This week Pan Africanism and the Black Panther Party were on your minds. We share your letters for “Black Citizenship Forum: The Roots of Xenophobic Violence in South Africa---A Pan African Response” and “Judas and the Black Messiah: A Missed Opportunity.”
In “Black Citizenship Forum: The Roots of Xenophobic Violence in South Africa---A Pan African Response” Dr. Madalitso Phiri traces the rise of xenophobia in the country to the formation of the colonial state and calls for a Pan African Federation as a solution to problems of violence and exclusion.
Joseph Ferguson writes:
“The proposal of a ‘Pan African Federation’ as the solution to the current problems in South Africa predicated upon the colonial determinants of nationalism, borders, language, and economics sounds good but, as with all such proposals, lacks any details and specifics about how this would be achieved in the current political climate. Is there the political interest, much less will, for such a federation? Since there isn’t, what specific steps are required to make federation a reality, who would take them, and how would they gain the necessary political force to make the change? Where would the money come from to finance this obviously multi-year effort whose chance of success appears negligible? Even if miraculously achieved, how would you prevent the ‘Pan African Federation’ from acting ‘nationalistically’ as the current southern African countries do today, protecting their economic, cultural, and linguistic culture?
“None of this is addressed at all in the article by Dr. Phiri, a fatal omission. As with all general prescriptions, this sounds like hundreds of other desired program goals——affordable housing, end to racism, income equality, world peace, et al.——that only talk about ‘pie in the sky’ goals yet refuse to spell out in detail the steps necessary to achieve those program goals or how to overcome, again with specifics, any political obstacles in the way.
“Until Dr. Phiri provides detailed, step-by-step moves required to achieve his ‘Pan African Federation,’ one can’t begin to take his proposal seriously. It will remain one more to add to the pile of ‘things it would be great to achieve,’ of which there are tens of thousands, each just a published paper one cannot take seriously at all.”
In “Judas and the Black Messiah: A Missed Opportunity” Dante James critiques the recent film for its pessimistic and apolitical portrayal of Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party.
Anti-Racism Media writes:
J. Diane writes:
“I completely agree with the article. I watched this on my tablet. It was 'dark' in ambiance and not in a good way. I was born in the 1950s, consequently I have the recall and knowledge of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense...this is what they did in California. On an aside, I was taken by my older siblings to Los Angeles meetings of the Panthers and to Mosque 27; the Nation of Islam. After one hour of this flick, I had to divert to doing something else.
“I am offended by the surge of movies since Spike Lee’s Malcolm X movie because what I see is NOT what I recall. And I didn't like Spike Lee's interpretation that much. Consequently, the movie that you focused on has many shortcomings. Firstly, the cast; Daniel Kaluuya was not comprehensible...his articulation is horrible and resembles more of Fred Hampton, Jr. He made Chairman Fred appear to be 'all over the place,' not focused and not realistic of the era. Being from California, the Chicago panthers I knew about as the atrocities happened, but I was focused on Oakland and Los Angeles. George Jackson, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Kathleen Cleaver (not Angela Davis). LaKeith Stanfield and Algee Smith are not experienced enough or of the personality to portray MEN of such distinguish in this film.
“Secondly, and probably my last comment, is a response to your statement, ‘Black people are under siege in every aspect of American society, and film has a role in documenting Black resilience.’ This movie does not fit into the matrix of resilience or solutions. It is media/filmography 'entertainment,' I am hoping that before I leave this life that someone will have the finances and BOLDNESS to tell and show what REALLY happened during the significant assassinations of the 60's; while people like me are still alive to assist in relaying TRUTH. It is important.”
We cannot rely on Hollywood to tell the history of the movements of the 1960s. A struggle against the ruling class’s telling of history in all its forms must be waged by serious radicals today.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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