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already a reality and as if power was as much our possession as the inadequate analysis we used to explain it. "Black is beautiful" we shouted as if it had some magic meaning and could in an instant overthrow ignorance, undo centuries of mental and physical damage and defend us against the diabolical forces that gathered to protect themselves from the televised image of rantin' and ravin' and recently aware nationalists and episodic revolutionaries. We did not bother to extend the slogan beyond its subjective and obvious esthetic implications so that it would carry with it a social significance also, a social significance that emanated from the high level of achievement this awareness should and could engender if we made it an objective reality rather than, or as well as, a subjective reference. Instead of objectively increasing the range and roots of Black Power, we held up our fists for the six o'clock news and shouted "right on" or "habari gani" and went right on making the same mistakes. And one of the most damaging debates that occurred during this time was the one that emanated from the false distinction between Revolutionary Nationalism and Cultural Nationalism. It was unnecessary, debilitating and time and energy consuming. But it was as much our fault (the US leadership) as anyone else, for we never issued a comprehensive statement on just what Cultural Nationalism was and this left it open to be misinterpreted and manipulated by anyone who wished to and even those who didn't want to but had no choice in the absence of definitive information. We make this open admission in response to the requirement imposed by our history as well as future movement. For as we have said until we admit, we cannot alter and until we alter we cannot advance and realize our collective aspirations. The scope and content of our struggle-if it is to be successful, real and not reflective of an unproductive past-must be this: 1) to overturn ourselves, 2) struggle against our collective weaknesses and 3) defy and defeat the enemy-in this order of importance and through this progression of levels of awareness and increasing strength. We say the debate over what was erroneously called revolutionary nationalism vs. cultural nationalism was false, because the division in reality does not exist. Revolution, like national liberation, as Cabral says, is an act of culture, an organized political expression of a given culture. And if, as has been admitted in revolutionary circles around the world, nationalism is a precondition for revolution, it is culture that is primary vehicle for achieving this national awareness and commitment. But culture was confused conveniently or ignorantly with song and dance on one level and manifestations of African origins on another. It was not conceived as the crucible in which the struggle took form and the context in which it ultimately succeeded and blossomed into continuous reconstruction. When we talk of cultural revolution, we're talking essentially about cultural reconversion, the conscious and programmatic restructuring of attitudes and relationships that aid us in our aspiration for national liberation. We are recognizing and responding to the fact that the first resistance in any national struggle is cultural resistance and that as we said elsewhere, the crucial struggle is to win the minds of our people, for if we lose this struggle we cannot hope to win the political one. Also, what we were and are about is the task and responsibility of distinguishing between popular and national culture, between the fluid everyday culture of groups within a people and the culture of a nation, conscious of and committed to its role and responsibility in its own liberation and its contribution to human history. The essential character of a culture is determined by its values, for culture is simply that, a system of values reflecting ways of doing and looking at things on seven levels, i.e. in terms of mythology (religion), history, social organization, economic organization, political organization, creative motif (art, music, literature and technology) and ethos. WHAT WAS AND IS NEEDED NOW is to give popular culture a national dimension giving us a consolidated set of national PAGE 8 BLACK SCHOLAR OCTOBER, 1972 attitudes and aspirations - in a word a collective vocation of nation building. We overturn ourselves and admit that culture imposes limitations, but go on to say it also provides infinite possibilities. That is why constant reassessment is so necessary, for which element of culture must be eventually measured for its worth and need for change or reinforcement. Cultural revolution is a record of successive adaptations and adjustments reflecting a culture's flexibility and capacity to expand and grow. Culture cannot remain static, it must produce, direct and determine the intensity and level of struggle even as struggle acts in a mutually supportive role of producing culture and heightening its level. Moreover, culture must and does give a moral dimension to the struggle, establishes rules and systems of association and behavior as well as resolving contradiction among its people and harmonizing diverse yet interdependent interests. And the stress on the moral element of the struggle is essential for without it we turn on ourselves, arguing abstracts and forgetting or frowning upon the needs of the people. Power, undefined and not placed in its proper perspective cannot be advocated, for it not only frightens people unfamiliar with power, but raises serious questions concerning the use of it once it's obtained. Given these conditions, our people will deny us support for fear once we obtain our objective, we will use it to impose of our own brand of oppression. In order to create a new faith, a new positive force for our people to support and promote, we must emphasize not the physical or pure political force, but rather the moral and humanistic basis of our struggle, authority and legitimacy. The worth of any act or idea must ultimately and always be determined by its moral and social benefit to our people as a whole, not to distinct and contending groups. For national liberation requires political and moral unity, a confluence of all aspects of our culture, tying together each group and level of our people into a knot that will not break or unravel in the stress and strain of constant struggle. INVOLVED AT THE VERY HEART of cultural reconversion is each person as well as the people as a whole. Each person must overturn himself before he can struggle against our collective weaknesses and defy and defeat the enemy. For as we've said and continue to say the first step to national unity is internal unity, the process of getting one's self together. This is not an advocacy of abstract individualism, for the individualism that claims the right to ruin and resist the aspirations of the masses is invalid and definitely unneeded. What is urged here is the acceptance of man's infinite capacity to expand and grow, his increasing ability to endure and overcome subjective controls and objective conditions. It is here we get a clear distinction between the determinism of some western leftists and the voluntarism of African and Asian theorists, leaders and activists, between the dialectical materialism of Marxists and what the Boggses call dialectical humanism. We must believe in man, in our people's capacity to achieve and overcome if we are to be more than little men with big grudges equally divided between our hate for the enemy and dislike for each other. Cultural reconversion moving from the personal level extends to the mass level as a struggle against our collective weaknesses-leaderism, groupism, technical ignorance, economic and political vulnerability and undeveloped perspectives. Leaderism is one of our most vulnerable weaknesses, a contradiction that so often cripples us. It is a sickness that comes from poor self concepts and/or the obvious lack of collective values. Leaderism and leadership struggles are widespread because of the feeling of powerlessness in relation to the external opposition and so an internal enemy is identified and attached. Also styling for T V or liberals and the imagined possession of charisma all play their part in obscuring the real meaning and direction of the Movement. Again we overturn ourselves and revise our position on the singularity of leadership. We have been known to say that leadership is singular but decision making is collective. By this we meant that BLACK SCHOLAR OCTOBER, 1972 PAGE 9
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