The “Business and Building” Political Action ‘Coffee Talk.’ Chess Playing and Power Moves: In Pursuit of A Self-Enlightened Electorate”

Sunday Morning, October 29th at 8 AM at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, as part of our “Business and Building’ Weekend, we will be hosting a 90-Minute Dialogue Session devoted to arriving at an Initiative in the area of Political Action that the entire Community can mobilize around.

For nearly seven years, we have covered the Black electorate, possibly, from more angles than any other news source. As a result, our definition of what is ‘political’ is broader and perhaps more nuanced than most are familiar with – especially those who simply equate political activity with elections.

No, at this website we look at the hidden powers behind the throne; cultural forces that affect political sentiments; opinion leaders and intellectuals from a variety of fields who influence the political debate from inside of influential think tanks; and the operation of political campaigns – whether centered around a candidate, issue, or partisan interest. We know that many things affect the political process beyond simply casting a vote and we have tried our best to help folks connect the dots and find the nexus point between politics, culture and economics all over the world that influences so much of what goes on in the ‘streets.’

In announcing our Weekend, I made a point that gets to the heart of our view of power and the process of political change and why, perhaps, the Black community has been frustrated or at least not as successful as we desire to be in extracting from the political process what we desire:

We are very excited about the planning and arrangements and look forward to another successful step toward the continued evolution of from an information platform, and educational vehicle, into a community that leverages power in pursuit of a self-enlightened interest on behalf of Black people in America and all over the world.

I believe that this effort is inspired by an idea whose time has come. Whether or not it is we, as a community, who are blessed to be among those who successfully embody or help fulfill it - only time and our actions will tell.

The reaction, response, effect and influence of this website, over the last six years, and the early positive reaction to the idea of physically coming together, lead me to believe that what we have been doing and what we want to grow to do has resonated with enough people, that there just might be a critical mass of us ready to come forward, and not only dialogue, reason and agree with one another - on the problems and solutions to the condition of Black people all over the world – but also unite and organize ourselves, to effect progressive change.

I recognize that not all of us are ready to take that step – even those who have professed forcefully that they are willing to do so. I recognize that some of us are only militant, revolutionary, progressive and entrepreneurial in rhetoric. I understand that some of us are more comfortable deconstructing problems and criticizing others than we are in constructing solutions and encouraging others. I know that some of us are bold, even thugged-out and gangster like when sitting behind a keyboard but when invited to discuss and even work out disagreement face-to-face, and participate in a real marketplace and competition of ideas – where only that which has merit prevails – we are timid and noncommittal. I hope that what we are attempting to do makes those of us in this spirit especially uncomfortable.

I and we want to encourage you to change your politics, growing it beyond reading, writing and voting. If our people are going to continue to rise we have to move beyond ‘all talk’ (or ‘all type’) and no or very little action; and certainly past voting every few years simply because someone tells us to. I also want to help stimulate a change among many sincere, hard-working activists in our community who operate on the ground in our community but who ignore, devalue or diminish the importance of strategy, leverage and negotiation in how they operate. By staying in the trenches without an air force, these fearless, progressive voices and agents of change are bombed from above.

We need both an army and an air force for the war to be won.

Creating both a Political Army and Air Force in Black America, capable of not just reacting to conditions on the ‘streets’, or the latest 'problem' in the ‘political process’, but rather understanding why the streets are political, and how to develop strategy and tactics to deal with the root of those conditions and solve problems or prevent them in a proactive way, is where we want to be.

We want to play offense as well as defense. Right now, we lean way to heavily in the direction of reaction and defense.

That is why we have placed emphasis on chess playing and power moves. We have to understand the nature of power, the nature of the political process, the nature of our interests, and the nature of strategy and how it informs activism, if we are to identify and obtain an enlightened self-interest.

To that end, our session is not solely concerned with what problems are in the Black community, politically, and solving them, in a vague and general sense. Our session is designed to help us all think through, with detail, an enlightened self-interest and the strategy and tactics necessary to obtain it. In other words, whatever anyone proposes we should do, they have to demonstrate how it operates in the three-dimensional context of the past, present, and future of the Black electorate; how it relates to the masses of Black people for good; and what the operation or campaign must be in order to successfully obtain the goal. It is not enough to be passionate, informed and educated about an issue or problems, we have to reason, and dialogue with one another over the type of organization we need to build and strategy we need to execute , in the Community to address the issue and solve the problem. So in addition to defining the problem, we will be constantly encouraged to help one another define the solution, the process that leads to it, and how we quantify and measure success.

It is intended to be a learning and transformative process for everyone who participates.

To that end our facilitator for this Political Action 'Coffee Talk', is an individual with background in campaign operations, who will not be concerned with ideology, the issue, or idea anyone has, but rather how it all evolves into a winning campaign. We are not interested in a stimulating intellectual discourse that does not lead to informed action.

Now, in that light, think over the kinds of subjects, that might appear 'philosophical' that might come up in our Session, and how they might lead to a campaign of some sort.

Is There Too Much Or Too Little Emphasis On Voting In The Black Community? Blacks And The Democratic Party. Blacks and The Republican Party. Blacks and Third Parties. Is A Synthesis Between The Thesis Of W.E.B. Du Bois and the Thesis Of Booker T. Washington Possible? Can Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Poor Whites Form A Political Alliance? The Relevance of The Congressional Black Caucus. Are We Placing Too Much Emphasis On Federal Elections Rather Than State And Local? What Political Movements Abroad Can Inform Black Voters in America? Why Is The Reparations Movement Languishing, Politically? Is There A Black Agenda – If So Where? If Not, Why Not? Where Is Tavis Smiley’s Covenant With Black America Headed In 2008? Is The “Third Force” Described At The Million Man March Viable?

My personal suggestion was that we: Identify Three To Five Congressional Black Caucus Members Apply Pressure And Negotiate A Relationship Of Accountability Where Public Support (Intellectual, Financial and Electoral) Is Provided When Warranted As Well As Resistance. Demonstrate How Power Works For and Against the Black Electorate From Inside Congress.

My idea or that of any other will have to go through the process we have described. What is your idea? How can your ideology and analysis help inform our political activism? What do you think constitutes the self-enlightened interest of the Black community?

We are determined to provide a forum and process – as we have in terms of information and education – whereby your talents, skills, interests, and concerns can be applied to the Black community at a time when our people are on a ‘death march,’ frustrated, suffering, deceived and denied freedom, justice, and equality, in part, by the nature of the American political system and our own lack of sophistication in engaging and negotiating it and clearly identifying what we want in it.

If you want to make a difference and contribution in this crisis and be part of a positive and progressive change, please join us October 28th and 29th for the “Business and Building” Weekend.

You can register for the “Business and Building” Weekend and the Business and Investment “Coffee Talk” today at:

Note: Please Remember There Are Only Advance Ticket Sales For This Event.

Cedric Muhammad

Wednesday, October 18, 2006