African Solutions: Reclaiming History and Culture to Achieve Sovereignty
The Oppressor, Oppression and the Oppressed: Dialectic Of Violence and Dehumanization
Africa today is no more developed than it was for the Red Men(Indians) of Saint Lawrence and the France of Louis XIV is as great as , if not greater than, that between the United States and a newly independent Black Africa today. These contrasts certainly activated the coherent life of the world as a whole, in the same way as differences in voltage activate an electric current; but they were, in effect, external distinctions.They are only art of the story. Every economy, society and civilization is a world unto itself, divided internally and shared equally/unequally amongst its members.
Each of these individual mechanisms must therefore be taken to pieces and put together again to bring out the resemblances, similarities, recurring features and hierarchies among their components. Such comparisons required a precise vocabulary, hardly the one used by the men of the time, but rather that of the present-day human sciences, rethought in the context of the past.However, nascent capitalism clearly does not cover the whole of economic life.
There are at least three levels and three spheres: everyday material life, very widespread, concerned with basic necessities and short-range; economic life, calculated, articulated, emerging as a system of rules and almost natural necessities; and finally the more sophisticated capitalist mechanisms, which encroaches on all forms of life, whether economic or material, however little they lend themselves to its maneuvers. (Braudel)
Man is locked in an economic condition that reflected his human condition. He was an unconscious prisoner of the frontier marking the inflexible boundaries between the possible and the impossible. Before the eighteenth century his sphere of action was tightly circumscribed, largely limited to what he could achieve by physical effort. Whatever he did, he could not strip over a certain life - and this line was always drawn close to him He did not even reach it most of the time. this was possible only for individuals, groups or civilizations peculiarly favored by circumstances. . Those who succeed usually do so ruthlessly at the expense of others. For this advance, though always limited, required an infinite number of victims.We lean from Paulo Freire that:
"Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others as persons - not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate the terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the "rejects of life." IIt is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who denied that humanity (thus negating their own as well). Force is used not by those who have become weak under the preponderance of the strong, but by the strong who emasculated them.
"For the oppressors, however, it is always the oppressed (whom they obviously never call "the oppressed" but-depending on whether they are fellow countrymen or not-"those people" or "the blind and envious masses or "savages" or "natives" or "subversives") who are disaffected, who are "violent," "barbaric," "wicked," or "ferocious" when they react to the violence of the oppressor. Whereas the violence of the oppressors prevents the oppressed from being fully human, the response of the latter into this violence is grounded in the desire to pursue the right to be human.As the oppressors dehumanize others and violate their rights, they themselves also become dehumanized. As the oppressed, fighting to be human, take away the oppressors' power to dominate and suppress, the restore to the oppressors the humanity they had lost in the exercise of oppression
Liberators Of The Oppressed Must Engage In Critique Anti-Critique
We pick Freire's analysis wherein he writes:
"As the beneficiaries of a situation of oppression, the oppressors cannot perceive that if 'having' is a condition of being, it is a necessary condition for all women and men. That is why their generosity is false. Humanity is a "thing" and they possess it as an exclusive right, as inherited property. To the oppressor consciousness, the humanization of the "others" of the people, appears not as the pursuit of full humanity, but as subversion.
"The oppressors do not perceve their monopoly on 'having' more as privilege which dehumanizes others and themselves. They cannot see that, in the egoistic pursuit of 'having' as a possessing class, they suffocate in their own possessions and no longer 'are'; they merely 'have.' for them, 'having more' is an alienable right they acquired through their own "effort," with their "courage to take risks." If others do not have more, it is because they are incompetent and lazy, and worst of all is their unjustifiable ingratitude towards the "generous gestures" of the dominant class. Precisely because they are "ungrateful" and "envious," the oppressed are regarded as potential enemies who must be watched.
"It could not be otherwise. If the humanization of the oppressed signifies subversion, so also does their freedom; hence the necessity for constant control. And the more the oppressors control the oppressed, the more they change them into apparently inanimate "things." This tendency of the oppressor consciousness to "in-animate" everything and everyone it encounters, in its eagerness to possess, unquestionably corresponds with a tendency to sadism."
Eric Fromm adds to this by saying:
"The pleasure in complete domination over another person (or other animate creature) is the very essence of the sadistic drive. Another way of formulating the same thought is to say that the aim of sadism is to transform a man into a thing, something animate into something inanimate, since by complete and absolute control, the living loses one essential quality of life-freddom"
"One of the characteristics of the oppressor consciousness and its necrophilic view of the world is thus sadism. As the oppressor consciousness, in order to dominate, tries to deter the drive to search, the restlessness, and the creative power which characterize life, it kills life. More and more, the oppressors are using science and technology as unquestionably powerful instruments for their purpose: the maintenance of the oppressive order through manipulation and repression. the oppressed, as objects, as "things," have no purpose except those their oppressors prescribe for them.
"Given the preceding context, another issue of indubitable importance arises: the fact that certain members of the oppressor class joint the oppressed in their struggle for liberation, thus moving from one pole of the contradiction to the other. Theirs is a fundamental role, and has been so throughout history of this struggle. It happens, however, that as they cease to be exploiters or indifferent spectators of simply the heirs of exploitation and move to the side of the exploited, they almost always bring with them the marks of their origin: their prejudices and their deformations, which include a lack of confidence in the people's ability to think, to want, and to know.
"Accordingly, these adherents to the people's cause constantly run the risk of falling into a type of generosity as malefic as that of the oppressors. the generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity. Our converts, on the other hand, truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background, they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary chage. A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.
"Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly. this conversion is so radical as not to allow of ambiguous behavior. To affirm this commitment but to consider oneself the proprietor of revolutionary wisdom-which must then be given to (or imposed on) the people-is to retain the old ways."the man or woman who proclaims devotion to the cause of liberation, yet is unable to enter into 'communion' with the people, whom he or she continues to regard as totally ignorant, is grievously self-deceived. The convert who approaches the people but feels alarm at each step they take, each doubt they express, and each suggestion they offer, and attempts to impose his "status", remains nostalgic towards his origins."Conversion to the people requires a profound rebirth. those who undergo it must take on a new form of existence; they can no longer remain as they were
Mode Of Critique and Anti-Critique
It is important at this stage and time to holistically work on given solutions to insoluble national problems by talking about issues that concern and affect different cultures, customs, traditions, practices as they have clashed in history and continue to the present. Looking at and being immersed in a turbulent diverse cultural milieu demand that we look at the present cultural, customary and so forth conditions and try to investigate, recognize and work on the solutions that have not yet been cultivated and present them as a learning curve and moment.
It is also important to critique and give and anti- critique to that which was in the past, and in process flesh-out the commonalities that which help to recreate and social engineer anew a melting pot multi-cultural social milieu. The 'thinking' box that has been the social norm need to be interrogated and deconstructed and work with what will be left after trimming off historical excess and replacing it with contemporary ever present reality.
Thinking along the past construct inhibits present growth and a 'great new society'. This can only happen if the past is a lesson which we will use as something to learn from in order to understand the present, thus shape, formulate and forecast a new human being in Africa/South Africa and the rest of he Third World full of past baggages, and unfolding new and socially produced social interaction and elaboration.
At one point there needs to be new voices, new people and and a new society. We can wrangle about how we are seeing the present with past eyes and memories, but that will not not move the people forward. If one group is superior in all civil ways, and the other is not, the advanced one stays with the forsaken lot at the bottom of the World barrel. When we consider the movement forward of any nation and people, we study history*(the past) in order to understand the present(latter-day Africa/South Africa and the Third world), and ponder the future, (the coming of the mid-millennium), this should help interrogate and inform the new and bold society.
There must be increasingly from the defensive position, an attempt to defend a hopefully still revolutionary position against reformism and necessarily reactionary and successful reactions it generates. This essay, must like the past which have been been in these Pages, be conditioned... 'most directly by the political climate (which in turn,is related to all other changes in society) ... responding to changing political conditions and opportunities'(Gunnar Myrdal), ... 'and the people must maintain the stance 'that the point in interpreting the world is to change it, we also responded to political conditions and opportunities that changed from offensive to defensive' (Karl Marx).
This essay, is mostly suggesting the criterion of selection that is critical and indeed polemical, perhaps all the more so in being on the defensive. The contents of this Hub will range in subject matter from the "science" of social science, via political science, anthropology and sociology, history culture, customs, economics, to politics. We ought to understand that social science must be political science.
Moreover in the battle with reaction and reformism, the best defense of a revolutionary position may be offensive, and in ideological battle polemical. The present world is sharply divided between industrialized, relatively well-off societies and non-industrialized, impoverished peoples. The attraction of economic development has an understandably powerful, perhaps irresistible, appeal to poor countries and their leaders. The conditions accompanying development along western lines are less appreciated, for they create the under-development of poor countries.
Dependency, therefore, is the cause of under-delvelopment. Andre Guder Frank writes about this issue as follows:
"What, in your judgement, is the scientific value of the study of the development of underdevelopment" None. While the capitalist system,which generates underdevelopment and avails itself of exploitation and alienation for development, subsists - and even while the class struggle in the establishment of socialism subsists - - science can ony have an instrumental political and ideological value, and no value in and of itself.
On the contrary, capitalism and the bourgeois ideology have long been employing both social and natural science as purely reactionary tools in defense of their interests. This is the case, for example, with the concepts and even the very terms "development and underdevelopment" that are used in the class struggle on the ideological level, to make it appear that entire peoples develop through their own efforts, thanks to national capitalism, and other entire countries remain underdeveloped because of supposedly inherent conditions - the lack of capital and inadequate intelligence and institutions or culture - that is to say, because of traditionalism. This focus, or better yet, this deviation from the problem, lies the real cause of underdevelopment and the exploitation that the aforementioned cause determines." (Andre Gunder Frank)
Gundar Myrdal ptuts the manner in which we should view politics in our efforts to change it. "The direction of our scientific exertions, particularly in economics is conditioned by the society in which we live, and most directly by the political climate (which in turn, is related to all other changes in society).... The cue to the continual reorientation of our work has normally come from the sphere of politics. Responding to that cue, students turn to research on issues that have attained political importance ... So it has always been. The major recastings of economic thought ... were all responses to changing political conditions and opportunities.."
When we are preoccupied in the discourse of change about change, Marx Reminds us: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it." Marx astutely adds to this notion of change and humans building society as follows: "Man makes his own history, but not as he pleases." Gunder Franks subtly point out the probabilities and possibilities of change by admonishing: "Scientific study has a political and ideological value: ideological, because it permits us to unmask orthodox by antiscientific study and to prove that imperialism and national capitalism are fundamental causes of underdevelopment: political, because the scientific study of social and natural reality is a necessary, although not sufficient, to change it.."
"Studying development and underdevelopment in order to fulfill the requirement imposed by those same processes as an ideological and political responsibility for all hones progressive researchers, one has to follow the fundamental rule of all science (something orthodoxy does not do) - that is, to focus on the study on the study of the whole social system, which is really causal or determining, and to analyze it.
For development and underdevelopment, the causal determinant is without doubt the world capitalist system, since it was capitalist development throughout the world last five centuries that promoted economic development in some parts of th world at the cost of simultaneously generating, as an integral part of the same process, the development of underdevelopment in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and some other areas."
The problem is made sharper by the fact that a large range of very tangible goal tend to validate the so-called "developed-underdeveloped" continuum. Modern manufacturing, electrification, transportation, housing, adequate health facilities, education, and hosts of correlated consumer goods are more plentiful in some countries and much less widely distributed in others.
These latter are, however, dedicated to achieving more of such goods, services, and the means to produce them. Thus, contemporary social change does divide the world into those who have more and those who have less material wealth and technologically advanced productive capacities. And those who have less, but want more, are dubbed "underdeveloped," since they wish to obtain more of these 'particular' values for themselves.
Gunder Frank further breaksdown and clarifies the modus operandi and structure, form and functioning of the Structure as it metamorphoses and morphs according to its need and interest, historically and today as follows."
"One would have to study, in addition, how the colonial, semi-colonial, or neo-colonial structure of the capitalist system in its entirety and its development has formed and transformed the economic class structure in the colonies and in the cities themselves at each stage of the aforementioned development. In the case of countries that are underdeveloped today, through this scientific procedure - global, historical, structural, and therefore dialectic - one would see how colonial relationships formed the class structure and how his determined the interests and the policies of the ruling sector of the colonial bourgeoisie.
And it would be proved why, given its dependence and its political and economic interests, these (neo) colonial bourgeoisie of necessity had to, and still have to, impose on their people repressive economic systems that generate and deepened underdevelopment, while their senior partners in the imperialist centers are interested in sponsoring development, albeit in a very unequal way." (Andre Gunder Frank, 1984)
Deconstruct, Invalidate and Reconstruct
In the latter half of the twentieth century,most African societies are still struggling to resolve conflicts between the forces of tradition and change. In contrast to Westerners who found their societies mercilessly ravaged by the Industrial Revolution a few generations earlier, contemporary Africans are more self-aware and conscious of the revolution restructuring their live, working hard to deconstruct their oppressive reality and applying themselves to reconstructing their present condition. And many hope this awareness will make it possible for them to play a greater role in controlling change and in shaping their ways of life(culture) in the future.
We must remember that history informs us that 'change' came upon Africans and other people of the "underdeveloped world with a vengeance; and somehow Africans try their best to adapt in that most inhuman reality in all ways - by understanding. This context partly informs this Hub, and indeed, much of the emphasis on change in scholarly world. With more complex political systems and the increasingly advanced technology devised by modern science, the pace of change has accelerated the threads that tie the past to the future, which have become taut with tension and pressure. It is almost as if man advances, whatever that means, by becoming more insecure, less sure of what he really is, or was, or will be. When change is great enough, then the past fails to inform the future and must either be rejected or interpreted. This applies particularly to the Oppressed Africans and the downtrodden of the World.
Under such conditions individuals, groups, or nations as wholes, experience a crisis in identity. It is extremely difficult to desire change and yet continue to set one's own past as a guide for the future. Then along with modernization goes a haunting, albeit false, that the "less developed" must become like the "more developed" in order to achieve what they desire. To become more like others is to become less like oneself, and so rapid social change has o\as one of its possible parts a harrowing side effect - that of a possible denial of the worthiness of one's own cultural heritage.
The result can be a sense of inferiority which is only assuaged by becoming as much like the goal objects of change as much as possible so that self-confidence becomes limited to the degree to which there is self denial. Identity can then only be future orientated since the past is busily being shed, yet it is always there producing tension in identity.
For most people living through such changes much of this conflict may be unconscious or even irrelevant. Still, they experience difficulties over their desires for what often turns out to be conflicting things, briefly discussed above. But in the end they do make choices - because they must. They have to decide whether they move to the city for good or to maintain some long-term interest in the rural area from which they come.
They must decide, consciously or unconsciously, about a large range of things that determine whether they will become "new men" or members of a traditional group unchanging in its ways. For leaders and intellectuals who wish to create an ideology for the people with such problems, things are more difficult. It is from these groups that we can see the various strategies of adaptation emerging.
One strategy is that of rejection of tradition. Generally this seems to be associated with the pre-independence periods and even then to be seen as a form of self-rejection. Colonial officials often stimulated such reactions by rewarding those in the conquered territories who were most like themselves. And such a reward system created its own tradition so that even when independence is achieved, it is hard to get over the idea that what is foreign is modern and, by a false definition, "better" as well.
And that rewards will come in droves from the Masters whom the new neo-rulers seek to emulate and want to fit into their life-style, and are so accepted by the Dominators. This idea applies even within countries among groups trying to achieve better status and greater equality. Thus, for nearly a hundred years American Blacks who were most like the dominant white middle class were more acceptable and generally seen a more successful than the majority who were culturally somewhat divergent. The same applies to Africans who are still hooked-up to the metropolis and seek recognition from their former masters, who in-turn dole out those rewards depending on whether the local elites are what they consider to be close like them in all aspects of life.
People whose pre-colonial societies were already in the form of centralized states generally have traditions of statecraft, diplomacy, administrative skills, and political ideology that can be looked back upon not only with pride, but as a source of inspiration. Where such large-scale systems did not exist, contemporary writers are reinterpreting comparative categories so that nationhood is in fact part of their tradition. For example, the Igbo political cultures, often end as an ascephalus, are now being viewed as a series of local city states having an indigenously developed concept of African democracy.
And where even this much organization was lacking, the quality of past social relations rather than complexity of organization can be looked to as a guide for the future.(South Africa and other Third World countries). This is what Radcliffe-Brown characterized as the 'solidarity of siblings in African societies' and for example, can become instead the traditional basis for a modern ideology of brotherhood among all members of a nation- or even among all Africans and the dominated of the world.
Religion serves similar functions from a different perspective. In Islamic Africa the traditional religion is recognized as one of the great world wide religious movements with a highly developed background of law, criticism, and literacy. This has stimulated a search for indigenous Islamic scholarship, as reflected in the establishment of many local institutes, and a feeling of solidarity with the wider Moslem community. Although sometimes the object of reformist efforts, Islam is generally regarded as an extremely important link to the past and to the roots of identity.
Christianity in Africa has created more of a crisis in identity since it is foreign and antagonistic to indigenous religions. To be a christian in Africa is to be a person who has given up his past, or at least it unique cultural roots. It is interesting in this respect to observe the growth of indigenous African Christian religion such as the Jamaa movement in Zaire (Fabian 1971) and the Aladura movement in Nigeria which is now rapidly spreading from the Yoruba are to such peoples as the Kaje and the Kagoro in the middle-belt Nigeria.
The Zion Chrisiatian church(South Africa), the practice of Candomble in Brazil, Abakua in Cuba, and Santeria in the caribbean, Shembe and Bishop Lekganyane's ZCC and other Zion Christian churches, Anglican and Roman churches in South Africa. These people claim the newer forms of Christianity allow them go bring African ideas, rituals, and beliefs into church, making them feel more comfortable and giving the religion itself a more definable African identity.
Although it is fast disappearing, the colonial intrusion has also shaped the search for identity. In some places it was considered the height of success to cultivate an Oxford accent, while in others to obtain the Legion d'Honneur served a similar purpose.To a significant degree, this phase has passed. The generation now reaching adulthood in many African countries grew up entirely in the postcolonial period.
But wisps of this perversity remain, even though much of Africa is well into the third-or-so decade of independence. In many states, for example, the national language is still the language of the colonial power(South Africa included). Unknown to much of the populace and only a second language to most of the rest, linguistic patterns thus constitute an aspect of identity that keeps many Africa nations cut off from their past and tied to their former colonizers.
The painful awareness that income between rich and poor nations (as between rich and poor within nations) will not lose readily or in the near future is beginning to sink in and is a stimulus to a new aspect of the identity crisis. In view of a long road ahead in which relative economic positions in the world may change very little, if at all, continued position near the bottom of world economic status faces many African nations and their intellectuals. Instead of looking only to their own conditions, their own past, and their own identity as an explanation for this continued lower international position, some are now looking outward as well.
Throwing over the western concept that a country is a developing unit whose infrastructure is the primary ingredient in its development, they are taking up A.G. Frank's (1969) idea that unequal development is primarily a function of the worldwide structuring of economic and military power. It follows then that their relative poverty is due to the structure of International political and economic relationship rather that their own internal "backwardness) This notion will be carefully developed as the Hub continues.
However, it is well designed to serve as a rebuttal to the proposition frequently advanced in the west that nations are poor largely because of poverty of their cultural traditions. In sum, the identity crisis lends to a search for outside as well as inside reasons for low economic status, and this contributes to national dignity and pride by shifting some of the burden else where The result is antagonism to the richer nations, especially those with economic claims for redressing the balance as an additional stimulus to development.
There is also a spillover effect as well, since the ideology itself propagates the view that development requires not simply bootstrap efforts, and foreign loans, but redistribution of wealth between nations as well. Thus, for example, terms of trade favorable to poorer nations must be part of international agreements even where exploitation is not so clearly obvious on a bilateral basis. And so, identity crisis has both an internal and external face. Understanding this helps Africans to see what it is they will need to Deconstruct, Invalidate and Reconstruct their present history and national narrative for and as a new nation in a state of flux, currently.
Change of Historical Paradigm: The Death of Colonial birth
At this juncture, we need to understand as has been stated above that Africans understand what happened to them, and it is important for them to project that understanding, to make the world understand Her(Africa). Mark Twain wryly observes: "In many countries we have chained the savage and starved him to death ... in many countries we have burned the savage at the stake ... we have hunted the savage and his little children and their mother, with dogs and guns ... in many countries we have taken the savage's land from him, and made him our slave, and lashed him every day, and broken his pride and made death is only friend, and overworked him till he dropped in his tracks."
This macabre existence pigeon-holed by Mark Twain is one which we will look closely at because it was part of the regulatory mechanism that indoctrinated and created societies within which individual races exercise power, control, procedural liberties and individual restraints that condition their personalities as the one of the post apartheid elites persons and societies in contemporary Africa, South Africa and the Third World. Amos Wilson explains it as follows:
"The constitution of the United States, as beautiful as it may sound, is ultimately an elitist document. The Russian constitution is a most beautiful document, when you read it. And yet, we see a minority of White Russians ruling over Moslems, other minorities, and other Europeans, despite what the constitution says. The Constitution of our nation guarantees what we call procedural liberties, while not guaranteeing what we may call the real nitty-gritty substantial liberties. What do we mean by that?
It guarantees that certain procedure will be followed: that we can go to court, that we will be heard before a so-called jury of our peers and so forth. But does it guarantee a freedom from hunger? Does it guarantee housing, health care(evidently Obama passed his health-care Bill - my addition), and true education? Does it guarantee full employment? Does it guarantee safe working conditions? Does it guarantee a non-polluted earth? Does it guarantee true equality and equal distribution of resources?
The constitution does not guarantee those things. It guarantees us certain procedural rights and rules. It says,then, that we can go to court the same way the rich people go to court. That we can be heard in a court of law, that we must be read our Miranda rights upon arrest."
Wilson continues: "But there is a difference between procedure and what actually happens. Certainly we may be read our rights, and certainly we may go to court - but without the money to pay for a good lawyer? Belonging to the wrong ethnic group. Belonging to the wrong class - while we may go through procedure - does not guarantee justice. Consequently, the justice and legal establishments become the very sources of injustice and illegality.
We are therein faced with a contradiction wherein the very law and order that is written into the constitution becomes a double standard. I remember reading a phrase once that said: "the freedom of the press belongs to those who own the press." We can thus reiterate that the constitution and the legal system in this society are not a neutral instruments, and that the law belongs to those who write it, and to those who use it to control the resources of a society."
Amos breaks it down: " The very concept of criminal has an image attached to it. We shall find, of course, that to a great extent that image is non-European, non-middle-class, and non-upper-class, but is an image that portrays the so-called lower-classes ( or non-Europeans). While European children get a slap on the wrist for contravening the laws, our sons and daughters, who may steal nickels are sent to jail, and executed, done it, beaten, and assassinated by the police.
We are gouged for rent and other kinds of things by the system; yet those that gouge us are perceived as pillars of the community. These are the kinds of contradictions that breed disrespect for the law, and disrespect for those who enforce the law. It does not matter if a law is written in neutral terms. What really matters is whether that law is enforced non-discriminately; and this society is one that is famous for writing beautiful laws, which are enforced in a no-equal fashion.
We recognize that the policeman is not merely an officer of the law, not merely there to enforce the law, but the policeman has discretion in enforcing the law, and can determine when and under what circumstances (to a good extent) the law will be enforced, and against what people, regardless of how that law is written. So, a law that may be on the books in a non-discriminatory manner, can be executed in a very discriminatory fashion.
Therefore, we recognize that the Black individual who exhibits the same so-called behavior (that is designated as criminal by a cop) as a White individual, is far more likely to be arrested, convicted, and jailed for that behavior. So a cop makes a determination based on the individual's race, upon the individual's sexuality, upon the individual's political and class characteristics, as to whether arrest, conviction, and so forth, will take place."
Wilson adds: "So, we recognize that a law, even though it is written in neutral terms, may be used for the purpose of intimidation, harassment, and a means of immobilizing individuals. The very charges against arrested individuals may depend upon the racial nature, the class, and the politics of the individual's background. These are the kinds of contradictions that have destroyed the personalities of our people, that have destroyed our self-confidence, have destroyed the society, and have destroyed our self-concept as a people. These contradictions, therefore, have created a psychic situation that is often diagnosed as neurosis and psychosis; that are often used as a means of maintaining a political system as such."
Issues of personal restrains are adjudicated upon by the mechanism of the police who control, patrol and apply the law to the people and within the(biased?) law. Wilson takes on this discussion further: "We see the law, then, may not be the problem; it is the execution of the law. We see the law used as the means of repression and dissent. The police are used as the means of maintaining the social and control.
We then get to see a system of law enforcement that spent great time and energy, that went on for years of eavesdropping into people's personal lives, of placing electronic bugs all over the households of these people, of putting eavesdropping equipment in every room(including the bathroom), that puts bugging equipment their telephones, that picked up the conversations of not only of those individuals who were supposedly involved in conspiracies, but those individuals who may have called and talked to them for various other reasons.
We see a system that generates a law that says -- you can now detain people without bail and are perceived as some kind of major danger to the community - that soon after it passes that lawman goes right out and arrests a group of people and come prepared to destroy those people.
We see a system that is not so much concerned with defending the individual as defending the prerogatives of the state and making certain that the state has a monopoly on the weapons, that the citizens are disarmed, not so much as a means of preventing citizens from killing each other - but as a means of keeping the citizens from killing the government that rules over them! It is the police that who are taking the law into their own hands - not the people themselves.
It is the police who are the vigilantes for the establishment, and for maintaining the status quo. It is the police,then, who have the means of holding people hostage in jails and prisons; and who harass our people; and who lock our people in dungeons; and who exercise penalties and terror. Who is going to guard the guardians of our so-called law?" The poor often have no one to defend them, and have to do it themselves.
Wilson deconstructs the problem of policing and capitalism: "We see the law, then, may not be the problem; it is the execution of the law. We see the law used as the means of repression of dissent. The police are used as the mends of maintaining the social status and social order, not so much when a person threatens to disturb-the-peace, but where a person threatens to disturb the social system itself.
Police officers often see Americanism as being equivalent to capitalism; that one cannot be American if one is not also capitalist. And therefore, to be anti-capitalist is to be anti-American. To be for a different system of distribution of wealth of the nation, which belongs to the nation, is to be anti-American. To concern oneself with a more equitable means of distributing justice and freedom, to question the current system of inequality, is to be perceived as un-American and a threat-to-national-security; it is to be made fair game for repression and the denial of the democratic tights that are supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution..
It is when different groups think independently and and talk about a different type of arrangement of social relations, that we see them being criminalized for it. But that speech and that thought laid the basis for their very rights being taken away from them - the right of bail and other rights." The mens of controlling and patrolling are usually found in the dominated countries and the metropolis itself
Amos Wilson elaborates more succinctly on the systems of coercion, control and and repression as follows: "Under the guise of defending democracy, the security agencies of our national legal departments are able to deny so-called dissenters their democratic rights, and to move the nation closer to a police-state; which is exactly what we are seeing here. And therefore, we see telephone tapped, offices raided, records and funds of dissident organizations stolen by the police themselves.
We see agencies of law enforcement department engaged in theft, breaking and entering. We see agencies of the saw engaged in threatening the embers of non-conforming groups, maligning the reputation of those who dare question the system: beating, murdering, arresting and "trumping-up" charges against those who dare think out loud or indicate that they are looking at other possibilities for dealing with the tremendous problems we have today."
Wilson concludes thus: "So, we have a system that may even "free" us and then congratulates itself: "Oh, the system works, doesn't it?" But only after a course it works. but it is set up such that in the end it will still attain its oppressive goals. You have the right to equal housing; the law says so. We even have agencies that we can complain to about being discriminated against. All of tat is et up.
We have a right to move into any neighborhood we want to - if we can afford it. Here the system that grants these rights simultaneously takes away the very mans of full exercising them. This is a system that uses all types of psycho-controls for law and order. Once we are arrested, once we are convicted, our rights are denied; now we can be subject to electro-shock, psycho-surgery, etc.
Recall that in the sixties (1960s) the dissidents - those who were part of riot situations, those who protested against the oppression of Black people - were seen as sick, were seen as having a problem. And one of the means proposed for dealing with the problem was to cut parts of their brains out; was to go directly into their skulls and lobotomize them, because of a diagnosis of illness,and more than anything else, because of political diagnosis. Some of you saw the Amsterdam News, I believe.
It came out Thursday. It discusses the experimentation on our people by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other agencies inside and outside of this country. Even in South Africa and other places, the experimentation on our people is taking place currently - and certainly has taken place in the past. We must recognize that this kind of thing continues and is a part of the so-called law and order system that exists today."(Amos Wilson)
Conscious awareness by the poor and dominated is key to their self liberation and understanding of their oppression much more better. This is important if the oppressed will be able to liberate themselves and their oppressors into a more kind and gentler humanity.
Cultural Consciousness and Action
Paulo Freire says: "For men as beings of praxis, to transform the world is to humanize it, even if making the world human may not yet signify the humanization of men. It may simply mean impregnating the world with man's curious and inventive presence, imprinting it with these traces of his works. The process of transforming the world, which reveals the presence of man, can lead to his humanization as well as his dehumanization, to his growth or diminution.
These alternatives reveal to man his problematic nature and pose a problem for him, requiring that he choose one path or the other. Nevertheless, because they impregnate the world with their reflective presence, only men can humanize or dehumanize . Humanization is their utopia,which they announce in denouncing the dehumanizing processes."
It is important to begin to understand more clearly the differences caused by structural relations of the domination and the dominated: the culture of social science and those of the 'culture which has a voice'. Below, after explaining this, we will look at the 'privilege this brings to those other races who are dominating. But prior to that,Paulo Freire put this into a much more better perspective for our understanding as follows"
"To understand the levels of consciousness, we must understand cultural-historical reality as a superstructure in relation to an infrastructure. Therefore, we will try to discern in relative rather than in absolute terms, the fundamentals characteristics of the historical-cultural configuration to which such levels corresponds. Our intention is to a