Fred Logan: Today’s Black struggle is yesterday’s Black struggle and tomorrow’s 

by Fred Logan

It is very dangerous and very dumb when Black activists, Black elected officials, and other Black people counter pose today’s Black struggle with the epic struggles of yesterday. The Black Freedom Movement of today is one continuing historical struggle.

It is not today’s “Black Lives Matter” struggle in competition with the grand epic 1960’s Civil Right Movement. Some Black people argue it is.  And so do many “progressive” White folks, who most often do not, or claim not to, know anything about the reactionary politics of their own specific European American ethnic group in US history. 

Also, decades ago, it was hard-down argued that the generation of White American youth who joined in the massive struggles of the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-war Movement would not be status quo like their forebears. But that generation went on to elect Ronald Reagan, George Bush I, George Bush II, and Donald Trump to the White House.

Never, never forget The Black Power advocates in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and other African Americans urged that generation of White youth to go back to the White community and fight against White racism there.  The White progressive community at large did not.  The current rise of MAGA-ism, Trump-ism, that is of White rightwing reaction is one direct result of this historical failure of the ‘progressive,” “White left.”

And many of yesterday’s African American Civil Rights and Black Power warriors later became guardians of the status quo. Their politics changed from “Red, Black and Green” freedom fighters to right-wing Blue Dog Democrats—crooning with Satchmo “What Did I Do to be So Black and Blue?” 

Fanon teaches us that “Each generation must out of relative absurdity discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.” If today’s youth become the anti-establishment generation that some people predict, it will only because they consciously made themselves so through relentless theory and practice. It will not be because of faith or some other inevitable forces,

Martin Luther King Jr and many other Black people told the world the African American Freedom Movement of their era was “part and parcel” of the post-1945 global struggles of oppressed peoples against colonialism, racial economic and social exploitation, and other modes of White supremacy.

These struggles against the decadent “British Empire where “the sun never set,” against French colonialism in Asia and Africa, against Portuguese colonialism in Africa, and against the United States’ self-proclaimed “sphere of influence” in the Western Hampshire are some of these epic peoples’ struggles.

We often ask naively where are the African American leaders and masses today like those of yesterday? Well, today where the leaders worldwide that equal Africa’s Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Asia’s General Vo Nguven Giap, the leaders of the immediate 1945 era?

The “times” make the leaders and make the mass struggles. The “times” means nothing more than the “motion of the masses,” the struggles of the people rising and receding, receding and rising, over and over but never standing still (See, “There is a River,” Vincent Harding). 

Today’s struggle is the product of yesterday, of history, but today is never a carbon copy duplication of yesterday.

The Civil Rights struggle was perceived primary as a binary Black and White racial struggle in an era when the United States was rising to global dominance. It rose on the ashes that European imperialist countries had brought on themselves in their endless civil wars to be the Number One champion of White Power on the planet earth. That’s what so-called World War I and World War II were battles for global White power. See the book, “Paul Robeson Speaks,” and W.E.B. DuBois’ 1915 commentary, “The African Roots of War.”  

Today’s Black Activists, BEO’s, and BVIP’s must embrace the positive and negative lessons of Black struggle, if they don’t want to, then White America will joyfully claim it for itself.

Whose struggle among the people who came voluntarily or involuntarily to what is now the United States, whose struggles for “justice,” “ peace,” and  “equality”  have produced the equal of the African American Freedom Movement, that is the for real progressive, ethical, political and cultural equal of Black History Month, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday, the Juneteenth Nations Holiday, or the week-long Africa American holiday of Kwanzaa a Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture? Whose?

Last year, I heard one Pittsburgh Black elected official proclaim publicly he has literally turned his back on Black History and is only working with young people. Because he claims the previous generation has not gained Black Freedom. That is obviously someone who does not even know the history of Pittsburgh Black politics over the past 60 years.

Have the African American Christians who make this asinine argument also quit the Christian faith? The Christian religion has been in existence for over 2,000 years and “peace” still does not reign over the world.

In 2025, the 1965 Voting Rights Act will be sixty years old. Will the Pittsburgh Black Elected Officials Coalition use this historical opportunity to examine the post-VRA era Allegheny County Black electoral politics? At this very moment Black voting rights are under relentless attack by the US White right.

Back to our initial argument. Today, the world is gripped in turmoil. The greatest threat to the United States is from within. The era of US global dominance is eroding.

It is very dangerous and very dumb when Black activists protesting in the streets see themselves competing with SNCC, or when some Black “leader” see himself or herself competing with Martin Luther King.

These contemporary Black egomaniacs who see themselves competing with yesterday are without question competing with each other and doing historic damage to Black struggle in the precarious dangerous times we live in. 

 

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