By: Jim Clingman
The Conundrum of Consciousness and Capital
Two dynamic brothers, Chike Akua, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Amefika Geuka, of West Palm Beach, Florida, were guests on Brother Keidi Awadu’s LIB Internet Radio Program (www.libradio.com) in February 2006. Among the many interesting points they both made, was Chike’s assessment of Black consciousness and Black capital. In short, he noted that many conscious brothers and sisters have little capital and many Black folks who have a lot of capital have little consciousness. Thus, we must raise both consciousness and capital.
Subsequent to that particular conversation, Brother Amefika, who agrees with the basic premise of Black folks needing both consciousness and capital, shared with me the reality of our situation when it comes to raising the consciousness of Black folks who have capital. Noting the few exceptions who have both consciousness and capital and are doing good and well at the same time, folks like Dr. Walter Lomax, of Philadelphia, Amefika pointed to the difficulty and near futility of trying to raise consciousness among the so-called Black elite.
You know, I believe he is right. W.E.B. DuBois tried it with his Talented Tenth and failed. Forty-five years after he started the concept he said, “In my youth I underestimated the power of selfishness over sacrifice.” Who in the world do I think I am to believe I can accomplish that lofty feat?
I believe both Chike and Amefika are right in their conclusions, and I also believe in what DuBois said he discovered at a late age. Well, I am at a somewhat “late” age, no time to waste, and I definitely understand the power of selfishness over sacrifice. So, here is what I have come up with.
Marcus Garvey told us time after time that Black people are a nation within a nation; that being true, we must act as such. Other groups in America have no problem demonstrating their nationhood within the borders of the U.S. Black folks seem to have some reservations about doing it, maybe because many of us are still trying to assimilate and be “accepted” by white people. It’s great for people to love and accept us, but should we spend our every waking hour trying to force them to do so?
Acting as a nation naturally reflects nationalistic thinking and nationalistic action, just as we see the Chinese, the Greeks, the Italians, the Koreans, the Indians, and others conducting their affairs in a nationalistic manner. Those folks are indeed nationalists. They take their resources and take care of themselves first. They are conscious capitalists and conscious nationalists. What are we?
My plan from this point on, that is, unless someone like Chike or Amefika comes along and offers a better plan, is to concentrate on those of us who are nationalistic in our thinking and our actions. We may not have much individually, but we do have a great deal collectively. I am sure if given the right leadership and marching orders, nationalistic brothers and sisters will do what it takes, they will make the necessary sacrifices to empower our people. I know they will use whatever resources they have to do the right thing for our people.
Considering the current and, in some cases, impending geopolitical and macroeconomic ramifications of this country’s policies, Black Americans, the ones who are most oppressed, most imprisoned, most insecure, most mis-educated and uneducated, most unemployed, most impoverished, most neglected, and who suffer the most disease and illness, I am convinced, and have been for a long time, that only by the work of our own hands, as Martin Delany told us, will we be successful.
Thus, I am reissuing a call for you, readers of this column all across this country, to join the Blackonomics Million Dollar Club (BMDC). No, it is not a panacea, but we have many other brothers and sisters who are working on other initiatives in other areas of collective and cooperative economic empowerment. My call is for the BMDC. I know full well that there are at least 200,000 Black folks who read this column in more than 200 publications throughout the U.S. I also know there are millions of Black folks online, many of whom will also read this article. You are the ones to whom this call is made.
Go to www.blackonomics.com and enter your e-mail address in the BMDC Mail List Box on the left side of the homepage, or just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org saying “Sign me up!” The BMDC is an Internet-based giving initiative that can provide up to $1 million for our organizations and causes at the click of a keyboard mouse. It calls for each member to send a minimum of $5.00 each directly to a designated recipient, five times per year. We hope to increase the frequency of donations as we gain more members. Our current recipient is the Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It cannot be simpler than that, brothers and sisters.
We have also helped several other schools and museums, as well as William Mayo, a brother who has been incarcerated 13 years for a crime he did not commit in Georgia. See www.freemayo.com for more information on his case.
Consciousness demands nationalistic action by these who claim to be conscious. Of course, we need capital and, as Maria Stewart said, we have plenty but we spend most it on “nonsense.” So what’s it going to be? Yes, I would love to see our capital-rich brothers and sisters get involved, and the bridge that has been built over the years is still intact; I sincerely hope and pray they will at least meet the conscious ones in the middle of that bridge and commit to making a few sacrifices too.
Please sign up for the BMDC; this is a movement that will raise our consciousness as well as our capital.