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Why Chicago’s Gang Problem is White

 

In a recent op-ed about Chicago’s epidemic of gang-violence, former Fox News conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly wrote, “the criminals causing the destruction are largely comprised of Black street gang members who sell narcotics in poor, minority neighborhoods.” He describes Black youth caught up in Chicago’s gang warfares as, “callous, violent individuals who have no regard for human life.”   O’Reilly advocates prison as the only solution, “Those gang members killing innocents are evil and no social program will change that. They should be locked away for decades.”  

When many think of Chicago’s “gang problem”, they think of the Gangsta Disciples, Black Disciples, Four Corner Hustlers, Vice Lords, Black Stones and other street organizations that run Chicago’s impoverished Black communities. But anyone who really wants to solve a problem knows you have to get to the root of the matter to really solve a problem.  The roots of Chicago’s gang problem are deep, decades deep, almost a century deep. Long before Black street organizations ascended to prominence, Chicago’s streets were made bloody by white gangs who massacred the city’s Black population. Indeed, it is the white gang-violence inflicted on Chicago’s Black populations that laid the foundation for the socio economic conditions for the contemporary violence seen in the Black community.

As my people began migrating to north from the South, the Chicago Tribune began running sensationalist headlines, “Half a million darkies from Dixie swarm to the north to better themselves” suggesting that Blacks were ‘infecting” the city.  In response, white gangs began to bomb Black households in an effort to systematically drive them out of Chicago .

In 1917, Mrs. S. P. Motley’s house was bombed, the next year 25 more houses were bombed, whites would also send threatening messages to Black homes in other areas, “Look out; you’re next” and “We are going to blow these flats to hell and if you don’t want to go with them you had better move out.” Tragically,  in 1919, a six year old girl was killed in a bombing.

These bombings, shootings, and arsons of Black communities were ultimately linked to Irish gangs.  In Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919, historian William M. Tuttle writes “These gangs, composed of white teenagers and young men in their twenties, many of the roughest of whom were of Irish descent, had terrorized Black people for years.”

What is particularly troubling is that not only were these individuals who carried out massacres of black neighborhoods not prosecuted for their crimes, but they would later be actively recruited into Chicago’s Police Department.  Criminal Justice Professor, John M. Hagedorn writes that the very same Irish gang which was a “violent racist tool to enforce segregation,” would be “reinvented as the Chicago Police Department.”

Thus from its earliest days, Chicago’s police department had members with the blood of innocent Black people on their hands and they recruited from white gangs who terrorized Black communities.  The decision of the Chicago Police Department to recruit from among white racist gangs would instill an anti-black culture in the entire institution.

As someone of Irish heritage himself, O’reilly would do well to reflect on the differing reactions of the city in responses Irish gang violence and that of Black gang violence.

The Chicago Housing Authority as an Anti-Black Gang

A Gang is defined broadly as an organized body of criminals who engaged in criminal activities. When one considers the rampant structural violence that has sentenced Black chicagoans to slow deaths, the Chicago Housing Authority fits fairly within this definition of a gang.  In the 1950’s, the Chicago Housing Authority established a segregated residential area for Black people. They built the community on a landfill in a toxic area surrounded with chemical waste incinerators and abandoned dumps with poisonous waste.

According to Environmental Justice Atlas, “Altgeld gardens had the highest concentration of hazardous waste sites in the nation.”  As a result of these environmental conditions,  residents of this area have an extremely high rate of children born with brain tumor, rare birth defects, asthma, and  large number of fetuses of mothers in the area were aborted because of brains developing outside of the skull.

Though Altgeld Garden was originally built as amo segregated community, the passage of civil rights legislation did nothing to remove or enable black  people from this community to escape the segregated conditions they had been placed within.

In a study of the impact of the Fair Housing Act passed in Chicago to outlaw racial discrimination, sociologist Douglass S. Massey notes that, due to practices such as redlining, racial steering, and blockbusting that developed in the Post-Jim Crow era, “the level of black-white segregation has hardly changed.” In fact, if current trends continue, blacks in Chicago’s south and westside neighborhoods will still be de facto segregated groups for decades into the future.

Thus, contrary to the assertions of Bill  O’reilly, historically speaking the real criminals of Chicago have been of white ancestry. They have used their power to terrorize black people, inhibit their social mobility, and force them in neighborhoods unfit for human habitability. It is the wretched conditions that Blacks have been forced to live within that has forced so many oppressed black youth into gangs and the drug economy for pure survival. While one may look at Chicago’s gang problem as a black phenonoman, the reality is  its origins are white.

 

An Islamic Critique of Neo-Liberal Economic Development In Burkina Faso

In his final sermon (McIntire, 2008), the Prophet Muhammad stated that “Allah has forbidden you to take usury … you shall neither inflict nor suffer any inequity.” The Prophet of Islam went on to say, “A white has no superiority over a black” (Mcltnire, 2008). In violation of this, I argue the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program is based upon utilizing usury to secure an economic order in which whites have superiority over blacks in the world’s economic affairs, and that the neo-liberal economic system solidifies a system of white supremacy.

The Qur’an (2:276) mandates that “Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity.” And that “wealth may not circulate only among those of you who are rich(59:7).” In addition to positing an Islamic critique of the contemporary international economic system, this article will argue that the Islamic principles of Banking and Finance are a more ethical and humane alternative to the conventional secular western banking system. I argue that neo-liberal theories governing economics are materialistic and will never benefit Africans; they operate to secure a system of white supremacy in the world’s economic affairs. Rather, what is needed to bring harmony back to Africa is the abandonment of neo-liberal influence and a re-emergence of Islamic economic thought.

Walter Rodney in how European Underdeveloped Africa demonstrates exactly how European powers underdeveloped Africa and benefited from a parasitic economic relationship. According to Rodney, “Islamic Universities suffered because colonialism deprived them of the economic base which previously gave them support. As with so many other aspects of African life, what the colonialists put in must be weighed against what they halted and what they destroyed in both real and potential terms. Colonization has led to a decline in Islamic economic thought, yet indigenous African-Islamic economic thought can be found in the works of Uthman Dan Fodio, Askia Muhammad, and Al-Magadi. Islahi (2008) does an analysis on indigenous African-Islamic economic thought in which he states that Uthman Dan Fodio “advocates foundation of an economic system based on values such as justice.”

British Colonialism put an end to the society established by Uthman Dan Fodio, and with the Eurocentric educational system there has been a decline in African-Islamic economic thought; neo-liberal theories of economics are the prevailing model that the IMF and World Bank operate in Africa. These neo-liberal capitalist theories concerning development have been a disaster for Africa.  These neo-liberal theories are simply false and will not benefit Africa.

According to Zaham (2012), ”The founders of Islamic Economics had a vision of a superior and spiritual alternative to the injustices and exploitation of materialistic western systems.” This case study will examine the impact that the Structural Adjustment Program and liberalization of Burkina Faso’s economy has upon the people from an Islamic theoretical framework. It will provide a contrast between the reforms under Thomas Sankara and the IMF, and neo-liberal reforms speared-headed by his successor, Blaise Compaore. Was the World Bank’s “Poverty Reduction” program at all effective in reducing poverty in comparison to the reforms of Sankara?

White Capitalist Exploitation of Africa

 Bond(2006) critiques both the world bank and IMF. Bond(2006) argues that the World Bank work to maintain Africa in a perpetual state of poverty. Some of these schemes range from the outright theft and looting of resources by Western corporations in the Congo to clever and sophisticated programs, such as the structural adjustment program.  Bond(2006) notes that Tanzania is in debt by $7.5 billion, and Dar Es Salam’s water was privatized as a condition for the structural adjustment program and not many poor people lack access.  The author concludes that “Africa is poor, ultimately, because its economy and society have been ravaged by international capital as well as by local elites who are often propped up by foreign powers.” Furthermore,  Bond(2006) concludes that the economic relationship of the IMF and World Bank to that of Africa is one of exploitation.  

Payer(1982) gives a broad overview of the history of the World Bank and the IMF, exposing how it has largely been dominated by the United States of America. Payer(1982) ultimately concludes that their programs benefit the wealthy and that there is a major impossibility in alleviating poverty from a neo-liberal framework.  In a much more recent analysis, Ndikumana (2011) found that African nations seeking aid from the IMF are given loans with various one-sided stipulations. The interest rates are significantly higher than comparable loans, and, following the loan stipulations, various resources of the nations who cannot pay the loans back are privatized by Western corporations. The impact is that much of the resources and wealth of African nations are not in the hands of Africans themselves, but Western corporations; moreover, the high interest rates keep African nations locked in a cycle of debt

.Due to the high interest rates, African nations have actually repaid the IMF, World Bank, and Western governments significantly more money than was originally borrowed. As a direct result, the author, Ndikumana(2011), emphasizes that “contrary to the popular perception of Africa being a drain on the financial resources of the West, the continent is actually a net creditor to the rest of the world.” Moreover, the privatization of the resources of Sub-Saharan Africa by Western corporation results in wealth being increasingly concentrated in Western elites, outlining a major discrepancy.

An Islamic Analysis of Burkina Faso’s Economic Development

 

How racism created Chicago Gangs

chicago-ghetto African-Americans that previously resided in the Klan-run South came to Chicago during the great migration, lured in by the promises of jobs and political rights. However, these opportunities were systematically denied. Since blacks have entered this city they have been met with a level of bigotry so disgusting, and so pervasive, that it is a core aspect of Chicago’s culture. African-Americans seeking tocreate a better life would still face the very same racism and violence they found in the south. However, instead of it being by the Klan, it would be by the Chicago Housing authority and white mob groups. When blacks first came to Chicago they competed with the Irish over a scarce labor and housing market. In 1919, racial animosity reached a boiling point when a white person hit a blackchild with a rock while he was swimming in Michigan Lake. The black child drowned to death, but the Chicago Police Department refused to arrest the white aggressor. Blacks led a peaceful protest demanding justice, and as a result of their efforts they were viciously attacked by white mob groups. Whites entered the predominately black area on the Southside, terrorizing the black population through arsons and assaults.Nobody, not even children, were spared in the attacks. They even sought to enter a predominately black hospital to terrorize the black patients there. As whites continued to set fire to black neighborhoods, the Chicago Fire Department was not allowed to operate in these communities.

Hundreds of African Americans, including women and children, were left homeless on the streets after fires demolished their homes in these Chicago_Violence_Funeral-0e431-3658senseless attacks. Richard J. Daley was 17 years old at the time and one of the leaders of the Irish Hamburg Athletic Club that led this senseless attack on the black community.  Instead of being punished for these clearly racist attacks, he was made Mayor of Chicago, where he would continue to push and support racist legislation to disenfranchise the black community. Indeed, the white-ran Chicago housing authority from its inception worked to ensure that blacks lived in segregated neighborhoods. Blacks were confined to the Southside and these areas were treated with inconceivable neglect by government agencies. The “Neighborhood Composition Rule” ordered that housing was to be segregated. This resulted in Black people being segregated in the Southside in what is known as “The Black Belt.”Of course, all of the housing that the Chicago Housing Authority set aside for blacks was decrepit; many apartments lacked plumbing, were overcrowded, and far below requirements for healthy sanitation.

violencechicagoEven wealthy blacks were forced into substandard neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. As a direct result of these social conditions, the infant mortality rate for blacks sky-rocketed to well above the national average. Eventually, the neighborhood Composition rule was eventually struck down. This was met by complete outrage by white vigilante groups who, once again, terrorized the local black population with heartless violent confrontations. While blacks were portrayed as being “violent”, many times it was not the “delinquent” black youth attacking innocent peaceful white people but vice-versa. Indeed, during this time blacks lived under increased threats of violence and fear from whites. Blacks had no choice but to live in the ghetto because of the terrorism inflicted by whites against those would dared to live on the outskirts of their state created locus. During these times, overt discrimination against blacks reigned supreme in every area of Chicago’s society, such as employment, housing, health care, and every other opportunity for upward social mobility.

Black street gangs do not come out of the sky. Their origins are undeniably rooted in state imposed substandard social conditions. Gangs resultchicago4343 from the myriad ways in which this racist government has confined black youth in the most atrocious of social conditions. It is undeniably accredited to the denial of economic opportunities, denial of quality education, and racist violence inhumanely inflicted by covetous white vigilante groups. Discrimination against black youth runs rampant on the job market.  Often times, the drug economy is sometimes the only way in which they can provide for their families. Indeed, between 1967 and 1982, nearly 50% of Chicago’s manufacturing jobs were eliminated.   This devastated Chicago’s black community and gangs skyrocketed.  Of course, such an event is inevitable under capitalism which seeks to outsource to foreign countries for cheap labor to increase profits. John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods came to resemble impoverished Third World countries, and police harassment was ever-present.” Also worth noting is that the Chicago government has also responded to white street gangs and black street gangs differently. Contrary to popular belief, the first gangs in Chicago were not black but white, specifically Irish. Unlike Black Street gangs that formed out of economic necessity, these gangs formed amongst white youth to terrorize black communities who dared to defy racist segregation  laws.

Chicago’s government decided to take a rehabilitation approach with these white Irish gangs and transform them into “respectable” members of society. Indeed, the entire Irish gang that brutalized and decimated black communities was transformed into the Chicago Police Department. Richard D. Daley, who was a dedicated member of one of these gangs, later became Mayor. There has never been a serious attempt by the Chicago government to rehabilitate black gang members into society. Instead, the government has only responded through police occupation of black communities.  Also, the black community has taken numerous steps to deal with gang-violence and all of them were foiled by the government.   Fred Hampton, the leader of the  Black Panther Party For Self Defense, attempted to form an alliance with Chicago’s black street gangs to turn them into an activist organization Instead of allowing this alliance to manifest, the FBI would instead forge letters between the two groups to breed hostility. The Chicago Police Department would eventually assassinate the Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton. This alliance had the potential to unify black street gangs and end the violence that they were perpetrating against one another but the government would not allow for it to materialize. Today, gang violence continues to take the lives of black youth.

 

. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people and replaces it with a stone cold heart The Third World Inside of America: A Critical Look at the Southside of Chicago PT 1that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets.Blacks have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive, but because of economic conditions that have been imposed on us by  malicious outside forces.  The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place,  to halt black socioeconomic aspirations,  has resulted in black youth  acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray in the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism.

————————

1.Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

2 “Chicago Race Riot of 1919″.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/110488/Chicago-Race-Riot-of-1919

3.) Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

4)   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

5) Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

6) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

7 ) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

8)   Asraa MustufaFriday, June 17 2011 http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/chicago_activists_push_for_trauma_center_on_the_south_side.html Chicago Activists Push for Trauma Center on the South Side

9) “I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

10) Karen Jordan Activists rally against mental health clinic closures

Tuesday, April 17, 2012  http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8624017

11)  Race, Health Care and the Law Speaking Truth to Power!

Institutional Racism in US Health Care http://academic.udayton.edu/health/07humanrights/racial01c.htm

12)  Discrimination Contributes To African-American Health Disparitiea  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/55345.php 01 Nov 2006 – 3:00 PST

13)  Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital Settles Discrimination Charges

Written by Molly Gamble | November 22, 2011http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/chicagos-jackson-park-hospital-settles-discrimination-charges.html

14) Black Borrowers Face Higher Hurdles in Lending, Study ShowsBy Stefanos Chen  Feb 24th 2012 1:48PM

 http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2012/02/24/black-borrowers-face-higher-hurdles-in-lending-study-shows/

15)  A Requiem for Blockbusting: Law, Economics, and Race-Based Real Estate Speculation Dmitri Mehlhornhttp://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?articl The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012

e=3528&context=flr

16  Chicago Most Segregated City In America, Despite Significant Improvements In Last Decade

01/31/2012 12:49 pm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/chicago-most-segregated-c_n_1244098.html

17  http://www.plp.org/leaflets-pamphlets/pamphlets/Racism_pamphlet2.pdf PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY ON RACE AND RACISM

18) The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012 HTTP://WWW.CTUNET.COM/BLOG/TEXT/SCSD_REPORT-02-16-2012-1.PDF

19) Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago

20)  “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2003.

21) The Mark of a Criminal Record Devah Pager Northwestern Universityhttp://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

22) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~blnchflr/papers/finalrestat.pdf DISCRIMINATION IN THE SMALL  BUSINESS CREDIT MARKET

23)   Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining  for a New Car

By  IAN  AYRES  AND  PETER SIEGELMAN*http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres%20Siegelman%20Race%20and%20Gender%20Discrimination%20In%20Bargaining%20%20for%20a%20New%20Car.pdf

24)) NAS LYRICS “Hold Down The Block” (feat. Mark B. Mayfield) http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nas/holddowntheblock.html

26) Freeway, What We Do http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/freeway/whatwedo.html

27 )   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

28) Rates of of poverty, violence, and other indicators of social exclusion resemble Third world cities like Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, and Lagos more than they resemble lower-class European urban aieasofpoverty. JohnM.Hagedorn, “Youth in Organized Armed Violence in Chicago” in Neither War Nor Peace: International

 29) RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

30) Ibid.

31) Ibid.

32) Ibid. Also see The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas.

ADL Fails To Disprove Claim Israel is an Apartheid Regime.

In a shameful display of grotesque incompetence, the Anti-Defamation League(ADL) published the article Response To Common Inaccuracy: Israel is an Apartheid State, seeking to challenge common comparisons made between Israel and Apartheid, South Africa.  The ADL claims that unlike Israel “[t]he apartheid regime imposed ‘bantustans,’ impoverished autonomous homelands whose borders were designed to exclusive economically viable land, upon 12 million black South Africans.”  The problem is the ADL has omitted the fact that the Israeli defense force actually worked to police black people in apartheid South Africa’s bantustans. 

In a 1984, the United Nations’ special Committee report titled Recent Developments concerning relations between  Israel and South Africa, notes “[d]espite the denials of the Government of Israel it continues to collaborate with the racist regime of South Africa as well as the bantustans, particularly in the military and nuclear fields.” In a strong condemnation, the General Assembly of the United Nations’ went as far as to declare that actions of  “Israel are the main obstacles that have frustrated international efforts for the elimination of apartheid.” 

Under the apartheid system, Black people could only travel to white areas for work if they had a pass.The apartheid government was built on the white supremacist belief that Blacks were not needed in white areas except as a unit of labor.  The police of apartheid government established checkpoints to ensure that Blacks were in white areas exclusively to perform labor. This system resulted in logistical difficulties in the form of excessively long lines

In search of a solution, apartheid South Africa’s former police chief, Constand Viljeon, visited Occupied Palestine in 1977. He unabashedly admired how Israel controlled the movements of the Palestinians, writing, “The thoroughness with which Israel conducts this examination is astonishing.” In admiration, Costand Vijeon sent white South African soldiers to Israeli militarily school with the goal  of replicating their system in South Africa. 

As the anti-apartheid struggle took place, Nelson Mandela’s uMkhonto we Sizwe began to engage in guerrilla warfare to fight the white racist government.  Through its continued battles with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Israeli military gained valuable military expertise in how to fight guerrilla movements.

In the Unnatural Alliance: Israel and South Africa, James Adam, a former board member of the National Security Agency and an expert of warfare strategy analyzed  apartheid, South Africa’s military tactics against the black guerrilla fighters. James Adam concluded that apartheid, South Africa’s “armed forces are equipped by Israel and their counterinsurgency tactics have evolved almost entirely as a result of lessons learned by the Israelis in their fight against the Palestine Liberation Organization.”    

Due to the violent repression of anti-apartheid activists, many black freedom fighters of the ANC had to flee the country. In Who Israel Arms and Why, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi  writes that “ANC leaders in exile began receiving parcel bombs and letter bombs in the mail; the terror campaign resulted from cooperation with the Mossad, which has used similar techniques against PLO leaders.” In other words, Israel’s intelligence agency aided the apartheid regime of South Africa in assassinating Black people who merely wanted to live dignified live free of white racism.

In light of history, the Anti-Defamation League should be classifying the Israeli military as an anti-black hate group. Yet, seeking to disprove the claim that Israel is an apartheid state, the ADL asserts:

 

Indeed, former South African Constitutional Court Justice Richard Goldstone wrote in a New York Times op-ed that accusing Israel of apartheid “is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

Amazing! The Anti-Defamation League cites one of the most ruthless apartheid era judges Richard Goldstone as a credible source. This is the same  Goldstone who once sentenced two black men to a prison sentence for merely possessing a video tape of a senior official in Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress.  Indeed, during the height of apartheid, Goldstone sentenced over 28 Black people to the death penalty. In contrast, the Anti-Defamation League demonizes heroic anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu as anti-Semitic for his belief that “Israeli policies towards Palestinians are the same or worse than those imposed against black South Africans under apartheid.”  When the ADL is upholding the perpetrators of apartheid while demonizing its victims it is clear that something is not right.

Tamika Mallory, the ADL, & the Hypocrisy of the Anti-Black Zionists!

Minister Farrakhan and Ms. Mallory.

For the past month, Women’s March Co-organizer Tamika Mallory has faced relentless criticism for doing what millions and millions of African-Americans have done for decades and generations of their lives: she attended a speech by Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan.

While speaking, Minister Farrakhan made remarks which have been criticized for being anti-Semitic by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  When asked about these statements, Ms. Mallory stated,“I think people have to ask Minister Farrakhan about his views. I’m not responsible for Minister Farrakhan, nor am I a spokesperson for him.”  [1]

She continued by stating, “What I do know is that I’ve worked with Minister Farrakhan for many years to address some of the ills in the Black community, where we’ve transformed lives… In those areas we have been able to work together. As it relates to some of the statements he has made and some of his personal views, people have to ask him about that.” [2]

Organizations such as the ADL refused to accept this and took to Twitter and other social media to criticize not only Ms. Mallory but other Black leaders who would dare share the same breathing space as Minister Farrakhan.                                             

The ADL has furthered called for Ms. Mallory to resign from her position in the Women’s March. The ADL complains,”Tamika Mallory, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, who got a special shout-out from Farrakhan and who regularly posts laudatory pictures of him on her Instagram account — as does Carmen Perez, another leader of the March.“ [3]

Yet, former ADL director Abe Foxman has appeared in several photographs smiling with Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, a man who offered to sell apartheid, South Africa, a long range missile called the burglar. [4]

Former, ADL director, Abe Foxman takes picture with Shimon Peres who once advocated that Apartheid, South Africa needed,”More Modern Weapons.”

After signing a defense agreement with apartheid, South Africa in 1975, Peres proudly posed in a photograph with Hendrik Van Den Berg, who was known as the most feared man in South Africa due to his role in mass-murdering Black, anti-apartheid, activists. [5]  

Why didn’t the ADL attack Peres with as much tenacity for taking a photo with Hendrik Van Berg, with they did Ms. Mallory for uploading a photograph with Farrakhan?

Despite Peres appearing in a photo with a mass-murderer of Black people and his role in arming apartheid South Africa, the ADL once hosted a celebration where they provided Peres with the distinguished statesmen award claiming Peres changed the world for the better. [6]

Foxman asserted, “Just think of the diverse contributions Shimon Peres has made to mankind?” [7]  It would appear the ADL does not hold itself to the same standard it seeks to impose upon Ms. Mallory.  Foxman has also  shared platforms and taken photographs with former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who believed that the racist white settlers in apartheid South Africa needed,”more modern weapons.” [8]  Was there any outcry about this appearance? No. 

 ADL’s role in Anti-Black Violence

In the Unspoken Alliance: Israel Secret Relationship with Apartheid, South Africa, Sasha Polakow-Suransky writes that, “As the anti-apartheid campaign turned its attention to Israeli links with South Africa, the ADL entered the propaganda frat, publically attacking Nelson Mandela’s ANC with arguments that mirrored those of hardline security officials in Pretoria.” [9]  Indeed, instead of repudiating Peres for signing a defense agreement with Apartheid, South Africa, in 1986, the then national director of the ADL, Nathan Perlmutter co-authored an article defending apartheid and South Africa’s President P.W. Botha while denouncing Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress as, “totalitarian, anti-humane, anti-democratic, anti-Israel and anti-American.” [10]  If the ADL had been aware of Nelson Mandela’s photograph with Minister Farrakhan, given their history, the ADL would have probably used that to call for Nelson Mandela to step down from his position. 

The ADL even dispatched spies throughout the United States to monitor groups working to end apartheid in South Africa. [11]] Working as a spy for the ADL, Roy Bullock passed on data he collected on anti-apartheid activists to the racist intelligence agency of Apartheid, South Africa. [12]

After this repugnant history, it’s absolutely absurd for the ADL to even posture as though its a credible civil rights organization when they have not  made any acknowledgment or amends with Black communities for their decision to support white murderous rule in apartheid, South Africa.

The Israeli Defense Force vs the Nation of Islam

Whilst criticizing Ms. Mallory for associating with the NOI, the ADL in events such a, “National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel” [13]  demonstrates it  is more than willing to associate and even promote the Israeli defense force, an  organization that has a demonstrated track record of actual physical violence against Black people.

A 1984 U.N report titled, “Recent developments concerning relations between Israel and South Africa,” states that the Israeli defense force’s “Collaboration with bantustans in military and police affairs is alarming because the racist regime of South Africa has utilized the bantustans as tools of oppression and suppression against the people of South Africa.”[14]

The Bantustans were systematically designed to confine the socio-economic mobility of Black people and ensure that Black people remained a permanent underclass and cheap labor source for white people. By any objective standard, the Israeli “defense”  force should be classified as a hate group for policing the bantustans of apartheid, South Africa.

The ADL is upset that Ms. Mallory attended a Nation of Islam event, an organization whose members are forbidden to carry weapons—even a pen knife. In contrast, Peres provided apartheid South Africa with brutal weapons used to kill Black people.

A CIA memo titled,” Israel’s relationship with Apartheid, South Africa,” revealed that Israel under Peres’ leadership provided apartheid, South Africa with piloted reconnaissance drones, gail assault rifles, 155m howizers, kits and the Israeli defense force provided technical assistance to modernize apartheid South Africa’s mirage 3 fighter aircraft. Israel also provided riot control equipment including gas masks and tear gas training program to apartheid South Africa. [15] These weapons were utilized to kill Black people.

The Nation of Islam is currently characterized by the ADL as a, “hate group” despite a lack of history of actual hate crimes. In contrast, the Israeli defense force, whom the ADL is affiliated with, has a documented and undeniable history of facilitating state terrorism against Black people.

During the height of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa,  Lekgau Mathabane, the head of Soweto’s Committee of Ten, an anti-apartheid  civil rights organization, proclaimed, “A friend of the South Africa government cannot be a friend of the Black…. Israel also supplies arms to South Africa and South Africa uses those arms for killing Black people and even children three years old. You don’t  expect any Black person to be happy with that type of thing.” [16]

Why is it acceptable for Foxman to snap photos with Peres but a Ms. Mallory instagram post with Minister Farrakhan results in a national uproar? Given the anti-Black violence of the israeli military,  the ADL’s decision to promote the Israeli defense force is far worse and worthy of condemnation than Ms. Mallory’s decision to attend a Nation of Islam event.  

Anti-racist, activist, Tim Wise stated, “Perhaps when white folks begin to show as much concern for the bigoted statements and, more to the point, murderous actions of white political leaders as we show over the statements of Louis Farrakhan, then we’ll deserve to be taken seriously in this thing we call a ‘national dialogue on race’.” [17]

When Will the ADL condemn, the Anti-Black Zionists?

Another immense double standard was revealed when Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yitzhak Yosef, referred to Black people as, “Monkeys.”[18]  The characterization of Black people as monkeys, is no light matter, it is rooted in Black people being portrayed as subhuman, and it is the very ideology that rationalized colonialism and the enslavement of Black people.

Yet, the most the ADL did was issue a watered down tweet claiming it was, “racially charged”, as opposed to explicitly anti-Black. [19]  There were no calls for any particular individuals who in the audience who attended the speech to resign from their places of employment. Moreover, the ADL has devoted a significantly larger amount of tweets indicting Minister Farrakhan compared to one watered down version condemnation of Rabbi Yitzhak. There was not even a call nor pressure by the ADL to have Rabbi Yitzhak step down from his position as chief rabbi of Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu with the chief Rabbi of Israel who has called Black people,”monkeys.” When will the ADL pressure Netanyahu to resign for his association with a racist?

 

While Zionist Lobby groups have called for Senator Maxine Waters to resign for a video showing her warmly embracing Minister Farrakhan, there have been no calls for Netanyahu to step down as Israeli prime minister for photographs showing him shaking hands with the anti Black Rabbi, Yizhak Yosef.

The reality of the Anti-Black Zionists

The anti-Black zionist groups such as the ADL place the state of Israel over Black lives. Given the ADL’s role in supporting apartheid, in South Africa [20], it is not to be taken seriously as a civil rights organizations. The ADL has no authority to tell Ms. Mallory or any other Black leader who they can associate with.  Instead of focusing on her decision to attend a speech by Minister Farrakhan and stalking her social media for Minister Farrakhan photos, the ADL should be seeking forgiveness and atonement from the Black community for their complicity in being anti-Black.

Sources 

[1] Refinery29.com. (2018). Women’s March Organizers Accused Of Anti-Semitism—Again. [online] Available at: https://www.refinery29.com/2018/03/192438/tamika-mallory-nation-of-islam-louis-farrakhan-speech-2018-anti-semitism-womens-march?bucketed=true [Accessed 29 Mar. 2018].

 

[2] IBID

 

[3]  “Women’s March Leaders Refuse to Condemn Farrakhan after Antisemitic Speec.” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com, 4 Mar. 2018, www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Womens-March-leaders-refuse-to-condemn-Farrakhan-after-antisemitic-speech-544074.

 

[4] The Israeli Connection: Whom Israel Arms and why By Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, pg. 63.

 

[5]   “The Tall Assassin Sparks New Interest in Apartheid Atrocities.” Penguin SA @ Sunday Times Books LIVE, penguin.bookslive.co.za/blog/2009/10/16/the-tall-assassin-sparks-new-interest-in-apartheid-atrocities/.

 

[6] Presentation of the ADL Distinguished Statesman Award to Shimon Peres.” Anti-Defamation League, www.adl.org/news/article/presentation-of-the-adl-distinguished-statesman-award-to-shimon-peres.

[7] IBID

 

[8] Middleton, Drew. “SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS MORE ARMS, ISRAELI SAYS.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Dec. 1981, www.nytimes.com/1981/12/14/world/south-africa-needs-more-arms-israeli-says.html.

 

[9] Polakow-Suransky, Sasha. The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa. Vintage Books, 2011. 209

[10] Polakow-Suransky, Sasha. The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa. Vintage Books, 2011. 234

[11] Polakow-Suransky, Sasha. The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa. Vintage Books, 2011. 209

 

[12] IBID

[13] “National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel.” Anti-Defamation League, www.adl.org/who-we-are/our-organization/signature-programs/law-enforcement-trainings/national-counter-terrorism-seminar.

[14]   Special Reports of the Special Committee Against Apartheid: Recent developments concerning relations between Israel and South Africa. http://repository.un.org/bitstream/handle/11176/64451/A_39_22_Add.1%3bS_16814_Add.1-EN.pdf?sequence=21&isAllowed=y)

[15]   Israel’s Relationship With South Africa, https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP06T00412R000606480008-9.pdf

 

[16] Polakow-Suransky, Sasha. The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa. Vintage Books, 2011. 187.

 

[17] “Farrakhan Is Not the Problem: The Arrogance and Absurdity of America’s Racial Litmus Test.” Tim Wise, 24 Aug. 2010, www.timwise.org/2008/05/farrakhan-is-not-the-problem-the-arrogance-and-absurdity-of-americas-racial-litmus-test/.

 

[18] Osborne, Samuel. “Israeli Chief Rabbi Calls Black People ‘Monkeys’.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 22 Mar. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-cheif-rabbi-black-people-monkeys-yitzhak-yosef-talmud-sephardic-a8267666.html.

 

[19] IBID

 

[20]  Polakow-Suransky, Sasha. The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa. Vintage Books, 2011. 209

 

The Black Power Politics of Malcolm X

Sapelo Square

By Hakeem Muhammad

Throughout his life, Malcolm X’s political and theological views constantly evolved.  However,  several core elements never changed. One was his recognition of white supremacy as a global political system that had to be vehemently opposed.  Malcolm explained, “The economy, the politics, the civil life of America is controlled by the white man.”  Political scientist Charles Mills advances this analysis; the United States is often falsely conceived of as a raceless liberal democracy instead of what it actually is: a white supremacist state.

malcom-1Malcolm X, in his autobiography, explains that this political arrangement had Black people confined to ghettos, living for mere survival, and unable to aspire to higher ambitions in life. Within these ghettos, Blacks were subjected to unbearable living conditions.   He lamented that many of his childhood friends had the potential to be great mathematicians or scientists but were instead victims of the white man’s…

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Analyzing Bill Maher: Liberal White Supremacy

When people think of white supremacy, images of the Ku Klux Klan usually pop into their hands. They regard it as a belief which is now on the fringe, feeling that although maybe a few Neo-Nazis subscribe to it, it is generally an ideology that no longer has any influence on the world. This is a dangerous myth! White supremacy is a globalized political structure and the most destructive political system currently in operation in the world today. Yet, it has been so seeped into the world’s consciousness that many are unaware that it is not in fact the natural way of life.

As an example, in America, the political system, economic system, and judicial system is largely controlled and operated by the descendants of white Europeans—not the Native Americans who were the original inhabitants of the country. This is not normal, nor should it be this way. In Australia, the political, judicial, and economic systems are largely controlled and operated by the descendants of white Europeans—not the Australian aboriginals who were the original inhabitants of the land. This is not normal, nor should it be this way. Even in post-Apartheid South Africa, the descendants of white Europeans enjoy better living standards than the native black population, and control the majority of the economic infrastructure. This is not normal, nor should it be this way.

Additionally, Liberalism and white supremacy are not mutually exclusive and this can be vividly highlighted in the talk show statements of Bill Maher:

“Liberals need to stand up for liberal principles … freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities. But then when you say in the Muslim world, ‘This is what’s lacking….’”

Bill Maher getting drunk on land stolen from native-americans instead of fulfilling his obligation to fight oppression. White Hedonism exist upon the systemic oppression of black people.

Bill Maher getting drunk on land stolen from native-americans instead of fulfilling his obligation to fight oppression.
White Hedonism exist upon the systemic oppression of black people.

The question for Bill Maher is: why are the original inhabitants of the United States, the Native Americans, a minority within their own land? It’s because of liberals like Thomas Jefferson, who supported the Indian removal act believing that Native Americans should be exterminated. Jefferson’s worldview stemmed from one of the most foundational philosophers of liberalism, John Locke, who invested in companies that partook in the transatlantic slave trade of black Africans.  It is a result of a worldview held by most liberal philosophers in which only whites were humans and thus fit for liberal rights. Yet, After centuries of enslaving Africans and the genocide of Native Americans, Bill Maher now says he believes in “equality for minorities.” What does the liberal notion of equality mean in any real sense? It’s a political abstraction that has no concrete tangible meaning.

To pass anti-discrimination laws after years of exploitation to solidify yourself on the top of the social hierarchy is one thing, but to actually relinquish power, wealth, and infrastructure that was inherited  unjustly is something else completely. No liberal would support any policy that seriously restructured society on a significant level; in fact, Native American thinkers such as Jodi Byrd state that the inclusion of Native Americans within liberalism is a continuance of this cultural genocide, as Native Americans had their own cosmologies and worldviews that were often completely antithetical to liberalism.

The danger behind Bill Maher’s statement is that he now utilizes the inclusion of Native Americans into liberalism(cultural genocide) as a reason to justify violence  against the non-Liberal Muslim World. In a further  interview with an African-American Muslim hip-hop artist, Mos Def, Bill Maher questioned him by stating:

The religion of Islam spread through the sword, spread through oppression. Have you read your history? What happened between 632 to 732 A.D.; 100 years they conquered the whole known world.

This is simply empirically false; no credible historian today can assert that Islam spread through the sword. Just take

Leading Atheist  "thinker"Christopher Hitchens doing what he does not  best: cigarettes and drinking.  European colonial expansion has secured liberal notions of "freedom" exclusively the  white race  which is secured from the oppression of people of color.

European colonial expansion has secured liberal notions of “freedom” granting them exclusively to the white race which is secured from the oppression of people of color. Thus, enabling Leading Atheist “thinker”Christopher Hitchens doing what he does  best: using cigarettes and drinking.

Indonesia, which is home to the world’s largest population of Muslims—there was never any Muslim conquest of Indonesia. Islam spread to that area of the world from commerce and trade. Similarly, in West Africa, Islam spread through trade and commerce—not military conquest. Even more recently, according to the American Muslim council, 42% of Muslims in America are African-American, 24% are South Asian, and 12% are Arab. What Muslim general put a sword to the African-American population and made them undergo forced conversions? What Bill Maher is doing is projecting. Brother Mos Def should have asked Maher what happened in his European history between 1492 until now. Europeans actually came incredibly close to controlling the world.

https://ton.twitter.com/i/ton/data/dm/576948543975395328/576948544155725824/VsVd_GjW.png

The above map shows that only a few countries have been spared from European colonialism, and, as you can see, the Muslim/Arab world, Native-Americans, Australian Aboriginals, and Africans, all came under European domination. In fact upon the British-Dutch conquest of South Africa, they established an apartheid regime on their land in which blacks would be incarcerated for a variety of trivial offenses (including being unemployed). Modern day Muslim extremists are mostly a product of European colonialism, and yes they have committed inhumane atrocities—but they have a long, long, long way to go before they even come close to rivaling what Europeans have done and continue to do.

The Creation of Lil Reese

Lil Reese

I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage.

In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap.

Where I’m from? Chiraq……..

..300 Normal Spelled Backwards.—Lil Reese

Many people growing up in Chiraq have lost many friends and relatives from the ensuing gang wars. Lil Reese indicates that he too has been affected by this and states that this is reality, not ‘movie shit.’ He’s done this in efforts to distinguish himself from  your typical studio-gangsters who make idle threats and appear ‘thugish’ in rap videos only to go back to their fancy homes after the video shoot to a full refrigerator and comfortable couches in the suburbs. His phrase ‘turned into a savage’ refers to the mentality that many people in his crew have developed from living in such appalling social conditions. A recent study indicates that black youth in Chiraq who are exposed to such violence develop post-traumatic stress disorders comparable to troops returning home from military combat.  However, for these youth, this isn’t ‘post-traumatic’ because this violence is a continuous cycle that takes place in their neighborhood everyday. Further, unlike military troops, these youth never receive visits from psychologists to aid them. As Lil Reese stated, “A body getting dropped everyday – this shit is real.”

A body getting dropped refers to people dying from gunshots. The sad truth is that many youth have absolutely nothing to lose within the confides of the current social system. Indeed, when you watch a Lil Reese video, in his hood you’ll see many shirts displaying “R.I.P.” to the names of various friends and “Free”  to the names of various people locked away. Living in such violent social conditions has a profound impact on the psychology of black youth, this is precisely why after Lil JOJO was shot, Chief Keef responded by saying,“HahahahahhahahahahahahahaahhAAHAHAHAHA” #RichNiggaShit “Its Sad Cuz Dat Nigga Jojo Wanted To Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.”

    The Root Cause of Lil Reese’s Violent Lyrics

Both Chief Keef and Lil Reese grew up in Englewood. They would probably be surprised to hear that their now impoverished and violent community was once predominately white and affluent. Moreover, in addition to being mostly white, it was once a stronghold for the Ku Klux Klan. As America began to integrate and African-Americans entered deep into the Chicago areas—this once predominately white area began organizing violently against the African-American communities. They then formed a neighborhood associations with slogans like: “America for whites, Africa The Only Place for Niggers.”  They then went on to say “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages.” While these whites portrayed African-Americans as savages, all the behavior that whites partook in to defend against integration were of that very nature. After a rumor that a house in Englewood was going to be purchased by a black family, whites began to carry out bombings, physical assaults, and arson on black residents for simply trying to live their lives. After putting up posters saying “NEGROES INVADING” a bunch of whites came together starting the “EngleWood Race Riots of 1949”. As African-Americans continued to move in, “a white plight” took place as whites moved to suburban areas, leaving the black community in absolute turmoil, chaos, and social decay.

One may says: “Lil Reese was born in 1993, those riots took place in 1949.” As if it had no effect on him.  White people had the benefit of passing wealth to their children who could then pass it on to their children; they also had the luxury of a stable home and other infrastructure. As a result of these race riots, blacks who were affected   were not given the same opportunities nor has the racist system that has been designed to disenfranchise blacks from employment been abolished. These riots and systemic obstacles left the black community in absolute economic turmoil. The poverty that resulted from it allowed the illegal economy to takeover as the number one employer for black youth. Similarly, when peaceful African-Americans first moved to Englewood, a racist of the white, anti-intergrationist stated that” I think they[Blacks] are savages.” Now, over 30 years later Lil Reese embraces this image, stating that “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage.” Why  else would Lil JOJO, Chief Keef, and Lil Reese all have lyrics basically equating to “gonna get these guns, and I’mma kill these niggas”? The lyrics resemble the rhetoric of white racists of the past. This is all a result of blacks internalizing hatred and racial stereotypes of the society they live in.

 

 

————————————————–

1)http://www.plp.org/challenge/2009/11/13/derrion-albert-is-not-racist-capitalisms-first-or-last-victi.html, Derrion Albert Is Not Racist Capitalism’s First or Last Victim

2) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

3)Working Party on Environmental Performance,  http://www.oecd.org/environment/country-reviews/33848718.pdf#page=27

4) http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-affirmative-action, 11 Facts About Affirmative Action

5) Chief Keef and Lil Joj0 http://www.suntimes.com/news/crime/15007423-418/chief-keef-and-lil-jojo-a-rap-feud-straight-outta-englewood.html

6)http://www.sohh.com/2013/01/i_aint_dissing_chief_keef_im_dissing_jim.html,  “I Ain’t Dissing Chief Keef, I’m Dissing Jimmy Iovine”

7)I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

8)Black Literature of Revolutionary Protest from Chicago’s South Side: A Local …

By Michelle Yvonne Gordon,http://books.google.com/books?id=nMwuX6wKz40C&pg=PA199&dq=chicago+englewood&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nqgOUdXxDoH89QTAgIHwCQ&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=chicago%20englewood&f=false

I wonder if Heaven Got A Ghetto

heavengheto4African-Americans living under  secular capitalism largely live in ghettos deprived of genuine opportunities for social mobility, facing police brutality, enduring  the hard conditions produced by the drug economy, which is all too often the only employment opportunity for disenfranchised black youth. In the midst of such horrific social conditions, many youth long for a better life – free of the despair, misery, and structural violence that they have been forced to live with in America. In these marginalized areas of American society, many black youth do not know if they will live to 21 without facing lengthy prison sentences or dying from street violence.  Questioning the economic system of America, Tupac states:

“There’s no way that Michael Jackson or whoever Jackson should have a million thousand droople billion dollars heavenghetto1and then there’s people starving. There’s no way! There’s no way that these people should own planes and there people don’t have houses. Apartments. Shacks. Drawers. Pants! I know you’re rich. I know you got 40 billion dollars, but can you just keep it to one house? You only need ONE house. And if you only got two kids, can you just keep it to two rooms? I mean why have 52 rooms and you know there’s somebody with no room?! It just don’t make sense to me. It don’t.”

thegameTupac Shakur embodied what Gramsci referred to as the ‘organic intellectual’ as he emerged from one of the most disenfranchised areas of America and produced poetry carrying political messages which articulated the  struggles of inner-city black youth. Enunciating the inner city struggle, Tupac states, ”My homies dying before they get to see they birthdays. These is the worst days. Sometimes it hurts to pray and even God turned his back on the ghetto youth. I know that ain’t the truth, sometimes I look for proof. I wonder if heaven got a ghetto.” In the midst of these appalling conditions in which peers die from bullet holes at an early age, Tupac conceives of an afterlife in which such social circumstances are no more  and ghetto youth are able to  live in peace. In ‘Thugs Mansion,’ a collaboration by Nas and Tupac, Tupac begins by stating that he’s, ”tired of getting shot at,”  and “tired of getting chased by the police” and then envisions a different utopian atmosphere.

Subsequently, Nas provides an ethnography of the streets, telling the story of a kid who was a master at robbing, annasbridge activity he was forced into through economic necessity. At 16 years old, he finished his jail sentences and, with no room for social mobility, he finds himself participating in the drug sector – in which he is pursued by the police, leading to his “asthma flaring.” Nas envisions that he can take this black youth out of his misery and bring him to the “thug’s mansion.” In the song, Tupac imagines sitting and dialoging with Malcolm X and Latasha, a black girl whose life was taken after a Korean store clerk mistakenly believed she was stealing. Miles Davis and Billie Holiday also join in on the conversation and Tupac calls upon us to ”think of all the people that you knew in the past that passed on, they in heaven, found peace at last.”

In a very introspective song made while his mother was in the hospital dying, the artist Nas asks:

 

“If heaven was a mile away, and you could ride by the gates

Would you try to run inside when it opens, would you try to die today?

Would you pray louder, finally believe in his power

Even if you couldn’t see him, but you could feel him, would you still doubt him?

How would you start acting? would you try to put the keys down?

Thinking every drug sale that you make in the streets, he can see now

Would a fiend even want to get high? would he stop smoking?

If he knew on his own two feet, he could just stroll in

To get away and escape from the craziness.”

aljahizIn this song, Nas raises a series of interesting questions; if heaven was a mile away and we were sure of its existence, would one try to do away with their bad habits and reform themselves, or would they carry on? Many black youth long to get away from the ‘craziness’ of ghetto life and the tumultuous lifestyle it leads to. The 9th century scholar Al-Jahiz raises a similar question as Nas; he writes:

“One of the things concealed from human beings is the duration of their lives. If someone knew his lifespan was short, he would never enjoy life while anticipating death. He would be like someone whose fortune is nearing exhaustion, fearfully awaiting poverty. The anxiety that afflicts a person losing his life is worse than that of losing his money since, if he loses his money he may regain some of it, but when he is certain that his life is ending, despair will seize him. If, on the other hand, a person were certain of leading a long life, he would indulge in pleasure and wrongdoing, calculating he could do this for as long as he liked, and then repent at the end of his life. God will not accept such an attitude.”

Nas contemplates the notion of how human behavior would be altered if they understood God was watching them – would they leave the drug trade? While a hustler can evade the police, they cannot evade god – and for Al-Jahiz, he reflects upon how human beings’ behavior would be altered if they knew what the duration of their lives was.  The socialist activist group Dead Prez once stated:

“What a nigga gonna eat when the refrigerator empty? Work all week let the bossman pimp me? Can’t pay no rent tupacmalcolmxtill the 15th. Landlord call the police to evict me.” These trials  and tribulations in the black community lead to Dead Prez stating, ”So much shit goes on it makes me doubt about a God — you know, makes me ask well if there is a God then why am I in the situation that I’m in?

” ”

 

 

The 9th century scholar Al-Jahiz answers:“Someone might object to the idea of Divine planning on another ground, namely: ‘How can there be planning, when we see both the mighty and weak in this world, the strong oppressing others and causing resentment, while the weak are oppressed and suffer in poor conditions?’  We find the righteous poor and afflicted and the wicked healthy and affluent, and people indulging in improper and unlawful behavior without being swiftly being punished. If there were design in this world one would expect that the righteous would thrive and the wicked be deprived; the strong would be prevented from oppressing the weak, and those who behave despicably would be punished soon. In answer to this we say, “if this were the case there would be no place for the trails of life by which people distinguish themselves, nor would they make the effort to do good and righteous deeds, seeking and trusting in God’s promised reward. They would sink to the status of beasts, ruled by the stick and the carrot alternately, to make them behave.”

Similarly, Tupac states, ”They didn’t make sense that God would put us in the ghetto. That means he wants us to lupefiasciowork hard to get up out of here. That means he’s testing us even more.“ Thinking about a “thugz mansion” or if heaven contains a ghetto really reveals the deep seated faith of disenfranchised youth have and their longing for a better society – which they don’t think can exist in this world. But as Lupe Fiascio pointed out, ”Just listening to Pac ain’t gon’ make it stop.” We must work to actively change and improve the condition of our society within this life.

—–

 

Al-Jahiz: Chance or creation

Ghetto Prisoners Rise!

In the slept-on track “Ghetto Prisoners,” the organic intellectual Nas asks a profound question: “Who’s to be praised? The mighty dollar — or almighty Allah?” This line from Nas provides an interesting ethnography into the structural system which creates the ghetto, an indict of the secular capitalistic system. Nas describes the “ghetto prisoners” as people who are “trapped in slums” and “headed for nothing but the state pen, where they cousin be waiting.” “The ghetto” is the uninhabitable zone in American society. It is the place that white mainstream society seeks to avoid at all cost, but when they do make this journey, it is seen as an exotic venture; to maintain safety, whites need a so-called “ghetto pass.”

 

Nas’ invocation of the ghetto prisoners echoes a similar line of thought from Malcolm X who stated, ”If your nasprojecctwidowsblack you’re born in jail. In the north as well as the south. Quit telling me about the south. As long as you’re south of the Canadian border, you’re south.”  Food deserts, police brutality, gang conflicts, and shootouts are some of the unique social situations within the ghetto that characterize the hood as a separate entity from mainstream, white-dominated American society. The reality is “the ghetto” replaced “plantation slavery” as the system by which blacks would be oppressed with their bodies turned into commodities; blacks were soon forced into labor via the prison industrial complex. According to Michelle Alexander in her book “The New Jim Crow,” she indicates:

“History reveals that the seeds of the new system of control were planted well before the end of the Civil Rights Movement. A new race-neutral language was developed for appealing to old racist sentiments, a language accompanied by a political movement that succeeded in putting the vast majority of blacks back in their place. Proponents of racial hierarchy found they could install a new racial caste system without violating law or the new limits of acceptable political discourse, by demanding ‘law and order’ rather than ‘segregation forever.’”

The political structures influenced by capitalism are all dedicated to the worship of money. The pursuit of money howcapitalismunderdevelopedblaamericais placed over and above ethics; brother Malcolm X once argued, ”If you show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a blood sucker.” Indeed, Manning Marable in his book titled ”How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America” continues Walter Rodney’s analysis, concluding that racism is an integral part of the capitalist system. Within this system, materialism reigns in the black community and constant black-on-black violence is commonplace, as described in the classic Nas and AZ collaboration:

You wanna stick me, then put ya best to it

I’ll die black, we see you in Allah Kingdom you try that

In this song, Nas describes that because he is living in the hood, he must adopt a violent and aggressive posture for survival. He calls upon rivals to “stick him,” and Nas states he will die with his blackness. In another song, Nas describes pursuing various criminal pursuits until he has a vision of the Prophet Muhammad who inspires him to change his course of actions, stating, ”Little Nasir was at war. Crew deep with a few heat, now it’s time we settle the score…but in the projects, I vision Muhammad, in linen garments. Preaching man, woman, and child, the living Prophet.” The 18th century Islamic scholar and caliph Usman Dan Fodio, who lived in modern day Nigeria, had a similar experience, stating, “we are completely dissolved from devotion to Prophet Muhammad. How many straying in darkness have been guided by him?” Within these ghettos, hip-hop emerged as a counter-hegemonic art form to challenge power structures. Nas argues, ”Rap became a version of Malcolm and Martin.”  Dabashi writes:

“Islam for Malcolm X was an equally combative occasion, but as an infinitely more liberating, progressive, alive, tupacmalcolmxand living organism. In more than 200 years of encounter with colonial modernity, and literary hundreds of radical Muslim thinkers, no Muslim revolutionary comes even close to Malcolm X in the liberating, global, and visionary grasp of his faith and its place in facing the barefaced barbarity of economic and military world domination… If Islam does not have anything to say or to offer to these disenfranchised communities…   without asking them to convert to Islam, then it is nothing but the fatuous  faith of the Khaliji, Kuwaiti, and Saudi sheikhs having difficulty bending their overfed bellies when pretending to prostrate to pray, or else the rambling gibberish of Osama bin Laden and Mulla Omar when replicating the American neocons in their advocacy of terror. There is another Islam unknown to those crooked bodies… the Islam of Malcolm X.”

Nas states, ”If we don’t get it controlled fast, might as well be, laughin’ with Malcolm X’s assassin as we die slow.” Malcolm X was at the forefront of black people’s fight for freedom and independence, yet he was violently assassinated; complacency and not struggling against these social situations is the equivalent of laughing and hanging out with the murderer of Malcolm X. With the prevalence of blacks dying from preventable diseases, the break-down of the black family, and increased poverty,-it is time to get control of this social situation. In one song, Nas does a psychoanalysis of the impact of white supremacy upon black people who are ”walking, talking, dead though we think we’re living.”  He continues:

“My niggaz is chillin, gettin high, relaxin
Envisionin, ownin shit, yo it can happen
What do we own? Not enough land, not enough homes
Not enough banks, to give a brother a loan
What do we own? The skin on our backs“

We need to revive the spirit of Malcolm X and begin to confront the social situation which leads to these ghetto prisoners.===

—————————–Islamic Liberation Theology: Resisting the Empire: Hamid Dabashi

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness [Paperback]