Our ancestors fought and died to obtain social justice, not symbolic achievements
An Urgent Call to Action: Putting Forth a Black Social Justice Agenda
By Kwasi Seitu
Putting aside all of the jubilation over the election of “the first Black president,” black people in America need to be working on putting together a national agenda for social justice, this is what our ancestors fought and died to obtain, not symbolic individual achievements. Once we get beyond the euphoria of the idea of a black man as “president,” we need to come to grips with the fact that Obama’s victory is not really our victory. Obama will tell you as much, has told us as much, he will be just another black face on the same old white system unless we make it otherwise. In this regard I ask that you visit www.pdn-itj.org and become familiar with the “Seitu Complaint and Demand for Congressional Hearings” to address the problem of institutional racism in the FBI, DOJ, the federal judiciary and ultimately, in Congress itself.
My complaint concerns the 132-year old “deal” that was struck between the federal government and the Confederate States of America, the “Hayes Compromise,” whereby the federal government assured white southerners that it would not intervene to provide legal protection to blacks. It is the result of that “deal” that the killers of Medgar Evers and so many others were allowed to escape prosecution for decades or entirely, such as the killers of the black children in Atlanta. It is because of that “deal” that we see Jena 6, the Angola 3, Tulia, and so many more outrages of racist injustice that routinely go unreported and unconsidered. My complaint goes to the practice of “koon hunting,” whereby our people are falsely arrested and then illegally detained – indefinitely, until they plead guilty. This is the primary means by which many blacks are sent to prison, or rendered ineligible to vote, this is why in spite of the fact that the majority of black people in America live in the south, the electoral map of the southern states stayed mostly solid red.
I need you to go to the site, familiarize yourself with the issues, and get behind the initiative. I need your feed back; I need you to write Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman John Conyers. I need you to join me, to volunteer, to spread the word, and to give financial support to make sure this work continues to move forward. I need my people to stop chit-chatting, to stop waiting for “something to happen,” to stop waiting for “things to get better,” to stop acting like we haven’t got a clue. I need to raise a substantial amount of money now in order to move this work forward, to keep the pressure on, to build this thing to the point of being irresistible. I need you all to sacrifice a night at the movies or mall; or buying yet another Obama T-shirt, or that next case of beer. The complaint is in the hands of the Senate and House Committees, however our “friends” the Democrats, are sitting on it because it will mean the need to impeach several federal judges and possibly prosecuting them. Addressing the complaint will require a clean sweep and re-organization of the FBI and the DOJ. Addressing the complaint will result in the need to arrest many white southern officials and a major disruption in the profits of the prison industrial complex and the death penalty.
We have had many “first blacks” in politics, we had the first black general Benjamin O. Davis, who wanted to use military force against the black community. We have numerous blacks serving as mayors, police chiefs, judges, state and federal legislatures, so on and so forth, all of whom primarily serve the white system of oppression. We have Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas, William Jefferson, Sanford Bishop, all black and all nothing more than agents of oppression. We have the Congressional Black Caucus, from which we have yet to see any benefit, and are likely to see our “first Black” U.S. Attorney General, the same black guy who served as the U.S. Attorney for D.C. at the same time that D.C. police led the nation in the number of black people it gunned down it the streets. Yet, not a one of those killer cops were ever even charged, this was the legacy of Eric Holder. Are we stupid or what?
One of the biggest issues confronting us as a people in this society is the disproportionate incarceration of blacks in the jails and prisons of this nation, which in many areas has become the second largest industry. While the American Corrections Association and the businesses it represents have experienced nothing but positive economic growth over the last three decades, black communities across the nation have experienced nothing but devastation. In addition to the massive incarceration of our people, there is the after affect, where blacks come out even further behind than when they went in, being steeped in a repressive culture of dehumanization intended to make them even less capable of functioning in society and true criminals.
For certain, people who commit crimes should be punished, but we must look at the bigger crime of institutional racism. For example, if the case of the Jena 6 had not broke through the silence, then Mychal Bell would have become just another young black man wrongfully and illegally set on the path of incarceration and recidivism, and even though he escaped the lengthy prison sentence he certainly would have gotten had the matter not attracted national attention; and in spite of the exposure, Bell was still subjected to a subsequent wrongful criminal prosecution, conviction, and incarceration by the same people that the state appellate court had declared acted “illegally.” So, why weren’t they then arrested? Why did we fail to demand their arrest? How is it that we allowed those criminals to “prosecute” the young brother again? Are we stupid or what?
We are making the mistake of approaching the Obama era with emotionalism, so we are willing to excuse his failure to mention us, to mention poverty, to speak of systemic racist injustice. These things cannot be spoken about, otherwise he would not be elected and to the same extent, he will not be able to address them now that he is in office or otherwise face being forced from office. Are we willing to continue to suffer in silence just to be able to say that “we have a black president”? Are we stupid or what? We need to have an agenda in place now, one by which we hold the Democrats and the U.S. government accountable, and the basis of that agenda must be social justice in the form of respect for, and the enforcement of, fundamental civil, constitutional, and human rights for all people.Undoubtedly, there will be thousands, if not millions, of black and poor people in attendance for Barrack Obama’s inauguration. There will be much talk about “realizing the Dream” and how far “black America” has come, but when the show is over, we will still be confronted with the same problems we have had for the last 400+-years. We need to be coming here with an agenda, with a plan and determination that we will no longer be played and taken for granted. Help me to help us. Obama talks about change without any specificity as to you and I, while I am talking about us bringing about specific change. This is an opportunity for educating, mobilizing, and organizing ourselves. Let us not blow this walking around in a dream state, which means that we are sleep, visit www.pdn-itj.org right away and take action.