ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes




The countries of Africa are wealthy, they produce rich minerals, oil, gold, diamonds and a host of other

things which the world can ill afford to live without but yet they are the poorest in the world. Africa

is being destroyed for its wealth. We believe we have found in you that person and that voice.




Letter to Sister Cynthia McKinney

From Tilani Lybon Mabasa

Socialist Party of Azania


To Sister Cynthia McKinney:

We were particularly and greatly thrilled by your nomination as the presidential candidate of the Power to the People Committee and also that of your vice presidential candidate, Sister Rosa Clemente. These are indeed critical times for the United States but much so for the world and most particularly Africa and its people. We are excited and also support the endorsement of this nomination because of how we have come to know you, Sister Cynthia McKinney, and what you stand for.

The people of Africa and Azania, better known as South Africa, are greatly heartened by the fact that it is not in your character and style to keep quiet or turn a blind eye to the challenges that face you. You have consciously taken sides a long time ago and have been outspoken about countries such as Zimbabwe long before other people discovered where they were on the world map. Sister McKinney, your message has been unequivocal on the question of the place and state of Black people in the United States and elsewhere in the Diaspora, but you have been much stronger on Africa and the plans that have always been afoot to destroy the continent and its people. It could have been much easier for you, like so many others, to fall into the trap of mistaking the evil consequences of the policies of imperialism, most particularly western imperialism led by the UK and the US as causes like in the case of Zimbabwe.

You have painstakingly pointed out in the US Congress and for all who cared to know how the policies of the IMF and World Bank structural adjustment programs imploded the Zimbabwean economy in the late eighties and also how the Bush administration went out to finish their dastardly job by introducing into Congress “the Zimbabwe democracy and economic recovery Act” (signed into law on the 21st December 2002) which you referred to as “nothing more than a formal declaration of US complicity in a program to maintain white skin privilege.” You also referred to it as racist and against the interests of Zimbabweans, which was nothing else but “the recolonisation of Zimbabwe.” It is now an open secret that they set out to making the Zimbabwean economy totally unworkable. These acts under the guise of rescuing Zimbabwe and restoring democracy as early as 2001 were not meant to assist the people of Zimbabwe and their elected government in any way, but to destroy everything and to block the path of self-determination for the people of Zimbabwe.

We contend that the crises in Zimbabwe was at the very beginning orchestrated and organized by western imperialism, most particularly Britain and the US when Mugabe justly implemented an agrarian reform program that was long overdue. Indeed it should have happened in the very period of liberation, that is, taking land from white people who in the first place acquired it through the dishonorable means of colonization, giving it to Black people who rightly owned it. Mugabe had stirred a hornet’s nest and for this he could not be forgiven by the west, who considered him an arrogant and unthankful African leader whom they have failed to put in his rightful place like others. What we today call the “crisis in Zimbabwe” is the direct consequence of what imperialism has done and continues to do in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa. 

In large measure, the crisis is due to the failure of Britain to honour their financial obligations made as part of the Lancaster Agreements. Since that period imperialism has progressively charted a course designed to promote instability in Zimbabwe and the region, which has ranged from threats of economic and military sanctions, sanctions of all forms and finally a threat and possibility of military invasion. George Bush referred to Zimbabwe as a component part of his “Axis of Evil.”

We thank for your great insight into these matters lest we be informed by our enemies who our friends are. Malcolm X once remarked: “If you are not careful, the newspapers [media, be it electronic or print] will have you hating the people who are being oppressed [Africans], and loving the people who are doing the oppressing [the West].” Indeed we had said for some time now that Africa is looking and hoping for someone who will stand in the forums and platforms of one of the world’s leading nations and declare that people of Africa deserve to live and that the continent and its people must survive. Africa should not be pushed to the back of beyond where it will be left to die from crippling poverty, disease, wars, dislocation and destabilization.

The countries of Africa are wealthy, they produce rich minerals, oil, gold, diamonds and a host of other things which the world can ill afford to live without but yet they are the poorest in the world. Africa is being destroyed for its wealth. We believe we have found in you that person and that voice. We needed a voice that will be politically independent and will break in a definite sense from the two American parties of capital and big business, the Republicans and the Democrats that have authored so much hardship for Africa and its people.               We do not for one moment think it is going to be easy for you nor will the forces that be, allow things to run smoothly for you because your heart and mind is with the people, be that as it may be, that has been the real essence of our struggle to break the stranglehold of the status quo that has brought nothing but great suffering and pain to our people. This has been the trend across the continents.

Your Power to the People Committee platform does not divide the people nor does it seek to undermine anyone but it is an invitation to all those who accept and realize that the present framework of the two parties of capital has not worked for those who needed change the most, the poor and the hopeless. Every year they have sunk more and more into desperate and destitute situations and conditions. Their children fill the jails, they are ravaged by illiteracy and disease such the HIV and AIDS pandemic, their children die early from poverty related social ills such as prostitution, drug abuse and gang wars, the list is endless but to be sure, all of them need “POWER TO THE PEOPLE”.

We are writing this piece when freedom fighters like Mumia Abu-Jamal have spent more than a quarter of a century in death row. Black youth remain the largest population group in American prisons though their people are just 12% of the entire population. America needs a Black leader who will not shun away from these things. The world needs a leader, a Black American leader, who will bravely confront the horrors facing Black people in the US but who will be brave enough to raise the issues of Africa.

The current elections cannot be contested without a focus on the devastation of Hurricane Katrina which brought back the memories of Slavery and how Black lives were still regarded as valueless. We believe that the “Power to the People” campaign seeks to bring power back to American people that power which presently reside with the murderous bureaucrats of the two parties who are waging unending wars in many fronts of the world. People have to fight and wrest this power for their own salvation. It is much clearer than ever before that we are our own liberators and our destiny lies in our own hands.

Steve Biko, the Azanian martyr, icon and liberation hero, captured it even more succinctly when he said, “Black people should not be spectators of the game they should be playing.” This is true everywhere in the world where social conditions are being used to exclude millions of people from actively deciding about their own fate and destiny. Your campaign and platform seeks to give all these people a chance, POWER TO THE PEOPLE! 

You cannot turn a blind eye to what is today happening to Black people in the US. Their lot is not in any way different from that of Black people in the African continent. The 2008 report by the Black AIDS Institute in US says, “More black Americans are living with the AIDS virus than the infected populations in Botswana (once number one in the world), Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Namibia, Rwanda or Vietnam”. It further says, “If Black America were a country, it would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with the AIDS virus.” “Power to the people” should also mean the power to break with the conditions that have made our people victims everywhere in the world.

The present rulers have not shown any interest in dealing with this pandemic in the US. The same report observes despite the fact that the US administration spends billions of US dollars anti AIDS programs in other countries but “America itself has no strategic plan to combat its own epidemic” also that “American policy makers behave as if AIDS exists ‘elsewhere’ — as if the AIDS problem has been effectively solved in this country.” How can we turn a blind eye when our people are dying in their millions? 

The political accounts that were first opened by slavery, colonisation and today the debilitating foreign debt remain not close. So whether you are in Johannesburg, New York or Abidjan you face the same problems, Africa needs the total and unconditional cancellation of the debt including the Apartheid Debt, Black people in the US are calling for Reparations but more the destruction of the carnivorous system that is underpinned by private ownership of the means of production.         Sister Cynthia, you have long chosen sides and we are comfortable to say with confidence as people of Africa, the forgotten continent, a continent and a people marked for destruction that, “You want what we want and feel what we feel” and that creates a whole lot of difference between you and the many people whose program is to make “America great again.” When was America great and at what expense and sacrifices did she become that great? We do not deny that she has a potential of greatness but that will only be so, when she learns to fight on the side of justice and defend the weak nations who have suffered under rampant Americanism.

In conclusion, we cannot complete this without mentioning the work that lies ahead in building the Reconstruction Party that will take forward the struggles of Black people. It is important to build a party that will provide for Black people a reflective chance, to see indeed how far they have gone in the country that has been built through their back-breaking labour in the cotton fields, a country they gave blood for in the many wars but most particularly the war for independence. Black people should not allow any programs that seek to expel them from the work and product of their labour. Anything, including freedom, paid for by blood is very important. Black people deserve better than what is the offing for them because they have given so much blood. 

Sister McKinney, and your running partner Sister Rosa Clemente, we wish you well in these difficult times of struggle, we who believe it is possible to fight on the side of the workers and the poor need to join hands and assure one another of our unflinching support and undying love. The Reconstruction Party, an independent Black party based on the will and collective experiences of Black people in the US will indeed and in time link up with the struggle to build the labour party that should unite all the poor and working people of the US. For our part let us not kill hope!

Yours in struggle

Tiyani Lybon Mabasa President, Socialist Party of Azania 

28th July 2008

posted 6 August 2008 

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The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.

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The New New Deal

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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

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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update 24 June 2012




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Related files:   Letter to Sister Cynthia McKinney   Cynthia McKinney Confronts Media Malice  A War on Error    Cynthia Mckinney Accepts Green Party Nomination‏  (video)