Petty Bourgeoisie in Crisis and Conflict

PAIDS and the Black Middle Class

…Politically Acquired Ideological Deficiency Syndrome (PAIDS) …
A negro does not believe any other system will ever exist in our lifetimes.
A negro will never work for the Revolution.
A negro may try to convince you that capitalism is forever, that it cannot be destroyed, and that nothing better can possibly exist+
Negroes will work for Imperialism under any circumstances, and will work against the liberation movement in one way or another.

….PAIDS is the trouble with negroes

One chief problem with the analyses that cross our daily travels is they almost invariably fail to see the big picture. These attempted breakdowns of events in society, and to black folks in particular, resemble the five blind men who fondled an elephant. One felt the trunk and thought it a snake; another felt the leg, believing it was a tree; the third felt the ear and assumed it was a fan; still another touched its tusks, saying it was a spear. Finally, the last stepped in the elephant’s dookey, and thought it was a mud slide.

Like the blind men, few of us have a comprehensive breakdown of what we are dealing with in this bloodsucking capitalist system. Up to our necks in dookey, we think it’s just a mud puddle. Yet the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Hence, to understand the whole reveals the raison d’etre of its parts, their reason for being.

Probably the biggest failure to understand this derives from the black middle class. Two books, The Black Bourgeoisie by E. Franklin Frazier and The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual by Harold Cruse, explain more to black Americans than the sum of all other works on the genre combined. These two giant exponents of revolutionary analysis give us the best look into the heart of the black middle class and its failure to provide effective leadership. They define the black petty bourgeoisie as a class in crisis, frustrated by its linkage to capitalism and the black working class community which gives it legitimacy. Remove its ideological leadership over the masses of African people, and its relationship to capitalism becomes useless.

The duality of black middle class consciousness, that is, the divided mindset based upon servility to Imperialism and leadership over the black colony, produces a confusing mishmash of ideas and ideologies that cannot help our community move ahead.

Dual consciousness has its basis in the class contradiction. It is, as Malcolm X pointed out, at once identifying with the slave master while striving to represent “a positive image” to the slave. Simultaneously, these “positive images” lack substance. Images all lack substance. An image is a picture, a statue, a representation of something real or imagined. For that reason, the NAACP annually produces its Image Awards. Black magazines and newspapers continually talk about presenting positive images. Mentoring is a method for fostering images. What happens, tho, when the image proves to be false or corrupt or superficial, as all too often proves the case?

Today’s youth culture has come to believe in the images on the dollar bill, images which can be exchanged for something of real value, even if the images themselves prove superficial. The youth have little use for leaders, anymore, because the rhetoric of the black middle class has too many deficiencies and not enuf depth. This class fails to link capitalism with parasitism on the black community. It fails to organize effectively and inadequately supports revolutionary sectors in the black colony, even while racism obviously enjoys legitimacy in capitalist society. The black middle class seems only interested in its own comfort, promotion and exclusivity in the midst of a holocaust taking place in Haiti, the Congo and right here.

In some cases, the black middle class forms the frontline in the war against the black community and its working class soldiers.

It is the middle class that helped arrest, jail, convict and imprison Jamil Al Amin in Atlanta. It is the middle class waging war against Mukasa Dada. The black middle class opposed the anti-apartheid divestment campaign on HBCU campuses across the country. The black middle class in league with Imperialism produced the backwards culture of gangsta rap, and reactionaries like Stanley Crouch and Juan Williams. It produced Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, Michael Steele and other enemies of the black community. This reveals the essence of Politically Acquired Ideological Deficiency Syndrome. Because the black middle class lacks an anti-imperialist analysis, because it poses itself as the leadership of the black masses, it remains uncritical of sell outs because PAIDS means getting over and selling out in some way or another.

So the inadequate analyses of the civil rights era left our community bereft of genuine leadership, especially following the US government war against revolutionary movements. Ideas got coopted. Mukasa Ricks started the momentum for the slogan “Black Power”, even tho it had earlier beginnings with Malcolm X and Robert F. Williams. Then, the slogan got quickly transformed to mean something else, “green power, money,” as Floyd McKissick redefined it. Fred Hampton’s Rainbow Coalition, meant to build solidarity for the Black Panthers in their work thru out the black colony, became something else when Jesse Jackson took over the concept. So in this way, crucial elements of our most rapidly growing and most relevant trends became watered down and reformed to better suit the needs of capitalism.

Today, instead of a scientific class analysis of racist confrontation, folks get deluded by a color theory. That is like fighting fire with fire, instead of fighting it with water. Because Imperialism uses a color theory to build and maintain the racist conflict. Theories about Ham, about “survival of the fittest”, about Aryan supremacy and all sorts of nonsense populate the white community and the best the black middle class can do is create more myths. We need a scientific analysis that will remain consistent despite changing conditions, and will provide us with a basis for building  communities of resistance. You cannot build a community of resistance when working for a career. That career can be inside a capitalist corporation or it can be a career making speeches and writing books that do nothing for our advancement.

We have to understand that Imperialism faces a crisis. During this period, the shot callers do not want to see social upheaval turn this country inside out. So they have diluted the racist system by having you focus on a part instead of the whole. They have elevated the status of Imperialism’s neo-colonial program. And one negro in the whites house with PAIDS, who has pulled the US out of the World Conference Against Racism, playing a role similar to Colin Powell’s 2001 act, cannot possibly recognize nor articulate the contradictions facing black people in America or around this planet. We have to begin fighting back against Imperialism.

The time is now to demand Reparations. We must make the demand while the government is doling out $800 billion to bloodsucking financial institutions. We must say we need a program to get our communities on their feet. We must demand this money to help our people not just in this country but thru out the Caribbean and Africa. Working class Africans cannot afford to come down with PAIDS. We have to build our own communities. We have the skills. History only requires our unity and resolve.

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