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Monday, April 13, 2015

Savant Words

Even persons with little or no world experience should have at least HEARD about the larger world. I at lest HEARD Canada, Latin America and Europe before ever setting foot in those places. Even when I was growing up in the ghettoes of East Baltimore I met brothers who had been in the army and able to travel. I had older cousins who'd been the military. I had (still have) a now very old uncle who fought at Normandy (freeing European white folk from their own madness). Oh well, some people are more limited in their life experiences



When the King book came out I was invited by Marc Steiner, progressive host of WEAA (Morgan State U radio), to talk about the legacy of King. Steiner is himself a secular Jew, I gather either agnostic or atheist--not sure. Probably older than you, former member of SDS and active with the Poor Peoples Campaign. He's aware of my secularism, and asked me was it easy in light of that pursuing my work on King. I told him it was not, and for two reasons: No philosopher worth his salt considers or studies ONLY such views as he already agrees with. Moreover, progressive and humanistic values are ecumenical, both secular and religious. "I have more in common, Marc, with Dr. King or Heschel or Abdul Ghaffer Khan than with Ayn Rand or Joe stalin. And when it comes to the issue of social justice I will ally with ANY truly PROGRESSIVE and HUMANISTIC agent of change--Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, deist or what have---who are willing to work toward human liberation and an end to all oppression."



An AA colleague who teaches History mentions his students being so incensed not only with the killing of Mike Brown and his exoneration, but the recent killing of a 12 year old, were saying "How long are we supposed to put up with this?" One Black coed said (according to my colleague): "We need to bring back the Black Panthers!"

My mother (now in her 80s), who lost a brother to lynchers in North Carolina, said "If this keeps up it's going be like it was when I was growing up. Why don't our MEN do something? Some of them have even been in the army!"
There is a wave of protest against fascistic police violence by Blacks and some of our allies. It is happening all over the country, and it is mainly NONVIOLENT (no matter how much media attention to rioting in Ferguson may suggest otherwise). There was a teach-in here in Bmore which drew large numbers of Blacks, and also white and other non-Black allies. It was wholly peaceful. There were protests by university students and church and civic groups here in Bmore. I hear that one of them which I missed was addressed by Marshall Eddy Conway, former head of the Black Panther Party in Baltimore.
Again, all of this has been NONVIOLENT. But if this pattern of police slayings of my people followed by judicial exoneration continues, the resistance will not remain nonviolent.

Bring back the Black Panthers? Of course, that can't happen. And young sister who said that, and who hadn't even been born when the Panthers were around, is probably given to an image of the Panthers as gun toting brothers and sisters who didn't take no shid off "the man" or the "pigs." What her sentiments suggest is the belief that the only language the racist pig cops and their superior understand is the language of force and violence. While the Black Panthers--who were really a political organization, not a guerilla army---won't be coming back, we may see the re-emergence of a kind of insurgent or even revolutionary consciousness among contemporary Black youth. And it is possible that organized, ARMED resistance to police terror may develop. One AA colleague at Johns Hopkins University has suggested on more than one occasion that we need some kind of clandestine military force to counter the fascist cops. And I have also heard young black people less than 24 years old talking about bringing back the Panthers or creating some thing like them. Some have even suggested something like a underground military force.
These ideas, when expressed, do not seem to get strong negative reaction. Even people opposed to such ideas are not shocked by those ideas as they are indignant about unpunished police violence against our people.

So, the resistance is still mainly NONVIOLENT, whether in the form of protests and civil disobedience, or forms of litigation. I wholeheartedly support this nonviolent movement, especially in the form of civil disobedience and protest. But let no one assume that our patience is infinite. We want justice, not bloodshed. But don't push us too far.


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