ECONOMICS AND THE KWANZAA SEASON

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (December 16, 2000)

Kwanzaa is an African American celebration based on African agricultural / harvest celebrations and collective principles which contribute to the unity and development of our community in the United States. This is the thirty–fourth anniversary of Kwanzaa and the thirty–first year of the celebration in Chicago.

Kwanzaa was created to introduce African people in America to new values. Kwanzaa is a seven day celebration that is held from December 26 to January 1. These new values are called the Nguzo Saba or the seven principles of Blackness, "if practiced would give them (us) a set of priorities and commitments which would enhance their (our) human possibilities and lead to their (our) 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 enter 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 people in America "to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together." On the fourth day of Kwanzaa, Friday, 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:

Malcolm went on to say that, "the neighborhoods in which you spend your money become 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 economic philosophy of Black Nationalism, Malcolm continues by pointing out:

One important activity African people in America 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:

In this connection, Dr. Williams makes this observation:

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 and I look forward to seeing you during the seven day Kwanzaa celebrations at Malcolm X College, 1900 West Van Buren from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. For further information call 312-850-7082 or 312-850-7492.

Harambee! (Let’s pull together!)

 
National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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