| It didn’t end with the “freeing” of enslaved Blacks. It didn’t end with their disenfrancishment. It didn’t end with the disappearance of steel and mining
company work camps which forced freed Blacks to live and die under the brutal and sadistic conditions. It didn’t end with the massacres at Wilmington or
Tulsa. It didn’t end with the Civil Rights era. Neutralizing resistance, particularly in the form of Black leadership, is one way to avoid redressing racial
inequities. It’s one way to avoid questioning a political, an economic, an social system based not on a dream of equality for all but on a nightmare of
dominance by a few.
Neutralizing the resistance of Black leadership must be linked to the Empire’s plan to define the nature of Black leadership. Black leadership must
capitulate to the interests of capitalism, U.S. world domination in which the annual salaries of transnational corporate CEOs is in the billions while billions
of the world’s people struggles to maintain life.
The selected and elected Black leadership, now, must proclaim a love for America without question and in imitation of a ruling class of people who are
unable to engage in self-reflection and critical thinking.
In “Goodbye to All That, 2002” former Rep. Cynthia McKinney explains: “the COINTELPRO process was ‘to neutralize’ the Black leader — in the words
of the CIA — assassinate and then replace that leader with someone whose skin color was black, but whose loyalty was to their plan and not ours.”
McKinney links the effects to neutralize Black leadership to the operation of domestic “regime change” in the U.S. With “regime change,” she argues, Black
Americans “are denied the right to their own leadership … and effectively implemented a counter-stragegy to rescue us” (Afro-Colombianos Conference, Feb
16, 2007, Cali, Colombia).
McKinney explains, “Regime change inside the U.S. was initially conceived as a means to control black leadership that might ‘excite the Negroes.’
‘Excite the Negroes’ is a quote. Those are the words used by J. Edgar Hoover in 1919 when The Honorable Marcus Garvey was first noticed by the United
States government and then targeted by it, so that Garvey could never influence U.S. politics. J. Edgar Hoover wrote in 1919 that Marcus Garvey, ‘excited
the Negroes,’ and that it was too bad that he hadn’t committed any offense so that he could be deported.”
Garvey was forced to inform them of all his activities. He was then set up on fake charges and deported, just like the U.S. government wanted. But
fortunately for us, not until after Garvey had been able to amass millions of followers and had made a lasting imprint on Blacks in the United States that lasts
until today. Of course, that was 1919. And the U.S. government institutionalized its covert actions against U.S. citizens in the Counter-Intelligence Program.
During the days of Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., COINTELPRO’s mission was to ‘expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or
otherwise neutralize’ the activities of Black nationalist leaders and organizations. Those are the words of the U.S. government, and we all know what
Now, by way of COINTELPRO, the U.S. government disrupted marriages, put innocent people in jail on trumped-up charges, sowed dissension among
members of the same group, like what happened with the murder of Malcolm X, and between members of different groups like what happened between the
Black Panther Party and United Slaves. They also murdered people. Fred Hampton of Chicago was murdered in his bed as his pregnant wife lay next to him.
He had been drugged by a black FBI informant who drew a map of Fred Hampton’s house for the Chicago Police who finished the job.
But it isn’t finished. It continues today.
McKinney suggests that the architects of COINTELPRO seek to deny sympathy for authentic Black leaders from the White community from without while
assuring that Black youths within the community dismiss this authentic leadership as “militant” or “too Afro-centric.”
Last week, a Chicana second-year English teacher, Karen Salazar, is fired from the LA School District. Charged with being “too Afro-centric,” Salazar,
her students and colleagues took their battle to the streets. What is feared when a teacher-leader teaches The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the poetry of
Langston Hughes and the lyrics of Tupac Shakur?
While Salazar speaks of “warrior-scholars” standing up and fighting back the effort to subvert and subjugate her students, it’s clear that COINTELPRO has
pushed the battle of these leaders, Black and Chicano/a, to the frontlines. Salazar is teaching! She is teaching her students the most important lesson of
their lives as oppressed members of the Empire: the legacy of institutionalized violence, of neutralization, of “regime change,” also has, as Salazar noted, a
“strong history” of freedom fighters “fighting back.”
It continues. But warriors are standing up everyday!