Saturday, November 3, 2007

The 1st Annual Black-Nationalist Fantasy Deconstruction Weekend

There’s a potentially interesting online debate occurring this weekend between two black bloggers: conservative Michael Cobb Bowen (who blogs as Cobb) and racial nationalist Michael Fisher (who leads a group blog called The Assault on Black Folk’s Sanity).

The debate is being hosted by E.C. Hopkins at his blog. (Mr. Hopkins is an ideological bedfellow of Michael Fisher’s.) Hopkins even came up with a logo for the event.

For 48 hours, beginning last evening, Cobb and Fisher will trade vigorous arguments around this proposition:

That America’s black elite should devote itself to tearing down “the Global System of White Supremacy,” said system being “the foremost hindrance to the cultural, political, and economic advancement of Black people in the U.S. and around the world.”

The “Global System of White Supremacy” is defined as “all thoughts and behaviors that work to establish, promote, or sustain the global dominance of people who define themselves as ‘white’ and to suppress the advancement of people whom they define as ‘non-white’ or ‘black’ on the basis of color.”

The run-up to this debate – which has included personal rancor and mutual declarations of respect – you can read about in the archives of the aforementioned blogs.

As for me... my recent discovery of Michael Fisher’s blog has stirred up my own antipathy to his fevered politics of racialist resentment and conspiratorialism.

Thus, this: my 1st Annual Black-Nationalist Fantasy Deconstruction Weekend.

The ideology of black nationalism – into which I’d fold radical-left “Black Power” movements, esoteric religions such as the Nation of Islam, and “Afrocentric” pedagogy – has enchanted many black folks, especially in the last 40 years.

And black nationalism has inspired some very valuable cultural expressions, especially in the areas of music, literature and oratory. In the normal mix of things here at UBM, I would celebrate those and study those.

This weekend isn’t about that. It’s about deconstruction. It’s about challenging the romanticism, anti-intellectualism and hatred of America that suffuses a racialist ideology.

I’ll begin by simply presenting a piece of audio... an excerpt of a 1974 track by the noted poet Haki Madhubuti (formerly Don L. Lee), backed by the Afrikan Liberation Arts Ensemble. The piece is titled “Black Man.” It epitomizes the fantasy ideation of black nationalists.

Click here to hear it on my Vox blog. (Madhubuti’s album “Rise Vision Comin” is downloadable from iTunes.)

12 comments:

Michael Fisher said...

Dave:

Looks like you got a ass whooping coming you way.

David Mills, Come On Down

Hope you are up to the challenge.

Undercover Black Man said...

Mr. Fisher, I cannot accept an engagement on the terms proposed by Mr. Nulan.

First, I reject the style of dialectic argumentation demonstrated at Maxambit over the weekend... because it is a European invention, and thus is disconsonant with the nature of non-white peoples.

Second, I seek to minimize the amount of time I spend on the Internet, because the Internet is a creation of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex, the spearpoint of the Global System of White Supremacy, and thus cannot serve the interests of non-white peoples.

Third, I resent having to express my thoughts using the Latin alphabet, because it is a white creation.

However, given the impracticality of Mr. Nulan and I ever squaring off directly with voices and drums, I think a frank, unstructured dialogue would be of more value than a pseudo-intellectual circle jerk.

Let's just talk.

brotherkomrade said...

While I don't agree the the basis of "It's all about race", from Micheal, I can't believe the flag-waving, bible-thumping reactionary beliefs of Cobb gets a pass.

cnulan said...

David, I consider you ethically disinclined to dialogue in good faith. (the attacks you put up here this weekend underscore my assertion) My admittedly limited exposure to your rhetoric and presentation has led me to conclude not only that you and I are not fellow travelers, but that our exchanges will be inherently finite and adversarial.

You started this game with me over at blackprof.com. From where I sit, we've just never gotten around to finishing it. Evidently, you're not up to the challenge of doing so at this time.

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"First, I reject the style of dialectic argumentation demonstrated at Maxambit over the weekend... because it is a European invention, and thus is disconsonant with the nature of non-white peoples."

This afer you explicily wanted to "lace up" and jump in?

Dang, the man is scared... In "the Wire" terms, a pussy.

I sincerely wouldn't have believed it. I had thought that you are confident enough to best Nulan on any platform, European, Chines, African,or Betazoid.

You disappoint, Mills.

E.C. Hopkins said...

Mr. Mills:

"(Mr. Hopkins is an ideological bedfellow of Michael Fisher’s.)"

I suspect anyone who has read some of the writings I've shared in the blogosphere could find some overlap between some of my ideas and some of Mr. Fisher's. Most smart folks could probably find some overlap between some of my ideas and some of the ideas of several other Black bloggers, such as Cobb's, Les Spence's, Craig Nulan's, Spencer Overton's, Shavar Jeffries's, Makheru's, Field Negro's, or P6's. Indeed, I suspect even you and I would agree on some things. Yet you seem to be asserting that there is more than some ideological overlap between my ideas and Fisher's.

Approximately how much ideological overlap did you intend to imply when you used the term 'bedfellow' in the above-quoted sentence? 10%? 25%? 49%? 51%? 75%? 100%? Are you asserting in the above-quoted sentence that some or most or almost all or all my ideas and Fisher's are similar or the same? And what standards of measurement or methods of comparison do you use in order to determine which pairs of Black bloggers are ideological bedfellows and which are not? Are you and I bedfellows too?

Undercover Black Man said...

Are you asserting in the above-quoted sentence that some or most or almost all or all my ideas and Fisher's are similar or the same?

Greetings, Mr. Hopkins. And cheers for a long weekend's work.

My assertion was intended as a general classification, not a surgically precise identification.

If you feel it's misleading for me to have identified you as an ideological bedfellow of Fisher's, I will gladly change the wording.

E.C. Hopkins said...

Mr. Mills:

"If you feel it's misleading for me to have identified you as an ideological bedfellow of Fisher's, I will gladly change the wording."

I do not know enough about what you meant by 'bedfellow' in order to make up my mind about whether I believe you used 'bedfellow' misleadingly. I certainly agree with Fisher on some points, just as I agree with hundreds of other writers on some points. I don't mind the label "bedfellow of X." Moreover, you are free to organize your beliefs about my mind as you perceive it through my writings however you please. I just wanted to learn more about what you believe, because what you wrote was a tad ambiguous to me.

For instance, without more insight into your meaning for " ideological bedfellow of Fisher's," I really don't know whether you believe I am not also a bedfellow of Sophocles's, Epictetus's, Euripides's, Plutarch's, William Shakespeare's, Francis Bacon's (I think he probably was Shakespeare; I'm a Baconian), Marcus Aurelius's, Michel de Montaigne's, Baruch Spinoza's, Gottlob Frege's, Samuel Butler's, Ralph Waldo Emerson's, Aristotle's, Mortimer Alder's, Chinua Achebe's, Pierre Bourdieu's, Max Weber's, Leo Tolstoy's, W.E.B. Du Bois's, W.B. Yeats's, or James Baldwin's, each of whom has influenced my thinking at least as much as Fisher or any other blogger.

Undercover Black Man said...

I just wanted to learn more about what you believe, because what you wrote was a tad ambiguous to me.

Well, it certainly was a bit of shorthand. And it emanated from the fact that you guys were seeking a more "conservative" co-moderator for the debate, so that it wouldn't seem three-to-one against Cobb.

In the context of that particular debate, my purpose was to establish that your worldview was more in line with one of the debators than the other.

Admittedly, I'd need to read a lot more of what you've written to define you in any more detailed way than that.

E.C. Hopkins said...

"And it emanated from the fact that you guys were seeking a more "conservative" co-moderator for the debate, so that it wouldn't seem three-to-one against Cobb."

I see. The above-quoted statement is false. The "fact" you reference does not exist, because you get the reason why a conservative moderator was sought wrong. I explained my reasons for seeking a conservative co-moderator to one of our fellow Black Bloggers, whose nom de blog is Charles Follymacher, in this comment.

My philosophical and ideological beliefs differ significantly from both Cobb's and Fisher's. They are also somewhat similar to Cobb's and Fisher's. Yet, I've not agreed completely with more than 30% of either blogger's written arguments, agreeing with Cobb about as often as I agree with Fisher.

Undercover Black Man said...

Dag, Mr. Hopkins, you slice things rather fine. The comment you link to is exactly the one which stuck in my mind:

"My purpose in requesting the help of a conservative moderator is to protect against my and cnulan's unintentional biases (biases we will do our best to suppress while we act as moderators)..."

Fair to say, then, that your and Craig's "biases" would tilt you in Fisher's direction. Which was my point in the first place.

In any case, I appreciate you adding me to your blogroll, and I have added you to mine. And I look forward to exploring your politics deeper.

E.C. Hopkins said...

Here's the thing. Even though I was confident Craig would be as objective as he could be, I also suspected his beliefs were more similar to Fisher's than Cobb's. And, even though I believed my beliefs were equally dissimilar from both Cobb's and Fisher's, I was not as familiar with Cobb's beliefs and arguments as a conservative blogger might have been. Therefore, I feared Craig and I might both be biased, but for different reasons.

At the time I made the request, I thought it might make the moderation project more balanced and less cumbersome if there were a third moderator who clearly leaned towards Cobb ideologically. Then we would have had one moderator who clearly leaned towards Cobb, one who clearly leaned towards Fisher, and one, me, who didn't clearly favor one over the other. If the reason for my request were to correct a three-to-one ideological imbalance, then I would have needed to add two conservative moderators to the mix; that would have evened things out at three-on-three. But that wasn’t my reason.

I look forward to future exchanges Mr. Mills.