The bourgeoisie in the United States appears to be giving a concession. They are saying, “Okay, fine, you go ahead and study African history and African culture,” and they will give you so much African history and culture [that] you just have time for nothing else. The object is to divorce the process of thought and reflection on our past from the process of changing the present so that you feel that you’ve gained something but you end up in some remarkable contradiction. What you will find is this (in fact it’s happening already): Rockefeller–who is making most of his money out of South African gold, out of the Rand, out of exploiting and participating in apartheid, the most vicious racial system in the world–that guy is going to finance a chair in African history. That’s the type of contradiction. So that if a black progressive thinks he’s doing something by going into African history, using up a Rockefeller grant, all he is doing is forgetting both the domestic and external implications of American capitalism and, in fact, supporting that system because the guys don’t mind if you go in a library or museum and lock yourself up all day. That’s wonderful; keep you off the street, keep you out of struggle. So we have to avoid that type of myth that cultural revival, per se, is going to carry us a long way. I don’t want to seem to be critical of the development of interest in African history and culture. Quite obviously not, that’s what I myself am involved in. What I am trying to suggest is that sometimes, while involved in a process, we ourselves have to be very careful to delimit how far that process should go. Let’s all wear afros, let’s put on African clothes. Fine. But that doesn’t mean we are not going to struggle. The system still has to be broken before we can express ourselves in any fundamental way.
—  “African History in the Service of the Black Liberation”, Walter Rodney

African Influence in Salvador

Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia, was the first major port and the capital of colonial Brazil for almost two centuries. The city lies between green tropical hills and broad beaches along the bay of Todos os Santos. It was built on two levels with administration buildings and residences constructed on the hills; forts, docks, and warehouses on the beaches. To this day the city is still divided into upper and lower cities. From 1500 to 1815 Salvador was the nation’s busiest port. A significant portion of the sugar from the northeast and gold and diamonds from the mines in the southeast passed through Salvador. It was a golden age for the town; magnificent homes and churches resplendent in gold decoration were built. Many of the city’s baroque churches, private homes, squares, and even the hand-chipped paving bricks have been preserved as part of Brazil’s historic patrimony. In Salvador, more than anywhere else in the country, the African influence in the makeup of Brazilian culture is readily visible, from the spicy dishes still called by their African names (caruru, vatapa, acaraji), to the ceremonies of candomblé which honor both African deities and Catholic holidays, to the capoeira schools where a unique African form of ritualistic fighting is taught. Its population is around 2,250,000 inhabitants.

Location: Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Photographer: Celso Marino

Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party, or BPP, was a Revolutionary Socialist Human Rights organization founded within the 1960’s which was a time in which African-American’s were consistently harassed and attacked on the streets by police forces due to their skin colour alone. The BPP actively fought against police brutality through force and intimidation to stand their ground, protect their own lives and destroy racism. The BPP not only fought against police, they also organized and helped with a large variety of community social programs such as the “Free Breakfast for Children” program with fed 10,000 children a day as well as establishing community health clinics. The police force didn’t stand for African-American’s defending their selves against the state capitalist brutality which resulted in the murder and arrests of countless BPP members and civilians.

Receiving immensely negative media attention for their physical anti-capitalist state action, the BPP still actively sought to make positive change for the working class of America through constant action. Such social work includes the previously mentioned “Free Breakfast for Children” program and the establishment of free health clinics. The BPP also actively implemented drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs for the working class with the addition of education services such as self-defence and first aid classes. Not only did the BPP achieve astounding progressive services, they also brought the public awareness to the systematically racist brutality of the police towards the African American populace. The BPP are un-disputably one of the most inspirational movements and are certainly an organization to respect, acknowledge and praise.

The infinite possibilities for fungible Black flesh mark a fundamental distinction between fungible slave bodies and non-Black (exploited) laboring bodies. Further, Black bodies cannot effectively be incorporated into the human category of laborers. If Black laboring bodies were incorporated into the category; “laborer” would have no meaning as a human condition. Blackness is constituted by a fungibility and accumulation that must exist outside the edge and boundary of the laborer-as-human. If there were no Black fungible and accumulable bodies there could be no “wage laborer” that cohered into a proletariat.
—  Tiffany King, “Labor’s Aphasia: Toward Antiblackness as Constitutive to Settler Colonialism End”
I trust that my use of the words such as ‘capitalism’, ‘imperialism’, and ‘neo- colonialism’ will not be deemed as a cover for sinister intent. My indulgence in those terms is aimed at opposing a system which is barbarous and dehumanising – the one which snatched me from Africa in chains and deposited me in far off lands to be a slave beast, then a sub-human colonial subject, and finally an outlaw in those lands. Under these circumstances, one asks nothing more but to be allowed to learn from, participate in and be guided by the African Revolution in this part of the continent; for this Revolution here is aimed at destroying that monstrous system and replacing it with a just socialist society.
—  Walter Rodney in letter in the Nationalist newspaper (Tanzania) 17th December, 1969