#NJRR Live: Black is Back: Activism over Elections
Welcome back to #NJRR Live! It’s been a long two weeks and we are glad to be back. Just when we think we’ve seen it all, 2020 never fails to provide new chaotic twists. It can be a good idea to take a moment away from it all now and again, but now we are back and better than ever. We apologize for the reduced audio and visual quality of the episode as Brian is in the process of relocating his studio. There may be delays in production over the next few weeks as we continue the relocation process. Tonight, we are honored to welcome two very special guests to our show.
Our guest co-host is Lisa Davis. Lisa confronts white privilege at every opportunity. She is fearless. Brian first met Lisa through The People’s Organization for Progress when he was attending weekly meetings. Lisa helped push Brian to examine how white privilege comes into play in his own life. Lisa never pulls punches when discussing what’s going on. There’s just no nice way to talk about the history of this country and the role that colonialism and white supremacy have played in it. Lisa asserts that there’s room in the struggle for everyone to walk a righteous path.
The Black liberation movement is the path that Lisa has chosen to take. One of the most enlightening frameworks through which to look at the issues in our country is that of white colonialism. In order to turn this system on its head, we need to know how it came to be. Lisa does not hyphenate her identity as African to include American because she refuses to identify with the racist brutality that America has displayed historically.
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One of the goals of New Jersey Revolution Radio is to communicate the revolutionary struggle to all kinds of communities. We encourage people to confront racism and class struggle directly as it plays out in their lives. Some communities are more educated than others, but at NJRR, we strive to reach them all with our message. Becoming a revolutionary was a long process for Lisa. She did not have the kind of political framework to navigate life as a Black woman in America. We hope that our outreach at NJRR will be helpful in educating people in the future about lenses through which to see politics.
Unfortunately, no matter which of the two main Presidential candidates are elected this November, there will be four more years of war. Even though it’d better if Trump doesn’t win, a Biden presidency would still be shitty. Both candidates are pro-war and there is no getting around that fact.
Lisa doesn’t buy into the “a vote for anyone but Biden is a vote for Trump” narrative, calling it out as bullshit. She will not compromise by helping vote a lesser of two evils into office.
Brian has made up his mind for whom he will be voting. He is going to be writing in Eugene Debbs’ name on his ballot because he believes that the rotting corpse of a true political activist would do a better job leading this country than either of the two leading candidates.
Spookiest Time Of The Year
Lisa suggests that election night be moved about a week earlier. Halloween night: terror is already in the air and spooky surprises are aplenty. Lisa does not know who is going to win this election, but she knows who is going to lose: the people. Unfortunately, the people have been being conditioned to vote for the lesser of two evils for decades, such that we are so used to it that we no longer question why the two choices are so bleak in the first place.
It is somewhat dangerous to discuss COVID-19 on #NJRR Live because information about this topic in particular tends to be so unreliable. However, this was a huge week for news regarding the pandemic. Not only was Donald Trump diagnosed with the coronavirus, but so were a whole host of American politicians. The list includes ex-New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is apparently in very serious condition. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is receiving top-notch medical care from a dedicated, fully staffed team at the White House. When Trump came down with COVID, treatment and medication were immediately authorized and administered to him even though they were withheld from the public as thousands of members of the public died.
We welcome our guest tonight, a man with a host of achievements under his belt. Omali Yeshitela is founder and chairman of the Uhuru Movement, which is an African Internationalist organization. He is also founder and chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party and chair of the Black is Back Coalition as well as a veteran of the Black Revolution of the 1960s. He is chairman of African Socialist International. Omali is a political theoretician and founder of the Burning Spear Newspaper. He is also author of many books, including An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution Versus Parasitic Capitalism, and his most recent release, Vanguard: The Advanced Detachment of the American Revolution.
As one might expect from someone with so many achievements, Omali began working in activism when he was very young. He was kicked out of the United States military for his political activities in 1963. Omali had a realization that it was unacceptable that he was risking his life in the streets of Germany for a country in which he did not feel safe living in the first place. He refused to stand for this and so he challenged it. He was dismissed and escorted from the military base at gunpoint.
Experiences in the Military
Omali and Brian have mixed feelings on having been in the military. On one hand, the United States military exists as an entity to oppress and intimidate people and countries by whatever brutal means necessary and no decent person should want to be a part of that. On the other hand, as Omali testifies, it teaches a person a lot. Omali achieved political education through fighting in the military because it was an opportunity to see the United States from the outside.
Marching for Black Power
Lisa and Omali are both members of the Black is Back Coalition, which exists to promote social justice, peace, and reparations. On November 7th, they are having a national demonstration at the White House. This march is in opposition to the reactionary U.S. agenda being imposed on Africans and others, both in the United States and globally. On Sunday, November 8th, the Coalition will be hosting a Zoom conference on Black power and liberation. The Black is Back Coalition is made up of 17 different organizations, such as the People’s Organization for Progress, that came together and are now continuing to grow.
Lisa reminds us before we wrap up for tonight that everything that Black people are able to achieve in America today is due to the efforts of the Black liberation movement. Here at NJRR, we’re doing our best to get our studio moved up to Maine. Thank you for sticking around in the meantime as we continue to bring you content on art and activism. Don’t forget to donate to independent media if you can. Your donations are what make it possible for us to continue doing what we do. This podcast is going out on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and everywhere else that you can get your podcasts. Seriously, just ask your Alexa to put us on. Until next week at 8 PM EST, stay safe and stay well!
-Leah Giannantonio, for New Jersey Revolution Radio