State of the African Nation
This State of Emergency is uncovering a lot of this country’s unfinished business. What was in darkness is coming to light. The clampdown on hotspot communities has prompted debates of the state of African communities and young, black males. Some make snide remarks that African people world-over are hotspots. Statistics are being used to advance racist suggestions of African inferiority. There are many opinions — with zero analysis. But it’s an important debate. What is the state of the African population? Are there worldwide patterns? If so, why are they arising? In the next two articles I will attempt to explore the complex processes unleashed on African people in the last 500 years— especially within the last 50. But first we need context…
Let us be very clear. We live in a world that is the result of 500 years of Western military conquest which at its height slaughtered over 300 million people worldwide and stole entire continents and an entire hemisphere from Native people. More than 85 ethnic tribes — distinct nations of peoples — were wiped out from the face of the earth in the course of this conquest. This process created a planetary economic caste system of white over brown over black. This is the modern world we live in today. Plain talk. Bad manners.
Five centuries of slaughter is invested in this system. Every Western institution— from legislatures and economies to political, military, and media systems — were formed from this process and fashioned on the assumption of white over brown over black. Enormous amounts of resources are invested to keep this in place. When Butler started labour unrest in Trinidad in 1937, British warships were in the Gulf the next day. In the 1900s elected radical presidents in Latin America and the Middle East were routinely assassinated because they did not toe the line. Up to today — in 75 per cent of Hollywood movies — a black male will be the first person ritually killed. This is not a coincidence. A status quo is being upheld. White life is being championed as premium. Black life is being sold as being expendable. The world is the audience.
Let’s not fool ourselves. The forces that put these systems in place did not disappear overnight. We did not suddenly wake up in a world where everyone is singing “Kumbaya”, interested in equality. Trillions of dollars are at stake… White America is not giving back North, Central and South America to Native American tribes and saying sorry… Our world has been brutally fashioned by advantage. African and Native American people are systematically supposed to be at the bottom of that pyramid. The New World began with an entire hemisphere stolen from Native People — and with 300 years of unpaid African labour for over 20 million people. It also gave white Western powers and their citizens trillions of dollars of wealth.
Yet despite this, African people have been spoilers in the West and are at the heart of the Western equation for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that African people have been the principal resistance to the West — militarily, politically, economically and culturally — for the last five centuries. From Toussaint and Dessaline’s victory over Napoleon in Haiti to Ethiopia’s victory over Italy at the Battle of Adwa. Martin Luther King and others changed the civil rights shape of the West. African people profoundly changed the course of civilsiation by humanising the West and halting its worst excesses. In every territory African people made economic and social systems more open and inclusive. Just years out of slavery Africans began fashioning upper and middle classes out of these struggles. However, large amounts of their population have been left behind in communities that never had a shield from this historical inhumanity. Many of the hotspots of the world are located in these communities.
The catch 22 for the West is that African’s capacity for labour and inventiveness is indispensable to their civilsation. The Western solution is to try to destroy the African capacity to organise and resist, but to keep Africans around as labourers, castrated of agenda and consciousness. This last process began in the plantation during slavery. There has never been a process whereby a captive people have been scientifically subjected to a series of institutional processes meant to remove from them all aspects of culture and humanity as Western plantation slavery.
From start to finish it was fashioned to remove God, religion, language, nation, memory, identity, manhood, womanhood, family, kinship, personality, and humanity from the oldest civilised people on the planet… This process lasted three centuries! This war on African identity and organising has continued into the 21st century.
The second reason that Africans are central to the West is that the African continent is the most valuable piece of real estate in the world. There is hardly one accessory in civilisation that does not depend on primary resources from Africa — from computers to cars. Without Africa there is no Western civilisation and its products. This is why Africa has been straddled with military dictators for the last two centuries — placed there by Western powers to prevent African ownership of their own resources.
With these things in mind we can now begin to examine the state of the global African nation…