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What we have in the Enron and WorldCom scandal is not a crisis in capitalism. It is, however,

 a crisis in corporate management--a crisis in the culture of business morality.


Steal Big, Steal Little

By Amin Sharif


There is an old adage among the criminal class in America that goes as follows: Steal big and the world will love you. Steal small and you are hated by every one. The wisdom behind this adage is that the public will always respect and even admire acts of boldness. On the other hand acts of pettiness are universally despised. But, an adage, like other things may come to outlive its usefulness. Today, the above quoted adage is still used by petty hustlers and drug dealers to justify their predatory and self-destructive practices. They say, if big corporations and stock traders are allowed to steal, then why shouldn't they?

Of course, if one accepts the truth of this adage. Then one must accept that stealing, on all levels, is acceptable. And the conclusion that all stealing is acceptable leads one to believe that the crack dealer on the corner is no more than a micro-version of the CEOs of Enron or WorldCom. And, in the most perverse sense, this conclusion is true. For both CEO and crack dealer are raping the American public. But what both CEO and crack dealer fail to understand is that corporate thievery (stealing big) is beginning to be despised as much as that of the actions of the corner dealer. And this is as it should be.

But before I continue I must make something clear. There are those who would look at what Enron and WorldCom are doing and insist that the capitalist sky is falling. They are ready to man the barricades and light the molotov cocktails that will lead to the demise of the entire capitalist superstructure. We have heard these cries before and finally they are getting old.

What we have in the Enron and WorldCom scandal is not a crisis in capitalism. It is, however, a crisis in corporate management--a crisis in the culture of business morality. And the eventual effect of this crisis in business morality will have far reaching implications for all Americans, especially the working poor and the minority classes. Even the middle and upper classes may not go untouched by the corporate rape that is now occurring. So while this crisis may not sound the death knell of American capitalism, the situation is still potentially quite explosive.

Just as the rape of poor and minority communities by predatory drug dealers has been an agent of instability, so the corporate rape of American trust and retirement funds by board-room bandits may lead to a general instability in the American economy. America, of course, has had economic instability before. But not since the radical labor movement of the early 1900s has there been any real crisis in the belief on the part of the American people that capitalism could sustain the American Dream. The Enron and WorldCom scandal may be the catalyst that puts an end to the belief that capitalism can solve every American problem. The corporate behavior of Enron and WorldCom may put an end to the belief in the American Dream. Only time will tell if this is true or not.

What is surely looming out there is an economic Judgment Day and a reckoning for the American people. Millions will be retiring in the near future and the pension checks that are due these Americans must be paid by someone. For the politicians are now saying that there is no need to worry about the future. Every American will get what's due them. These politicians had better be right. The American public is already edgy about Social Security and Medicare. They sense that basic economic promises made in the past may not be honored in the future. If they must also face uncertainty about whether they are to receive their pension checks, then it may be that a real crisis in capitalism lies ahead.

Most probably, the politicians will come up with a window dressing solution to hold the American public's anger and indignation at bay. One only has to recall the election of Bush to see how skillfully the American game of sleight of hand can be played. But it was only the dreams of a few million American voters that was at stake then. The Enron and WorldCom scandals may lead to a time when the game will be played for all the marbles. Then we shall see how down and dirty things get!

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An Introduction to the Literature of Equatorial Guinea

Between Colonialism and Dictatorship
By Marvin A. Lewis

. . . the first book-length critical study of this literature, a multigenre analysis encompassing fifty years of poetry, drama, essays, and prose fiction. Both resident and exiled authors offer insights into the impact of colonialism and dictatorship under Spanish rule and consider the fruits of “independence” under the regimes of Francisco Macías Nguema and Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Examining these works from the perspective of postcolonial theory, Marvin A. Lewis shows how writings from Equatorial Guinea depict the clash of traditional and European cultures and reflect a dictatorship that produced poverty, misery, and oppression. He assesses with particular care the impact of the Macías reafricanization process and its manifestations in literature.

In showing how the views of the nation correspond and diverge in works of writers such as Maria Nsue Angue, Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo, and Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, Lewis brings to light artists who articulate their concerns in Spanish but are African in their souls. In analyzing the works of both renowned and emerging writers, he marks the themes that contribute to the formation of national identity: Hispanic heritage, the myth of Bantu unity, “bonding in adversity” during the Nguema regime, and the Equatoguinean diaspora.

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Manuel Zapata Olivella and the “Darkening” of Latin American Literature

By Antonio D. Tillis

Manuel Zapata Olivella and the “Darkening” of Latin American Literature is an examination of the fictional work of one of Latin America’s most prolific, yet overlooked, writers. Born in Colombia to parents of mixed ancestry, Zapata Olivella used his novels to explore the plight of the downtrodden in his nation and by extension the experience of blacks in other parts of the Americas. Author Antonio D. Tillis offers a critical examination of Zapata Olivella’s major works of fiction from the 1940s to the 1990s. . . Tillis focuses on the development of the “black aesthetic” in Zapata Olivella’s stories, in which the circumstances of the people of African heritage are centered in the narrative discourse. Tillis also traces Zapata Olivella’s novelistic effort to incorporate the Africa-descended subject into the literature of Latin America. A critical look at the placement of Afro–Latin American protagonists reveals the sociopolitical and historical challenges of citizenship and community. In addition, this study explores tenets of postcolonial and postmodern thought such as place, displacement, marginalization, historiographic metafiction, and chronological disjuncture in relation to Zapata Olivella’s fiction. Tillis concludes that the novelistic trajectory of this Afro-Colombian writer was one that brought into literary history an often overlooked subject: the disenfranchised citizen of African ancestry. By expanding and updating the current scholarship on Zapata Olivella, Tillis leads us to new contexts for and interpretations of this author’s work.

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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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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 / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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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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update 24 February 2012




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