The Black Activist- Journal of the Black Left Unity Network

A Struggle & Analysis Journal for Black Liberation initiated by the Black Left Unity Network

The Last Word

Great Malcolm: Stars of "Might've Been"

by Askia M. Touré

What happens when the dream of Nationhood falters?
I ponder these sad truths as my mind wanders among
the stars of "might've been." What might've happened
if Malcolm had somehow survived--in exile--in Cuba,
China, or Libya? Malcolm, tall, lean and brilliant,
bearing the charisma of legendary prophets.
A living epic embodied in his blazing promise:
a living prophet to raise and guide a mighty Nation.
No use blaming the robots who martyred him;
the Empire was pulling the strings! Great Malcolm,
our Nkrumah, our Lumumba gone in an instant, slain
by mad men--and the self-hatred that's haunted us
since slavery. Yes, every time we raise Anglos as
the romantic ideal, Oprah, we slay and betray him again.
Every time we slander events like the Million Woman
March, Essence/Emerge, we slay and betray him again.
Every time "assimilados" deny Ebonics, our Ancestor
tongue, we slay and betray him again. And the Great,
Black Spirit within shrinks and dims, the Ancestor
Voice within us dies--as we embrace the "demons"
of our Oppressor, and become blind, deaf and dumb,
People; a Nation arisen from Chains and Auction
Blocks, expires in his continuous Martyrdom!

Askia M. Touré, poet, activist, environmentalist, is the author of "From the Pyramids to the Projects," "Dawn-Song!," "Mother Earth Responds, Green Poems & Alternative Visions." He resides in Boston.


Rufus the Radical Reptile by Bill Crawford

From: Bill Crawford, High Flyin’ Funnies, Comix and Stories. Berkeley: The Print Mint, 1970. Source:



[1] See “I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle,” by Charles M. Payne; “Local People: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi,” by Charles Dittmer; “The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change,” by Aldon D. Morris; “A Little Taste of Freedom: the Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi,” by Emilye Crosby; and “Freedom is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in Action in Social Movements,” by Francesca Polletta.

[2] The “Commons” refers to the resources of the earth that everyone is dependent upon and must utilize to survive and thrive. The essential “Commons” are land, water, and air.

[3] See Black Agenda Morning Show August 29, 2011 interview with Kamau Franklin by Kali Akuno at and “Lewis prepares for the Future”, by Elizabeth Waibel at

[4] See “Lumumba says Scott sisters released because of supporters” at and “Scott Sisters Finally Set Free” at

[5] See “A New Kind of Southern Strategy”, by Susan Eaton at

[6] For more information on Solidarity Economy see the works of Ethan Miller, particularly “Solidarity Economy: Key Concepts and Issues” at

[7] For more information on the Mondragon visit

[8] “Amandla” is a Xhosa or Zulu word for “Power.” It is used in a fashion similar to the slogan “Black Power” by the BLM in the United States. It is used in call and response form, and the response is “Awethu,” which means “to us.” Combined it means “Power to the People,” as made popular in the United States by the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. This slogan was and remains common in the Azanian (i.e. South African) Freedom Movement.

[9] For more background on the National Take Back the Land Movement and its history visit or

[10] Quote taken from “This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer,” by Kay Miles, page 176.

[11] Sankofa is an African concept represented by a bird carrying an egg on its back. It refers to a historical consciousness that encourages one to have a historical perspective as a precondition to planning and taking action to create the future. (See All of us are born into a historical context and we all face the freedoms and the limitations of the times we live in. The main question is always what we do with what we start with, how we account for ourselves, what we make of ourselves. Historical context sets the stage for all our knowledge of society and nature, but does not determine what we do as individuals. The future we want is possible but getting there will be very difficult and dangerous so we had better learn from the past.

[12] One can see the universality of what DuBois says about the US African American experience as applied to the crisis of identity faced by Afro Cubans: “One ever feels his twoness - an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” See "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" in the Souls of Black Folk (1903).

[13] See the following key works: Barnet (1968), Knight (1970), Scott (1985), Howard (1998), Ferrer (1999), Childs (2006), Reid-Vazguez (2011).

[14] Foner Vol 1 page 13-32; Le Riverend page 38-44.

[15] Foner Vol 1 page 19-20.

[16] Since these indigenous peoples left few documents of struggle from their point of view we have to rely on the records of the Spanish.  See commentary on Hatuey testimony as a key exception to this, Foner vol 1, pages 13-32.

[17] Ortiz 1940 page 72 and page 81.

[18] Ortiz page 49-51, Foner vol2 page 129; Scott 1985 page 20-21.

[19] Knight 1975 page 124-125.

[20] C L R James Black Jacobins.

[21] Scott 1985 page 45-62; Foner 1977 page 7-35.

[22] Foner vol 2 page 172 and 190.

[23] Race is a fictional concept so I will always put it in quotes, while racism exists. One form of racism is the virulent and immoral anti scientific concept to rationalize the exploitation of an oppressed group. A different kind attempts to be liberal and argue that “race” is a social construct. The weakness in this argument is that many people fail to full emphasize that it’s a socially constructed lie.

[24] Howard 1998.

[25] Barcia 2012 is another important book that focusses on 1825 slave resistance in Matanzas.

[26] Childs 2006, Torres 2003, and Howard 1998

[27] Childs 2006

[28] Foner vol 1 page 201-211

[29] Foner 1977

[30] Foner 1977

[31] Foner vol 2 page 274

[32] Foner 1977 page 81

[33] see Ferrer, page 66

[34] See Scott 1985 page 63-83, Howard page 119, etc.

[35] Helg page 36

[36] Pappademos page 157

[37] Morales-Dominguez 2008. See Chapter 1: “Historical Background of US-Cuban Relations (1800-1959)”

[38] Ferrer (1999) See Chapter 3: Fear and its uses: The Little War, 1879-1880

[39] Foner vol 1, page 332

[40] This includes the “little war” known as the Guerra Chiquita, August 1879-September 1880.

[41] For studies of the Afro-Cuban experience during the Republic see the following: Moore (1997), La Fuente (2001), Bronfman (2004), and Pappendemos (2011)

[42] Morales Dominguez 2008

[43] Foner, vol 2, page 298


[45] This concept, the “American Dilemma,” was coined by the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal to name the contradiction in the US regarding African Americans – positive abstract policy versus negative concrete reality. See Myrdal 1962


[47] Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint, page 102-103

[48] Moore page 133

[49] Palmie page 232

[50] Pappademos page 79

[51] La Fuente page 131

[52] La Fuente page 69, and see the film by Gloria Rolando

[53] La Fuente page 58

[54] Pappendemos page 175

[55] Moore page 27

[56] La Fuente page 95

[57] Carr 1996 page 141

[58] Carr page 150-151

[59] De la Fuente 2001 page 204-205; Pappademos 2001 page 203.

[60] Lewis 1988

[61] Juan Gualberto Gómez sent his son to study at Tuskegee, and not Paris as he had done, along with 23 other Cubans. His son was a roommate with the son of Booker T. Washington. After graduation both of them went to continue their study at an elite private boarding school, Exeter in New Hampshire, along with the sons of the US ruling elite. See Guridy2010, see chapter 1: “Forging Diaspora in the Midst of Empire: The Tuskegee-Cuba Connection.”


[63] Moore page 44

[64] Moore page 3

[65] Moore page 210

[66] Frank Guridy, page 168-175

[67] La Fuente page 170

[68] Pappendemos page 216-217

[69] Pappendemos page 217




[73] Sam Farber page169-170


[75] Agency, according to Wikipedia, is defined as “In philosophy and sociology, agency is the capacity of an agent (a person or other entity, human or any living being in general, or soul-consciousness in religion) to act in a world. The capacity to act does not at first imply a specific moral dimension to the ability to make the choice to act, and moral agency is therefore a distinct concept. In sociology, an agent is an individual engaging with the social structure.” (“Agency,” Wikipedia, accessed October 6 2013.


[77] See the speech by President Kennedy regarding the Soviet missile crisis:

[78] LaFuente page 284

[79] LaFuente page 252

[80] Abendroth page 51

[81] See Dreke 2002

[82] Morales Dominguez page 84-85

[83] Dreke and Waters 2002, and Galvez 1999

[84] Galvez 1999, page 294

[85] The roots of this go much deeper. See these two works:;

[86] Morales and Prevost 2008, page 8

[87] Farber 2011, page 176-178; Sawyer 2006, page 110-112.


[89] Morales 2013 page 45-46.

[90] Morales 2013 page 46.


[92] Jones 1966, Brock and Cunningham 1998, Reitan 1999, Guidry 2010

[93] Foner, f volumes, col 2, page 159

[94] Brock page 176

[95] Brock page 9

[96] Ofari page 121

[97] Tyson 1999

[98] Seidman 2012. Also see Carmichael and Thelwell 2003

[99] Gates and Cleaver 1975, and Bloom and Martin 2013

[100] As editor of the Black Scholar he supported Cuba even when it cause a split in their editorial leadership. See

[101] Cole 1977, 1980

[102] Early 1999

[103] See Brock 1976, 1994, 1999


[105] Now the journal has relocated to the University of Illinois – Chicago under the editorship of Professor Barbara Ransby.



[108] Marx, Communist Manifesto





[113] Linda La Rue, The Black Movement and Women’s Liberation, The Black Scholar, Vol. I. May, 1970. p.42.

[114] Gwendolyn Brooks, Selected Poems, Harper & Row, N.Y. 1963.

[115] Through an abdominal incision, the surgeon cuts both Fallopian tubes and ties off the separated ends after which there is no way for the egg to pass from the ovary to the womb.

[116] Frantz Fanon, A Dying Colonialism, New York: Grove Press, 1965, p. 107.

[117] Eldridge Cleaver, Soul On Ice, New York: McGraw Hill, 1968, p. 158.

[118] Robert Staples, The Myth of the Black Matriarchy, The Black Scholar, Jan.-Feb. 1970, p.16

[119] Minnesota, where the case occurred, does not have Stand Your Ground laws.

[120] For an informative and excellent study of social movement unionism in its international and historic context, see Karl von Holdt, “Social Movement Unionism: the Case of South Africa.” Work Employment & Society Volume 16, Number 2, pages 283-304, June 2002. Abstract and instructions for access to full article available at

[121] Abowd, Paul, “ALEC anti-union push includes key players from Michigan, Arizona think tanks,” iWatch News, May 17, 2012. Available at

[122] Binta, Ashaki. “Charlotte Update: Charlotte Ends 50 Year Anti-Union Policy.” UE Local 150. January/February 2013.

[123] See article in footnote 122. Additional article and video at: Binta, Ashaki. “Charlotte City Workers Win Right To Payroll Dues Deduction,” 14 February 2013. Available at

[124] Smith, Celeste and Steve Harrison. “Labor Makes its Case at the DNC: Unions and Activists Join to Push for Workers’ Rights in Charlotte and Nationwide,”, September 4, 2012. Available at

[125] Muhammad, Saladin. “The Southern Workers Assembly: A Call to Action for Workers to Organize Labor in the South.” September 3, 2012. Available at