While the radicalizing effects of the Obama phenomenon on black youth is astutely noted by analysts, very little has been spoken about broader, systemic trends over the last 25 years effecting the progression of a deep and very real radicalization of the African-American people, particularly its young working class. It’s bigger than Obama.
This paper argues that Obama must be understood in the context of the rise of a “universal dissatisfaction” in the world and the broader, systemic trends over the last 25 years within North American social order effecting the progression of a deep and very real radicalization of the African-American people, particularly its young working class. In this essay, I will offer an analysis of these trends, while briefly sketching the historical development of new African-American revolutionary formations during in this period.
In the Name of the One True and Living God, Whose Program Is Peace
The Role of Hip-Hop
…the coming crisis will introduce new forms of struggle that we are now unable to foresee.–V.I. Lenin (1)
Rap is something you do, Hip-Hop is something you live.—KRS One (2)
The situation at the close of the 20th century was fresh, critical and unprecedented. After the Civil Rights, Black Power, Socialist, National Liberation, Gender Liberation movements etc were all destroyed, diverted and/or co-opted by capital, and the ‘end of history’ proclaimed, there was only the social phenomena of ‘Hip-Hop’ and the stirrings of a new rebellion among the peoples. (3)
From the viewpoint of what is principal in historical development, the last decades of the 20th century witnessed two things of extreme importance: one, the beginning of a new great wave of revolution and people’s resistance across the globe (4) within the framework of radically different correlation of geo-political and racial dynamics and two, linked with the development, the beginning of the emergence from the U.S. counterinsurgency (5) against the “domestically colonized” African-American, Puerto Rican, Chicano, and Indigenous oppressed nations as seen with the appearance (in embryonic stage and uneven level) of newrevolutionary forces in the context of a new American racial and class scenario (6).
Yes! From among this generation an entirely new revolutionary vanguard (7) has been forged in the great new movements of the people’s struggle since the last go around.
And in the subsequent years this new revolutionary vanguard (advanced element) has struck out in new areas such as gender, environment, identity, fusion theory, unity of the peoples, self defense, culture, education, health, spirituality and most importantly peace.
The fact for contemporary revolutionary to grasp is that history did not and will not stop. Towards the end of the century the African American community witnessed (but not them alone) the emergence of a wave of big, medium and small insurrections (8) and the appearance of a popular national consciousness. This social upsurge then inspired an incipient wave of new mainly revolutionary socialist, communist, anarchist, and Islamic influenced organizations by the end of the century (9).
The new revolutionary forces developed in conditions quite different than the 1960s. Many of them had to find their own unique way traveling along the road of Hip-Hop and by God’s Grace.
The First Build: A Hip-Hop Story
After revolution has failed, all questions must center on how a new revolutionary consciousness can be mobilized. . .At which level of social, political and economic life should we begin our new attack? -George L. Jackson (10)
Its Clarence 13 where I’m from . . .where I’m from, kids be reading Marx where I’m from -Digable Planets (11)
God willing I’m alive it’s on. I guarantee you we will have our own political party! And it won’t just be for Black people, it’s gonna be for Mexicans, Black People, Armenians, for all you lost tribe muthafuckas . . . . We need to have our own political party cuz we have the same muthafuckin fight. We built this nation but don’t see none of the benefits.–Tupac Shakur July 1996 (12)
At the closing of the 20th century two powerful currents—the progressive and dynamic element of Hip-Hop culture (and its crisis) and the social, economic and political transformations going on throughout the globe— would in 1996 combine together in a profound way with the founding of the Poor Righteous Party of the Black Nation by the babies of the post industrial city of North Amerika.
The origin of both the Poor Righteous Party and its cardinal principles (basis of unity) are traced back to the Action and Unity meeting of revolutionary African-American and Puerto-Rican working class youth held in North Philadelphia on July 4th 1996.
This Build brought “young brother and sisters from the block” together in one group for revolution to build on the situation facing oppressed people at the turn of the 21st Century (13).
The name of this event, the cipher on July 4th 1996 of the young revolutionaries who formed the Party, is remembered by the Polymathematic Movement in North America as the ‘The First Build’ or ‘The Reconstitution of the Party’.
At the conclusion of this First Build the proletarian youth decided to come back together, but only on the basis of what united them together as one group for revolution.
WHAT CAME OUT of this First Build, the principles that the proletarian youth united around as one group for revolution, from out of Hip-Hop but beyond Hip-Hop, would become known as The 5 Jewels of Peace and its Restrictive Law (14) (or simply “The Program”).
Hence the Revolutionary Association of Women, Men and Children eventually known as the Poor Righteous Party of the Black Nation was officially born (15).
Who where these young revolutionaries at the First Build? They were Hip-Hop!
But ‘Hip-Hop’ “accepting the awesome responsibility of revolutionary leadership”!
In the final analysis, and for all of these reasons, this Party itself is stillHip-Hop, and considers itself the mass survival, projection and manifestation of its creative essence.
Certainly the incipient awakening happening among the African-American, Mexican, indigenous, Yellow peoples, and even poor whites of North America was not an isolated phenomenon. At this same moment new revolutionary movements were being launched among the original nation all over the world.
At the same time Black and Brown youth were uniting around the program, in 1996 the Nepali Maoists initiated their people’s war in the former Himalayan Kingdom. In the Mexican territory of Chiapas, the Zapatistas were in the beginning of their armed uprising. Such was also the case in Africa, as a new generation disillusioned by neo-colonialism, came of age. In Palestine the people faced tanks with rocks, and a new wave of anti-imperialism was beginning to bud in Latin America among the Black, Brown and indigenous.
The 1996 founding of the PRPBN in the U.S. can be seen as a reflection of the renewal in the world of the revolutionary struggle for socialism and national liberation after an extended period of global decline and counterrevolution.
The Polymathematic Camp would emerge out of the urban centers of the Empire as an indigenous working class movement growing out of revolutionary Hip-hop (post-industrial urban youth culture); a community activist group in the Newtonist sense, attempting to both repudiate (break with, leap from) and reaffirm (defend, develop) the revolutionary legacy of the preceding ancient and modernist centuries.
What factors led to the appearance of the new revolutionary vanguard in the US in general, and the coming into being from out of this vanguard, in particular, of a new coherent revolutionary current growing from the New Afrikan masses, in the form of the Polymathematic Movement, and its organized detachment, the Poor Righteous Party of the Black Nation?
What were the main objective and subjective factors leading to this phenomenon?
Correct answers to these questions will allow us to finally locate ourselves and the precise historical moment.
Objective and Subjective Factors
It’s bigger than Hip-Hop. -Dead Prez (16)
On the Objective plane we can point to several major and decisive factors leading to the emergence of a advanced sector of the African-American working class youth such as:
THE REACTIONARY GLOBAL ARRANGEMENT The major change in the inter-imperialist relationships abroad as reflected in the rise of the reactionary intercommunalist empire (17) (transnational monopoly finance capital), and with this the growth of parasitism in the oppressor nations of the White world and super-exploitation in the oppressed nations of the Black World.
THE CHANGES IN ECONOMIC PRODUCTION The major transition, in the US imperial heartland, from a manufacturing-industrial based economy to an service/consumption-electrical based economy and with it, the unbearable dehumanization, repression and fascist criminalization of the African-American, Puerto Rican, Chicano, and Indigenous oppressed nations and its youth through what can only be described as GENOCIDE (prison-industrial complex, chemical and bio-warfare, official mis-education and anti-life media, etc). In this situation, the “proletariat”, the class of value producers, have been effectively “locked out” of a positive and dignified place in the productive process.
THE NEW FORMS OF PEOPLES STRUGGLE And lastly, in the North American context, the incipient expressions of the new movement of the people (92 LA rebellion, Vieques, Immigrant Rights, Queer, Earth/Animal Liberation, Reparations, the ‘Million’ Mobilizations, Spirituality, the global cultural upsurge of Hip-Hop etc)(18)
After careful study of the concrete conditions, we assert that on a Subjective plane, it was principally through the progressive and dynamic element of Hip-Hop culture–that great school and passport to the world–that this generation of working class youth had come to be influenced both by various traditions of Revolutionary Thought and various schools of Spirituality in a profound world-significant way.
It was through Hip-Hop that an entire generation of Black, Brown, Red, and Yellow youth enter history. It was Hip-Hop that carried them to the threshold of critical thought and self-organization.
At its best, Hip-Hop has always been more than an art; it is a people’s Movement, based on what one may call a pre-socialist cultural identity, which at its core objectively demands the leap into new revolutionary theory and practice.
In fact the advanced consciousness and working class cultural fervor of the Hip-hop generation has laid the foundation for the forging of a new revolutionary vanguard among the oppressed peoples of North Amerika and the world.
Under attack since its inception, yet nevertheless resilient, if it is to survive Hip-Hop culture must make a firm leap to stand against the reactionary Camp, which take advantage of this weakness, and today controls and influence Hip-hop to an alarming degree (19).
Hip-Hop culture is a positive form that deserves to be embraced, defended and even exhausted for the cause and at the service of a radical reconfiguration of existing society.
Such is the uncompleted task of those whom this essay addresses.
These, and more still, where all reasons leading to the coming of a new revolutionary movement in the US, and the inevitable appearance on the scene in 1996 of the Polymathematic Movement (20), and its organized detachment, the Poor Righteous Party of the Black Nation.
Such are the objective and subjective factors that shaped us as Historical Actors.
The Movement, ideology and politics we see increasingly today are that of the proletariat of the post industrial city, with youth as the vanguard sector.
The Rise of Universal Dissatisfaction
In the United States and the world, it would take an entire generation until new revolutionary forms and forces would arise again among the peoples.
The post-World War 2 up period up until the end of the 20th century will be remembered as witnessing both the highpoint and the collapse of the Secular Humanist Project, both in its right-wing face (Western Capitalism) and its left-wing face (Soviet Communism) giving way to the current arrangement of reactionary intercommunalism versus arevolutionary intercommunalism.
This collapse can only be described as an ontological blow to the entire world-system of Power bringing about, by the end of the century, a universal radicalization/polarization of the masses in the midst of a now permanent social crisis. Yet this radicalization/polarization, that was seen at the close of the last century was and is something quite different and unprecedented.
It’s not just among “the poor”, “the rich” are greatly grieved; it’s a crisis. It’s not just in the countryside, the cities are burning too. It’s not just the Blacks, but the whites also, are lost. On major level, the women are unhappy, and so are the men.
It is rising.
The ‘Straight’ is agitated and so is the ‘Gay’. Everybody is agitated; The people feel oppressed; everywhere they are out in the streets. If not today, then yesterday. If not today, then tomorrow. Everywhere they are trying to resist, not just in the capitalist countries, but in the“socialist” ones as well. History witnessed this.
While the People of the Book pray to the same God and await the appearance of a Messiah, the walls of the Temple are shaking, the walls of the Church are shaking, the walls of the Mosque are shaking and so are the Cowries shells because Satan has entered the House.
The people of the whole world seek liberty and relief from death, hunger and lies. They cannot bear it.
What is this?
It is called universal dissatisfaction (21).
It is a very deep dissatisfaction and revulsion against the anti-life system, an instinctual rejection and resistance to the corruption and lies that form the very core of the current world system in all its forms.
It is in this context that we must see the (s)election of our Brother President Obama.
In different degrees, this universal radicalization/polarization of the masses in the midst of a now permanent social crisis, a new phenomenon, had ended in either of three results: Repression of Masses, Co-optation of the Masses or in the Development of New Forms and Forces of People’s Power.
From our experience Black youth should focus on three areas:
The New Democratic Revolution of a North Amerikan Specificity (22)
The people’s struggle for a “new” and radical democracy, a people’s democracy, will pave the way for the new union of People’s Republics of North America and the perspective of socialism (23).
The Building of the People’s Power
What is people’s power? People’s power is the new power, in the form of independent (autonomous from the state) political, economic, and cultural organization of the oppressed. In fact, without people’s power there can be no true people’s democracy.
Revolutionary Ideology and Revolutionary Organization
As pointed out by Dr. Muhammad “A holistic culture, one that teaches a strong scientific moral code, principles and above all self -discipline with the sense of service to the community is desperately needed in our community.” (24)
Toward this end, we offer you the challenge of the 5 Jewels of Peace and its Restrictive Law in this day in time (25).
We reaffirm that the task of Black Youth in the Age of Obama are essentially the same as previous generations: to accept the responsibility of the Ancestors, or betray it.
(1) Guerrilla Warfare. VI. Lenin
(2) “Rap vs Hip-hop” KRS ONE
(3) It will be argued that not only are we in a new era of social reality, but also, that the revolution, must be conceived and achieved in a new way.
(4) The rise of national democratic, neo-Marxian, neo-anarchist movements in Africa (Zimbabwe), South and Central Amerika (Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia) and South Asia (India, Nepal) is an example.
(5) The U.S. counterinsurgency was the comprehensive set of tactics used against the development of revolutionary consciousness and organization among the oppressed. This had its origin in the military and political defeat of our liberation movement of the 60s and 70s. See Study of COINTELPRO by Muhammad Ahmad. Dialectics of the Black Revolution Omali Yeshitela
(6) We are living in a post-industrial Amerika within a post western world. The effect of universal dissatisfaction, discussed later, have produced various expression of social discontent from all peoples.
(7) A vanguard is an objective social reality of a potentially revolutionary sector (in the interest of the people) of the oppressed created as a result of human necessity. Vanguard elements are the scattered and broad elements of a class or more than one class, that due to their varied experiences, develops an potentially revolutionary consciousness and stance within a given society. It is the encounter between the crystallizing of this class’s autonomous self-organization and the existing system of “property” relations that creates theactuality of revolutionary struggle.
(8) Huey P. Newton offered the thesis of rebellions as indicators the existence of mass communication and consciousness, Ii.e. the proper environment for the emergence and growth of working class organization. See “The Correct Handling of a Revolution”
(9) Many of these new forms were led by the radical petty bourgeoisie splitting from and/or closely tied to the old Marxist and nationalist parties, while others took their ideological cue from the reformist-populist project of the African-American national bourgeoisie. Working class led efforts on the grass root level, however, have continued to thrive. These new movements, composed of radicalized elements of the Black working class youth have been the most serious in their studying the advanced experiences of the BLM. These new movements have suffered various level of repression. Some have made contributions in the people’s cultural movement, while other have attempted to develop community political structures. Particularly important are experiences of groups such as the Ricanstruction Network (now Ricanstruction Action Party), among the Puerto Rican nation, the Anarchist People of Color (APOC) tendency among the anarchist movement, the Black Riders Liberation Party (founded in 1996) on the West Coast, the Ghetto Liberation Political Party/People’s Community Organization on the East Coast and more recently the African People’s Liberation Party in the South, among others.
(10) George L. Jackson. Blood in My Eye
(11) Digable Planets. “Where Im From”
(12) Tupac Shakur Last Interview. Vibe Magazine
(13) It was at this historic build that the qualitative leap from Hip-Hop culture to revolutionary polymathematic activism was initiated for a significant section of this generation. It was at this historic build that the particular process or energy of unifying the new revolutionary elements of the Black, Brown, Red and Yellow, and coloured working class of North Amerika around its own advanced self consciousness began.
(14) The Basis of Unity can be viewed at http://peacecomrade.org/basis-of-party-unity/
(15) The party was originally founded as the Ghetto Liberation Political Party adopting revolutionary Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, “from the viewpoint of knowledge of self” as its ideology. As news of the First Build spread, by 1998, the collective in Philadelphia was strengthened through networking and affiliation with similar groups in other cities and countries. In 1999 the Party founded the People’s Community Organization, a leading mass organization. People’s War Magazine was its popular organ. At the first congress of the Unified GLPP held in 2005 in the midst of Hurricane Katrina, the Party’s name was changed to the Poor Righteous Party of the Black Nation and Polymathematics officially proclaimed as the guiding ideology of the revolution. As reflected directly in its name, the party of ‘the Poor’ and ‘the Righteous’ is the revolutionary party that has consciously chosen ‘economic/class’ and ‘spiritual’ concerns to ground itself upon, joining together in a new way the two streams of Social Justice and Moral Uplift. In fact we are faithful that humanity’s future will hinge precisely upon these two issues.
(16) Dead Prez. “It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop” Let’s Get Free
(17) Huey. P. Newton. See “Speech at Boston College”, “Declarations and Resolutions”, “On Intercommunalism”
(18) We could also mention the dissolution of the old “socialist” states into capitalist ones; the instinctual reaction to the generational gap and moral decay of the community and widespread spiritual aggression against the masses through religion, metaphysics and false teachers (misleaders); the implosion of gender and the universal crisis of the family unit, traditional or otherwise; the poverty of existing revolutionary ideas and movements.
(19) Everything splits into two. So did Hip-Hop. While retaining its mass influence, the progressive class nature of hip-hop had declined with the dominance of the corporate ruling class. The enemies of Black people, through their control of a new black Uncle Tom stratum within Hip-Hop, uses Hip-Hop to produce misogynist, racist, bourgeois, patriarchal, consumerist views and behavior. Revolutionaries should use Hip-Hop to smash the anti-people culture and organize and mobilize the people. Hip-Hop must serve the interests of the oppressed.
(20) A convergence between two traditions: revolutionary nationalist/Marxist/anti authoritarian and Liberation Theology has produced a Polymathematic Movement. The prefix ‘Poly’ means ‘many ,’ ‘several’ or ‘much’ from the Greek word polys; which is related to the Latin word plenus which mean ‘full’ thus ‘many mathematics’ or ‘full of mathematics.’ Polymathematics recognize the Tawhid of Truth (One God, One Creation, One Revolution), as it is manifested in all things, upon the basis of a dialectical materialist world view that recognizes the motion and contradictory union of matter. This positive ideological differentiation of the revolutionaries with the new approach from all existing previous doctrines, ideologies and tendencies, particularly within and from the so-called International Communist and Anarchist Movements and within and from Organized Religion is the logical outcome of race, class, and gender and race, class, and gender polarization: the growth and development of the ranks of the all-original working class (Black, Brown, Red and Yellow) in the Best Part of the Earth and the growth of the Labor and Gender Aristocracies and the Parasitic non-value producing classes in the imperialist oppressor nations and its spheres of influence.
(21) We argue that the 21st century and beyond is dealing a new type of radicalization that is ‘trans’, ‘super’, ‘inter’, ‘pan’ and ‘supra’. Revolutionaries must adjust to this. It is no longer confined to one race, one class, one nationality, gender or ideology. In fact universal dissatisfaction is the actual explosion of such things.
(22) For an more extensive view see “ Build a Mass Movement for People’s Democracy: Advance the cause of Black Liberation.” by Devin Branch
(23) Self-determination must be seen as the highest and most relevant form of democracy for the African-Americans and other oppressed peoples. The democratic struggle must be pushed to the limit led by a united front of popular classes. The revolutionary vanguard must take full part in the democratic movement, providing leadership, applying both unity and independence. In our view, the minimum program of the New Democratic Revolution of a North American Specificity is the holding of Plebiscite to determine the political destiny of the oppressed groups in North America.
(24) The Selected Writings of Muhammad Ahmad Volume 1
(25) See http://peacecomrade.org/basis-of-party-unity/Via Peacecomrade