Jean Russeau wrote in Social Contract, “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.” To free himself, Russeau suggests that man must gain security and a measure of freedom from action, in exchange for surrender of rights and property to the general will. This is not the language of compliance or cowardice but of rebellion. This means, if you want me to pay my tax as my obligation, you must meet my rights as your obligation. As a leader, you are nothing if you cannot deliver. Your right to spend my tax corresponds with your duty to fulfill your duties.
It is no exaggeration to assert that Africa, politically, socially and economically is in the 14th century. Many African countries are sitting on the vast resources which are abused by a cabal of people in power. While this is happening, the big population is dying in abject destitution.
When philosophers Thomas Donaldson and Thomas W. Dunfee coined a phrase, “Intergrated Social Contract Theory” (ISCT), they stated categorically that every right an individual enjoys also has corresponding duty. In business they call this sharing risk and reward. The upshot of this is: whenever there is a risk, change, calamity or needs, the corporate as a big entity benefitting more from the business must help employees- who also benefit from the business but at a less magnitude comparably- in this period of transition.
Running a country is like running a corporation. This is the rationale we are going to use in this argument. The difference though is that when somebody is employed by the corporation, does so because for having some qualities or qualifications the corporation needs to use to make profit and sustain it. When it comes to be a citizen in the corporate known as a state, the citizen qualifies by the right of birth or application for those who apply for citizenship of other countries.
When it comes to men and women manning Africa, they enjoy rights of spending poor taxpayers’ money as they deem fit without the corresponding duty of delivering service. The corporate-government is duty bound to deliver so as to enjoy the right of being a government. Failure to do this, the said government is in power illegally. Hither is whether the situation in African countries worsens more than even under colonialism in 1960s. If anything, African needs a jumping-off point from the 14th century style of management next to Caesars’, to the 21st century of responsible presidents or managers of the corporation known as state. It is high time for Africa to have responsible and accountable leadership championed by our academics.
We need advocates of new social contract who can decisively interpret and champion ISCT. This is possible only and only when our academics will stand and take on dirty regimes instead of joining them to plunder the hoi polloi as it currently is in many countries. It is no longer shocking to see African ignorant rulers using academics in their governments to destroy their country, as it once happened in the Gambia where President Yahya Jammeh used the minister of health, who is a doctor professionally, to claim he had discovered cure for HIV/AIDS. Under new social contract this wouldn’t be possible given that president would be accountable and responsible for whatever he does or says. But under current king-like presidency, Jammeh was able to get away with it. Is this the way academics are supposed to use their knowledge?
“Unless we learn to live together as brothers (and sisters), we will die together like fools.” Desmond Tutu quoting Martin Luther King Jr in No Future without Forgiveness. Indeed, our rulers are prone and proud of being referred to as Excellencies, loved ones and other fake homilies. Actually, they are the opposite of this and they know this too well so as to surround themselves with guards and terror. They live in the heaven amidst the hell of miseries of their people. Who is wrong hither between them and the citizens who are in bed with such abnoxious and notorious vices?
Gandhi once remarked, “How can men feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow-beings?” In the same book by Louis Fischer: Gandhi: His Life and the Message to the World, seems to have the answer. He wrote, “Some men loom larger by lifting up others and some by kicking and humiliating others.” If anything, this is the real situation between Africa and developed world. How can for instance, DRC produce tonnes and tonnes of mineral and Nigeria oil alongside with tonnes and tonnes of poor people? West countries, despite having fewer resources, were able to attain their development, among others, thanks to signing and ratifying a new social contract that empowers people and their governments. It’s through accountability of everybody that made western countries be ahead of us for everything.
Africa cannot forge ahead with the current mediocrity whereby academcs are used abusedly without even resisting. Instead of being in bed with irresponsible rulers for the sake of personal gains, our academics should enlight the hoi polloi so that they can take on their irresponsible rulers. This must be the war between hoity toity and hoi polloi spearheaded by academics. It does not make sense to see our rulers abuse our tax and donor monies while academics scrumble to join politics so as to share the loot. Is there any rationale of dining and wining rulers using taxpayer’s money while they don’t deliver any service to them? How can they spend our hardearned taxes on travelling abroad and recruiting private armies while we are dying wantonly? This is the question our academics need to ask and give the answer, instead of being in bed with those who arrest the future of our continent and her innocent people.
For African to move forward there shall be the force to sign a new social contract that holds our ruler accountable and responsible for whatever they say and do. We can draw a lesson from academics such as Martin Luther, Conrad Grebel, Bathsar Hubmaier, Thomas Muetzer, Ulrich Zwingli and others who gave the Roman Church hard time so as to change the world despite being young guys. We need to start asking our rulers: what have they done for us as agreed in elections or constitutions. What have they done so as to deserve staying in power they wantonly abuse? We need to start enjoying the fruits of our freedom that turned out to be enjoyed by rulers and their henchmen. Academics must pull Africa from the 14th Century to 21st Century by advocvating the signing of a new social contract making our rulers accountable.
Very informative and interesting article at The Silver People Chronicle.
Op-ed submission by Project 21
At a recent press conference sponsored by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Walter Fauntroy blasted Glenn Beck’s August 28 “Restoring Honor” rally by saying that when one refers to the Ku Klux Klan and the tea party movement, “you have to use [the terms] interchangeably.”
He continued, “conservatives of this country have declared war on that civil rights movement of the ’60s that brought together a coalition of conscience of people of every race, creed and color for a march on jobs and freedom.”
First of all, Fauntroy should acquaint himself with factual history. A former Democratic congressional delegate from the District of Columbia, he should remember that members of his political party founded the Ku Klux Klan. Secondly, as long as he and liberal Democrats are offended that Beck would have his rally on the same date and venue as Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington, they should explore another piece of factual history.
The Ku Klux Klan was founded on Dec. 24, 1865. Shouldn’t Fauntroy, as a minister, be offended that the party he belongs to founded a terrorist hate group whose expressed purpose was to terrorize, intimidate and murder Jews, blacks, Catholics and others on the sacred eve of Christ’s birth? As a minister, which should be more offensive — Beck’s rally or that tidbit of fact?
But it’s not really about the date and venue at all. Fauntroy’s vitriol — along with the same from others — is the apoplectic, knee-jerk hysteria intended to foment discord where none exists and none was intended. I find it indefensible that his malevolent and divisive diatribes are presented by the media without contradiction or an addressing of the facts.
Specific to that point, I say it’s time for the likes of Fauntroy, Marc Morial of the National Urban League and Al Sharpton to defend their rhetoric. Over the years, I have quietly offered to debate these types. Now, I throw down the gauntlet and publicly challenge them. I will personally secure a venue to debate any one, or all of them together, pursuant to the legitimacy of their comments. After all, perhaps they have been misquoted or taken out of context. Perhaps they intended to say something else.
If not, I challenge these men to defend their remarks and publicly explain how the tea party compares to a segregationist terror group started by Democrats. I challenge Marc Morial to openly explain, in a debate format, why the Beck rally was “insulting” and a “hijacking the imagery and symbolism” of August 28 and the Lincoln Memorial.
The tea party is a joining together of persons from all political parties. It epitomizes the very thing Fauntroy readily acknowledged that the 1963 march did — it brings together people of conscience of the every race, creed and color to march for jobs and the restoration of constitutional freedoms.
It is time the civil rights establishment were called to not only explain, but stand under the microscope of public debate and demonstrate how their Erebusic rhetoric binds together the fabric of the American community.
I call upon the media to assist me in my effort. The media are quick to parrot every word these so-called civil rights leaders say that is antagonistic and divisive. In the interest of fair reporting, let them be equally quick to insist that they accept my challenge.
Let Fauntroy also explain, under the scrutiny of debate, how he can be so quick to condemn people for joining together to bring our country back to its roots while supporting those responsible for the murder of more than one-third of the present black population through abortion. Let him explain how he calls himself a minister, a reputed man of God, and can encourage people to commit murder.
Religious beliefs may allow one to focus on being a community rabble-rouser — an organizer. But, as a minister, the Word of God calls one to focus on soul-winning — spreading the Word of God and making disciples of those who will follow after Christ.
Fauntroy, Morial and Sharpton are brave attackers in the comfort of their minions, but my challenge is now on the table to see if they have the collective backbone to face me in a debate.
It’s easy to throw stones from behind a fence, but let them step up and defend themselves publicly.
After all, it’s just little ol’ me. They can’t be afraid to face me in a debate. Fauntroy and Sharpton are former presidential candidates, and Morial is certainly accustomed to making accusations from the secure confines of the National Urban League. Here is their chance to defend their convictions — in a public forum — against a lowly essayist such as myself.
C’mon, boys. Are you going to step up, or are you cowards — talking loud and saying nothing for the sake of fomenting discord?
Mychal Massie is the chairman of the black leadership network Project 21.
There is an excellent and informative documentary series on Aljazeera English entitled: Africa: States of Independence. It looks at African countries that are celebrating 50 years of independence from European colonial rule and what factors have led to the progress… or the lack of progress… which have been achieved during this time. This documentary is in six parts and it appears that it will be available via Aljazeera English’s website (click on the link above).
I recently subscribed to the channel and the programming and documentaries are fantastic. They have opened up a new world of information to me. I now get most of my news, particular international news (which includes USA) from there. Also check out the other programs for indepth analysis, as well as more global perspectives on a variety of subjects that will never make it to your CNN, FOXNews, MSNBC, or even PBS and BBC.
I don’t know about you, but the incessant US media yakking about Obama, American politricks, as well as it’s fascination with Glenn Beck and the latest celebrity infidelity, is neither informative, enlightening nor interesting.
On commenting on the post, “The Selling of Jesus” by thefreeslave, my response got so long winded, as I am known to do, that it became a post in itself.
Lubangakene, you made some valid points in your post and asked some stimulating questions. These questions, which have been asked throughout the ages, I have struggled with myself. I don’t claim to have any of the answers, however I’ll humbly provide my perspective for whatever it’s worth.
I just finished reading “The Forging of the Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000″ by Colin Kidd. I am now reading “God’s War: A New History of the Crusades” by Christopher Tyerman. Both books discuss historical aspects of westernized Christianity, the Bible, as well as the “Selling of Jesus”, and how it was all politicized by Europeans for imperial expansion at the expense of “peoples of color”. I have also read “Yurugu” by Marimba Ani. She provides certain truthful perspectives on various European ideologies, including as you state, Christianity. I have also read “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, who contends that a belief in God or any supernatural being for that matter is irrational and details some of the negative effects of religion throughout history. I found all of these books very informative as well as enlightening. I found them even more influential in strengthening my faith and belief that all religious ideology, in this case European Christian ideology, and having a personal relationship with God, are indeed two different things.
However, I don’t base my intellectual or spiritual beliefs solely on European or “westernized” intellectualism. The world is a very diverse place and it’s western arrogance, among both whites and blacks, why they tend to only perceive aspects of life through this prism of western intellectualism. And what do prisms do? They distort light. Intellectual prisms in the same way distorts truth. That is the weakness in Furqan’s statement, as interesting and enlightening as it may appear. The westernized form of Christianity and it’s history that he riles against, is only one perspective among many. It’s not the be all and end all to judge religion or Christianity by. Regardless, if this is indeed what they are selling, then we need to ask ourselves: are we just buying what they are offering or rejecting it thinking that’s all there is? Or are we being conscientious consumers and putting in the work to research what other perspectives are out there, so that we make well informed choices? This takes time and effort and how many of us are willing to make that commitment, sacrifice or responsibility to educate ourselves?
That is why it is so important to not only read, but to read a wide variety of perspectives on any issue. When it comes to religious ideology, I have read the Bible and Quran, as well as many other books which discussed the historical, political, economic and social aspects of a variety of religions. Some of which I mentioned above, but I have also read materials such as “A Black Theology of Liberation” by James Cone and “A Life of Jesus” by Shusaku Endo, who provides a Japanese perspective on Christianity. I am now searching for a book on Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. A long time ago I came to realize that westernized perspectives of Christianity, the Bible and Jesus aren’t the only or even the dominant perspective out in the wider world. Those who think this is the case are limited by their frame of reference, which is based on seeing the world through the prism of western intellectualism.
Not only is it important to read a variety of ideas, it is even more important travel to different places and converse with local people… and not as a tourist on a resort which caters to western sensibilities. One of the life changing trips I went on was my pilgrimage to West Africa. In the places I went and the people I spoke with, there was one thing that was very evident: Africans are spiritual people. I met Muslims, Christians and those who practiced traditional religions. I came away with two profound realizations. One, the westernized ideology and practice of Christianity wasn’t dominant in these cultures. In fact, a lot of traditional beliefs and practices were intertwined in their Christian (as well as Muslim) beliefs and practices. Two, those of African descent who have lost their spirituality or have discarded it in the name of intellectual supremacy (i.e., western based intellectualism), are incomplete… they are lacking a vital aspect of their essence.
“No, the brain is turned off a bit too much with this religion stuff for my liking.”
Lubankagene, I find it ironic that you make this statement while you use as your wordpress gravtar the image of Malcolm X , a religious zealot who practiced a religion that colonized and enslaved Africans well before the Europeans or Christianity. Although we like to glorify the political and social commentary of Malcolm, we tend to conveniently forget (or dismiss), that first and foremost, Malcolm’s message was a religious one. When he was a spokesman for the Nation of Islam, his message was that the way to salvation and freedom for African-Americans was in following the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. When he left the Nation and returned from his pilgrimage to Mecca, he preached that the way to salvation for all was in submitting oneself to Allah and accepting that Mohammed was his prophet. Would you therefore say that all this “religious stuff” Malcolm believed in turned his brain off, or would you argue that it enhanced his political awareness and intellect? What about Martin Luther King? What you also argue that Anna Renee’s, brotherpeacemaker’s, as well as my brain, are turned off because of the “religious stuff” we believe? If the answers are “no”, then I would argue that it’s a choice. Some people choose to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to turn off their brains (intellect), while others use their intellectual beliefs as as excuse to reject their spiritual nature.
Many years ago a friend gave me an audio cassette of a lecture by Dr. Edwin Nichols, a Black clinical psychologist, called “White Supremacy-A Paradigm”. It was based on a lecture he gave entitled: “Philosophical Aspects of Cultural Difference”. One of the points Dr. Nichols made was that European (western) intellectualism divided the mind, heart and soul into separate entities. He mused that was why white people would say things like: “tell me what you think, not what you feel”. For them, they process the world primarily through their intellect, therefore emotions and faith are considered inferior entities and any beliefs or cultures which operated within these realms were also inferior. Rationality and logic is the foundation from which they interact and interdict with each other, as well as with other cultures.
Dr. Nichols states that by contrast, within African culture, as well as most other cultures worldwide, the belief in this type of separation is non-existent. Historically, African cultures were the first to create science, art and religion with no contradictions. Their spirituality and religious beliefs didn’t turn off their brains. In fact it augmented it. Therefore I would argue that those of African descent, who have internalized western intellectual ideology and view the world primarily through it’s prism, also believe in this separation, that the intellect is superior and that if you live by faith, then you have turned off your brains, so to speak.
“No, I struggle reading here the repeated references on this blog to folks needing to “turn to GAWD, turn to Jesus.”
I don’t know if you were following the discussion on the post “Is Satan Speaking and Are you Listening?” by our sister Anna Renee. A commenter, The Precision Afrikan, also struggled with the recent religious content on this blog. I want to highlight a couple parts of my response to him:
This is a space where all views… political, social, secular, as well as religious, are welcomed to be shared, discussed, debated, but most importantly: respected. This is the reason why for example, thefreeslave and I, who have different political and religious beliefs can come and work together here, as well as be good friends. If we had your attitude, this forum would never have been created and we would consider each other enemies.
But you hit the real issue when you state that you became “accustomed to this blog as a primarily secular space to discuss Pan-African political issues from the perspective of reality and the material world, using critical thinking.” I observed the same thing as you and felt the need to expand our topics for discussions and therefore made a conscious effort to include more religious and spiritual perspectives, for we are also a religious and spiritual people, as well as politically and socially conscious. There is no reason why can’t discuss religious and spiritual issues here, even within the framework of what you term: “critical thinking”.
Therefore I say it’s good that you struggle. I struggle most times with the material which is posted here also… some of which I authour! However, read our Mission Statement once again. This forum has always been about sharing, discussing and debating ideas and beliefs. If every time someone comes here, they leave agreeing with everything that was said, then did any of us really learn anything? Our beliefs and perspectives should be challenged in some way, at some time. However, I have also come to realize that there is some risk when you take this position. I read a report recently based on a study which concluded that although the internet theoretically makes it possible to be able to access a variety of informational sources and points of views, most people will frequent sites that reaffirms their beliefs and worldview. Most people are not too open to consider varying beliefs and/or perspectives and are in fact very narrow-minded in their scope of the world.
One of the things I have learnt over the three years that I’ve been involved in blogging, is that it’s easier to claim to be down with exchanging and discussing ideas than it is to actually be committed to doing it! I have had emails from those who consider themselves to be intellectuals and are quick to testify that they are on a journey of enlightenment and self-empowerment, whether political, social and/or religious, who state that they will no longer visit this blog because we allow different points of view to be discussed here! One was upset that I posted articles from members of the black conservative network Project 21.
The question for me becomes, regardless of my personal beliefs, do we refuse to allow others to express their point of view here because we might not agree with their political, social or religious beliefs? Do we take the “us vs. them” position of western intellectualism… that if you don’t believe as I do, then “you’re not for us, you’re against us!” Or do we take a more holistic… and dare I say… “spiritual” approach and acknowledge that as black people, we are not homogeneous in our beliefs and that by listening, discussing and even challenging these beliefs in a respectful manner, we will ultimately become a more empowered and enlightened people. I know… I’m being naive.
“The conflagration that kills first is the one that scorches the gray matter.”
Lubankagene, allow me to build upon your above statement and add a quote from Hamlet:
“There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Walk good Lubankagene. I wish you heaven… whatever that may be for you.