Peyton Gendron and the ineptness of the black political leadership class …

Shifting to the political portion of the political economy.  The mass shooting in Buffalo, New York where a teen-aged white male by the name of Peyton Gendron exposes an oft overlooked dimension of black politics: we cannot protect our own.

We have been seeing the predictable roll-out of platitudes by the Biden-Harris administration and the expressions of incredulousness on social media by members of the black community with most demanding that “something has to be done.”  The inconvenient truth is that the black community, given its lack of political leverage and ownership of less than two percent of American capital, should not expect anything from a government that does not look like it, does not share its lineage or story, and has no interest in promoting the interests of blacks.

For a person to travel three hours to another city with the expressed purpose of murdering black people should tell black political leaders that there is an intelligence network operating against the black community; that there is an organized war being waged against the black community.  Black political leadership should be asking themselves why a government that can thwart terrorist attacks overseas cannot be as aggressive here at home when it comes to terrorist attacks against black Americans. 

Instead, we get a black leadership that is fast to blame centuries old terrorist attacks on the delusion that the domestic environment of racial violence is orchestrated by one political party.  Never mind that Mr Gendron has been described as a left authoritarian, political nomenclature that would put him in the box along with democratic socialists as well as Nazis.

No. Rather black political leadership prefers to politicize the event for vote getting purposes when it should be asking if there is a system in place to provide citizens warning that a rabid terrorist dog is heading to their community.

The black political class is the last group of individuals that those interested in protecting the physical and emotional integrity of the black community should be looking to for help.

Alton Drew

17 May 2022

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Where Black political leadership failed on Ukraine …

Angus Roxburgh recently wrote an honest and insightful piece for The Guardian about how Western nations can bring about a quicker end to the conflict in Eastern Europe. Mr Roxburgh recommends that all interests of each stakeholder be taken into account in order to reach a resolution.  In the article he states the following:

“To get Putin to the negotiating table at all, everything would have to be up for discussion – including Ukraine’s borders, Russia’s age-old security concerns, perhaps even the very logic of basing today’s international frontiers in that part of Europe on what were internal borders in the USSR, drawn up by communist leaders precisely to prevent Soviet republics and regions from being viable independent states. The outcome of the talks does not need to be predetermined. The important thing is to talk rather than fight.”  

I agree with his assessment.  Americans in general and Black Americans in particular have begun and ended their analysis of the conflict with the mantra of Russia’s “unprovoked” attack on Ukraine.  In the world of geopolitics, I doubt there is such a thing as “unprovoked.”  Most Americans, for example, fail to incorporate into their conclusion that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was unprovoked when history demonstrates that United States’ aggression in the Pacific, particularly the restriction of access by Japan to oil supplies, was enough to rile up the Japanese to embark on a plan to push the United States out of the Pacific.  Japan’s attack was not unprovoked. It was a responsive measure.

A similar argument can be made by Russia.  For decades they have been apprehensive about the West, particularly the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s encroachment on then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics now Russia’s borders.  The fall of the USSR and NATO’s influence on Eastern Europe has been enough to give Vladimir Putin a few nightmares.  I could make the argument that Mr Putin’s 2022 invasion was also a preemptive strike much like Japan’s preventive strike in 1945.

To make this kind of analysis requires stepping outside of the flashing disco ball and looking at all sides of the issue, especially if the issue has some sort of ramifications economically.  Stepping outside of the issue in order to account for as many factors as possible aids in strategic positioning.  For the black community, applying this rule puts it in a position to garner more tangibles from trading in the political markets.

For example, black political leadership has fallen in lock step with the media and political narrative that the Ukrainians are Luke Skywalker and Russia is represented by the evil Darth Vader.  Black leadership never took on the burden of educating the black community on the factors and environment that turned Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader.  The overnight conversion of a group of Americans, who on 23 February 2022, couldn’t find Ukraine on a map, into flag waving Ukraine supporters on 24 February 2022 is near stunning. 

Black leadership apparently did what it did best: exchanged aggregated black support for a few political campaign finance crumbs from the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties. 

True black political leadership would have leveraged black community political and demographic clout on a peace campaign.  Imagine black elected leadership getting 20 million blacks to write their representatives and the leadership of NATO expressing their displeasure with military action; recommending and urging a peace settlement; threatening their own domestic and foreign economic embargo as a response to unfair treatment of blacks in Ukraine; and not participating in the 2022 or 2024 U.S. elections if their demands were not met? 

This kind of leadership could have cemented American blacks not only as a domestic political force but as a player on the world stage.

This kind of leadership calls for vision.  Unfortunately, the black community’s current leadership does not have this kind of vision…  

Alton Drew

3 May 2022

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To counter gentrification, blacks should consider taking on an immigrant mindset …

Commentary

Most Blacks do not know what an American is.  For most Blacks, being an American is a gift that they were born into.  The irony is every day Blacks have to restate their claim to the illusive gifts under the Christmas tree.  In May 2020 the fight was illustrated in protest events sparked by the murder of a Black man, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police.  That a former athlete with some college education under his belt along with eight prior convictions would be a martyr for a social justice cause is not surprising if you look at it from a 30,000-foot level.  Every cause has its Crispus Attucks; the fall guy who comes along at the right time to serve as a lightning rod for some hidden agenda.

And in the case of George Floyd, that hidden agenda, though discoverable with a little thought, boiled down to developing a campaign to buy votes based on the death of a black man.  I have been part of “strategic communications” campaigns before and I can tell you that behind the green curtain there is always a wizard working the levers and pulleys of the show presented on stage.  And the wizard never looks like me.

I was reminded of this fact one afternoon during the summer of 2020 while out with a friend for coffee.  We decided to stay and observe a protest march along Piedmont Street in Midtown Atlanta.  The protest appeared driven by members of the Black Lives Matter movement.  The non-surprising irony was that a slight but obvious majority of the participants were white.  To the untrained narrative finder, this would have been written off as a bunch of white college kids who wanted to make a difference by adding their voices to those of their black brethren and sistren. The gag.

The reality is that what we were observing was an occupation and re-administration of black political space; a colonization of black political thought with the ultimate goal to co-opt a black issue and roll it into another agenda in exchange for unfulfilled promises.  We have seen this before on smaller and larger and brutal scales.

Any action you see on the part of a co-opting party is manifested thought; a vision carried out.  The action generated from the thought of a co-opting party is not reactive.  It does not stem from emotion.  It is a tactical play stemming from well thought out, tried and true strategy.  It is political gentrification of the mind.

Let’s go back to what an American is before fleshing out political gentrification.  To understand what an American is, we need to understand what America is. In my opinion, the best description of what America is can be found in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson & Graham, Lessee v. McIntosh, (1823).  These excerpts made an impression me:

“On the discovery of this immense continent, the great nations of Europe were eager to appropriate to themselves so much of it as they could respectively acquire. Its vast extent offered an ample field to the ambition and enterprise of all, and the character and religion of its inhabitants afforded an apology for considering them as a people over whom the superior genius of Europe might claim an ascendency. The potentates of the old world found no difficulty in convincing themselves that they made ample compensation to the inhabitants of the new by bestowing on them civilization and Christianity in exchange for unlimited independence. But as they were all in pursuit of nearly the same object, it was necessary, in order to avoid conflicting settlements and consequent war with each other, to establish a principle which all should acknowledge as the law by which the right of acquisition, which they all asserted should be regulated as between themselves. This principle was that discovery gave title to the government by whose subjects or by whose authority it was made against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by possession.”

“No one of the powers of Europe gave its full assent to this principle more unequivocally than England. The documents upon this subject are ample and complete. So early as the year 1496, her monarch granted a commission to the Cabots to discover countries then unknown to Christian people and to take possession of them in the name of the King of England. Two years afterwards, Cabot proceeded on this voyage and discovered the continent of North America, along which he sailed as far south as Virginia. To this discovery the English trace their title.”

“The United States, then, has unequivocally acceded to that great and broad rule by which its civilized inhabitants now hold this country. They hold and assert in themselves the title by which it was acquired. They maintain, as all others have maintained, that discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy either by purchase or by conquest, and gave also a right to such a degree of sovereignty as the circumstances of the people would allow them to exercise.”

My three takeaways from these and other descriptions of the history of acquisition on the North American continent were, first, America is a vision.  America was a vision where the opportunity to increase wealth was to be had, whether on the part of a merchant seeking new goods, a peasant seeking to own his own land, or a monarch seeking to increase his treasury with more taxes.  European monarchs, merchants, explorers, and peasants had a vision of this new realm in mind, one that matched with their world view and value system, a system based on dividing up the natural world into time, property, and wealth. 

Second, unlike the Native American tribes that negotiated land transfers as a group, the European view toward property transfer was based on individual property rights; the right of the individual or a group of consenting individuals to negotiate on their own behalf.  Individualism, not communitarianism or collectivism, and the freedom to express individualism through the acquisition and disposal of personal property, is at the base of what allegedly makes America.

Last, nowhere to be found in the European vision for America was there any reference to “black” or African philosophy.  Did King James I of England convey any views on the New World in terms of the African perception of time, personhood, or space?  Of course not.  This was a European venture.

There was no African at the side of John Cabot in 1497 egging on the Italian-born explorer of America’s Atlantic coast to view a person as a person through another person.  This communitarian method of assessing world views was not a part of Caboto’s creed.

No African was whispering in the ear of George Calvert, 1st Baron of Baltimore, that he should apply a complimentary method for creating a philosophy that sees all variables impacting all other variables in reality.  To be American, you need to be a descendant of the country’s vision creators.  Blacks are not such descendants.  Black Africans did not view the world through a philosophy that spawned a vision of America.  Blacks are not American.

Alton Drew

02.16.2022

Opinion: Black Americans and Bitcoin. Playing it Wrong from the Beginning and How to Play it Right Now

A few years ago, I saw a number of Black Americans on Facebook touting bitcoin as the path to wealth. What bothered me that in all the hype being expressed that there was nary a discussion on what currency actual meant. No discussion as to the economics. No discussion as to the political-economic philosophy that undergirds a currency. 2017 saw the bitcoin bubble burst and the chit chat by those same Black Americans faded away like the unrealized gains they promoted.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been touted by some proponents as the way to introduce underbanked or unbanked minorities into the credit system. Some Black Americans may have bought into this although the leading Black advocate organizations i.e. National Urban League, NAACP, Color of Change, Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council, to name a few, have been relatively silent on the benefits of crypto as a banking and payment system. No surprise their since when it comes to technology, Blacks have consistently taken a consumer position versus a producer position. And given that these legacy organizations are lead by the older generation, leadership’s inability to wrap its head around the true underlying economic benefits of cryptocurrency is a direct result of leadership being out of step with technology overall and how technology lies at the core of America’s economic exceptionalism.

In addition to consumerism, Black Americans still emphasize allegiance to the American political economy instead of a more skeptic, independent view of it. Again, its current leadership emphasizes inclusion and diversity as benefits without discussing its costs: that not everyone will benefit from such an approach. A truly inclusive approach to the political economy would be one where Black Americans view themselves not as a community, but as a nation within an American confederation. The advantage of that approach, a national approach, would require that Black Americans re-evaluate the meaning of economic value and the technology or mechanisms for capturing, storing, expressing, and transporting that economic value, particularly in a digital age. Cryptocurrency can be a vehicle for capturing, storing, expressing, and transporting Black economic value.

The upfront work will be the hardest, that being to identify and “mine” that value and quantifying it into a digital asset like cryptocurrency. But by doing so, by tying it to a Black economic engine, Black Americans can provide a blueprint for moving cryptocurrency from merely a speculative commodity to a true currency that can be used in the mainstream to buy and sell any and all goods. Unless crypto can demonstrate its utility in trade, then Nouriel Roubini’s description of cryptocurrency as shit coins will take hold as truly appropriate by most observers. Creating that value means taking a “nationhood” approach. It means connecting all productive assets within Black America to its current banking assets, identifying the economic value within Black America, issuing coin based on that value, ane getting members of its community to buy off on that value.

There are legal and regulatory hurdles, but the biggest hurdle will be cultural and societal. Black Americans will have to take a more courageous approach to Black economic viability and sustainability. The current political-economic structure has failed them and it will be up to Blacks on their own to reimagine the production and distribution of economic value within their communities.