The future & past
by Arjun Appadurai
3. 9. 2021
Two new books—On Decoloniality, by Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh, and Out of the Dark Night, by Achille Mbembe—help remind us of the history behind our geographies, setting the history of regions and continents back into the context of colonialism and empire. To do so, both books consider the different paths out of decolonization, only to find that neither the kind of nation-state that emerged out of decolonization nor the recent version of globalized capitalism that has come to define these nation-states has truly fulfilled the liberatory promises of decolonization.
Cameroonian Philosopher Achille Mbembe
"Let us decide not to imitate Europe, and let us tense our muscles and brains in a new direction. Let us endeavor to invent a man in full, something which Europe has been incapable of achieving."
Fanon's Children: The Black Panther Party & Rise of the Crips and Bloods
by George Percy Bargainer lll
4. 11. 2011
Although Fanon asserts that Black-on-Black violence is rooted in the colonial process, it is temporary, and has the potential to metamorphosis into revolutionary violence, his sense of triumphalism views this process as linear and steadily evolving towards revolution. The history of Black street gangs must be placed in the longer tradition of Black resistance to colonialism in the United States in order to understand the forces at play that give rise to this oscillation of consciousness
Black Panther Party Press Conference 1970
Jason Johnson Interview with Afro-Cuban Scholar Amalia Dache on the Afro-Cuban inspired protests in Cuba
JASON JOHNSON - So, I want to start with this. We`ve had conversations in pop culture in America over the last couple of years about the erasure of Afro Latino faces and voices. I want you to sort of tell our audiences, what are we not hearing about the faces of the people initiating these protests in Cuba right now? Who is really behind this, and what are they really asking for?
AMALIA DACHE, AFRO-CUBAN AMERICAN SCHOLAR: Yes, we`re not talking about is the Afro-Cuban -- the Afro-Cuban movements, or Afro-Cuban leaders that are leading the movements to free Cuba, Dennis Solis, and Luis Manuel Arturo Alcantara, Michael Sorvo these are leaders of the San Isidro Movement that started in 2018. So, we`re not hearing that, these uprisings.
The catalysts were Afro-Cubans and artists across the island that wanted to express their lack of freedom of expression, the repression of the state of their freedoms in Cuba, and so we`re not hearing from the voice of Afro- Cubans on this issue. We`re not talking to Afro-Cubans on this issue when it comes to issues of race and racism under the dictatorship, and we`re focusing on things like the external embargo, instead of focusing on things like the internal embargo, or what we call the internal blockade of food and medicine like COVID vaccines because Cuba is not allowing COVID vaccines to come in through the COVAX program that UNICEF offers for free. They`re blocking medicine and food.
JOHNSON: In the United States, I think all too often the discussion of Cuba is always sort of, it`s pretty much just in the hands of white Cubans. We hear from Marco Rubio, we hear from Ted Cruz.
Who are some activists and organizers perhaps in Florida who have been talking about the issues in Cuba for years that have been either marginalized or we haven`t heard their voices so much that may have initiated or enlightened us as to where this protest was going to come from.
DACHE: Well, in Cuba, not necessarily in the United States, afro-Cubans arguing about issues of race. For example, there are activists in Cuba who are speaking out about this issue. Again, the San Isidro movements, the Patria Y Vida movement. Patria Y Vida is the reggaeton artists that are in the United States and in Cuba, pushing the issue of repression and this is what they are rapping about. This is what the hip hop lyrics are about.
Patria Y Vida is homeland or life. It`s basically saying we want an end to communism, we want an end to the dictatorship. This is coming from reggaeton artist Gene de Zona and others from the island that I mentioned. So, that`s what we`re not associating the uprising to, these leaders, these leaders that in Cuba are risking their lives.
And just like we know in the United States, black leaders and black voices and especially black women`s voices in the civil rights movement, for example, and in the organizing that was taking place in 2014, 2015, they`re erased. We don`t have intersectional perspectives.
And what I call to the American people to do is have an intersectional perspective on Cuba, and place Afro-Cubans at the center of this debate.
JOHNSON: So, your family -- you are from Cuba. Your family came over on the boat lifts in the 1980s. One of the things that I think is interesting is that the way Cuba is discussed in the United States is usually -- it`s sort of a rallying cry for the far right or far left. On the far right, oh, it`s terrible, they`re evil, communists. And on the left, oh, Cuba is this amazing place where there`s free health care and racism doesn`t exist.
Tell us about what the real Cuba is right now for your average person when it`s not being used as a football for lack of a better word between the hard right and hard left in America.
DACHE: Well, just really, this is a quick history point that will address this issue. In Cuba in 1961 when this new regime came in, they said they eradicated racism, and you know what they did, they got rid of 200 black organizations across the island, so they outlawed black organizations, they outlawed associating or organization across racial lines because they said they eradicated racism. So, can you imagine the United States after the civil right movement, we got rid of all black organizations, we got rid of the black church because in Cuba you weren`t allowed to organize across religious lines either.
So, these are the issues we`re missing. These are the conversations we`re missing that Cuba, the rhetoric of Cuba being a black power aligned country is part of an old discourse, an old discourse that belongs in the 1960s, not in 2021. Because guess what? In Cuba, black history can`t be taught in schools.
So, the debates we are having in CRT in the United States, guess what? We can`t teach CRT in Cuba. It`s against the government.
JOHNSON: I`m pretty sure that Marco Rubio is screaming about critical race theory would be ashamed to find out that he`s actually aligning himself with the dictatorship in Cuba.
JOHNSON: One of the last things I want to point out here is just very quickly, Black Lives Matter has asked for the embargo against Cuba to be stopped. There are many organizations in the United States that say we are part of the problem.
Is this really -- is the United States responsible for this uprising? Is this really some outside thing, quickly, or is this really an indigenous movement.
DACHE: Let me say two things, Jason, one, the United States is the number one exporter of meat to Cuba, all right? They spend $100 million in buying chicken.
Another thing, Black Lives Matter could not exist in Cuba. They`re outlawed.
JOHNSON: So, yes, clearly a difference.
Thank you so much, Amalia Dache.
song is the
New Black Nationalists
Support for the
Risings in Cuba
The July 11 street revolt in cities across Cuba has unsettled the despotic regime of President Miguel Díaz-Canel. New Black Nationalists stand by all Cuban people who are rebelling to get Diaz-Canel's oppressive jackboot off their necks.
After blaming U.S. economic sanctions for the protests and all Cuba's maladies, "el presidente" summoned Cuba's "revolutionaries" into the streets to smash the protesters--as if this was a fight between paid foreign mercenaries and the people" defending "the revolution. "
Then he mobilized the police to sweep the streets and conduct mass arrests. That too did not go as planned. The police were met by angry protesters who engaged them in hand to hand combat, attacked them with bottles and rocks and overturned vehicles.
Exactly, what led to these unprecedented confrontations with the Cuban security state is a grab bag of grievances: shortages of food, medicine, COVID-19 vaccines, electricity, jobs, democratic rights, you name it.
What is not debatable is that the inspiration driving the July risings was the musical force of dissent echoing from the protesters voices chanting Patria y Vida--a hip-hop song by radicalized Afro-Cuban musicians in Cuba and Miami.
The song which dropped in February has taken the island by storm, and galvanized the Cuban street challenging the ruling class. "Patria y Vida," is a collaboration between Afro-Cuban musicians in exile: Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom of the duo Gente De Zona, Cuban hip-hop band Orishas; and singer-songwriter Descemer Bueno. Contributors Maykel Osboro (Castillo) and Eliécer "el Funky" Márquez are still on the island.
What is also not debatable is that the island's one million self-described Afro-Cubans and three million mixed-Black race Cubans (referred to as "mulatto" or "mestizo,) have endured systematic racism at the hands of the Castro brothers and now Díaz-Canel for decades.
Excluded from entire sectors of Cuba's economy, stereotyped and disappeared in visual media, under-represented in Cuba's political apparatus, Afro-Cubans and Blackness itself are regarded as a national security threat.
In-part this also explains the Western media's virtual erasure of this revolt as an Afro-Cuban inspired enterprise. The grinding oppression of Afro-Cubans is a non-issue and "Patria y Vida" is simply portrayed as a cultural youth phenomenon. After all, everyone knows Afro-Cubans are damned good musicians. Spare us the bullshit.
The American media dares not raise the issue of race, knowing the Cuban government would call them to book for the state-sanctioned murder of Black people at the hands of the police. You want to talk about the lack of democracy in Cuba or the Biden Administration standing idly by while White Nationalist Republicans strip Black people their voting rights. Best to leave those stones unturned.
The legacy of erasure of Afro-Cubans is also a feature of the left and right-wing responses to the revolt. So called pro-democracy, right-wing Cubans decry the nation's "economic disaster" and "democracy deficit" as the sins of communism.
On the left, far too many defend Cuba as a beleaguered and isolated outpost of socialism victimized by Yankee Imperialism's economic blockade. And how, we ask, will lifting economic sanctions eradicate anti-Afro-Cuban racism? Both groups have little to say about the oppression of Afro-Cuban communities, and even less to say about a solution.
In the meantime, the Little Havana's and Little Haiti's in South Florida are teeming with right-wing reactionaries and wanna-bee dictators hatching plots and pushing buttons to trigger regime change in the Caribbean.
Two weeks ago, we witnessed the motley coup attempt and assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moises by the nefarious guns for hire supposedly associated with Haitian businessman Christian Emmanuel Sanon.
NewBlackNaitonalism.com, in South Florida, is alert to the street chatter that right-wing money and operatives circling around Magastan Headquarters in Mar a Lago, have been floating funds and resources to Afro-Cuban dissidents, musicians, and artists to undermine President Miguel Díaz-Canel's government.
The CIA appears to have ramped is covert operations that began a decade ago to deploy young Afro-Cuban artists and musicians as a cultural trojan horse to foment regime change on the island. Those operations were run through the USAid program. We hope Afro-Cuban artists and musicians aren't taking the bait but can't be naïve about the escalating geo-political stakes at play in the Caribbean Basin.
This special issue on July's "Patria y Vida" Cuba Rising seeks to give our readers a few different perspectives on the unfolding crisis on the island. Afro-Cubans are destined to play a decisive role in Cuba's future when the so-called socialist government in Havana disintegrates and collapses. Then as now, New Black Nationalists and Fanon Global will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Afro-Cuban community.
While people could argue that the San Isidro folks were what they appeared to be, small time dissidents without funding, despite the direct intervention of Trump Embassy officials in their case, it is remarkable how similar this case is to 2009 when Carlos Moore and others sought to create a Black leader in Darsi Ferrer, who had no thought of the Black struggle and no interest in racism prior to "Acting on Our Conscience." San Isidro did not have much to say on the racial issue until December 2020, although Manuel Otero spoke of this several times before. Their main focus was el Decreto 349, a law giving the government control over artistic expression. Above all, they have not developed an informed point of view on the subject, they ignore history, they are content to repeat anti-revolutionary slogans blaming "the Castros" and they have no criticism of white supremacy in Miami and its support for the narco terrorist governments of Latin America.
The first sign of this pattern in 2020 came with the NED shill, Javier Corrales and NED's introjection of race in the San Isidro Movement, 1/3/21. As of June 1, 2021, the organizations at Harvard who deal with Latin American Studies - David Rockefeller Center for Latin Americans Studies, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and the Afro-Latin American Research Institute - are referring in a Joint Statement to Black Lives Matter, as if Black lives are being snuffed out in Cuba on a daily basis as they are in the US, Colombia, Brazil, and other governments fully supported by Cuban white supremacists in Florida. Harvard is placing its prestige and its extensive Latin American network on the line in what may turn out to be a strategic blunder since they now appear to be aligned with Miami's virulent white supremacists. Just 2 days after the Joint Statement, the exile press is celebrating: Diario de Cuba, CiberCuba, and 14 y medio. A responsible approach would have them starting to think about their own white supremacy which is a far greater threat to America citizens in Florida and elsewhere than anyone in Cuba is.
Politically, Florida will go the way of Georgia with the help of people aligned with Stacey Abrams: those Cubans who adhere to white supremacy will be the losers. Harvard and its funders, which include the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations, need to think through if this Joint Statement serves their best interests which have recently been more aligned with fighting white supremacy. By not bringing a similar level of concern to truly violent regimes such as Duque and Bolsonaro, they leave themselves open to accusations of acting in the interest of a US Empire that still dreams of controlling Venezuelan oil and seeks to eliminate a major defender in Cuba. They will be seen as contributing to the conflict rather than taking steps to resolve it, steps that have to include a realistic assessment of all parties involved. The main stated reason for the Cuban repression the Statement decries is the white Cuban American insistence on a blockade and on overthrowing a government they then want to replace with their own "democratic" solution, yet their track record on democracy in Florida is far from wholesome.
Meanwhile the comrades in Cuba continue with a strategically incompetent repression ill suited to the modern era of communications. Our independent investigation so far reveals that intellectuals, artists, and musicians are being paid by the US and US based organizations to produce disinformation. But the level of threat these people represent is minimal while the repression is out of proportion and counterproductive. The comrades stubbornly adhere to a binary republicanism that finds it hard to accomodate identitarian concerns; this may wind up costing them their sovereignty, the very thing that is most precious to republicanism. They are losing the support of the youths and need to educate them about Black Cuban history and the racialized nature of the Miami Havana conflict, topics which many ignore when evaluating San Isidro and Patria y Vida.
Joint Statement on Human Rights in Cuba 6/1/2021 David Rockefeller Center for Latin Americans Studies: English, Español, Portuges - "Statement from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin Americans Studies, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and the Afro-Latin American Research Institute, Harvard University, on human rights in Cuba - "…Amnesty International declared Otero Alcántara a prisoner of conscience and demanded his immediate and unconditional release. That call should be extended to other members of the San Isidro Movement, who are experiencing various forms of state repression. Many of them are young men of African descent, including artists such as rappers Denis Solís González, Maykel Castillo “Osorbo,” and Eliecer Márquez Duany “El Funky,” who are currently imprisoned or detained under dubious charges of “contempt” or “disobedience” against public officials. San Isidro is a poor neighborhood that is mostly inhabited by people of African descent. The nature, quality, and intensity of the state violence unleashed against its residents resembles forms of racialized state violence in other countries across the Americas, including the United States, which we have also denounced vigorously from our platforms. Cuban Black lives also matter."
So far, this statement has been unreported by the mainstream US media and is only referred to in the Cuban exile press. Harvard attempted to get other institutions to co-sign; none would agree. This kind of activism is not typically found in US universities.
Claude Betancourt, 6/5/2021
Gente de Zona's "Patria y Vida" Randy Malcom in Miami, reclaims a slogan made popular at the birth of the Cuban revolution, "Patria o Muerte" (Homeland or Death), 62 years ago
Racism in Cuba
Three years into his rule, Fidel Castro declared that the Revolution had eliminated racism, making any further discussion of racial inequalities a taboo subject. Official discourse directly tied racism to capitalism, and thus the development of an egalitarian society officially ended racism. The government connected racial discrimination to the colonial and ‘ semi-colonial legacies[xii] and “to the capitalist elite, who had emigrated to Miami, officially making it a nonissue in Cuba.”[xiii] Castro’s government sought to develop a national Cuban identity and discussions of race and inequality were seen as creating divisions where none existed. For fifty years of Castro's rule in Cuba, race and racism were taboo subjects, making debate, discourse, and study impossible.[xiv] Later developments have proven that racism was not actually eliminated, just improved and pushed underground.
Social media videos captured Cubans marching through city streets, shouting “Libertad!” But amid the cries for “Freedom!” another refrain was heard over and over again: “Patria y vida!” a reference to a song of the same name that’s quickly become the anthem for a nation that’s reached a boiling point.
The Cuban artists Yotuel Romero, Descemer Bueno, Maykel Osorbo, Eliécer “el Funky” Márquez, and the reggaeton duo Gente de Zona collaborated on the rap track and released it in February, after which it amassed more than six million views on YouTube. The lyrics take direct aim at Cuba’s communist government: “No more lies. My people ask for freedom, not more doctrines. We no longer shout, ‘Motherland or death,’ but ‘homeland and life,’ and we begin to build what we dreamed, what they destroyed with their hands.” The title “Patria Y Vida” (“homeland and life”) is a bitter play on “patria o muerte” (“homeland or death”), a popular slogan associated with the rise of the communist leader Fidel Castro in the late Fifties.
* New Black Nationalism Editorial
* Jason Johns & Amalia Dache Interview
* Revolutionary Racism in Cuba
* San Isidro and Racism - AfroCubaWeb
* How ‘Patria Vida" Became Protest Anthem
Afro-Cuban Inspired Revolt Joins Global BLM 2.0 "Lavender Revolution"