The celebrity group of five does not speak for everyday people struggling for systemic change

“And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.”—Howard Zinn

“[T]he unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.”—Frantz Fanon

Contrary to the fallacious assumption on the part of systemically adorned intellectuals, everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people are not anti-intellectuals, but are quite correctly, anti-intellectual masturbators. In fact, everyday people are very intelligent, though they may lack a systemically adorned pedigree.

The objective of the corporate-stream media is to form opinion, not inform it. Thus, there is the ever-present need for critical analysis.

As ordinary everyday people throughout this nation, and around the world, rise up against systemic corporate hegemony, economic austerity, and perpetual wars, the corporate-stream media, particularly in the United States, is in the process of adorning five celebrities as the narrators and spokespersons of and/or for this growing national and international rebellion. These persons are Amy Goodman, Chris Hedges, Greg Palast, Michael Moore, and Cornel West—the group of five. No doubt the corporate-stream media is also looking for additional systemically safe persons to promote, but for the moment, this celebrity group of five appears to possibly fit their objective.

It is imperative that we everyday people be critical thinkers, and as such, we must remember that there are no gurus in the people’s struggle. We must ask ourselves, on what authority do the persons who comprise this aforementioned group of five speak re the poor and oppressed of everyday people? Do these persons represent a desire for fundamental and uncompromising systemic change or are they actually de facto cheerleaders, in the final analysis, for systemic electoral politics, the corporate Democratic Party foxes, or the tweaking and ultimate perpetuation of this same system with some cosmetic changes thrown in? Do these persons speak from the direct personal experience of homelessness, prolonged imprisonment, or long and time-tested personal sacrifices on behalf of the everyday people’s struggle, etc? Or, in fact, are they actually beneficiaries of this political/economic system? Are they servants of the everyday people’s struggle for systemic change, or, are they systemically well-adorned and articulate political celebrities who do not struggle to have just enough money to buy food or pay for their housing, etc? On what authority do they speak on behalf of the downtrodden masses of everyday people? At this critical juncture in history, it is crucial that these questions be seriously considered especially in view of the intensifying people’s struggle in this nation and planet-wide.

The spokespersons of and for ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people must come from the ranks of the struggling everyday people themselves/ourselves. These ordinary women and men will not, in all probability, be highligthed on the Charlie Rose Show, the New York Times, or National Public Radio, etc. Nonetheless, these are the ordinary people who are rising up and rebelling against this blood-sucking corporate, corrupt political system. They cannot rely on any kind of celebrity status to keep them from long prison terms or being viciously framed, beaten or killed. We must never allow the narrative re the struggle of everyday people to be co-opted. We must control our own narrative.

Persons such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, and Lynne Stewart are the real heroes and sheroes of everyday people. They represent the true ideals, legitimate aspirations, and indomitable spirit of ordinary everyday people, and they are not celebrities. These persons, and many, many more such as them, in this nation and throughout the world, are the actual keepers of the flame in the struggle of everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people.

Even as we applaud, participate in, and/or otherwise support the increasing amount of young, middle-aged, and seniors of all colors engaged in the ‘occupations’ against corporate/government hegemony and perpetual war, etc., let us remember that what is referred to as the United States of America is itself already an occupied land, stolen from the indigenous native peoples of this continent. Let us remember, and not forget for even an instant, the brutal cultural and physical genocide committed against millions of indigenous peoples of this land by the U.S. government. Let us search our hearts and our souls to honestly and forthrightly address this unspeakable horror. Let us remember that history does not repeat itself, people do. But it does not have to be this way. We everyday people can break this cycle. The time for denial is at an end. We must make it so.

There is no celebrity group that can legitimately represent or speak for ordinary everyday people. It is we the people who are quite capable of representing ourselves, speaking for ourselves, and controlling our own narrative collectively. Gurus and/or celebrities must take a complete and permanent back seat to the collective narration of, for, and by just plain ordinary everyday people.

Both the corporately controlled Democrats and the corporately controlled Republicans desire to co-opt or otherwise neutralize the bottom-up people’s movement against corporate domination, economic austerity, and perpetual war. Nevertheless, a creative, united, and collectively conscious people will ultimately triumph in this protracted struggle. It is time for complete systemic change and nothing short of it.

Our obligation is to Mother Earth and future generations. In the words of Frantz Fanon: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” There is much work to be done.

Onward, then, my sisters and brothers! Onward!

Intrepid Report Associate Editor Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil / political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, the San Francisco BayView newspaper, the Black Commentator, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.)

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