“Black Lives Matter?”: The Sisyphean Endeavour to Fight Racism as
Opposed to Struggling for Revolutionary Pan-African Liberation

Published by: C-101 Editors

Sisyphus was a king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth) who was forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action forever. A Sisyphean task is defined as an endless unavailing task.

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News headline….”Another Black person was shot today by a rogue civilian, police officer, dog, or any other entity motivated by “racist attitudes.” Enter all the liberal solutions….cultural sensitivity training, campaigns to change white people’s attitudes towards Africans, demonstrations, cry-ins, die-ins, etc., etc. No matter how you slice it, all these alternatives place white people and their perceptions at the center of our efforts to improve our conditions as Africans. Nothing could be more futile than an effort to make one group’s personal attitude central to your objectives as an oppressed group. Primarily because it is not their attitudes that leaves us vulnerable, it is their power to make and fortify policies that are created to keep us vulnerable.

What metrics and indices do we employ to determine whether there is “racial progress?” Do we judge this vague idea on the amount of interracial relationships, or how many times white people speak politely to an African in a day? If we look at Azania (South Africa), which is a poster child for “racial harmony”, how do we account for the fact that the white settlers still own over 87% of the land?! Are we to believe Africans are okay with having no ownership and control over our well being, as long as a white woman/man smiles at us, and ostensibly provides for our children through their institutions? An African can only answer yes to these questions if they have internalized an inferiority complex instilled by society, and they believe everything which is not African is divine. We find ourselves in a situation where no matter how much non-African people put “foot-in-ass”, we continue to appeal to their morality through so-called movements such as “Black Lives Matter.”

We have held on to this strategy for years because we have been trained to believe we are treated as “less-than-human” because of our color. However, there is a greater logic at work when dealing with the world’s hierarchy based on race. When we see these policies and practices, we are not dealing with morals, we are dealing with the basis of an economic system which favors and is maintained by one group of people over all other people in the world. The dominant group keeps its power by allocating resources on the basis of “-isms” that justify their control of these resources. If you consider Europe’s history, you will learn and reflect on the fact that it has little to no resources on its own land base. If we place ourselves in that position and consider the cultural connotations of such an existence, then we have a better understanding of their true ambitions when they endeavored to colonize the world! They were hungry, starved, and diseased; this is not slander, this is the true history of Europe. Their final solution was to disperse and take the resources necessary to sustain their way of life, consolidate it through capitalist production, and justify it by de-humanizing the rest of the world. This is why Western nations always refer to “their of way of life” when presented with perceived threats. Threats which so happen to manifest themselves when colonized people struggle to regain what was lost (e.g. land, economic structures, etc.). We never present a real threat when we struggle to have them “love us” or realize our “lives matter”, they have no problem letting us demonstrate and “express” ourselves because there is no objective to take anything from them. Usually the demonstrators are only looking for individualistic and idealistic solutions such as better reforms, grants to continue their “charity” work, or simply their freedom to have an interracial sexual relationship (hetero- or homo- sexual)!

Walter Rodney

Walter Rodney

In the process of colonialism, they assigned each nation they contacted a role in their global capitalist, economic system. Africa and African people were assigned the role of functioning as a resource bin of highly exploitable natural and human resources. From there, we understand this is maintained by propagating lies and creating conditions to paint Africans as unwilling, unable, and unworthy of having control over our own economic production, and based on capitalist logic where the purpose of production is for profits, the African population can be deemed unfit to live! Walter Rodney describes the consequences of colonialism as follows:

All of the countries named as “underdeveloped” in the world are exploited by others; and the underdevelopment with which the world is now preoccupied is a product of capitalist, imperialist, and colonialist exploitation. African and Asian societies were developing independently until they were taken over directly or indirectly by the capitalist powers. When that happened, exploitation increased and the export of surplus ensued, depriving the societies of the benefit of their natural resources and labor. That is an integral part of underdevelopment in the contemporary sense 1 .

This same analysis applies to all Africans on the continent and within the Diaspora. The attacks on Black people is a continuation of the attack on Africa. If we are to advance as a nation, this must be properly understood!

In light of this understanding, which we’ve had for decades now, we have to question the efficacy of a “movement” that calls themselves “Black Lives Matter”. The fight against racism is externally directed meaning it’s goal is to appease and appeal to power. Our great elder, Amos Wilson said it best:

The relative powerlessness of the Afrikan American community is not primarily due to an absence or paucity of human resources, or even monetary and other material resources. It is due rather to its lack of efficient organization, coordinated development and application under the influence and guidance of a deep and abiding sense of peoplehood and nationhood, of national purpose and destiny. As an aggregation of individuals who can only momentarily act as a people in reaction to their common victimization, the Afrikan American community is “a house divided against itself.” As such it cannot withstand even relatively weakly organized economic, social and political assaults by other non-white ethnic groups who easily overrun its territories and domains, let alone the far more powerfully organized and coordinated assaults of its arch enemy, the White American nation 2 .

Amos Wilson

Dr. Amos Wilson

Is the sloganeering of “Black Lives Matter” a statement or a question? If it is a statement, who are you addressing? If it is a question, from whom and what are you asking for? All in all, it is unequivocally a struggle against “racism”, which, as we noted, is externally directed. This is a serious error because whether “Black Lives Matter” is a statement or a question, history has already answered this question. These assimiliationist strategies are well past their time and need to be abandoned. We have to start creating institutions and organizations (not mobilizations) which are internally directed and start to conscientize ourselves to take control of our future as Africans. If we fail to look to ourselves for our salvation, we will continue the Sisyphean task of fighting against racism only to watch the rock fall right back down the hill forever and ever.

  1.  Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Washington D.C.: Howard University Press, 1981), 14
  2.  Amos Wilson, Blueprint for Black Power: A Moral, Political and Economic Imperative for the Twenty-First Century (New York: Afrikan World Infosystems, 1998), 504