Friday, November 11, 2011

Power and Discussion

Where do Black people fit into the Occupy Wall Street Movement? Although most would like to approach the OWS movement with a colorblind view, it's not realistic. There are problems that the Black community has that other ethnic groups don't have. Given that fact, the black community has to find some medium to discuss those problems and brainstorm viable solutions to them. This can't be done within the arena of OWS, or can it? Where there are similar problems we work to solve them with groups affected the same way. Where there are exclusive problems, we deal with them as an exclusive group.

Generally, when black politics are brought up in a racially heterogeneous setting most of those concerns and claims, no matter how legitimate, will be vehemently attacked. If we identify problems and their causes, people say we're complaining. If we identify solutions to our specific problems, people say we are being racist, divisive, exclusionary, and the like. Both types of responses are generally used to beat around the bush of the race issues in economics, politics, and society in general as opposed to dealing with the issue as it is. At least that is the experience that many blacks currently, or at one point, within the OWS movement have observed. The same goes for many who have attempted to present a black social or political platform to a mainstream audience in any setting throughout history. There's no doubt that there are plenty of blacks present at the Occupy protests in various cities. But are any problems native to the Black community being addressed? The short answer would be "No". The long answer is more complex.

The issues being addressed by the Occupy movement have a large impact on the economic and political well-being of the United States as a whole. The solutions that will eventually arise from the movement will undoubtedly have an impact on the Black community, as it will on all communities. But the question is what type of impact will it have? Given the possibilities, we should maintain a strong presence at the protests, general assemblies, and political actions when they are carried out. But to be effective, we must also work to address problems that are specific to our own community. For too long, we have allowed laws in the US to be made ABOUT us and not for us. There is a difference. A law made about black people can have a positive or negative affect. Regardless, it has some degree an intended affect on the black community.

The best way to do that would be outside of the OWS arena, in exchange for one that is more hospitable to the subjects of Black self-actualization and self-determination. But that discussion shouldn’t stay outside of the OWS arena. To ensure the success and widespread acceptance of the solutions to the problems that Black people face, I think it would be most effective to hold 3 different discussions: (1) a discussion on the solutions to our own economic and political problems, (2) A discussion on the solutions to problems of mainstream America that affect our community, (3) A discussion for how we can take advantage of the OWS movement whether our own resolutions pass or fail , and finally (4) A discussion that would involve tailoring our arguments and agenda in such a way that we don’t have to mention “black”, “African”, “African American”, or “minority” that can be presented and discussed in the arena of OWS. The results of the OWS general assemblies and the success of the new resolutions should be recorded and brought back to the independent table of the black community, and the process repeated until the movement ends.

In the end, we should have developed an understanding that these resolutions would benefit us without exclusively mentioning so. These would give our communities leverage by which we could secure enough power to become independent and self-determined as a people. This is how the ruling class has done it for centuries. They only made laws and rules specifically mentioning whites after they had secured enough power to limit intervention. If we expect to survive in the current political and economic climate, we’ll have to learn to adapt and take advantage of the same method. All in all, it would be foolish for us to completely neglect the OWS movement, but also equally ignorant to ignore using the momentum to fuel our own. The Occupy The Hood  movement seems to be heading in that direction.

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