By Comrade Rashad
Asheville, North Carolina – an announcement to give its Black citizens “reparations” recently went viral.
This resolution, falsely labeled as reparations, is another tactic used by neoliberals to continue white supremacy while pretending to fight it. It reads:
‘The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority homeownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice,’
These are not reparations! They are just a continuation of already-existing amerikkkan government programs, designed to perpetuate oppression and exploitation. Not even affordable housing is affordable for poor and working class colonized people.
Black Capitalism is the opposite of Black Power
The push for Black capitalism, as a response to the recent Black uprisings, is nothing new coming from the colonizer government.
In 1968, after Martin Luther King’s assassination, revolts took place in 125 cities across America. As a response, president Richard Nixon said, “People who own their own homes don’t burn their neighborhoods.”
Nixon pushed Black capitalism to neutralize the Black revolution of the 1960s. The colonial government prefers that African people work with the system as neocolonial sellouts rather than trying to destroy their system as revolutionaries.
In a nationwide address in 1968, Nixon explained,
‘What most of the militants are asking is not separation, but to be included in — not as supplicants, but as owners, as entrepreneurs — to have a share of the wealth and a piece of the action. And this is precisely what the central target of the new approach ought to be. It ought to be oriented toward more Black ownership, for from this can flow the rest — Black pride, Black jobs, Black opportunity and yes, Black Power, in the best, the constructive sense of that often-misapplied term.’
Nixon’s “Black capitalism” initiatives in the late ’60s and early ’70s were counter-insurgency tactics to turn the people’s focus away from revolutionary Black Power and toward submissive Black capitalism.
Fred Hampton understood the contradictions of Black capitalism clearly during this period. In a speech he delivered in 1969 he echoed Nixon by saying, “we’re talking about destroying the system, and they have hang-ups doing that because they’re constantly buying property within the system. And it’s kind of hard to burn up on Tuesday what you bought last Monday.”
Fred Hampton understood that once African people are invested in Black enterprises and 30-year mortgages then they are locked in the system for the long run. They got their “piece of the action”, the spoils of settler colonialism. As neocolonial sellouts, they won’t seek to destroy something they feel they’re a part of.
Land Back is the Route to Black Power
The North Carolina resolution doesn’t call for the return of land stolen from colonized people.
In his speech titled Message to the Grassroots, Malcolm X said “Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.”
For example, an AP investigation revealed that 24,000 acres of land had been robbed from African people throughout the South. This theft keeps the masses of African people locked into this parasitic capitalist-colonial system.
A report published by economists at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity dispels the myth that homeownership will close the housing gap between African people and white settlers:
‘White households who are not home-owners hold 31-times more wealth than Black households that do not. Among households that own a home, white households have nearly $140,000 more in net worth than comparable Black households. While the wealth ratio between whites and Blacks may narrow somewhat among those who own a home, a six-figure wealth differential remains.’
So, when we go from non-homeowners to homeowners the wealth gap persists. Homeownership doesn’t hurt colonialism – it helps it.
Real reparations mean dictatorship over land, lives, and resources
This sham reparations from North Carolina don’t offer any funds or land directly to African people. Instead, the resolution offers homeownership that won’t shift the power dynamic; it calls for “neighborhood safety” which will lead to more harassment from the pigs; it offers more exploitation from parasitic capitalist employers.
African and colonized people need power over our lives, labor, land, and resources in order to end the disparities and injustices our people continuously face.
Colonizers don’t have any right to dictate what reparations will be – only revolutionary, anti colonial organizations can dictate the demands.
A study titled “Wealth Implications of Slavery and Racial Discrimination for African American Descendants of the Enslaved,” determined that Africans in the u.s. are owed $6.2 quadrillion in reparations – $155 million dollars for each African person in the u.s.
We won’t let any colonizers short change us. In the words of Tupac Shakur, “we’re coming back for everything you owe.”
Black Hammer’s principles of unity state that African and Colonized working class people need dictatorship over our lives, land, and resources. We’re constructing Hammer City as the answer to building this power. African and Colonized people need real reparations and real power, not these sham reparations from colonizers in North Carolina.
You got $5 on it to #BuildHammerCity? Put a ✏️ in the notes.