By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (November 22, 2001)

Kwanzaa is an African in America celebration based on African agricultural celebrations and collective principles that contribute to the unity and development of our community in the United States. This is the thirty-fifth anniversary of Kwanzaa and the thirty-second- year of its celebration in Chicago.

Kwanzaa was created to introduce to African people in America to new values. Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration that is held from December 26th to January 1st. These new values are called the Nguzo Saba or the seven principles of Blackness, which, "if practiced would give us a set of priorities and commitments which would enhance our human possibilities and lead to their liberation and a higher level of human life."

The United States economy is suffering from the white supremacy arrogance of centuries of brutal exploitation of the world’s resources and its people.

This era of United States history demands that African people in America place a greater degree of emphasis on our collective economic salvation. Once again, the old truth that "Black people are the last hired and the first fired," is surfacing itself throughout the major employment centers in this country.

Given this economic crisis, the Kwanzaa season helps us place the question of economics on the agenda of our struggle. The eradication of our economic slave condition must continue to be a major challenge as we throughout the twenty-first-century. It cannot be stated enough that we are far too dependent on Europeans and Asians for our food, clothing, and shelter.

The principle we commemorate during the Kwanzaa season that speaks to this issue is Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics). This principle encourages African American people "to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and others business and to profit from them together." On the fourth day of Kwanzaa, Saturday, December 29th, this principle is celebrated.

In this regard, it is important, once again, to state Malcolm X’s economic philosophy of Black Nationalism. Malcolm said:

"We must be re-educated to the importance of controlling
the economy in which we live by owning and operating the
business in the community we live in and developingsome
industry that will employ our people so we won’t have to
boycott and picket otherpeople in other communities to get
a job. We must understand the importance of spending money
in the community in which we live."

Malcolm went on to say, "the neighborhoods in which you spend your money become richer and richer and the neighborhoods in which the money is taken out of becomes poorer and poorer. This creates slums— all the wealth leaves."

Finally, speaking on the topic of the economic philosophy of Black Nationalism, Malcolm continues by pointing our,

"Even when we try to spend money in our own community we don’t.
Business is controlled by outsiders who don’t live in the community
because we don’t know the importance of owning and operating
businesses ourselves. So money leaves the community in a basket
at sundown. We must control our own economy."

One important activity African American people should practice during the Kwanzaa season is doing business with each other, thus, continuing this practice throughout the year.

In next to the final chapter of Dr. Chancellor Williams’ classic book, The Destruction of Black Civilization, he addresses the issue of "Organizing A Race For Action."

Dr. Williams explains that this organizing for racial action should have as a major component "The Division of Economic Planning and Development." He explains that,

"The Division of Economic Planning and Development should be the
foundation of the organized efforts and a principle source of support
and promotion of the most important activities of the whole race. A
guiding principle should be that all promoted community enterprises
shall be cooperatively owned and controlled by the people of the
community and that each enterprise be highly trained management
and competent service personnel."

In this connection, Dr. Williams makes this observation.

"The second great understanding should be that economic activities
are so fundamental in any truly upward movement, so clearly
indispensable at this stage in history, that it should be unnecessary
to state it even."

If we are ever to become a free and independent people, we must organize the race for action. The Kwanzaa season is a good place to start. I look forward to seeing you during the seven day of Kwanzaa celebrations, at Malcolm C College, 1900 West Van Buren. For more information call 3120850-7082 or 312-850-7492.

HARAMBEE! (Let’s pull together!)

National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)

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