Stokely told his audiences that one of the most important aspects of the struggle for Black Power was the right to define. Black people have been the victims of white America’s definitions. White people defined black people as inferior, as Negroes and niggers, as second-class citizens. By reacting to white America’s definitions, the blacks allowed themselves to be put in a bag which white America controlled. But now black people must demand the right to define themselves. White America has defined black as evil, Carmichael explains. “I have a little syllogism for that. According to America, everything black is evil; I am black, therefore, I am evil.”
“There is something wrong with that,” he goes on to explain, “because I am black and I am good.” He never fails to score heavily with his audience when he says that.
His favorite example of this always elicited a hysterical response, from both black and white audiences. “Here’s a perfect example of the power to define in action. During the civil rights movement, black leaders would say: ‘We want to integrate.’ And then white people would come along and define what integration means. They’d say: ‘You want to integrate? That means that you want to marry my daughter.’ What the Negro leaders had actually meant was that they wanted more jobs, better schools, housing, and an end to police brutality, and things like that. What we must do is define our own terms. We must not react to white definitions.
Eldridge Cleaver on Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)
Taken from the book “Eldridge Cleaver: Target Zero” (pages 99-100)
His labor is not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labour. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it. Its alien character emerges clearly in the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, labour is shunned like the plague. External labour, labour in which man alienates himself, is a labour of self-sacrifice, of mortification. Lastly, the external character of labour for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own, but someone else’s, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not to himself, but to another.
Concentration of wealth leads to concentration of political power, which leads to public policies that increase the concentration of wealth. I think it is a mistake to expect a President—any President—to correct the imbalance of political and economic power. This is a cycle that will continue until we the people organize to stop it, as was done in the New Deal era and earlier periods of American history.
The tech companies would be more convincing if their industry hadn’t been so complicit in the development of the surveillance state in the first place. Silicon Valley and its global analogs made it possible, and have made vast amounts of money in the process as government suppliers. They’ve been arms dealers not just to American spies but to the world’s most repressive governments as well. Moreover, even the Internet-related tech companies that haven’t actively helped the dictators and spies have been creating large businesses based on collecting, massaging and making money off of the data their users and customers provide in their day-to-day use of the services. And even if the companies themselves haven’t been abusing their ownership of these giant data collections, they have by definition left themselves and their customers vulnerable to government overreach.
There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives.
Snowden’s historic leak revealed what he calls an “architecture of oppression”—a series of top-secret surveillance programs that go far beyond what has been publicly known to date. The first was an order from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court requesting a division of the phone giant Verizon to hand over “all call detail records” for calls from the U.S. to locations abroad, or all calls within the U.S., including local calls. In other words, metadata for every phone call that Verizon Business Network Services processed was to be delivered to the NSA on a daily basis. Another document was a slide presentation revealing a program dubbed “PRISM,” which allegedly empowers NSA snoops access to all the private data stored by Internet giants like Microsoft, AOL, Skype, Google, Apple and Facebook, including email, video chats, photos, files transfers and more.