One often hears the call for Black Unity and underlying many platforms is a belief that together we are strong. People will recall days of civil rights struggle and the apartheid struggle as evidence. This is an example of selective memory and dangerous pseudo politics in so far as it substitutes ‘feel good ‘ factors for real political analysis.
Our first step is to understand that Black and African political struggles are NO DIFFERENT from any other. Western academia’s positing of an African or Black ‘exceptionalism’ must be fought. We have as much to learn from Roman history, in particular the Civil Wars, from Chinese history , in particular the era of Warring States, as from the Civil Rights era or the fight against apartheid. A Black US scholar once described Romans as gangsters in Togas. This is so wrong headed! Roman Senators and US senators can be seen similarly. There is a reason they are both called Senators! Tacitus and Cicero wrote their histories so that future generations should understand how politics works. Good people are born naive wheres evil people instinctively know how to manipulate others and crowds. It is to educate good people that they wrote their works. Evil ones needed no such instruction.
It is often useful to look at other countries situations first before trying to understand one’s own. In China during their civil war one side Chiang Kai Shek sided with Chinese worst and most powerful enemies – US and Britain. The Chinese had to fight mostly their own in order to achieve independence. In Angola one side UNITA allied itself with Angola’s worst and most powerful enemy – apartheid South Africa. In neither case, Angola or China, could progress be made on the basis of seeking ‘unity’. In the case of Britain during WW2 there was the absurd position of a king siding with Britain’s worst and most powerful enemy – Nazi Germany! There were many within Britain’s elite circle who wanted to do a deal with Nazi Germany. This is generally called a ‘a fifth column’ issue.
In Black and/or African struggles we should expect many within our own communities to ally themselves with our worst enemies – it has always been thus in all history!
One important lesson from this is that any platform for progress must clearly delineate and demarcate itself so that one identify ‘friend or foe’ from within our ranks. (The issues of hidden enemies and false flags are quite different but related problems.) For example, I know there are many Chi-chi Black women who confronted with the seriousness of current Black and African contemporary issues refuse to engage on the grounds, so they tell me, that even thinking about the problem ‘makes them unhappy’. What makes them ‘happy’ is to accept the status quo. Many progressives say that we need the support of our women so we must work with them. Actually as they stand they are the enemy! It is good to try and change or convert them – but recognise that they and men like them are as such today the enemy within. We are not breaking ranks or causing disunity by recognising this – they are not in our ranks!
Any close reading of the history of The Black Panthers or MLK’s organisation will show the extent of enemies within. The Black movement prefers to focus on the role of the FBI. That is valid area of focus. But to ignore the enemy within is foolhardy and not valid. It is not a failing of Black or African people that we have enemies within – history shows that all peoples, all struggles, have had and will have enemies within! Just anticipate it and deal with them when they arrive.