SELF-DETERMINATION AND NATIONALISM
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (November 18, 2004)
In order for the African Community in the United States of America to continue our fight for self-determination and dignity, it is important that we remind ourselves of the nature of the American dynamic.
Essentially, and at the foundation of the American-European dynamic, is the fact that it is made up of many nations who migrated to this country and continued to fight for, and develop their national interest, inside this country. At the same time they maintained their economic, political, cultural, and social relationships with their country of origin.
We can witness this phenomenon on a daily basis by just taking a quick glance at the national / ethnic group practices and beliefs of the Jews, Poles, Irish, Italians, Germans, Swedes, Greeks, French, etc., and how they have consolidated their political and economic power in America. They have all done this through their nationalistic unity on the fundamental life giving and life sustaining issues that affect their interests.
In other words, they have maintained a strong sense of where they came from, who they are, and where they are going. This formula has been at the heart of their historical efforts to acquire power in America. We can observe this same trend among the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Jordanians, and Palestinians, who are the new national / ethnic groups in America. In fact, the Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Spanish speaking national / ethnic groups are following this same pattern. They are fighting for nationalism in America without calling it that.
When African in American people talk about nationalism, we are often charged with being racist or anti-white. However, the historical record demonstrates clearly that nationalism has been the primary method by which every national / ethnic group has achieved and maintained power.
Harold Cruse describes this dilemma of the African in American Community, in this country, in his most profound analysis of our movement in his book, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual. Cruse framed the American dynamic in this manner when he said, On the face of it, this dilemma rests on the fact that America, which idealizes the rights of the individual above everything else, in reality, is a nation dominated by the social power of groups, classes, in-groups, and cliques both ethnic and religious.
He goes on further to explain that, The individual in America has few rights that are not backed up by the political, economic, and social power of one group or another. Therefore, Cruse states, the individual [Black person] has, proportionately, very few rights indeed because his ethnic group (whether or not he actually identifies with it) has very little political, economic, or social power (beyond moral grounds) to wield.
It is so clear that every national / ethnic group understands their political, economic, and cultural interest. It is so natural for them to function in a nationalistic manner in their struggle to acquire and maintain power. The African Community in the United States of America has not fully conceptualized and reached a consensus on our nationalistic agenda. Many of us function as if we are scared of really acting out what we really know, for fear of being called racists.
We need to stop denying our own reality. Being called racists because we believe in, and will fight for, the interests of our race with undying loyalty should become the most honorable badge of courage in our community. We should get off this defensive trip when we fight for the interests of our people, African people, and some other national / ethnic group calls us racist. We should know by now that this is a tactic to sway us away from the path of acquiring power.
As the Houston Chapter of NBUF has proclaimed, The great challenge put before African people is the lesson of history like the African proverb which says, When the elephants fight, the ground gets trampled. Unfortunately, no matter who is fighting or not fighting we seem to remain trampled or specters at the feast on the world stage. We should unashamedly devote the majority of our time, energy, and resources opposing those things that impact us the most, beginning with the continuing war against us which began in 1455.
Its called nationalism! Lets continue our nationalism by continuing to build the Reparations Movement in America.
National Black United Front (NBUF)