The Challenges for Independent Revolutionary African Media

Very recently, the Hood Communist Collective (an independent revolutionary African blog source) came up against the demand for $600.00 USD to pay for our domain name.  In our bi-weekly team meeting, we discussed chipping in to raise the money before the suggestion came up about fundraising within our communities to raise that money.  We decided to embark upon that suggestion and literally within an hour of launching an internet crowdsource requesting donations, we had raised the entire amount needed.  As for my book, A Guide for Organizing Defense against White Supremacist, Patriarchal, and Fascist Violence, the book has sold in the thousands without a single cent being spent on advertising.  Awareness about the book is being spread 100% through word of mouth.  These are outstanding examples of collective African self-determination and although these examples provide solid proof of our capacity and potential, I doubt anyone can disagree that this type of support for these mediums doesn’t occur nearly as often as it should.

Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) was fond of saying often that “capitalism will make what should be absurd seem normal and what should seem normal absurd.”  His statement makes absolute sense because the capitalist system was built and is maintained on the mass suffering of the majority of people on earth as well as the complete destruction of the planet itself.  These are the natural consequences of a system (capitalism) where money is more important than people.  So, Kwame’s logic explains why the reality exists where genuinely valuable independent revolutionary African ideas and analysis is virtually nonexistent to the majority of our people while completely insignificant and useless analysis coming from bourgeoisie and celebrity culture is held in the highest esteem in our communities.

Without a broad, independent, revolutionary, African analysis, our people are left with the dominantly petit-bourgeoisie narratives existing unchallenged.  A dysfunctional example of this is the belief that the majority of our people’s problems result from our lack of discipline and effort and have nothing to do with this backward system.  Another example is the belief that we can rise out of our oppression strictly through individualistic efforts when we know that only the masses of people make history, not individuals, but so is the logic of capitalism.  A logic that is without question dominant and this is why our independent revolutionary African voices are so important because they provide our people with a healthy foundation that rejects the logic of capitalism.  We tell our people that the only thing wrong with us is that we have not organized to eliminate this backward capitalist system that is maintained on exploiting us and our mother Africa.  The latter analysis combats the attacks against us and provides us the inspiration that we can and will win which permits us to take responsibility for solving our problems ourselves.

It’s important to highlight the contrast of independent, revolutionary African voices from African voices that sprinkle in some elements of African nationhood (petti-bourgeoisie nationalism).  The latter are provided vast platforms because their analysis in no way attempts to challenge the hegemony of the capitalist system.  Examples of this are people like Umar Johnson in the U.S. or Julius Malema in Azania (South Africa) who rail incessantly against Europeans, saying some things that make sense, but never saying anything to confront capitalism as a system of oppression.  This is what is meant by independent and revolutionary analysis and media i.e. the intellectual thrust that seeks to get us to think and act beyond the parameters of the capitalist system that is oppressing us.  For people with more sophisticated understandings of class struggle within the capitalist system, you can recognize that this backward system will embrace the rhetoric of people like Johnson and Malema, despite anything they say that can be perceived as anti-European (white), before this system will ever provide a platform to African revolutionaries advocating the overthrow of the capitalist system.

This is the reason that it’s so imperative for the African masses to support independent revolutionary African analysis and media.  Since the success of the worldwide African revolution depends 100% on the consciousness and participation of the African masses, without that support, those voices will die.  Every revolutionary and independent African writer, activist, organizer, artist, knows this is true.  At no point in history have we been able to trust the whims of the European left for anything besides additional emotional labor so we know that our ability to sustain ourselves certainly cannot rest with them, even if they are providing significant support (which has never happened and most likely never will).  So, the onus is on the African masses to claim what rightfully belongs to us and for us to decide that our voices are our responsibility.  That means that it is imperative that the masses of African people take it as their responsibility to spread the word about independent revolutionary African analysis/media on an ongoing and consistent basis.  That our people support these mediums in whatever way is needed.

African people should willingly do all of those things because it is these independent revolutionary African voices that provide the perspective of things happening in the world from a healthy revolutionary African perspective that isn’t tainted or co-opted by capitalist dollars.  Therefore, these voices provide the serum to our people that help us determine the best route for us to do what’s always best for our people and humanity.  Without these independent revolutionary African voices to provide that much-needed resource, our people are left to the capitalist media, schools, and other institutions which have but one objective as it relates to our people – enslavement and/or death. 

From W.E.B. DuBois with “the Crisis” and Marcus Garvey and “The Negro World” etc., in the 1920s to the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP), Black Alliance for Peace (BAP), and Hood Communist, etc.,  in 2021, our people have never stopped pushing back against the reactionary and racist narratives coming from the capitalist system about us and we never will.  There are numerous independent revolutionary African voices out here today from the ones just mentioned to the Pan-African Congress of Azania (PAC), the Azanian People’s Organization (AZAPO), African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau (PAIGC), Amilcar Cabral Ideological School (ACIS), Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), Haiti Action Committee, Black Power Media, and others.  What’s absolutely essential is that African people grab ahold of whichever source best represents your political outlook and then make it your responsibility to make sure as many people as possible know about that source.  Of course, the best way to do this is to join those organizations and become a part of their propaganda work, but either way, we must develop the level of enthusiasm about these resources that our people generate about Jay Z, Beyonce, Nick Cannon, and other people who contribute absolutely nothing to the forward progress of our people. 

Especially with the internet, there is certainly no excuse for anyone to say in 2021 that they do not know how to find these independent revolutionary African voices.  These voices can be found just by simply typing in topics like Pan-Africanism, white supremacy, Zionism, or patriarchy, Cuba, Haiti, etc.  The A-APRP alone has about a half dozen weekly and monthly broadcasts on a number of issues impacting the African masses that can be found easily on Youtube and Facebook.  The A-APRP, BAP, Black Power Media, PAC, AZAPO, and Hood Communist can all easily be found by just Googling those names in English so unless someone just has no internet skills whatsoever, all of these sources are easy to find.  Please find them and tell a friend about them.  Tell two friends.  Tell ten friends.  And donate to them and support them in every way possible.  Also, don’t continue to ignore the best way to provide support is by joining these entities in order to dedicate yourselves to making them stronger on a systemic level.  For anyone who claims to love African people and wants us to be free, for now, this is probably the most essential and necessary work needed.

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Ahjamu Umi is revolutionary organizer with the All African People's Revolutionary Party, adviser, and liberation literature author.