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IDEOLOGY AS AN AGENCY OF CULTURE by Rafiki Morris

posted 12 May 2017, 02:36 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 12 May 2017, 03:16 ]
Rafiki Morris
It is often put forward that in our effort to move forward we must choose between this and that: Malcolm vs. Martin; Garvey vs. Dubois, Sobukwe vs. Mandela; Black Power vs. Civil Rights; integration vs. separation, etc.

The presentation of these dichotomies supposes that one is right and the other is wrong. That one course leads to freedom and the other to our continued domination and subservience. The idea that our struggle follows a single path, will succeed in this way and be diminished in that is an example of analysis separated from the historical process out of which the stated options emerge.

That is to say we seek to impose our understanding onto history and culture instead of drawing
Robert Sobukwe
conclusions from an understanding of history and culture. The examples cited above should show clearly that each line of struggle has both positive and negative aspects. They also show that the opposing perspectives are intimately tied to one another and develop in contradiction and cooperation with one another.

My view here is that ideology as an agency of culture must be based in the reality of that culture. The reality is that Africans do not move forward in this direction or that. We do not follow Sobukwe or Mandela or Biko, rather we follow all. We do not move in one direction or another but rather that we move in all directions simultaneously. Often one direction leads to and/or gives rise to another direction and, more often than not, apparently opposite directions develop in direct contradiction or interaction with one another.

We know for sure that we followed Garvey and DuBois. That DuBois who attacked Garvey ended up pursuing Garvey's Dream and died in Ghana under the protection of Nkrumah whose greatest influence was Garvey. Malcolm X was killed seeking to build a united front with the very forces he became popular for criticizing. Martin King became more militant as he aged and died engaged in economic struggle against the very capitalist system his Civil Rights Movement sought to integrate into.

The point is that we proceed along every possible course. What determines the value of the course taken is the interest to which it is welded. A reformist movement welded to the interest of the masses can and does become a revolutionary movement over time and a movement claiming to be revolutionary, motivated by elitist interests, can and does become reformist and reactionary.

Kwame Nkrumah
Positive and negative actions are not separate things that are disconnected from each other and distinct in their manifestations. Positive and negative actions are two aspects of the same thing. They are part of one interconnected whole. Thus Nkrumah can correctly say that, “The seeds of neo-colonialism are to be found in the process of decolonization.” It is also why neocolonialist leaders quite often start out as revolutionary leaders of national liberation movements.

One united African people includes our internal enemies as well as those of us who are infused with the ideas of our enemies. Our liberation struggle includes the struggle among ourselves as well as the struggle against our external enemies.

The aspects of our reality (reformist and revolutionary) have varying probabilities of success and must be developed with a view to directing ourselves along those lines most likely to address our needs. The determinant factor is the objective and subjective interest of the mass, as opposed to the studied conceptions of the learned elite (or as we prefer to call ourselves, the revolutionary intelligentsia or vanguard).

For all our claims to scientific thought the vanguard remains confined to archaic methods of analysis. Mechanical materialism; classic physics (Special Relativity); Hegelian dialectics; Newtonian theory of gravity; narrow nationalism; sectarianism, and classic Marxist conceptions of class, modernity, imperialism and socialism are all ideas that have contributed to our understanding of the world we live in; yet none of them have been able to answer all the questions we ask or solve all the problems we have. They are all partial theories incapable of meeting all of our needs.

Of particular significance is the Marxist/Leninist vanguard theory of organization. Almost all so called revolutionaries embrace some permutations of this theory. This: in spite of the vanguard theory's historical short comings.

We embrace these ideas, while often ignoring their critics within the world socialist movement. More importantly, we do so while ignoring the practical experience and theories of Kim Il Sung (Juche), Ho Chi Minh, Sobukwe (Africanism), Castro, Mugabe, Seku Ture
Kim Il Sung
(People's Class), Gaddafi (Third universal theory), Nkrumah (Consciencism), and Afwerki who all adhere to and advocate some version or another of a Mass Theory of organization. In this we look back to flawed models and ignore the evident interest and needs of our future, that being the establishment and maintenance of Mass society.

The point of emphasis here is that our conceptions must be subservient and permanently tied to the quantum reality of an active mass. There is no linear approach to our unity and liberation. In fact, there are meaningful spiritual, ethical, cultural, social, emotional aspects to our struggle that cannot be measured and which may well be determining aspects when taken into account with our empirical material conditions.

The answers we seek may well reside in unknown, insignificant, immeasurable considerations that no one has yet properly considered. We do not know what real African Unity looks like or what form international African organization will take. Nor can we pinpoint the mechanism through which we will collectively confront international capital, destroy imperialism or, drag the Zionist state into the murky depths of the Mediterranean Sea.

We can say that the determining consideration is the emerging and varying consciousness and conscience of the people, which is always a consequence of their culture and level of organization.

What we do know is that the answers we seek are in front of us and not behind us. Of the available options the only things to be drawn from the past (beside particular strategies and tactics), that are of permanent abiding value are the principles that emerge from our culture of resistance and the interests that these principles serve.

Our future efforts have to have a permanent reference to the masses of the people and be permanently tied to their collective consciousness and interest. We move forward not by any means necessary but rather by every means necessary and do so in service to the masses and in solidarity with all suffering humanity.
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