By Da’Shaun Harrison originally published with Wear Your Voice Magazine In October of 2015, I was one of nine Atlanta University Center (AUC) students to protest then-presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton. We were among the first to ever protest Clinton on her campaign trail, and were the largest group to ever do so, which shifted the national conversation around her relationship to Black voters and her complicity in the murders and incarceration of Black folks around the globe—both as a senator and as Secretary of State. Everything we planned logistically was amended the moment we stepped foot in Clark Atlanta University’s gymnasium. Originally part of a VIP list, we hung backstage with various notable Black celebrities with the understanding that we would be able to sit down with Clinton before the rally. That sit down never happened. However, Clinton did take the time to greet and take pictures with every prop—whereby . . .
I feel compelled to write this because I recently listened to a presenter at a conference – in Africa no less – describe Pan-Africanism as “resistance and defiance.” I was like bruh what? Certainly the revolutionary political tendencies from which Pan-Africanism developed could be accurately be described as defiant. And certainly Pan-Africanism as a strategy and an ideology is uncompromising in it’s resistance to colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. However, stopping at such nebulous and emotion-driven descriptors and neglecting to mention clear history when describing Pan-Africanism only serves the purpose of obscuring clear, world-changing – and as yet unmet – political objectives. Because that is what Pan-Africanism is – a political objective: the total liberation and political unification of the entire African continent under scientific socialism. It is a revolutionary response to the dispossession, exploitation, and attempted genocide of African people everywhere. It is Africa’s contribution to the struggle for the . . .
The middle class is the ultimate social construct. What we in the US have been told, in regards to the middle class, is that it is the class between the working classes and the upper classes. The average person in the US has accepted that definition, a definition that is based on income. But that is only part of the definition. It is not even a necessary part of the definition. The most important characteristic of the US middle class is whiteness. The middle-class dream in the US is that you can be not that smart, not that competitive, but somewhat competent and get a house, a car, a spouse, and 2.5 children. It is your birthright, that you should not have to fight for. It is a class of complacency and mediocrity. It is a protected class for whiteness. It is a protected buffer, that will not allow you . . .
Does gentrification hit differently when it’s a Nupe that pushes you out of your neighborhood? Or do the Somali teenagers dodging hellfire missiles after they’ve been declared terrorists for falling into the wrong gender and age brackets in the wrong country at the wrong time feel the #BlackGirlMagic when the dev-ops engineer that keeps the Pentagon’s drone infrastructure humming on AWS is an African woman? Put another way – are African people who are able to find professional and material success within the genocidal global system of capitalism individual examples of what we as a people should aspire to? Do their contradictions weigh less than their representation? And does that representation count as a real contribution toward our struggle for liberation? Afrotech is those contradictions made flesh and an interesting jumping-off point for considering those questions. AfroTech is just what it sounds like: a gathering of Africans in the tech . . .
Fourteen days ago I was in Cuba, one of 160ish people there for the Venceremos Brigade – a solidarity delegation celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The VB was started half a century ago, a first of its kind internationalist mission created by youth living and struggling in the United States who wanted to show their solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. The Brigade has shown up in many sizes and forms over the years but at its core it remains about people to people anti-imperialist solidarity in direct action form. The VB is an act of collective support for Cuba’s right to self-determination and an act of collective defiance against limitations on the free movement of US citizens and the devastating blockade that has stolen billions of dollars from the Cuban economy over the course of generations. In short the Venceremos Brigade is about acting in solidarity with Cuba, learning . . .