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PPOC/POCs and the Hip Hop Generation: One and the Same!!

May 11, 2007
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BY HAROUN AKILI MUNGU MTUMISHI (AKILI)

In order to address the three questions from issue #7 (re: hip hop) it may be best to take a materialist approach [1] by first addressing the questions within the first question, which seem to be 1a) What is hip hop/hip hop generation? and 1b) What is consciousness? To do so we will use the razor-sharp texts Blood in My Eye by George L. Jackson and False Nationalism False Internationalism (FNFI) by E. Tani and Kae Sera as our reference texts.

Now that we’ve laid our plan, let’s work our plan and see what we come up with.

1a) What is hip hop/hip hop generation?

Foremost, let’s be clear. “the hip hop generation’ is an innocuous label much like the way people refer to cats from the 60s and 70s as the Motown or Black power generation. When in reality we’ve been harmonizing our voices with the rhythm and blues of daily life and making melodies celebrating the cycles of heavens and earths since time began.

When using the handle hip hop generation, one shouldn’t take it to imply my generation is anything different than what our elders are. What it should imply is recognition of our sameness and that we as the hip hop generation realize that with the set backs of the late 70s and 80s and subsequent technological advances, we’ve come into a new phase of this protracted war with its amateur revolutionaries and intensified contradictions. Peep this…

“What imperialism is doing is simple – it is called protracted war, whether revolutionaries do it or not, the state security apparatus is right now conducting war 365 days a year, year in year out. This is currently a one-sided war with all the politicized strategy, military offensives and total command of the battlefield being held by only one side. A one-sided war is still a war. Just because people are not together or ready doesn’t mean that the state security forces are going to call a time out. Although they always like revs to think they are not really active whenever revs don’t see them: ‘out of sight out of mind” is the motto of the amateur revolutionary.” [2]

We must keep in mind revolution is scientific, and science teaches that organic formations in nature whether of a sundial seashell, spider web, the trajectory of subatomic particles, the nuclear force of atoms, the double helix of DNA, galaxies, or even thought are spiral in motion. The progression of spirals is one of condensing and intensifying with every clockwise turn, causing extreme density and heat until there is an explosion and disbursement of the particles which make up that spiraling entity.

Likewise, with every generation the contradictions which abound and are carried form one successive spiral to the next will intensify and grown in heat until there is an explosion and disbursement of energy/matter or as it’s eloquently stated in FNFI – “even when new things come into being they carry with them the old and until and unless these old ideas and class views are consciously struggled out through study and practice, the old still retains its grip.” [3]

This is not only an analogy of revs, and revolutions but of the hip hop generation.

Check it…, there’s nothing new about any of the masta’s negatives or positives that my generation displays through hip hop. What is new is the amount of crumbs falling from the masta’s table, which dull the senses and reinforce the fantasy of success, comfort and prestige, along with the fervor of onesided negative energy via technology and the manipulation of images the enemy culture puts out to the world to keep hold of its illusion of power and privilege.

However, that still doesn’t answer our question. The best way to nail it down, is to hammer out the poseurs and toys (i.e. fakes). It is not this petty bourgeois idea put forward by the ‘opportunist’ of my generation that you hop onto whatever’s hip and clamor like crabs in a bucket for the trinkets of prestige. It has not a thing to do with assimilation and integration or “dumbing down” in order to be put on a paper pedestal by corporate amerika.

Why don’t we take a sec and examine what our G has taught us about prestige, the trinkets of prestige (i.e. material possessions) and why the enemy culture
goes to great lengths to insure there are always exalted puppets of prestige “showing their tin pans to the world!” (as my grandmother would say).

For one, “Prestige stands between the masses and a revolt against their class enemy. The aura of magic, glamour, luster and splendid permanence covers the fascists like a protective layer of fat. The slimy scales of majesty shield and conceal the dilapidation of the old bourgeoisie reign of terror. Although in reality nothing remains but the illusion.” [4]

For two, “Prestige bars any serious attack on power. Do people attack a thing they consider with awe, with a sense of its legitimacy?” [5]

So, the opportunistic petty-bourgeoisie6 puppets playing dress-up in the stolen trinkets of prestige are doing nothing more than passing out diseased blankets on a global scale. Nothing has changed since G observed that the “u.s.a is the colonial master the center of the imperial process where the raw materials are worked into finished manufactured products to be recirculated back into the exterior and interior colonies.” [7] Except that the manufactured products are no longer just Fords and Chevys, but ‘pop hop’ and it’s celebrities.

What we see and hear nowadays is best described as ‘pop hop’ and its marriage to capitalism is a new take on an old trick. As we learn from FNFI, “The CIA had previously arranged for the prestigious Ford Foundation to be their main instrument for penetrating and subverting Afrikan Liberation Movements.” [8]

“Ford Foundation grants were used to fund ‘social science research’ (i.e. intelligence operations), buy off opportunistic Afrikans and cover up for U.S. subversion of popular movements.” [9] I guess we can see why everything from Nasdaq (Wall Street) traded corporations to electoral campaigns have ‘pophop’ in the backdrop, can’t we? “Good, let’s move on.”

It’s not a nation. There is no hip hop nation, nor for that matter hip hop culture. What is popularly expressed as hip hop culture is the mass marketing of varying decrees of Western idiocy and regions of oppressed people gasping for air and a decent life within the vacuousness of capitalist culture, rerocked as ‘pop hop.’

Let’s keep it one hundred, pop hop in this sense, as a culture or nation would have to be classified as another example of false nationalism, false internationalism: let’s examine what false internationalism is to see if the glove fits, so to speak.

“False Internationalism is an opportunistic alliance between petty-bourgeoisie minded elements of different nations…” [10] – Sounds like Def Jam and all these so-called independent labels being pimped by one of the 4 major corporate labels.

“False Internationalism, no matter how “Nationalist” or “Marxist” its outward dress, inevitably promotes slavish attitudes to the supposed superiority of oppressor nations, of the imperialistic way of doing things, etc.” [11] – “Revolutionary but Gangster,” self admission of dope dealing to fund one’s label/lifestyle, and other forms of petty-criminality promoted and marketed by amerikan ‘so called’ legit companies.

“False Internationalism was a cover for dis-uniting the oppressed Nation.” [12] –Misogynous attitudes dressed up as being hip; the pretend East/West coast beef, gangbanging on wax, and all the little beefs since (which might have something to do with why ‘Pac was assassinated right as he began to live up to his name and cultural legacy by starting the One Nation project).

“While False Internationalism involves deception it is more than a trick. It is a class alliance between pettybourgeois and lumpen opportunist elements from both oppressor and oppressed nations. Misleadership and continued dependency on the oppressor nation is promoted against the interest of the oppressed and the collaboration is concealed under the label of revolutionary “solidarity” or “internationalism.” [13] – Trip-out on Paris high fashion and ‘pop hop.’ The international diamond distributors and ‘pop hop,’ the nba, nfl, etc. and pop hop. The major movie studios/media outlets and pop hop – shoot, i hear even nascar is getting in on the trick nowadays.

“False Internationalism is a dangerous weapon against revolution in the hands of revisionism because it uses genuine respect for proletarian unit, in order to reintroduce oppressor nation hegemony.” [14] – Take a sec, and ponder the pop hop mayors; there are two i know of, who won based on posing as members of the hip hop generation. Vote or die, pop hop action network, etc. all of which profit off being Black/from the street, but aspire to a mansion in the hamptons and front row seats at fashion week. Now who you think gon pay for that crap?

That should confirm the glove fits, but let’s not stop here. The fact of the matter is, the hip hop generation was not born of an immaculate conception. We rose from the ashes of burnt out slums in the South Bronx NY.

As a baby we fed on the leftovers of the Black Liberation Movement, while trying to fight city hall and slumlords. As adolescents we scrapped our knees and knuckles, hopping fences in South Central Los Angeles trying to duck the police. As young adults we vacillated between cultural nationalism and petty criminality, all while mixing, scratching, breaking, bboying, tagging and bombing to the sounds of traditional Afrikan rhythms, roots and culture music, funk, blues, jazz, rock and roll, gospel and r&b. Now as an adult the hip hop generation looks squarely down the barrel of the same two-line struggle our elders were faced with…“False Internationalism confronts us with this choice, slavishness or selfreliance.” [15]

So, to speak of hip hop as a nation unto itself, a culture unto itself, is to devalue and disrespect Black Folk and our cultural heritage which is exactly what the enemy culture hopes for. Because, to snuff-out and erase hip hop’s national and cultural hegemony is another way to snuff out and erase the national and cultural heritage and value of Afrikans throughout the diaspora. Also since hip hop supposedly belongs to no culture, has no national/cultural origin, they can justifiably and safely pin the ambiguous toe-tag “amerikan made” on the zombie ‘pop hop’ and peddle it all across the globe as the number one way to blind the oppressed and insulate the decadent oppressor in a cocoon of bling bling and other bullshit things!

Point being, hip hop is not this corporate hybreed – ‘pop hop’ that’s antagonistic to our cultural heritage.

Hip hop is people’s music, it’s grassroots expression of where we’ve been, where we’re gong and how we’ll get there and remain intact.

There’s a card i keep on the wall of this cage that says “I am Afrikan not because I was born in Afrika, but because Afrika was born in me!” Well hip hop is the musical expression of that same Afrikanness born in all Blacks/Latinos throughout the diaspora and by extension the hip hop generation is a house of mirrors in this Imperialist Global Carnival, some of the images will be distorted to appear gaudy, twisted, backwards and cracked. Some will be so grotesque, you’ll want desperately to break the damn mirrors but you won’t, because the reality is that this beautifully ugly image is yours and just like the rear-view mirror in a car – “some images are closer than they appear!”

Can you dig it? Great, let’s push forward and address subquestion 1b) what is consciousness?

Thankfully, our G has answered this for us as follows, “Consciousness is knowledge, recognition, foresight, common experiences and perception, sensibility, alertness, mindfulness. It stirs the sense, the blood it exposes and suggests, it will objectify, enrage, direct…” [16]

With that, we have pretty much answered the subquestions and can now deduce for ourselves the answer to question number one. How has hip hop influenced consciousness of the hip hop generation?

Let’s continue examining consciousness, and see what else G has to say in this regard and how that helps us answer question number two: Does the hip hop generation have a role in struggle today? What is it?

G teaches us, “Consciousness is the opposite of indifference, of blindness, blankness, promoting consciousness involves the general dissemination of the concept that each of us is part of a universal action and interaction. That poles are somewhere connected, that there are natural causes for trauma, vertigo, degenerative disease” [17] and that “Consciousness grows in spirals, growth implies feeding and being fed, we feed consciousness by feeding people addressing ourselves to their needs, the basic and social needs, working organizing toward a united national left.” [18]

There is absolutely no better way to answer question number two than that. Yes, the hip hop generation has a role. Amongst other things, our role is to promote consciousness, feed consciousness by feeding the people, address ourselves as ppoc/pocs [19] to their needs, to organize ourselves nationally as a united front and organize the people along those same lines. The hip hop generation as a whole and ppoc/pocs in particular must create the antidote to the “degenerative disease” of apathy and individualism. We must instigate the spirals spinning in order to increase its speed and friction with the intent of bringing about the explosion sooner than later.

So, let’s continue to push forward and address the 3rd and final question.

3) What should ppoc/pocs be doing or how should we be using hip hop to bridge the gap and support pp/pows?

First, a few more instructive quotes from Comrade G… “After revolution has failed, all questions must center on how a New Revolutionary Consciousness can be mobilized around the new set of class antagonisms that have been created by the authoritarian reign of terror. At which level of social political and economic life should we begin our new attack?” [20]

“In order to develop revolutionary consciousness, we must learn how revolutionary consciousness can be raised to the highest point by stimuli from the vanguard elements…” [21]

As ppoc/pocs our obligation is to act as the vanguard of the hip hop generation. We must capitalize on our observations of the enemy culture such as how it uses its technology (internet blogs, social networking websites, telecom etc) to spread the degenerative disease and neo-slavery, and move in a united front on the enemy cultures inherent weaknesses (i.e. it’s so spread out, it can’t defend all points of engagement).

Specifically, we must devise ways and means to bend their media outlets and technologies to the people’s will and service. We must keep the names, stories, and ideas of PP/POWs fresh in the peoples’ mind. This is the above ground point of attack. In a culture that sells the glorification of petty-criminality and incarceration as a means to weasel its way into a ‘global marketplace’ we as ppoc/pocs have the trump card of authenticity.

As we wrap-up, asking for some ideas on how we can play our card, we would be wise to take heed to G’s instruction that “tactics designed to further the development of revolutionary consciousness must be based upon the prevailing state of class and race antagonisms, created out of the new relationship.” [22]
The “prevailing state of class and race antagonisms, created out of the new relationship” that we are most glaringly faced with is found in such state sponsored statistics as “While Afrikan-Amerikan youth make up 15% of the population they are 58% of those admitted into state prisons.” Job-based health coverage has declined, job-based pensions have declined, incomes are lower, all necessities (gas, food, energy etc) are higher, poverty is more prevalent everywhere in the u.s.a. (“77% of Los Angeles workers don’t earn enough to support a family of 323).

Hopefully, theses facts pointing to the prevailing state of class and race antagonisms along with others we experience on a daily basis have us all thinking of questions, and exploring ideas of how we can develop unitary conduct on a national level which is perfectly natural, as G teaches “unitary conduct implies a ‘search’ for those elements in our present situation which can become the basis for joint action. It involves a conscious reaching for the relevant the entente and especially, in our case the reconcilable.” [24]

My suggestion is that we solidify our vanguard position in work and direct action events, through which we can build bridges amongst ourselves, PP/POWs and meet the needs of our communities. In terms of consciousness raising, working within the frameworks of organizations like Jericho, the MX Grassroots movement and ABC will ensure PP/POWs are represented and that we have the necessary organizational tools.

Push up, push out, push back!

Akili
A. Castlin (J-99402)
(Haroun Akili Mungu Mtumishi)
C-11-220 PBSP
P.O. Box 7500
Crescent City CA 95532

1 My use/meaning of “materialist approach’ is based on Comrade G’s definition: “We’re looking for connections; the materialist approach is to examine things in their total sequence, see them in process, not to merely establish their being in fixed sequential images but to take in the state of being in process; infancy; maturity decline, things in motion, processed, into other things in motion. We’re constantly laboring to determine that which governs, regulates, motivates all the separate but related and interrelated processes – from the viewpoint that consciousness is determined by dialectical, objective developments.” (Jackson. Blood in my Eye. p. 49)
2 Tani and Sera. False Nationalism False Internationalism. p. 249.
3 Ibid. p. 192.
4 Jackson. p. 47.
5 Jackson. p. 49.
6 Tani and Sera p. 5: “The petty-bourgeoisie (literally little Bourgeoisie) is an in-between class, that neither owns the means of production and commands society as the bourgeoisie class, nor sustains society by its labor as the proletariat does. Politically the petty-bourgeoisie is a vacillating and intermediary class, shifting its position back and forth between imperialism and socialism.”
7 Jackson. p. 59.
8 Tani and Sera. p. 182.
9 Ibid. p. 182.
10 Ibid. p. 182.
11 Ibid. p. 255.
12 Ibid. p. 196.
13 Ibid. pp 3-4.
14 Ibid p. 23.
15 Ibid p. 255.
16 Jackson. p. 23.
17 Ibid. p. 22.
18 Ibid. p. 81.
19 PPOC: Politicized Prisoner of Consciousness: A captive who has been politicized (i.e. driven to political action) as a direct result of captivity and the consciousness obtained as a result of that captivity. POC: Prisoner of Consciousness: A captive/prisoner who as a result of their captivity, has become conscious of the political, socio-economic and historical conditions that lead to their captivity, but has not been politicized (i.e. driven to taking political action).
20 Ibid. p. 117.
21 Ibid. p. 12.
22 Ibid p. 80.
23 From “Left Behind: Workers and their Families in a Changing LA”. http://www.cbp.org.
24 Jackson. p. 105.

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