by Mutope Duguma
If we are to survive in the 21st century, we’ve got to get back to who and what we were, not what each of us is destined to be individually. Because in the 21st century, people are moving forward collectively throughout the world. It is the only way we are going to resolve the many problems that plague us as a people.
I introduce this manifesto to all New Afrikans (i.e. Blacks) and any human beings who are SERIOUS about changing the inhumane living conditions that we see the people being subjected to in oppressed, impoverished communities throughout Amerika. It is crucial that we assess our conditions based on what is in our power to do, opposed to what someone can do for us.
We are not beggars, nor are we a weak people. We are simply a people under attack, and our contradiction is how we respond to these attacks. For far too long, we have allowed our lives to be in the hands of others – intellectuals, politicians, pastors, celebrities and professional, well-to-do New Afrikans – when it’s obvious that they have failed us tremendously.
The NAACP, Urban League, Rainbow Coalition, National Action Network and countless other New Afrikan organizations have allowed the local, state and federal governments and corporations to economically deprive our communities and incarcerate our children and adults by the millions who are only trying to survive under inhumane living conditions in extreme poverty in these Amerikan shanty towns and ghettos. And many of these New Afrikan organizations use the New Afrikan peoples’ contradictions to advance themselves but don’t invest one penny of their money into the New Afrikan communities. All they provide is lip service.
It is crucial that we assess our conditions based on what is in our power to do, opposed to what someone can do for us.
Here is a clear example of the greed and selfishness of wealthy New Afrikan people: In 1980, Robert (Bob) Johnson started Black Entertainment Television – BET – and ran it from 1980-2006. The New Afrikan people supported his business idea, turning it into a billion dollar business that he started with $15,000.
The New Afrikan people made it what it was, although it broadcast a lot of stereotypical images and characteristics that exploit New Afrikan people. The good programming promoted loving, enlightened music and social issues in the hood. It challenged the powers that be and honored our people for their accomplishments and talents and service to their communities.
However, greedy Hollywood bigwigs kept Bob Johnson in debt in order to control BET. They overpowered Bob and picked exploitive advertising. These capitalist oppressors blocked Bob from soliciting advertising in the New Afrikan business community to support BET – advertising that could have rightfully paid for the programming and benefited the New Afrikan community.
This is why we were watching advertising that was sexually explicit – promoting sexual enhancement pills or lubricants for men and women. The real money in the advertising industry shut Bob out, and that denied him the funds to produce quality programming. So Bob wasn’t able to expand, being in debt all the time.
For far too long, we have allowed our lives to be in the hands of others – intellectuals, politicians, pastors, celebrities and professional, well-to-do New Afrikans – when it’s obvious that they have failed us tremendously.
He couldn’t pull in more suitable investors, especially with the New Afrikan church on his back, so he went further into debt. See, our oppressors don’t want us to have anything that they don’t have control over.
BET afforded New Afrikans a voice, no matter how small, where young people got to express themselves and show their creativity and talents, because Bob allowed them to drop off their product, and he would showcase their work on BET.
Mr. Johnson sold out without a fight for the people, which could have been a very good learning experience for New Afrikans in this country as to how the 1 percenters economically bully the little guy in order to maintain control over everything. It’s safe to say that Mr. Johnson would have lost, but to fight back against bullies sometimes is better than giving in!
After gaining control of BET, the new ownership reinvented just about everything that Bob wanted to do for BET. It’s important to know that the capitalists pooled their monies to purchase BET, MTV, VH1 and immediately did away with all hip hop videos and the culture of hip hop in the media from a New Afrikan perspective. They also purchased Telemundo, Telefutura and Univision, taking control of Spanish programming as well.
Mr. Johnson sold out for $3 billion and was able to pay off his creditors. It was reported that he and his ex-wife walked off with a billion dollars! I often wonder what happened to all those music videos that were contributed to BET for 20 plus years.
Based on how loyal the New Afrikan people and their communities were to Bob Johnson and his ex-wife, one would think that they would have at least invested something in the oppressed New Afrikan community, creating jobs for those who helped them turn $15,000 into $3 billion. This is what I mean by how the rich use the New Afrikan people to advance themselves at the peoples’ expense.
Therefore, we “poor oppressed people” will control our own fate from now on.
Note that we don’t hold any ill feelings against our people for what they did and didn’t do, because we were all trapped in a vicious cycle of violence based on our ignorance, doing everything contrary to our community development. We will be pressing forward from here on, holding everyone accountable for their lack of dedication and commitment to our struggle, especially the pastors, politicians, celebrities, intellectuals and all New Afrikan organizations claiming to work for our interests.
We “poor oppressed people” will control our own fate from now on.
Our first action will be to identify all New Afrikan politicians in our communities, who are supposed to be working for our interests. We hold them responsible for why our tax dollars are not being directly put back into our communities and what actions are they taking to ensure that these monies are making their way back to our communities.
Our second action will be to identify all the non-profit New Afrikan, civil and human rights organizations who claim to work for us locally and nationally. We hold them responsible for why they are not filing civil lawsuits against local, state and federal government officials and corporations for racially discriminating against New Afrikan communities and for joining in an economic conspiracy to deprive us of a right to life, rerouting funds away from New Afrikan communities.
Our third action will be to identify pastors and their congregations to assess the money that’s being collected and generated in these New Afrikan churches, especially these mega churches, in or around our communities. We want to see what percentages are being invested into our communities, locally, in respect to businesses, schools and financial support for families.
Our fourth action will be to call out New Afrikans who are living way beyond their means, who can easily invest in our people and communities. We want nothing for free from anyone, but we want the right to know who cares and who doesn’t care about our people suffering in these substandard living conditions. This way each would be afforded the opportunity to contribute. Because it makes no sense for over $1 trillion to supposedly go through our hands annually and we can’t find a way to take care of our people.
Our fifth action will be to assess every public school in our local area, and if our children are not receiving an adequate education or if the school environment is deplorable, then we will remove all of our children out of these schools and demand that the schools be closed immediately. How can we expect our children to do better when we send them to run-down, unsafe and inadequate educational institutions? And we won’t return our children to these schools until the problems are fixed. We can educate our own children.
Our sixth action will be to assess the mental and physical health of each and every individual in our local area by literally assigning an individual to each block to evaluate and educate our people about psychic trauma, while identifying those who are suffering in our communities. We know that where there are humans, there are caretakers. Plus we have seen enough of our people suffering to know whether they need help or not. And those that do, we intend to help them.
Our seventh action will be to bring all the strong, able minds and bodies together in our communities to take up responsible roles in helping to rebuild our communities. Each strong individual will be assigned to groups in order to bring them around to what we are doing to build our communities back up. Our goal is to have everyone mentally, physically and spiritually sound.
Our eighth action will be to establish collective exercise every day at certain times chosen by our community leaders. We will all do the same exact exercise. The objective is to bring about collective cohesiveness – harmony – amongst our people. If your work schedule is not in line with our daily exercise, then you can join the after-work exercise, which will be at night.
Amerika has worked a mojo on us: Our people are suffering from obesity, but we can fix this and heal 85 percent of our people from this disease. The exercise will be easy enough that anyone in their 60s can do it. Physical health is crucial for sustaining us as a people.
Our ninth action will be to empower every mother and father in the community, especially the ones who have an alcohol or drug problem, by holding them accountable to their sobriety, in order for us to help them be responsible to their children and to themselves. But our motto will be that we are all mothers, fathers and role models to our children.
Our 10th action will be to build a propaganda machine through social media where our young, savvy, politically-inclined New Afrikan brothers and sisters can protect our people from malicious, racist attacks and the “boot lickers” who tend to criticize and manipulate words in order to serve the capitalist exploiters’ interests against the peoples’ interests.
We also agitate against any New Afrikans who promote anti-New Afrikan sentiments in the media, such as TV, that fuel Black-on-Black hatred, especially individuals who are doing it to sell a reality show where they consciously go at each other to be accepted by their white slave masters for a small fee and 15 minutes of fame at the peoples’ expense.
Our 11th action will be to establish safety and security throughout our community, where there will be individuals responsible for protecting the people and property of the oppressed. Too often we take for granted that there are predators about, preying on our people internally and externally. We want to make sure that our people are safe and secure 24/7.
Our 12th action will be to buy up as much property in our community as possible, because we want to own every apartment complex and house in our community. Therefore, if our people fall on hard times they don’t have to worry about losing their home or apartment. By having control of the property in our community, we secure a roof over our head. We do this by pooling our resources.
Our 13th action will be to rebuild the New Afrikan family by taking in suitable New Afrikan men and women or whoever your love interest is, children to elders. We want the community to be populated with productive members of society. We also know that we have an unfortunate situation, due to the disproportionate gap between men and women in our community.
Therefore, a lot of these relationships will have to be based on the woman’s needs being met in every way, because we have to be realistic about our reality. But what we don’t want is betrayal, which breeds disunity. It’s all about us reclaiming who we are as a people. We will always be inclusive of all human beings, but we have to build the type of communities we want for our people.
Our 14th action will be to protect our interests. We are too talented a people to be living in such poverty. We protect our talent by making sure that our young people are being nurtured as they develop their talents. The reason a lot don’t come back to the community that they were raised in is because of the state of our community.
Hell, the violence alone will be enough to keep someone who is filthy rich away. Our communities have to be safe havens for our talented people, because too often we see our brothers and sisters compromised by the vultures whose whole objective is to make money off of our people. This is stealing money out of the community.
Imagine if all of the money made over the years from sports, baseball, basketball, football, track and field, gymnastics, gospel, R&B, jazz, poetry, hip hop, graffiti, rap, emceeing, break dancing etc. would have been invested into our communities. Imagine!
Then there are the exceptional minds we have in our communities. We have to realize that the people are the value. Therefore, we have to protect our people whether they’re talented or not. When our people leave our community to pursue their career, we want them to be dying to get back to their communities.
Everyone has used our young people to build their economic power, while leaving them destitute. Look at the music that originated with us – some of our own people can’t even sing their own songs they wrote because they don’t own them. Unfortunately, the music industry, as ruthless as it is, has been able to shut them out, while cultivating other talents that were copies of them but look nothing like them.
We are still a talented people; therefore, we can always produce the talent but we have to learn from the Billie Holidays, Muddy Waters and James Browns – the list is long. This time we keep total control of our work. We sell out for no amount of money that takes away our right to express ourselves how we choose to. We want 100 percent ownership of our work – we pay you, not you us!
Our 15th action will be to establish a “decolonization program” throughout our communities to re-educate our people to who they truly are, by educating them to their historical contradictions that are the true cause of their reality today. As descendants of slaves, who grew up on slave plantations as a domestic colonized nation (DCN), none of our people will be truly free mentally until they have gone through a decolonization program, which will give them their true history as to who they are and where they come from.
The decolonization program will also give them a socio-cultural, political and economic understanding as to how we New Afrikans see ourselves evolving in the world based on our ideology, not some flawed belief that derived out of a malignant subculture. Free your mind!
Our 16th action will be to carry out each action with love and respect for our people who’ve suffered enough. Therefore, under no circumstances do we disrespect or use any form of violence against any of our people who refuse to cooperate with our initiatives. If they’re not with it, we use their family and friends to bring them around, especially their parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts.
It is our sole responsibility to bring as many of our people to the table as possible, in order to fight for our right to exist and for self-determination. Our people suffer daily and our objective is to help them, not to hurt them.
Our 17th action will be to reconnect women and men with suitable partners from the inside with the outside. We want every man and woman incarcerated to have a partner to come home to, and we will establish a program that will strengthen relationships of sound commitments between the two of them. Here we will work towards bringing our people home to be productive members within our communities with their chosen partner.
Rebuilding the family unit is crucial for community development. We cannot afford to get caught up in the incarcerated stigma game, where we allow our people to be demonized simply for being incarcerated. Our situation demands that we claim all of our people, leaving no one behind. The local, state and federal governments have over-prosecuted our people throughout Amerika in racist judicial institutions. We build to end our peoples’ suffering.
Our 18th action will be to hold anyone coming to prison for crimes and abuse against the oppressed people accountable once they enter the prison system. We will do this by implementing our non-violent approaches, such as ostracizing them from our New Afrikan prison collective and having them pay for any damages caused by their actions, if repairable, going through an aggressive decolonization program, apologizing for any transgressions.
But for acts of murder against the oppressed poor people of our community, we establish in each community: If any son or daughter commit a murder against the people, they will lose all family support on the outside and are ostracized once they enter the inside or they will have to dedicate the rest of their lives to the peoples’ struggle, in order to get back in favor with the people. Each prison class will be responsible for establishing such a principle inside each of their respective communities and prisons.
Now we understand that our communities are plagued with violence, but 95 percent of this violence is the senseless killings of our people. We aim to end this violence against our people. We want it to be widely known that to transgress or to exploit violence against the oppressed comes with grave consequences.
This is why the community has to stay tied to the inside, so that they can expose those who violated the people in the community. Although the consequences are grave, none are violent – we have no violent form of punishment, because all it does is add to the cycle of violence.
Our 19th action will be to build and manufacture our own that is within our power to do so. We will seek out and call on New Afrikans and others who have the professional skills to teach us how to rebuild and manufacture on our own. Those who are friends and supporters of the New Afrikan people will always be treated with the utmost respect and love.
We don’t care what color they are or where they come from. Whatever they can teach us and assist us with we will accept graciously, and we will pay them for their services afforded to us. Our objective is to get to a place where we can rebuild our families and communities toward becoming independent.
Our 20th action will be to develop a think tank to critically analyze and assess our internal and external contradictions in and out of prisons. This way we are always assessing our situations and developing ways to solve our problems before they materialize. Each and every individual in the think tank has to have strong ties to the community. It can’t be an external think tank but a grassroots one, for and by the people.
Our 21st action will be for every poor New Afrikan family in Amerika to adopt one poor family on the continent of Afrika or in the Afrikan diaspora who are descendants of Afrikan slaves, living in subhuman conditions, because some of us here in Amerika at times negate that our struggle is both national and international. We also happen to be disconnected, which is understandable based on our struggles here in Amerika, but we have to get back to doing what is meaningful and beneficial to our people.
We spend money unwisely, money that can literally help our people out of very horrible living conditions. For example, when we purchase something such as a pack of cigarettes, jewelry, excessive shoes and clothes, which we tend to do socially on a regular basis, we have to realize that these monies can make the difference between life and death for our Afrikan brothers and sisters in many places throughout the world.
In undeveloped countries, our people are living on 50 cents to one dollar a day, so money becomes very valuable to someone living in more dire conditions. Now this doesn’t mean that we are well off, because we are far from it. Our poverty is just as real as theirs overseas, but we are dealing with a different level of poverty.
Theirs happens to be an extreme case of poverty, where they are deprived of water, food and housing. This is why you have just about every oppressed group living in Amerika of all races sending back money to their mother country. This will allow us to rebuild new bonds with our people who are suffering all over the world, while helping them out at the same time.
Unfortunately for us, our situation is a bit different due to our historical contradiction, i.e. slavery, where we were cut off from our ancestors and our mother country. Therefore, we will establish a direct line of communication with our adopted families. This way we will avoid the scams and cons out there lurking about.
The People of Family Services – PFS – will be responsible for laying out the functional applications for each of these 21 initiatives in this manifesto. Who are the People of Family Services? They are incarcerated New Afrikan prisoners who are politically conscious – jailhouse lawyers, political prisoners, prison activists etc. – men and women who are committed and dedicated to the rebuilding of the New Afrikan people, families and communities as well as other oppressed human beings on the planet. They are held in modern day slave plantations – prisons – all over Amerika.
It should be clear that it is up to us, the poor, who suffer day in and day out each and every day of our lives. To the mothers and the fathers whose sons and daughters are being gunned down in the streets throughout Amerika, the young innocent brothers and sisters out on the streets of Amerika struggling in these impoverished conditions in hoods called the ghetto, or the grandmother who’s taking care of her grandbabies on pennies, or the drug user, alcoholic or dope pusher, pimp, gangster, hustler, welfare recipient, homeless, prostitute, strippers and the incarcerated, we call on you to be the leaders of your own liberation.
It should be clear that it is up to us, the poor, who suffer day in and day out each and every day of our lives. We call on you to be the leaders of your own liberation.
We know that no one in a suit and tie is trying to get their knees dirty nor are they in these streets willing to address the ongoing poverty and despair that we face daily in our lives. Therefore we’ve got to do this ourselves, just as we’ve pulled up all the energy that has allowed us to survive thus far in these streets and prisons.
As I previously said, many generations have been lost and the same song keeps playing over and over. It’s time for some new grimy tunes that the people can feel, tunes that set the mood for real change for the people who are directly affected by the state sponsored oppression of our people.
This is a poor peoples’ movement. The Happy N_____s living in their mansions, driving their Benzes, have no concern with the peoples’ suffering, and this is something we have to realize by all means. We don’t hate them for it, we just remember who they are.
And those who do step up to assist our struggle, we love and respect them for coming to their people’s aid.
All power to the oppressed people of the world!
Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, PBSP SHU D2-107, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.