Confiding in the People's Struggle
by Larry Pinkney (no relation to Rev. E. Pinkney)
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.”
-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
The greedy elite have for centuries plundered the resources of Mother Earth for the benefit of the few - at the expense of the many. The 21st century demands a seismic, uncompromising mental and physical change away from this endless pimping and bloodsucking of the everyday peoples of this nation and planet.
Decent housing, jobs, education, judicial justice, and medical care are human rights - not privileges. They are rights due every human being, not merely a privileged, elite few. The denial of any of these rights is an egregious and intolerable act of injustice which must not be tolerated, no matter what guise, pretext, or rationale is used to justify or enforce it.
As conditions rapidly decay for everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this nation and throughout the world, the integral systemic economic and political contradictions continue to manifest themselves, as mirrored by enormous suffering coupled with the simultaneous avariciousness of the U.S. corporate / military elite.
There are some who arrogantly, ignorantly, and/or smugly argue that people are poor and disenfranchised due to some innate flaw within themselves. Such an argument is nothing more than a cynical rationalized veneer for the continued callous exploitation by the few of the overwhelming majority of earth’s human inhabitants. If indeed there is any such flaw, it is to be found within the wealthy elite themselves whose appetite for personal power and wealth is all-consuming, boundless, and absolutely insatiable. In fact, the vast majority of people who are poor and/or disenfranchised are deliberately kept in this condition by a relatively tiny national and global elite who economically benefit from the misery and suffering of the masses of everyday people. To deny this is to deny reality.
Economic justice, or the lack thereof, is inseparable from political and social justice. Without economic justice, which is a human right, there can be no political or social justice. It is urgent to grasp this connection. The wealthy elite have long understood and exploited this reality to the detriment of everyday people of all colors. It is incumbent upon everyday people to quickly make this connection and to act accordingly in our best collective interests.
Despite the incessant prattling of disinformation and obfuscation by the corporate-stream, self described “news” media, the hard truth is that within the last two years, everyday people in this nation have been, and continue to be, the targets of an intensified and sustained assault upon our economic, political, and social human rights. This assault is being carried out by the U.S. corporate-government at the behest of its military / corporate masters under the guise and in the dubious name of “reform.” The only effective antidote to this assault is our own intensified and sustained everyday people’s struggle - for complete systemic change.
The people’s struggle in this 21st century must go well beyond the 20th century boundaries of what is often loosely referred to as capitalism, communism, socialism, or any other “ism” - with perhaps the exception of secular humanism. Nonetheless, like it or not, it is self evident that capitalism - for a certainty - is irreconcilable with serving the collective economic, political, and social good of the majority of humanity. It cannot be salvaged. The point is that we must actively develop, refine, and engage in a struggle, based on the demonstrated respect for this planet and its ecology, and based firmly upon collective human need - not manipulated and appalling human greed.
What of Our Set-Backs and Defeats?
Due to the ongoing systemic assault upon the political, social, and economic human rights of everyday people in this nation and elsewhere, there have been many set-backs and defeats. However, we must understand, remember, and view every set-back and every defeat as the foundation for eventual victory in this continuing people’s struggle.
Serious people’s struggle is not an overnight affair. It is long and protracted. It is not based on some nebulous or false “hope.” To the contrary, it is hard and sometimes seemingly thankless work. Yet, there is no viable substitute for grassroots organizing, which must never be confused with the fake and disingenuous ‘astro-turf’ organizing utilized by the corporate-government, the Democratic Party foxes, and the Republican Party wolves.
We everyday people in this nation have plenty of foundations already laid for eventual people’s victories, if we persevere.
Lynne Stewart, Mumia Abu-Jamal, & Leonard Peltier
The cases of the valiant imprisoned people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, the imprisoned outspoken and prolific people’s champion Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the imprisoned courageous indigenous freedom fighter Leonard Peltier represent only the tip of a cold, steely, and corrupt ice berg of ongoing U.S. corporate-government repression, subterfuge, and conspiracy against the everyday peoples of this nation and planet. However, Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Lynne Stewart also represent the indomitable spirit of everyday Red, Black, White, Brown, and Yellow peoples determined to speak and act truth to power!
Their bodies have been physically and callously imprisoned, but their minds are freer than the corporate / military / police-state power elite will ever be. Their pain is our pain! Their love is our love! Their strength is our strength! Their spirit, like so many other unknown and unnamed wrongfully imprisoned political prisoners of all colors in this nation, is our spirit! The foundation has already been laid. We must not cry for them. We must struggle for them, and in so doing, struggle for ourselves! I reiterate: the foundation has already been laid!
Reverend Edward Pinkney & the Struggle in Benton Harbor, Michigan
For well over five years, Reverend Edward Pinkney (no relation) has been at the forefront in the struggle against cronyism, political corruption, and the wholesale thievery by Whirlpool Corporation against the everyday people in the Black township of Benton Harbor, Michigan. As a result of this, Reverend Pinkney has been threatened, harassed, framed, and spent a year in prison after having had the unmitigated audacity to quote the Bible in a court of law in his quest for justice. Upon his release from wrongful imprisonment he has continued, and indeed intensified, in this struggle against the corporate monster known as Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in Benton Harbor.
Despite the fact that the police, the courts, and the politicians (both Black and White) in Benton Harbor, are in reality and in large measure owned and controlled by Whirlpool Corporation, Reverend Pinkney continues to organize. Even as the natural resources of Benton Harbor are being pilfered by Whirlpool Corporation, and as the police engage in a pattern of intimidation and frame-ups against the populace of Benton Harbor, Reverend Pinkney remains steadfast. Not content with its racism and thievery, Whirlpool Corporation has engaged in the despicable action of stealing even more land from Benton Harbor, by promoting the building and opening of a golf course to serve the wealthy and powerful elite, at the expense of the everyday people of Benton Harbor. Thus, a massive rally has been called by Reverend Pinkney, who is now president of the Benton Harbor N.A.A.C.P. chapter, against this intolerable outrage. The rally is scheduled for Tuesday, August 10, 2010; and is to begin between 10-11 am in front of the Benton Harbor City Hall (200 Wall Street, Benton Harbor, Michigan). These necessary and courageous efforts against Whirlpool’s corporate domination and intimidation must be supported, for this is not only about the people of Benton Harbor. It is about collectively standing up to the greedy and insidious Wall Street corporate / military elite’s domina tion throughout this nation. The foundation has been laid!
Police Repression - From Bobby Hutton to Sean Bell to Oscar Grant to…
Murders committed by police officers in the United States are certainly nothing new. It is as ‘American as apple pie,’ particularly if the murder victims are people of color and/or poor. However, perhaps the most chilling and ominous aspect of this, other than the murders themselves, is the ease with which police officers across this nation repeatedly escape conviction for murder - even in the most blatant, horrible, and utterly unjustified cases of murders by police as demonstrated by the relatively recent cases of Sean Bell in New York City (in 2006), and Oscar Grant (in 2009) in Oakland, California. While the color factor [i.e. institutional racism] is almost always paramount in these murders, there is also, to be sure, an extremely important economic component which conveniently and consistently escapes scrutiny by the courts, the state & federal governments, and the corporate-stream media.
When we understand that the police are in fact guardians of the systemic economic, political, and social status quo of this nation, it becomes readily obvious as to why they can and do commit murders with de facto impunity. Police officers understand implicitly that their actual role is to maintain, to “serve and protect” and perpetuate the status quo of U.S. society, not the masses of just plain everyday people. This is why many police officers brutalize everyday people and then successfully simply falsely charge their own victims with having provoked and/or perpetrated an assault upon them. This is also why judicial officials and politicians have not, and will not ever seriously challenge the abuses carried out by their police guardians. For they too, understand the unstated and very real pecking order in this society. And both color and economics determines the pecking order of brutality. The despicable police murders of Sean Bell and Oscar Grant are not unique. They are being played out in every single state of these United States, and they will increase.
This is also why crimes against economically poor everyday people often remain unsolved by the police. But let a crime be committed against the son or daughter of a judge, a politician, or a member of the corporate elite, and no stone will be left unturned in an effort to apprehend a perpetrator (real or imagined)!
As the systemic contradictions become undeniable, and economic and political implosion in this nation worsen, and everyday people begin to increasingly rebel, the viciousness of the police will increase commensurately. If we understand this paradigm, then it becomes crystal clear why provocation and naked brutality used by the police, for example, against political protesters (of all colors) is virtually always tolerated and condoned by officialdom across this nation.
When seventeen-year-old, unarmed Li’l Bobby Hutton was brutally assassinated (in 1968) by police in Oakland, California, the sick excuse used then was that he was a member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense; today there is no physical Black Panther Party and yet these police murders have become more widespread than ever before. This is not by coincidence. It is by design, and it is a part of increased government and police intimidation and repression in varying degrees and forms against everyday people of all colors. Be clear about this!
The foundation for this repression has already been laid, and we can reverse it only by understanding its source and purpose, and acting accordingly.
The fact is that, more so than ever before, everyday people in this nation have become proverbial Palestinians - canon fodder in our own country, just as the inhuman and indefensible Zionist blockade of Gaza is, in all but name, akin to the Warsaw Ghetto.
Where To Now?
There is a wind a blowing across this land. It is the wind of people’s struggle. The wind of uncompromising determination to bring about real systemic change for, by, and of everyday people! It is a wind that says loud and clear and strong: no more money for wars abroad or political repression at home!!! No more corporate-government media lies!!! It is the wind of everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people. It may be but a murmur now - but it will soon become a roar!
It is time to pursue people’s victories, as they will not come to be by osmosis. In the immortal words of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.”
Let us raise our heads high and fight the good and necessary fight - waging the people’s struggle, for ourselves, this nation, and humanity as a whole! Give no quarter to injustice, for in your own trembling hands you possess the keys to sweet, sweet liberation! Onward now my sisters and brothers! Onward!
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS NewsHour, formerly known as The MacNeil/LehrerNewsHour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.