presented by Colours of the Culture.
In Part I of his interview with BBC broadcasted in 2009, prominent rapper & social icon Jay-Z expressed his views on many contentious issues gripping the politics of America & the international community today.
The photograph above is very significant to this blog entry. It is a picture of Kanye West & Jay-Z during their Watch The Throne tour throughout the US. The title of this blog, is the title of quite a meaningful song on the album: “We Made It in America”. The song laments on the grievances & legacies of the African-American people, as well as the African culture from which they were essentially kidnapped; & which continues be exploited today.
This is Part II of the interview, continued:
The song is inspiring. The message too. Not only does it expose the crimes of the US against its own people, it expresses the genius of the African people, in the realms of art, music & culture. Watch The Throne, was a political masterpiece. A magnum opus. All the words fit. I felt like I was LISTENING to Plato’s The Republic. It’s the soundtrack, if indeed The Republic were a movie.
Essentially the political undertones of Watch The Throne are echoing the socio-economic grievances of all disenfranchised, marginalized, gentrified & exploited minorities. The twisted sense of “individualism” in the Western culture justified the historic atrocity of the trans-atlantic slave-trade, which exists today in a more elusive form, such as police brutality, gentrification, disenfranchisement, mass incarceration, income inequality & unequal opportunities for minorities.
These grievances are echoed by intellectuals of the 19th & 20th century, mostly non-American. I’ve listed a few examples below.
George Orwell, famed writer of 1984 & Animal Farm, was a “democratic-socialist” who warned against capitalism & communism, arguing the two led to statism.
Albert Camus, an anarchist, was sympathetic to communism but stressed that collective apparatuses might lead to corruption and statism.
Any Rand, hailed by Conservatives, defines the epitome of the hypocritical dogma of anarchical-capitalism. A self-proclaimed anarchist, Rand proved she was not loyal to her own creed, as she relied thoroughly on state welfare & sponsorship from the state of Israel, inconsistent with her atheism as well as her free-market fundamentalism.
All these perspectives force the following questions to float around in my head:
Is socialism another power-grabber?
It seems like the US & Europe despise socialist entities.
Are we the devil or are they?
Who’s killing who?
While most fight for freedom for some, who fights for freedom for all?
So what is the evil? It seems that hyper-individualism mirrors the tyranny of hyper-collectivism, both of which result in the exploitation of minority classes.
Prominent African-American scholar Cornel West associates the suppression of Civil Rights with statism as well as capitalism. He argues that America is not a democracy, because it serves an elite class at the expense of the will of the people. Furthermore, West suggests that capitalism results in many of the imbalances in the economy that cause misery for the lower classes.
I would argue, like 20th century German economist Fredrick List, that every successful nation-state adopts mixed economics combining state intervention with free market flow, which suggests that democracy & capitalism alone cannot guarantee the protection of individual rights. In many ways, democracy has engrained & perpetuated the tradition of exclusivity in the West which deems minorities, including blacks, latinos, arabs, gays, muslims & atheists are second class citizens, with little access to mobility in the economic ladder.
Freedom, salvation & happiness are not products of capitalism, materialism or the intellectual dogma of hyper-collectivism.
Rather, these virtues are achieved through humility, hard-work & self-reliance and the rest follows. Meanwhile, the power-hungry aim to deprive man of these freedoms, through propaganda & excessive force. How well do democracy & capitalism alone ensure these virtues? Historically, they’ve done as much as communism to improve the living conditions of the lower classes.
In his recent acceptance speech at the BET Honors ceremony, Kanye West took time to reflect on issues that form the bedrock of the Hip-Hop culture. Here is a snippet:
Fundamentalists, be they religious or atheistic in essence wholly worship man-made ideologies that eventually collapse on themselves, such as the neoconservative model of hyper-capitalism exhibited by NATO countries or the police-like communism of the USSR.
The association between the American & European traditions of suppressing & exploiting foreign countries is based in their logic of exclusivity. That is why 1% of Americans own America, while the vast majority remains living check-to-check. That is why, while the institution of slavery ended some time ago, the US remains at the top of the list for highest incarceration rates in the world, with the highest prisoner count than any other in the world. Yet, Iran is the great satan. Syria is the great satan. Venezuela. We go to war for oil & that oil never trickles down to the poor. In fact, it is usually the taxpayer funding all of this, against his will for the most part.
It is times likes these when I begin to question the logic of ‘democracy.’ There isn’t even 1 single definition of democracy. It is a vague term that is thrown around. Most people think it means representative government. Some think it means majority wins. Others believe it means universal law. I would say one of the distinctive features are the electoral process & term limitations. Democracy, especially by the Right-Wing, is viewed as the protector & guaranteer of capitalism & free market competition. But in reality, it seems, like communism, only to concentrate wealth in the hands of an already established elite so as to convince the masses they are free, to sustain them for lack of self-sustenance & to thereby garner their support for all political/colonial initiatives. The free-market is not protected by democracy or capitalism, but rather, just as in communism, becomes held hostage to the ignorance of mass-minded forces of collectivism. The freedoms awarded to the elite are limited to the mass because of a fear of intimidation & competition. A lot of propaganda is aimed at trying to convince us (both capitalism & communism do this) that earth’s resources are scarce & need proper redistribution.
But “exclusivity is the new N word,” said the courageous Kanye West during his most latest interview with Zane Lowe, in reference to the culture of hubris & bigotry that has disenfranchised all minorities & expressionists from the conversation of social justice.
Peep Talib Kweli spitting his verse from #FLOSSRemix produced by yours truly, KRIKOS!
Colours of the Culture & Javotti Media present Brutus, the first album in stores by Brazilian hip-hop artist NIKO IS, produced entirely by Thanks Joey & distributed by FatBeats. This album will be available in stores and online tomorrow February 3rd, 2015, both in CD & Vinyl.
Stop by your local music shop to peep this incredible piece of art put together by Colours of the Culture. The album features Good Music’s Cyhi the Prince, Kool a.D. from the Bay & BK legend Talib Kweli.
Here is a list of the stores that will be carrying copies of the album across the US:
ACCESS MUSIC – SAN DIEGO, CA
AMOEBA RECORDS- LA & BERKLEY, CA
CRIMINAL RECORDS- ATLANTA, GA
EAR CANDY MUSIC – MISSOULA, MT
FUTURE SHOCK – PORTLAND, OR
GRIMEY’S MUSIC – NASHVILLE, TN
INDEPENDENT RECORDS – COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
LOVE VINYL RECORDS – AURORA, CO
PARK AVE CDS – ORLANDO, FLRECKLESS RECORDS – CHICAGO, IL
ROCK & SOUL – NEW YORK, NY
SILVER PLATTERS – SEATTLE, WA
THE SOUND GARDEN – BALTIMORE, MD
TWIST AND SHOUT – DENVER, CO
UNDERGROUND HIPHOP – BOSTON, MA
WATERLOO RECORDS – AUSTIN, TX
ZIA RECORDS – PHOENIX, AZ
CARGO RECORDS – LONDON
JUNO RECORDS – LONDON
GIBERT JOSEPH MUSIQUE – PARIS
HHV HANDELS – BERLIN
JET SET – TOKYO
RED EYE RECORDS – IPSWICH
You can purchase it online here: http://kweliclub.com/products/niko-is-brutus-cd & http://www.fatbeats.com/products/niko-is-brutus-cd
You can also purchase original “Colours of the Culture X Ides of March” collaborative Brutus T-Shirts at the following link: http://www.iomxv.com/product/brutus-collab
1. Cherry Beamer Dreaming
2. Keys to the Kingdom
3. Bye Bye Donnie Brasco
4. Carmen ft. Talib Kweli
5. Nobody’s Watching
6. Thinking Of
7. Private Room
8. Bubba ft. CyHi the Prynce
10. Tahiti Hawaii
11. Saturday in BK
12. We Know ft. Kool A.D.
13. All She Wrote
Artwork by Yousef Elsayed/@itsjuice.
They say robust capitalism is the greatest system in our world because it maximizes the benefits of all men in any given society.
This perspective is especially true of the American narrative we are ‘indoctrinated’ into through our public and private institutions.
As an immigrant to this country, I must say, however I am profoundly disappointed.
I came to this country at the age of 6, leaving my homeland, the Middle East.
Both of my parents are Syrian, born and raised in Damascus all of their lives.
I am a proud Syrian.
Deep down, I also want to say that I am a proud Syrian-American, but this country has caused me some pain. Bigotry has caused not only me but much of the world its miseries.
Global misery stems from one over-arching concept: we are all currently suffering from American fascist ideology; unfettered exceptionalism. Manifested, it is in actuality state-capitalism.
Just like China & Russia, the supposed crown-jewels of communism, America uses its ideology as a method of coercion, manipulating capitalism into a dangerous form of Christian-Fascism, in which citizens/constituents are subjugated to a pseudo-democratic system of law that ignores history, statistic & common humanity.
While deep down, I do have much love for this country, or at least, the philosophy for which it attempted to stand, it is without a doubt that a certain religious fascism has crept in, with roots deeply embedded in christian evangelism and zionism. It has left vast communities disenfranchised, ostracized and socio-economically deprived.
I came to this country as an immigrant – and this country made sure to hang that label as an emblem of my un-americaness over my head until my demise.
Obama is trying to fight for immigrants, but the fight is against the same aforementioned ideology embraced by so many Americans: bigotry.
I was forced out of my job nearly a year ago, which left me struggling to make sense of my socio-economic situation. I worked for four years with my last employer before losing the position due to pressure from Republicans to discourage immigration reform and immigration altogether.
But what Republicans don’t understand is that it is precisely the policies of Republicanism which have been implemented on and off by various American officials throughout our short history that have impoverished and completely desecrated other nations and communities. This can be exhibited at one of the peaks of America’s imperial series’ – in South America. Aiding rebels in Nicaragua and overthrowing democratically elected leaders in Chile – how does America not expect an influx of immigrants to the world’s most spiritually and economically promising nations?
How did America become so promising? And why is the rest of the world not?
Generally speaking, in the 21st century, when we refer to prosperous countries, if it isn’t America we mention it is any one of the leading european powers, such as the UK, France & Germany.
America, the crown-jewel of modern christian evangelism, would have you believe in a linear history which places the breakthrough of western democracy in the 18th century as the standard model of global justice.
The ensuing years would prove that the democratic revolutions of other nations would soon be under attack by the vary nation that is supposed to be the ideals’ founding progenitor.
In 1952, Iran’s democratically elected leader, Prime Minister Mossadegh, was overthrown in a covert CIA mission because his policies we deemed a threat to ‘global security’ and the ‘western model for global justice’ and in other words, ‘western capitalism’ (Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men).
But the reality is that the west, as exhibited by their behavior, does not embody the capitalism is touts. Once competitors begin exposing Christian Fascism – they are immediately disenfranchised. Mossadegh of Iran was among those casualties.
America still thinks it is the unbridled hero of the 20th century for bringing an end to state-communism, but the reality is there is a monster hiding in the backyard of America’s philosophical stronghold – Christian Fascism. As the USSR raped the world with collectivist propaganda under the umbrella of communism, the USA put a pill in the drinks of all vulnerable nations under the banner of being the holy arbiters of earth and the rightfully chosen wielders of power and governance.
One man who quickly learned of the USA’s treachery to genuine human rights was a man who himself was conflicted about the definition of human rights himself – Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, originally an ally of the US, was propped up against the USSR under the banner of Wahhabist Islam and the fight against the political atheism of the east. He soon learned that once the specter of communism was defeated, he would have another enemy – his own friend: the U.S.A. Osama bin Laden may have thought he was fighting for freedom, but he was indeed carrying out the agenda of Christian Fascism – the anti-freedom, imperialist agenda of the West – to stifle communism and other threats to their power. Perhaps it was Osama’s own twisted conception of what constituted a just society that made him vulnerable to American cunning and deception. His foolishness and immoral intent threw him right into the hands of Western deviousness.
The iconoclasts of christian fascism are your Rush Limbaughs, Sarah Palins, Glenn Becks, Sean Hannitys, George Bushs, Dick Cheneys, Donald Rumsfields, Benjamin Netanyahu, etc.
Their greatest allies are their purported enemies: Osama bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood, Communism. These are their tools for constant hegemony . The tactic is to constantly generate new enemies and threats that require retaliation and response, thereby justifying foreign escapades and the usurping of foreign resources, aka colonialism/imperialism.
It is this very system that initiated the trans-atlantic slave trade, which has repercussions not only felt today but even unknown. African-Americans suffered the most due to the institutionalization of christian fascism, manifested through segregation and racism. Today, we see the repercussions on a daily basis every time a clearly culpable white police officer shoots and kills an innocent black male. We see it in the way the media portrays the African-American culture, the way in which bias is propagated in order to protect the problems in our institutions.
As an immigrant who is still struggling to obtain ‘normal’ access to America’s abundance, I must say I am very disappointed with the way it has gone. I still support Obama’s initiative, but let it be known that the underlying problem is much much greater. America’s demons are coming back to haunt it every day, as reminder of the crimes it has committed against other nations throughout history.
Will things change? Perhaps. Perhaps not entirely; perhaps not perfectly; perhaps not at all. There is much at stake – one particular issue at stake being the potential humiliation of western christian fascist culture which has had this country in its grip for some time now.
It all starts with knowledge.
Keep in mind, the motive of all action is belief (ethic/religion), which forms ideology, which then manifests itself as a political ideology. If that is understood, it can also be understood that the source of the problem is that an un-ethical belief has a tight grip on America. Once Americans embrace a universal ethical system, the unjust facets of the law may lose ground.
When Brutus freed the Romans from Caesar’s absolute rule – he was hailed as a force of liberation – thousands of years later, however, it seems he is regarded with disdain – a traitor who ushered the end of rome, a jealous and devious shadow of Caesar. And so, in today’s world, as millions of westerners rush to their social media outlets to bring light to the protests and uprisings sweeping all these foreign countries, demanding ‘freedom’ from ‘dictatorial rule’, I am forced to ask: Are the uprisings forces of liberation, or are they jealous traitors looking for their chance at glory?