabama for the emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a civil rights icon, always quoted one of his father’s sayings, “If you see a good fight, get in it.” 

I’ve been watching the pissing contest between Lil Joe (representing the Left) and Elder Osiris (representing the nationalists) with some interest and mixed emotions. While it certainly is not what I would call a good fight, it does have implications on the intellectual health and ultimate survival of our people. There is a part of me that feels impelled to join in and add my two cents to it while another part says leave it alone, it’s not worth it. 

If the verbiage between these two brothers wasn’t so pathetically revealing it would really not be worth getting into. However as I said, the intellectual well being and survival of our people is a stake. When I say their arguments are pathetically revealing, I am not attacking either one personally or intellectually putting down either brother both of whom I believe means well. 

However, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The point is their arguments are old hat and many of these issues have been addressed and researched quite well by elders in the previous generation; specifically Harold Cruse in his seminal work The Crisis of The Negro Intellectual. It’s as if we haven’t learned anything from our past. Name-calling or assuming positions of intellectual one-up-man-ship will not save our people, nor will it ameliorate the conditions we grapple with. 

Elder Osiris’s esoteric postings confuse many of the readers who lack his sources of information and Lil Joe’s Marxist rants about black revolutionaries overthrowing the capitalist system do not jibe with reality. I’m writing this based upon the assumption both Lil Joe and Elder Osiris have the best interests of our people at heart and are open to suggestions. 

I suggest they both revisit Harold Cruse’s work and re-examine their positions’ inherent contradictions and unresolved issues and juxtapose them against the pathologically insane conditions African people around the world have been subjected to and then ask themselves will intellectually cannibalizing another brother ameliorate these conditions?

The Leftists worshiping at the alter of Marxism call themselves “revolutionaries” although one would be hard pressed to identify any real revolutionary action going on in AmeriKKKa unless you count talk as action. They do however make some valid points we nationalists should consider, such as the patriarchal orientation of religious nationalistic movements like the Moorish Science Temple and the Nation of Islam. 

Likewise the Leftists should be honest enough to admit Marcus Garvey did have women in prominent roles in many of his UNIA ACL local chapters. However we must also hold the mirror of truth up to the “Leftist Revolutionaries.” According to books written by female Black Panther Party members, patriarchal gender chauvinism existed in their organization also. 

Some would say the Black Panthers don’t really count as a revolutionary organization because they weren’t originally founded on “revolutionary principles” and were more of a grassroots stop gap organization working to gain respect and credibility in the inner cities and forcing the government to do right than building a revolutionary infrastructure. 

The Left is quick to call nationalists homophobic and to a large degree they are correct; however, I don’t see where the left’s embracing and acceptance of homosexuals has furthered their “revolution” one iota. In fact the left for all its recent pre-emptive assaults on the nationalists have nothing going for themselves that I can see. The ultra right has kicked their butts and left them wounded and whimpering for mercy as AmeriKKKa aggressively careens towards fascism. 

Of course no real revolutionaries would broadcast their plans before hand so we wouldn’t know if they were planning a comeback or not. Perhaps attacking the nationalists is a form of ego compensation since the left has been so ineffective and acquiescent about AmeriKKKa’s move towards fascism. I’m out and about in the community and except for a few grass roots groups like the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement which is a black organization, I don’t see any other black leftists doing anything in the black community. 

For all their derision against “Back To Africa” or the “Glories of Ancient Africa” the truth of the matter is, there is no bigger fantasy in existence than the pipe dream of black and white workers uniting to overthrow the ruling elites! No one in their right mind sees that happening anytime soon. Except for a brief period in the late ’20’s and early ’30’s during the Great Depressio,n the white left has never posed a serious threat to the status quo because the ruling elites were able to co-opt some of the rhetoric and formulate programs such as Welfare and later Medicare and Medicaid to take the wind out of their sails. 

The Left’s MO was to use black issues to stir black enrollment because Africans in America were victims of virulent racism and racial cast, then use blacks as cannon fodder in their movement. Most whites never embraced the left’s socio-economic programs nor their rhetoric about racial harmony and co-operation. The white liberals, radicals, and Hippies of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s are the arch Neo-Cons of today.

Black Marxists are so busy mocking the nationalists they forget or deliberately ignore the fact people of color took the brunt of COINTELPRO. No white boys or union members were gunned down in the streets or railroaded into prison on bogus charges like J. Edgar Hoover and local authorities did to countless black folks, the Puerto Rican LaRaza movement, the American Indian Movement NOI, RAM, New Republic of Africa, NAACP, Panthers etc. For all their talk about black and white workers uniting in solidarity and brotherhood, organizing, rising up against the imperialist war machine and overturning the capitalist system, where do you see any examples of this happening in AmeriKKKa, where do you see blacks and whites working together as equals in the left? 

The other thing we must be clear about is the riots in Watts, Newark, Chicago, Philly, etc. in the late ’60’s and ‘70’s had nothing to do with Marxist revolutionary ideology or dogma. They were the result of the pain and pent up frustration of ghetto living conditions and the straw that broke the Camel’s back, the government’s assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The irony of it all is King a proponent of non violence integrated the anti war movement accomplishing something the Marxists weren’t able to do with all their revolutionary rhetoric!

At least the Afrocentric community gets props from the conscious black community because they discovered what Marcus Mosiah Garvey intuitively knew, most African people (those not brainwashed by the white right or left) have a yearning to get out from under the yoke of racist dehumanization and subjugation of the Arabs and Europeans. The Afrocentric movement is so powerful it forced not only the ruling elites into an aggressive reactionary posture but also Leftist “intellectuals” as well. 

Speaking of Leftist intellectuals, black Leftist intellectuals never get any respect or promotion by the white Leftist apparatus unless they are perfectly parroting the Marxist party line. Most popular black Leftists like Manning Marable and Bill Fletcher are really more like protestors or would be reformers than revolutionaries. Neither one of them is advocating taking up arms against the government nor are they in any position personally to lead a movement to overthrow the capitalists system! 

No black Leftist class analysis comes close to touching the psyches of black folks like nationalists writers like Amos Wilson, Jacob Carruthers or Ra Un Nefer Amen. Just as the Leftists correctly point out most Africans in America have no plans to repatriate to Africa, they must be willing to admit most Africans in America have absolutely no affinity for Marxist ideology whatsoever. 

Indeed some very conscious and cultural brothers The Last Poets said/sang/rapped succinctly “Niggas Are Afraid of Revolution.” This applies to most self styled revolutionaries also! Black Leftists are so obsessed with the class issue they are in total denial about the racism that exists within the Leftist movement itself. What’s worse they lack the courage to confront it or the numbers to force any changes when they are forced by circumstances to admit it exists in their own movement thereby forfeiting any credibility they may have garnered in the black community. 

The notion of race and racism are too real and too pervasive and for a black person to believe the class issue supersedes race/color is to blind oneself to the realities of AmeriKKKan life. The Leftist dream of black and white working together based upon their own perceived self interests, while a noble and pragmatic goal, runs counter to the history of most populous movements in this country. 

Check out the history of the populous farm movement and the early labor organizers and you’ll see how easy the ruling elites played the race card to sabotage what little trust and solidarity blacks and whites were able to amass. What does that say about whites’ serious revolutionary intentions or the possibility of black white solidarity and success if their ruling class exploiters could so easily get them off purpose and task and sabotage the movement simply by raising the specter of race?

I could go on but by now you get my drift. The ethnocentric or nationalist approach makes the most sense to me. Why should white radicals or progressives help us when they can’t even galvanize or mobilize their own people to wage resistance against the capitalist exploiters who are slowly robbing them of their standard of living through globalization (global exploitation and expropriation of the world’s resources) or sending their children off to far away lands on imperialistic missions that are not succeeding. 

Notice I said white radicals because the reality is there are no real white revolutionaries in AmeriKKKa today let alone any real black ones. The truth of the matter is AmeriKKKa is imploding more from the greed, hubris and moral bankruptcy of the ruling elites and the gallant resistance of freedom fighters in Columbia, Iraq and Afghanistan that from the rhetoric of the left or from black nationalists. 

What we need to be doing is pooling our intellectual capital and coming up with ways to formulate liberation. survival and empowerment strategies that conform to our unique needs instead of keeping ourselves divided rehashing the same old issues our elders in the previous generation educated us about.

Positively Black

posted 15 November 2003

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man’s turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners’ plans to give him a “necktie party” (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by “the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn’t operate in his own home town.” Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson’s magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration,” the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an “uncertain existence” in the North and Midwest.

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

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So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America

By Peter Edelman

If the nation’s gross national income—over $14 trillion—were divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million—climbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted for—while the current median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000. How can some be so rich, while others are so poor? In this provocative book, Peter Edelman, a former top aide to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a lifelong antipoverty advocate, offers an informed analysis of how this country can be so wealthy yet have a steadily growing number of unemployed and working poor. According to Edelman, we have taken important positive steps without which 25 to 30 million more people would be poor, but poverty fluctuates with the business cycle.

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Negro Comrades of the Crown

African Americans and the British Empire Fight the U.S. Before Emancipation

By Gerald Horne

Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, said, the American revolt of 1776 against British rule “was basically a successful revolt of racist settlers. It was akin to Rhodesia, in 1965, assuming that Ian Smith and his cabal had triumphed. It was akin to the revolt of the French settlers in Algeria, in the 1950s and 1960s, assuming those French settlers had triumphed.” Dr. Horne explores the racist roots on the American Revolution in his new book, Negroes of the Crown. “It was very difficult to construct a progressive republic in North America after what was basically a racist revolt,” said Horne. “The revolt was motivated in no small part by the fact that abolitionism was growing in London…. This is one of the many reasons more Africans by an order of magnitude fought against the rebels in 1776, than fought alongside them.”In this path-breaking book, Horne rewrites the history of slave resistance by placing it for the first time in the context of military and diplomatic wrangling between Britain and the United States.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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update 24 June 2012




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Related files: A Response to Stanton’s Attack