Thursday, April 28, 2011

Come Sunday Morning, Dr. Rodney D. Coates

Come Sunday Morning
Rodney D. Coates

Sun beats its rays against the window
Smell of coffee, waffles, eggs, bacon fill the air
Sounds of gospel sets the mood
Brother long in the shower trying to sing
Momma dressed in her Sunday best
Dad suited up and ready to go
It’s Sunday morning.

Church packed with friends and kin
Visitors sitting on any pew
Dancers stream with flags and pennants
Music sets the atmosphere
Drums and base, guitar and sax
Electric organ and synthesizer
Soul, jazz, blues, -merge in that gospel beat.

Granny fixes little Kia’s hair
Jackie, from the corner, walks up the stair
Starts to sing of Amazin Grace
The choir fills in the spaces.
Deacon James, used to run the numbers, now prays
As Bettye, the junkie, murmurs along.
Martha holds Kimmie discarded at birth
Raymond, on parole, tickles the keyboard.
Juwana, formerly John, strums the guitar.

Pastor Marsha starts to pray
Mother Sarah hums a hymn
Brother Benji strums along
Shouts of deliverance
the Holy ghost comes
foreign tongues heard
somebody got a dance going on.

Stained glass and strained lives
Preacher man stands to deliver the word
Nehemiah wanted to rebuild a wall
What walls do you have need rebuilding
Family –broken and abandoned children
Neighborhoods –wracked with crime and drugs
Schools –unable to teach, failure the norm
Fathers –abandoning their children
Sons –growing up hating fathers not there
Mothers –raising babies not their own
Daughters –pregnant before their time
Hope-lost on the highway to nowhere
Despair-on every door
Blood –where brothers killing brothers
Hate-dropping by the score
Churches –doing business as usual
While hell’s gate is open once more.

Preacher man sings his sermon
Gotta rebuild that wall
Stop hating that brother cause he different
Stay outta your neighbor’s bed
Clean up around your own back door
Leave others to clean up theirs
Quit spending your seeds in strange gardens
Stop complaining’ bout what you should’ve had
Teach somebody about their future
Reclaim those dreams you once had
Forgiveness is granted regardless of sin
Stop looking ‘neath another’s problems
Take responsibilities for your actions
Be the change you want the world to be
Listen as the songbird praises the Sun
Watch as the rainbow paints the sky
Hearken to the wisdom of children
Love regardless of circumstances.

Preacher woman takes up the tune
Searches the room for an amen
Sings of forgiveness and redemption
Extends the love everywhere
Come you who are now broken hearted
No shame in whatever you’ve done
We do not condemn for we have all sinned
Only God will be your judge
We will walk with you if you want us
We will not shun or forsake
Come let us break bread together
As family, kin and one.

Come Sunday morning

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oakland's Easter Crucifixion: 2 Dead, four Wounded at Nightclub

Oakland's Easter Crucifixion: 2 Dead, four Wounded at Nightclub

Two killed, four wounded in Oakland nightclub shooting
By Dan Whitcomb
Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:48pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two people were killed and four others wounded early on Monday when a gunman opened fire at an Oakland nightclub, then sped away in a car with three suspected accomplices, police said.

The four wounded victims, who were not identified by authorities, were taken to a local hospital where two of them, both men, were listed in critical condition and said to have life-threatening injuries.

The remaining two victims, both women, were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Police were searching for four young men, described as African American and in their teens or early twenties, who fled the shooting at Sweet Jimmie's nightclub in a white Dodge Avenger.

An Oakland Police spokeswoman said they had not yet determined a motive for the shooting, despite reports in the local media that the gunman had been denied entry to the club.
"Whether he was trying to get in or not, we don't know," Oakland Police spokeswoman Cynthia Perkins said, adding that it was also unclear if the shooter had targeted one of the victims.

"Last night's shootings, which are a rare occurrence in downtown Oakland, are tragic and troubling," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said in a written statement, adding that solving the case was a "high priority" for the city. "The Police Department will schedule increased patrols in the area as they continue to investigate the circumstances," Quan said.

The mayor and police officials asked that anyone with information about the shooting or suspects contact Oakland homicide detectives.

Commentary by Marvin X

Apparently the nightclub shooters got the Easter weekend ritual confused. Sunday was Resurrection Day, but the killers must have thought it was Crucifixion Day. In light of events around the world where people are standing up and dying for freedom, the Oakland dead and wounded are as Mao said, lighter than a feather, meaningless incidents signifying nothing but madness. And yet we cannot separate this incident and other from international events, for all things in the universe are connected.

The USA cannot have a trillion dollar budget to kill and maim from Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet expect peace at home. What goes around comes around, or shall we say the chickens must come home to roost.

One day America will get over its fetish with guns and wars across the planet, only then will the children of the world be safe, for as James Baldwin said, "The murder of my child will not make your child safe."

Guns, violence and sex are projected 24/7 in the Monkey Mind Media, in films and television shows, even Rap glorifies violence, but again, the USA is the number one purveyor of violence in the world. Nelson Mandela said America is the main reason there is no peace in the world. American greed for oil to grease the wheels of a white supremacy culture that consumes 25% of the world's energy although she is only 5% of the global population, is the main reason the culture of violence exists at home and abroad. America is the number one arms merchant of the world. So yes, the violence in the streets of America is simple blow back and one must expect more to come until this nation realizes guns are not the panacea for problems, whether personal, political, economic, religious or otherwise.

How is it possible for two persons to be dead and four wounded because a man was refused entry to a nightclub? If it was that important that he entered the club, surely someone could have talked with him as a former nightclub owner said he used to do with unruly clientele. He would pull them aside and rap with them in a civilized manner. He said no one was ever shot at his club, nor was he attacked.

He speculated that perhaps this is a sign of class war in the hood, and those persons who feel excluded want to strike out at those in authority, although most incidents of violence usually only occur at African American night clubs. Several such clubs in Oakland have been shut down as a result of violence. Others shut down because they refused to submit to police shakedowns, Geoffrey's Club is the most recent example, although he lost his case against the OPD.

The tragedy is that we refuse to consider there is a war in the hood on much the same level as wars in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, the doctors train for battles abroad in the emergency rooms of hospitals that serve ghetto battlefield wounded, most suffering multiple wounds from weapons similar if not the same as those used in America's global wars to maintain white supremacy.

We think parents should adequately warn their children they must be aware of their surroundings at all times and do not pretend they are in La La Land, but recognize they live in a battle zone. America is a hostile environment for North American Africans and others, to think and act otherwise is to be in denial and we are then subject to be victims of the mine fields in our path as we make our daily round. Put on the amour of God for we are in the valley of the shadow of death, but with the amour of God we shall fear no evil for the Lord is my rod and staff.
--Marvin X

Meeting of First Poet's Church this Sat, April 30, 6pm

Attention All Ministers of Poetry

Meeting of First Poet's Church this Sat,

April 30, 6pm

The First Poet's Church will meet this Sat, April 30, 6pm, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley (between San Pablo and Sacramento Streets). You are invited to attend, please bring a dish or refreshments. The main agenda items are bylaws and articles of incorporation.

If time permits, we will have a mental health peer group session to recover from the addiction to white supremacy. If you have a copy of How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, please study Step 1 and be prepared to discuss it. Thanks.

Please confirm your attendace.

Peace and Love,

Dr. M,
Prime Minister of Poetry

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Foreword: How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy/Lunacy by Dr. Nathan Hare


Call him Dr. M, as I do, though I’ve known him by other names in other places and, like Diogenes, who went around holding up a lantern to the faces of the people he would meet in the streets of ancient Athens looking for an honest man, I have come to the realization that we as a people have been waiting and looking for somebody like Dr. M to come along for more than half a century, ever since America was stunned by The Mark of Oppression (the Jim Crow era book by two white liberal psychiatrists whose findings had brought them to the heartfelt conclusion that the race of people called “Negroes” was “crushed.”

In only four years after their epitaph was written, Negroes (now called “blacks,” “Blacks,” “Afro-Americans,” “African-Americans,” or as Dr. M sometimes calls them “American Africans”) had exploded in Montgomery with passive resistance. In four more years the “sit-in movement” broke out among the youth, followed like a one-two punch by the so-called “freedom riders” (roving bands of individuals who boarded and defied the segregation of interstate vehicles and included a future student of mine on spring break from Howard University by the name of Stokely Carmichael). Then came “Black Power,” in the context of which I first heard of a man who had metamorphosed from the slave-name Marvin Jackmon into a prominent “North American African poet” who went by the name of Marvin X (the X connoting “the unknown”).

While, despite the fact that I have known him through the intervening years, I cannot unravel every single quality of the brother, I can testify that Dr. M is a brand new Marvin, a Dr. Marvin, a social doctor, if you will, with a gift and a mission for a new black movement. I know this to be true because, aside from my Ph.D. and years of experience in the practice of clinical psychology, I specialized in the study of social movements for a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Chicago . But more than that, I have watched a dedicated Dr. M, up close and clinically, going about his fearless work in the mean streets of San Francisco . Over a period of many months, on many a dark and dreary sometimes rainy Wednesday night, I served as a consultant in clinical psychology to Dr. M’s “Black Reconstruction Group” (the pilot to his twelve-step model now unveiled in this important book on “How to Recover from Addiction to White Supremacy.” In the Recovery Theatre’s pilot groups, I sat with diverse and ad hoc coteries of men and women gathered impromptu in the austere basement of a Catholic church, St. Boniface, located in the heart of The Tenderloin, the highest crime district in San Francisco , just down a few blocks from the famous Glide Memorial Methodist Church . Many a night I marveled at the ease with which Dr. M and his talented co-facilitator, Suzette Celeste brought out trickles of lost and unleashed hope and inspiration in the minds of destitute and degraded street people as well as in the confused and empty psyches of invited members of the black bourgeoisie who, still trying to be unbroken, had come where not many “bourgies” would dare to tread.

On many an appointed night I stood by silently looking on while Dr. M and his collaborators sauntered out into the shadowy mysteries of dilapidated streets to solicit and harness hapless homeless men and a woman or two and bring them in to meet as equals with the anxious representatives of the black bourgeoisie who had dared to cross momentarily back over their tentative territorial and social boundaries. This of course is not recommended for the feeble or the fainthearted; because, until the revolution comes, or the proletariat triumphs, there will be difficulties and perils in chance encounters of the social classes. So I must hasten to explain that a security conscious Dr. M was operating within a safety net of collaborators competent in the martial arts; like Geoffrey Grier, who has been an international martial arts competitor and is a son of a black psychiatrist, Dr. William Grier, coauthor with Dr. Price Cobb of the late 1960s blockbuster, Black Rage.

At the moment when the oppressed have had enough, their rage will explode -- Fanon had warned us in The Wretched of the Earth -- and it is at that moment, at the very point of mental and spiritual coagulation and defeat, when they will come together and rise. Frantz Fanon went on to tell of a category of reconstruction groups called “’djemaas’ (village assemblies) of northern Africa or in the meetings of western Africa , tradition demands that the quarrels which occur in a village should be settled in public. It is communal self-criticism, of course, and with a note of humor, because everybody is relaxed, and because in the last resort we all want the same things. But the more the intellectual imbibes the atmosphere of the people, the more completely he abandons the habits of calculation, of unwonted silence, of mental reservations, and shakes the spirit of concealment. And it is true that already at that level we can say that it spreads its own light and its own reason.”

However, psychiatric authority for a self-help peer group focus on individual feelings (or addiction) in relation to white supremacy became available anew in the late 1960s, when Jeffrey Grier’s father, Dr. William H. Grier, and his collaborator, Dr. Price M. Cobbs, published Black Rage. Dr. Grier has also consulted with Dr. M and his Recovery Theatre around the time of the pilot trial run of the first “Black Reconstruction Groups.” According to Grier and Cobbs, in the “Introduction to the Paperback Edition” of Black Rage, “The most important aspect of therapy with blacks, we are convinced, is that racist mistreatment must be echoed and underlined as a fact, an unfortunate fact, but a most important fact – a part of reality. Dissatisfaction with such mistreatment is to be expected, and one’s resentment should be of appropriate dimensions” among black warriors who would exact retribution. “Psychiatry for such warriors,” Grier and Cobbs went on to explain, should aim to “keep them fit for the duty at hand and healthy enough to enjoy the victories” that are likely to emerge.

Fitness for duty is a pleasant but likely side effect of Dr. M’s “Black Reconstruction Groups” working to free the minds of persons addicted to white supremacy. This no doubt is no doubt why they do not limit themselves in their group sessions to expressions of resentment of racist mistreatment and dissatisfaction but also calmly allow its hidden effects, which often remain unconscious in the way in which the relentless karate chops of white supremacy have killed our dreams on a daily basis and shattered our ability to love, to feel loved, to love ourselves and therefore one another. I listened with much satisfaction as Dr. M and his assemblies delved into the depths of fractured feelings and emotions of the brokenhearted in order to help them come to terms with betrayal, jealousy and rage, in their moving endeavors to learn to love again.

And so it is that you will find many a reference to love in How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. This includes, for instance, “Women Who Love” and the motivations of the men who love them.

Dr. M’s own fitness for duty is complex, unique and variegated. According to James W. Sweeney, "Marvin walked through the muck and mire of hell and came out clean as white fish and black as coal." Marvin can boast of “a Ph.D. in Negrology,” as he puts it,” the study of nigguhs” issued by the University of Hardknocks’s College of Hell), based on twelve years of research , independent study , and practicum in San Francisco's Tenderloin and other unlettered social laboratories throughout the United States. There may still be hope, if it pleases you, for Dr. M to join the white man’s system of miseducation and mental health care, when we consider that psychologists, including one of my mentors, the late Dr. Carlton Goodlett, at first were “grandfathered” in when the licensure of psychologists was started in the state of California . Later came the oral exam (conversational, not dental), followed in time by an essay exam, before the boom in “standardized “ multiple choice tests for which workshops were offered to prepare you for a fee, causing excellent practitioners, especially black ones, to be blocked from licensure until they found out and forked over whopping workshop fees .

There is also a burgeoning market opening up in “clinical sociology” and “sociological practice” still cutting out its slice of the marketplace and finding its way in matters of licensure and credentialing in the field of sociology. But here it may be important to say that the self-help peer group does not require a sociological or a mental health professional, any more than the primordial AA groups from which the mental health profession has profited and learned. Dr. M is a social “doctor” (which etymologically means “teacher”) grappling with a social problem, white supremacy and its punishing residue in the minds of oppressed black individuals and white oppressors who have chosen to reject and come to places where their fathers lied. Oppressors pure and simple, who accept white supremacy, must be dealt with in a later context, as you will not very well be able to keep them in a Black Reconstruction or White Supremacy Destruction Group (or White Supremacy Deconstruction, if you will).

Much in the manner of Hegel in his essay on “Master and Slave,” Marvin senses that the oppressor distorts his own mind as well as the mind of the oppressed. Hence Type I and Type II White Supremacy Addiction. White sociologists and the late black psychologist, Bobby Wright, converged in their findings of pathological personality traits (“the authoritarian personality” and “the racial psychopathic personality,” as Bobby put it). But if Hegel was correct in his notion that the oppressor cannot free the slave, that the slave must force the oppressor’s hand, then it is Type II White Supremacy Addiction which if not more resistant to cure, must occupy our primary focus. Type II White Supremacy may be seen as a kind of “niggeritis” or “Negrofication” growing out of an over-identification with the master, who is white. As in any disorder severity of symptoms may vary from mild to moderate or severe. As Frantz Fanon put it when he spoke for the brother with jungle fever in Black Skin, White Mask: “I wish to be regarded as white. If I can be loved by the white woman who is loved by the white man, then I am white like the white man; I am a full human being.” In the twisted mental convolution of a brother in black skin behind a white mask, Fanon observed a “Negro dependency complex” independently chronicled in my own Black Anglo Saxons (black individuals with white minds in black bodies). They struggle to look, think, talk and walk white by day, then go to sleep at night and dream that they will wake up white. They refuse to realize that no matter what they may ever do they will never get out of the black race alive.

On the other hand, you are going to be seeing “nouveau blacks” and lesser Afrocentrics -- who faithfully and unquestionably follow twelve-month years and endeavor even to blackenize the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ -- jumping up to question Dr. M’s re-africanization of the “Twelve Steps” model for “using the Eurocentric twelve steps,” but they forget that the very effort to be practical and collective is the original African way. In any event, we must build on whites as whites have built on us, taking the best of the West and leaving the rest alone. But Dr. M has expressly and creatively added a thirteenth step; for his goal is not just recovery but discovery, his goal is not just to change the individual but to change the individual to get ready to change the world.

Meanwhile there is one thing on which we can all agree: in any serious attempt to solve the bitter mental ravages of white supremacy, we must face the unadulterated fact that we are limited when we look to the institutionalized “profession” and their professional “providers.” This of course is not to say that the institutionalized professionals cannot be helpful. Dr. M is quick to point out that a self-help peer group cannot cure all the diverse neuroses and psychoses that afflict us. Indeed he goes so far as to suggest that some of us “may need to be committed.”

The late Queen Mother Moore (who loved to boast that she had “gone as far as the fourth grade, and stayed in school too long to learn anything”) delighted in going around deconstructing our “slave mentalities” and saying somebody needs to “do some surgery on these Negro minds” – in which Queen Mother had diagnosed a chronic condition she called “oppression psychoneurosis.” Queen Mother Moore was basically joking, that is, laughing to keep from crying, but it is no joke that mental health professionals, operating under the medical model, think nothing of seeing a person suffering from a psychosocial problem and not only treating the victim instead of the problem but – much in the manner of any addict or drug pusher– use or apply chemicals and sometimes chemical abuse to deal with the inability of the “patient” to feel good in a bad place and thrive, to try to “have heart” in a heartless world. Many people are unaware to this very day that the practice once was rampant for psychiatrists to treat a person with chronic mental maladies by subjecting them to lobotomies cutting off a portion of their brains. Shock treatment was another method – you’re shocked by life, let’s shock your brain, Senator Eagleton (who later ran for the vice-presidency in the 1970s on the ticket with George McGovern).

It should never have been any surprise that the mental health profession would be of only partial help in reconstructing the psychic consequences of centuries of prolonged brainwashing and subjugation (this is not to mention “Sicko” and what we know of the crippling new effects of “managed care” on the medical profession). Many mental health experts, the overwhelming majority of them white, have long suggested that the “medical model” may be inappropriate in the treatment of the psychological, not to mention, sociological components of mental illness.

But you don’t have to be a mental health professional or a sociologist to know that we can no longer restrict our search for healing to professional shrinks, raring back in executive chairs and carpeted suites stocked with “psychometric instruments” standardized on the white middle class, far removed from the realities of the concrete social milieu of afflicted and homeless black “subjects” living lives of hardship and subjugation, with no assurance of available treatment.

Even when they are “insured they are limited to the care and treatment some insurance clerk is willing to “authorize.” In matters of mental health, this typically will include a few sessions of “fifty minute hours” of “talk therapy” before leaving with a prescription or chemical palliative to dull agony and the pain but not the punishment of life on the skids in a sick society.

The hour is up and time is running out, black people, but white supremacy is not. We are living now in the final and highest stage of racism and white supremacy. We’ve let our struggle slip back while sitting in classrooms and conferences crooning about “afrocentricity” and ancient African glories that have gone forever.

We have come now to a crossroads. We have lost control of our children’s minds, our future. We have lost their respect, and appear to be on a collision course to a war of words between the black generations, in which hip-hop youth disparage and mock our language, our music and our humanity with a creativity and a rime and a rhythm we can’t fathom, let alone equal in our pitifully fruitless endeavors to eliminate the “n-word” and box with the black-on-black random violence of dissocialized youth who have concluded that adults and their leaders cannot or will not fight the power. Who knows but it may be that Dr. M’s movement of recovery from addiction to and from white supremacy is offering us a final and effective chance to begin to “sit down together,” to get together and get our heads together.

--- Dr. Nathan Hare

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Revolutionary Vision of Jesus

The Revolutionary Vision of JesusRodney D. Coates* ~

I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure, Jesus Christ.
--Fidel Castro

There are many who will condemn me as a heretic –both within the church and among so called progressives – for declaring that Jesus was a revolutionary and had a revolutionary vision for the world. Yes, Jesus –that Jesus that we celebrate, that we proclaim, and that we have been labeled as his followers – the Christ (or Promised one). And even though I will be condemned, well so also was Jesus, and even though they will try to crucify me, well so was Jesus, but I will not stay down, as well as Jesus –for his teachings continue to ferment change, rebellion, and revolution –some 2,000 years after they were spoken. I will begin with the beginning of his ministry, where he identified his vision. It is this vision which clearly articulates his revolutionary stance. In Luke 4:14 we note:

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."(Luke 4:14-21, ESV)

His mission

1) Proclaim good news to the poor

2) Proclaim liberty to the captives

3) recover sight ot the blind

4) set at liberty those who are oppressed

Not only did he identify with the poor, the helpless, but he also identified with those imprissioned and were oppressed. Jesus, a member of an oppressed group was from the least of those groups –Nazareth. What do we know of Nazareth –as Jonathan said “Can anything good come from Nazareth”,. Nazareth was a ghetto, one of the least among the opressed. And Jesus never lost sight of an outcast among the outcast. Jesus who proclaimed that “ “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 18:25)” set himself against a religious ideology that had increasingly become obsessed with materialism and the objectification of religion. Hence, he was appalled at how the temple had become prostituted to the materialist interests of the Sanhedrin. Consequently, he marked himself for death when he in concert with the religious leaders had defiled and corrupted the Holy temple with their greed. (John 2: 13 - 22. Matthew 21: 12 - 13. Mark 11: 15 - 17. Luke 19: 45 - 46.)

If we examine his mission statement, perhaps we will learn more about this Jesus.

1) Proclaim good news to the poor

What was this good news to the poor. Perhaps we need to go back to Isaih, fore it is here that we can understand not only the context but also the intent of Jesus’ revolutionary vision. From Isaih condemned the religious and political hyprocrasy of the Theocracy when he charged that:

They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans. Isaiah 10:2

"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. Isaiah 41: 17

Share your food with the hungry, take the poor and homeless into your house, and cover them with clothes when you see [them] naked. Don't refuse to help your relatives. Isaiah 58: 7

So clearly, this Jesus was committed to a vision that challenged a materialist obsession that had pervaded the Temple, his people. He was also challenging a perversion of religion whereby the poor, homeless, and downtrodden were blamed for their situation. He ostensibly blamed the social structure, and those in leadership for the destitution so pervasive in these lives. And what of his second mission statement, how might this be understood.

2) Proclaim liberty to the captives

Political, economic, social, cultural, and racial captives throughout the ages have found comfort in these words. Liberation theology, slave rebellions, social transformations have all been launched with these words. Even past this if we consider the thousands of prison ministries, teen shelters, homes for sexually abused, and the like that have taken this as their mission statement –the power of this vision becomes clearer when take a look at the entire phrase.

to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

Captives made explicit reference to slaves and prisoners to those detain. In a society –both then and now where people could be bound as slaves, where a whole system was predicated on a military, industrial,prison complex where slavery and prison labor accounted for not only a tremendous amount of human misery but also imperialist exploitation –this was truly a revolutionary call to action. The Jewish and Roman state could not have doubted the insurectional appeal of such a proclamation.

Jesus’ third mission statement demonstrates his consistent concern with those who were not only ill but suffered from were disabled.

3) recover sight ot the blind

We see in the ministry of Jesus a not only compassion but action with respects to the disabled. Disability was not something that merely deserved our charity, but our active involvement with. While others would shun these, Jesus would embrace them.

And lastly, what more revolutionary could you hope for when one considers his final mission statement.

4) set at liberty those who are oppressed

The oppressive system imposed by both Roman Imperialism and the Jewish Temple were not only apparent but invassive. All aspects of Jewish life were dominated by this oppression. Jesus in this mission statement not only alligned himself with the downtrodden, but also proceeded to began a ministry to the oppressed. Many have argued that we may draw a pedagogy of social justice by reading, understanding and implementing not only his teachings but his parables.

Ultimately, Jesus understood that actions speak louder than words. When asked by his friend, cousin John the Baptist (who had been marked for marterdom) are you the Christ -0 Jesus reponds:

Luke 7: 22 So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.

The clarity of Jesus’s vision and ministry has been obscured not only by ideologues but also much of the organized church that has in many ways bastardized the message. But clearly, as we look throuhgout acts we note that the early followers of Christ were commited to selling all that they had and distributing it to the poor, tending the sick and shut ins, serving the widows and orphans, and attempting to bring the Kingdom of God (i.e. the Good news) to the lives of the all.

Note: Rodney D. Coates is a professor of sociolgy and he can be reached at

The song that lies silent in the heart of a mother sings upon the lips of her child....
--Kahlil Gibran

Marvin X at Yoshi's San Francisco Part II

Friday, April 22, 2011

Parable of Man with Gun

Parable of the Man With the Gun in Hand

Once there was a man with a gun in his hand; he came to a land and made the native people slaves. The natives had lived on the land since the world began, but now they were slaves. "And," said the man who came to the land, "they shall be slaves 'til they are in their graves."The land was ripe with everything: diamonds and gold, wealth untold--the land was fit for Kings and Queens.

But the man with the gun in his hand wanted everything.The natives did not know he had no soul, they even called him "brother." Even though the man with the gun in his hand had lynched their fathers and raped their mothers, they still called him "brother.""Do you call a snake your brother?" one native asked another.

"But I have a dream!" said the other, "even this snake is my brother.""You are a fool," said the first, "you see this snake crawling all over the earth!"

So the man with the gun in his hand not only had the natives working for nothing, but he also had them fighting instead of uniting, while he stood in the corner laughing.Time passed. The man who came to the land grew fat.

"Look, he is a pig!" one native said. The next day this native was dead."Look, he is a pig," said another, and the next day they found him dead. No, the man with the gun in his hand didn't like being called a pig. Yes, he knew he was wrong for taking their land and working them down to the bone, but he was a pig doing his gig, so he went right on.

Now out in the bush a native said, "My brothers, the time has come! The time has come to seize our land from the man with the gun in his hand. The time has come. I know you are blind, deaf and dumb, but I have been raised from among you to show you the way. I have studied the nature of the man with the gun in his hand; he has the nature of a devil; his history is full of evil--surely he is a devil!But do not fear, he is not so powerful.

It is we, the people, who are really powerful. We know God helps those who help themselves, so let us rise up and do for self!Unite! Stop fighting each other, stop fighting your friends for your enemy. Brothers, we are all victims of this beast. What can you lose, you are already on the bottom? Wake up! Stand on your feet. The time has come to stop being food for the pig to eat!"

--Marvin X

Parable of the Man with the Gun in His Hand was first published in Black World Magazine, June, 1970. It later appeared in Woman, Man's Best Friend by El Muhajir/Marvin X, Al Kitab Sudan Press, 1973.

The African Land Grab

How food and water are driving a 21st-century African land grab

An Observer investigation reveals how rich countries faced by a global food shortage now farm an area double the size of the UK to guarantee supplies for their citizens

By John Vidal, Juba, Sudan
The Observer, Sunday 7 March 2010

We turned off the main road to Awassa, talked our way past security guards and drove a mile across empty land before we found what will soon be Ethiopia's largest greenhouse. Nestling below an escarpment of the Rift Valley, the development is far from finished, but the plastic and steel structure already stretches over 20 hectares – the size of 20 football pitches.

The farm manager shows us millions of tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables being grown in 500m rows in computer controlled conditions. Spanish engineers are building the steel structure, Dutch technology minimises water use from two bore-holes and 1,000 women pick and pack 50 tons of food a day. Within 24 hours, it has been driven 200 miles to Addis Ababa and flown 1,000 miles to the shops and restaurants of Dubai, Jeddah and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world with 2.8 million people needing food aid, but paradoxically the government is offering at least 3m hectares of its most fertile land to rich countries and some of the world's most wealthy individuals to export food for their own populations.

The 1,000 hectares of land which contain the Awassa greenhouses are leased for 99 years to a Saudi billionaire businessman, Ethiopian-born Sheikh Mohammed al-Amoudi, one of the 50 richest men in the world. His Saudi Star company plans to spend up to $2bn acquiring and developing 500,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia in the next few years. So far, it has bought four farms and is already growing wheat, rice, vegetables and flowers for the Saudi market. It expects eventually to employ more than 10,000 people.

But Ethiopia is only one of 20 or more African countries where land is being bought or leased for intensive agriculture on an immense scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.

An Observer investigation estimates that up to 50m hectares of land – an area more than double the size of the UK – has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies. The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.

The land rush, which is still accelerating, has been triggered by the worldwide food shortages which followed the sharp oil price rises in 2008, growing water shortages and the European Union's insistence that 10% of all transport fuel must come from plant-based biofuels by 2015.

In many areas the deals have led to evictions, civil unrest and complaints of "land grabbing".

The experience of Nyikaw Ochalla, an indigenous Anuak from the Gambella region of Ethiopia now living in Britain but who is in regular contact with farmers in his region, is typical. He said: "All of the land in the Gambella region is utilised. Each community has and looks after its own territory and the rivers and farmlands within it. It is a myth propagated by the government and investors to say that there is waste land or land that is not utilised in Gambella.

"The foreign companies are arriving in large numbers, depriving people of land they have used for centuries. There is no consultation with the indigenous population. The deals are done secretly. The only thing the local people see is people coming with lots of tractors to invade their lands.

"All the land round my family village of Illia has been taken over and is being cleared. People now have to work for an Indian company. Their land has been compulsorily taken and they have been given no compensation. People cannot believe what is happening. Thousands of people will be affected and people will go hungry."

It is not known if the acquisitions will improve or worsen food security in Africa, or if they will stimulate separatist conflicts, but a major World Bank report due to be published this month is expected to warn of both the potential benefits and the immense dangers they represent to people and nature.

Leading the rush are international agribusinesses, investment banks, hedge funds, commodity traders, sovereign wealth funds as well as UK pension funds, foundations and individuals attracted by some of the world's cheapest land.

Together they are scouring Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Congo, Zambia, Uganda, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana and elsewhere. Ethiopia alone has approved 815 foreign-financed agricultural projects since 2007. Any land there, which investors have not been able to buy, is being leased for approximately $1 per year per hectare.

Saudi Arabia, along with other Middle Eastern emirate states such as Qatar, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, is thought to be the biggest buyer. In 2008 the Saudi government, which was one of the Middle East's largest wheat-growers, announced it was to reduce its domestic cereal production by 12% a year to conserve its water. It earmarked $5bn to provide loans at preferential rates to Saudi companies which wanted to invest in countries with strong agricultural potential .

Meanwhile, the Saudi investment company Foras, backed by the Islamic Development Bank and wealthy Saudi investors, plans to spend $1bn buying land and growing 7m tonnes of rice for the Saudi market within seven years. The company says it is investigating buying land in Mali, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda. By turning to Africa to grow its staple crops, Saudi Arabia is not just acquiring Africa's land but is securing itself the equivalent of hundreds of millions of gallons of scarce water a year. Water, says the UN, will be the defining resource of the next 100 years.

Since 2008 Saudi investors have bought heavily in Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and Kenya. Last year the first sacks of wheat grown in Ethiopia for the Saudi market were presented by al-Amoudi to King Abdullah.

Some of the African deals lined up are eye-wateringly large: China has signed a contract with the Democratic Republic of Congo to grow 2.8m hectares of palm oil for biofuels. Before it fell apart after riots, a proposed 1.2m hectares deal between Madagascar and the South Korean company Daewoo would have included nearly half of the country's arable land.

Land to grow biofuel crops is also in demand. "European biofuel companies have acquired or requested about 3.9m hectares in Africa. This has led to displacement of people, lack of consultation and compensation, broken promises about wages and job opportunities," said Tim Rice, author of an ActionAid report which estimates that the EU needs to grow crops on 17.5m hectares, well over half the size of Italy, if it is to meet its 10% biofuel target by 2015.

"The biofuel land grab in Africa is already displacing farmers and food production. The number of people going hungry will increase," he said. British firms have secured tracts of land in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania to grow flowers and vegetables.

Indian companies, backed by government loans, have bought or leased hundreds of thousands of hectares in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique, where they are growing rice, sugar cane, maize and lentils to feed their domestic market.

Nowhere is now out of bounds. Sudan, emerging from civil war and mostly bereft of development for a generation, is one of the new hot spots. South Korean companies last year bought 700,000 hectares of northern Sudan for wheat cultivation; the United Arab Emirates have acquired 750,000 hectares and Saudi Arabia last month concluded a 42,000-hectare deal in Nile province.

The government of southern Sudan says many companies are now trying to acquire land. "We have had many requests from many developers. Negotiations are going on," said Peter Chooli, director of water resources and irrigation, in Juba last week. "A Danish group is in discussions with the state and another wants to use land near the Nile."

In one of the most extraordinary deals, buccaneering New York investment firm Jarch Capital, run by a former commodities trader, Philip Heilberg, has leased 800,000 hectares in southern Sudan near Darfur. Heilberg has promised not only to create jobs but also to put 10% or more of his profits back into the local community. But he has been accused by Sudanese of "grabbing" communal land and leading an American attempt to fragment Sudan and exploit its resources.

Devlin Kuyek, a Montreal-based researcher with Grain, said investing in Africa was now seen as a new food supply strategy by many governments. "Rich countries are eyeing Africa not just for a healthy return on capital, but also as an insurance policy. Food shortages and riots in 28 countries in 2008, declining water supplies, climate change and huge population growth have together made land attractive. Africa has the most land and, compared with other continents, is cheap," he said.

"Farmland in sub-Saharan Africa is giving 25% returns a year and new technology can treble crop yields in short time frames," said Susan Payne, chief executive of Emergent Asset Management, a UK investment fund seeking to spend $50m on African land, which, she said, was attracting governments, corporations, multinationals and other investors. "Agricultural development is not only sustainable, it is our future. If we do not pay great care and attention now to increase food production by over 50% before 2050, we will face serious food shortages globally," she said.

But many of the deals are widely condemned by both western non-government groups and nationals as "new colonialism", driving people off the land and taking scarce resources away from people.

We met Tegenu Morku, a land agent, in a roadside cafe on his way to the region of Oromia in Ethiopia to find 500 hectares of land for a group of Egyptian investors. They planned to fatten cattle, grow cereals and spices and export as much as possible to Egypt. There had to be water available and he expected the price to be about 15 birr (75p) per hectare per year – less than a quarter of the cost of land in Egypt and a tenth of the price of land in Asia.

"The land and labour is cheap and the climate is good here. Everyone – Saudis, Turks, Chinese, Egyptians – is looking. The farmers do not like it because they get displaced, but they can find land elsewhere and, besides, they get compensation, equivalent to about 10 years' crop yield," he said.

Oromia is one of the centres of the African land rush. Haile Hirpa, president of the Oromia studies' association, said last week in a letter of protest to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon that India had acquired 1m hectares, Djibouti 10,000 hectares, Saudi Arabia 100,000 hectares, and that Egyptian, South Korean, Chinese, Nigerian and other Arab investors were all active in the state.

"This is the new, 21st-century colonisation. The Saudis are enjoying the rice harvest, while the Oromos are dying from man-made famine as we speak," he said.

The Ethiopian government denied the deals were causing hunger and said that the land deals were attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign investments and tens of thousands of jobs. A spokesman said: "Ethiopia has 74m hectares of fertile land, of which only 15% is currently in use – mainly by subsistence farmers. Of the remaining land, only a small percentage – 3 to 4% – is offered to foreign investors. Investors are never given land that belongs to Ethiopian farmers. The government also encourages Ethiopians in the diaspora to invest in their homeland. They bring badly needed technology, they offer jobs and training to Ethiopians, they operate in areas where there is suitable land and access to water."

The reality on the ground is different, according to Michael Taylor, a policy specialist at the International Land Coalition. "If land in Africa hasn't been planted, it's probably for a reason. Maybe it's used to graze livestock or deliberately left fallow to prevent nutrient depletion and erosion. Anybody who has seen these areas identified as unused understands that there is no land in Ethiopia that has no owners and users."

Development experts are divided on the benefits of large-scale, intensive farming. Indian ecologist Vandana Shiva said in London last week that large-scale industrial agriculture not only threw people off the land but also required chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers, intensive water use, and large-scale transport, storage and distribution which together turned landscapes into enormous mono-cultural plantations.

"We are seeing dispossession on a massive scale. It means less food is available and local people will have less. There will be more conflict and political instability and cultures will be uprooted. The small farmers of Africa are the basis of food security. The food availability of the planet will decline," she says. But Rodney Cooke, director at the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development, sees potential benefits. "I would avoid the blanket term 'land-grabbing'. Done the right way, these deals can bring benefits for all parties and be a tool for development."

Lorenzo Cotula, senior researcher with the International Institute for Environment and Development, who co-authored a report on African land exchanges with the UN fund last year, found that well-structured deals could guarantee employment, better infrastructures and better crop yields. But badly handled they could cause great harm, especially if local people were excluded from decisions about allocating land and if their land rights were not protected.

Water is also controversial. Local government officers in Ethiopia told the Observer that foreign companies that set up flower farms and other large intensive farms were not being charged for water. "We would like to, but the deal is made by central government," said one. In Awassa, the al-Amouni farm uses as much water a year as 100,000 Ethiopians.

• This article was amended on 22 March 2011. Owing to an editing error the original said that more than 13 million people in Ethiopia need food aid. This has been corrected.

Parable of the Green Revolution

Parable of the Green Revolution

Can man stop the ash cloud over Europe? A man was asked about the future of books. He answered, the question is not about the future of books but the future of man!--Plato Negro

The Green Revolution is not what you think, rather it is Nature in revolt against man, and man can do little when Nature is against him. He can try but the only solution is to correct himself otherwise Nature is going to consume him, yes, eat him alive, flooding the land by raising the sea level, drying up the water that will soon be more valuable than oil, polluting the food with bacteria making it inedible.
We see man trying to make changes in nature but not in himself, for he has no intention to give freedom and justice to the poor, but has come with an entirely new method of domination and exploitation called globalism that cares nothing about the welfare of nations, only profit. If people suffer, too bad, we must let free market forces play out, except when the exploitation is so blatant he will make minor adjustments as with the sub prime mortgage crisis. The government says it will help a few but most of the people, especially the poor who were the worse victims shall be homeless—once again, they have been robbed of their American dream.
But Nature shall not stop her fury until the white supremacy rulers and their running dogs have been removed from power, no matter what it takes—they have no weapons against nature, the sun, the moon and stars, the oceans, rivers and mountains, even the trees, animals and fish are against the Globalists.

The focus of the Green revolution should not be on Nature but on those who have polluted the earth with the blood and bones of the righteous people. They must be apprehended and brought to justice. Their greed and desire for cheap labor and cheap resources will bring about their doom and no amount of correcting the forces of Nature will suffice because Nature has done nothing but showered her blessings upon man, so why should we think nature needs to be cleaned up—no, it is man that must be cleaned or eliminated from the planet.
Mother Nature is angry and no amount of pacification will work because you are the problem, not Mother Nature. Again, you have no intention to clean up yourself, but to persist in your wickedness, spreading it throughout the earth. You have now turned the poor children of Iraq into prostitutes by killing their mothers and fathers, just as you have done in the ghettoes of America, wherein babies eleven, twelve and thirteen are whoring because many of them are abused, abandoned and homeless.
In Iraq, the young girls are discarding the Muslim dress for jeans with sparkles so they can get money for food, just as the ghetto girls are doing, whoring for food and to pay their cell phone bill and buy hair weave.

No, Mother Nature does not need correction; she knows how to heal herself without your assistance, for she has been around for billions of years while you have just arrived from the caves of Europe.

You need to forget about Mother Nature because she is coming after you and all those who behave like you, all who want to be robbers, pimps, thugs, gangstas and killers. See if you can fight Mother Nature when her earthquakes hit, hurricanes and tsunamis on the way.

You must bow down and submit to Mother Nature, asking her forgiveness for destroying her people, robbing them and keeping them deaf, dumb, and blind. Otherwise, you and your cosmetic attempt to appease her will be to no avail. In the end, you shall be wiped from the face of the earth. Mother Nature has revealed this truth to me. I speak in the name of fish, cows, birds, bees, ants, rivers, creeks, oceans, hills, mountains, sun, moon and stars. I speak in the name of corn, wheat, rice and all the crops Mother Nature has provided man for his pleasure.

I speak in the name of the poor who have been robbed of their labor and natural resources so devils can live in heaven while the poor suffer in hell. No, you need not bother cleaning up anything but yourself, for it is highly doubtful you have the heart to do that, let alone tackle Mother Nature. Mother is well able to heal herself. Let’s see if you can heal your wickedness and injustice to her people.
--Marvin X

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In the Temple of X

In the Temple of X

In the temple of X
no pimping
except MX pimping himself
everybody rich in temple
everybody Mercedes
no poor once you get the light
Supreme Wisdom
don't get it but don't get it
you got it or ain't got it!
get real
you rich in the name of Divine within yourself
You within God, God within you
no spook gods, mysteries, hokee pokee rituals
heaven after you die
yes, heaven while you live
death is hell
Prophet Sun Ra said to die is sin!

just plain truth
in the temple of X
no tithes, no slavery
take time for wife and family
no preacher get all the money
members starve
let's have burial plan, health plan
do for self plan
use the mind God gave you plan
Mama taught
do for self
no welfare
food stamps
country girl brain
common sense woman
raised eleven
two grands
what manner of woman (rip)
I her special child
didn't know til siblings told me
later in life.
but she wouldn't have me for no man.
too lost in books.
wouldn't do nothing on her mini farm.
irrigate crops, feed chickens, nothing
lost in books
no good for wife
Mama said I needed maid, secretary, mistress
no wife.
Mama deep in her spirituality:
know truth will set you free.
No medicine cabinet
no pills, no doctor visit
know the truth, truth will set you free of dis-ease.

In the temple of X
all truths represented
will you hide truth while you know?

Nat Turner in the temple of X
Harriet and Sojourner
Ida B. Wells
Booker T.
DuBois and Garvey
Noble Drew and Master Fard
Elijah and Malcolm
Martin too!
Nkrumah and Kwame Toure
Mandela and Winnie too.
in the temple of X.
How bout you?
Amiri, Askia, Sonia, Nikki
Haki, Ngugi wa Thi'ango
Wole Soyinka.
in the temple of X.
Leon and Carolyn
in temple of X.
--Marvin X

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Poem from Minister of Poetry Wordslanger

Unwritten- (From the collection INK)
by WordSlanger on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 8:58am

unless you can write food on a plate

words on paper have little to do

with empty bellies

bloated as if hunger were a being growing in the vacuum

drawing flies to eyes

puckering brows


something that has no translation in eyes

needs to be seen to overstand

such profanity has little to do with shades of indigo slanted

or so one would think

words on paper

can not cut through flesh

sever arteries

causing you to bleed out

in a sandstorm of depleted uranium

that will kill your killers

unconceived children

an irony unwritten

into the law books and treaties deleted from

history manicured to fit the agenda of the storyteller

not all tragedies are staged for appreciation

some are footnotes in unsung operas

that don’t make the page

no manual for humanity

nothing written connects

your brother’s homelessness

to the depths of your callousness

no strict correlation between his lack and your greed

no concordance

that translates your hunger in soul to

his children’s emaciated bodies

in need of milk and human kindness

where is the bible

that starts with an English youth

who learns to

leverage and rationalize

his right to a future

against the existence of the

children of the Longhouse

where is the sequel that solves the riddles

plaguing Bobby Johnson’s sons

who after being sold down countless rivers

overstand their desperate need

to decipher

midnight polytrix

the fall of Mubarak

& all the faces of Gaddafi

along with lies about a post race era

offered by a café au lait Harvard boy

wearing a skull & bones tattoo

w/ handcuffs

I am creating a global coloring book

to teach manners to nappy headed heretics

warning them about the danger

of harboring assumptions

that have been spoon fed

& of the folly of

playing with knives

in close quarter & shared circumstance

that cross



& realities

clashing like zombies in tanks

leaving little room for allegiance

multiplying chaos

in this thin fratricidal air

we sipping

like it’s the final call

Ten Points for Youth Survival in the Street

Dr. M at his Academy of da Corner,
14th and Broadway, Oakland, with his student,
brother Jermaine.

Ten Points for Youth Survival

1. Before going into the street, put on the amour of God or Spiritual consciousness,i.e., yea thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. The Lord is my rod and staff.

2. Be aware of your surroundings. Two are better than one, for if you stumble and fall, who shall lift you up? Do not stay long in unfamiliar places with strange people.

3. Be conscious of the tone test with the police, e.g., if they stop you for any reason, one of three things can happen depending on your tone of voice: they can kill you, arrest you or release you.

4. Be conscious of the tone test with another brother or sister: they can kill you, bum rush you or greet you in peace.

5. Do not wear sagging pants that prevent you from running or fighting. The ghetto, sad to say, is a war zone or hostile environment. Do not pretend you are in La La Land. There are mind fields everywhere, so try not to be in a mind altered state. It is best to be cold sober on the street.

6. Respect elders and do not take liberties with women.

7. Help the poor, say a kind word to the broken hearted.

8. At all times, be a soldier in the army of the Lord.

9. Pray going out and coming in. Be thankful you made it back home safely.

10. Make your home the No Stress Zone.

--Dr. M, Prime Minister, First Poet's Church

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Ministers Drafted into First Poet's Church

Queen Phavia Kujichagulia, Esteemed Minister of Poetry, Music, Song, Dance and History, conferring with Prime Minister of Poetry Marvin X. photo by Gene Hazzard, Oakland Post Newspaper Ministers of Choreography and Dance, L to R: Linda Johnson, Drummer Val Serant, and Raynetta Razetta, chief choreographer of Marvin X. photo by Kamau Amen Ra, at celebration of Amiri Baraka 75th birthday, Fillmore Jazz Heritage Center, San Francisco. Minister of Children, Jah Amiel Muhajir photo by Reginald James Blind poet Charles Blackwell, Minister of Visions and Dreams, First Poet's Church. We are so honored to have Charles in our assembly of poets, artists and common people. As he says, his poetry is meant to inspire those who should be inspiring him, those with clear vision. And yet the Holy Spirit has made his poetic mission to give sight to the seeing, who yet cannot see. Marvin X, Prime Minister of Poetry, with Gregory Fields, Minister of Planning and Legal Affairs, at their street ministry, Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed calls Marvin X, "Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland. If you want motivation and inspiration do not spend all that money attending workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X at work." photo by Walter Riley Mumia Abu Jamal, Esteemed Senior Minister of Information and Liberation, Live from Death Row

Minister of Poetry, Phavia, Speaks on Sexism

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sexism: A cultural cornerstone

April 6th, 2011 7:52 pm PT

by Phavia Kujichagulia
Oakland Ethnic Community

Although another Women’s Month/March has drawn to an end, sexism (the institutionalization of a man-made ideology of male superiority and female inferiority) continues to be a major cornerstone of American life.

Sexism is firmly entrenched in every aspect of American culture and society - economics, education, entertainment, family, labor, law, politics, religion, science and war. Women are still paid less than men for the same work as men. Women are encouraged to spend more on superficial products/procedures (girdles, breast implants, liposuction, depilatory creams, hair dyes, brassieres, garter belts, stockings, stilettos, false nails/lashes, harmful dieting trends, collagen injections, high-priced fashions/fads, etc.) than men. Women are still programmed (through TV programs) to be glamorous, anorexic, sex toys of T&A (tits & ass). The entertainment media methodically conditions females of all ages to fit into these unrealistic, uncomfortable, unnecessary, and very expensive male-made molds.

Not only are these trends exceedingly controlling, they are extremely profitable as well. Every Mother’s Day, florists, restaurants, jewelers, and chocolate manufactures capitalize on the American façade of honoring women. Multibillion dollar profits from America’s mass-produced industry of female pornographic materials, sex trafficking schemes, and body-image fallacies reduce women to mere objects of lust, abuse, and revenue. Ironically, male insecurities translate into financial $ecurity for many companies.

Meanwhile, sexism erroneously blames women for many of our social conundrums. Christianity even accuses women (Eve) of being the root cause of all human ills (Eve & ill = evil). Sexism criticizes the phenomenon of female-headed households without condemning the males (not men) who abandon these families. It’s common to hear the phrase “she got pregnant” without ever acknowledging the physiological fact that “he impregnated her.” The most important job on earth is that of nurturing and child rearing, yet mothers and teachers (mostly women) are generally unappreciated and underpaid in both professions – parenting & teaching.

War against women exists both at home and abroad. In the name of peace, women are forced to lose their husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and even their virginity to the inhumanity of war. As this is being read, millions of women are being degraded, abandoned, abducted, stalked, sold, abused, and/or tortured. Globally, every 7 seconds (not minutes) someone’s wife, daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, niece, and/or baby girl is raped and/or molested. Here in the USA, every two and a half minutes someone’s wife, daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, niece, and/or baby girl is sexually assaulted. Yet female pornography continues to spew forth and violence against women increases as apathetic excuses and economic rationalizations multiply.

Unfortunately, the mentality of sexism is not achieved accidently. We know that linguistic relativity (theory that language influences and reinforces perception) is just one of the powerful programming mechanisms used to perpetuate the injustices of sexism. American-English teaches and maintains this discriminatory ideology with words and phrases designed to empower men while devaluing women: MANkind, KINGdom, MASTER bedroom, MASTER bathroom, one MAN one vote, all MEN are created equal, and huMAN.

Under sexism men are praised and empowered as women are disrespected and disenfranchised. Men who own/manage property are called landLORDS, while women who own/manage property are only landLADIES, not landLORDettes. The words MAIDen and old MAID reveal the fact that women are traditionally considered servants of men. At weddings men are respectfully titled the best MAN while a woman is simply the MAID of honor, not the best WOMAN. Wedding vows traditionally ordered women to HONOR & OBEY their husband, yet men were not required to reciprocate such honor or obedience. In American culture, even dogs rank above women as MAN’s best friend.

The double standard of sexism praises promiscuous males as sly dogs, while promiscuous females are condemned as whores and sluts. Assertive men are proudly promoted to management and executive positions, whereas assertive women are readily classified as ball-busters or bossy bitches. Of course, prior to America’s women’s movement, so-called bitches were initially killed after being condemned as witches. Bitches, witches…it’s all sexist rhetoric, disrespect, and abuse.

Consequently, in the absence of traditional manhood and womanhood training we see a plethora of proud bastards/bitches, spoiled boys/girls, undisciplined ladies/gents, over-sexed guys/gals, and aging males/females, but few, very few real men/women. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to acknowledge, attack, and end this ubiquitous assault against the minds, bodies, spirits, and social standing of women.

Luckily, in the tradition of Ntozake Shange’s play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf, and Opal Palmer Adisa’s play Bathroom Graffiti Queen produced/directed by Ayodele Nzingha, Oakland’s Lyric Dance & Vocal Ensemble in association with Osun 07 Fashions will be tackling the issues of violence against women and sexism head on.

On Friday, April 15th & Saturday, April 16th, Lyric Dance & Vocal Ensemble with Osun 07 Fashions is celebrating sisterhood and honoring the sacredness of women with their powerfully engaging production of Stopping Our Silence/S.O.S. Both performances will begin at 8:00 PM at WOSE Community Center at 8924 Holly Street in Oakland, CA 94621. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and $12 each for groups of four or more. For tickets and details go to or call (510) 434-6773.

In addition to these two eclectic evening performances, Lyric Dance & Vocal Ensemble’s Stopping Our Silence/S.O.S. Conference will address these issues on Saturday, April 16th from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the East Oakland Youth Development Center, 8200 International Boulevard in Oakland, California. Healing workshops include topics on self-love, forgiveness, and recognizing the warning signs of abuse. The conference and workshops are completely free to the public. So come out to share your experiences and participate in this healing opportunity.

Or cast your buckets where you stand to make a stand against sexism. It’s up to all of us to protect and respect all women. Not only is your wife, daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, niece, and/or baby girl sacred … all women are sacred. Once society begins to recognize this fact we can stop pretending that women are mere physical things and begin to recognize the spiritual power we bring.

How to Live in the No Stress Zone

Living in the No Stress Zone
Living in the
No Stress Zone

It is what it is, they say in the hood. When people greet me and ask how I'm doing, I reply, "I'm thankful to be alive. And I'm trying to stay in the no stress zone." When I say stay in the no stress zone, I see they have a delayed response, perhaps, to allow the words to flow across their brain cells. I can see they have been hit in the head with a new thought, a new possibility and they like the concept. No stress? Hell, my life is nothing but stress, I see them saying in the deep structure of their mind, in their momentary silence. I've just given them an answer to the conundrum of their lives, that maze of propositions that hit them at every turn of their daily round: stress from their own insecurities, stress from their mate, children, siblings, friends, job, social life or the lack thereof, stress from world events they can't possibly comprehend until they unravel the infinite contradictions in reality that are most vexing even to the rocket scientist.

I must then explain to my friends how I maneuver the mine field called life. It is a process of how one perceives reality, of understanding that most of reality is simple illusion, a figment of imagination that isn't worth the time of day. Most of what we concern ourselves with is of no importance whatsoever. Aristotle told us there are very few things in life really important.

While I was in prison a few months for refusing to fight in Vietnam, there was an inmate who upset the whole prison population although he only had six months to serve. Now there were men who had ten years and more, and they went about their daily round calmly in a state of peace, aggressively working on their case to get time reduced. But this man with six months was a nervous wreck , bugging everybody about his little time, pacing up and down the big yard like a mad fool with little understanding how fortunate he was to have such a light sentence.

And so it is what it is, sometimes we yet pray when God has already answered. We disturb God and ourselves when He has answered us and blessed us with our request, yet we cannot see in our spiritual blindness. We stress ourselves and then extend it to our mates, children, friends, neighbors even.

In recovery they teach us to let go and let God! If your woman or man leaves you, be happy! Why would you want someone to stay with you who wants to go? It may be the will of God that they go, no matter if you love them or not, no matter how heart broken you are, let them go: vaya con dios! Don't kill them because they want to leave, God may have something better for you and them, so why are you blocking your good, stressing yourself to the max, threatening to take your life or the life of your mate. Then what are you going to do with a homicide case?

A man with great talent, a great voice like Paul Robeson and William Warfield, came to me so he could learn the art of drama and public speaking. Although he had a great voice, he had problems reading, but I put him in the studio to record some of my writings. He let me know he was having problems with his woman since I could see he was under stress for some reason. I went on a national book tour, and when I returned a mutual friend informed me that he had stabbed his woman 16 times and threw her out on the freeway. His friend told me he'd caught her cheating on him, although he had a long history of cheating on her, that he had been a real snoop doggy dog, but finally had his day and couldn't accept it. So he killed her and now has a life sentence. If you a dog, why you think somebody else can't be a dog? Why you think your funk ain't gonna catch up with you? Surely you heard what goes around comes around!

Stress is thus internal and external, though most of the time we bring stress to ourselves. We are not at peace with ourselves. We are not confident and secure in what we do of righteousness, if we do any righteousness at all! A friend said everything we do is wrong! We haven't had a righteous thought and right action our entire lives. Mistake after mistake after mistake.

At my Academy of da Corner, the young girls come to me crying about the men who mess over them time and time again. I don't think they realize how many times they tell me the same story about the same man except he has a different name. But it's the same dude! Sometimes I hate to see the young girl coming because I know she got another story that's the same story she had the last time I saw her. And yes she's stressing, swearing she's gonna leave them no good nigguhs alone, but she ain't because she's addicted to the drama. She addicted to doing the wrong thing but expecting good results.

In other words, she's acting out a prescription for insanity. Actually she's manic depressive and in therapy. At least she does go to her therapist on a regular basis, though we doubt any positive results are achieved, since white supremacy psychotherapy can do us little good. Is it going to help liberate us from oppression. Dr. Fanon said only by joining the revolution can the oppressed man and woman regain their mental health. Only us can heal us, and at this point Dr. Hare is calling for mental health peer groups to meet on their own since there are not enough certified mental health specialists, especially those certified in African holistic healing. See my book How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare, afterword by Ptah Allah El.

How shall we escape to the No Stress Zone? Have no attachments but to God! Understand, our mate may be our friend and she may be our enemy, depending on the time of day or the time of month. Don't worry, don't stress, enjoy her while it lasts and when it's over, let it go and let God.

Don't stress about children, for Gibran told us they come through us but are not us, they have their own lives, missions to accomplish. Help them, love them, guide them, but don't control them, let them find their voice, their bliss Joseph Campbell told us we all must discover.

Much stress is over this matter of bliss. We haven't figured out the reason for our existence. For a long time, maybe half our life, we thought it was about a mate, children, a job, the Jones next door, drugs, more sex, money, lots of money, things and things and things, and yet none of the above satisfied us, only caused us great stress, trauma and unresolved grief.

But one day, maybe after enduring that mid-life crisis, we suddenly realized our bliss, our purpose for existence, something that gave us infinite joy and pleasure. Now we're focused and absolutely refuse to allow anyone or anything to take us off course. Don't matter how long it took to achieve our bliss, but we made it, finally, the stress is gone and the thrill is on! We're like a child in Toys R Us. We can't believe life can be so beautiful. We have truly entered the No Stress Zone. We are in harmony with the universe, with humanity, with all that was, is, and shall be. We can see clearly now, the fog has lifted. Joy. Joy. Joy.

We worry about nothing because nothing is worth worrying about. We stay prayed up as the Christians say. I pray leaving from and returning to my house. I did this as a dope fiend because the most dangerous moment of the dope fiend's life is going to cop the dope. Something told me to put on the amour of God before I left my house because I didn't know what might be outside my door, especially in those seedy hotels in San Francisco's Tenderloin, or anywhere else for that matter. And then I prayed when I made it back safely, thankful God had protected me.

I do the same now, everyday, to put myself is a spiritual mode, to be thankful and thoughtful, as Sly Stone used to sing, and to make sure I am in the No Stress Zone! Even while I am at the Academy of da Corner, I must check myself to the fact that I am not there to make money, money is not the real reason God sent me to that corner at 14th and Broadway, but to serve somebody, to say a kind word to somebody, to reach out to somebody by being silent and letting them vent, even when I don't want to hear it. God says shut up and listen to my people, you are my ears, servant, so listen and shut up, and don't worry bout no damn money. And you think God don't bless me. Sometimes the people line up to give me donations. You better ax somebody! I just go there and stand or sit down and people come by and put money in my hand. Sometimes the people watching can't believe what they're seeing. My brother, a former loan shark, watched people bring me donations and couldn't believe his eyes. Better ax somebody!

Even when your bills are due, don't stress, simply call the white man and tell him when you will be able to pay him or give him something on your bill. Stress gone!

A friend told me years ago not to worry about the Middle East, what's happening in Jerusalem with the Jews and Palestinians. He said, Marvin, they've been fighting there for thousands of years, and they've been living together in peace many years, so don't worry about it. The Jews, Muslims and Christians all claim Abraham as their father. Do you think Abraham is stressing over the antics of his children. He's probably saying, "These some damn fools!"

Solomon told you the same thing about his children. After all his labor under the sun, he cried I still might leave my kingdom in the hands of a damn fool son or daughter! All is vanity and vexation of spirit!

Stay in the No Stress Zone!

It might be another two hundred years before we see true freedom, justice and equality in America. We've been here 400 years, so-called freedom 150 years. So give yourself another 100 or 200 years. Ancestor John Henry Clark said this is not a sprint but a long distance run. So pace yourselves and plan for the next 100 and/or 200 years. And stick to the plan, don't let politricks take you off course, don't let the world of make believe convince you to go for illusions of the monkey mind.

In recovery, we are taught don't get too happy and don't get too sad. Understand that life is joy and pain, sun and rain. Don't think the sun's going to shine all the time, or that it's going to rain forever--unless you live in Seattle, Washington!

Put signs in your house: This is a No Stress Zone. Don't allow stress in your house. A girlfriend came over and when I got a call that took some time to finish, she got an attitude and told me to get off the phone. I told her, "Girlfriend, you can leave, good bye. As-Salaam-Alaikum!" No, you ain't coming in my house giving me orders. It ain't that kinna party up in here!

Ladies and gentlemen, stress is killing us, in the night and in the day. We live in a hostile environment for starters. For most of us, the job is negative, our families ungrateful, our friends hypocritical, the police unpredictable. Jesus told you to be in this world but not of this world, so we must transcend all the stress from the hostile environment until we can change it into that wonderful world Armstrong sang about. Stay in the No Stress Zone!
Marvin X

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Call

It is not that God has called me, for He called me long ago, only now have I decided to answer. Will you stand with me? I pray you will as we step into the Upper Room. Let us not get weary and keep the faith until we win the race.

--Dr. M

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unity of Laguage

Toward the Unity of North American Africans

Unity of Language

Language unifies a people, when they speak a common language, when there is a consensus on word definitions, an agreement on what terms are sacred and what words are profane and obscene.Chaos comes into a culture when these is no longer a consensus on language, or what we call a psycholinguistic crisis, for words define reality. Words are the vehicle we use to express our interpretation of reality.

When the words lose a once agreed upon meaning, it is as though the earth shifts beneath our feet, for we are no longer able to communicate with each other. We then suffer a mental paralysis, a breakdown of the psyche because we are talking loud but saying nothing.The words thus lose their meaning for there is no agreement.

If the culture in its normal state is communal but suddenly the focus shifts to the supremacy of the individual, then we have a problem. We cannot unite for freedom when there is no agreed definition of freedom. For you, freedom is a job.

For her, freedom is land and economic independence. For him, freedom is being with same gender loving people, and for her it is the same. Nothing else matters. So what items can we agree upon that defines freedom? And are we going around the corner together or do we have a divisive situation that shall lead us nowhere except to tread water in a pitiful state until we drown, since we refuse to help each other push our agenda items because we don't agree.We started out on freedom but got diverted into things not communal but individual. Or the language was polluted by class division.

The bourgeoisie culture police attempted to define the terms of reality. We wonder by what right do they assume the gate keeper role. Perhaps by being placed into leadership by the oppressor.In the 1960s, we revolted against the language of the colonial elite, the leadership of the liberation movement shifted because a new consensus on language came into vogue, the language of black power that transcended civil rights to human rights, that shifted from integration to liberation and yes, sometimes, separation.

The old language was suddenly obsolete. The term Negro was cast into the dustbin of history. The Negro psycholinguistics shifted from passivity and non violence to revolution.The Black Arts Movement helped to cause the paradigm shift in terms of language. We revolted from the bourgeoisie socalled proper speech. In our plays, poems, essays, songs, we broke free of the conservative language.

We used such terms as motherfucker, yes, bitch, devil, cracker, peckerwoood, and other terms to express our rejection of the American language in favor our our Mother tongue, the raw ghetto language so despised by our culture police, for they were rejected as well. Of course we went to the extreme when we said anyone over thirty should be killed (Bobby Seale). But the expression in grass roots language advanced the freedom mentality in our people. We suddenly realized we can say what we want, we're truly free to do so.Of course there was reaction, from the oppressor and the colonial elite.

The police attempted to ban our plays, to invade our performances, to arrest us if we showed up to perform. The bourgeoisie refused to support us with their money. All this was actually good because it inspired us to continue doing our thing, realizing we were truly independent, no longer slaves to anyone.We were not able to return to our native language as Ngugi wa Thiango has called upon African writers to do, for we have no idea what it is, though we attempted to learn Swahili, Arabic and Yoruba.

And the little we learned helped advance our black consciousness and heal our psycholinguistic crisis. Yes, these languages unified some of us. We held classes in the hood with grass roots people who wanted to transcend the English or American language we called the slave master's language, so how can we ever break free speaking this devil language.

This is the language of the kidnapper, the rapist, the man and woman who lynched us, who stole our very identity and replace it with his notion of our very being. Thus, it is he and his language that is profane and obscene, and must be rejected, for it is not the language of love, it is the language of violence and madness.

We thus call for silence as the language of love, since our psycholinguistic crisis is so great it is the cause of physical, emotional and verbal violence with our mates. Almost any word we say is cause for argument. And it is the same when we gather at conferences and gatherings. We must spend an inordinate amount of time debating terms, defining what we mean by freedom, liberation, reparations, gender identity.

Yes, what is a woman, what is a man. Today "black brothers" is a gay term. How did "black brother" shift from revolutionary black men to gay men? Of course language is fluid and undergoing constant change. And those with power attempt to define the terms. How else did we come upon this English/American language? It was a violent act, a long process of domination and oppression.

Toby was physically abused until he renounced his holy name Kunta Kinte. Muhammad Ali reversed the process, not only by renaming himself but forcing his opponent to call out his name in the ring. Ali chanted, "What's my name, what's my name?" as he beat down his opponent, but he was calling for more than name recognition but for the recognition of his being as a free black man, the member of the Nation of Islam, a transcendence of his American slave identity.

And yet today we have a reaction by the culture police such as Bill Crosby and others who would have us claim our American identity and stop naming our children African and/or Muslim names. He doesn't tell Jose to call himself Joe. He doesn't tell the Chinese who get rich in the hood selling us their food but speaking no English/American to go learn English/American.

He don't tell the Arabs who get rich selling us swine and wine in the name of Allah, to stop speaking Arabic in the hood and speak English/America.Clearly, Bill Crosby suffers a psycholinguistic crisis of major proportion. And he is not alone. It is again for this reason that I call for the language of silence as the language of love, until we can indeed arrive at a new consensus.

The Million Man March brothers took a vow to never use the term bitch. But in the hood bitch is clearly a trans-gender term, for males are called bitches these days, especially when they come incorrect in the dope culture. The dope boys will address an adult male dope fiend as punk bitch. "Punk bitch you better take this dope and get the fuck up otter here wit da quickness 'fore I smoke yo ass."

It's possible the language shifted when adults began buying dope from children, especially during the Crack era, reversing the natural order of adults serving children, thus children lost all respect for their elders and this aspect of the psycholinguistic crisis resulted. It was being addressed with this language when I was a dope fiend that made me want to recover so that I would no longer be so verbally debased by children who had every right to talk to me in this manner because I was, as a dope fiend, in the persona of a punk bitch!

There shall be no language of love until we stop behaving like a nigguh or punk bitch. Don't tell me to stop saying motherfucker while you are in bed with your mother, son, daughter. Who is the real motherfucker up in here, me or you? I'm saying it but you doing it!Language confusion exists when there are contradictions in behavior, especially adult behavior that the children observe.

And so when we hear them on the street, at school, in the clubs, in their raps, we must ask ourselves where they got this language from, and more importantly, what is the meaning of it. They are simply trying to do as we did, give order to reality by way of language. Is it better to be silent, to say nothing since the entire language is vile, polluted and corrupted. Let us not go to an examination of the political language, double speak, evasiveness,subterfuge. See George Orwell's Politics and the English Language.

Listen to the politicians lie and attempt to deceive the world with words, yes, talking loud but saying nothing. Vote for me, I'll set you free. Change we can believe in. Change is gonna come. A chicken in every pot!Yes, silence, there are possibilities for unity if, we just be quiet.

To speak is to fail the tone test, for anything we say is suspect, for we don't trust the language, the words, and most of all, we are not truthful in our expressions, in short, we have become liars too, in harmony with the ruling class and the culture police or those colonial elite gate keepers in league with the blood suckers of the poor.

Some day we shall arrive at the language of love, where we say what we mean and mean what we say, where we understand the tone test and can pass it, with the police, with a brother and with a sister, especially our mate who was going to make love with us until we said the wrong thing, even though we didn't intend to do so, something just slipped out carelessly, but we blew it.

Baby's mood changed because we said the wrong word, or she took it the wrong way.Let us strive to reach a consensus on this pitiful bastard language we speak, for these words are killing us, literally. Better to speak as little as possible until we can transcend to a language that unifies us and allows us to love each other unconditionally.

--Marvin X