“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.”—Frantz Fanon
Serious political activism, like history itself, is both ongoing and dialectical in breadth, depth, and scope. It cannot be worn and then conveniently removed like a pair of gloves. Whether it is acknowledged or not, every generation of serious political activists are intrinsically connected because serious political activism spans the generations—both past and present. This reality is both the joy and the hardship of being a committed and serious political activist.
We have been programmed, especially in the United States, to believe that history is somehow a separate set of events which essentially exist on their own. The reality however, is that the often hidden and obscure intricacies of history are directly related to one another and have a direct bearing on the present—whatever that present might be.
We have been systemically programmed to disconnect ourselves from ourselves, each other, and Mother Earth herself. Thus, for example, physical objects and the accumulation of wealth and power are deemed to be of much more importance than humanity itself. And it is in this vein that the essence of our humanity is pillaged and lost. In so doing, we lose sight on the interconnectedness of the past and the present. We lose sight of our intrinsic human value and the need to push ourselves to consciously evolve individually and collectively. We become akin to unthinking, unreasoning, aimless clay putty—being shaped into various forms and figures by those whose fundamental purpose in life is the accumulation of wealth and/or power.
The serious political activist understands that she or he is a part of an ongoing, often strenuous conscious process of evolving and struggle. Thus, the serious political activist never retires from the conscious quest of evolving and struggle. To the contrary, she or he consciously seeks to find creative ways to carry on in the process of evolving and struggle.
In a sense, the relatively tiny and avaricious national and global elite (irrespective of their color or gender) whose fundamental purpose in life is the accumulation of wealth and/or power, are already quite dead. However, the over-arching and enormous danger is that this elite has no compunction whatsoever about spiritually, mentally, and/or very literally killing the majority of humankind even as they pillage and destroy our precious earth. This is the ever-present supreme danger that the serious political activist recognizes for what it actually is. And this is precisely why we can never cease being vigilant and committed political activists—spanning each and every generation.
While it is certainly correct that each numerically-counted generation must, in the words of Frantz Fanon, “discover its mission” and “fulfill, or betray it;” none of us—irrespective to what “generation” we might consider ourselves to be a part of—can afford to give up, give in, or betray our quests as lifelong serious and committed political activists. We know that our “mission” is to collectively save ourselves, each other, and this planet; and this mission cannot and does not abide giving up. This mission continues of necessity—just as it has over the generations.
We are now living in a time when humankind possesses the insane military capability of annihilating itself, along with Mother Earth herself. Greed and the insatiable accumulation of wealth and power on the part of a tiny elite, at the expense of the majority of humanity, represent the actual reasons for the massive inequities, unending economic, political, judicial, and social violence at home, and the perpetual U. S. wars abroad.
Our quest, as serious political activists, is indeed an urgent and lifelong one. The corporate/military elite will not go away of its own accord. Only the determined and protracted collective actions by conscious everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people will get these bloodsuckers off our backs, and relegate them to the dustbin of historical infamy where they belong.
Be we young or old, female or male, let us fulfill our mission and carry on in this quest. Educate, agitate, organize.
Remember: Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. 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.)