Dope, Mamas and Preachers
In West Africa and the Atlantic Slave Trade, a monograph published before his great work, HOW EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA, the late Dr. Walter Rodney explained the dire social situation as Africa entered the slave trade. He told how all institutions contributed to our downfall: the political, economic, judicial, military, and religious institutions played their role in the destruction of African society.
The rulers, kings and queens, in the words of a Baraka poem, “Sold the farmer to the ghost….” The king and his military, those noble warriors, often engaged in mock battles with neighboring kings and their peoples, then divided the spoils of war (the people) between themselves; of course the “spoils” were sold to European slavers. Rodney told how the judicial system was corrupted with false charges and false evidence to enslave the victims. Persons were falsely charged with adultery and of course the sentence was slavery or sale to the Europeans. From a previous society with no jails and peace in the streets, the time came when all were fearful of being kidnapped. No more peace in the streets, in the villages, but chaos reigned. One tribe could no longer trust another tribe; one person could not trust another.
In America today, we find ourselves in a similar situation. The Arabs use the term “ya’um jahiliyah” (days of ignorance) to designate the historical time before the prophet when all was chaos, murder, revenge killing, tribal warfare, assassination, kidnapping, highway robbery of caravans, quite similar to West Africa before the slave trade or Maafa (great tragedy). But what we have in America is not only business as usual white supremacy, but an expeditious return to slavery times, especially with the involuntary servitude of the jailed and imprisoned, with over 50% of the population African and Latino, the majority Africans incarcerated for minor drug crimes such as small amounts of crack cocaine; with a great percentage of inmates found guilty due to information or mis-information from snitches (give up three people and you go free is the mantra here in the Bay Area of Cali). Is this not similar to the judicial corruption Dr. Rodney described in West Africa? Nowhere is safe these days, the Mall, the Church, the schools, colleges and universities, the workplaces, the social clubs. In Oakland, nearly all clubs for North American Africans have closed due to violence inside or outside the establishments.
Youth gangs have adults living in terror, afraid to go to the store. Several youth have been carjacked and murdered to obtain rims. Antar Bey, the young CEO of Your Black Muslim Bakery (now closed since the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey), was killed to obtain the five thousand dollar rims on his BMW.
And while the church marches and prays to stop the violence, it too has been corrupted by the general chaos in the hood. Sometimes it says nothing about drugs and violence because it is often the beneficiary of mothers who support the church with funds from children involved in the drug trade. One sister said if the church talked about drugs it would have no congregation since so much of its income is from tithes derived from the criminal activity of children whose mothers are church going women. One sister told me these women are essentially pimping their children, then cry when Dante is murdered, swearing he was a good child who did no wrong. When in fact Dante was one of the biggest dope dealers in the hood, who lavished material goods upon his mother.
We recall a church mother who took drugs to her sons in prison contained in baby diapers. And recently we were informed parents can no longer bring home cooked meals to juvenile hall because they were hiding drugs in the food. Yes, even mother is guilty of participating in the chaos and corruption of modern day slavery.
Prostitution is on the rise since the drug trade has lead to the incarceration of so many males. Girls eleven, twelve and thirteen can be found whoring on Oakland’s International Blvd, and they are indeed international, representing every ethnic group and multiracial configuration.
The sad truth is that America has never separated itself completely from its slave past; it merely progressed into virtual slavery of segregation, then wage slavery of the civil rights era. Globalism insures the continuation of virtual slavery with the capitalist desire for cheap wages and natural resources. To obtain and maintain their thousand per cent profits, the imperialists will insist on minimum wages and prices for natural resources. The hopeful sign is the nationalization of resources by the leftist governments throughout the Americas, throwing a monkey wrench in the continued exploitation and robbery of their peoples.
North American Africans seem oblivious to events below their border, aside from joining with the capitalists in their attempt to stem the tide of immigration from the south caused by centuries of Yankee imperialism. The American Blacks are in the main ignorant of the revolution throughout the Americas, in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru and elsewhere.
While they are glued to the insanity of B.E.T. television, peoples throughout the Americas are taking charge of their destiny, kicking out the bloodthirsty imperialists and their reactionary collaborators.
We must come quickly to the realization that our freedom is connected with other people throughout the Americas, with whom we are connected by blood, sweat and tears.
The poor peasants who cultivate the coca plants are victims as well, for they derive little profit for their labor under the sun. We cannot get angry with them but it is upon us to have the discipline to resist the dope when it reaches our cities, for medication is not the solution, rather we must resist oppression not submit to it by medicating ourselves into oblivion, additionally becoming victims of the criminal justice system, then clients of the billion dollar racist pseudo-recovery industry. Yes, the same white racists who deliver the dope, offer to deliver you from the dope, especially with the new harm reduction model that says keep using dope, just do so in a controlled manner. Don’t stop being a wage slave, take a bath and make love to your mate, and don’t abuse your children, but keep taking your dope, and keep coming back to recovery—after all, we make as much money off the recovery business as from addicting the population.
Of course the real solution is a revolution in consciousness, then in society, yes, the destruction of all white supremacy institutions that are harmful and dangerous to our health and the health of humanity in general.
Politicians, preachers and teachers must act in new ways that are progressive rather than reactionary and backward. Mothers, fathers and children must do the same. This is a family affair: slavery was about the destruction of family, thus ultimate freedom will be about the reconstruction of family. There is no other way.
Dr. M is author of HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY, BLACK BIRD PRESS, 2007, $19.95. Order from Black Bird Press, POB 1317, Paradise CA. 95967
The next session of the Pan African Mental Health Peer Group is Saturday, January 12, 4pm, at the Black Repertory Group Theatre, 3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley, one block south of the Ashby BART station. Admission: donation. Call 510-355-6339 for more information.