ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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We must enter into that mainstream struggle & make our own demands, utilize the pressure

of our needs & our numbers. We are almost 50 million people with the 16th GNP in the world



Books by Amiri Baraka

Tales of the Out & the Gone  / The Essence of Reparations / Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems  / Blues People

 Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka / Selected Poetry of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones / Black Music

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Obama '08—Act Like We Know
By Amiri Baraka

The anti-Obama claptrap from Black people is most times Negro trickery, either they are with Bill 2(Hillary)—I read there’s even a Negro for Biden—or else like the anarchist-minded folks who come on the Super Left, they are so militant they opt for passivity & content themselves with merely calling their perceived enemies names. The mask of the foolish juvenile delinquent left who sees no progress in doing anything but name calling.

That’s how you got rid of David Dinkins, he was too conservative, so you hooted and hollered until you got a real militant, Adolph Giuliani & here we are today w/ yr boy the billionaire mayor whose nose opens wider each day at the sight of Obama running. Like Rock & Roll, it needs our inspiration!

But it has got to be clear that the less we do, the less we can expect Obama to respond to us. It is the fundamental reaction of most politicians that they respond to the sharpest presence, although we shd know that under the capitalist election shenanigans, it is always money that speaks loudest, which is why one of our constant calls in trying to transform the U.S. political culture, is that we demand all private monies be eliminated from elections.

In fact the first of our ongoing political tasks is to relentlessly call for the transformation of the U.S. Political culture! The elimination of the Electoral College, One Person, One vote, to eliminate the anti-democratic Winner-take-all system. The abolition of the Senate to be replaced by a single (unicameral) House of Representatives. Restoration of voting rights to ex felons. Elections of a single day, direct democracy, i.e., voting at the workplace, school & compulsory voting? If taxation is compulsory, voting shd be too.

But those are a few of the tasks to be taken up by an energized Black population and in alliance with a Left Block of the broadest population no matter what happens ultimately to Obama. Yet it is the most obvious infantile left-anarchist error that haunts our movement, to constantly be talking about Revolution and not even participate in one of the most obvious ways of seizing some power.

I have heard seriously flawed arguments that Obama is not “Black enough”! You better be checking out his politics not his melanin. Though w/ an African father and very Black grandmother, he is probably closer to the Mother land than most of us straight out Black Americans, for whom our direct connection with Africa was over by the 19th century.

Plus, is Hillary or Edwards blacker? Despite some deluded Bloods I know who called Bill Clinton “the lst Black president,” is that why he passed that crime bill, wasted welfare & established states’ right on many social programs?

We are the people of the double consciousness, both Black & American, but if we understand Du Bois’ equation properly we shd know that means that we struggle for equal Citizenship rights as well as Self Determination!

To support Obama is to grasp both ends of that double consciousness, aware of the contradiction but also the dialectic that makes that social twoness of use to us.

But we must understand that we are now at a stage of struggle for a People’s Democracy, a Revolutionary Democracy, where our maximum accomplishment at this stage of struggle wd be a United Front Government, based on an alliance of multinational workers, the progressive petty bourgeoisie, farmers, all democratic forces and even with the shaky national bourgeoisie. Such an accomplishment wd still be a transitional stage, but an incrementally closer step toward socialism.

National oppression, racism, the oppression of women and gays will never cease until monopoly capitalism is put under control and then depowered and then eliminated. But we cannot airbrush or dismiss as unnecessary all those stages that will one day enable us to do that.

The mass support of Obama by the national Afro American movement, especially its progressive sector, will reinvigorate our struggle. We cannot merely stand on the side lines and be chumped-off, mumbling as one super-militant sister in DC recently read in a poem putting down Hillary & Obama & ending “Only the white man will win.” A White racist cd’ve said that! Is that all we’re good for now?

The Republican Right has co-opted the Negro as a bow to the civil rights movement. Slicker than the Democrats, Condoleeza, Tom Ass and The Colon have been energized like that battery operated rabbit to delude the lowest of us here & around the world. That somehow that represents real democracy. We must enter into that mainstream struggle & make our own demands, utilize the pressure of our needs & our numbers. We are almost 50 million people with the 16th GNP in the world . . . almost 600 Billion dollars a year. We have the muscle and the money We need to make our move.

A massive Afro American presence around Obama’s campaign shd be utilized by us not only to renew the Afro American struggle, but also as a method of recreating the reality of a national Afro American political assembly, democratically elected from all 50 states, able to support our friends, oppose our enemies in whatever way we see fit!

With such a presence we cd have stopped the Bush seizure of power in Florida & so prevented the Ohio recurrence. The Black American must have a self-determined power base and the ignition spark can be brought into focus and perhaps one ignition spark can be supplied by our consolidating a correct relationship to the Obama campaign. No matter what America does in the nomination or election!

Source: Seeing Black

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

A film directed by Gini Reticker

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a captivating new film by director Gini Reticker. It exposes a different story angle for the largely forgotten recent events of the women of Liberia uniting to bring the end to their nation's civil war. This film is amazing in the way it captivates your attention from the earliest frames. It doesn't shy away from showing footage of the violent events that took place during the Liberian civil war. But the main story of the film is that of Leymah Gbowee and the other women uniting, despite their religious differences, to force action on the stalled peace talks in their country. Using entirely nonviolent methods, not only are the peace talks successful, but Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, is forced into exile leading to the first election of a female head of state in Africa. The women of this film are truly an inspiration and no one can fail to be moved by the message of hope that comes through clearly in this film. These are heroes that deserve to be remembered and with Pray the Devil we are able to do that, gaining both a knowledge of the history we are ignorant of through archival footage and an understanding of the leaders of this movement through close-up interviews with the many women who lead it. The film also offers a great soundtrack & inspirational song- "Djoyigbe" by Angelique Kidjo & Blake Leyh.Amazon Reviewer

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Mighty Be Our Powers

How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

By Leymah Gbowee

As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.—Beast Books  / Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 23 February 2008 / updated 23 February 2008




Home    Amiri Baraka Table  Obama 2008 Table

Related file:  The Parade of Anti Obama Rascals  Straying from official orthodoxy  Hunger for a Black President