“Revolutionary or Death” is the 2020 biography written about former Black Panther Party (BPP) Minister of Information Leroy “Eldridge” Cleaver. The book was written by Justin Clifford. Eldridge Cleaver without question was an enigmatic figure within the BPP and Clifford attempts to use this biography to show a balanced view of Eldridge Cleaver as insightful and talented while also displaying Cleaver’s brutality and ruthlessness. Most people engaged in studying the history of African liberation movements in general and the BPP in particular already have some understanding of the contradictions within the BPP. Eldridge personified those contradictions. On the positive . . .
Having spent much time navigating my way through the twilight zone that is American Foreign Policy, I feel compelled to share with you all how the cynical (but very real) game of sabotaging and undermining a large African country is played while loudly proclaiming that Black Lives Matter. . . .
If Black masses are semi-colonized, the solution is decolonization. If slavery was merely reformed, slavery must be abolished in all its iterations. The U.S. police are the representation and manifestation of modern-day slave patrols. For these reasons and others, the police must be abolished in their entirety and other carceral institutions as well. . . .
At the zenith of the George Floyd rebellions “radical” Mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, made a theatrical production out of the fact that his hands were tied because the Civil Service Commission, in which he was responsible for appointing members, overruled his administration’s decision to fire the officers. Mayor Lumumba is deserving of a Tony for how he pretended, on stage and on demand, to care about the lives of these Black people, that were snuffed out by the police department over which he presides and has provided cover for since he took office in July 2017. . . .
Universalizing Blackness as a flat experience allows Amazon to proclaim #BlackLivesMatter, create a Black-owned business page but crush the unions organized by its Black workers. It allows the NBA to paint BLM on its hardwoods, highlight Black business during the NBA finals but pay its predominantly Black and temp workers dirt wages. Universalizing Blackness distorts Blackness itself. It is decorating at its worst. . . .
Reggae—roots reggae specifically—is one of many overt cultural manifestations of resistance and radical movements. Though reggae did not directly come out of Africa, its main component, the drums, is a strong and pure African influence. The drums are the very first thing one hears in most reggae songs—and that’s for a reason. The drums are the heartbeat of any reggae song. . . .
The deeper issues are usually traced to colonial economic interactions and the introduction of capitalism in developing countries. There were concerted efforts to build and maintain economic relations, in which the colonies were made into permanent producers of raw materials to satisfy the requirements of metropolitan countries. The established links between the producers and the colonial metropoles meant that colonies became dependent on other countries to purchase and dictate the prices of products. Colonies, as a result, were left without the infrastructure to process the raw materials and only purchased ready-made goods from the associated colonial power. The result was that colonies produced what they did not consume and consumed what they did not produce. . . .
What, then, are we fighting for? I want to open the door to this critical, but absent, conversation around anti-racist organising – the space for such conversations is desperately needed. Indeed, many of the claims about race that I have challenged created a suffocating climate in the last decade in which dissent from shared assumptions and attempts to develop theoretical grounds for solidarity are routinely characterised as ‘anti-black’. . . .