Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Afrocentricity and Islam II

It is unfortunate that some people, in response to the previous post on the subject have attempted to claim basically that I have low reading comprehension. They would have you believe that when I directly quoted Diop's work, that I had mistook his position on Islam in Africa for someone elses. They unfortunately do not apparently understand the various meanings of the word "foreign" as applied to this discussion. The word foreign has two meanings applicable to this discussion:

1) Coming or introduced from the outside.


2) Strange and Unfamiliar.

These definitions are from the Oxford American Dictionary.

In this discussion of Islam and Africa we are using the word foreign in the above ways. The historical record shows that Islam is foreign to Africa as found in definition 1. That is, it came from Arabia. Our quotation from Walter Rodney shows that Islam was, historically "strange and unfamiliar" as foreign is also defined. That Islam is not now "strange and unfamiliar" to Africa or Africans does not mean that it is not "coming or introduced from the outside." Anyone failing to understand this is simply lacking in comprehension of history and language. I don't mean to insult, but it is true. You simply cannot state that because Africa is now familiar with Islam or Christianity, that they are not foreign in the first sense. This is the critical mistake that some Muslims make as they claim that Islam was known and a part of Africa for over 1,000 years that therefore it is not foreign to Africa. No it is not foreign in the second sense but it still is foreign in the first. Similarly 1,000 years from now Christianity will be familiar and known to Africans and it will still be foreign to Africa in the second sense.

However; let me return to Diop. Since some people think I lack reading comprehension, let me expand my quotes from the book "Pre-colonial Black Africa" which was the source cited from the author of Islam and the African people. Let me first return to the centralized statement:

African Religions, more or less forgotten, were in the process of atrophying and being emptied of their spiritual content, their former deep metaphysics, The jumble of empty forms they had left behind could not compete with Islam on the moral or rational level.

Let's assume here for a minute that I was wrong to say that Diop was reflecting the ideas of Dan Fodio. No problem. Let's analyse the statement itself. This statement is in reference to Islam in the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries. Let's move back in the text and note that Diop places the beginnings of Islam in Western Africa in the 11th century. Thus the time between the statement and the introduction of Islam into West Africa represents 500 years. What was going on with the traditional African religions that Diop is supposedly discussing bad mouthing? Moving forward to pg. 171 of the same chapter we find the following:

Islam, in contrast to (present day) Christianity, takes no account of the traditional past...the equivalents of the Western pagan past must be hushed up, renounced, permanently forgotten...Reasons such as these explain why today the Blacks of Khartoum have a sense of shame at acknowledging their relationship to the ancient past of Meroe...All this is of no interest because it is tainted with a pagan tradition no good Muslim would think of recalling. How could they, in all decency, hark back to these people who knew nothing of the Koran, and who did not pray as we now do. to a time before religious wisdom?

One might term as "Sherifism" the irresistible impulse on the part of most Muslim chiefs of Black Africa to link themselves, by whatever acrobatics, to the family tree of Mahomet...This tendency spread throughout Africa after the introduction of Islam in the eighth century. All the royal families, without distinction, after Islamization invented sherifian origins for themselves, often retroactively adjusting local history...Such legends have proliferated in Black Africa since Islam came in and have contributed to altering the authentic history of the continent.

Consciousness of the continuity of the people's historical past has been progressively weakened by religious influences. Even within our own families, we know that our parents prefer to forget systematically and keep their children unaware of a certain "pagan" past, which it has become indiscreet to mention.

Lastly Diop writes on Page 173 of said title:

However that may be, Mohammedan Black Africa in the Middle Ages was no less original than Christian Europe at the close of antiquity. Both continents were invaded in the same way by alien monotheistic religions which ended up being at the foundation of the entire sociopolitical organization, ruling philosophy of thought, and carrying forward intellectual and moral values during this whole period.

So let us now, without reservation, be clear: Diop recognized that Islam was foreign to Africa, as in coming or introduced from the outside. Anyone who claims that Diop does not say so, is a liar and/or has not read his work in it's entirety. Furthermore, let us also be clear that Diop clearly outlined how Islam came into Africa (both peaceful and non-peaceful) and in no way was of the opinion that the "Great" African religions (Ifa, Asante, Vodun, Kongo) were in any way, shape or form less than Islam. Anyone making that claim is either ignorant or willfully lying.

Let me also touch upon a subject I decided against discussing in the previous post. The author of Islam and the African People, attempted to slander the Yoruba and their religion with his out of context quote of Diop. Let me now direct the reader to Diops words specifically about the Yoruba:

Alongside Islamized Sudan, in the region of Benin, another, strictly traditional center of civilization shone with incomparable brilliance: one can say, without exaggeration, that the "realistic" art of Ife and the Benin, with it's harmonious proportions, its balance, its serenity that makes one think of certain Greek works of the sixth century, represents African sculptural "classicism.' The Yoruba had been civilized just as well as the Islamized Africans: entire studies should be devoted to that civilization.

So it should be abundantly clear to those with eyes to read and the intellectual honesty that the charges leveled at Afrocentricity and of Pan-Africanist as being anti-Islam was a matter of unfounded bias, is complete crap. There may be people out in the black world who are ignorant and speak on subjects they have no knowledge of, but that is not Afrocentricity. That is not scholarship and that is definitely NOT Garvey's Ghost.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Afrocentricity and Islam

...and we smash this one quickly.
-Kwame Toure

One Abubakr Ben Ishmael Salahuddin wrote a piece back in 1997 entitled Islam and the African People in which he charges that Afrocentric scholars are biased against Islam. He writes:

But, aside from Asians and Europeans, there is a group who themselves are also interested in the identity of Africa and the African peoples of the world: Africans themselves and the descendants of African peoples scattered around the world. Amongst them are some who deem themselves 'Afrocentrists'. Afrocentrists generally believe in various forms of racial nationalism, ranging from cultural to political. But a very unfortunate attitude has developed amongst some Afrocentric scholars: an apparent undying hatred for Islam, fueled by the misguided belief that the religion of Islam 'enslaved' African people.

Before continuing, it must be stated (and I will hope to demonstrate this in this article) that most Afrocentric scholars traditionally respect and appreciate Islam for its positive impact on the African people. But a small handful of Afrocentric scholars (such as Molefe Asante, William Chancellor, and Dr. Tosef Ben Joachannan(sic)) have bitterly maligned the religion of Islam and labeled it as something 'outside' of the African experience. And what is strange is that despite their small number, their works are somehow receiving more circulation than the majority of Afrocentric scholars who understand the importance of Islam amongst the African family of peoples.

One hesitates to criticise any of the African peoples, scholar or otherwise, because of the tremendous afflictions meted out to the African people over the centuries. But Islam is a religion of truth. And, oppressed or not, these handful of scholars must be taken to task for their distortions. For the future of Africa and the African peoples -- and indeed, the future of all countries -- should and must depend on truth.

To support his thesis he uses the following examples:

1)Additionally, in view of what some Afrocentric scholars claim that African peoples should 'return' to 'their own indigenous African religions', such as Yoruba, it is interesting to note what Cheikh Anta Diop had to say about this:

African religions, more or less forgotten, were in the process of atrophying [dying] and being emptied of their spiritual content, their former deep metaphysics. The jumble of empty forms they had left behind could not compete with Islam on the moral or rational level. And it was on that latter level of rationality that the victory of Islam was most striking. That was the fourth cause of its success. (Ibid, page 166)

Now this would be interesting and perhaps very damaging if the author had been quoted in context. If we read the text from Pre-Colonial Black Africa we find this:

That is what led Dan Fodio to critisize severely all those who, though calling themselves Muslims, continue such practices as libations, offerings, divination, the Kabbala, etc., and even write verses from the Koran in the blood of sacrificial animals. Dan Fodio's text, although rather recent (nineteenth century) reflects a tendency already imperative in the days of the Askias (fifteenth-seventeenth centuries). African religions, more or less forgotten, were in the process of atrophying and being emptied of their spiritual content, their former deep metaphysics. The jumble of empty forms they had left behind could not compete with Islam on the moral or rational level. And it was on that latter level of rationality that the victory of Islam was most striking. That was the fourth cause of its success.

The imperative need for rationality reflected in the writings of Dan Fodio was henceforth better satisfied by Islam than by the dying traditional faiths.

So we see here that Dr. Diop is actually reflecting on the ideas of Dan Fodio. What does Diop think about Islam's affect on Islamicised Africa? From the same text:

Nevertheless, it must be noted that, in the domain of artistic creativity, the Islamized African underwent, for a long time, a throttling, a kind of cultural impoverishment.

The author continues with Diop writing:

He went on to explain precisely why Africans fell in love with the religion of Islam:

The Arabs in these areas, who became great religious leaders, arrived as everywhere else individually and settled in peacefully, they owe their influence and latter acceptance to spiritual and religious virtues. (Ibid, page 102)

Unfortunately the author's own source again contradicts is own point. Writes Diop:

Askia Mohammed was only the lieutenant of Sonni Ali, whos faithh was very lukewarm; his son Baro, who replaced him, refused to embrace Islam. Mohammed became a dissident and insistently urged Baro to convert. Following negotiations which lasted fifty-two days, and were conducted in large part by the scholar Salih Diawara, already allied with the future Askia, the two went to battle. Baro stood firm: there was no question of his embracing Islam

So much for "peaceful." But let us continue with Diop, since the author presumably read the book he quotes, he undoubtedly read the entire chapter Ideological Superstructure: Islam in Black Africa The he read the following:

Only during the Almoravide movement of the first half of the eleventh century did some white people, Berbers, attempt to impose Islam on Black Africa by force of arms...
According to Ibn Khaldun, when the number of disciples had reached one thousand, Yassin said to them:
A thousand men cannot easily be beaten; therefore must we now work at remaining steadfast in holding to the truth and forcing, if need be, everyone to recognize it. Let us leave this place and fulfill the task imposed upon us.

The Almoravides besieged Aoudaghast and Ghana. This is the only time that white troops attempted to impose Islam through violence...

The second period of Islamization was marked by the conversion of the people, whether through automatic imitation of their chiefs, or through some violent ation of these chiefs, sometimes going beyond their borders and becoming veritable holy wars: All such holy wars were conducted by Black chiefs. The King of the town of Silla, in the eleventh century was already waging holy war against the inhabitants of Kalenfu, as had Askia Mohammed against the Mossi emperor Nasere...

The last (not in order) argument of the author is:

During the period of our study, from the third to the seventeenth centuries, not one conquest was ever launched by way of the Nile...Nor was there ever an Arab conquest of Mozambique or any other East African country. (Ibid, page 101)

Why is that? Chancellor Williams (apparently on the authors $*it list) discusses that at great length in chapter 5 of his book, The Destruction of Black Civilization. In summary, Arabs were unable to get to those areas in Africa because of black resistance to the warfare being conducted against them. It is entirely possible that had the Muslims at that time not wasted talent and energy trying to expand the Umma, That area of the world would have been better able to resist the onslaught of the West. BUt that is a different subject for another time.

So let us dismiss the authors argument as wholly false, that Islam was propagated in Africa by soley peaceful means. Let us also agree that the author has taken Dr. Diops work completely out of context.

The Author moves onto Edward Wilmost Blyden:

A man who, in some respects, looms larger than Cheikh Anta Diop in the world of Afrocentricity is Edward Wilmot Blyden. He lived in the 19th century and is called 'The Father of Afrocentrism' by Afrocentric scholars. Listen to what he said:

Mohammedanism [Islam] found its Negro converts at home in a state of freedom and independence of the teachers who brought it to them. When it was offered to them they were at liberty to choose for themselves. The Arab missionaries, whom we have met in the interior, go about without 'purse or script', and disseminate their religion by quietly teaching the Qur'an. The native missionaries -- Mandingoes and Foulahs -- unite with the propagation of their faith active trading. Wherever they go, they produce the impression that they are not preachers only, but traders... And in this way, silently and unobtrusively, they are causing princes to become obedient disciples and zealous propagators of Islam. These converts, as a general thing, become Muslims from choice and conviction... (Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race, by Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden)

'These converts, as a general thing, become Muslims from choice and conviction...' - Does that sound like Islam was forced down the throats of Africans? To the contrary, they were impressed by the practical examples of Islam and its moral code of conduct that stood before them. Blyden's words are very important because he was on the continent of Africa before the Europeans colonised Africa. He witnessed the spread of Islam in Africa in the 1800's. It is also worthy of note to see how Blyden contrasts Christianity and Islam:

Christianity, on the other hand, came to the Negro as a slave, or at least as a subject race in a foreign land. Along with the Christian teaching, he and his children received lessons of their utter and permanent inferiority and sub-ordination to their instructors, to whom they stood in the relations of chattels...owing to the physical, mental and social pressure under which the Africans received these influences of Christianity, their development was necessarily partial and one-sided, cramped and abnormal. (Ibid, pages 12-13)

I don't have Blydens work so I can't check it. However, given that the previous work sited by the author was taken out of context, I would not be surprised if Blyden was too taken out of context. Even if he wasn't, the work of Diop as quoted above simply contradicts Blyden's commentary. One of the issues with some scholars is that they are so focused n Europe that they romanticize about other peoples oppressed by Europeans. The other problem with the Blyden quote is that it is outside of the historical context that Diop provides. To go to say Mouritania now, which is a wholly Muslim country, one would not expect to se Jihads since those opposed to Islam have long since been either killed or have left of their own volition. Thus Blyden's commentary does not negate the writings of Diop. In many ways the comment is irrelevant to the real topic at hand.

The writer then moves on to WEB DuBois:

W.E.B. Dubois is one of the most important African-Americans in their history and in American history in general. His name is also known over the entire world as one of the greatest men of our age, and he was an influence to many men and woman of all races and countries all over the globe. His works are studied to this day in America and in the schools of Europe. Let us see what he has to say about Islam:

In this whole story of the so-called 'Arab slave trade' the truth has been strangely twisted. (The World and Africa, page 68)

Dubois further says,

Gao, Timbuktu, and Jenne were intellectual centers, and at the University of Sankore gathered thousands of students of law, literature, grammar, geography and surgery...From this Africa a new cultural impulse entered Europe and became the Renaissance. (Ibid, pp. 211 & 223).

Contrast the above praise of the religion of Islam with his observations on Church-Christianity:

Modern slavery was created by Christians, it was continued by Christians, it was in some respects more barbarous than anything the world had yet seen, and its worst features were to be witnessed in countries that were most ostentatious in their parade of Christianity. (Ibid, page 44)

Not much here. Let us look at The World and Africa On the first quote we find that DuBois' complete statement on the matter is not quite what is presented:

In Africa anew and supplementary means of control, developed by means of the Arab trade in ivory, led to exploration and eventual annexation under the pretense of attacking slavery. In this whole story of the so-called "Arab slave trade" the truth has been strangely twisted. Arab slave raiding was in the beginning, and largely to the end, a secondary result of the British and American slavery and slave trade and specifically was based on American demand for ivory. The Arabs had by the nineteenth century driven back the Portugese opposite Zanzibar and had developed two profitable products of trade: ivory and slaves.

So although the author want's to make it seem as if DuBois was saying that somehow slavery was either non-existant in the Islamic world or something else. I'm not sure, but it is clear from the writing that Arabs and Muslims were in fact involved with slave trading which, really is no different from any other group in Africa that shamefully, took part. Of course the author and others would like to fall back and make the claim that Muslim slavery was different from European (Christian) slavery. This is true but then that's really a lame excuse. What does DuBois say about conversion? Along with notes about voluntary conversions he writes:

Sidjilmessa, the last town in Lower Morocco toward the desert, was founded in 757 by a Negro who ruled over Berber inhabitants. Indeed, many towns in the Sudan and the desert were thus ruled and felt no incoongruity in this arrangement. They say, to be sure, that the Moores destroyed Howdaghost because it paid tribute to the black town of Ghana, but this was because the town was heathen and not because it was black.

So it is clear that even as DuBois had correctly noted the bararity of the European in Africa, he also was well aware of the affects, both negative and positive, of Islam in Africa. Furthermore he provides the author no basis for a claim that DuBois was contrary to the ideology of Afrocentrism.

The author continues quoting J.A. Rogers:
J. A. Rogers
J. A. Rogers was one of the most prolific authors in African-American history. He wrote volumes upon volumes of books on African-American life and African-American history, his most well-known being Sex and Race, in which he demonstrated that many of the so-called 'pure white' kings, princes, and queens of Europe were of mixed racial origin. His books are sold to this very day all over America. Listen to what this great Afrocentric scholar said about Islam:

In short, the Negro was discriminated against in no phase of Mohammedan life oil the ground of color alone. Islam was the greatest and freest of all great melting pots. (Sex and Race, p. 108)

If Islam had been so harmful to African people, would not this incredibly gifted and prolific scholar have revealed this to the African peoples of the world? He was a man of world-class scholarship who was a genius of world history and the history of the African diaspora.

I do not have the text in question so I'll critique the statement as it stands: Clearly, as the evidence that I've given above, whether Islam or Muslims discriminate by color is really moot. What Muslims have been shown to do, vis-a-vis Africa, is discriminate on the basis of belief. So we substitute one type of discrimination for another and then say "see we are better than the Christian!" Again, this is one of the major pitfalls of those who's adherence or conversion to non-Christian religions fall into. They are so focused on the sins of the European that they willfully neglect the due diligence and research into the issues of the religions to which they convert to.

The author continues with Dr. Walter Rodney:
As in other parts of the world, literacy in Africa was connected with religion, so that in Islamic countries it was a Koranic education...Moslem education was particularly extensive at the primary level, and it was also available at the secondary and university levels. In Egypt there was the Al-Azhar University, in Morocco the university of Fez, and in Mall the University of Timbuktu -- all testimony to the standard of education achieved in Africa before the colonial intrusion. (How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, page 240)

This Afrocentric Marxist scholar and hard-nosed Pan-Africanist, in the above reference, praises the high level of university education made available by Muslims to the African people before the Christian colonisation of Africa. If Islam had been so detrimental to African people, would this great Pan-Africanist Marxist social, political, and economic analyst have praised Islam for its role in uplifting the African peoples?

Contrast the above praise of Islam with Rodney's appraisal of the role of Christianity amongst African people:

Christianity tried sporadically and ambivalently to make an impact on some parts of the continent. But most of the few missionaries in places like the Congo, Angola, and Upper Guinea concentrated on blessing Africans as they were about the be launched across the Atlantic into slavery...Elsewhere, there flourished Islam and other religions which had nothing to do with European trade. (Ibid, p. 114)

Again, we should note that the author is dependent upon the existance of Fez, Timbuktu and other centers of learning as proof that Islam had no ill effects in Africa. This is a bogus argument since anyone could say that European technology and medicine also had positive effects on Africa and therefore colonialism was a good thing. No one would put forward such an argument since there is much documentation as to the horrors of European contact in Africa. But lets look at Walter Rodney's writing. It is easy to read a title "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" which we here at Garvey's Ghost recommend, but we also know that Walter Rodney produced another text entitled A History of the Upper Guinea Coast 1545-1800:

In the population movements south and south-west of the Futa Djalon, the Mande people who played the most significant role were not the Mandingas but the Susus. Living on the Faleme, they were part of the Empire of Ghana when the Almoravids invaded. They subsiquently took up the struggle against the Berbers and the Islamicized Saracoles, and achieved power in the Susu (Sosso) empire in the twelfth century. It was in 1233 that they suffered defeat at the hands of the Mandingas, and numbers of Sussus fled to the west.

later her states:

when attempts at Islamicization were made, population dislocations resulted.

Thus we have a clear case of:
A) the foreigness of Islam to Africa
B) The disruption Islam had on the populations of West Africa.

How then does Walter Rodney support the author's case against Afrocentrists who are supposedly "Anti-Islam"? Yet Rodney's scholarship would sink the author's claims even further as Rodney writes:

Yet firearms were slow in penetrating into the hinterland. The great Jihad or Holy War of the Futa Djalon was evidently begun in 1726 with weapons of local manufacture; and the first clear-cut instance of European arms being sought in a determined manner by groups in the interior occured in 1757, when a Muslim chief cut his way to the coast at the Scarcies estuary, selling all who came into his hands for powder and guns.

Further, discussing what is now northern Nigeria:

Furthermore, Muslim Fulas must have arrived in Futa Djalon long before 1694, and had been indulging in peaceful proselytization, especially among their Fula brethren. Thus, by 1726, when the Holy War was proclaimed, peaceful penetration had proceeded long and successfully enough to allow the struggle to advance to a new level, that of military combat.

A considerable number of Djalonkes were displaced, many taking refuge among their cousins, the Susus. Susus of the Pongo recall that 'there arrived from the Futa Jallon district people whome the Peuhls [Fulas] call Yalunkas...They told them that the yellow Peuhls of Futa Jallon had made war on them and that they had wanted to convert them to their feitsh called "Allah."

And lastly:

No one challenged the fact that Jihad was the greatest recruiter of slaves in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The only point at issue was the light in which the connection was projected. John Matthews, as spokesman for Liverpool interests, stressed that cpatives who were purchased by European schips were mainly the result of Muslim wars of religion. Beyond this superficial observation he was not prepared to go, because it was orthodoz pro-slavery propaganda that captives were victims of African wars whose origins and development were quite connected with the slave trade. However, not long after Matthews wrote, Thomas Watt penetrated to Timbo and reported that he was told by the Almami's deputy 'with a shocking degree of openess, that the sole objects of their wars was to procure slaves, as they could not obtain European goods without slaves, and they could not get slaves without fighting for them.' Watt added that 'their religion affords them an apology for this horrible injustice, by permitting them to destroy all infidels, a term which seems to include all their neighbours'. A close analysis of the activities of the Fulas and their cohorts leaves no doubt that Watt was accurate both in reporting his information and in his conclusions.

If there was ever more damning evidence that the apparent need to prosyletise Islam in Africa by Arabs first and Blacks after, lead not only to the destruction of African societies but also to the direct involvement in the Christian Atlantic slave trade.

The author goes on to discuss the Pope and other irrelevant material but then continues to quote DuBois:

History shows that a very small clique of gangster Arabs became involved in the slave trade centuries after the Europeans had been involved in the slave trade for several centuries. The involvement of this these Arabs had its beginning and ending in the 19th century.

The participation of this tiny minority was nothing compared to the massive and centuries-long participation played by the European Christians. In fact, W.E.B Dubois, on page 68 of his book, The World and Africa said that the tiny gangster Arab participation was a 'secondary result' of the American and British slave trade. He says that it was 'based on American demand for ivory'. So these rogue and immoral Arabs were nothing more than a fluke amongst the many pious Arabs who brought Islam south of the Sahara, and who treated the African people as equals, and whom the African people warmly welcomed as their brothers. These are the facts of history.

I think we have discussed enough of DuBois , Rodney and Diop to have clearly shown that the author is merely trying to dupe the reader. In fact this mis-handling of the facts continues with the following statement:

Sometimes the best medicine is the medicine that tastes the worst. This can also be the case with truth. Truth can be a difficult and painful thing. But this pain can also be the best elixir for a suffering soul.

The painful fact of history reveals the following: That while the African people of the diaspora certainly are brothers and sisters genetically, the fact is that the tribes of the coastal areas were intimately involved as slavers against their own people. This is the truth. Of course, this activity was wholly inspired by Europeans.

The Europeans had been looking for allies against the Muslims, and they found them in the coastal tribes of West Africa. These coastal tribes strongly participated in the slave trade along with the European slavers. But it was the African Muslims who lived further within the interior of Africa -- inland around the Niger and Chad rivers in the regions of Timbuktu, Jenne and Gao -- who fought against this trade and who actually provided sanctuary for those Africans of the coast who would run inland to the African Muslims for protection against the European slavers and some of their own brothers who had, unfortunately, become slavers. Many Afrocentrists are so embittered with the European slavery that they want to paint African people as a perfect group of human beings who were merely victims of the 'white man and Arab's' greed. They hate to admit the truth of what both European scholars and honest Afrocentric scholars know: that Africans themselves were intimately involved in the horrid slave trade. As Basil Davidson explains:

We have demonstrated this to be wholly untrue. We have clearly demonstrated that the author's own sources disprove this claim. It is convenient that the author would like to magically de-Islamize the African Muslims who were involved with the slave trade. This is a common practice in many Muslim circles where behavoir of a certain group of Muslims, shown to be morally bankrupt, are suddenly de-Islamicized and the conflicts they create deemed something done with their own people or some similar excuse. This no doubt plays well in the Mosque, but does not stand up to real inquiry. That said, it has always been admitted by Afrocentrists and other honest about African history, that non-Muslims were involved in the atlantic slave trade. This understanding is necessary for a true understanding of how the Ma'afa occured.

Lastly, the author pulls out Basil Davidson (who's books are recommended reading by GG):

Contrast the above with Mr. Davidson's observations on the role of Arabs in the slave trade:

Some European writers, possibly out of an understandable but quite unhistorical conviction that 'Europe should not bear all the blame,' have tended to equate the Asian-Arab trade with the European trade, or even to portray the first as much larger than the second...This argument will not bear examination. There is not a shred of evidence that the Indian Ocean trade ever carried, or could have carried, a tithe of the slaves that were taken across the Atlantic...The clinching fact is that the eastern world...never knew an economic situation which could have used captive labor on the scale of the Caribbean and American mines and plantations. [Ibid, p. 80]

Well this is kind of logical. If one looks at Arabia and the Sahara one would immediatly note that it was clearly environmentally impossible for such industries to have taken root. Sand is a poor place to grow sugar cane and tobacco. But what of the eastern slave trade? Was slavery a part of the Muslim world? If we read the work of Bernard Lewis' Race and Slavery in the Middle East we find the following:

The Qur'an, like the Old and the New Testaments, assumes the existence of slavery. It regulates the practice of the institution and thus implicitly accepts it. The Prophet Muhammad and those of his Companions who could afford it themselves owned slaves; some of them acquired more by conquest. But Qur'anic legislation, subsequently confirmed and elaborated in the Holy Law, brought two major changes to ancient slavery which were to have far-reaching effects. One of these was the presumption of freedom; the other, the ban on the enslavement of free persons except in strictly defined circumstances...

Though slavery was maintained, the Islamic dispensation enormously improved the position of the Arabian slave, who was now no longer merely a chattel but was also a human being with a certain religious and hence a social status and with certain quasi-legal rights. The early caliphs who ruled the Islamic community after the death of the Prophet also introduced some further reforms of a humanitarian tendency. The enslavement of free Muslims was soon discouraged and eventually prohibited. It was made unlawful for a freeman to sell himself or his children into slavery, and it was no longer permitted for freemen to be enslaved for either debt or crime, as was usual in the Roman world and, despite attempts at reform, in parts of Christian Europe until at least the sixteenth century. It became a fundamental principle of Islamic jurisprudence that the natural condition, and therefore the presumed status, of mankind was freedom, just as the basic rule concerning actions is permittedness: what is not expressly forbidden is permitted; whoever is not known to be a slave is free. This rule was not always strictly observed. Rebels and heretics were sometimes denounced as infidels or, worse, apostates, and reduced to slavery, as were the victims of some Muslim rulers in Africa, who proclaimed jihad against their neighbors, without looking closely at their religious beliefs, so as to provide legal cover for their enslavement. But by and large, and certainly in the central lands of Islam, under regimes of high civilization, the rule was honored, and free subjects of the state, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, were protected from unlawful enslavement...

Within the Islamic frontiers, Islam spread rapidly among the populations of the newly acquired territories, and even those who remained faithful to their old religions and lived as protected persons (dhimmis) under Muslim rule could not, if free, be legally enslaved unless they had violated the terms of the dhimma, the contract governing their status, as for example by rebelling against Muslim rule or helping the enemies of the Muslim state or, according to some authorities, by withholding pa'yment of the Kharaj or the Jizya, the taxes due from dhimmls to the Muslim state.

[Note: This part about the enslavability of Dhimmis is very relevant to the problem in West Africa. I hold that if Islam had not had a "convenient" excuse to enslave people, the Atlantic slave trade as we know it probably would not have occured. As we know it.)]

A slave could marry, but only by consent of the master. Theoretically, a male slave could marry a free woman, but this was discouraged and in practice prohibited. A master could not marry his own slave woman unless he first freed her. Islamic law provides a number of ways in which a slave could be set free. One was manumission, accomplished by a formal declaration on the part of the master and recorded in a certificate which was given to the liberated slave. The manumission of a slave included the offspring of that slave, and the jurists specify that if there is any uncertainty about an act of manumission, the slave has the benefit of the doubt. Another method is a written agreement by which the master grants liberty in return for a fixed sum. Once such an agreement has been concluded, the master no longer has the right to dispose of his slave, whether by sale or gift. The slave is still subject to certain legal disabilities, but in most respects is virtually free. Such an agreement, once entered into, may be terminated by the slave but not by the master. Children born to the slave after the entry into force of the contract are born free. The master may bind himself to liberate a slave at some specified future time. He may also bind his heirs to liberate a slave after his death. The law schools differ somewhat on the rules regarding this kind of liberation.

The astute among us will note that this is really no different from that of the US slave population. Africans could purchase their freedom, marry with permission of their masters, etc. Thus in some cases Islamic slavery was not much different from that which we saw in early America, sans plantations.


As we have seen, the slave population was recruited in four main ways: by capture, tribute, offspring, and purchase.

Capture: In the early centuries of Islam, during the period of the conquest and expansion, this was the most important source. With the stabilization of the frontier, the numbers recruited in this way diminished, and eventually provided only a very small proportion of slave requirements. Frontier warfare and naval raiding yielded some captives, but these were relatively few and were usually exchanged. In later centuries, warfare in Africa or India supplied some slaves by capture. With the spread of Islam, and the acceptance of dhimml status by increasing numbers of non-Muslims, the possibilities for recruitment by capture were severely restricted.

Tribute: Slaves sometimes formed part of the tribute required from vassal states beyond the Islamic frontiers. The first such treaty ever made, that of the year 31 of the Hijra (= 652 A.D.), with the black king of Nubia, included an annual levy of slaves to be provided from Nubia. This may indeed have been the reason why Nuhia was for a long time not conquered. The stipulated delivery of some hundreds of male and female slaves, later supplemented by elephants, giraffes, and other wild beasts, continued at least until the twelfth century, when it was disrupted by a series of bitter wars between the Muslim rulers of Egypt and the Christian kings of Nubia. Similar agreements, providing for the delivery of a tribute of slaves, were imposed by the early Arab conquerors on neighboring princes in Iran and Central Asia, but were of briefer duration.

Offspring: The recruitment of the slave population by natural increase seems to have been small and, right through to modern times, insufficient to maintain numbers. This is in striking contrast with conditions in the New World, where the slave population increased very rapidly. Several factors contributed to this difference, perhaps the most important being that the slave population in the Islamic Middle East was constantly drained by the liberation of slaves -- sometimes as an act of piety, most commonly through the recognition and liberation, by a freeman, of his own offspring by a slave mother. There were also other reasons for the low natural increase of the slave population in the Islamic world.
[GG note: Oh? Sex with a slave woman? Sounds familiar.]They include

* 1. Castration. A fair proportion of male slaves were imported as eunuchs and thus precluded from having offspring. Among these were many who otherwise, by the wealth and power which they acquired, might have founded families .
* 2. Another group of slaves who rose to positions of great power, the military slaves, were normally liberated at some stage in their career, and their offspring were therefore free and not slaves.
* 3. In general, only the lower orders of slaves -- menial, domestic, and manual workers -- remained in the condition of servitude and transmitted that condition to their descendants. There were not many such descendants -- casual mating was not permitted and marriage was not encouraged.
* 4. There was a high death toll among all classes of slaves, including great military commanders as well as humble menials. Slaves came mainly from remote places, and, lacking immunities, died in large numbers from endemic as well as epidemic diseases. As late as the nineteenth century, Wes ern travelers in North Africa and Egypt noted the high death rate among imported black slaves.

Purchase: This came to be by far the most important means for the legal acquisition of new slaves. Slaves were purchased on the frontiers of the Islamic world and then imported to the major centers, where there were slave markets from which they were widely distributed. In one of the sad paradoxes of human history, it was the humanitarian reforms brought by Islam that resulted in a vast development of the slave trade inside, and still more outside, the Islamic empire. In the Roman world, the slave population was occasionally recruited from outside, when a new territory was conquered or a barbarian invasion repelled, but mostly, slaves came from internal sources. This was not possible in the Islamic empire, where, although slavery was maintained, enslavement was banned. The result was an increasingly massive importation of slaves from the outside. Like enslavement, mutilation was forbidden by Islamic law. The great numbers of eunuchs needed to preserve the sanctity of palaces, homes, and some holy places had to be imported from outside or, as often happened, "manufactured" at the frontier. In medieval and Ottoman times the two main sources of eunuchs were Slavs and Ethiopians (Habash, a term which commonly included all the peoples of the Horn of Africa). Eunuchs were also recruited among Greeks (Rum), West Africans (Takrurl, pl. Takarina), Indians, and occasionally West Europeans.

The slave population of the Islamic world was recruited from many lands. In the earliest days, slaves came principally from the newly conquered countries -- from the Fertile Crescent and Egypt, from Iran and North Africa, from Central Asia, India, and Spain. Most of these slaves had a cultural level at least as high as that of their Arab masters, and by conversion and manumission they were rapidly absorbed into the general population. As the supply of slaves by conquest and capture diminished, the needs of the slave market were met, more and more, by importation from beyond the frontier. Small numbers of slaves were brought from India, China, Southeast Asia, and the Byzantine Empire, most of them specialists and technicians of one kind or another. The vast majority of unskilled slaves, however, came from the lands immediately north and south of the Islamic world -- whites from Europe and the Eurasian steppes, blacks from Africa south of the Sahara. Among white Europeans and black Africans alike, there was no lack of enterprising merchants and middlemen, eager to share in this profitable trade, who were willing to capture or kidnap their neighbors and deliver them, as slaves, to a ready and expanding market. In Europe there was also an important trade in slaves, Muslim, Jewish, pagan, and even Orthodox Christian, recruited by capture and bought for mainly domestic use...

Deprived of most of their sources of white slaves, the Ottomans turned more and more to Africa, which in the course of the nineteenth century came to provide the overwhelming majority of slaves used in Muslim countries from Morocco to Asia. According to a German report published in 1860,

"the black slaves, at that time, were recruited mainly by raiding and kidnapping from Sennaar, Kordofan, Darfur, Nubia, and other places in inner Africa; the white mostly through voluntary sale on the part of their relatives in the independent lands of the Caucasus (Lesghi, Daghestani, and Georgian women, rarely men). Those offered for sale were already previously of servile status or were slave children by birth."

The common view of Islamic slavery as primarily domestic and military may therefore reflect the bias of our documentation rather than the reality. There are occasional references, however, to large gangs of slaves, mostly black, employed in agriculture, in the mines, and in such special tasks as the drainage of marshes. Some, less fortunate, were hired out by their owners for piecework. These working slaves had a much harder life. The most unfortunate of all were those engaged in agricultural and other manual work and large-scale enterprises, such as for example the Zanj slaves used to drain the salt flats of southern Iraq, and the blacks employed in the salt mines of the Sahara and the gold mines of Nubia. These were herded in large settlements and worked in gangs. Large landowners, or crown lands, often employed thousands of such slaves. While domestic and commercial slaves were relatively well-off, these lived and died in wretchedness. Of the Saharan salt mines it is said that no slave lived there for more than five years. The cultivation of cotton and sugar, which the Arabs brought from the East across North Africa and into Spain, most probably entailed some kind of plantation system. Certainly, the earliest relevant Ottoman records show the extensive use of slave labor in the state-maintained rice plantations. Some such system, for cultivation of cotton and sugar, was taken across North Africa into Spain and perhaps beyond. While economic slave labor was mainly male, slave women were sometimes also exploited economically. The pre-lslamic practice of hiring out female slaves as prostitutes is expressly forbidden by Islamic law but appears to have survived nonetheless.

This document can be found here:

It is pretty clear here that not only was slavery an integral part of the Islamic world, but even plantations and gang labour did exist.
It is clear that Abubakr Ben Ishmael Salahuddin (the author) really does not know what he is talking about. It is saddening as well as alarming that perhaps millions of people have been fed his revisionist history of Islam and now we have to waste time refuting his (and no doubt his many cohorts) misinformation.
Let me be clear, many people in Africa were involved with the enslavement of their own people, Muslim and non-Muslim. Furthermore, it is easy to criticize the European and the Christian because their sins are front and center and well documented. It is harder to turn the critical eye on our own sacred cows and honestly deal with the issues of our chosen or inherited beliefs. If you are an African or Black Muslim reading this, do not take this as an attack on your belief but rather as an opportunity to be more clear as to what has been done in the name of Islam and an opportunity to reflect on who and what you are associated with. Will you do what had been done before and put your religion before your people? if you hear similar nonsense taught at your Mosque or study circle will you stand up and say that it is wrong (as I did when I was a Christian?)? Or will you simply trade one imperial culture for another one and await the time when you can be a part of the ruling party and oppress your non-believing neighbors as had been done before?

[note: I sent the original post to Molefi Asante since he was mentioned. I haven't received a reply.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I have been planning this for quite some time. Here is a list of books I think any Pan-Africanist ought to have read and studied. This is not a complete list, since I don't have all the books I have read.

Black Ideology
1) Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Garvey
2) Garvey and Garveyism by Amy Jaques Garvey
3) Race First by Tony Martin
4) Marcus Garvey by Rupert Lewis
5) Black Power by Kwame Toure and Charles Hamilton
6) African Philosophy an Anthology edited by Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze

by Cheick Anta Diop

7) Civilization Or Barbarism
8) Black Africa
9) Pre-colonial Black Africa

Slave Trade History

10) Slavery and Capitalism Eric Williams
11) The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas
12) A History of The Upper Guinea Coast by Walter Rodney
13) The African Slave Trade by Basil Davidson
14) The Black Jacobins by CLR James

Pre-European Colonial History

15) The Golden Age of the Moor by Ivan Van Sertima
16) Stolen Legacy by George GM James
17) The Destruction of Black Civilization by Chancellor Williams
18) The Arab Invasion of Egypt and the Last 30 Years of Roman Domination by Alfred J. Butler
19) Gold Coast: Akan Laws and Customs and the Akim Abuakwa Constitution by J.B. Danquah


20) The Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
21) The Mis-education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
22) Decolonizing the Mind by Ngugi Wa Thiongo

23) Whatever religious text you ascribe to
24) The Egyptain Book the Dead By Sir Wallace E. Budge
25) The Husia Edited by Maulana Karenga
26) The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ by Gerald Massey (note: This text should be read immediately following the Book of the Dead)
27) The African Background to Medical Science Charles Finch (note: Chapter 7 is the relevant one)
28) African Origins of the Major "Western Religions" by Yosef A.A. ben- Jochannan
29) Black Man of the Nile by Yosef A.A. ben- Jochannan
30) Olodumare: God in Yoruba belief by E. Bolaji Idowu (Note: this is a good intro text, there are some issues with it though)

31) The Isis Papers (Ch 1-5, 12)
32) Black Skin White Masks by Frantz Fanon
33) Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
34) The Black Anglo-Saxons by Nathan Hare

Well Needed critiques of current African Affairs:

35) The Black Man's Burden by Basil Davidson
36) Africa In Chaos by George B.N. Ayittey
37) The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith

American Indian

38) Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown.

Again this is no means an exhaustive list of everything I've read but should serve as a good starting block for anyone interested in seriously understanding the black situation and addressing it. Furthermore; it should be understood that I don't agree with everything in every text listed. In my library, many of them are marked with questions and refutations. I have purposely cut short the religion related material since I have a pretty clear bias to Ifa and much of the books aside from what I have listed are in that vein.

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Monday, February 20, 2006


The NY Times has a very interesting piece on Iconoclasm, something I hadn't even thought of when discussing the cartoon issue:

The riots, though, show that at the very least, reason alone is insufficient. They are not just metaphorically iconoclastic in their challenge. They are literally iconoclastic: attempts to destroy any trace of forbidden images or inspire fear in any who might object. They are the latest manifestations of battles that once took place within the West, particularly during the eighth century, when iconoclasm got its name. At that time leaders of the Eastern Church, perhaps inspired by Islamic and Judaic prohibitions against images, objected to religious icons as a form of idolatry.

Iconoclasm (from the Greek, meaning the "breaking of images") was adopted as doctrine by Emperor Leo III (680-741) and his successors, and, for a century, led to the destruction of art, massacres, torture of monks and attacks on shrines, decisively widening the schism in the Church between Constantinople and the papacy.

The Iconoclasts of the eighth century and their successors during the Reformation were like the Taliban or rioting Muslims of the 21st. Except that that older violence occurred within a religion, inspired by theology. Today's Iconoclasts want to oppose all attempts to display forbidden images, whatever their provenance. And for a variety of reasons, many in the West readily defer. Last fall, for example, Burger King withdrew its ice cream from restaurants in Britain after receiving complaints from Muslims that the swirling illustration on the package resembled the name of Allah.

More Abu Gharib Abuse

In the wake of an administration that has declared itself above the law. In the wake of a so called "co-equal" wing of government bowing to the executive and failing to uphold the law. Let us witness what we have created in Iraq. Below you will find a link to a video aired in Australia on the abuse in Abu Gharib prison in Iraq. Let it be known, from this day, that if and when another attack happens in the U.S., no one can say "they hate our freedoms." No one can ask "Why?" no one can claim ignorance of "policy." No when the fire comes next time, all will know why.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

More Death Over Cartoons

The NY Times has reported on widespread violence this weekend supposedly over the cartoons. I say supposedly because it is clear that this is no longer about the cartoons. The cartoons are but a scapegoat for various parties, Muslim and non-Muslim to work people up and advance their own agendas. it is sadly unfortunate that a great many Muslims, the world over, ignorant of the origins of their own religion and overcome with ideas on religious imperialism, are falling square into the hands of these individuals.

In Nigeria:

[In Nigeria, Muslims protesting the cartoons attacked Christians and burned churches on Saturday, killing at least 15 people in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger over the drawings, The Associated Press reported.]...

[Mobs of Muslim protesters swarm through Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, with machetes, sticks and iron rods, The A.P. said. One group threw a tire around a man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze.

[Thousands of rioters burned 15 churches in a three-hour rampage before troops and police reinforcements restored order, said a Nigerian police spokesman, Haz Iwendi. Security forces arrested dozens of people, he said.

[Chima Ezeoke, a Christian Maiduguri resident, said protesters attacked and looted shops owned by minority Christians, most of them with origins in the country's south. Witnesses said three children and a priest were among those killed.

[Nigeria, with a population of more than 130 million, is roughly divided between a predominantly Muslim north and a mainly Christian south.

[Thousands of people have died in that West African country since 2000 in religious violence fueled by the adoption of the strict Islamic legal code by a dozen states in the north, seen by most Christians as a move to impose religious hegemony on non-Muslims.]

The situation in Nigeria highlights an endemic problem with Islam in so called Black Africa: The unwillingness to live under the same rules as the "non-believer." I wrote before that it was a huge mistake for the Federal Government to allow a parallel judicial system be set up in Nigeria. Such a situation will only cause Nigeria to fall into another Biafran war.

In India we find:

In India, a politician in the nation's largest state has offered an $11 million reward for the killing of any of the Danish cartoonists "who dared to make the caricature of the Prophet," according to Indian news media reports published Saturday. The state government official, Haji Yaqoob Quereshi, made the announcement at a rally in the north Indian town of Meerut after Friday Prayer.

State officials said he would not face charges because he was articulating his personal opinion. Demonstrations have broken out during the past several days in a number of Indian cities with large Muslim populations.

Oddly this politician gets cover from a state that allows him to incite murder. Think about that.

Friday, February 17, 2006

More Cartoon Madness

Russia has closed down a newspaper that featured a cartoon of Moses, Mohammed, Jesus and Buddha watching a telecast of supposed religious violence. Moses says " "Well, we did not teach them that."

This simply underscores exactly my problem with the censors, Once a specific part of speech is censored the rest is soon to follow. All it takes is for one "authority" to decide they don't "like" the message and it's all over. Writes the NY Times:

MOSCOW, Feb. 17 — In a controversy with echoes of the Islamic anger over Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the authorities in a central Russian city today ordered the closing of a newspaper that published a cartoon showing Muhammad along with Jesus, Moses and Buddha.

The cartoon, published on Feb. 9 in the official city newspaper in Volgograd, prompted some criticism and a federal criminal investigation but no public outrage. That may be, in large part, because it depicted the figures respectfully, renouncing violence, though Islamic teachings forbid any depiction of Muhammad.

"Well, we did not teach them that," Moses says in a caption as the four watch a television set showing two groups confronting each other with banners and clubs and hurling stones. The cartoon appeared on Page 5, accompanying an article on an agreement signed by regional political parties and organizations to combat nationalism, xenophobia and religious conflicts.

Volgograd's first deputy mayor, Andrei O. Doronin, announced the closing of the newspaper, Gorodskiye Vesti, or City News, "in order not to inflame ethnic hostilities," according to the official Russian Information Agency. He gave the newspaper a month to liquidate its assets, leaving the fate of its staff unclear.

American Big Man Part V

This situation has just gotten a whole lot worse. The New York Times has reported that the House committee has voted to put the surveillance inquiry on hold.

But an aide to Representative Peter Hoekstra, the Michigan Republican who leads the committee, said the inquiry would be much more limited in scope, focusing on whether federal surveillance laws needed to be changed and not on the eavesdropping program itself.

The agreement to conduct an inquiry came as the Senate Intelligence Committee put off a vote on conducting its own investigation after the White House, reversing course, agreed to open discussions about changing federal surveillance law. Senate Democrats accused Republicans of bowing to White House pressure...

Ms. Wilson said the review would include closed-door briefings by intelligence officials about the operational details of the program, a review of its legality and discussion about whether changes are needed in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, which bans eavesdropping in intelligence investigations without a court order.

While the administration agreed under pressure last week to provide limited operational details to the House and Senate intelligence committees, Ms. Wilson said she wanted more information and remained uncertain whether the N.S.A. had the needed safeguards in place to protect against civil rights abuses against Americans.

But Jamal Ware, a spokesman for Mr. Hoekstra, said: "This is not an inquiry into the program. It's a comprehensive review of the FISA statute. " He said Mr. Hoekstra "wants to set up a process to move forward and look at the entire statute and ways to modernize it."

So let's get this straight:
1) First the Administration declared that it agrees that FISA is lawful. (documented in previous American Big Man posts)
2) Administration then goes around the court. (illegal, unconstitutional, and an impeachable offense)
3) Republicans sit with the Bush administration to discuss changing the law that the administration broke.

What kind of bull is this? Can you imaging a criminal going to court and asking that he and the judge go into chambers and change the law that the criminal was accused of breaking so that he can't be found guilty? What is this!! Does the administration have so much stuff on Republicans that they are too shook to even uphold the very constitution and laws they pledged to uphold?

In the 90's we had to endure Republicans chasing after Bill Clinton for getting head on the job. No, for lying about getting head on the job. The man was nearly impeached for what was ultimately a personal indiscretion and covering it up with a single lie.

On the other hand. This president has admitted, in public to breaking a federal statute aimed at upholding the constitutional rights of every citizen, regardless of political party of stripe and not only have no impeachment hearings even happened. The inquiry has been stopped so that the person who admitted to breaking the law can fix the law so that he cannot be found to have broken the law.

So lets get it straight. President lies about a personal issue that affects the constitutional rights of absolutely no one and he's nearly impeached.
President admits to breaking federal law and violating his oath of office and gets a chance to rewrite the law.

Additionally, this isn't about operational details. All that is a smoke screen. The question is very, very simple:
1) Is there a legal requirement for a warrant (from whatever court) to tap US persons?
2) If there is a legal requirement, then did the president not meet this requirement?

That's it. No need to ask how information is gotten, no need to discuss who get's it or who's been surveilled. Simple questions. What is with the beating aroun the bush? What's with the damn closed door meetings and people not being put under oath? If you can't be put under oath then you are a liar. Why are liars running the justice department? Why aren't the so called opposition (That would be Democrats) even playing this game? Why didn't they shut down the proceedings when Gonzalez refused to be oathed? To quote DMX:

Where my dogs at?
Where my "Liberty or Death" dogs at?
Where my "Touch my Rights, I blow you a new hole" dogs at?
Where my "We'll shut this b$$$h down" dogs at?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Let's Get Pan-Africanism and Garvey right

Every now and then I have the honor of reading an article or blog post about Pan-Africanism and Marcus Garvey. 99% of the time the article gets both subjects wrong. It bothers me. I won't go out beheading people about it, but when there is a blog entitled "Garvey's Ghost" I would think that some kind of deference to such a site would be done by those who wish to discuss Pan-Aficanism and/or Garveyism. If not that we could at least look to Tony Martin on the subject. No instead, folks discus Garvey as if no one out there knows any better. Indeed the sad truth is most people have no clue and so believe just about anything they find on the subject.

Shay Riley of Booker Rising wrote:

Pan-Africanism argues that all black folks have (1) shared cultural traditions, as part of an African diaspora and preservation of a black cultural heritage; and (2) a common history of struggle against colonialism, racism, etc. and should work together for one another's empowerment, self-determination and freedom from oppression. The philosophy got a big jump in 1900, when W.E.B. DuBois organized the 1st Pan-African Congress in London, England. This idea also has part of its roots in Marcus Garvey (the Jamaican whose work was heavily influenced by Booker T. Washington), who was a mass movement pro-capitalist who unsuccessfully sought to unite the world's black populations via trade between the United States, Caribbean and Africa. He argued that communism (socialism) robs individuals of their personal initiative and called enemies of capitalism the enemies of human advancement.

This statement is based upon Garvey's writing as found in Philosophies and Opinions entitled: capitalism and the state
It states:
Capitalism is necessary to the progress of the world, and those who are unreasonably and wantonly oppose and fight against it are enemies to human advancement; but there should be a limit to the individual or corporate use or control of it.

No individual should be allowed the possession, use or the privilege to invest on his own account, more than a million, and no corporation should be allowed to control more than 5 million. Beyond this, all control, use and investment of money, should be the prerogative of the State with the concurrent authority of the people...

Modern wars are generally the outgrowth of dissafected capitalistic interests either among foreign or strange peoples or nations.

Until a universal adjustment takes place the State or nation should have the power to conscript and use without any obligation to repay, the wealth of such individuals or corporations through whose investments or interests, in foreign countries, or among foreign or strange people wars are fomented and made;...

The trick of the selfish capitalist is to stir up local agitation among the nations; have them shoot or kill some citizen of the capitalist's country, then he influences the agencies of his Government to call upon the home authorities for protection...

What was Garvey's issue with Communism?

In the essay entitled The Negro, Communism, Trade Unionism And His(?) Friend:

The danger of Communism to the Negro, in countries where he forms the minority of the population, is seen in the selfish and vicious attempts of that party or group to use the Negro's vote and physical numbers in helping to smash and over-throw, by revolution, a system as injurious to them as the white underdogs. the success of which would put their majority group or race still in power, not only as communists but as whitemen. To me there is no difference between two roses looking alike, and smelling alike even if some one calls them by different names. Fundamentally what racial difference os there between a white Communist, Republican or Democrat?

So reading these passages from Garvey we realize that Garvey was no capitalist. His clearly written positions on limiting individual wealth and control of investment by government simply would not fly with the so called "free-enterprise" folks at Booker Rising. Garvey was bright in that he understood how to play the corporate game and the necessity of economic development among black people globally. The issue is that capitalists have somehow cornered the market on defining business. It's either you're a capitalist and you like business or you don't and therefore you are a communist. It's a simple and silly dichotomy played out to keep people dazed and confused. Africans have always been and will continue to do business but by no means should africans become capitalists.

Shay continues:

Pan-Africanism has stunted because the philosophy's socialist thrust stunts black progress, which has underdeveloped Africa, the Caribbean, and black communities elsewhere by not focusing on building market economies and creating wealth. Black moderates and conservatives have ceded this territory to black liberals and leftists, to detrimental results for black countries and black communities. Yet there is nothing that says that Steps 1 and 2 of Pan-Africanism must inherently lead to a socialist result. Is there space for a capitalist version? I believe so, and it is already underway.

Pan-Africanism does not have anymore a socialist thrust then it does a capitalist thrust. Oddly in places outside the US there are countries with politcal parties and ideologies called "Social-Democrats." Some of those countries have higher living standards than the US. This shows that one can be influenced by varying ideologies without becoming dogmatic about any particular one. To see what Neo-Garveyite Pan-Africanism is one should go here:

But it is laughable, utterly LAUGHABLE to say that black conservatives and moderates ceded Pan-Africanism to anyone. Garvey and his ideas were hated by those to his left AND those to his right. have been taken by various black groups and divorced from it's racial origins.

Shay also states:
Visiting Africa in the 1920s, Mr. Du Bois wrote that his chief question was whether "Negroes are to lead in the rise of Africa or whether they must always and everywhere follow the guidance of white folk." The socialist version of Pan-Africanism has become obsessed with whiteness, and about handouts. The free-market version understands that we can do stuff without white folks. How about getting more African countries to trade with one another? Levering black Americans' $728 billion per year GDP - which would be the world's 16th largest economy on our own - to kick start market economies in our own communities? So what would a free-market agenda look like?

Are we serious? What kind of Pan-Africanism is she talking about? Does she have a clue? Dubois may have had a fixation on white folk and handouts but that cannot be said of Garvey. Heck it can't even be said of Kwame Toure, who was himself Socialist-Pan-Africanist (See the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party). Perhaps Shay is mistaking Mugabe or some other African mis-leader as being Pan-Africanists. Perhaps she thinks the AU is an actual Pan-African entity. Wrong on all points.

Like I said, if we want to talk Pan-Africanism then ask an actual Pan-Africanist. You want to talk about Marcus Garvey, find a Garveyite otherwise all we get is misinformation.

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Black Unemployment

The National Review, apparently still upset at Kanye West for bad talking president Bush has posted an article meant to show that Bush does love black people:

Since Bush’s tax cuts arrived in May 2003, the economy has created 4.7 million payroll jobs and the unemployment rate has dropped from 6.1 percent to 4.7 percent. Even more striking than the booming job market, however, is the rapid improvement in black employment. Last August, BuzzCharts pointed out that black unemployment was historically low. Since then, it has fallen even further. In fact, it has dropped from 10.6 percent in November to 9.3 percent in December to 8.9 percent in January. You have to go all the way back to July 2001 to find lower levels of black unemployment.

I will not get into the 4.7 million payroll jobs since that is a whole other post but I want to point out that black unemployment rate for blacks has generally been twice that of whites. So the only way this article could be true or relevant is if the unemployment data shows that the decline in black unemployment is statistically greater than the decline in white unemployment. So since the article trotted out a chart from the Bureau of Labour I decided to check the numbers.

for 2005 the unemployment rate for white men 16 and over is 4.4%
the 2005 unemployment rate for black men 16 and over is 10.5%

This data can be found here:

Even black women get the short end of the employment stick with near double digit unemployment rates compared to to white women.
It should also be noted that the data shows that the same disproportionate rates of unemployment also stands when restricting the lowest age to 25.

Therefore, as usual, the black unemployment rate is still greater than 2X that of whites. But the National Review would like for us to believe that somehow the so called "Bush plan" is a boon to blacks. Of course, we should expect the usual so called "black conservatives" to tout the same misleading numbers as proof that the Republican Party is for all us cullud folk.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Because You Should Know

Many Black people are focused on the Klan. This Klan focus often obscures the very real threat posed by those not wearing hoods. As a full supporter of freedom of expression I provide you, the reader with the following link:

Racial Nationalist Library

I have often argued that black people need to be extremely wary of white people, who's "credentials" they cannot confirm. While perusing a discussion board of a White Nationalist group, I found pictures of people in all walks of life, whom most would not even THINK were people who would, if the opportunity presented itself, kill them. Indeed I think that James Byrd Jr. was a victim of his own naivete.

Here's a choice quote from an essay on African Intelligence:

In fact, as I wrote this, hot off the wires came more confirmation. In the Chris Brand news letter I got thirty minutes ago, there is an insert from Philippe Rushton who applied the Raven Progressive matricies IQ test to black South African college students. The Raven is known to be the most culture fair and "G loaded" of all IQ tests. Prof. Rushton's results showed a mean IQ of 84! Keep in mind that these are college students, which in SA is a very small and elite subset of SA blacks. If we assume that, as in the US, college students in SA exceed the mean IQ for their race by one standard deviation, we are back to a mean IQ of 70 for genetically pure blacks!

[Image: Cheerful blacks mock a decapitated enemy in war-torn Liberia, Africa's oldest democracy.]

Imagine the characteristics of a society in which half the population is retarded. Could such a population maintain anything that we would call a civilization? I think these amazing IQ results are quite sufficient to explain the course of African history as well as the present plight of African nations. It also allows us to predict the sure fate of SA. Whites in SA would be well advised to get while the getting is good.

For so called "Black Republicans" this should serve as a reminder as to where a portion of the Republican Support comes from. These type of people used to be in the Democratic party and bolted when the party took up Civil Rights. Thus now, Republicans found the basis of their resurgence in the reactionary anti-black portions of the white community, many of whom proclaim themselves to be Christian. The question for black conservatives is: Are you comfortable knowing that they are in league with such individuals? And if such individuals support black candidates, then are they supporting black candidates because they represent what is best for blacks and [supposedly] the country at large, or do such officials serve other purposes?

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A Word From a So Called Pagan, Idolator, Heathen, Infidel, Non-believer, Kafir, Abeed

Allow me to introduce myself. I am an African. One of those peoples who for centuries if not millennia have been more than insulted by each of the so called Abrahamic religions and not one of the puffed up, self-righteous Christians and Muslims speaking on the subject have even discussed the fact that both religions are in fact partially based on the demonization and disrespect of other religions.

On any given Sunday in churches all over the world, preachers regularly tell people that if they do not believe in Jesus Christ, they will be damned for eternity. They teach millions, no, billions of people that the ancient Egyptians were evil, genocidal, idol worshippers. They send people they call missionaries to various countries and attempt to instill feelings of inferiority in the native who for whatever issues he may have in his religion has figured out how to be hospitable and to not drop hydrogen bombs on anyone. All of the above is approved of by billions of Christians and supported with their monies. This offends me and millions like me, yet no one apparently cares, since we do not get air time to discuss our positions on this matter. No, instead the press, media and entertainment agencies regularly portray us as superstitious morons, scared to death of chicken blood,zombies and of course talking dolls. There are Christian bookstores where books, audio and video tapes stating such things are sold by the thousands. I am offended, and no one could care less.

Christian ministers go on TV and advocate for the assassinations of heads of state and are welcomed guests on programs such as Good Morning America. Clearly, Christians, which most, if not all the people involved with that program, are not upset by these things. On the other hand, Khalid Mohammed of the Nation of Islam said the Pope was a sissy and got a US congressional censor and no invitation to GMA to promote his book. Kind of hypocritical isn’t it.

And lest Muslims think they are off the hook because there were two empires in West Africa, you are not. Me and mine here in the states are quite tired of being referred to as Abeed by immigrant Muslims while shopping. I also resent the use of the term kafir, Infidel, or idolator. No, I don’t appreciate it one bit. And that whole bit about Mohammed not being violent, not exactly true see. When Mohammed was just starting out he ran into, shall we say, resistance. Mohammed decided going to war to spread his “new” religion was proper Muslim behavior. Even his successor, Abu Bakr, was convinced that military expeditions were the proper means of spreading the faith. So enough of the Mohammed did not believe in violence. History does not prove that to be true. And lest we believe that Muslim violence and imperialism started recently I will inform the reader that as an example the conflict between Muslim Arabs and black Makuria’s and the baqt (settlement) that ceased hostilities and included the regular gifts of slaves to the now Muslim Egypt, This problem, specifically slavery is the source of the violence currently being waged against non-Muslims, both Christian and so-called “animist” in the Sudan. This clearly shows that Islam has a quite violent past. Yet many Muslims, just like their Christian brethren would rather we wear rose colored glasses where they can see only themselves as the enlightened ones. I think not.

In fact it is known by many scholars that the Islamicization and Arabization of parts of Africa are directly tied to the exploitation of black people wherever it occurs. In fact it is believed that the Islamic conflicts in west Africa, specifically Songhai created a situation that Europeans were able to exploit when they arrived. So really, I’m insulted by the notion that Islam is a religion of peace, when history simply shows the opposite. But I don’t think anyone particularly cares what a pagan, heathen, infidel, non-believing, idolator has to say.

And Jews, whom love to play the role of victim, have a well known history, well detailed in the Old Testament of killing the “non-chosen” for simply rejecting or simply not knowing the Hebrew godhead. Who knows, perhaps the current problems that Jews face are in some manner karma. Not that I support such things but you know, what goes around comes around.

And oh, yes, while I’m checking off offenses, another thing that bothers me: God as “Our Father” or any particular gender. That insults me. I find it greatly offensive since I and many millions simply do not believe God is a he or she. Anyone willing to stop using gender identifiers for God? Anyone? Thought not.

Yes, It strikes me as greatly hypocritical that the Secretary General of the UN would tell people to “respect the beliefs and tenets of all religions” when he goes to church and agrees with Christian dogma about the burning hell that awaits us so called, pagan, heathen, idolator, infidel, kafir peoples.

So how about this: all sides shut the hell up until they are prepared to radically alter their so called ‘Holy Books” to remove those ideas and justifications for inferiorizing and “otherizing” the beliefs of other people and perhaps insert more verses, surahs and what have you about righteous behavior. How about it?

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani Get's it [mostly] right

This "cartoon" issue is of great importance to me because as a Pan-Africanist, the African state has all manner of religious people. There is no way a country with a plurality of beliefs can or should enforce the rules of any. Rather it should judicially enforce a level field by which all of them can coexist even when there is disagreement.

The Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani has said:

misguided and oppressive' segments in the Muslim community were by their actions "projecting a distorted and dark image of the faith."

I am glad that Al-Sistani got the point of the cartoons. That shows that the reason for publishing them has indeed made it's point to at least one person. Indeed had Van-Gogh not been killed, such a depiction of Mohammed would never had happened. Indeed it has been the violence of certain Muslims that is to blame for their mis-directed anger. If the cartoons are offensive, so is cold blooded murder (regardless of what God it's done for).

So why does Al-Sistani get it and not the fools shooting off guns, clearling shelves, kidnapping white people and threatening murder? I submit that the very people who would keep Islam on the track of peace and respect have been hunted down, killed, oppressed and forced to flee their home countries by the "misguided and oppressive" segments of Islam with the help of various entities (some of them Western as history shows).

Not only does Al-Sistani get it (mostly) right. So does Niranjan Ramakrishan

The incident came to mind when I saw reports of protests, among other countries in Saudi Arabia (where one cannot possess a copy of the Bible or the Gita, and the only public worship allowed is that of Islam), and from Pakistan (where there are recent reports of young women being forcefully converted to Islam, and people of the "wrong" religions being on death row for blasphemy), up in arms about cartoons in a Danish newspaper making fun of the Prophet. In Gaza, Fatah activists (eager to make up for their recent electoral loss, perhaps) were shown bustling about with shoulder fired missiles, issuing threats to people from certain countries to leave in 10 hours, failing which their lives would be in jeopardy.

Of course, none of these same protesters have no complaint with western personages Carlyle, Bernard Shaw or Goethe for praising Prophet Mohammed. Like the rest of us, they are happy when they or theirs is praised, unhappy when criticized or satarized.

Except, however, most of us don't threaten to kidnap and kill people who have criticized us, nor write specious screeds pointing out the difference between freedom and license. We shrug and move along, knowing that not everyone needs to accept our beliefs for us to be secure in ours. It is as simple as that.

Here here!

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Cheikh Anta Diop To Be Honored

Minister Faust at the Bro-Log linked on the right has put up a notice that the African Union will be honoring Dr. Diop on the 20'th anniversary of his death.

More information here:

For those readers unfamiliar with Dr. Diop, he is THE pre-eminent African scholar on Ancient Egypt. One MUST read the following:

1) Civilization or Barbarism. During my undergrad years I regularly beat up on PhD. professors with this book. I would regularly quote Diop on the exams in regards to Ancient Egypt or Greece. And I regularly received A's for my efforts. Lesson: NEVER be intimidated by so called experts.

2) Pre-Colonial Black Africa

3) African Origins of Civilization

4) Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural Basis for a Federated State

There are other publications of interest, but these are the ones I've read and that are in my library (bookmarked and notated) and should be in every home library and required reading for children with the necessary reading comprehension skills.

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Speaking of Free Speech..

Zimbabwe has apparently signed into law

The General Laws Amendment Act (GLAA), which tightens the "presidential insult" and "communication of falsehoods" laws under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), has been signed into law.

The GLAA amends 22 sections of POSA, as well as several other acts. It was signed into law by Acting President Joice Mujuru, according to a notice published in the "Government Gazette" on 3 February 2006.

The amendments increase the fine imposed under Section 16 of POSA from Z$20,000 (approx. US$0.20) to Z$2 million (approx. US$20). The penalty may also entail one year imprisonment, either as an alternative or supplement to the fine. Section 16 deals with the "publication of false statements that will engender feelings of hostility towards - or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of - the President or Acting President."

Those convicted under Section 15 of POSA, which deals with "the publishing or communication of statements prejudicial to the state", will now be liable to a fine of Z$10 million (approx. US$100) - up from Z$100,000 (approx. US$1) - or five years' imprisonment, or both.

This law is indicative of Mugabe's sad slide from liberator to tyrant. This man's time is done. It is time for new leadership. I say this as someone who fully supported the land reclamation. It is sad that Mugabe's ego is so fragile, reminiscent of not a few Muslims, that he needs to sign laws to ban people from criticizing him? Now one may say that publishing false statements should be punished. NO doubt. I'm sure that Zimbabwe has laws against Libel and Slander. There is no need in a so called "democratic" society to make special laws protecting the executive.

Oh yes there's also this:

Section 15 also covers the "publishing of statements likely to promote or incite public disorder or adversely affect the security or economic interests of Zimbabwe."

Under the new amendments, "causing disaffection among the police force or defense forces" will be punishable by a fine not exceeding Z$4 million (approx. US$40), while "unauthorized public gatherings for the purposes of rioting or causing disorder" will be punishable by a fine of up to Z$10 million (approx. US$100).

CourtesyAll Africa News Service

Mohhamed Cartoon II

Because of a free press. Because of the freedom to criticize. Because of the thought and investigation that such criticism is to elicit we now know that it was in fact Danish Muslims who started this entire problem:

quote:BRUSSELS -- Four months ago, Denmark's Jyllands-Posten newspaper published 12 caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. At first, the cartoons elicited little interest.

But in December Danish Muslims circulated them in the Islamic world. They added two particularly inflammatory drawings that had never been published by the paper -- one involved a pig's nose and the other an indecent act with a dog. Street protests erupted from Lahore to Gaza. Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait withdrew their ambassadors from Copenhagen, calling for an apology and punishment of the editors. Danish products are being boycotted in the Middle East, where state-controlled media speak darkly of a conspiracy against Islam. Palestinian terrorists have declared Danes and other Europeans as legitimate targets. Journalists at Jyllands-Posten have received death threats. Danish flags, whose design is based on a Christian cross, are being burned. So much for religious respect.

Let us wait for the apologies from all those groups that destroyed the property of the Danes. Let us wait for the apologies of the Saudi's, Egyptians and Lybians. Let us hear the apologies from Hamas. Let us hear apologies from the spineless Americans who kissed religious ass (again) by saying it was wrong to publish the pictures rather than un-equivically protecting speech.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

American Big Man Part IV

This is in response to No Oil For Pacifists latest post on the subject of the legality of Bush's end run around FISA to wiretap US Citizens. Before i deal directly with NOFP points I want to first discuss the falibility of the US Supreme Court and of laws passed by legislatures because a part of my argument against the Bush admin is that the PATRIOT ACT is unconstitutional and that the HAMDI decision was flat out wrong.

Let me begin with a famous Supreme Court Decision: Dread Scott. The Supreme Court, in 1857, decided under the leadership of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney that no person of African descent could be citizens of the United States and therefore could no sue in Federal Court. Dread Scott died 9 years later. This decision was never overturned and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution effectively killed the ruling. Notwithstanding the fact that Dredd was never overturned, it was still a decision that was contrary to the definition of citizenship as defined in the Constitution since the decision held that even "free" blacks could not be citizens. The constitution at that time declared any natural born person in the US to be a citizen. Citizenship was not further specified until the 14th Amendment. a point that is not made in the Constitution.

The second case I was to discuss is Plessy V Fergusson in which the Supreme Court ruled under Justice Henry Brown that the Separate Car Act was indeed constitutional. This ruling was another means around the constitution and enshrined the same attitude towards blacks that Dread Scott had:

"That [the Separate Car Act] does not conflict with the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished too clear for argument...A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races -- a distinction which is founded in the color of the two races, and which must always exist so long as white men are distinguished from the other race by color -- has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races...The object of the [Fourteenth A]mendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either." [5]

Plessy ran afoul of the 14th Amendment which forbade the states from abridging the rights of citizens. That clearly didn't matter to this court.

The Brown V Board of Education reversed Plessy V Ferguson:

"We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does...We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. [12]

I site these cases for the reader in order to make sure that the reader understands that simply because a law has been approved of, even by the highest court in the land. It is not necessarily constitutional. Furthermore, the Congress, Executive and Judicial branches are fallible and if they pass fallible laws or laws that run afoul of the Constitution they should be challenged on it until such laws are changed. I believe that, and I will show the arguments given in support of the Bush administration's end run around FISA are in fact based on unconstitutional ideas and are criminal.

Let me first deal with issue 3 brought up by NOFP:

Effect of other law: According to sondjata, the President's Commander in Chief powers can only be exercised in response to "imminent danger," a proposition he bases on the War Powers Resolution. That act has been ignored or evaded by all Presidents since its enactment (Reagan, Clinton), because most experts believe the Resolution is unconstitutional. The Federal Courts uniformly have refused to upset this view, see, e.g., Campbell v. Clinton, 52 F. Supp. 2d 34 (D.D.C. 1999), aff'd 203 F.3d 19 (DC Cir.), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 815 (2000). In any event, the Resolution does not demand Congressional approval to retaliate after "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States." The War Powers Resolution, in short, is an inapplicable dead letter here.

Actually, the argument I proffered was in direct response to the Bush Administration white paper on the subject as discussed in American Big Man I will highlight a few of the sections:

In the specific context of the current armed conflict with al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations, Congress by statute has confirmed and supplemented the President’s recognized authority under Article II of the Constitution to conduct such warrantless surveillance to prevent further catastrophic attacks on the homeland. In its first legislative response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Congress authorized the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks” of September 11th in order to prevent “any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.” Authorization for Use of Military Force, Pub. L. No. 107-40, ¤ 2(a), 115 Stat. 224, 224 (Sept. 18, 2001) (reported as a note to 50 U.S.C.A. ¤ 1541) (“AUMF”). History conclusively demonstrates that warrantless communications intelligence targeted at the enemy in time of armed conflict is a traditional and fundamental incident of the use of military force authorized by the AUMF. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the AUMF in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004), confirms that Congress in the AUMF gave its express approval to the military conflict against al Qaeda and its allies and thereby to the President’s use of all traditional and accepted incidents of force in this current military conflict—including warrantless electronic surveillance to intercept enemy communications both at home and abroad. This understanding of the AUMF demonstrates Congress’s support for the President’s authority to protect the Nation and, at the same time, adheres to Justice O’Connor’s admonition that “a state of war is not a blank check for the President,” Hamdi, 542 U.S. at 536 (plurality opinion), particularly in view of the narrow scope


President Roosevelt soon supplanted that temporary regime by establishing an office for conducting such electronic surveillance in accordance with the War Powers Act of 1941. See Pub. L. No. 77-354, § 303, 55 Stat. 838, 840-41 (Dec. 18, 1941); Gottschalk, 5 Comm. & L. at 40. The President’s order gave the Government of the United States access to “communications by mail, cable, radio, or other means of transmission passing between the United States and any foreign country.”

There are other references, but as made clear in American Big Man, the Bush Administrations logic is founded on interpreting the War Powers Resolution (WPR) and the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) in that the AUMF specifically mentions the WPR .If the WPR is indeed a "dead letter" then why does the Bush Administration use it to support their case? Why is it used in the AUMF? clearly then the assertion that the WPR does not apply, is incorrect. Also this means that the NOFP has to decide on whether it supports the Bush Administration's argument or if it is offering an alternative argument of it's own design.

Having said the above it would be pertinent to clarify for the reader that my discussion centers around what I understand to be the legal requirements of the government vis-a-vis US Citizens (referred to as U.S. Persons in various legal documents). The argument is specifically crafted against the argument proffered by the Administration and not any other supposed or hypothetical legal argument. In other words, for the sake of this argument I assume the White paper to be THE argument.

Before we continue I must also point out another disagreement with NOFP, as well as the Bush administration: That is the ubiquitous use of the term "terrorist" for the objects of surveillance. In any legal proceeding under the laws of the United States an individual is a suspect or accused (name the crime here). This is important to remember. The presumption of innocence is the foundation of the 4th Amendment arguments made here. This was a point made by me in Answering questions about American Big Man Yet NOFP, as well as other supporters of the Bush administration, insists on calling all persons under surveillance "terrorists" as if such a thing has been proven in any court of law beyond reasonable doubt. This may seem moot, but it is not, since the language presumes guilt simply because the president says so.

Let us now move to NOFP second point:

2 AUMF authorizes warrantless wiretapping: sondjata says "the AUMF was not meant to expand presidential authority." But the AUMF says what it says--it approves anti-terrorism actions that are "so fundamental and accepted an incident to war as to be an exercise of the 'necessary and appropriate force' Congress has authorized the President to use." Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, 519 (2004). The Hamdi case, of course, found that detention of combatants was a "fundamental and accepted . . . incident to war." So the question: is spying similar?

Again I posted the exact language of the AUMF: it may be found here In that post I noted:

Now here's the important thing. Section 2 (b) declares that the AUMF is meant to be consistent with the War Powers requirement (we'll get to that in a minute). and section 2(b)(2) also specifies that:

Applicability of other requirements. -- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirments of the War Powers resolution.

With that statment, we know that the AUMF was not meant to expand presidential authority beyond what is allowed by the War Powers Resolution.

Therefore to my reading, the WPR is where the buck stops in terms of presidential authority (and is why we critiqued the Supreme Court when it handed down it's asinine decision regarding Padilla and Hamdi).

Therefore, it is me saying that the AUMF doesn't expand presidential authority it is the AUMF that says it. I am merely reading what it says. The AUMF does not suddenly grant the President extra constitutional powers (we'll discuss that later) AND any authority it does give the president is in line with the War Powers Resolution (WPR).

American Big Man further detailed the WPR sections specified by the AUMF:

Authority to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances shall not be inferred--

from any provision of law (whether or not in effect before the date of the enactment of this joint resolution), including any provision contained in any appropriation Act, unless such provision specifically authorizes the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and stating that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this joint resolution;

In other word the AUMF is a specific statutory authorization within the WPR.

SEC. 8.(d)
Nothing in this joint resolution--

is intended to alter the constitutional authority of the Congress or of the President, or the provision of existing treaties; or
shall be construed as granting any authority to the President with respect to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances which authority he would not have had in the absence of this joint resolution.

If I may crystalize section 8d: "nothing in the WPR shall be construed as granting any authority to the president"..."which authority he would not have had in the absence of this joint resolution."

Again, my reading of this means that the President cannot, by the WPR, be given extra-constitutional powers. Indeed NOFP agrees with me that if the WPR could give new power to the Executive by statute, the whole process of amending the US Constitution would be turned on it's head. the WPR as invoked by the AUMF clearly does not give power to the executive that he didn't have before. So is the WPR dead?

The point NOFP makes about Hamdi has been discussed by myself my post referencing Hamdi and later in posts referencing Padilla. I believe the Court has erred in it's decision no different to how the court erred in Plessy v. Fergusson and Dredd. Fortunately, for my argument this failure though historically important, is largely irrelevant to my argument.

Having said this let us move to argument 4 of NOFP, which is getting to the heart of our disagreement:

4. Scope of Presidential power: sondjata says Bush can not short-cut Bill of Rights protections of citizens or permanent residents: "The President nor any other arm of government does not have, and never did have the constitutional right to spy on citizens without 'due process.'" Of course, Executive authority isn't unlimited. Nonetheless, it's most expansive in the face of overseas threats, as the Supreme Court confirmed in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., 299 U.S. 304, 319 (1936): "The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs." That authority is sufficient to overcome sondjata's objections.

Again, as discussed in the Big Man series, I reject court decision based arguments prior to the enactment of FISA. FISA being a result of the excesses of the executive (This will be directly discussed later), thus I find the US. V Curtiss-Wright Corp (1936) irrelevant So I won't address it. I will however address the following:

Nor are Commander in Chief powers confined to aliens.2 This was settled in Ex Parte Quirn, 317 U.S. 1, 37-38 (1942):

Citizenship in the United States of an enemy belligerent does not relieve him from the consequences of a belligerency which is unlawful because in violation of the law of war. Citizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts are enemy belligerents.

See also Hamdi: "A citizen, no less than an alien, can be 'part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners' and 'engaged in an armed conflict against the United States.'"

So the question is: are citizen belligerents entitled to exacting application of all Constitutional liberties and each jot and dot of due process? Not according to the Fifth Amendment: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger." Rather, "due process is flexible and calls for such procedural protections as the particular situation demands." Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 481 (1972) Nor do other procedural protections apply in full, as the Court held in both Quirn at 38-45 (U.S. citizen/enemy belligerent not entitled to Sixth Amendment trial by jury), and Hamdi (citizen detainee not entitled to confront witnesses nor the presumption of innocence). There's no reason to assume the Fourth Amendment is any different.

I have repeatedly stated on American Big Man as well as related posts on Hamdi and Padilla, that the Supreme Court erred in it's Hamdi decision, a decision based largely on the PATRIOT ACT, which I have also argued to be largely unconstitutional. That Hamdi or the PATRIOT ACT has not had proper judicial or legislative revue does not diminish my objection because, as stated at the outset of this piece, the Supreme Court has made errors in judgement on more than one occasion and so has the Congress. Furthermore, as pointed out in the previous American Big Man Answers post, the Hamdi decision flies is in contradiction to

(7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by
force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States,
violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of
section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in
violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384
of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down,
or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to
levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a
court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The court, in the Hamdi decision, has in effect given the executive the ability to declare a person a criminal and then deny them due process via that designation.

Furthermore the Fifth Amendment as quoted by NOFP relates to capital crimes supposedly committed by persons in the Army, Navy, National Guard. This does not apply to civilian citizens. The Quirn decision, in my opinion is also subordinated to FISA (we'll get to the specifics of that soon).

Issues 5 and 6 will be combined with issue 1, because they are in my opinion inextricably linked.

NOFP states in issue 1:

Article II powers are an alternative: sondjata says:

FISA is law. The president MUST put all domestic wiretaps through FISA.

This isn't so; the courts have flatly rejected this argument, most recently (as noted in my first post), In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717, 742 [slip op. at 48] (Foreign Intel. Surv. Ct. of Rev. 2002):

The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. It was incumbent upon the court, therefore, to determine the boundaries of that constitutional authority in the case before it. We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power.

Note the last phrase, which directly rebuts sondjata's central claim. That point was echoed by then-Attorney General Bell -- a Democrat -- testifying before Congress during debates on FISA, as quoted in the Administration's White Paper. Ask even the NY Times!

The supremacy of Presidential authority under Article II, Section 1, cl. 5 is settled law, see United States v. Curtiss-Wright Corporation, 299 U.S. 304, 319-320 (1936), properly applied by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. It's ironic, is it not, that the left embraces a "living Constitution"--but only when they hold the leash on the outcome.

The fact that FISA authorizes another approach is not determinative, as the Supreme Court repeatedly has held in other contexts, see Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 U.S. 654, 678 (1981). Who decides whether inherent Article II authority trumps legislation? According to the Clinton-era Department of Justice, the President, because the Chief Executive:

must shoulder the responsibility of protecting the constitutional role of the presidency. This is usually true, for example, of provisions limiting the President's authority as Commander in Chief. Where it is not possible to construe such provisions constitutionally, the President has the authority to act on his understanding of the Constitution.

On wiretaps specifically, the Supreme Court in Keith declined to address the issue. Nonetheless -- as detailed in my initial post -- every court ruling on the issue has concluded that the President has the Constitutional authority to authorize national security wiretaps without warrants. Clinton's Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick said the same, agreeing with "every President since FISA's passage." Attorney General Gonzales concluded that FISA is too slow because it requires him "to determine IN ADVANCE that a FISA application for that particular intercept will be fully supported and will be approved by the court before an emergency authorization may be granted. That review process can take precious time."

In sum, FISA is law, but it's not the sole authority for wiretaps. Indeed, the implications of your position are frightening. Were Congress' interpretation of the Constitution to control, the Supreme Court couldn't declare a law unconstitutional. Were Congress able to confine Constitutional powers, it could amend the Constitution disregarding the set-forth process for Amendment. Your argument would sanction a law declaring Governor Schwarzenegger eligible for the Presidency. Can Congress do that? Logic, and Article II, Section 1, cl. 5, say "no."

Let us look at the Sealed Case sited by NOFP what does it say about wiretaps and the fourth Amendment protections of citizens? The decision is by and large an argument declaring that the FISA court was wrong to change the requirements of a March 2002 DOJ directive and is not an argument dismissing Fourth Amendment concerns.

In opening the decision states:

Per Curiam: This is the first appeal from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
to the Court of Review since the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),
50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1862 (West 1991 and Supp. 2002), in 1978. This appeal is brought by the
United States from a FISA court surveillance order which imposed certain restrictions on the
government. Since the government is the only party to FISA proceedings, we have accepted
briefs filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)1 and the National Association of
Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) as amici curiae.
Not surprisingly this case raises important questions of statutory interpretation, and
constitutionality. After a careful review of the briefs filed by the government and amici, we
conclude that FISA, as amended by the Patriot Act,2 supports the government’s position, and
that the restrictions imposed by the FISA court are not required by FISA or the Constitution.
We therefore remand for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

In other words this decision wasn't about whether the government could go around the FISA court, which is THE issue at hand, it regards amendments to the FISA law and it's restrictions on the government. This is important. Lets jump to the end of the decision for a second:

Even without taking into account the President’s inherent constitutional authority to conduct
warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance, we think the procedures and government
showings required under FISA, if they do not meet the minimum Fourth Amendment warrant
standards, certainly come close. We, therefore, believe firmly, applying the balancing test
drawn from Keith, that FISA as amended is constitutional because the surveillances it
authorizes are reasonable.

So this decision clearly states that even though the PATRIOT Act lowered the bar (probably in an unconstitutional manner) for the FISA court, the requests of the government STILL had to come close to the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment. Therefore we MUST conclude by this statement alone that the Fourth Amendment warrabt requirements still stands. But I won't rest there. let's examine the rest of the document. The real issue at hand in this decision is the requirement that the surveillance must be primarily for foreign intelligence gathering. the PATRIOT ACT lowered the bar so that foreign intellgence gatherins is "a" purpose rather than the "primary" purpose. The distinction is important. NOFP sited the reference to the Truong case which is summarized below:

United States v. Truong Dinh
Hung, 629 F.2d 908 (4th Cir. 1980). That case, however, involved an electronic surveillance
carried out prior to the passage of FISA and predicated on the President’s executive power.
In approving the district court’s exclusion of evidence obtained through a warrantless
surveillance subsequent to the point in time when the government’s investigation became
“primarily” driven by law enforcement objectives, the court held that the Executive Branch
should be excused from securing a warrant only when “the object of the search or the
surveillance is a foreign power, its agents or collaborators,” and “the surveillance is conducted
‘primarily’ for foreign intelligence reasons.” Id. at 915. Targets must “receive the protection
of the warrant requirement if the government is primarily attempting to put together a criminal
prosecution.” Id. at 916. Although the Truong court acknowledged that “almost all foreign
intelligence investigations are in part criminal” ones, it rejected the government’s assertion
that “if surveillance is to any degree directed at gathering foreign intelligence, the executive
may ignore the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.” Id. at 915.

So prior to FISA, the courts understood that since "almost all foreign intelligence investigations are in part criminal" ones, then the government cannot throw out the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement. So if we imagined that FISA, AUMF or PATRIOT ACT didn't exist for a minute, then if the WTC bombing had occured in 1980, there would be a requirement to observe Fourth Amendment protections. So the question is then, does FISA, the AUMF and/or PATRIOT ACT change the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement which we have demonstrated did exist as of 1980.

The PATRIOT ACT Amended FISA in the following manner:

And such coordination “shall not preclude” the government’s certification that a significant purpose of the
surveillance is to obtain foreign intelligence information, or the issuance of an order authorizing the surveillance.

This is the change from the FISA requirement that foreign surveillance be the "primary purpose" to being "a significant purpose." What's significant? What is the watermark for significant? Who determines that? Either way, there is no written change regarding Fourth Amendment warrant requirements.


On March 6, 2002, the Attorney General approved new “Intelligence Sharing Procedures” to implement the Act’s
amendments to FISA. The 2002 Procedures supersede prior procedures and were designed to
permit the complete exchange of information and advice between intelligence and law
enforcement officials. They eliminated the “direction and control” test and allowed the
exchange of advice between the FBI, OIPR, and the Criminal Division regarding “the initiation,
operation, continuation, or expansion of FISA searches or surveillance.”

So at the heart of the decision discussed here is the March 2002 procedures which the FISA court modified:

Given our experience in FISA surveillances and searches, we find
that these provisions in sections II.B and III [of the 2002
Procedures], particularly those which authorize criminal
prosecutors to advise FBI intelligence officials on the initiation,
operation, continuation or expansion of FISA’s intrusive seizures,
are designed to enhance the acquisition, retention and
dissemination of evidence for law enforcement purposes,
instead of being consistent with the need of the United States to
“obtain, produce, and disseminate foreign intelligence
information” . . . as mandated in §1801(h) and § 1821(4).

Again this is what is at the center of this decision. The decision upholds the government's objections to the modifications detailed above. Note there is NO discussion of Fourth Amendment requirements. Let's move to Section III of the decision which directly deals with the issue of the Fourth Amendment:

we are obliged to consider whether the statute as amended is consistent
with the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment provides:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,
shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to
be seized.

Although the FISA court did not explicitly rely on the Fourth Amendment, it at least suggested
that this provision was the animating principle driving its statutory analysis.
The FISA court
indicated that its disapproval of the Attorney General’s 2002 Procedures was based on the need
to safeguard the “privacy of Americans in these highly intrusive surveillances and searches,”
which implies the invocation of the Fourth Amendment. The government, recognizing the
Fourth Amendment’s shadow effect on the FISA court’s opinion, has affirmatively argued that
FISA is constitutional.
(My emphasis)

So Fourth Amendment concerns are stated to be the "principle driving it's statutory analysis" and the Bush Administration (The government) has agreed that FISA is constiutional and that FISA operates in the "shadow" of the Fourth Amendment.


And some of the very senators who fashioned the Patriot Act
amendments expected that the federal courts, including presumably the FISA court, would
carefully consider that question. Senator Leahy believed that “[n]o matter what statutory
change is made . . . the court may impose a constitutional requirement of ‘primary purpose’
based on the appellate court decisions upholding FISA against constitutional challenges over
the past 20 years.” 147 Cong. Rec. S11003 (Oct. 25, 2001). Senator Edwards stated that “the
FISA court will still need to be careful to enter FISA orders only when the requirements of the
Constitution as well as the statute are satisfied.” 147 Cong. Rec. S10589 (Oct. 11, 2001).

So in addition to the FISA court recognizing Fourth Amendment concerns AND the government's acknowledgment of such, we have two congressmen on record stating that the requirements of the Constitution must be satisfied, which means Fourth Amendment.


Turning then to the first of the particularity requirements, while Title III requires
probable cause to believe that particular communications concerning the specified crime will
be obtained through the interception, 18 U.S.C. § 2518(3)(b), FISA instead requires an official
to designate the type of foreign intelligence information being sought, and to certify that the
information sought is foreign intelligence information. When the target is a U.S. person, the
FISA judge reviews the certification for clear error, but this “standard of review is not, of
course, comparable to a probable cause finding by the judge.” H. REP. at 80. Nevertheless,
FISA provides additional protections to ensure that only pertinent information is sought. The
certification must be made by a national security officer–typically the FBI Director–and must
be approved by the Attorney General or the Attorney General’s Deputy. Congress recognized
that this certification would “assure[] written accountability within the Executive Branch” and
provide “an internal check on Executive Branch arbitrariness.”
H. REP. at 80. In addition, the
court may require the government to submit any further information it deems necessary to
determine whether or not the certification is clearly erroneous. See 50 U.S.C. § 1804(d).
(my emphasis)

The FISA court is deemed to provide the constitutional protections of US persons as required by the Fourth Amendment and is explicitly "an internal check on executive branch arbitrariness"


We do not decide the issue but note that to the extent a FISA order comes
close to meeting Title III, that certainly bears on its reasonableness under the Fourth

Can't make it any plainer that FISA is the mechanism to properly surveil US persons and bypassing FISA is equal to bypassing constitutional warrant requirements. and is therefore an abridgment of of Fourth Amendment rights. This leads us back the conclusion cited at the beginning of this section:

Although the Court in City of Indianapolis cautioned that the threat to society is not
dispositive in determining whether a search or seizure is reasonable, it certainly remains a
crucial factor. Our case may well involve the most serious threat our country faces. Even
without taking into account the President’s inherent constitutional authority to conduct
warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance, we think the procedures and government
showings required under FISA, if they do not meet the minimum Fourth Amendment warrant
standards, certainly come close. We, therefore, believe firmly, applying the balancing test
drawn from Keith, that FISA as amended is constitutional because the surveillances it
authorizes are reasonable.

(My emphasis)

In other words, FISA is constitutional because it comes close to the warrant requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

So, in conclusion,

1) The FISA court fulfills 4th Amendment requirements and is intended to curb executive excess.
2) The PATRIOT ACT does not displace FISA. nor is intended to delegitimize the FISA court
3) the AUMF does not give the president any authority that he didn't have before it's passing and is based in the WPR
4) The War Power's Resolution underscores the position that the presidential powers are not expanded by statute.

Therefore if the president took upon himself to expand his power and bypass the FISA courts. he has broken the law. He has broken a few laws.
Even with the ill decided Hamdi case, the President broke the law. The sad part is he didn't have to. Since he had the Attorney General in his pocket he could push through any request he wanted. There was no need to bypass the court. This was a power grab plain and simple and it was unconstitutional.
Furthermore, by admitting, in public that he did indeed bypass the FISA court the President has admitted to violating his oath of Office, which is to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. Therefore the president has in fact admitted, on record to have committed a crime against the US government, has violated his oath and should be immediately removed from office, charged and tried for the appropriate crime.


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