Monday, August 27, 2012

Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, Sam Hose, Why No Body Wants to be the Talented Tenth

On this day August 27, 1963 in Accra Ghana, Dr.W.E.B. DuBois passed on, he had grown tired of the United States and lived out the rest of his days in Africa.

Cornel West, described as the heir of DuBois’s legacy, wrote  DuBois is the "brook of fire through which we all must pass in order to gain access to the intellectual and political weaponry needed to sustain the radical democratic tradition in our time”

Today the Black community as a whole still exists in a  white supremacist world wind of physical and economic violence, and dehumanization. But when DuBois walked this earth, legal protection didn't exist for Black people. Total segregation was the law and violating local customs often got Black folks lynched. And Black inferiority was considered a scientific fact.  

DuBois, because of his privilege as a Harvard trained sociologist, proclaimed himself a member of the “talented tenth” and changed America by teaching, giving speeches, publishing news papers like, The Crisis, authoring twenty-one books, including the "Souls of Black Folks"  "Black Reconstruction in America", and  (the first scientific sociological study in America), "The Philadelphia Negro", plays, poems, novels, and essays. He also founded "The Niagara Movement" that birthed The Civil Rights Movement.

 DuBois also had to supersede Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Machine based out of Tuskegee University that he founded. Washington proffered a strategy of obsequious behavior toward whites and accepting segregating. He also only supported education in farming and trades. His beliefs were so popular that both liberal and conservative white leaders gave generously to his causes. And every President of that era visited the campus and sought his advice. Washington's influence made and broke break careers of Blacks according to their loyalty. This including getting DuBois fired from the Fisk University( another all Black institution) for supporting anti lynching legislation. 

I wonder what Dr. DuBois would say about the the Black on Black violence this summer, including the shootings of eight young Black men last Thursday on a street corner in a south side neighborhood called "Terror Town". 

I kept thinking  about how after two blurbs in both local papers, it's no longer news. Yet if a group of eight young white males were shot similarly, the country would pause to take notice.  

I'm reminded of DuBois's attempt to cover the trial of a Black farm laborer named Sam Hose who killed his much larger employer in self defense. While on the run for ten days, the major newspapers competed by making up increasingly lurid and violent details. They same Mr. Hose raped a white women and killed her baby. When Mr. Hose was captured, he immediately went to trial and was convicted in twenty minutes and sentence to death the next day. Railroad trains  were hired to transport hundreds of whites from larger towns like Georgia to attend the murder of Mr. Hose. On Sunday, April 23, 1899. Mr. Hose was brought to the town square before a crowd of over 2,000. There he was stripped, and his ears, fingers, and genitals were sliced off, his face skinned, and finally he was burned on a pyre. Children and other souvenir hunters fought over organs and bones.

DuBois arrived a day later asked a porter if the trial had begun. The porter told him that he missed the trial but that Mr. Hose's knuckles were on display in the window at the town grocery store if he wanted to see them.  

DuBois looked about the town and wondered how the large population of Black citizens 
could walk by that window and cross the town square where such a atrocity against on of their own had happened, yet they went on with their lives as if nothing happened.

I hope one day, some one asks the same thing about us. I hope things are better then for Black people. And I hope some kid says how could things get that bad in a city that has more Black elected officials than any other city and a Black President who was from that city. And while they're no knuckles in the window, they're are plenty of side walk memorials plastic flows, teddy bears, candles, balloons and half bottles of forty ounces and on 78th and Essex I hope the rain washed away the blood because it was still there as of Saturday night, or so I was told.

Funny, today the Black intelligentsia calls DuBois's idea of the Talented Tenth arrogant, so I stopped using it because such is the popular thinking. Although I always considered it truth. And how can you deny the source? I think why the term has gone out of favor is because to speak it creates a duty to actually dedicate your life to help other Black people in a genuine way of empowerment and I think too many of my people just don't want to do that.

We Miss You Doctor DuBois. 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Rent is Too Damn High and the Broke Party

The Democratic and Republican Conventions are here. The decisions are already made, so these events are the political equivalent of the high school home coming dance before the big game, combined with Academy Award political Speeches.  The powerful and the rich will be there behind velvet roped off sections and security will be tight to keep protesters away. America's financial industry leaders who looted and imploded our economy, got bailed out by "We The  Suckers" and still continue to drain what's left of our resources,  in-tandem with the biggest corporations, are belling up to the open bar to pick up the tabs for the conventions, as a thank you for their well lubricated political system.

As our  country sinks into the tar pits, the the media continues to ignore the Green Party, except for a few National Public Radio affiliates progressive enough to carry the Democracy Now show. Ironic because the Green Party with international and national name recognition is mainstream, and the only party with a consistently progressive agenda. Yet they continue to fail at even connecting with white Democratic voters. My community should be easier as the 2nd Economic Depression along with a pandemic of violence( three days ago eight kids were shot on a street corner,) continues it’s "Tsunami", leaving bodies and devastation in the wakes of waves. 

But could it be,  Black folks are starting to wake up and organize?  In 2005, Jimmy McMillian emerged as a quixotic Black New York Mayoral candidate, under the Banner of a self propelled movement  called “The Rent is To Damn High Party”.  In 2007 he joined the Governor's race and became an internet celebrity, which propelled him to a seat at the gubernatorial debate.  His theatrics were so great that even candidate Andrew Cuomo, who went on to win, joined in his popular refrain with “ Jimmy’s right, the rent is too damn high” that got the applause and laughter of the audience.  

Then at Chicago's annual Bud Billiken Parade, the largest parade in the United State, President Obama promised to serve as grand marshal and then cancelled to attend a fundraiser two miles away.  Most Blacks, still caught up in the symbolism of President Obama, shrugged off this smaller betrayal as they have the large ones.  But a few Black folks have connected the correlation between Black unemployment, the violence, President Obama's corporate economic policies, and his unwillingness to address the desperation and despair in the Black community. So during  parade a movement called "The Broke Party"  lead by Mark Carter trailed a surrogate from the Obama administration with a long banner that read  "Violence.....Need a Job..Mr. President". Every time the official stopped to do an interview the crew with the sign walked up so it could be seen on TV. By the time the police removed the protestors, the parade was almost over.

When I went to the south side last weekend, I  saw a young kid on the basketball court wearing a "Broke Party" T shirt. The interesting thing about Mark Carter and Jimmy McMillian is that they're not part of the Black activist crowd. They are just two tired older Black men who have had enough of the status quo. I just hope more people get tired as well because maybe we can change this system before it's too late.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Congressman Todd Akins, A Pleasant Distraction while Rome Burns

I'm reading Matt Taibbi's amazing book "Griftopia", which details how the leaders the America's financial institutions create numerous complicated schemes ( often to skirt regulations) to criminally and willfully defraud the American Tax Payer.  Over the last teen years, these criminal acts spawned a series of bubbles in our economy that burst, creating economic havoc through out the world

American International Group (AIG) is a text book case . And while the little people suffer, the corporations responsible get bail-out after bail-out, and no one goes to jail, allowing them to do the same thing over and over. The next result  was the most serious and recent total meltdown of our economy, and of course they got bailed-out, again.

Taibbi states that today's American financial leaders and "their political servants" have created a  merger of crime and policy, of stealing and government." They're no longer operating on our behalf, after they"long [ago] reached the cynical conclusion that our society is not worth saying and have taken on a new mission. To simply abscond with whatever wealth remains in our hollowed- out economy. They don't feed us, we feed them".

The irony that is more absurd than President Obama running as "change agent" and once elected by a tidal wave advocating reform, then immediately doing an "about face"and appointing the very same financial leaders to run both the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and serve as his Chiefs of Staffs, is that the Democratic voters continue to take it while blaming the Republicans, for his betrayal.

But Matt Taibbi makes another revealing point about our "democracy",  that we don't have it any more. "But since Americans require the illusions of self government,  we have elections, that are  effectively meaningless. Taibbi argues and I agree, that voters have been "gradually weaned off actually expecting their politicians to be responsive to them and more significantly ( if such is possible), elections have become  "entirely cultural war entertainment". Think about it, especially with Facebook. Democrats and Republicans are at it right now, posting childish political cartoons and trite slogans, that lambast the other side as evil or stupid.  Both sides, smug with satisfaction that they're "smarter". The thing is, as these tribes don't mix, no one is being educated outside of their own tribe, which make these inner tribal conversations, so much cheer leading as opposed to socratic dialogue. And, the fact that America is a sports addicted and an hyper consumer culture, makes us the perfect marks.

Look no further than Congressman Todd Akin. As egregious as this idiots recent remark about rape were, this story is on its 25th news cycle and still going strong, because liberals are titillated by this man. They are just sitting up in the cheap seats of the modern day Roman political circus, whooping it up, for "Team Blue"  as the Tsunami waves of home foreclosures, unemployment, and crime, burns down America while the investment bankers continue to loot all of what remains.

And of course this self righteous crowd was non too concerned, when Vice President Joe Biden, who has far more in common with Romney than us, joked about Romney wanting to put Black folks back in chains.

Monday, August 20, 2012

JP Morgan Chase Pimps The Name of Harriet Tubman aka Black Moses

JP Morgan Chase lead an elite group of financial institutions that looted our economy until it collapsed. We the American Tax Payer were then forced to bail them out under a lie that, "they are too big to fail", instead of the millions of Americans who continue to be foreclosed out of their homes.  JP Morgan Chase received a 400 billion dollar interests free loan, which was supposed to be relent to the American public to rebuild our economy.  But  JP Morgan Chase, along with the rest of the duplicitous financial institutions, are further wrecking the economy by barely lending because with todays lose regulation and favoritism extended to the financial industry,  it's not lucrative to make loans to "Jane" and "Jamal" citizen when they can investing their money in financial instruments that greatly increases the wealth of the wealthiest 1 percent. And these financial institutions continue to pillage and plunder America.

In the most recent example, a JP Morgan Chase  senior investment banker ( earning 100 million dollars a year), earlier this summer lost 2 billion dollars by the same illegal junk bond trading that helped sink our economy.  But JP Morgan Chase's  CEO Jamie Dimon, barely received a verbal reprimand from Congress partly because of his close relationship to President Obama.

The only thing that JP Morgan Chase is doing for America is a clever glossy public-relations ad campaign called "Chase Community Giving."

 JP Morgan Chase dolls out relatively small grants to non profits, which is considered a "win win".  The bank gets good publicity by giving away, what to them is the loose change left between the cushions of the leather couches and chairs in JP Morgan Chase's Wall Street offices. Financial institutions, who are expert in skirting laws put in place to make them accountable, also make these grants as ways to legally get around having to make loans. Banks don't like lending to the poor and working class because the real money is in corporate gambling. And as we know, when they lose, we bail them out.

I've been watching these campaigns and JP Morgan Chase's are an extremely seductive subterfuge, as they continue to siphon up more tax payer's dollars. The most effective ads are their Face Book ads, featuring all-American", vanilla, main-street, apple pie pictures, and tear jerker blurbs hailing the great noblesse oblige charitable giving of the noble, JP Morgan Chase.  And since so many liberals work and volunteer for non profits organizations; they cannot stop themselves from joining in on the communal fawning and praise, or beseech for their causes in the comment box, or at the very least clicking the "Like" tab with their browsers on the JP Morgan Chase Charitable Giving Face book page.
in spite of all the damage that  JP Morgan Chase continues to wrought through out the world.

In the latest and most dastardly ad below,  JP Morgan Chase Community Giving actually pimps the name of Harriet Tubman, the former slave who escaped to Canada yet returned to the south numerous times to rescue and spirit away hundreds of slaves, as the most famous conductor of The Under Ground Rail Road. Further irony is that we know exactly where JP. Morgan Chase stood on the slavery issue as they accepted and sold thousands of slaves as loan collateral.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nightblooming Cereus Peruvianus/Global Warming

In The Wilds of the Deserts, once a year Night-blooming Cereus Peruianus sprout green shoots with bulbous ends that after about two weeks, open into large sweet yet pungently fragrant flowers. I've had six of these cacti for over ten years, but it was only four years ago that one or two of them sprouted shoots. These shoots did not open, just slowly rotted until I removed them from the cacti. Last year, two of them produced one single flower, each. During this exceptionally warm summer, three of them produced eleven huge flowers. I know this is a sign of global warming, but my cacti who are more like dear old friends, clearly love the heat as I do. But at least I'm being environmentally friendly as I continue to pass on having my central air unit in my home converted for air conditioning in the summer and I gave away my air conditioner for my bed room last year due to lack of use even then.    


Thursday, August 02, 2012

The killer of Michael Haynes, Consumer Cultural Attack on Black Culture, Dread Locks,

And the killer of Michael Haynes is.......20 year old Cinque Lee, ( glasses) and like Jermaine A. Louis( black T-shirt) who shot two preteen girls on the southside of Chicago, or Rashon Williams ( white T-shirt) who beat and robbed a 87 year old senior citizen and veteran, they all have dreads.

 Actually if you go to Chicago Tribunes Mugs in the News, the majority of Black men who are committing crimes have dread locks.

What's up with the culture?

I remember when I was coming up, Black men who rocked dread where on some sort of serious spiritual and social quests, like Rastafarianism or the original El Rukin's who were the equivalent of New York's  Five Percenters. Actually El Rukin's, during the 1960's
were a more secular off shot of Moorish Temple of Chicago, although they have now dropped
all religious aspect for straight gang life as Black Stones.

Now dread locks are just fashion statements worn mostly by the clueless, including dumb rappers like Lil Wayne( baseball cap), and criminals. This is demonstrative of the crisis of Black Culture or better worded the consumer cultural attack on Black Culture.