Tag Archives: History

“Fuck the Police” by Renaissance (Lyrics)

#FUCKTHEPOLICE

They not bout the people
Don’t suffer like we do
Servin the master class
They Asses be see-through
Their answers be lethal
Though they don’t need to
Just shoot as they please
Be death without redo…

Got no reason to trust them
They commin to bust in
And don’t give a fuck
I’m professin or hustlin
Want us dead or in prison
Keep us in division
With surgical precision
They’ve made all their incisions
They come from slave patrols
And protect the capital
Of capitalism
And it’s all about control
Work to keep us at odds
& To keep us all poor
So when we’re workin for scraps
We won’t be askin for more
Union bustin for sure
COINTELPRO
They broke up the Black Panthers
propped up the Jim Crow
used dogs and fire hoses
red lines and bulldozers
paid snitches to roll us
plea bargains been sold us
gang units built and ensnare
Vietnam Vets to street warfare
they’ve been against our people
since before cobblestone roads
but they’re the closest thing to
government most of us will ever know

don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
FUCK THE POLICE!
don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
FUCK THE POLICE!

People wanna separate
Police from the state
and from corporations
Who function with no restraints
from politicians, prisons,
borders, immigration,
And imperialism
like each one is distinct
But the nature of a system’s
that they’re all interlinked
And they depend on each other
to keep everything succinct
which means the people are controlled
their code for this is order
labor producing products
The opposition’s slaughtered
F.B.I., C.I.A.,
N.S.A., they got us
Panopticon, they spot us
They spy’n us the hardest
Regardless, of the fact, that,
We are the people
we push the envelope
We scratch the needle
the essence of the state
is to guard itself from change
beyond whatever liberty
It supposedly claims
and this is why on the police
They don’t have any reigns
they can kill us daily
And not be put in chains

don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
FUCK THE POLICE!
don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
FUCK THE POLICE!

They be posted on the block
And there ain’t nothin to stop
The intimidation brought
The terrorism wrought
Cuz they backed by the state
And can never be wrong
Lest the people see the trait
Swarm the state in a throng
Like Ferguson, Missouri
In the streets for 90 days
But didn’t get attention
Until it was set ablaze
Don’t want to face the truth
Try to slip through the noose
Don’t RESPECT us lack ruth
Shoot our people kill our youth

Michael Brown, Tamir Rice
Sandra Bland, Charlene Lyles,
Castile, Valdez, Boyd, Williams
Gray, Taylor, Garner, Hollins

It’s a God Damned shame
That I can rhyme their names
Killed so many of us
Hard to be more enraged
But we must remember them
Those taken by the system
In prison, enslavement, killed by police men
Body cams ain’t do shit
They just turn the fuckers off
In the streets fightin riot cops
Where’s my molotov
The institution
Police unions need to cease
Ain’t here for you and me
So, fuck the police

don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
FUCK THE POLICE!
don’t give a shit
bout you or me
don’t give a shit
bout democracy
licensed to kill
dead in the street
Here’s what I think
FUCK THE POLICE!


 

To get my latest album release:

https://renaissancethepoet.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-struggle

 

To support the music and the movement for justice:

https://www.patreon.com/renaissancethepoet

Advertisements

“All Lives Don’t Matter” by Renaissance

 

Written in response to the “All Lives Matter” slogan and belief that has been a tactic of invalidation of the Human Rights and Civil Rights struggle, which the #BlackLivesMatter Movement embodies, this piece rips into the history of legislation, constitutional amendments, the rise of the prison industrial complex, and the impact these racialized systems of oppression, socially and legally reinforced, and how they harm People of Color.

The twisted and disgusting perversion of my declaring that my life has value and that I deserve respect merely by the fact that I am a human being, into something that is a denial of anyone else’s life having value and deserving respect is purely idiocy and ignorance, and extreme expression of #WhiteFragility and privilege. This system does not treat people all the same and the data that proves this is astounding, but one need only look at the laws and how they have been applied to perceive that this system is racist at its core

The White Ruling Class & The Rising Under Class

I think most people merely want to get on with the business of living their lives and so long as there are no interruptions to what they consider normal then they do not become concerned with the things in this world that are unjust or unfair. I do not think they are necessarily at fault for having this desire. It is hard enough to get through school, to maintain a job, to sustain a relationship, to raise children and so on that becoming concerned with the problems of others may seem like too much of a burden to bear. In fact, many may never even notice the pervasiveness of suppression and inequality until someone attempts to challenge the structure and the order of the society in which they live.

 

For so long as the people who traditionally have fulfilled service sector roles perform those roles and do not attempt to interrupt or contribute to the ruling roles then there is no need for active suppression. However, when the son of a cobbler or a janitor aspires to become the owner of the janitorial business or even the corporation that employs the janitorial business and questions the rulership of those business owners and corporations then steps are taken to limit the progress of the individual from the underclass. The situation described above may appear unjustified and even wrong, inaccurate, and intentionally to be eschewing the facts and reality. However, this interpretation dissipates when the situation is considered through the lens of dialectal materialism, that is the competition for the control of resources and how this impacts the social fabric of a society. Furthermore, when it is understood that capitalism ideologically fosters a competition wherein victory is only achieved by the destruction of all other competitors, then the reality of the situation described above is not as far-fetched as one might have initially thought.

 

One of the more troubling observations I have made concerning the situation described above is that the rulers within a society often times do not know that they are in the ruling class. When Jim Crow segregation in the United States was in full force and cities had “white only” and “colored” signs plastered all over, it was quite obvious who was in power and who lacked power. However, different the outward appearance of the United States may be today, things are not as different as many believe. There may not necessarily be specific and overt signage signifying where a particular person, from a particular group belongs, but that does not change the net results of the system, which by and large remains much the same. Police officers still participate in context stops of individuals when they are ‘caught’ in the wrong neighborhoods; “sundown towns” are not necessarily a thing of the past. Henry Louis Gates Jr., a professor at Harvard University who is also a Black man, was arrested for walking into his own front door because the police thought he was a burglar. “Stop and Frisk,” a policy that began in New York under Mayor Giuliani in the 1990s, permitted police officers to stop anyone at any time that they chose, to inspect and violate their Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” In addition to that violation was also the arbitrary and targeted nature of the law, which primarily targeted young people of color to essentially harass and terrorize them in their own communities; racial profiling. Now here again we hear the that the presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to institute stop and frisk across the entire county under the supposed rationalization that it will help the Black community. Help the Black community to do what? Stay in a pre-scribed place. Not the place that we belong, but the position within this society which has been imposed upon us. In 1964, Black people could not vote in the United States and as such, also could not participate in juries. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed making illegal the infringement of the voting rights of all people, especially, as it had been done through the cryptic practices of poll taxes and literacy tests. Yet, as a result of further, clever legal finagling today there are over twelve million people who are disenfranchised within the United States and thus the net result is unchanged. The police institution is still predominately staffed and controlled by white people, the courts are still predominantly controlled by white people, the jails and prisons are still primarily controlled by white people, and the politics are still controlled by white people. All of these observations are readily apparent whether by first-hand account (walk into a courthouse or police department or legislature), or by statistics. The fact that there is a Black person for President, Barak Obama, or person as a Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, does not alter the reality of who holds the power and control. The issue here is the rule, although people may want to focus on the exceptions to the rule like they make a significant difference to the net results. Yet, tell a white person that they are part of the ruling class and they will oppose the proposition as staunchly as an accusation of capital murder.

 

Many white people operate under the perception that they are not part of the ruling class because they do not interpret race as being one of the major factors that contribute to class and also tend to deny the prevalence of racialized privilege.  These two condition are not only correlational, but are mutually reinforcing; i.e., the two structures work together to maintain the social order and class structure whereby Black people are largely politically, socially, economically, and socially constricted into positions of inferiority. To be certain, the control of capital is factor that impacts and delineates all people and many white people are certainly impacted by this in a negative manner. But, their mere affiliation with the group of people that are white removes many barriers that Black people must overcome to simply begin to compete in this system. Obstacles that many white people will never in their life have to consider prior to applying to school or a job, before walking into the grocery store, when a police officer pulls behind them in traffic, or renting an apartment, etc. When Black people are able to overcome some of these obstacles that are invisible to white people we may hear something like, “wow, you are very articulate” (for a black person; the end is usually left unspoken, but the intent is implied and felt). This is why a Black man with a college degree and no “criminal” record is at a disadvantage when competing with a white man with no college degree and a “criminal” record for the same position. A disadvantage that has been institutionalized and is reinforced by racial determinations within the United States society.

 

A very harmful outcome of these circumstances is the phenomenon of internalized racism, whereby the implications of the racialized class structure become a component of the identity of members from the subordinated group. This is expressed in terms of the belief that white people are superior and that Black people are inferior in intellect, politics, beauty, economics and so forth, and furthermore, that this is the way it is supposed to be. It leads to an apathy that limits the horizon of potential to but the near future because long-term planning tends to seem like “pipe dreams,” that is, things that are unachievable or unrealistic. It further leads people to feel satisfied with mediocre standards of living because they tend not to believe they deserve better and are worth more, that their contributions to society do not warrant a greater share of the profits of that society. The prevalence of the inner-city ghetto is the quintessential example of this in American society, wherein it seems the people are locked in a negative-feedback-loop of degradation into a deplorable and demeaning existence. These negative feelings are internally reinforced among those who are members within the subordinated group and may be expressed in phrases such as; “sell-out,” or “Uncle Tom,” of “look at you trying to be white.” A Black person is likely to hear something like this from other Black people when we excel in education, or we use something other than the local slang, or when we can manage to get into or graduate from college, or when we beat the odds and get a good paying job. The internalization of racism can go much further and people have even acted so as to prevent the others from progressing, such as the very conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who has taken stances both against the application of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action. In 1982, Republican President Ronald Reagan, made Thomas the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, of whose roles it was to oversee the application of the Affirmative Action laws. Then in 1991, another Republican President, George Bush, placed Thomas onto the Supreme Court to replace the nearly polar opposite retiring Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the Civil Rights lawyer who with the NAACP at the time, won the Brown v. Board of Education suit in 1954. All going to show that an exception to the rule, Thomas very likely having benefitted from Affirmative Action going to Yale Law School (the same school as President George W. Bush Jr.), has worked to undermine that very system that would level the competition field for so many. These institutions, policies, and practices paid for with the blood of our predecessor’s and years of their lives being undermined by one of the people they were designed to help, and did help, can be nothing but the manifestation of internalized oppression. When the dynamics of the hierarchical class structure become internalized by the people marginalized and minoritized by that structure it has the tendency to imprison them into a negative belief system that permits the system to function almost unchecked or unchallenged.

 

People have a tendency to grow comfortable with things that are familiar as they get used to the way that things function, regardless of how beneficial or harmful the circumstances may be. White people who are not familiar with the constraints that Black people contend with and are relatively comfortable with the circumstance of the conditions of the United States society will lack the necessary motivation to interrupt the way things are. Furthermore, because economic class distinctions do impact white people with all the relevant political, educational, and social implications; any interruption from Black people into that system may seem like a corruption of their opportunities as a result of the added competition. Yet, instead of focusing attention on those who are members of the most elite group and who control the distribution of resources and thus the opportunities within our society, the people who are most closely identified as being related to the interruption are blamed and targeted.

 

Most recently, when Black Lives Matter emerged as a national political platform it was challenged with All Lives Matter and even Blue Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter is merely the assertion of equitable value of human life due a specific respect that is not tinged with subordination. Yet, white people felt as if their lives were somehow being devalued by this proposition and also felt the need to challenge it by claiming that all lives already had value and that there was no need for a specific assertion of value of a particular group because they do not believe that there are subordinated groups in this society. The slogan “All Lives Matter” was the tool they created to accomplish a supposed ‘rebalancing’ of the social order they had grown comfortable with. Blue Lives Matter was an even more specific attempt to rebalance the attention away from the systemic inequalities Black people are subjected to, towards the police institution itself. As if somehow the police were ever in the disadvantage of anything or that they needed any more power or authority. The “Blue Lives Matter” slogan was the tool utilized by police officers and their proponents to reestablish the unquestioned authority of the police institution in its role to maintain the hierarchical, racialized, class structure of economic privilege.

 

The pushback to “Affirmative Action” wherein the policy has been assaulted as being “reverse discrimination” and “reverse racism” is another prime example of this phenomenon of blaming the interruption of the social order on those most closely identified with the disruption of their privileges. For the first time, a space was being made for Black people whereby some of the barriers invisible to white people were legally disbanded and they were forced to compete with Black people not having barriers to access. They found it difficult to compete and felt that it was an imposition into their comfortable social order. White people, because they had also internalized their “racial privilege” couldn’t and wouldn’t believe that they were being out-competed by Black people and still do not. We are likely to hear such things as “you only got into that school because you got a scholarship,” which is an expression of class discrimination, and “you only got that scholarship because of affirmative action,” which is an expression of racial discrimination because it is code for “being Black and thus unworthy.” These two factors are not only correlational, but are mutually reinforcing. We are likely to hear these things even in states where Affirmative Action has been repealed because of the pushback from white people. The belief that Black people are inferior is so pervasive, and the maintenance of the social order is so important that any imposition or interruption is immediately challenged with the focus being on those most closely identified with the interruption. Thus, when Black people began to break out of the social order we had been constricted into, there was immediate pushback by those in the ruling class of this hierarchical society to put Black people back into “their place,” and yet it will undoubtedly be argued that racism is a thing of the past and that the social outcomes are not equitable to the outcomes of the legal impositions of the past.

 

Chattel Slavery in the United States as it existed in the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries was official abolished in 1865, with the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. A hundred years after that, Jim Crow segregation as it existed throughout the end of the nineteenth and for the first half of the twentieth century in 1964 and 1965, with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, respectively.  First and foremost, the Thirteenth Amendment did not abolish the institution of enslavement, it codified it into United States law. Second, slavery is an institution that humans have depended on for thousands of years in multiple cultures and civilizations, and has depended upon the identification of subordinated groups to justify the imposition of servitude and subservience upon others. The belief systems that rationalized enslavement did not disappear from the human consciousness and social fabric merely because it was abolished by law; the feelings and sentiments are still very much alive and continue to harm the entire civilization; e.g., the Prison Industrial Complex. In addition, we are only one-hundred and fifty-one years removed from the end of the American Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which is but a blink of an eye relative to the millennia the institution of slavery has survived through. Thus, to presuppose and to assume that the belief system which rationalized enslavement no longer exists and that the impacts of the institution have somehow disappeared is not only premature, but also, inaccurate and ahistorical. It is actually cognitive dissonance and a mere justification to rationalize the maintenance of the current hierarchical social structure.

 

White people are not interested in releasing the privileges they have which grant them opportunities or relinquishing their political position to share with the subordinated groups who are currently minoritized, marginalized, and disenfranchised. White people are not interested in challenging the most elite ruling group because it will undermine their capacity to compete for the meager resources they are granted access to and control over. White people are not interested in deconstructing the invisible barriers that grant them a negotiation advantage in rental, educational, business, economic, political, and purchasing situations. It is not in their best interest to do so, that is, it is not in their self-interest to share resources and opportunities because that would decrease their potential and likelihood of living a relatively comfortable life.

 

Therefore, since this is the reality of the context in which we live it is up to us, as Black people, to interrupt the status quo hierarchical, economic class structure held in place by racialized divisions. We have to seek to understand the internalization of racism and how it manifests in our lives and in our communities, and how it functions to hold us in a position of inferiority by doing the white man’s work for him. We are already being oppressed, we do not need to oppress ourselves with the garbage they want us indoctrinated with. This means that we have to stop consuming the media the white man propagates, which utilizes the tropes and stereotypes that portray our people in positions of inferiority; and we have to stop relying on and trusting their media machine that presents to us fabrications that they attempt to pawn-off on us as news. Each time we marshal the courage and muster the people to transgress the invisible barriers of class and racialized divisions, they send in their internal colonization force, the police, to suppress the advancement of our people from abject poverty and suppression into liberation and equality. Then they attempt to paint the political activists as “criminals” who according to them are breaking the “laws,” and who are upsetting the “order” of things. We have to recognize that these laws that criminalize our claim to liberty and equality are but the tools of an antiquated system of hierarchical privilege and subordination. Furthermore, that it is their indoctrination through their school systems and media that sustains the fragile veil of equality that people believe exists in the United States. Their indoctrination machine has been so effective that many Black people do not even know that we deserve more and that it is not our fault for not being able to compete equally in this system. That we deserve better than ghettos and prisons, that we deserve elite educations, that we deserve jobs that provide more than merely making ends meet week-to-week, that we deserve a further horizon than tomorrow as a future to strive for. We deserve to not live in fear that because of the color of our skin we may not make it home from school or the grocery store alive.

 

It is understandable that most people just want to go about their lives and not to create ruffles or to stand out. For white people it undermines their social order and comfort. For Black people we risk being killed and imprisoned. That most people, and especially white people do not recognize this difference in potential outcomes is a major part of the problem. It is ironic, but most from either side will never even recognize that there is a problem until someone from the underclass attempts to climb out of the position this society has boxed us into. To make matters worse, until a sufficient amount of people from the underclass stand up and oppose the structure of oppression, the privileged class will continue to deploy and employ its rationalizations and explanations to criminalize those of us fighting to claim our human rights; fighting to claim what we are due and that which we deserve.

 

Above all else what must be understood is this; rights are not granted, they are fought for and won. We cannot rely on, or wait for our oppressors to wake up magically realize that what they have been doing is wrong and that for some reason against all logic that they will simply concede their unjust privileges to us. We have to demand that they relinquish their unjust earnings. We have to demand reparations. We have to press for equality and equity and we have to bring it into being. We have to fight for these things because they will not be given to us.

 

We only demand what we have a claim to by Right.

Roots Reaching Black

Had to make it PHAT, had to take it back

Had to rep for a culture that the roots are reaching Black

Beautiful, Powerful, Indisputably Immutable

The history a crucible, the music is a tool to use

Cathartic when it needs to be, hard to beat society

At times, the rhymes, plant the seeds we need to breathe

Through police brutality, fatalities, impunity

the root of e-vil, our people see the enemy

An internal colony, Fanon saw the tragedy

Overseer to officer, KRS, a prodigy

His progeny, are challenging, violence’s monopoly

By the state, the fate of which, attempt to claim us property

Hip Hop is the voice/ and the weapon of choice!

Since Grand Master Flash and DMC were making noise

Cuz with the “Message,” hood pov-erty, was being challenged

& “Fuck the Police,” expounded on that knowledge

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

Not to say it’s not a party music, wouldn’t be true

It’s the part of the genre, we be celebrating to

Get ya club on, ya dance on, or smoke a blunt to

Or, however you hang, when you’re chillin wit your crew

Don’t be fooled, “Walk Ruff and Stuff with yo Afro Puffs”

Was Black Power, to the core, filled with Black Love

challenging pat-riarchy, white standards of beauty

And Internalized Oppression with con-tinuity

Queen Latifa, a master emcee

Blessed us with her presence in the 1980s scene

& Helped to make the music what it is to you and me

So Lauren Hill could call out “Politrixions” with the Fugees

While Bill Clinton, prison warden, playin the sax

Signed into law, the 1994, Crime Act

No more education in the prison labor system

& 3 Strikes was made law by those Politrixions

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

What is problematic, was the corporate takeover

of a cultural art form, meant to restore the

pride of our people, integrity the needle

The One’s and Two’s, the Wheels of Steel, spinnin through to freedom

When they moved in and sup-planted, their business model

& Threw down the throttle on producin gangsta bauble

to make a Modern-Day-Minstrel, Black Face, metropolis

but a Dangerous Black, outta control, was all you got from this

While the War on Drugs, was being waged, out on our Streets

The Reagans and the Clintons, were pulling back their sheets

Stereotypes, that fed the hype, of the white supremist blight

and the P.I.C. was being formed right in plain sight,

With these images that the corporations spun about us

The public in Amerika, had no doubt, about us

Thank god the Underground rose to challenge all this B.S.

Where people like Mos Def and Immortal Technique flourished

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

The sound of resistance, the people and the message

Answering the questions, most pressing to the masses

Ripping through the truth, conflicting our community

Familiar and sad, like, this is nothing new to me

Jobs are always fleeting degrading our sense of worth

Our schools so deplorable it’s education that hurts

Drugs on the streets, but don’t own a poppy field

The youth are packing heat for safety, can we be real

Red Lining, White Flight, Welfare, Ghettos

Out-sourcing, Globalization, yup and there goes

The neighborhood, with the manufacturing work

To other countries, into prisons, where they’re getting paid dirt

150 years from slavery, but ain’t much changed

Time to claim the economic means and shatter these chains

Hip Hop, the voice of the oppressed and the poor

So, I’m wit LL Cool J, “It’s time for war!”

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Lives (((Don’t))) Matter

Should of seen it comin

&, Hit the ground runnin

in the, opposite direction

Cuz my, life was meaning nothing

To the cops, with the guns in hand

Pop Pop Pop Pop

there we go again

Got another badge of honor

Running cross his shoulder man

But Why it gotta be

Life is valued less than

nonliving property

Things that don’t walk

Things that won’t talk

Things with no soul

Things without heart

Object, by, every sense, of the word

Got more, worth, than a life, that’s absurd!

But, How else, could they, own a human being

Unless, they were, to reduce them to a thing

Sell it, trade it, mate it, complicate it, debated

the price at which it was stated, couldn’t escape, it

was slated as racist, lyin to faces

said if places was traded, justice be weighted

but the coldest shit that I ever did see

Was to make us think that they ended slavery

But have you ever read amendment 13/

When they made an exception

hope you’re peepin the lesson

the Crime clause a justification

to move & arrest’em

to conceal in punishment,

enslavement, investment

Profit from leasing convicts

to mines and plantations

the spine of this nation

Black Belt, Southern tribulations/

Fat Cats, with Fat Pockets

Getting Richer than George Wallace

On, Jim Crow and Politics

While Booker T, was like just take it, we’ll make it

Du Bois, was like fuck these haters

& face hidin KKK’ers, get educated

& Take the ballot box before they encase it/

Cuz Section 2, of the 14th Amendment Stated

and gave basis for felony disenfranchisement

Which was a slap to the faces of the newly liberated/

So this whack ass system, yo, they couldn’t change it

cuz they couldn’t vote to replace it

Black Codes, were the new modes, of enslavement/

Vagrant to chain gangs workin the pavement/

Repayin a debt to society that was never lent; shady

in the first place

Black Wall Street, the first Case/

Tulsa, Oklahoma a metropolis that rivaled New York’s monopolist

With Black Teachers, lawyers, Doctors

Separated from white culture, was obvious

that integration anomalous, like the Battle of Salamis

not analogous to the Freedom Riders in 1961/

Peep game Son of the Sun, Anubis, Akhenaton

Timbuktu, Cairo, Addis Ababa , Abyssinian

Zulu, who knew,

that the negative language in the 15th Amendment

could and would be used for legal lynching and social estrangement

like fuck the arraignment,

went from there’s a tree, “let’s hang’em”

Billy Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” to ghetto assassination

state sanctioned, for those who escaped the New Jim Crow

and prison slave labor

Yo, for real though,

these crooked ass cops ain’t nothing but modern day: SLAVE CATCHERS

You know the Fugitive Slave Clause in the U.S. Constitution

Article IV: Section 2

“No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

Is still in force and on paper

And you cannot even begin to debate it,

that the 3/5 clause in Article I: Section 2 has been erased

when prisoners who cannot vote are still being counted as voters in the states they are caged in

regardless, of whether or not, that was the state from which they originated

so that Congress can have more seats in office

What I am saying is that I should have turned away

because Black Lives, in this nation, with these rules, and these ideological traces

Are valued not on the basis of being human beings

but on the sweat our labor displaces

And if and when we are not consigned to enslavement, our value they attempt to debase it

and that is why cops get away with, emptying cases in our hide on a damn near daily basis

this system is racist

“Letter to the Men” by Renaissance the Poet: New HipHop Song & Explanatory Essay

How the hell is a man going to jump up and scream for Liberation and Justice, Equality and to be treated fairly, to have greater bargaining power, and to be treated like a human being; then turn around to promote Misogyny and Patriarchy which are mechanisms of Colonization and the Exploitation of the bodies and minds of women?

There is a manifest contradiction when these two opposite ends of the spectrum—justice vs. injustice—coalesce into one individual, wherein the latter completely disqualifies the former to the point that the man promotes a system of injustice instead of justice. Any ideology or societal organization principle that systematically relegates a particular group of people to a position of inferiority in a hierarchical structure, simply because of their affiliation or identity with the group is discriminatory, bigoted, and unjust to its core. Patriarchy is one of those unjust ideologies because it systematically seeks to relegate all women to positions of inferiority simply for being women. Ideologies that generalize and discriminate based on qualities beyond the will and volition of the individual is ignorant, short-sighted, and unjust.

Capability, merit, previous accomplishment, and potential future contributions are by far a more efficient and just means of distributing power and respect among and between people. Some men are promoted to positions of prestige and power, but lack the integrity, the intelligence, the character, and the communication skills necessary to perform the role they are selected for because they were selected solely on the basis of gender. This is a detrimental and foolhardy practice. Likewise, denying a position of prestige and power to a woman because the very same vital qualities that are necessary to fulfill the role are ignored for men and discounted in women, that is, they have not been considered in the cases of many women, qualities that they in fact possess. This is also a detrimental and foolhardy practice. If people were evaluated, both male and female, in terms of their capability; their merit, their previous accomplishments and their potential future contributions instead of their genders, sexes, ages, or ethnicity then the roles they are selected for would actually be fulfilled and the outcomes would be much more productive and achieved more efficiently.

A person should be judged by the contents of their character; not by their gender, sex, color, creed, or religion.

Adding Sexism to this discussion of the unjust hierarchical social structure of patriarchy, wherein the bodies of women are objectified and commodified, denying their humanity and instead attributing value to women only in sexual or monetary terms; the dehumanization of women is a glaring and unacceptable problem. It is also a dangerous and harmful combination.

Patriarchy is insidious because it has been the norm for thousands of years, and as a result the many ways it crops up could seem to many of the cisgendered men to be benign. For instance, the oldest reference to women as bitches I have found was in Homer’sThe Odyssey” from Ancient Greece. The term and the hatred of women, misogyny itself, is old, very old. Furthermore, contemporary women may be subjected to continuous unwanted sexual advances from men; men who feel entitled to do this because they are men and feel we must be macho and promiscuous to fulfill our roles as men. Patriarchy also denies women the same sexual freedoms granted to men and instead they are condemned and shamed by men and other women—who have been indoctrinated with patriarchy—for expressing themselves sexually, or dressing in a revealing manner. For thousands of years women have been thought of as being naturally ‘incompetent’ in some fields or activities, and their opinions in leadership roles have often been viewed as less credible. Women have rarely been given the same space to express their thoughts as men, regardless of how correct and astute they are and have been. Of course this denies the very real truth that women have been present and have been powerful decision makers in many of the biggest decisions that have shaped our world; the Julio-Claudian blood-line of the 12 Caesars of Rome in the era of Jesus was controlled by women; the shaping of the United States was heavily influenced by Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, one of the revolutionaries; Sojourner Truth the African American abolitionists; Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitionist and freedom fighter; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the suffragist; Eleanor Roosevelt, the first chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; Madam C.J. Walker, the first Black Woman millionaire who created a line of black hair products; the list can go on. Patriarchy also shows up when a woman justly and intelligently asserts herself and her autonomy and she is referred to as a bitch, which is an attempt to discredit her and her assertions. Patriarchy is ugly and ubiquitous and the list can go on, but the point is that patriarchy seeks to deny women their humanity and relegate them to positions of inferiority wherein they are only perceived as minor partners, partial contributors, sexual objects, and needing a man’s guidance and protection (paternalism); none of which is true.

Here are three interrelated points:

1. In a sense, culture is a living entity. It does and must evolve. To claim that subordination of women must be “be natural and correct” because “that is how it has always been” is wrong. It is a cop-out, it is recklessly conservative, it is unjust, and it is childish.

2. That a man may feel ‘entitled’ to a woman’s body is a continuation of exploitation and slavery; slavery simply being the ownership of another’s body. It is the refusal to recognize the autonomy of another. Entitlement can only emerge when one ‘feels’ they have the right to ownership over something or someone.

3. For a man to clamor for his rights and equity, and deny women similar rights and equity is a manifest contradiction to the concept of justice, equality, and world free from oppression.

Furthermore, that men are afraid of women and their inherent potential to shape our world; much the same as racism is about managing the fear of Black people coming to social, political and economic power because white people fear that the same harms they have visited on Black People will be visited upon them. This fear is driven by greed, the most fundamental components of colonialism and exploitation. It is about power, which is expressed in terms of control of the external world and, most often control of resources or other people. This fear is a plague that has led men to attempt to silence women and to hold them in bondage because of a fear of a loss of control, but this behavior is stifling our ability to develop as a people into a more mature society and culture. Since all living things must grow, this pestilent nostalgia is actually choking our culture and killing us: Reverse Racism.

I am calling on the men to be more; to do less; and to acknowledge, accept and respect the leadership of women. I am calling on the men to end our subordination of women; to end our abuse of women; and to stand up to those who continue to hate and abuse women. I am calling on the men to see and acknowledge the true value inherent in each and every woman; to treasure that value; and to disregard the antiquated valuation of women that has been instilled in us by the oppressive and colonizing culture of conquest and sexual exploitation. I am calling on the men to recognize the harm we are doing to us all by holding half of our population hostage, in bondage, attempting to silence the best within us. I am calling on the men to be Men, and in particular Black Men, to do away with this ideology of dualism and competition so that we can move forward as a people and achieve the liberation we so desperately desire.

i.Written by Renaissance the Poet

ii. Edited by Sharon Welensky & Tim Sage

___________________________________________________

Backing Track & Mix by Scott Paul Johnson

www.facebook.com/spjohnson

Written & Recorded by Renaissance the Poet

www.facebook.com/renaissancethepoet.official

___________________________________________________

Lyrics:

Verse 1

There’s a very real problem that needs to be addressed

And I hope my words offend, cause you to question your intents

As a man, a male, privileged, to live without regrets

This letter is for you, from a man who finally gets

That Oppression of women is the sickest form there is

there is nothing that epitomizes hatred more than this

Weakness, feeling the need to express dominance

Prominently, by suppressing a woman’s right to live

& to live un-assailed by male hostility

In the streets, on the job and in our families

Sexual harassment an infectious demon,

Spreading because men feel entitled to bodies bein

Perceived as property, a fallacy Contradicting we

The liberty we scream for we constantly recede

Cuz our greed makes us think we can take all that we see

We’d never tolerate being another man’s property

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

Verse 2

Walking down the street women have to risk the cat calling

Being asked for numbers, getting groped, raped and can’t stop it

& when they Stand Their Ground, flipping around the situation

Denying a man has the Right to incur this inflammation

She is insulted, threatened and in the worst cases

Women have been killed for denying men to their faces

& if that is not entitlement then I don’t know what is

Because who has a claim to another’s life

Let alone to a smile or even her mind

If she graces you the privilege, it is a gift, not a right

And she has the Right, like us, to be left alone

On her way home, to school, work or talking on the phone

& She has the Right to associate with you or not

Without fear of reprisal or the way being blocked

It’s not for you to decide, this is her choice

Infringement is Wrong, man, so cease all the noise

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

Verse 3

Women should be valued and cherished not disrespected

They’re Amazing, Intelligent, Partners, and they’re Finished

They do not need anything added or taken from them

There is nothing a man has that a woman needs from him

Not even semen, if that’s what you’re thinking

You can Check a sperm bank if you think that I am beefin

Paternalism a joke, they’re as capable as men

Neither need concealing nor protection, because they’re Women

They’re Human and were born with all they will ever need

Save respect and to be loved, just like you and me

And humans deserve to be treated with dignity

That means treated with equity, honor and esteem

Fail in any of these and you’ll see that she up and leaves

And finds one who can provide all the things that she needs

But I see that so many out get this wrong

& that’s why I wrote you a letter in the form of a song

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

Reforming a System is One Thing, Reforming People is Another: Viceroy Toledo & Peru

Francisco de Toledo http://epicworldhistory.blogspot.com/2012/04/francisco-de-toledo-spanish-viceroy-of.html

In analyzing whether the Toledo Reforms were successful it must first be acknowledged that these reforms occurred within the context the Spanish Empire that had conquered many peoples and that within Spanish colonial rule many mistakes had to be rectified. My intent here is not to argue the ethical axiology of the colonization project itself, but rather, whether the response to faults and mismanagement of the colony by the Spanish Empire were answered by the reforms Viceroy Toledo implemented in Peru during the 16th Century. To be certain, when a technologically advanced group conquers another group by force, usurping its customs, politics, economics, and its entire social structure a great harm is done to the people. This becomes all the more apparent as evidence of rape, murder, the spread of disease, and the enslavement of indigenous peoples comes to bear on our understanding of the situation. Therefore, when I argue that the Toledo Reforms were successful, in no way do I imply that they were free of harm, nor do I argue that they mitigated the harm being done in any way. I only argue that the Toledo Reforms sought to rectify mistakes that the Spanish Empire believed itself to be making. The reforms Viceroy Toledo implemented in the 16th Century Spanish Colony of Peru, both succeeded and failed because while the reforms did not achieve a strict and to the letter materialization of Toledo’s vision, the reforms nonetheless, did achieve an administrative structure that was used for nearly two hundred years during which time there was relative peace and prosperity in the colony, that was for a time accepted by the Andeans.

Immediately after don Francisco de Toledo arrived in Lima, Peru in 1569 he went on a five year trek through the Andes conducting what became known as the General Inspection, implementing a census, surveying the topography and designing a system of laws and procedures that he hoped would harmonize the interaction between the Andeans and Spain. The organization that the Spanish had initially imposed upon the indigenous populations proved not to maximize the population’s productive capacity. The culture, geography, and the needs of the people fostered different constraints than the Spanish were accustomed. As a result, the Spanish could not reap the same volume of resources from the Andes that they initially found there, in part because the Spanish stole a surplus that had accumulated over generations and in part because the Andeans were dying at unprecedented rates.

One of the resources that the Spanish were the most interested in was the silver that had to be mined in places such as, Potosi and Huancavelica, but for the Spanish gaining access to this resource required a cheap or free labor force; namely, the Andeans. However, if the Andeans were not alive, or they could not be accounted for, then they could not be forced to work in the mines in the interest of Spain.

The Junta Magna, which formed just prior to Viceroy Toledo’s journey to Peru in response to the management or lack thereof in the colony, suggested that there “can be no information about affairs in the Indies,”[1] because Spain lacked the necessary infrastructure to provide the required information to control outcomes in the colony. The General Inspection was a direct response to the complications that Spain was having managing its colony and was a component of a much larger project of resettlement of Andeans that was in part justified by providing “at all times the necessary number [of workers] in the mines” via Viceroy Toledo to the King of Spain, Phillip II.[2]

The “Reduccion General de Indios–the General Resettlement of the Indians”[3] was both the purpose of the General Inspection and the result of it. The logic behind it was bring order to the colonial system by increasing the accuracy of population data, centrally locating the Andeans for greater control and Christianization, and making the colony safer for the Spanish. However, the fact that the Spanish wanted to organize Peru to fit Spanish standards and structures, does not mean that the Andeans lacked a complex social structure prior to the arrival of the conquistadors in 1532.

Pre-conquest Andeans lived and organized themselves very differently than the Spanish and much of this organization was owed to the Inca, who formed the Tawantinsuyu Empire (1438-1533), and much of it predated the Inca. The empire was not unlike the Spanish Empire in that a particular group of Andeans who were centrally located in Cuzco controlled most of the Western seaboard of South America and the lives of all the peoples therein. The major cities such as Cuzco were laid out in a grid-like fashion around a plaza that had both running water and sewage systems, much like cities in the Mediterranean.[4] Outside of the cities and the vast majority of the Andes were organized into what has been termed an Archipelago, which were “settlement enclaves at different elevations” that “pooled the products of diverse ecological zones,” so that Andean communities could maximize their access to necessary resources.[5] It was the Incas who implemented the kuraka, (known as a cacique to the Spanish) and was local leader who organized the labor and taxation for a given region. Because of the size of the empire and its ecological variation resulting from elevations that stretched over hundreds of miles of mountains, the king needed a hereditary class of elites to manage localities that he could trust.

The Inca also implemented what was known to them as the mita, which Mumford states “translates roughly to ‘turn-taking,’” was an annual compulsory labor to be fulfilled in rotation by all adult males. The mita was used to build roads (the empire had a system of roads that stretched over 3,000 miles), temples, palaces, for state farming and more. However, this sophisticated society had not developed a system of writing (yet), so they managed this complex network of taxation, redistribution, and labor with a system of data tracking called “khipu” that utilized the tying of knots on rope for accounting purposes. One very important feature of the mita system was a ritual hospitality that occurred in what they called a tamp’u, which were Inca state complexes that were situated throughout the Andes and functioned “to reward workers and their caciques” on the plaza with gifts.[6]  The Tawantinsuyu Empire was highly structured and organized, both within and in between the major cities, and the civilization had a social structure that produced an incredible surplus that the Spanish both envied and respected.

The Spanish Conquistadors who conquered the Inca disrupted the Andean societal structure and also caused many of the problems within the Spanish colony that Viceroy Toledo sought to rectify.

Many of the conquistadors that risked the journey across the great Atlantic Ocean and exploration in the ‘New World’ did so because they were fortune seekers attempting to garner upward social mobility within the Spanish society. Their reward for valor and success in battle was a claim to land, encomiendas, in the Americas within the regions they had conquered and the right to collect tribute from the people therein; they became ‘lords’ called encomenderos. The conquistadors brought with them diseases that the indigenous lacked the antibodies to defend against and they tore through the “New World’ with a fury, leaving in their wake a decimated population. In addition to the diseases, the encomenderos were able to act with impunity shortly after the conquest killing, raping, and enslaving whomever they chose.

This however, posed an increasingly problematic situation as the definition of conquest and justification for involvement in the lives of indigenous people evolved. Queen Isabella was a very pious person and believed that the ‘Indians’ had the potential for conversion to Catholicism from their so-called ‘paganism’. The situation was further complicated because it was believed, although not always adhered to, that Christians should not be enslaved. “We listen but do not obey,” an adage from the Spanish colonies that seems to have fit the actions of the conquistadors very well. The autonomous behavior of the conquistadors undermined the authority of the Spanish royalty, was in the process of destroying the social structure of the Andean people, and caused many revolts to emerge. These are many of the reasons that caused the determination of the Junta Magna and for Viceroy Toledo’s journey to Peru to conduct the resettlement.

Viceroy Toledo sought to establish order in the Peru to streamline the acquisition of wealth by curtailing the power of the encomenderos, creating a clear chain of command, and situating the indigenous population for efficient applications of forced labor. However, the actual outcome was not as clear and straightforward as Viceroy Toledo’s model proposed, and although some reducciones (the newly founded cities) were homogeneous, Peru as a whole was a motley patchwork of social and political structures. One of the parameters that Viceroy Toledo set to establish was that the reducciones were to be self-governing, but Chérrepe actually became “the cabecera or head town” of Guadalupe.[7] Both reducciones were part of one repartimiento and were further segregated by occupations; farmers in Guadalupe and fishermen in Chérrepe, making each reduccion homogeneous.[8] The Condes repatimiento, on the other hand, had a very complex and mixed population; not homogeneous at all.[9]

Mumford argues that the inspectors who established the reducciones within the repartimientos had such variation because thy both acknowledged and accepted the geographical constraints that led to develop the Archipelago social structure in the first place. Thus, what resulted for the most part, was a Spanish system of control that was placed right on top of an existing social structure; both the Kuraka (cacique) and the mita remained as functioning institutions. Mumford suggests that the Spanish were contending with two competing goals when considering how to manage their Andean colony: “cultural survival and cultural change” and that it should be “partly preserved and partly remade,”[10] and in that, Viceroy Toledo was successful in his objective.

A report survives from forty years after the General Resettlement that was written by an Andean born man named don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, who details the corruption that still existed within the Spanish colonial system in Peru. Guaman Poma reveals that while he agreed with the premise of resettlement, that he disagreed with how the locations the reducciones were selected because they tended to relegate the Andeans to “places with damp and unhealthy soil, stench and pestilence,” while the Spanish selected choice and profitable locations. This had multiple effects; it made it difficult for the indigenous to sustain themselves and pay tributes, made many of them unhealthy, and removed them from lands that were connected to their families like children. Guaman Poma also severely critiqued the priests who were supposed to be responsible for setting the ‘Christian example’ to the indigenous population, promoting Catholicism and educating the people. In stark contrast to this proposed objective he mentions that the priests, “gambled and dueled, extorted gifts from the parishioners, and even falsified Andeans’ wills to get their property.” He also notes that the priests were sexually abusive to women and girls, making some their sex slaves and participating in a form of nepotism with the women’s fathers so as to avoid or deter being reported. He also reports that the priests omitted educating the Andeans because they feared that educated Andeans would assert their rights and report their un-Christian-like and misconduct. Guaman Poma then implicates both the caciques and the cabildos in the corruption and suggests that they followed the examples set by the priests. The most pressing problem that Guaman Poma mentions pertained to the Andeans leaving the reducciones and after the reports of corruption and abuse, it is very plausible that they were seeking more equitable arrangements elsewhere. What is clear is that both the presence of the Spanish and the Toledo reforms had dramatic social impacts on the Andean society, even if they did rectify some of the problems that Toledo and the Junta Magna sought to fix.[11]

In terms of the relative peace experienced in Peru between 1569-1780 by both the Spanish and the Andeans, the Toledo reforms were successful. This is particularly evident when compared to the Tupac Amaru Rebellion (1780-1781), which emerged as a response to the Bourbon Reforms of the 18th Century that restructured the Spanish administration of Peru to correct what the new royalty perceived as mismanagement of the colony. The Bourbon Reforms were criticized by the Andeans for violating the social contract that was established by the Toledo Reforms and which the Andeans had agreed to by imposing harsher “mitas” or forced labor, more stringent taxation, limited autonomy and recourse in the courts for harms done. The new burdens upon Andeans and the subsequent lack of legal retribution that came with them, led to an explosion of violence that lasted for several years and ultimately to over 100,000 deaths, the collapse of the economy and further restructuring of the colonial administration.

By 1826, Peru had won its independence from Spanish colonial rule and thus, brought an end to the oppressive reforms of the 18th Century. By strict comparison, the Bourbon Reforms failed, whereas the Toledo Reforms were successful, at least in terms of Spanish colonial rule in Peru.

[1] Jeremy Ravi Mumford. Vertical Empire: The General Resettlement of the Indians in the Colonial Andes. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012), 77

[2] Mumford, 82.

[3] Mumford, 1.

[4] Mumford, 14-16

[5] Mumford, 4.

[6] Mumford, 25.

[7] Mumford, 126

[8] Mumford, 127

[9] Mumford, 129

[10] Mumford, 4

[11] Mumford, 143-156.

Hitler Becomes Useful, When the United States is Charged with Genocide

“THE RESPONSIBILITY of being the first in history to charge the government of the United States of America with the crime of genocide is not one your petitioners takes lightly. The responsibility is particularly grave when citizens must charge their own government with mass murder of its own nationals, with institutionalized oppression and persistent slaughter of the Negro people in the United States on a basis of “race,” a crime abhorred by mankind and prohibited by the conscience of the world as expressed in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1948.”

William L. Patterson, We Charge Genocide, 1951[i]

The actions of the German Nazis, especially as they pertain to the concentration camps and the extermination of the Jews during World War II became the touchstone by which the actions of other people or groups were evaluated in terms of Human Rights violations. The Nazis became a reference point because one of the major results of WWII was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights drafted by the United Nations (UN) in 1948 to hold individuals and governments responsible in international court for atrocious acts against humanity.[ii] In the same year, the Genocide Convention defined genocide as an international delict, with a definition of genocide, and relevant punishments for the guilty parties.[iii] Based on the Genocide Convention, William L. Patterson drafted and submitted a petition to the United Nations in 1951 titled We Charge Genocide, indicting the United States (US) government for its treatment and the mass murder of the African American population. Patterson compared the Nazis of Germany and Hitler to the US government and the citizens of the US to argue that the Human Rights violations against African Americans were equitable to the Jews and should be held accountable by the authority of the United Nations and punished under international law.

In the 1950s when We Charge Genocide was submitted to the U. N. many of the states within the US had Jim Crow laws that legally instituted segregation in employment, education, residence, transportation, hospitalization, and so forth, on the basis of race and relegated African Americans to an inferior position in society. In addition to this, the configuration of some state laws stood in contrast to the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guaranteed the right of citizens to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The state laws in conjunction with the actions of extralegal organizations such as, the Klu Klux Klan (KKK),[iv] deprived many African Americans of their right to vote, and thus barred them from participating in the democratic process.[v] Comparable to the Nuremberg Laws (1935), the Jim Crow laws were depriving a particular group of US citizens their Civil Rights.[vi] Often times enforcing these deprivations with economic, legal, physical, and psychological sanctions, many of which were upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States as permissible. For example, lynching was still permissible in many states, i.e., the hanging of African American people, whether legal or extralegal. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was waging a major Anti-Lynching campaign to convince the US Congress and or the Supreme Court to criminalize the act, but at the time of this petition, the campaign had not done so yet.[vii]

Furthermore, the United States had just weathered the Great Depression—when upwards of 24% of the US population was unemployed—and World War II, both of which divided the country along racial, ethnic, political and economic lines. The Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi war criminals were made internationally known, which set the stage to ask questions about Jim Crow and segregation, and their relation to the Genocide Convention and international law. After 1945 however, the Cold War between the United States and Union of Social Soviets Republics (USSR) in particular and between Democracy and Communism more generally, began. Many of the people, whom were not in support of the status quo within the United States, were perceived by those in the government of the US to be enemies of the state. This is the social and political climate that Patterson wrote and submitted We Charge Genocide to the United Nations in.

Patterson, with the help of the NAACP and the Civil Rights Congress, collected and analyzed hundreds of cases of brutality and injustice wrought against the African American population in the US between 1945 and 1951.[viii] Then Patterson used the language and the legal framework of the Genocide Convention to present an argument for the justification of the United Nations holding the United States responsible and accountable for genocide. As cited in We Charge Genocide from the Genocide Convention of the United Nations in 1948, genocide was defined as:

‘In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’

Article III:

‘The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;

(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;

(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

(d) Attempt to commit genocide;

(e) Complicity in genocide.’[ix]

Of particular interest to Patterson was the clause “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part” because it identified that motivation to destroy members of a group for their affiliation with that group, was more important than the successful destruction of that particular group, in whole or in part, at least in the terms of an act or series of acts qualifying as genocide. Patterson also listed several cases under each subheading of genocide and explicated reasons why the US should be punishable under each subheading of Article III.

Patterson could very well have cited incidents that reached as far back as the abolishment of slavery with the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution in 1865, but he constrained his reports to three years prior to the Genocide Convention, when WWII ended. Ex post facto is a legal, which is used to describe that a person or an entity cannot be held liable for a crime that prior to the act there was not a law condemning the action. In general practice this is because it is usually believed that a person or an entity must have foreknowledge that something is illegal so that they may make an informed decision about the action in question. However, the Nuremburg Trials of the Nazi war criminals (1945-1949), wherein a new legal framework was designed by the UN to hold those who were either active or complicit in human rights violations during WWII legally responsible, established a new mandate.[x] The UN displayed by its creation of Human Rights laws and the subsequent Nuremberg Trials that in some cases the ex post facto rule does not apply because there are some acts that humans, as members of our moral community, should know are wrong. For example, participating in the extermination of nearly six million Jewish people was perceived as being unequivocally wrong. Patterson recognized this, but also drew a line to 1945 when the United Nations became an official political entity and the United States one of its dominant members, for presenting cases arguing that genocide was occurring in the US.

However, Patterson had to contend with the fact that the United States was one of the founding members of the United Nations and also a major proponent of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945) who was president during most of WWII, was the chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Committee. She also denied Patterson’s request to present the petition to the UN. In addition to that the US State Department confiscated Patterson’s passport in an attempt to limit his international travel between the United States and France where the UN was at the time located. Both of these actions were an attempt to impede Patterson’s ability to address the UN and officially charge the US with genocide. In part, it was believed to be inappropriate for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to indict their governments and that if permitted, there would be no end to the petitions.[xi]

Yet, however true that reasoning may have been it seems more realistic that the US did not want to be implicated in a contradiction between its foreign and domestic policies, especially when the US was actively engaged in the international disbanding of racial oppression. Patterson says in regard to this; “Seldom in human annals has so iniquitous a conspiracy been so gilded with the trappings of respectability. Seldom has mass murder on the score of ‘race’ been so sanctified by law, so justified by those who demand free elections abroad even as they kill their fellow citizens who demand free elections at home. Never have so many individuals been so ruthlessly destroyed amid so many tributes to the sacredness of the individual.”[xii]  By the responses of Eleanor Roosevelt and the US State Department, as well as Patterson’s analysis of the conditions and characteristics of the US, it can certainly be asserted that the US had sufficient reason not to want this petition submitted to the UN. However, in the absence of corroborating evidence the reason can only be speculated upon. Yet, notwithstanding the reason why he was impeded in submitting this petition to the United Nations, the fact remains that there was definite opposition to this petition from the United States in the early 1950s. [xiii]

Patterson was confronted with a further complication, given that the genocide he claimed was occurring in the United States to the African American population was not as evident as the genocide that occurred in Germany to the Jewish population. A stark contrast between the African American population in the US in the 1950s and the Jews of Germany in the first half of the 1940s was that there were no concentration camps as defined by Nazi standards in the US. Furthermore, the African American population was also not indiscriminately as a whole being actively herded by the US military into ghettos or extermination camps. Thus, Patterson had to show piecemeal, on a case-by-case basis, that something very similar to what had occurred in Europe under Nazi occupation was occurring in the United States to sustain his claim that the United States was guilty of genocide.

Patterson referenced the Nazis and Hitler to draw some parallels in his argument to the US government to reveal the common characteristics of genocidal treatment to the Jews and African Americans. Patterson presents the first point of reference to the Nazis in the Introduction to We Charge Genocide: “The Hitler crimes, of awful magnitude, beginning as they did against the heroic Jewish people, finally drenched the world in blood, and left a record of maimed and tortured bodies and devastated areas such as mankind had never seen before.”[xiv] This analogy is drawn after Patterson mentions the “ghettos” and “cotton plantations” of America from which he states that the stories of mass murders “on the basis of race” emerged, before arguing that the then Justice Robert H. Jackson’s opening statements at the Nuremberg trials on November 21, 1945 should apply the same to the US government.[xv] In the Opening Address for the United States, Jackson states: “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.”[xvi] Patterson seems to be referencing three points from the opening address, “Crimes against Peace,” “Crimes against Humanity,” and that these acts should not be ignored.[xvii] Patterson’s argument was that Crimes against Humanity were occurring in the United States, that they were being ignored, and that they posed a threat to the continued peace of the world. The painstaking effort to collect and organize the cases in the Evidence section of We Charge Genocide, from the many disparate news articles and court cases from throughout the US, reveals that the conditions African Americans confronted in the United States were, for the most part, being ignored by the international community. Patterson’s allusion to Justice Jackson was a demand to be seen, heard, and respected.

The parallel that Patterson makes is not necessarily that a project of mass extermination of the kind witnessed during the Holocaust was occurring in the US. Rather, based on the Genocide Convention of 1948, Patterson argues: “15,000,000 of [the United States’] own nationals”[xviii] were suffering from genocide because of the laws and practices of the US government whom he further claims to be either, complicit in genocide or conspirator to it. The number “15,000,000” was important to Patterson’s case because in the US in the 1950s US representatives were debating the required number of harms for acts count as genocide.[xix] Nearly 6,000,000 million Jews lost their lives during the Holocaust, but many more suffered from the conditions of genocide under Nazi rule and occupation. Patterson establishes that more than just random cases of hate violence and terror were being wrought upon the African American population in the US during the 1940s, and asserts from this point that something parallel to Germany was occurring in the United States.

The crux of Patterson’s argument, although presenting empirical examples of violence and oppression that according to the Genocide Convention satisfy the sufficient conditions to qualify as genocide, rests more aptly on the parallel of the ideology between the United States government and society, and Hitler and his Nazi regime. Patterson writes; “The whole institution of segregation, which is training for killing, education for genocide, is based on the Hitler-like theory of the ‘inherent inferiority of the Negro.’ The tragic fact of segregation is the basis for the statement, too often heard after a murder, particularly in the South, ‘Why I think no more of killing a n—-r, than of killing a dog.”[xx] Patterson essentially argues and presents cases in support of the entire African American population, estimated at “15,000,000” people, being dehumanized, deprived of dignity and value, and being disposed of with impunity under the same pretext as the Jewish people who were exterminated under Nazi rule and occupation in Europe during the 1940s. Based on Patterson’s analysis and characterization of the United States in regard to the African American population, it was the ideology of inferiority that justified Jim Crow laws and red-lining neighborhoods. Permitted police brutality and extralegal organization like the KKK to terrorize people seeking to vote or improve their living conditions. That justified the US Supreme Court’s decisions to hold as Constitutional decisions regarding infringements of the 15th Amendment, extradition, and other state court rulings in criminal cases. And in permitting political leaders, such as governors to publically advocate the murder, “in whole or in part,” of the African American people in the US on the basis of “race”.

Given the considerable space devoted within the petition to justifying that the United Nations both could and should permit the petition, and the opposition from both the United States and its representatives, it is apparent that the petition was not met with wide approval and perhaps even much disbelief. This presented a few problems for Patterson. First, he was opposing the status quo of the United States during the beginning the Cold War, and was perceived as an enemy of the state. Second, a major component of the arguments within We Charge Genocide are economic in nature and not only do they serve as evidence for the “conspiracy to commit genocide” by the US government, but also implicitly advocate redistributive principles, which revealed his communist leanings. Third, he had to establish the grounds for being heard in the General Assembly of the United Nations as a non-governmental organization. Hence, Patterson had a necessity to compare the United States government to Hitler and the Nazi regime as a point of reference and so as to establish the credibility for the claims presented in his petition. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention were both direct results of the Holocaust concerning international law, thus making both Hitler and the Nazi regime the quintessential examples by which to evaluate human rights violations.

African Americans in the United States were suffering under horrendous conditions in the 1940s, but by comparing the perpetrators of that suffering to Hitler and the Nazi regime in such a profound way, Patterson only made the situation appear more dire and repugnant. What Patterson wanted was to have the United Nations force the United States to honor the treatise it had signed and to change the laws of the land to guarantee Civil Rights for the African American population. Yet, nearly ten years later, the Jim Crow laws were still in effect, segregation was still a dominant practice in the South, and African Americans had yet to unequivocally have their Civil Right to vote protected Constitutionally. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the October 1960 issue of the Courier, however, did not advocate for the revision of the US laws, but rather for a revision of the manner in which the children in the US were educated.[xxi] The Courier did acknowledge the “Hitler-like” ideology Patterson claimed to exist in the US with the statement; “there is still a fairly widespread feeling that ‘colored’ people are in some way inferior to ‘white’ people,”[xxii] but it did not go so far as to label the feeling “Hitler-like”. If the Courier is taken as representative of the response of the United Nations to Patterson’s petition We Charge Genocide, then it can be argued, the UN was unwilling to hold the United States accountable for the crime of genocide in light of the proof. Furthermore, it also reveals that although, Patterson’s charge of genocide was heard, that in contradiction of the Genocide Convention, it nonetheless still, remained largely ignored by the United Nations in 1960. And while the people of the United States and the representatives of both the US and the UN at the time may have been too close to the claims to fully acknowledge their gravity, a more objective analysis of the evidence and the analogy between Hitler, the Nazi regime, and the US government of the mid-20th Century is very relevant.

[i] Patterson, William L., We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government (1951), (p. 3) (doc. P. 32). http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015074197859

[ii] United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/udhr/                           

[iii] United Nations. Genocide Convention https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-I-1021-English.pdf

[iv] Patterson, “The Opening Statement,” (p. 18) (doc. p. 47)

[v] Patterson, “The Evidence,” (p.106) (doc. p. 135)

[vi] Newsweek, “Germany: Hitler Decrees Swastika Reich Flag; Bars Intermarriage; Relegates Jews to Dark Ages” September 21, 1935. American Views of the Holocaust 1933-1945: A Brief Documentary History, ed. Robert H. Abzug (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999), 58.

[vii] Dr. Glenn, Susan A. Lecture. University of Washington: History Department. The Holocaust and American Life (February 17, 2015).

[viii] Patterson, “The Opening Statement,” (p. 8) (doc. p. 37)

[ix] Patterson, (doc. p. 20)

[x] Dr. Glenn. Lecture. (January 6, 2015).

[xi] Dr. Glenn. Lecture. (February 17, 2015).

[xii] Patterson, “The Opening Statement,” (p. 3-4) (doc. p. 32-33)

[xiii] Dr. Glenn. Lecture. (February 17, 2015).

[xiv] Patterson, “Introduction,” (p. xii) (doc. p. 25)

[xv] Patterson, “Introduction,” (p. xi-xii) (doc. p. 24-25)

[xvi] Jackson, Robert H. “Opening Address for the United States” November 21, 1945. Reprinted in Michael R. Marrus, ed. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, 1945-46: A Documentary War History(Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 79.

[xvii] Jackson, p. 83.

[xviii] Patterson, “Introduction,” (p. xii) (doc. p. 25)

[xix] Dr. Glenn. Lecture. (February 17, 2015)

[xx] Patterson, “The Opening Statement,” (p. 8) (doc. p. 37)

[xxi] United Nations. Courier. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. October 1960.

[xxii] Courier, p. 9.

Anger Boils to the Surface

I opened up and started reading the “We Charge Genocide” (1951) petition to the United Nations and I am all but left speechless. Not because I am unfeeling, and neither because I have no words, but rather because I have so much anger pumping through me at the moment as a result of how clearly the system of oppression is detailed. This I expected of a document from the 1950s, so that is not what has gotten me so wound up. It is the fact that these same atrocities and ‘justifications’ (which fall flat on their face) are still occurring today.

Yet, the American public in its apathetic and ‘Holier than Thou” ideological bent likes to parade as though the lives of People of Color have improved and that the conditions we suffer are not horrendous. And this hardly scratches the surface of what the marauders masquerading under the premise of liberty are doing to the rest of the world. They are tyrants wrapped in the stolen cloth of a language of justice and it is time that the shroud be ripped from from their stinking, pestilential bodies to reveal the monsters for what they truly are.