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(Politics As Usual) The Problem with the Platform

Lifestyle, Politics As Usual 0 October 25, 2015 373 Niki Jones

justice-or-else
Written By Daniel Johnson

Many people want to believe in Louis Farrakhan, and his Million Man March’s
Justice or Else initiative. I’m not one of those people. The central issue
that I have with his initiative is that it’s just far too broad and with
the state of Black American infrastructure these days, it is little more
than a pipe dream to ask us to divest from America with nowhere to get the
daily necessities from in place of the chain supermarkets, especially in
places that have food deserts. While the idea of bringing the injustices
facing America to the doorstep of Washington and quite literally, the feet
of Lincoln, is a good one even if only optically, what it seems the
collective body of Black America needs is more than good optics and good
ideas, is an execution and a planning out of the idea of Justice that
amounts to more than a show of our pain and suffering.

I think this march would have been much better served to have the feel of
an actual movement towards tangible justice by pressing the United States
Government to act in the interest of Justice, and not just the Justice of
Black people in America. For that to happen, you would have to press the UN
into pressing actual charges against the US for crimes against humanity,
and I would say that the continued oppression and genocide of Native
Americans, Black Americans and Latin Americans counts as crimes against
humanity. When you have the well documented tendency of the American police
force to extra-judicially murder and profile and of the American legal
system to often wrongfully imprison civilians then you have the basics of a
case presentable to the UN for Human Rights violations. When you’re dealing
with a country that often will not accept or even acknowledge its history
and present filled with atrocities and injustice against marginalized
sections of its society but wants to act as though it is the world’s moral
authority on issues is when you need to go outside of this system and apply
pressure to change it…..Read more.

What is revealed in some people’s dogged defense of Farrakhan despite his
tokenizing of women and Natives is the idea that we need one central
unifying force to drive change in the way that America is stratified. What
is revealed by this is the refusal to change our tactics from one of
centralized leadership to one of decentralized leadership, which in the era
of Black Lives Matter has proven to be tremendously effective and often
more efficient because there is no reliance on a single figurehead to speak
for the people. Under this type of organization, the people are allowed to
speak up for themselves. There are issues with this model as well, but with
the way that Farrakhan “leads” with his deeply entrenched paternalistic
brand of Black patriarchy, we might as well accept the fact that he does
not have the interest of true Black or any other kind of liberation at
heart.

The business of building the capability to sustain an economic boycott is
not done by flippantly proclaiming an intention to simply pull your dollars
from an economy which does not seem to value Blackness or Native-ness or
Latino-ness. On a larger scale this is doing more harm than good, and as I
have previously mentioned, those of us who live in lower income and poverty
wracked environments are oftentimes restricted to a Walmart or some other
chain superstore for fresh meat purchases. Invariably, these individuals
and families don’t care about impressing the Farrakhans and the pro-Black
community as their primary concern is surviving to see another day and not
necessarily standing in solidarity. There is a tremendous amount of
privilege in partaking in a boycott, because this means that you either
have access to food that is not obtained via supermarkets or enough money
that you can survive without another trip to the local Walmart for a
considerable amount of time, but in the meantime where are the lower income
of us going to get their supplies from? Do we then tell them that their
immediate concern for life means that they don’t value the movement? That
certainly seems to be the implication, even if that is not the true
intention.

In building this resistance, it must be built in a way that every income
level of Black/Latin/Native/Indigenous America can participate in it,
otherwise it is simply another exercise in elitism that trades one kind of
oppression for another, and that is the antithesis of what true liberation
is. Either we all get free, or we are still engaging in the same type of
erasure of an entire population which we are condemning America for
engaging in. Also, the idea of Justice is a wide term, if we focus solely
on the justice of the justice system and leave out the ideas of social and
economic justice, our platform and our revolution is an incomplete
revolution, there can be no justice for the middle class if the poor are
shoved further down the hierarchy in order to achieve it. That is not
justice, that is oppression. We have to build a new movement that is
sustainable by different facets of our society, or else it is a useless
movement and a revolution that is burdened with all the mistakes of the
past attempts at liberation.

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