"We have a beautiful history, and we shall create another in the future that will astonish the world."
~ Marcus Garvey
Silent sorrows, like open wounds, are a marker of the damned and the casted-out of all ages in their unconscious state. They singsong through the pain and misery on the pages that have been written on the flesh of dominated, tortured souls; not because they hurt the body precisely, but because they beg for acquiescence rather than dissent and pleads-to-submission rather than rebellion. However there comes a time when history is turned upside down in the great showdown of the struggle between challenge and response —the conversion of the unconscious to the conscious. When machetes are wielded and the gauntlet is thrown in the final and decisive battle between oppressor and oppressed. This then becomes silence and sorrows, transformed into blood and sweat, to begin a new humanhood that is loud, courageous and beautiful. Defiantly and proudly blooming without permission on pavements and dirt roads that were once told not to bloom or trace themselves as roads – the joys and pathos of revolutionary nationalism.
This is how the story of the third world begins; hope built on blood and mass graves, self-determination on the tethers of a threatening nuclear annihilation. A project of liberation that covered the horizons of the most brutalized of all of humanity throughout our short stint on the good earth. But this was to be a project of boundless possibilities, one that defies the ever-strong pull of the cynical. It “looked neither east nor west but forward” in its long march to a peoples history of no class struggle precisely because it is the one true hope of humanity’s long exodus from the depths of a dominant barbarism in the form of capitalist-imperialism to the just world, the logical conclusion of humankind at its best, communism. Since the working mass of the west abdicated its responsibility as the most advanced in its material conditions to lead the revolution in the heart land of the empire because it was too busy benefiting from the spoils of the colonial metropole, it became the Herculean task, as it always has, of the recently freed to advance the cause of world revolution to its last conclusive phase, yet again black and brown bodies to the rescue.
But it’s not the intention of this essay to regurgitate old but remembered truths. It’s only here to remind the vanguard, i.e. the peoples of the Third World, of their historic responsibility in the face of great need. Humankind haven't ever needed a red torch as urgently as this time. These days of anguish and burning Amazons. Days filled with the innocent dying cries of babies burning from napalm and little groans of enslaved children in cocoa fields and coltan mines. Nights dark and thirsty for the blood of young black lives and the souls of folks caught in the burning houses of failed nations with gatekeepers who love to send troops in the name of democracy and human rights. This midnight of the tattering of the human condition as it is alienated further is the dawn of "socialism or barbarism", not as a pithy phrase, but as a legit call of "this far and no further."
So to the beautiful children of the Third World:
Don't forget all you ever achieved was from the lives, deaths and afterlives of the masses of our people who had to give it all up for us to draw a breath. We stand not on the shoulders of giants but on the graves of warriors. Our task today is to run with that baton that must be carried forth into the future for the redemption of the planet and not to get stranded in a burning house. When those who came before us said they looked neither east nor west but forward, it seems to me they saw what will become of us; for today we are caught in the debates and fights of both east and west. We clamor over Trotsky and Stalin as if it will save the next baby being burnt with depleted uranium. Do you remember Fanon when he said 'let's leave this Europe'? He meant this – and some more. These little juvenile battles over dead comrades is just good ole privilege that we can’t afford. Our ancestors fought with all they got so we can serve as their continuity. But instead of stoking the fire this time, we are busy rubbing the ashes on our faces whiles the world laughs at us. We are called on to hasten the process because we do most of the dying anyways. We do most of the hunger, starvation, prison time and diseases anyways. Our people are still here clamoring to grab a bite. We have been reduced to a statistic of less than a dollar a day, whiles the east and west grows fatter by the second off our misery.
May you never then forget how the privilege for your endless debates and whimsical caprices are built upon the bloody struggles of yesterday. May you never forget that in the urgency of our call depends the lives of the very planet today.
Don't forget to study. The enemy knows our class consciousness is the death of his class and world. Don't forget to take the knowledge back to the people who fought so you can sit and hold a book. Learn from the brother Walter Rodney who learnt to ground with the masses of our people. For ours is a revolution born from a deep love that stretches back to slave ships and insurrections against the invader. Whiles you study, don’t be too caught in subjectivism that you forget that knowledge and truth is derived from the objective material conditions, the everyday, the production and reproduction of life as we live it. As you study remember what terrible things our ancestors had to endure, and to live in great dignity as they fought to be a self-determined people – so don't ever forget to tell their story right and to decolonize the historical account of our triumph and greater glory. Remember to study, too, the contradictions of those who came before us so you can move beyond them; remember, we make gods and deities of no humans, even as we honor them as witnesses before us. So don't fall into idealism and simple-mindedness. Be materialist, scientific and compassionate in this march towards the progress and happiness of all of humankind.
Don't forget to organize. To rally the billions of the masses of our people into an organized, prepared and ready peoples army; theory in one hand and the practice in another. Don't lead our people into spontaneous adventurism which only ends in more of our blood with no gains to show for it. Let's now move from mobilization to organization, moment to movement, idealism to materialism, impulse to strategy believing in the long-suffering of the organized wait to action than the haste that wastes life, blood, spirit and sweat. To organize is to be eternal; to mobilize is to tarry but for a little while. But don't forget why we organize. We organize today and until victory for a revolutionary takeover of the means of production. We organize for socialism even as it transitions into communism. We should be very clear about what we want and what we don't want. Never confuse the people. Be clear always that ours is not charitable reform but a nationalist revolution for our conditions to be bettered permanently. Today we organize not the classical working class alone, but the peasants and most of all the lumpenized masses of our people.
The lumpenized masses today are some of the most portent of our people since they are the many and have agitated on the streets and highways of the global south every wretched day. Those who have been forcefully turned into a reserve army for labour —bargaining a morsel here and a little shack for shelter there. Their class consciousness like the 666 mark on them, like their own cross or ankh to bear through these raging and troubled blue waters. Don't agonize, organize them!
Don't forget to study the enemy. If we don’t know who the enemy is and how the system is created to keep our people down crawling, groaning, and moaning, then we can't win this protracted struggle. If the enemy isn't exposed, then our people will fight each other over a thousand other things since there is no clarity as to who their oppressor is. Superstition, tribalism, sectarianism, colorism, xenophobia, etc. are some of the ugly things that have festered among the people today, for the ruling class wants them to turn towards each other in blame and violence – because the day the masses wake up to the enemy and the ploys taken to keep them unconscious, then, that day, there shall be a global revolution. So never forget to expose the enemy and the contradictions that abound their existence. The enemy today is imperialism, capitalism, neocolonialism, patriarchy and white supremacy and its interlocutors. They are the cold-blooded enemies of the people everywhere and they must be destroyed.
To the learned of our people: at this late hour of our material history, you cannot abdicate your duty to our people. You have been trained in the bourgeois academy to become a tour de force in our oppression, but like many learned ones of our revolutionary ancestors before you, you must now shed the complex and join the masses to demand for nothing less than land, bread and water. Your training has turned you into parrots of bourgeois individualism, forever rattling in the chains of liberal-speak and losing sight of the agony of the masses. If you haven't yet subjected your brilliance to the great will of the people in their quest for liberation than your whole being and educational edifice crumbles into nothingness, since it’s the people who make history, and you will be relegated to its antechambers when the time comes to recount the tales of the inevitable victory of our people — word to Fanon.
In the end we must never forget it’s the masses, in their class-conscious state, who are the makers of joyful history. For through the many struggles they have proven the great man and woman of history complex to be nothing but bourgeois nonsense. No charismatic leader will lead us to the promised land. No Moses or messiah will be there to beg for our people to go. The people will sever their chains and with a strong firm grasp on the earth walk righteously into history and it shall be a glorious history for us and for all of humankind because we are the vast vanguard of the billions suffering righteous. Onwards then! We have a world to win!