This piece was initially written as an email to two Elders who have often bemoaned the lack of unity that we as African people have demonstrated over these many generations since the Ma'afa (a Twi word meaning "great disaster", used by Pan-Afrikan historians and activists to describe the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the Arab Slave Trade, the Scramble for Africa and the suffering African people have endured as a result).  I meant it as a helpful response to their question (which was probably rhetorical anyway) about why our people continue to act in such a self-destructive manner, refusing to hear the words of our knowledgeable Elders and instead preferring the siren song of the corporate interests who wish to keep us subjugated as compliant consumers and labor lackeys to keep the wheels of their industry moving.  When my email was returned to me with the message "the recipient is only accepting mail from specific email addresses", it became clear to me that, while the message was meant to be distributed broadly so that all could hear the wisdom of their words, they did not themselves wish to hear the words of the rest of us.  In other words, this was to be a one-way discussion.  And, apparently (and unfortunately), the only answer they wished to see or hear was the rest of us unifying under their leadership.

I've encountered a number of wise and well-meaning activists and organizers, such as these respected Elders, who have taken this view, that they are the ones with the answers and all others should simply follow their banner.  The organization I belong to, the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC), is a coalition-based organization that realizes that such an approach will often fail to attract allies who already have ideas and organizations of their own.  SRDC has attempted to form cooperative partnerships with other organizations whose response was simply "join under us and then we will work together."  These partnerships failed to materialize because we could not subordinate our mission to someone else's, but we were willing to work side-by-side with other organizations in areas of shared interest, an offer which has often been refused.  Our various organizations' utter failure to work together in such a unified and cooperative manner (despite our avowed reverence for the principles of Kwanzaa, specifically Unity--Umoja--and Collective Work and Responsibility--Ujima) actually underlines the primary reason why the words of our enemies carry so much more weight than do our own with our own people. 

I'm not saying that the Elder's complaint was without merit; quite the contrary.  He is absolutely right: our grassroots communities easily and readily swallow the brainwashing and propaganda that is fed to them by the powers that be.  Where I differ with the Elder is in his seeming surprise and bewilderment as to the reason why this is happening.  It is not because of some magic spell that has been cast over our people.  It is not because of some myth of intellectual or moral inferiority that right-wingers try to sell us.  It is not even so much because of Western "tricknology", though it is a tool that is used to deliver the poisonous messages our enemies feed us.  It is because, as much as anything else, of our own inability, or refusal, as self-styled "leaders", to actively model the unity and cooperation we want the masses to practice to lift our communities up. 

The messages with which our communities are bombarded--Look out for Number One, Individual Freedom, Personal Responsibility, I Gotta Get Mine--have profoundly influenced us, and not for the better.  While it took military coups d'état and the imposition of military dictatorships to turn communities in Latin American countries and even villages against each other, the unraveling of the fabric of our Village was accomplished more through a coup d'esprit--the conquest of our spirit through a combination of drugs, deprivation, fear and propaganda.  The major entertainment media (which often masquerade as news) and the corporate interests that control them were able to pull off this stunt in a way that was well-coordinated and affected our collective psyche across the board.  This is largely because of the fact that they are well organized in spite of belonging to different organizations and corporations.  While they all have their specific organizational interests (mainly profit), they all agree on the basic narrative to feed to our people, and thus their message is well crafted, organized and unified.  They often sit on each others' Boards of Directors and, though they may be competitors in many ways, they have learned to support each other in a variety of projects.  Even going back in history, we see this level of cooperation.  At the Berlin Conference, supposedly-competing countries "cooperated" to divide Mother Africa up so that each of them was given control of specific, resource-rich sectors of our ancestral home, knowing that they would all benefit at our collective expense.  This spirit of cooperation would ultimately serve them well in the two World Wars, when first Otto Von Bismarck, then Adolf Hitler and the Axis Powers, decided to attempt to conquer all of Europe for themselves.  The countries of Europe, including the United States and Russia in World War II, not only cooperated militarily, they also worked together to develop and implement the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe.  Thus, our historical oppressors from the United States and Europe have been practicing "Ujima" (Collective Work and  Responsibility) and "Umoja" (Unity) for hundreds of years before we even mouthed the words. 

We as African people do no such thing.  With the exception of the occasional slave revolt, civil-rights march  or presidential election, we seem unable to truly come  together and cooperate on anything without our own self-interested aims derailing our efforts.  (The African Union is trying to provide an example of cooperation among member states, but that project, much like the Organization of African Unity which it replaced, is being challenged as well, from inside and from outside the organization.)  Our different organizations are still involved in the "me-first" game and no other strategy is acceptable.  To us, unity seems possible only through conquest and the absorption of other groups' members.  If people do not join our organization and follow our specific organizational agenda, we assume that they do not wish to work with us and that they are against Pan-African Unity. 

This, our refusal to even work in cooperation with each other while our enemies have been doing so for generations, is the main reason why our message goes unheeded by the masses of our people.  We are so busy competing with, contradicting and fighting ourselves that our messages of liberation and uplift sound jumbled and self-contradictory; why should anyone listen to us talking about unity when we all fight amongst ourselves?  The corporations, while they do compete with each other for the biggest share of the profits, are at least selling us, by and large, the same thing, and have agreed to use their common media outlets
to send us the same basic message of what we should call ourselves and what dreams we should seek to attain.  Our ironically self-described Pan-Afrikan organizations, however, disagree on what we should call ourselves, what our relationship should be to Africa and what is best for us as a people, and they all seem to insist that they alone are the path to our psychological, economic and political freedom and that all others must join them and them alone.

The fact is that our different organizations are not going to join each other.  You may have no interest in "joining" my organization, the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus or SRDC (not that I'm insisting that you do) because you want to continue to build your organization, and I don't have the time or energy to join other organizations because I'm quite busy with more than enough unpaid work helping to build SRDC. 

However, this need not be a major problem or an impediment to our organizing efforts.  While we in SRDC are still focused on building our organization and establishing a means to bring the voice of the Grassroots Communities of the African Diaspora to the World Stage (be that through the African Union, World Social Forum or other vehicles), we also recognize that, while our different organizations are not ready to join each other, they can, and must, find a way to work together cooperatively for the education, mobilization and general uplift of African people, as the corporations of our adversaries do in their effort to strengthen their control over us.  
I have been reaching out, on behalf of SRDC, to other organizations that have shown an interest in working cooperatively.  I've concentrated my efforts in the area near where I live, and as a result I've gotten a few interested responses from some of the Continental African organizations in the Washington DC area, even though many of them would tell you that their perspective on who the African Diaspora is (that the Diaspora is primarily Continental Africans who emigrated from the Mother Continent to the West) are often quite different from that of SRDC and of African Descendants in general (that the Diaspora includes all people of African descent who live outside the African Continent).  Still, if there is a way for Continental Africans and African Descendants to engage in constructive planning so that we can eventually develop a narrative of Diaspora Unity instead of the individualistic disunity and thoughtless consumerism that our adversaries teach us, I hope to be a part of that planning process.  I don't expect these organizations to join SRDC, but my hope is that they will agree to work alongside us to reach out to, organize and galvanize the African Diaspora so that the aims of all our organizations can be attained.  

If this sounds like an acceptable arrangement, I am prepared to hear from you so that we can make plans to move all of our people forward.  Just leave a comment here, or send an email to

Peace and Power,
Bro. Cliff

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  • Chicago-Midwest

    Brother Cliff, your statement is eloquently stated and should be branded on the foreheads of us all. I'd like to join you, I'm experiencing difficulty gaining traction here in Chicago with an organization that I founded 23 years ago. My problem is that I have successfully managed to avoid being compromised by white people and don't need them to do my thinking. 

    Manus A. Edwards, Pres. Founder,

    International Organization of Working Churches (IOWC)

  • West

    Gentlemen the powers that work to control our people all over the world don't always agree but they do put their differences aside in order to control the power. We must sit down at the table of brotherhood and agree to disagree. we don't all have to think the same ideas but' we must agree to stop playing the white man's game. In our perspective venue's we must at least work together on controling the information that goes into our childrens minds. All wars are not won on the battle field. we must win back our brothers and sisters minds by replacing the lies with true knowledge of self' we must help them restore their free will and spirit. We  can win this war we have to know it and not beleive in something unseen or unproven. The most dangerous weapon we have is our brain lets reclaim it.  hotep family.


  • Caricom

    Brother Cliff, greetings. I know that you and others mean well by trying to find ways to change the wicked global white supremacy system. However, we all seem to make the same fatal mistake - we want to play in the white man's sandbox and change the rules of operation in the white man's sandbox.

    He has designed it in such a way that the more effort you put into trying to change it, the stronger it's grip becomes upon you. Your energy feeds the white man's system and keeps it alive and well.

    Most of us recognize that we cannot win against the white man economically, militarily, politically or religiously. Why? Because all of these key components of the wicked global white supremacy system are controlled by the white man, plus the entire system is based upon "majority rule". This means whites must always outnumber blacks in this nation. Beyond that, they make certain that blacks are given artificial barriers to hurdle that do not exist for whites. Haven't you ever wondered why Cubans escaping to America are welcomed, while Haitians are turned away from these shores? Cubans can be assimilated. Blacks cannot. 

    Plus, the economic system is a closed loop system. This means that the wicked global white supremacy system is designed in such a way that no matter how much money you make, the white man gets it back from you - one way or another.

    To use LeBron James as an example. This brother is acknowledged as the best basketball player in the NBA and is likely the highest paid player as well. He earns massive amounts of money with endorsements, etc.

    Yet, the bottom line is LeBron is an employee of the white man. All the money earned by LeBron must be spent in the white man's global commercial empire. What else is he going to do with it? No matter how rich and powerful LeBron or MJ or Magic or any other superstar blacks become, they will always be captive to the wicked global white supremacy system where the white man controls everything.

    My brothers, our disunity is a symptom of a deeper problem - a failure to learn from history. Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. Is that not what we read here on this blog as we discuss how to address our problems? Nothing new or different or innovative. We keep singing the same old song - "we must come together as a people to get anything done". 

    Why don't we explore why, after almost 400 years of singing this same song, we cannot seem to come together? It has been said that one form of insanity is to keep doing the same things and expecting different results.

    We all agree we must come together in order to accomplish anything in this system. Perhaps we should open our minds and hearts to some some new ideas, concepts and strategies, no matter how "off the wall" they may sound. WHY?

    Removing corrupt officials will not change anything unless they are replaced with men and women who fear God and cannot be bribed. 

    Understanding the laws in our states and how to apply them to our people in an organized way will not change anything without a people who fear God and cannot be bribed.

    Racism is a team sport and the white European has mastered this sport. Whites who refuse to cooperate with the global white supremacy system are shoved aside. Blacks who cooperate with the system are rewarded with high offices, are lionized in the media and are handsomely paid to keep us under control.

    IMHO we are dealing with a deeply spiritual problem here that requires a spiritual solution. I would suggest that we resist rejecting spiritual ideas and suggestions out of hand and give them serious thought, research, meditation and prayer.

    Perhaps then, under a different mindset and motivation, we can discover the secret of our unity.

    Shalom, my dear brothers and sisters. 

  • Canada

    The situation is not difficult to understand or even to fix. Afrika has to first be united by any means necessary. This means the removal of each and every president or president wanna-be who does not agree with this unity by any means necessary. These leaders are easy to identify, they love their colonial names, they love colonial clothes, food and women and as soon as we get rid of them by any means necessary we are wasting words.

  • South
    The continental and Diaspora Africans have fundamental problems regarding organizing our people in America. Many of us have no knowledge of the enabling laws in our states and how to apply them to our people in an organized way. We take things for granted and that is why many of the non Africans are making rapid advances in social building than we. We have problems which we hardly speak of. For that matter it makes no difference what I write to tell the reading public what we must do.  But on the whole even Jonny Cocran whom I considered one of the noble scholars among Africans in America decided that since there is nothing for him in the formation of social organization, he was not interested. He died six months later. The struggle continue but the Africans in America must wake up. 
    The email below is one of the most important writings that I have read since the Internet came as a social media. You will note that the writer is asking a very basic question which any group should ask. Why do we not have leaders?. In Africa our political parties give us leaders. We may take the works of the political parties for granted but believe me or not every society needs leadership.
    Go to any African city, town, or village and you  will encounter the leaders either as political leaders or as Kings or rulers. In places where the Kings rule, the laws of the society are so fundamental that even a stranger can obey them without knowing.
    When the European came to conquer our rulers, they imposed their European ways of life including municipalities on the Africans and that is when the leaders  were appointed by the Europeans or elected. After independence, the elected central government appoints all the leadership in the country.
    The African Americas, as educated as they are have abandoned their communities. The enabling laws permit us to organize ourselves either as profit or non profit organizations. The nonprofit organization such as SADA is supposed to help our people for no profit and must be supported by donations and other grants. But our people do not know  and those who know have refused even to live in the very community they were born in  hence the problems below.
    The writer of the email below assume that African Americans are organized and therefore there must be a leader.  Frankly, after going through schooling in the USA, living among African Americans from 1962 to present, I have never heard of any African America forming a social organization.
    Without a social organization, how do we select a leader?.  The Latinos have LARAZA, the Jews have B' Nai Brith and what has blacks in America. There is NAACA and also, the Urban League. These are ancient organizations that have lost their meaning. 
    When SADA was formed in 1972, there were several other organizations that I felt had a purposes. Unfortunately, these other organizations were militant organization and did not survive or most of them like Pride Incorporated, OIC and many others were formed not support the community but to create jobs. The Africans in America have their sense of racial identity and can mainly relate to  money.
    So without a national organization where do we get a leader?. I need not tell you the history of African Americans in USA. It has not been easy for us living here since 1619. No Africa is permitted to organize without being killed.
    The latest killings were in 1968 and some years before 1968. Read the "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass" to see how our ancestors who stood to conquer slavery faced the atrocities of the slave masters. So for the email below, if he is really serious, his question should be why do we not have organizations.
    The only organized groups the masters permitted were the CHURCHES. So that the Africans can go to Heaven. Africans do not go to heaven when we die.  We go to Asamando. The land of our Ancestors.
    Kofi Agyapong
    SADA, Join us at and
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