The Art of Revolution: A Critical Review of African Liberation The Art of Revolution: A Critical Review of African Liberation
Real revolutions happen in quiet spaces. A revolution is only a revolution if it remains functional and relevant to the prevailing conditions of those... The Art of Revolution: A Critical Review of African Liberation

A Critical Review of African Liberation

Motherland DVD

BUY Enat Hager (Click)

Real revolutions happen in quiet spaces, Tracy Chapman understood this in her 1988 lyrics; “Don’t you know they’re talking about a revolution; It sounds like a whisper.” The most powerful deals that have determined the path of human history have happened in the quietest non-dramatic spaces far away from populist view. One of our errors as a people, is that we always respond to the loudest bang —the biggest spectacle:

Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy– Malcolm X

And that bang has never been the root of our problems. We like “solutions” in little Tweets, in Facebook status updates, in one-liners, that excuse any accountability, but place the burden of change outside the reader’s ambit. But waiting for instant massive changes is like Venus waiting for the rains to return. Change is in increments, change is in planning, change is in the tangible, and real change is in the changes individuals make. Change is a collection of related actions, all necessary towards a final result, which impacts lives. Like a farmer in the field planting seeds today for a future harvest, using the experience of the past to know where to plant, and how to plant.

Unity without hooks in reality doesn’t stick, and unity and victory will always require degrees of compromise. The hot mouth diatribes are pleasant to the ear, but what is that worth if not realistic? Our liberation will not come in a perfect gift wrapped package, and we must deal with that in discerning what is absolutely essential in a particular moment, and what is not (hierarchy of priorities and concerns). Liberation is not a calendar event in some distant future, it is a process produced only by good works.

People wake up after 50 years of sleep, at 16:42 in the afternoon and realize our world has slipped away, and with shock on their faces ask —”What can we do?”! It is what we should have done; all those little cents necessary to make a single dollar; all those daily deposits in our piggy-bank. But we want 11th hour solutions to 500 year old problems, without actually putting in any consistent commitment. So until Katrina part II, or Trayvon part V, we are going back to sleep in a world WIDE AWAKE! Its like sheep in the slaughtering pen asking each other “What should we do now?”—5 minutes from death. What they should have done, was 2 years earlier made a run for it when they were out blissfully grazing.

A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills–W. E. B. Du Bois


PURPOSE OF REVOLUTION

A revolution is only a revolution if it remains functional and relevant to the prevailing conditions of those it intends to revolutionize. Just like a weather forecast is relevant if it can predicts storms, or a clock only if it keeps accurate time.

The world is a dinner table of diminishing opportunities, but exploitation of these opportunities requires progressive thinking, and an investment in infrastructures. The threshold and standards of work, and the quality of our work ethic become critical in competing in this new world. And in our Pan-African space, unity ultimately means pooling resources and intelligence and taking advantage of every opportunity to advance the majority.

Someone is a master of X, while another person is a master of Y, it is not unity or organization if the resources are unknown, and hence untapped. You do not go into battle without a cavalry, or throw stones at the enemy when someone else knows how to make arrows—but disorganization makes them unknown or unemployed in revolution. And this is just what we do when we organize and only include talkers, and showmen in our line up.

Two people meet up at a conference and are floored by how much they have in common, they talk for hours straight, one works in media one works with an educational project on the ground. 1 + 1 = 2 but they do not know how to add, and never meet again. Our people have a problem putting things together; of seeing opportunities and exploiting them. They know there is something they are suppose to be doing, but cannot get pass the blocks in their mind allowing them to bring these things to fruition.

The lips can do the work, but the body not able

Alexander fought to expand Greece, Saladin fought and conquered Jerusalem. Ben-Gurion fought and stole a nation, Washington fought and got all of America, Ho Chi Minh fought and got back his country from imperialism. We fight and get to use white people’s toilets in America, and shop in their malls in South Africa (feeling cool about being their plantation managers–aka government). So While the Chinese, India et al, are practicing throwing things into Earth’s Orbit (and getting better at it), and Arabs are making sand castles in the sea, we got our “intellectuals” planning another conference; another sit down with the old talkers. The same conference every year for 30 years. This is the only thing they know to do as a response to the globalized world. If this was a race, while the Asian and the European are discussing who will cross the finish line first, the African has not yet heard the starting gun.

Good ways of doing things are universal, and will always return profits regardless of whether you are selling heaven or hell. Marketing is marketing, time keeping is time keeping. Good organizing helps keep your house clean as much as it helped Tuthmosis III win at Battle of Megiddo: Applying the best traditions of efficiency to revolution, make revolution successful. Because the tool that builds nothing is no good to no one.

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will– Frederick Douglass

Hidden behind every great work of art, science, or ideology, is a work-ethos, which creates success. These policies, habits, or principles are equally critical to the things they produce, because without the correct formula no good idea, no great work will come into fruition: Making a great product usually means a great process. If our broader revolution is failing it is very likely that the methodologies, work ethos is critically flawed. We are very good, as a people, discussing ideology, but ideology alone is not even 1/2 the war if our ways of doing things is under developed.

Everyone was interested in joining revolution until they saw the commitment and work involved in real change. (They are committed in-between distractions). Because real work takes a detachment from ego. You cannot get an instant boast like when you post on a Facebook page. So spending months working on an article, or lobbying or starting up a business does not feed the ego like posting some trash and getting a quick response under the delusional rush of “being revolutionary.” Today, there is no patience for the most basic process; it is all about instant gratification, which confirms someone’s self-worth, more than the end result of that work. So as long as someone feels good—regardless of the change—that is what matters most.

If the enemy has guns and you have spears – You have a chance. If they have nukes and you have rocks–You still have a chance. However, if they have unity and you have disunity–there is no hope!

Adinkra Symbol Gye Nyame

We own it, or we do not

They might agree on the need for new economic models and to flush out capitalism, but they cannot then see that starts with research, reading books, discussing, formatting references. No, they want to jump from nothing to a new system like God in Genesis. I mean they cannot even leave Facebook to email someone, but expect some great new world out of thin air. The old people use to say “If you cannot do small, well you certainly will not be able to do big“. It is like if you cannot play a basic musical scale, how on Earth will you play Jimi Hendrix on a guitar? And as it relates to revolution if you still struggling with basic commitments, punctuality, replying to email, organizing the most basic aspects of your life, how on God’s green Earth are you going to run a revolution?

How you look at the world (your paradigms of analysis) will determine the availability of solutions you have for navigating this world. It would be accurate to state if your outlook is severely flawed the available solutions that can be born from that outlook would also be limited. Many of us are stuck with very binary ideas, which do nothing but keep us on the outside of progres. And “progress” is a very clear and unconfusing: Either we make our own clothes, grow our own food, run our own industries– or we do not.


THE TEST

Are you really in the struggle for African liberation? If so you should be able to answer some of these questions:

1. What organization are you working with ? (Ture said organized, so what org are you part of)?
2. Who do we know that you know that can vouch for your track record?
3. Can you take me to a web-page where I can get more information about the things you care so much about, your research –no not your personal Facebook page or someone else’s blog.
4. Can you email your blueprints for victory? The objectives and the game plan?
5. What are you currently supporting? Community projects, films (like this one), Business in the African community, building wells in Africa, educational programs etc. Adult literacy, teaching Swahili.

The African struggle must be recovered from confused and self-centered jokers. And it is time we set up a process to separate the wheat from the chaff.


TYPES OF REVOLUTION

The minute it actually comes down to walking and not talking anymore, the strongest talkers get wobbly knees and buckle under their own rhetoric

  • The Hobbyist- Revolution is a recreational activity, they are interested in it like an old man likes to fish to past the time. They have very low investment in anything, and outcome does not concern them beyond complaining. Because just having ideas in your head and no action leaves the world in its original state.–Unchanged.
  • The Career Revolutionary: It is a job they do, it pays the bills, they lecture about it because they fill that niche and have an audience which supports them. They might be artist who perform inside of African themes for a living. They care about struggle within vulgar self-interest. Victory actually puts them out of work.
  • The Social revolution: Revolution is a social event to re-affirm identity and make them feel included in something. It is like a football club or any other social group. The reward is not from fixing anything but the process and the social rewards of being part of a community
  • The Fake Revolutionary: Revolutionary is only a cover to boast ego, or some harmful desire. They are the lowest form because they destroy the revolution within.
  • The Real Revolution. Is interested in absolute objectives. Victory is of paramount importance. Results are high priority.

BLACK DIAGNOSIS

Large organizations require complex working relationships within clearly defined groups

An inability or unwillingness to form complex working relationships with members of one’s group. If this statement is true, then it explains why we have so many scholars writing books (you really do not need to be good at working with others to do this), It explains why IF we do business it is usually a one-man show (unless we in someone else’s project). We struggle with filmmaking because that depends on complex working relationships. It’s a theory of ours and so far explains a large aspect of our behavior. Large companies like Price-Waterhouse will be way out our reach despite us having equal intelligence and abundance of talent.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

There is one very important thing you need to know about this struggle, perhaps one of the most disheartening things. This struggle is not simply about building schools and libraries, and creating opportunities for African people. If it was just that—fair be fair. But the people you are liberating must want to be liberated. They may say with a passion “I wish we had a library”— Until you build one. “We need films about our history, because the oppressor tells our story”— until you make one. “I wish we had business opportunities”—Until you give it to them! “I wish there was a free website with information about our history and culture— until you point them to one. They are happy saying “I am sick of the White man’s culture, I want to wear my own culture.” Until you show them where to buy it.

Ocacia Ethiopian Clothes online

Habesha Clothes Click to BUY

They are so passionate about change they will always ask “But what can I do for change?” until you tell them where to sign up. And we need to seriously factor in this. The minute you start talking about REAL anything 90% of the people switch off. And we all know why because between a complaint and a course of action; the complaint is so much more colorful as a Tweet or a Facebook status. Between a nuanced complex understanding of what needs to be done, a fiery piece of tired rhetoric moves the heart more.

No one wants to claim being from the stone-age cannibal tribe of drunk layabouts. Everyone wants to be Ancient Egyptian or Ethiopian because they built something. Everyone wants to be descended from Moors of Spain, or Nubian kings and Queens. And likewise today when we see people rejecting African identity, it is usually because we have not made it attractive.


FIGHT THE POWER

So you throw your fist in the air and scream FIGHT THE POWER. Fight the Power was an excellent motivational song by Public Enemy so fist in the air is symbolic of what we did in the 60’s. If a fist is an empowering symbol of the struggle, then why since the 60’s are all the indicators of “Black power” so low? So Now define the power? What about market economies, what do you know about globalization, and industrialization? Not a clue. So what power are you fighting? If you not sure how the world works, how democracies, a chain store, a supermarket, banking system, credit system, judicial systems, capitalist systems work how are you fighting them? Can you fight a flu if you have no idea how it is spread? Can land a plane if you never heard of a plane? So since BPP you still have people content with rhetoric and nothing else. You just deceiving yourself. And because of that, it will be the “Power” forever Fighting you and winning.

The “Power” makes Glock, Smith And Wesson, Ozzi, Beretta, F22, B1 Bomber, welding torches, cell phones, pizza boxes, Rx lens for eyewear, electricity, Space Ships, McDonalds, Coca Cola, Wifi Routers, Facebook, YouTube, Universities, your job– what do you make? So pull the plug out of the wall and see how dark the room just got. Well that is the power, now go and fight it.


60’s REVOLUTION

Hope doesn’t exist without individual change. Change makes hope possible. If we want to remain ignorant of self (history, culture, morals) and do not become nation builders then we steal our own hope. If we fail to instruct our children in honor and dignity then we are the thieves of hope. Be sincere as if Malcolm X was watching over every thoughts, create economies as if Garvey was waiting on us, and fight like if Askia’s armies needed us. The last words of Kwame Ture were “Organize, Organize, Organize.” honor him by doing just that.

Paradigm shift is not a cute phrase at the end of a speech; it is a tangible transformation of work ethic and processes. When the talented 10th among the African nation gather in close session, they must combine their collective central intelligence to formulate, brainstorm, and foster new models and new agendas to challenge the plethora of problems. Understanding each on teach one is central and inescapable in our liberation. A strong foundation a strong work ethic, consistency, dedication and professionalism make light work of heavy task. The future belongs to the bold that are brave and diligent enough to seek out a a new paradigm.

What happened to all those cool hippies that used to hang around us in the 60’s and 70’s smoking pot and listening to Jimi Hendrix and Brothers Johnson? They were down with us and calling us Brother and Dude. You see while we were spitting the rhetoric that defined the era, and dressing hipper than hip, and making cool statements like “The Revolution will not be televised” our “friends” understood at some stage they would commute this rebellion and return to “society.” So they took out the cameras and filmed us; we innocently thought nothing of it. They took out the notebooks and made notes– which became scripts for Blaxploitation and best selling books. So now when we wanted some stock footage of the “struggle,” we had to go and ask all those White hippies. Well they not hippies anymore, they have huge companies in Silicon Valley, they run record companies that sign our desperate and poor artist for peanuts. The hire and fire our “radical” professors of Black studies. And if the revolution is to be televised we need to pay them royalties first. No wonder they had no problem iconizing Black Panthers.


CONCLUSION

If tomorrow we won everything we said we needed to win to be really free, the next day we will have to start another revolution to keep that victory a victory’ especially from ourselves and our own corruption. No victory is permanent. No truce or pact forever. The truth is revolution can never end, as no victory (real or imagined) is permanent.

Africans need a new way of planning which address immediate, short-term, long-term, life-time and cross-generational targets and strategies. if you need to bring in White specialist to fix an engineering problem how does it fit into the above plan? How do you plan to solve this problem on an cross-generational level, or will the same “white experts” solution be applied in 200 years’ time?

Looking at the issues of Pan-Africanism we have far more challenges than appear on the surface. Technical issues and attendance issues as well as long term commitment issues are not limited experiences but global Pan-African realities. So in beating a path to unity means factoring in all these things; not only the obvious; “we don’t unite”. Most issues in our stagnation are tied to education in the broad sense of the word which includes systems of doing things, ability to utilize technology and being generally socialized in a modern working globalized world. Limited funds means limited technology, limited everything. So how does someone without a computer and no car, unite effectively with a CEO of a accounting firm? Socialization is overlooked but it might be even a greater issue than the economic barrier. Even the challenge of talking on Skype proves that people based Pan-Africanism is untested in reality and only an idealistic vision. After 40 plus years of African struggle you will not find much written on the practicality of actual people-based unity.

Only if I had… The only if I had revolution is very appropriate because you can find an issue to indefinitely delay doing any work. Only If I had a million dollars I could open a school in Africa, Only if we could … xyz we could cause a revolution. Work with what we got, win where we can win. Plan across the generations. Every time another group gets success we say it is because they had xy and z. Jews got reparations so that is why they are economically sound – false. With reparations they were able to enhance an already economically sound foundation. Had reparations come and found them in Bling bling, they would have failed to utilize that money, moreover the money would have probably destroyed them. On to the next excuse; “Jew’s Holocaust didn’t destroy their identity” – True. So now we know that lets rebuild ours and get to work. Identify the good, chase out the bad. What is the x y and z that doesn’t depend on our oppressor, Identify it and go and get it.

Mentally how many times can you call people to a unity platform that collapses five minutes after it is formed? And the youth, with their passion, burn out. They expect that in one month they will unite Africa. They believe in the academy of YouTube and weekend scholarship as oppose to ardent research and study. Revolution is multi-prong but they are frustrated (and rightfully so) with the elders slow out-dated pace. However, they neglect work done and end up poorly re-inventing the wheel, not having respect or time to study and reanalyze. Then before they know it they are 50 and the hard rhetoric didn’t build anything. They are frustrated with the process that builds real wealth. They want to snatch the land back but not spend 8 years in Horticultural school – Instant revolutions.

Hope doesn’t exist without individual change. Change makes hope possible. If we want to remain ignorant of self (history, culture, morals) and do not become nation builders then we steal our own hope. If we fail to instruct our children in honor and dignity then we are the thieves of hope. Be sincere as if Malcolm X was watching over every thoughts, create economies as if Garvey was waiting on us, and fight like if Askia’s armies needed us. The last words of Kwame Ture were “Organize, Organize, Organize.” honor him by doing just that.

Paradigm shift is not a cute phrase at the end of a speech; it is a tangible transformation of work ethic and processes. When the talented 10th among the African nation gather in close session, they must combine their collective central intelligence to formulate, brainstorm, and foster new models and new agendas to challenge the plethora of problems. Understanding each on teach one is central and inescapable in our liberation. A strong foundation a strong work ethic, consistency, dedication and professionalism make light work of heavy task. The future belongs to the bold that are brave and diligent enough to seek out a a new paradigm.

Alik Shahadah

Alik Shahadah

‘Alik Shahadah is a master of the Documentary format and progressive African scholar. Shahadah uses film for social revolution.
A multi-award winning recipient including the rare UNESCO award for his critically acclaimed film on slavery 500 Years Later..

He is best known for authoring works, which deal with African history, social justice, environmental issues, education and world peace. He states his primary motivation for making these films was being frustrated with “Tarzan’s voice” as the central narrator in African stories. He noted that while scholarship challenges these issues, the common knowledge of the majority is generally unaltered, writing alone is not enough, the ultimate tool for re-education on a mass level is film

SHOP NOW
*Use code 'AHS' and get 10% discount
Join the African Holocaust Newsletter
Subscribe
Stay Connected