Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Navigate / search

Redemption: An Act of Humility and Humanity

Share

This is the fifth article of a 7-part series that will focus on the issues in our radical movements that I think need our immediate and ongoing attention. I am using the ancient eastern concept of chakras for the body as a parallel to our movement’s energy wheel. Healers believe sickness occurs when the body’s chakras are blocked or out of alignment. Likewise, the U.S. Left and our social justice movements need our collective introspection, analysis and adjustments that lead to unblocking our energy/chi points. A weakened Left, and especially the Black Left, have been unable to provide this critical guidance over the last twenty years. I do not have the space to go too deep into my thinking although I have been pondering and talking about this very subject for a few years now. I am looking to stimulate a higher level of principled discussion about how to energize and organize the social forces coming into play at this pivotal juncture in history and how we can rebuild a formidable radical movement in this country.

 

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery

None but ourselves can free our minds.”

-Redemption Song, Bob Marley

 

Our social movement can be schizophrenic about how we treat one another. While we can be a loving, caring bunch of folks, we can also be mean-spirited and self-serving. Whether you call yourself a progressive or a revolutionary, movement forces don’t always live up to our lofty principles. This article will focus on how our movement deals with disruptive, inhumane and criminal behaviors amongst us. It’s time to discover the chakra of redemption as a more humane way of dealing with contradictions. The pre-requisites to redemption are accountability and humility.

Our organizations and social movement have at least two issues going on in the arena of negative behaviors. One is how we deal with self-criticism and criticism, and recognize the importance of integrating the practice in our work styles in a healthy, non-punitive way. The other is the need for an established recourse for when one of our own has done mental, physical, social and financial harm to a person or to an organization in our movement. These two realms are inextricably connected and our movement has dealt with both in a half-hearted, superficial way. Read more

Needed: New strategies for building power

Share

Published in St. Louis American March 14, 2017

Mayor Tishaura Jones? Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
Mayor Tishaura Jones? Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Last week’s mayoral result was like getting a whoopin’ as a kid because of something you weren’t supposed to do. Those whacks across the butt were painful but you could’ve totally avoided them had you chose to do the right thing. You didn’t, and now you’re licking your wounds. The narrow margin of 888 votes between Lyda Krewson and Tishaura O. Jones only makes the results that much more agonizing for the African-American community.

In my February 16 column “Mayoral race exposes lack of leadership,” a few mistakenly thought I was implying that we should only have one African-American candidate in the race. It’s not about the numbers, it’s about our strategy for building political power. If we had 20 black people in the race, it would only prove that at least 20 people were interested in holding that office. That is not a strategy to win. Read more

Organizing in Truth and Power

Share

This is the fourth article of a 7-part series that will focus on the issues in our radical movements that I think need our immediate and ongoing attention. I am using the ancient eastern concept of chakras for the body as a parallel to our movements energy wheel. Healers believe sickness occurs when the bodys chakras are blocked or out of alignment. Likewise, the U.S. Left and our social justice movements need our collective introspection, analysis and adjustments that lead to unblocking our energy/chi points. A weakened Left, and especially the Black Left, have been unable to provide this critical guidance over the last twenty years. I do not have the space to go too deep into my thinking although I have been pondering and talking about this very subject for a few years now. I am looking to stimulate a higher level of principled discussion about how to energize and organize the social forces coming into play at this pivotal juncture in history and how we can rebuild a formidable radical movement in this country.

 

“We’ll never have a real movement without locally rooted, organized bases of people.”

-Respondent, More Than We Imagined Report

 

Organizing. Organizer. These two words have become so diluted and used incorrectly as to render them almost meaningless. Being an organizer is not a self-identification like racial identity. These days you can literally claim whatever race or races you want. Being an organizer is not the same as being a protestor or being an activist. Organizing is not synonymous to mobilizing or protesting. The organizing chakra has been obstructed for too long. It’s past time to unleash the intensity of this chakra and stand back to witness its force.

My intent here is to get us closer to some working definitions and most critical, to understand the “who” we organize and the “how” so that we can make colossal strides towards our strategic goals in this latest configuration of neo-liberalism. Read more