The Anti-violence and Anti-war Mass Movements (cont.)
Part Sixty- Six
We are continuing the speech which I did in 1981 regarding two motions or movements or two major issues of that time. They were Anti-war and Anti-violence. I was fascinated by the striking similarity of that time and the present. I thought it would be of interest particularly for those persons who are students of history, the Peace and Civil Rights Movements.
Date: April 4th, 1981
The Long-Range Objectives
The best language I know, to say nothing of the safest language, is Biblical language. The most revolutionary language can be located in the Holy Bible. For example, the Prophet Isaiah, looking across the years said, "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isaiah 40:4-5).
It is obvious the Prophet is not talking about physical mountains and valleys — who cares if mountains fall, or if valleys raise up. What the Prophet has in mind is an equalization, a leveling out process. The high comes down, and the low rises up. And when that happens, all flesh shall see God. When there is an equalization, when classes and races are eliminated. When human beings respect one another and share all beliefs equitably, they experience the transcendence of God in their midst.
Now some would say that's Socialism or Communism. But in following our strategy, let them call it what they will. We are talking about a classless, raceless, society, where everybody owns together, works together, produces together, and shares together. That is our long-range goal. That is what we are struggling for and is necessary for our lives.
It should be emphasized that this does not preclude the land question, that is still an open proposition. For those who see land/nation and the ultimate objectives will be aided by the attendance of the long-range state of affairs.
Another reason we must merge Anti-Violence and Anti-War motions is that it strengthens our hands to address the national concerns. As black people, we are primarily concerned about Grenada, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, and the Caribbean. We are also concerned about solidarity with progressive governments and liberation movements worldwide. But primarily, at the top of our agenda are those countries which share our common origin. In this regard we raise questions regarding the U.S. Foreign policy as it relates to El Salvador, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, we will always be doing what we can, and saying what we can in support of our brothers and sisters.
The battle for South Africa is coming into its final round. The Reagan Administration has made it clear it intends to support the present regime. The U.S ambassador to the United Nations has been caught leaving secretly, or be it unlawfully, with South African personnel. She claims she did not know they were high ranking South African officials, which makes her a liar, incompetent, or both. Either one means hard times for our people in South Africa, and everywhere South Africa has influence.
In Grenada, there was an attempt on the life of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. The bombs exploded, killing and injuring others. The Prime Minister pointed out that the sophisticated technology to produce that kind of bomb did not exist in Grenada. The bomb had to come from outside of the country. The antagonism of the United States Government towards Grenada, makes it a prime suspect.
The downfall of Michael Manley in Jamaica, and the lavish assistance already offered saiga give further proof that progressive governments in the Caribbean are targeted for destabilization and eventual defeat.
It is President Reagan’s intention to revive America's imperialistic arrogance. To resurrect those old motions of manifest destiny, to revive fears of worldwide communist conspiracy. All those who bow before America’s claim will be protected and supported, especially with military hardware. All nations desiring to pursue non-alignment and wishing to choose their friends outside of the American orbit will be perceived as an enemy of America and therefore, must be destroyed. Thus, there is a spiraling military budget while programs for central services are being cut back and terminated. There is a mood in the country, to be supportive of the cowboy in the White House, as he plays Cowboys and Indians.
The abnormal and unprecedented reception, giving the American hostages upon their return home, reveal a desperate people who need to feel patriotic. This need drove them to heap heroic adulation upon ordinary employees who happen to be caught in the middle of international politics and economics, who simply succeeded in surviving. This glaring inconsistency was immediately emphasized by Vietnam Veterans, who received no such welcome, and in fact, were threatened with programs and services cutbacks.
If a people would go in search of patriotic feelings, we can anticipate that they are going all the way with Ronald Reagan. Unless we can find a way to convince vets that such policies are against their highest ethics, their better selves, and against their own self interests.
Granted, it borders on the impossible, but it is not impossible. Mass movements have done greater things in history. There is the recent memory of Vietnam and in everyone’s memory. Surely everybody remembers how the country was torn apart during the Vietnam years -- even the President was forced to resign. Perhaps this is a time of mass movement with the right priorities and direction can force not only the President of the USA to resign, but also Presidents, Chairmen, and Executive Directors of Corporate America to resign. In a word, perhaps this time a mass movement will usher in the revolution that creates a new Social Order.
If the Anti-Violence and Anti-War Movement can achieve our short range and long-range objectives, then we will have spent our lives well. Even if it means paying the ultimate sacrifice. Our children will rise up and bless our memory. And we shall go to our Lord uttering the words of the Apostle Paul, "we have fought a good fight, we have kept the faith, we have finished our course." If the Anti-War and Anti-Violence Movement does not achieve security and some possessions in the short run and radical change in the long run, we will have failed. All our efforts will come to be an exercise in futility. We will have made a lot of noise, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. And generations to come will not excuse us, but will hold us guilty of wasting our time and energy, and blowing our chance.
Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica said to us recently, “at the beginning of the 70’s, progressive people had a chance, but somehow, we blew it.”
Generations yet unborn will surely say of us, at the beginning of the 80's our people had a chance, but they blew it. But we will not blow it this time. We have learned our lessons well. We have been good students, we have seen the enemy, and we know where he lives and how he schemes. WE WILL NOT BLOW IT THIS TIME! - Victory is ours!