We need to progress beyond Supporting Black Businesses and Buying Black, it is an obsolete and counterproductive mandate.
Please, hear me out if you have not blocked me already for that statement. If you still don’t agree, then you can block me after you read this.
Now, the “Support Black Businesses” started way back in the Marcus Mosiah Garvey Era, and rose up out of his United Negro Improvement Association. It was fully formalize by Carlos Cooks after he replaced Garvey at the helm of the UNIA.
Back then the form and function of a Black Businesses was much different than it is today. I don’t want to get too complex with this, but we have to understand this so that we can construct better stratagems that will lead us to Black Empowerment. If we simply use the “Support Black Business” Mandate without understanding how the US and the Black community have evolved since the founding of the movement this strategy will not serve us, it could very well harm us.
At the turn of the last century, the US economy was not yet Globalized or Financialized, the US was an industrialized nation that had strong barriers to imported manufactured and finished goods, it also aggressively protected its internal industries.
At the same time the Black community was legally and strictly segregated, our ancestors lived in a culturally, socially, and economically encapsulated environment; at the same time our oppressors sought to isolate us, they created an opportunity for us to build up independent black communities and economies. Those communities were so well structured that they could only be disrupted or subverted by direct force or open criminal action (See: Tulsa race riot, Rosewood Massacre; they are the best known, but not the only instances of such actions).
Rosewood and Tulsa were horrible atrocities, but think about it; in that era they had to conduct military action to destroy Black economic sovereignty, today…., today they don’t even have to get out of the bed, they use minor codes and policies, and we do most of the work for them, often unconsciously. We don’t even have a Tulas-type community for them to burn if that got the notion to do so today. That’s saying something.
In the Garvey Era up to the Civil Rights Movement the “Buy Black,” and “Support Black Business” Mandates were fully appropriate and effective because of how the US economy, trade policy, and racial segregation policies were structured.
The Black Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Entertainers, and Strivers (with some unique exceptions) were forced by law to dwell in the Black community, they would establish affluent areas within the larger Black community, their clubs were in the Black community, their law offices, dental offices, doctor offices, and all of their businesses were in the Black community. They couldn’t open in other communities, if they tried they’d be burned to the ground the day they opened.
When these Black Entrepreneurs earned their money they had to spend the bulk of it in the Black community, more importantly the Black elites had to invest in the Black community. Also, Black business owners had to hire Black employees, most Whites wouldn’t work for a “Ni99er if their lives depended on it” back then. So, as previous stated; most Blacks couldn’t buy, open businesses, or professional practices outside of the Black community back then, so out of love for their Race, or out of adherence to the culture and laws of Racial discrimination, Black Businesses were entrenched in the Black community, strictly dependent on the Black community, and they reinvested in the Black community.
The Black Community was a Community in every sense of the word, we were an oppressed community, a community that suffered atrocities, a community that was taxed by a government that didn’t give it proper and full representation, but we were a community back then, not now.
None of that is true in today’s economy….well, we are still oppressed, we still suffer atrocities, we are still taxed by this government without getting proper and full representation, but we lost our economic base and our communities are no longer cohesive and strong. So we kept all of the negatives of the past eras but we lost the few benefits and opportunities from that era.
The US economy and capitalism went global after the fall of the USSR, it deindustrilized, and it integrated the few Black people who could afford admission into the “Billionaire’s Boy Club.” The Black people who have big money don’t share power with the White Elites, they just party with them (so don’t get it twisted).
In the past, Buying Black literally meant investing in the Black community, that’s no longer the case; it could mean that, but most often it means funding the lifestyle of a Rich Black person who invest most of the money you spent with them outside of the Black community. Buying Black can be as dysfunctional as Buying Corporate in this economy.
Just look at so many of the Black Elites whom our community have made multimillionaires.
My Brother Timothy Taylor summed it all up in one short line: “They sell you death on [their] pursuit of Benz and Lexus!” (http://youtu.be/2Tg8yHk7owA)
They make money selling us lies, toxic products, degenerate music, and Western Materialism; they target our children with their “Poisonous Products” then, when they get rich they spend their dollars everywhere but the Black community. Some of them give us charity, but they save their investments for Wall Street and the Capitalist economy. We need investment not charity!
Today, the major Black Businesses are just as likely to exploit sweatshop labor in the Third World as White Businesses, they are just as likely to seek to exploit African’s resources as White colonizers, they are as likely to vote their economic interest against our social and cultural interest as White voters (ex: P.Diddy and 50Cent were G.W.Bush supporters). I’m not just talking about the Michael Jordans though, we have working-class business owners who have the same mentality and values as the New Negro Elite. Like the asshole who owns a few car washes in the Hood, or the dude that owns the crusty fried chicken shake in the Hood; they may be Black, but supporting them does no more to empower us economically than shopping at Wal-Mart does.
These Black Capitalist will even call for us to “Buy Black” and “Support Black Businesses.” Pimping a movement they have no intention of truly supporting. Not all Black businesses and entrepreneurs are like this, and we need to make a strict distinction between them.
By now I bet New Negros are already commenting how I’m against “Black Success,” that I support poverty among Black people and all that Bullshit, but I’m not really taking to them, I’m dealing with those who want real empowerment, who want Black Power, and Black Economic Independence. Leave the New Negros to their worship of Rich Negros and their obscene opulence. We are talking about Economic Empowerment; not Increasing Individual Consumption Capacity for a Few Individuals; which is the New Negro Econ Agenda.
Just because our enemies have changed up the game economically, just because they have Integrated and attempted to Assimilate us out of existence don’t mean we gotta fold. Just because the ‘Buy Black’ and ‘Support Black Business’ Mandates are obsolete don’t mean we can’t do Group Economics, or engage in independent Economic Development.
When you are at war and your enemy deploys new, more deadly tactics and weaponry you have to adjust and modernize your own arsenal and tactics, that’s all. We should expect our enemies to make constant adjustment because we are always defeating or overcoming their current methods of oppression.
We have war journals to help guide us: The Blueprint for Black Power by Dr Amos Wilson, and Powernomics by Dr Claud Anderson are just two of many such strategy guides for Economic warfare and empowerment.
But let’s just touch on what we can do right now:
1. We need to have a more detailed classifications of Black businesses. We have to determine if we are dealing with a Standard, Traditional, or Capitalistic Black Businesses (CBBs). These are the one’s folks like Baby from Cash Money operates, or a Black person who owns a McDonald’s franchise. I’m not saying that these CBBs can’t contribute to the Struggle or the well-being of the community, but most often it’s in the form for charity (i.e. Toxic, GMO, Parasite Infested Turkey give-a-ways on Thanksgiving), transient charity; and they often extract much more from the community and the Race than they ever give back. I suggest that we refrain from supporting such enterprises, or at the very lease we put them at the lowest end of the support scale.
2. We need to formalize the category of Pan-African Enterprise (PAE). A PAE is a business that is owned by Pan-Africnisit, that holds to the ideology and agendas of Pan-Africanism. The owners of the PAE can enjoy profits, affluence, and all that trappings of any other successful business owners, but they hold themselves accountable to the People, they make real investment in the community, they refrain from exploiting the masses or distributing toxic products to our community, and they hold membership in and are active in Pan-African organizations seeking full liberation and justice for the Global African Community. We should have a means of certifying PAEs, and helping them to prosper and expand.
3. We need to build Pan-African Cooperative Enterprises (PACE) as the highest manifestation of Black economic development. These enterprises are conceived, constructed, owned, and operated by the people, collectively. They are Social Enterprises, they distribute the gains socialistically not in a top down manor like a traditional business. A PACE exist solely to met the needs of the community, to generate capital and resources for the Struggle, and to provide the resources needed to live a full and dignified life for its collective of owners. Every single Black organization that has as its mission the empowerment and liberation of our people should be constructing and operating PACEs.
I and the Black Star Action Network currently working to build two such enterprises here, and we have a few more in the conceptual stages.
Please join me in these efforts. Please get this message out in your communities. Please wake your organizations up to this work and understanding. Please link with or join with #BSANI if you are not currently working with an organization, or if you would like to coordinate your efforts with us.
We can’t protest forever we’ll have to return to our communities and build regardless of the outcome of the protest and demonstrations, we have to give the people real work to do when the rally is over, we have to put tools in the hands of the people when they put down the protest signs or the energy will dissipate until the next atrocity.
I’m tired of seeing the Black community pimped, especially when we are trying to do what’s best for ourselves, and the “Buy Black” Mandate is full of Black Pimps, we need to modernize it and refine it, not abandon it.
Thank you for reading. Forward.