Mad (il)logics

I have found debating conspiracy theorists to be rather futile given their disregard for evidence-based arguments and preference for hyperrelativistic claims. What’s more, I have observed that any evidence deployed that debunks the conspiracy theory becomes evidence of the conspiracy itself.

Africans Kung Fu Fighting

Recently I stumbled upon this video. It shows a group Africans who journeyed to China to study the martial arts. I’ve seen other videos like this, including one where an African decided to create a Shaolin Temple in his community in Africa.
While I appreciate that these sisters and brothers are training, I do worry that the idea of “martial arts” as an Asian cultural practice necessarily devalues our engagement with our own martial heritage, which is often endangered. Clearly the practice of Capoeira in Brazil is well organized, but this is not universally true of African combat arts. Many are quite marginal and the preserve of an aging group of practitioners.
 
I say this as someone who practices both African and Asian arts. To my thinking, our engagement in the martial arts, as people of African-descent, should include some engagement with, even if on the level of historical and philosophical knowledge, the rich martial heritage of African people as a way of centering our ancestors’ development of combative systems to confront the reality before them.
 
In my presentation at ASCAC last week I discussed three ways of engaging with the African martial arts. These include:
1. Studying and internalizing the history and philosophy pertaining to the African arts.
2. Incorporating specific elements/techniques of the African arts into one’s existing practice.
3. Practicing the African arts.
 
To my thinking we can both study the martial arts of the world, while also being mindful of our own legacy and its value.

Focusing on the masses rather than elites

At some point we will realize that the number of Black millionaires and billionaires has very little bearing on the condition of the African/Black masses worldwide. Our redemption will not be found via success within the existing system, but in our ability to create a just one to replace it.

A vision of the world

In order for a people to liberate themselves, they must be capable of envisioning a world free of their oppressors. Their collective imaginary must consist of a vision of a future where they are a sovereign people. Too few of those regarded as our leaders possess this capacity.

A suffocating myopia

In the grips of a suffocating myopia, some of us celebrate our atomization as a people and the seemingly “progressive” hyperrelativism of this society as if these were sufficient to carry African people into the future under our own aegis as a sovereign people on the basis of our culture.

Ideologies

Ideologies, by their very nature, delimit engagement with the phenomenal world.

The (anti)social media

The ever impassioned spectacle of division and atomization illustrates the dangers posed by social media for African people, as various ideological operatives express a worldview where the highest politics is self-interest and acceptance in the oppressor’s system is a singular striving.

Agents

I watched and participated in a Zoom discussion of Judas and the Black Messiah tonight. One of the points that I raised is that William O’Neal exemplifies the betrayer archetype. Men/women such as he have been an ever-present menace for African people. They are a recurring response of Europeans to the struggle for African freedom.

We cannot delude ourselves into thinking that agents and traitors will disappear or cease to be consequential at any point in our movement. Quite often, much like O’Neal himself, such persons will rise to prominence within the organizations and movements that they have been set against. We should even consider that such individuals will fabricate movements so as to sow seeds of confusion, discord, and facilitate misdirection.

At best, we can carry out our work in a such a manner that limits the destructive capacity of traitors. One partial solution to this is to engage in struggle in a manner that is highly decentralized, characterized by independent yet ideologically aligned collectives, groups working towards a common aim, yet who maintain localized organizational structures characterized by collective forms of governance.

This is perhaps easier said than done. Dynamic work often coheres around a visionary mind. Their genius is an asset to our struggle, yet in our adversary’s aim to maintain our oppression, they are often targeted and imprisoned or killed in the hopes that their deaths will destroy the movement. There will always be people like Chairman Fred Hampton who animate the imaginations of the people and who articulate a vision of a future free from the fetters of oppression. Such individuals will also be targeted by the state. The key, the principle challenge is to ensure the survival and expansion of the movement beyond the deaths of inspiring leaders, beyond the acts of sabotage by traitors, and beyond the machinations of our enemies. To demonstrate through work and determination that “You can kill the revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.”

Echo chambers

One of the things that continually intrigues me about social media is how truth claims are held to be intrinsically valid within their echo chambers of congruence. Such a phenomenon preceded social media and the internet, yet the former has greatly exacerbated it.

Treachery

Treachery has long been a nemesis of African movements for self-determination. Traitors have often aligned themselves with the revolutionary struggles only as a means to pursue counterrevolutionary ends. These traitors have, invariably, placed their own self-aggrandizement over the interests of the masses. Their actions have also reinforced European dominance.

Such patterns persist in the present day. In fact, the politics of tepid multiculturalism and the ethos of atomistic individualism provides a convenient ideological cover for such acts today. Individuals who become exponents of such positions are often celebrated. Their visibility is often strategically useful in the propagation of a debilitating confusion and alienation, which negates a consciousness of who we are–Africans–and a commitment to what we should be doing– reclaiming our culture and  restoring our sovereignty.