The Revolution Will Be Tweeted: Why It's Not Enough To Talk The Talk

The Revolution Will Be Tweeted: Why It's Not Enough To Talk The Talk

Today's Pan-Africanism and the parallels between #BlackLivesMatter and #ThisFlag
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Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Biko and Huey P. Newton. Robert Sobukwe and Malcolm X. African liberation movements and the American civil rights movement, and their corollary of Black Consciousness have mirrored and borrowed from each other for years, forging connections between the US and the continent that most people either aren’t aware of or choose to ignore. Kwame Nkrumah, in his vision for Ghana's independence, borrowed a lot from Marcus Garvey's thoughts on Pan-Africanism, which were in turn taken on by many African countries in their independence movements. Over time, however, Pan-Africanism has been diluted and taken on multiple meanings. Politicians like Thabo Mbeki called for “economic Pan-Africanism,” leaders like Robert Mugabe and the late Muammar Gaddafi sought “political Pan-Africanism” and the proponents of the Negritude movement engaged in what one could call an “intellectual Pan-Africanism.” The point is, ideals of Pan-Africanism have intertwined black people everywhere for a long time, and this has not always been for the better.

In our day, social media has become a platform for the sharing of content, ideas and movements. There’s a new kind of black experience, where we - via Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and the like - are connecting with each other, and with this hyper-exposure we’ve been forced to grapple with ideas about what it really means to be black. Siyanda Mohutsiwa in her TedTalk coined the term “social Pan-Africanism” to indicate this sense of interconnectedness, particularly on the interwebs. And although she meant it in a distinctly positive sense, the flip-side is that “Africa” ceases to be a real place with real people, and instead becomes a romanticised, exoticized entity.


We latch onto this new version of Pan-Africanism without stopping to think about its implications. Festivals like Afropunk try to cash in on this new sense of shared identity, and artists like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar embrace it in their music videos and performances, all the while refusing to tour on the continent or really try to gain an understanding of all the symbolism they like to employ. This has often erupted in heated debates, such as the whole debacle aboutBlack Americans appropriating African culture sparked by Zipporah Gene, which tend to spiral unnecessarily into oppression Olympics. Most recently, however, this issue has been apparent in the parallels between the #BlackLivesMatter movement and movements on the continent like #ThisFlag.


#BlackLivesMatter has been a force to be reckoned with for a while now. Sparked by outrage at the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in 2012, the movement has been bringing awareness to and resisting the modern day genocide against black people in the United States. Protests against police brutality and systemic racism have gained so much traction that #BlackLivesMatter has received solidarity from all over the place - including the continent.


Ryan Lenora Brown interviewed South African students for an article in the CS Monitor, and wrote about a student activist who said “We are lamenting the same pain we are feeling with them. We are here to send the message that black lives matter everywhere in the world.” Africans have taken on the Black Lives Matter movement, in the spirit - I would argue - of the social Pan-Africanism that Siyanda Mohutsiwa speaks of. The problem, however, is a profound lack of reciprocity.

The #ThisFlag movement of Zimbabwe was born in much the same way #BlackLivesMatter was - it’s a movement of the people, protesting unjust systems that have been in place for too long. Pastor Evan Mawarire, “through his social media movement... has been backing a stay-away campaign this month to protest about perceived corruption and economic mismanagement” (BBC News). When police arrested him on trumped-up charges and he was likely to disappear mysteriously into the bowels of the judicial system, when police were beating old women in the streets for carrying their flags, when people were assaulted for staying home from work in protest, Zim Twitter’s outrage spilled into the streets and held the justice system accountable for its actions, ultimately resulting in Pastor Evan’s release.


Africans all over the continent, frightened for loved ones and angry at the state of affairs, jumped onto the hashtag, raising a complete ruckus. But there was a blanket of silence from African Americans. In the week of the climax of the #ThisFlag movement, I would scroll through my Twitter TL and nobody outside of people directly affected was talking about it. Ditto with Facebook. Ditto with Tumblr. I was perplexed. Where was this Pan-Africanism that African-Americans were so defensive of in the cultural appropriation conversation? In the Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar conversation? In the Afropunk conversations? In the wake of all the solidarity received for the Black Lives Matter movement, where was the solidarity for Zimbabwe?


Pan-Africanism is about more than just wearing kente headwraps and knowing a couple of words of Swahili. Pan-Africanism is about more than just the intellectual traditions of the 50s and 60s. Pan-Africanism is about more than just lip service. And while it’s spiralled into so many different tributaries and taken on many different meanings that we’re all still trying to figure out, showing up for each other is the first step.

So if you’re willing to talk the talk, please be willing to take the first step with us.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Diplomacy and Revolution

Creating A Federation With The Nation’s 19,505 Cities, Towns, and Villages, And Dissolving The 50 States Of The Union; Will Prevent The United States Of America From Balkanizing As Its Empire Declines.
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As it has become undeniable under the current administration of Donald Trump, the United States has entered its imperial decline as a global hegemonic force. The economic stability of the US dollar as a global currency is wavering and the military apparatus that spans the globe is starting to grind under its own contradictions as an occupying force. As these contradictions start to buckle under their own weight, the economic collapse and military retraction in the United States hegemony is an undeniable calculation. As this economic collapse occurs, the need to reorient economic priorities will be an imperative. As our global military network and apparatus starts to evolve and retract as an occupying force, it will require a new examination of what it means to provide the security of persons in the 21st-century. These questions will be placed in needed context, as external forces press the rapid advancement of these changes; as well as domestic forces trying to acclimate to this rapid transition. As we saw in the past with the Articles of Confederation in the late 18th century, the priorities of the states and their self interests and loyalty to wealth and power place the Federal Union of the United States under threat of internal instability and external pressures that will lead to an inevitable crisis unseen in the United States since the days of the Civil War. To avoid these destabilizing factors, the wise attempt to reconstruct the Federal structure of the United States must be applied.

To do this, we must recognize that our democracy is rooted in the diplomacy between various republics; forming the federation that established the Union of the United States of America under the pretext of the Constitution. Diplomacy must be re-oriented on the municipal level to deal with the shifts of modern communication and transportation advancement; so as to avoid Balkanization. We must keep in mind that Federalism, a federation, is a structure that offers the means of ensuring a formalized diplomatic structure between communities. The Iroquois Confederacy in which the United States Union was based off of focused on representation via tribes; this localized format must be present in any transitional new system. Coupled with a format of modern technological development, a federation of municipalities is perfectly plausible for the various communities throughout the entire United States thanks to current communication and transportation systems; with evolving transportation and communication systems increasing the feasibility and ease of such a networked systems.

We have (as of 2015 data) 19,505 cities, towns, and villages in the United States. As the American empire declines, the calculation that economic divisions will spark a disunity internally must be avoided at all cost via re-federalizing. It is perfectly plausible to create a federation out of the 19,505 communities using representation of each in a federal congress. We have sports stadiums that can house tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of spectators; it would be perfectly plausible create a federal congress using such scales of construction. It would also ensure management of sub regional, regional, and super-regional networks that are internal mechanisms used for unifying local and federal systems. Not only will this new federal system prevent Balkanization and disunity of the American people, it will also offer the potentiality for economic reconstruction with the emphasis on self sustainability and self-sufficiency for every community. Utilizing social contracts such as a Second Bill of Rights to provide things such as food, water, energy, infrastructure, knowledge, and productive abilities for every community and every individuals. Living up to the motto of the United States E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One; as well as ensuring life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in the 21st-century.

Our present is not the first time that the United States has risked division, as already mentioned the Articles of Confederation brought us to the edge of a complete breakdown of the Union, which was operating as only a mere confederation at the time. The slave master rebellion of 1861 that ignited what became known as the Civil War brought the United States further to the precipice of disunity. But as the Union has shown to withstand not only internal strife and division brought on by economic stratification, we have developed a federal system that has expanded its influence around the globe. As we wise up to the foolishness of attempting to assert hegemony over the peoples of the world; we will start to recognize that the survivability of our own systems will rely on a new unifying effort. One that will require nothing less than the declaration of a new Federation of the Peoples of America; guaranteed under the Declaration of Independence and Constitution that set forth to lay the foundations of the United States today. With the same mentality of transition between the Articles of Confederation to the Federal Constitution, and with the pretext of legal declaration such as the Emancipation Proclamation; we can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the past through federalizing anew. And through a new Federation, finally creating the principles and ideals that we laid out in our past but have yet to live up to in the present; by becoming at true Union of Peoples.

Cover Image Credit: Shutterstock

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The Importance Of Empathy

How just meeting new people can make all the difference in your life
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Merriam Webster Dictionary describes “empathy” as, “The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

During such a time with increasing social, political, and societal divide, a better comprehension of empathy would do wonders to lessen this divide.

Attaining a better sense of empathy allows for one to build upon their perspective and have a better understanding of the people around them. While it may sound too cliche or rudimentary, the best way to build a strong sense of empathy is to explore new things and new people.

In high school I was involved with football, the TV show, the art department, the drama department, the spirit club, etc.. In the fall I attended community college, and now I attend the University of Southern California. I have been able to surround myself with people of different passions, socio-economic backgrounds, and perspectives. All of which makes up a lot of who I am today.

Then while I may have my own preconceived opinions and views, I have fostered some ability to understand the point of views and thought processes of the people around me. Whether it be an privileged high school athlete, or a low-income community college art student, I have been able to interact with people across the spectrum of perspectives.

Surrounding myself with such a variety of people shapes who I am and builds me a stronger sense of self. Then while all these people I have interacted may not be my best friends, nor may I even get along with them all, I at least know where they are coming from and look at them with more than one lens of thought.

From the high school students trying to do something new and build their resume, to the successful college student who just wants to meet some more people outside of their hometown, I cannot stress enough how much getting outside of one’s comfort zone and getting to know people you may have never even spoken to before.

Just by surrounding oneself with a variety of passionate and well-intentioned people, a strong sense of empathy can be fostered. With racial and socio-economic tensions flaring consistently, society would greatly benefit if people just grew better understandings of one another. Once everyone beings to appreciate and value all the different perspectives and point of views that make up this world, a lot could change for the better.

Cover Image Credit: Alexis Brown

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