We ALL have to generate economic wealth, nothing wrong with that. Afrikans did that before anyone else and Afrika was at one time the wealthiest continent on the earth and still is now IF the mentality and spirituality was changed so that Afrikans did not follow the enslavement and colonialist and neocolonialist routine of giving their resources away to others and not building for themselves. So I too have to get paid. I came off those streets. I am not from middle class status or any of that. I was on the underground doing what I had to do, but my plan while there was to understand the system and to find those who did and they taught me about the way capitalism works. It is not the relative poverty or need to operate underground that troubles me, but the fact that no one in the leadership now is doing the revolutionary work of talking to those to educate them or the institutional work of building places where they might be employed and seek alternatives to the lives of death. During slavery we built economic structures in the backdrop of our exploitation. During segregation, we controlled our whole economy and had almost full employment and without much social support and even independent Afrikan elite communities like “Black Wall Street” where other people wanted to get in. But it was integrationism which taught us to give up our economic wealth and businesses and everything and move into “beg, bum, borrow, or steal” as an economic model. There is no street culture, there is only the culture of a people that have been cruelly tricked both by a system that sees them as slaves who were never meant to be part of the economic order anyway and only exist now as consumers and by a group of Negro leaders who profited from integrationism economically and were paid off to teach our people that you work as a slave for others and perpetually give your money to them.
For example, every community has had drug dealers. Those drug dealers were in ethnically segregated communities and they build infrastructure that allowed their communities to advance. What’s different about us? We largely entered the big time drug game after integration where the goal was to assimilate to the larger economic order, not to build internally and thus the wealth that is generated by drugs goes right out just like the paycheck of the legit worker and they all go the same way. We don’t even make products we KNOW we are going to buy. I mean if Kobe, LeBron and Jordan made a shoe, the day it was made it would be THE shoe, right. So why do they feel mentally obligated to keep giving the majority of that money to Nike. It’s a mental enslavement. Carter G Woodson talked about it. We are so brainwashed that you don’t need a Negro door, we find one or make one and then go through it. That’s why I look at the reparations folk like fools. Forget the fact you’ll never get it, but if you did, with the current mind state, I predict every dime of that money would be back in Eurocentric hands in less then 48 hours and that in fact the community would be in debt having spent more than the dollar value distributed. Poverty is not the lack of money, but the lack of capital and the pursuit of money while giving away capital is an errant strategy. Yet if you offer the average brother or sister 200 acres tax free or a 1 million in cash, they will take the latter, the ultimate fool’s bargain. We must re-educate and the system is not going to do it. WE must and the problem is that the current leaders are all trying to figure out how to get us closer hooked up to the system that is economically destroying us. Where are the modern voices of Woodson, Garvey, Elijah, Delaney, Booker T and so on? Well, I can’t tell you right now, all the leaders went to see a showing of 12 years a slave, some mo, one mo gin and haven’t come out yet.
I argue that the leadership strategy with its lack of emphasis on self-determination and the building of productive capacity FORCED Afrikans in the position of being perpetual sellers of labor to Eurocentrism in sharp contradistinction historically for example to many immigrant groups which built an internal ethnic economic enclave of production and THEN connected that to the mainstream economy. We were told not to do that, that that was segregationist, and so essentially with integration, we simply abandoned our internal infrastructure and to our detriment. This is cruelly ironic because it was our own enterprises and institutions that made the social progress possible from slavery to desegregation in the first place.
I am a Washingtonian and a Garveyite so I have written whole manuscripts on the realities of Eurocentric economic discrimination against and exploitation of Afrikans. It is BECAUSE I know about the reality of those barriers that I believe kujichagulia is essential for Afrikan collective survival. For example, it is BECAUSE I do not EVER expect “mainstream America” to hire Afrikans in sufficient numbers to sustain them economically that I argue we MUST pursue internal community entrepreneurship and supply our own goods and services to and for ourselves. We can choose to connect to the mainstream at some point, but as the add-on to a communal economic capital base, not as the only alternative as at present.