On the train back from DC I bumped into and elder in the Struggle, a man who had been an activist and Black Nationalist in the 1960s in Bmore. As we discussed the present situation of Black people in America he began to state sadly that the Black Nationalist resurgence of the 1980s & 1990s seems to have subsided
He recalls--so do I--when young brothers and sisters were reading again the writings of Malcolm X and former leaders of the 1960s Black Panther Party.
I was at university during the 1980s and began teaching in late 80s and 90s. I noticed that many of my students had somehow rediscovered Malcolm, George Jackson, Angela Davis, Huey Newton and others.. I recall the rap group Public Enemy and some others who seemed to poeticize in the spirit of Malcolm.
But now? My elder--Shabaka--stated that even in times of nationlaist decline, Black nationalist sentiments seem to be present among the MASSES even if spurned by the Black bourgeois and petty bourgeois strata.
Shabaka bemoaned the fact that this seems less so nowadays?
Obviously, Black nationalism has nothing like the presence it had in the time of Garvey, Malcolm X, the Panthers, or even the youthful 1990s "Revival of Black Nationalism" which Rod Bush speaks of.
But I find it hard to believe that Black naitonalism no longer exists even at the level of inarticulate sentiments of peoplehood, self-determination and cultural creativity among the Black masses.
Of course, there are various forms of Black nationalism, not all equally beneficial.
But I'd bet that at least 80%--90% of America's Black people would still agree with the first point of the Black Panther Party's Ten-Point program:
"We want freedom. We want the power to determine the destiny of our Black community."
I believe that even some of the programs they organized for self-determination might still be popular if well run by dedicated people.
But what do think? Has Black Nationalism a future with current and coming generations? Or has it been trumped by the Era of Obama?
And what kind or shape of Blacn nationalism is likely to be viable nowadays?
The kind that actually focuses on the building of institutions and businesses rather than yell, preach, and spew rhetoric.
When Hispanics come here, they don't waste time giving speeches. They aren't looking for any social, policially and economically powerless leaders. They don't waste time trying to "educate" the masses.
They just get on with the business of building. Just like Chinese. Just like Lebanese. Just like Koreans. Just like Indians.
They just worry about building and maintaining the culture of building, ethnocentrism, and the ideology of collectivism.
Black nationalism doesn't work anywhere near the level most purported nationalists would like because too many are talking and yelling and nobody is making any money.
They spew this "crakkah this", "crakkah that" and go back to work for their white bosses the next day.
If you ever wondered why it was so easy and inevitable for Black leaders to get killed and silenced, it was because they were singular, easy targets. You don't see any Chinese leaders getting shot in the US, do you? That's because you don't see any Chinese leaders period. Unless these people are running companies and corporations, or are political figures, they are not leaders of anything. Same goes with Mexicans, Jews, and everyone else.
The bottom line is, giving speeches does nothing but rile people up. If no institutions are built, especially those designed to generate or to encourage the generation of perpetual wealth are not built then, then all that work will have been for not.
Ask yourself this:
Where do Black people go in this country where other Black people are looking to build and in fact, are building and generating collective wealth?
Mexicans have places like that. Chinese most certainly do. Where are these places for Blacks?