Thank you for visiting Alt-Black.com. This second thought paper, "Forward to Alternative Black Nationalism" was drafted for a singular purpose; to initiate a project that begins to renovate Black Nationalism as a potent ideological, cultural and political force.
First articulated as a doctrine by Martin Delaney in the tumult of the pre-Civil War era, Black Nationalism has accrued a long and complex history. Its insistence that Black people constitute a distinct national formation with the right to determine their own destiny made it a subversive enemy of the state. For more than a century it has been the principal political combatant challenging the integrationist, civil rights and Black Democrat establishment (The Tabernacle).
Since Delaney encouraged Blacks to emigrate to Africa to form the nation-state of Liberia in 1862, Black Nationalism has evolved through several iterations. It was subsequently championed by Marcus Garvey's Back to Africa Movement in the 1920's, religious Black separatists like the Black Moors and the Nation of Islam since the 1930's, and by Cultural Nationalists, Revolutionary Nationalists, Black Marxist, Afro-Centrists and Pan-Africanists in the 1960s.
In the aftermath of the Black Power movement, Black Nationalism was all but dismissed as a spent political force along with the other "isms" of the times (Anarchism, Socialism and Communism). Assigned to a garden of remembrance, the "Heresy" languished in political obscurity the next forty years until Barak Obama's presidential election in 2008, pushed it to the brink of irrelevance. America was heralded as having reached the summit of enlightened western democracy--an egalitarian post-racial society.
But Obama's election was not the harbinger of an advanced multi-racial society. The arc of moral universe may be long but it does not bend toward justice in America. Instead, it provoked a long train of racial abuses. Obama was labelled a foreign born Muslim. A spate of brutal high profile police murders of Black youth blighted the nation. Then came the election of Trump, an ignorant, unstable, racist demagogue. The rise of the Alt-Right and the pitched street battle in Charlottesville in 2017, put an exclamation point on America's return to what W.E.B. DuBois called "the problem of the color line."
Along that color line, national passions on Beale Street (The Black Street) were inflamed. The non-violent fightback led by the millennial reformist "Black Lives Matter" movement, stood in sharp contrast to the intense and sometimes violent protests to Michael Brown's murder by police in Ferguson, Missouri, and the street rebellion in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray.
When the lone gunmen, Micah Johnson and Gavin Long took down seven police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge in 2016, the FBI responded by ramping up a new counter-intelligence program. Labelling Black Nationalists as "Black Identity Extremists" (BIE's), the report defined BIE's as individuals engaged in acts of force or violence "motivated to attack law enforcement officers" in response to perceived racism and injustice in American Society. These attacks, it claimed were in "furtherance of establishing a separate black homeland or autonomous black social institutions and communities." Under the guise of fighting domestic terrorism, the FBI targeted Black groups that hadn't committed any violent acts against law enforcement, and began surveilling individuals who protested against police violence.
Suddenly, Black Nationalism was thrown back into the dock of adverse public opinion. At its worse, the "Heresy" was a hornet's nest of domestic terrorism, at best, the moral equivalent of White Nationalism.
The Deep States' attacks of Black activists in the name of Black Nationalism raises the question of the state of Black Nationalists forces. A canvas of the national political topography reveals that many self-identifying Black Nationalists forces are veterans of 60's Black Power movements. This includes former Nation of Islam supporters, rebranded as 2.0 versions of the Black Panthers. Other groups on the spectrum comprise a handful of gun clubs and Black militias. Hovering on the margins of Black Nationalism are separatist religious groups representing Black Hebrew-Israelites and Black Moors.
The most organized Black Nationalist that have weathered the wilderness years since the sixties are from the old Revolutionary Nationalist-Pan Africanist wing. This tread is represented by the writers and activists coalesced around the BlackPoliticalReport.com website, the Pan-Africanist African Peoples Socialist Party and former followers of the Republic of New Africa. On the whole, these groups represent a radical anti-capitalists, anti-imperialist war, pro-self-determination wing of the Black Nationalist movement supporting an independent black homeland.
As the older generation of veterans who experienced the practical revolutionary battles and theoretical struggles that raged in the sixties, they have profound contributions to make to rebuild and renovate the Black Nationalist movement. One way of viewing the challenge of the radical Black Nationalist trend is assessing its impact on the millennial based resistance movements like Black Lives Matter, who by default are politically and ideologically following in the footsteps of the civil rights establishment. Being impactful in this instance means contending for influence and diverting young minds away from radical reform to a more radical path in pursuit of Black- self-determination.
At the same time, Black Lives Matter and other Black millennials have much to teach the Black Nationalist old guard. Founded by three women in 2013, BLM's promotion of women, LGBTQ, and transgender leadership has changed the culture of the new Black Liberation Movement. Building on a forty-year tradition of revolutionary and radical Black Feminism. Black Lives Matter's critique of the sixties Black Power Movement tendency to be dominated by a single charismatic leader, hurt the movement when those leaders were assassinated or neutralized. In contrast, BLM has opted for a decentralized leadership model, giving political agency, autonomy and flexibility to its forty chapter members. Again, we can't stress enough the cultural change and implications this has for the future.
At this time radical, revolutionary and alternative Black Nationalist forces should consider combining their collective strengths to establish a recognizable center of Black Nationalism; one with real and growing ties to Black communities and a theory of radical change. Even on the ubiquitous internet, Black Nationalists and the Black Left are difficult to locate. Such is the attenuated state of Black Nationalism.
This is the reality of our times. What is required now is a fundamental rebuilding of the Black Nationalist movement. We are not starting from zero, but we are behind. As much as we would like to reconstruct Black Nationalism brick by brick, the pace of events demand that we accelerate our efforts to match the moment.
"Forward" begins this process by re-establishing the underpinnings that have been foundational to Black Nationalism's historical record. Building on that foundation, "Forward" proposes "Alternative Black Nationalism" (ABN) as a course correction. To steer ABN on it's new course, "Forward" articulates a set of principles on self-determination, reform versus revolutionary change, the role of Black intellectuals, culture, and coalition building.
Alt-Black.com invites you to join the "Heresy." As always, we welcome your criticism and comments.
Foundations of Black Nationalism (ABN)
Defining Black Nationalism
Black Nationalism as an ideology, espouses the belief that Black people are a historically constituted nation in the United States, with a common language, culture, customs, and historical relationship to the land. Black nationalist activism has evolved around social, political, cultural and economic empowerment of the Darker Nation. Its vertical goals have ranged from resisting assimilation into the dominant white American culture in favor of maintaining black identity, to calls for an independent Black nation-state inside and outside the United States.
Alt-Black.com recognizes the formation of a captive Black nation within the United States. During the era of involuntary servitude, diverse African ethnic identities were melded in a single nation (albeit captive) in which Blacks acquired a common language, culture, customs and relationship to the economic system. This historically constituted process of forging a Black nation within the United States, occurred in the geographic space dominated by Southern slavocracy.
Self-Determination upholds the right of nations, nationalities and ethnic groups to develop their cultural, political, and economic systems free from domination and outside influence. The use of political and military power or people's armies to win self-determination for oppressed and exploited people are just struggles, and often necessary to achieve independence and sovereignty.
Although thousands of Blacks exercised self-determination after the Civil War by emigrating to Liberia, four million Black freedmen were never in a position to demand or negotiate remedies and remuneration for the abomination of slavery. The 13th Amendment legally abolished slavery, just as it legally made Blacks second class citizens for the next 100 years. Thus, Civil Rights legislation was required in the 1960's to enforce the amendments made to the Constitution made 100 years earlier.
In the era of imperialism, the Darker Nation could more accurately be regarded as subjects of American Empire than citizens of the United States. Like the conquered people of the Roman Empire, who were divided into classes of citizenship with graduated rights, the Darker Nation's citizenship status in the Cathedral (America) is provisional. It is subject to amendment and emergency legislation at any time.
"Forward's" position is that the Darker Nation has never exercised its right to self-determination, and fully maintains that right. It is not necessary to prove that the Darker Nation is an "oppressed nationality" with all the attendant metrics of racial, judicial and economic disparity to substantiate its standing as a disadvantaged national minority. If all Blacks were middle-class today, we would still be entitled to the right to self-determination.
Reaffirmation of Black Nationalism as an Ideology
Alt-Black.com re-affirms that Black Nationalism remains a valid and essential ideological vector to guide, sustain and propel the re-generation of the Darker Nation.
Black Nationalism as a Political Trend
"Forward" envisages Black Nationalism as an evolving political trend that retains its dynamic character while maintaining the elasticity to embrace a broad universe of views and sentiments. The seeds of Black Nationalism's regeneration are visible today in the emerging Black alternative cultural breakouts of Afro-Punk and Afro-futurism.
Upgrading Black Nationalism as an Ideology and Political Trend
The resurgence of Black Nationalism is contingent upon upgrading its political software which requires discarding some of the political baggage it acquired in the 60's. Black Nationalism must be made contemporary and relevant to our real-time struggles. It must articulate a realistic but bold vision of the Darker Nation's future.
The Conceptual and Programmatic Link between Black Nationalism and Self-Determination
Black Nationalism and self-determination are interlocking realities. Black Nationalism must establish the intimate connection between the two, and craft a clear conceptual baseline of self-determination as its goal.
Principles for a New Black Nationalism
The emergence of a renovated Black Nationalism anchored in a definitive set of principles will constitute a new trend: "Alternative Black Nationalism." If Black Nationalism's shortcomings and errors--especially those that occurred in the Black Power era of the 1960's-- are not corrected, it risk degenerating into an ersatz militant program for social reformism.
Forward to an Alternative Black Nationalism
Building a movement to support the exercise of Self-Determination for the Darker Nation.
The central task of the Alternative Black Nationalists movement is positioning the Darker Nation to assert and win its political demands for self-determination should a constitutional crisis, economic crisis or military defeat of U.S. forces, lead to the collapse of government.
Exercising self determination can take many forms or a combination of forms depending on the organizational and political strength of Black Nationalist forces and the demands of the Darker Nation. Self-determination can be exercised by establishing an independent Black Nation state on the America's land mass, creating Black autonomus regions connected to a new central government, reparations, independent Black city-states, or full partnership in a multi-racial state.
Accomplishing this goal means the "Heresy" must win the support of a sizable minority of the Darker Nation and the sympathy of its majority. It also means that Alternative Black Nationalists must accumulate sufficient strength to play a leading, if not the leading role in a coalition of forces who share the goal of restructuring the government on an entirely new economic, cultural and political foundation.
Developing a cadre of new alternative Black intellectuals to formulate vanguard political strategy.
For Alternative Black Nationalists to grow and play a leadership role, it must attract a cadre of intellectuals that develops political theory to guide its movement. This cadre must include intellectuals from various fields like economics, sociology, culture, foreign policy and other fields that allows the "Heresy" to develop an integrated comprehensive analysis.
Alternative Black Nationalist intellectuals must also develop a revolutionary strategy that contemplates the "Heresy" playing the leading role in a coalition of forces that challenges the Fountainhead (America's ruling class). This type of analysis will require ABN intellectuals to develop a class, racial and economic analysis that includes how they impact different forces who will potentially enter the fray against the ruling elite.
During the radical and revolutionary upsurges of the 1960's, revolutionary and Black Power advocates were unable to develop a comprehensive battery of these analytical tools.
Opposed to Black supremists and racist ideology.
Alternative Black Nationalism completely rejects Black supremacist views, whether they are race, nationality or religiously based.
Opposed to sexism, patriarchy, and gender exclusionary.
Alternative Black Nationalism agrees with the critique that the Black Nationalist, Black Power and the Civil Rights Movements have been dominated by sexist and patriarchal ideology and practices. As a result, women, LGBTQ, and transgender people have been denied leadership roles in the broad-based movements within the Darker Nation.
Alt-Black.com encourages and welcomes the full participation by all members of the Darker Nation at al levels of the struggle for self-determination.
Support for legitimate peoples struggles against imperialist and globalist systems, in particular the imperial system of American Empire.
Alternative Black Nationalists support self-determination for all nationalities that are forcefully denied the right to form sovereign states or autonomous entities.
Support the emerging Black Alternative Cultural Movement anchored in the indigenous Black ethnic experience in the United States. (The Surge)
ABN will support, defend and promote all alterative Black cultural artist, writers, musicians, actors and others producing progressive and alternative cultural works. The "Heresy" recognizes the new Black Atlernative Cultural Movement as a harbinger of a revived Black Nationalist breakout.
ABN is opposed to America's consumer driven, mass-produced culture that promotes individualism, patriarchy and sexism. It also actively opposes cultural appropriation of Black and other people of color's artistic works.
For an Alternative Black Nationalists movement to base its efforts in our historical Black cultural realities, it must be rooted in the Black ethnic amalgam as it has evolved. That ethnic amalgam takes into account African cultural influences transported to the United States during the era of slavery, and that have become embedded in Black culture. ABN does not believe Afro-Centrism and "Cultural Nationalism" which emphasize African-centered values and practices captures the cultural realities of the Darker Nation in the United States.
Some Concluding Thoughts
Since arriving on North America's shores Black people have seized every opportunity that presented itself to determine their own destiny. Blacks fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War with the Continentals and the British, each promising them freedom in exchange their service.
Blacks soldiers fought with British against the U.S. in the War of 1812. Units of the Colonial Marines participated in the burning of Washington, D.C. Once freed for their service, the Colonial Marines, along with 4000 other Black slaves established free communities in Nova Scotia, Canada and Trinidad that still exist today. Black soldiers turned the tide of the Civil War for the Union. When slavery was abolished, Blacks emigrated to Africa to help establish the nation-state in Liberia in 1862.
Between 1922 and 1924, Marcus Garvey and his U.N.I.A.'s Back to Africa movement, had between 4 to 8 million followers, and one million dues paying members. Despite the serious flaws in Garvey's political program and faulty business practices, no Black organization in U.S. history has matched Garvey's organizing juggernaut. And finally, the Black Power and Black Arts movements, occurring against the backdrop of over 200 uprisings on Beale Street in the 60's, rocked the nation at its core. More importantly, the sixties established the capacity of Black Nationalists, despite all their shortcomings to lead not only the Black community, but to inspire and lead a broader spectrum of radical and revolutionary forces.
Today's gathering political storms will be far greater than the sixties. So will the dangers and the opportunities for Alternative Black Nationalism. Ensuring that our movement is guided by real principles and critical analysis is the most important responsibility we have to prepare for the future.