Power-tics, Not Politics.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Writing has been a catharsis for me since my “angry days” in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I used to write “Last Poets” kind of stuff and just put it away afterwards. Writing was a release to lower the pressure in my mind about the state of our people. It’s much the same for me today, after nearly twenty-three years of writing Blackonomics. The larger context of my writing this column has evolved into a desire to inform, to educate, and move our people to progressive economic action. I share ways and means through which we can achieve true freedom—economic freedom—in this nation.
I don’t write to impress; I write to express. That is to say, I do not intentionally use fifty-dollar words; rather, I make every effort to assure that my readers understand and will be moved to act on the information I share. It seems my frustration from the 1960’s and 1970’s has reared its ugly head in the 21st century.
What bothers me most is our view of politics and those who constantly force feed us with their political rhetoric and their “politics-only” solutions to our problems. Instead of espousing economic solutions, they keep telling the young people to vote and “maach.” Marching is fine but without an end game, or if it’s done just for grandstanding and setting up VIP sections by the Marcher-in-Chief, Al Sharpton, what do we get from it except worn out shoes? We must go from politics to “Power-tics.”
Economic and political leverage cause benefits to accrue to those who know how to play the game. Black folks, so emotionally invested in politics-only strategies, will never get what we say we want and need from politicians. They are too busy meeting the demands of the corporate moguls and their lobbyists, who know all too well how to play “Power-tics.”
The frustration and anger I feel when I see the continuous daily parade of Face Book videos showing someone getting beat down, tasered, kicked, or killed by police officers is overwhelming. The difference lies in whether we will continue to accept symbolism over substance when it comes to politics, and whether we are willing to use our economic leverage to solve our problems.
We are indeed a conflicted people right now. It seems we are willing to walk up to the line but not cross over into the arena where the real battle must take place. It seems we are willing to settle for so little in response to so much tragedy and injustice.
Read some of the quotes from the march for justice in DC on December 13, 2014:
“When we first got there, two people from NAN told us that we needed a VIP pass or a press pass to sit on the ledge,” said Johnetta Elzie in disbelief, the frustration still resonating in her voice. “If it is a protest, why do you need to have a VIP pass?”
“If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do.”
“I’m here because police brutality, racial profiling, this just will not be tolerated. I hope people come today and go back home with the sense that what we really need to do is vote.”
“This is a history-making moment.”
“Today, 15 years later (after the death of Amadou Diallo), we are standing together and demanding the same thing. Think about that for a moment. Think about all the young men taken from us.”
“Why should it be that when something happens we should always see your face? (referring to Sharpton) We need older people, their wisdom, because younger people can wild out without guidance. But we need them all the time, not just when something happens.”
“I believe in the march. But I don’t want to hear him (Sharpton) .”
Sharpton vowed to come back in the nation’s capital “over and over again” until legislative action is taken so there is “justice for all.” Will someone tell me when “legislative action” will occur, what it will look like, and how it will occur? Without practical economic leverage, Black folks will never have the political redress for which we march. Justice for all? Is that a dog-whistle to let certain folks know that Sharpton is not really serious about justice for Black people? These nebulous and tepid gestures in an effort to demonstrate the seriousness of our situation are insulting and patronizing.
Our young people are the ones fighting for justice; many of our older folks are just talking about it. That’s why many young people walked out on the speeches, turned their backs on Eric Holder, stormed the stage in DC to speak, despite being told they had no “VIP” passes, and walked away when Al Sharpton started to speak. Who can be more of a “VIP” than the young folks who are doing most of the protesting, night after night?
“Many young protesters believe that the Rev. Al Sharpton was co-opting their movement, so on Saturday, when none of the Ferguson youth leaders were slated to speak, a few hopped onstage and took the mic.” Kirsten West Savali, The Root
Do our young people know something we don’t know? Are they willing to fight where we are not? I believe they do and I believe they are. They know it will take “Power-tics, not politics, to make the changes they want to see. Folks I am working with have an end game, a plan, a solution. Contact me; I’ll share it with you.
Written By James E. Clingman
Official website; http://www.blackonomics.com/