“I LOVE Killer Mike, but Bernie ain’t it!”
~ Tariq Nasheed
I was once told by a mentor — if we’re going to criticize the efforts of someone we respect, we should always temper our critique by first highlighting those things he or she has done well. When it comes to our brother Tariq Nasheed, it goes without saying, he’s done right by many people in our community, and, for this reason, he is more than deserving of our respect, as well as a fair, and balanced, critique that doesn’t seek to diminish his influence, or character, as a leader.
The making of a 21st Century “Race Man”
I was first introduced to Tariq Nasheed during his 2016 appearance on The Breakfast Club, where he was promoting his latest film — Hidden Colors 4: The Religion of White Supremacy. Prior to this interview, I had never heard of Tariq, or the Hidden Colors series, but I was so impressed by his insight that I purchased four tickets to the Philly theatrical release, that was scheduled for later that Spring. During his second visit to The Breakfast Club, I was just as impressed, and immediately gave to support his 1804 project (Still haven’t got around to watching it, but I’ve heard good things), and encouraged others to do the same.
The success of these projects, alone, has given Tariq a ton of goodwill at the grassroots level. But even more than the tangible success — and showing himself to be an honorable steward of the communities trust and resources — Tariq has been immensely charitable with the earnings. It is widely known that he gave of his personal finances to assist with the burial costs for both Nana Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, and the young warrior from Ferguson, Darren “King D” Seals.
Even in cases where the recipient wasn’t as deserving, Tariq has still shown himself to be a man of charity.
This is why for me, and many other supporters, the recent turn in Tariq’s rhetoric, and behavior, has been a MAJOR RED FLAG.
In the Wake of the Kamala Harris, 2020, Presidential Announcement, the ADOS hashtag took social media by storm. I fully expected to see Tariq support the demand for tangible policies over minstrel-like pandering, but I did not anticipate his full-throated embrace of Negro-American nativism — imperial flag and all.
I have publicly expressed my contempt for this reactionary, slave-identified, American movement, but to-date, I have yet to address Tariq, directly:
I got MAD LOVE for our brother, Tariq Nasheed, but this ADOS movement Really Aint it!
The New Black Media Movement (NBMM): Radical Reparations & Weaponizing the Black Vote
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
~ Charles Mackay (Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds)
While I have an appreciation for the element of militancy and discipline the NBMM has put behind the demands of Black voters, I can’t help but characterize this “new” push for #Tangibles2020 as a day late and a dollar short. To be fair, I will credit Tariq with being more than consistent with his long-standing message that Black American’s should only give our votes, in exchange for tangible policies that benefit us, directly. However, the strategy and rhetoric deployed to obtain these policy gains is a throwback to 1959.
The call for tangibles in political discourse is nothing new. When the Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced that they would be launching “a full scale assault… upon discrimination and segregation in all forms,” they issued a press release on December 1, 1959, which quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, as follows:
“The time has come for a broad, bold advance of the southern campaign for equality… After prayerful consideration, I am convinced that the psychological moment has come when a concentrated drive against injustice can bring great tangible gains. We must not let the present strategic opportunity pass.”
The problem with pursuing this same exact strategy, 60 years later, is — radical integration has already been proven to be a failed method for Black advancement in America.
Nothing short of POWER, will secure for Black Americans our ability to realize our justice claim in this country — and that power will not be obtained through the ballot.
The call for the weaponizing of our votes is an integrationist fantasy, that completely ignores the 50-year neoliberal period, that responded to the “excess in democracy,” of the 1960’s, by stripping away all forms of power from public control. In a corporate-dominated America, a “weaponized ballot,” is the equivalent of having a cache of bullets with no gun to fire them.
To be clear, I respect the fact that the NBMM has been able to martial it’s audience to pressure candidates to respond to the question of reparations. But this alone is not a meaningful accomplishment. The corporate-owned political system, much like the stock market, may respond to the noise on the street, but it always trends towards white supremacy.
While I can’t completely fault my brothers for having their, otherwise, sober-minded electoral analysis clouded by reparations euphoria, I do think we should be holding each other accountable for the damage done by these temporary flights of fancy. For example, I know for a fact that many of our Haitian brothers and sisters felt betrayed by Tariq’s notable silence on the recent uprisings in Haiti, that were being suppressed by the American corporate media.
Tariq’s silence was especially disheartening, given the fact that he produced an entire documentary on the Haitian revolution, and during their time of need, his non-response was a bold and deafening: “Hold Your Own Nuts!”
This is the problem I’ve had with ADOS nativism from the very beginning. It forces those of us who have been the greatest advocates for racial unity, to embrace a narrow form of reactionary politics that draws ethnic lines, in hopes of receiving a non-existent “bag” (i.e. reparations pay-out).
As a whole, the ADOS leadership has shown itself incapable of dealing with the propaganda maneuvers of the state, and has done more harm to the grassroots reparations movement, in one month, than the US Government was able to do in seven-decades. It is my hope that folks thrust to the forefront of this movement, will slowly return to their senses, before the madness of the crowd completely destroys 100 years of sober-minded, reparations advocacy. This fight is about more than a reparations “check,” it’s about our liberation — and the stakes are far too high to allow an internet hashtag, to redefine the narrative of an intergenerational of struggle for FREEDOM.
Crack in the Code: What would Dr. Welsing Say?
“Dr. Welsing went “toe to toe” with white supremacy… She, like Nana Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Nana John Henrik Clarke, is a warrior-healer who has helped to heal our trammeled and battered psyche. She understood, as did Bobby Wright and Baba Amos Wilson, that in a white supremacist world order, all human experience is racial. Everything is political. All reality has racial significance. It is all about power.
Dr. Welsing, along with others named here, was among the few who could carry the epithet of “Leader of the Race.” To truly lead us, one has to be courageous enough to speak always in the interest of Afrika — even when it is unpopular and dangerous to do so.
~ Mama Marimba Ani; A Praise Song for Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Our Race Champion
Dr. Welsing would be disappointed to learn that one of her most beloved sons has betrayed her legacy, by embracing the same reactionary politics, she herself, stood against. While I don’t presume to speak for our great Ancestor, her life’s work was a testament to the mental, and ideological fortitude, needed to wage war against systemic, racism, white supremacy.
What the ADOS movement has made abundantly clear, is there are some significant cracks in many of our brothers, and sisters, ideological foundations. We’ve allowed “black first” rhetoric to stand in the place of a substantive, and thorough, analysis of the actual systems of domination that adversely affect Black people. This has led to many of us operating under a false pretense, believing that because we’re speaking the same language we must have the same goals.
Mama Marimba Ani addresses this fallacy in the above clip when she laments regarding the “ideological confusion” caused by a lack of “ideological grounding,” and clarity, concerning identity.
For those of you who are unsure, let me state unequivocally, and without prejudice: YOU CANNOT BE ADOS, AND PAN AFRICAN, AT THE SAME TIME — NO MORE THAN YOU CAN BE A SEPARATIST AND AN INTEGRATIONIST AT THE SAME TIME — and anyone who tells you different, is purposefully trying to confuse you.
There has always been a clear distinction between the Civil Rights Movement (ADOS), and the Black Liberation Movement (Pan Afrikan Nationalist). In Malcolm X’s, “Message to the Grassroots,” he makes this distinction clear when he states:
I would like to make a few comments concerning the difference between the black revolution and the Negro revolution. There’s a difference. Are they both the same? And if they’re not, what is the difference?
The Black Liberation Movement has always been fought, within a global context, whereas the Civil Rights Movement, has always been confined to the United States of America.
I point this out, because on a recent IG LIVE discussion, our brother, Tariq, made sure to categorize the ADOS movement as the “New Civil Rights Movement”:
“This is like the new Civil Rights Movement, but it ainʼt civil rights — itʼs Black American descendants of slaves rights.”
While I have no problem with this assertion, it does bring into question, where Tariq stands on the goals of Pan Afrikan Nationalism?
I recognize that the path to enlightenment is not a singular event, but in the past, he has credited Dr. Welsing as being the conduit, through which he came into consciousness. I find it hard to reconcile the tradition that produced the genius of a Dr. Welsing, with the militant-ignorance that undergirds the ADOS philosophy.
Again, this would not be a problem, but for the fact, many of Tariq’s followers recognize him as standing in the same tradition, as Dr. Frances Cress Welsing — while he simultaneously, makes baseless attacks on the tradition.
Statements like this, make me question if our brother has ever really understood Pan Africanism, or if the promise of a reparations check was enough to sacrifice it on the altar of white supremacy?
I’m truly at a lost…
Never in a million years would I expect to see a son of Dr. Welsing, weaponizing his platform, against our brothers and sisters, throughout the diaspora. There’s no way a true Pan Africanist would ever take the words of an obvious “coon,” and use them as the representation for any group of Black people, in the diaspora.
What would Dr. Welsing Say?
Well she certainly wouldn’t tell our brothers, and sisters in the Diaspora to “Hold Your Own Nuts,” and then sell T-shirts to profit from the division. If this is being “on code,” there must be a breakdown in the language.
A Final Appeal: From Omowale to Tariq
As long as we think — as one of my good brothers mentioned out of the side of his mouth here a couple of Sundays ago — that we should get Mississippi straightened out before we worry about the Congo, you’ll never get Mississippi straightened out. Not until you start realizing your connection with the Congo…
~ Malcolm X
Whether you recognize yourself as a leader, or not, there are lots of people who follow you — and your words matter. No code can replace the necessity of sober-minded leadership, disciplined group study, and ideologically-grounded, grassroots, organizing.
Sheep have a code — during times of danger, they instinctively move to the center of the herd — but sheep, like humans, require the leadership of a shepherd, if they are to survive. If “the code” is to be the shepherd, then it needs to be revitalized. A ship that bends with every wave is not fit for sailing, and as it currently stands — “Get on Code” is a patch work sailboat that bends with every wave, and has no ideological anchor to prevent it from being washed out in a sea of reactionary thought.
In conclusion, I pray my words are received in the spirit in which they were given, but if you take nothing else away, just know that ADOS is on collision course with reality, and as a captain, I hope you’ll consider redirecting the ship.
You’re either Team Pan Afrikan, or Team White Supremacy, there is no in between.