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.
The political, religious & socio-economic conditions of the African-American communities birthed hip-hop, in the words of OG Q-Tip.
It was in response to Iggy Azalia’s rants about her role in pop-culture.
I don’t listen to her music. I listen to real hip-hop. Take that as you will. A lot of people might try to argue with me about the rights of all individuals to express themselves, and I agree. I also believe in the rights of individuals to choose what they consider to be dope, or wack.
In his album, Yeezus, I believe Kanye is doing something very specific. He is challenging the foundation of Western civilization which has been responsible for institutionalized oppression of African-Americans. More specifically, Kanye has adopted the philosophical grievances of ‘controversial’ german philosopher Frederich Nietzsche, by criticizing the religious dogma of the Judeo-Christian conception of reality, morality & behavior. The Ubermensch, or highest potential of the individual, is suppressed by pseudo-religious propaganda, which Nietzsche believed was responsible for the pollution of the concept of God. This process, he called the “death of God.”
In a recent article he published, rapper Ras Kass explains the meaning behind his song, “How To Kill God”, in which he elaborated on the association between religious dogma & oppression of African-Americans and other minorities.
There is a tendency for American media outlets to lose it when artists, philosophers or popular figures of any persuasion make critical comments about the Judeo-Christian concept of God. It is quickly associated with fanaticism. The irony?
Movies like Exodus do no justice is portraying history. The Jews were probably not white. The jews, who are subjects of persecution, probably were & still are black, eastern, oriental.
When artists like Kanye West make bold claims like “I Am a God”, I could care less whether he believes it or not, because Kanye West isn’t the one brutalizing Africans in America & slaughtering children in the Middle East. I believe Kanye West’s message is to shake up the foundations of America so as to expose the hypocrisies and double-standards of this country which work against movements for collective consciousness.
The message of hip-hop has always been a positive one. It is just that, true freedom is often misunderstood and false portrayed. Hip-Hop & its artists, the genuine ones, fight to wake up the modern man, who has been sedated by forces of collectivism, conformity & power.
Recognize the Armenian Genocide. Grant amnesty to refugees. International repercussions, implications and issues of national boundary.
Recognize the Palestinian Genocide & end the occupation. Grant right of return. Allow Jews to remain. Encourage initiative to fight anti-semitism globally.
Relinquish ties with State of Israel.
Relinquish ties with Saudi Arabia.
Rehabilitate relationship with Iran. Establish fair oil agreement as alternative to Gulf oil. Weaken monarchism & fundamentalism in the region thereby ushering in necessary reform/change to status quo.
Expose the forces of the right-wing ideologues in all countries, as hypocritical exclusivists, war-mongers & fascists with ties to terrorism & corruption in religious institutions.
Issue significantly high tax on 1%; pump credit into lower and middle classes to create opportunities for self-investment. A limit, thereby granting opportunity and preventing abuse. The propaganda against mixed economics is extreme and irrational. I would argue that the conservative agenda, which is to horde resources, is actually politically communist, if measured along the lines of ‘control’ by the state.
Grant all American minorities, especially African-Americans, re-enfranchisement into the socio-economic scene through affirmative action. Stretch this form of amnesty to other minorities, including Latino-Americans, Armenian-Americans, etc — the voices that are disenfranchised from representation and accessibility to sustenance.
Grant amnesty and normalization of status for all immigrants in the US.
Review all criminal cases which have falsely incarcerated or have exaggerated sentences for criminals, especially minorities, which have been profiled, type-casted, and have been victims of racism, police brutality and government abuse.
Reform the justice and security enforcement systems of the US, beginning by addressing a lack of representation based on racial affiliation.
Pass laws which prohibit the broadcasting of overtly incorrect material which slanders various entities and incites violent hatred. This includes Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, etc, all who have profited off racism, hate and the encouragement of religious fascism.
Legalize marijuana. Completely. Government regulations are encouraged, as long as it does not disturb market and free-flow.
Reestablish the legitimacy of the United Nations by reaffirming its authority on global affairs. This requires rehabilitation of relationship with China, Russia, India, Iran, Brazil & South America.
Encourage mixed-economics in foreign countries that guarantee individual rights without compromising cultural values and traditions.
End apartheid globally.
Expose ties between Republican Party and foreign criminals; terrorists; dictators. End funneling of money to criminal entities.
All of these actions, manifested into legislation, would immensely improve America’s status domestically and internationally.
Political and religious labels are misleading. Depending on the context, these labels change in meaning. In one context, such as Maoist China or Spain during the Civil War, republican might be defined as communist, whereas in the United States, the modern Republican is essentially a neo-conservative. In France, Republicans are centrists and the other major alternative is the far left Socialist Party. Furthermore, labels are often used as a method of control, riddled with arbitrary conjecture & irrationalism. For example, take libertarianism. Ayn Rand is the fountainhead of the label. Despite being a so-called individualist doctrine, anti-statist, anti-communist, pro-anarchy essentially, Ayn Rand remained dependent on government welfare & died in debt. In this case, the ideology is not merely vague — it has no sense.
There are too many organizations that profit off preaching extreme & baseless political views instead of quality innovation. America is the world’s hub for entrepreneurs, open-markets & free-trade. There are however, many barriers to this system. ‘Republicans’ might suggest the problem is an over-reaching government. But usually when the US government is doing any over-reaching, the party in control is Republican. The hypocrisy is evident. Republicans are more correctly described as neo-conservatives. They are statists who use ideology to expand their political agendas domestically & abroad. Personally, I think the Republican party should be renamed the ‘Conservative Party’. Reason is because the Democratic Party is the actual successor of the Democratic-Republican Party which reflects the ideal of limited government more reasonably than the GOP. The classical-liberalism which is intended to serve as the foundation of the Republican Party is completely absent. What actually exists in the void is a religious zealotry, which combines state-expansionism w/ religious evangelism. I would classify the Bushes & Ronald Reagan in this category. If any of the two parties even remotely exhibit any aspects of classical liberalism it would be the Democrats. Generally speaking the Democrats are anti-war & pro-civil-liberties. Most civil rights movements find support from the Democratic Party, more so than the Republican Party.
Meanwhile Libertarians like Rand Paul & his father tout an ideal that doesn’t exist. Perhaps without realizing it, they too are pawns of the neo-conservative movement. The Pauls can’t decide whether they support Israel or not, but seeing as how libertarianism is without affirmation, so too is their loyalty. The inconsistencies in this ideological dogma are rampant. They merely work to further distract individuals from the motive of the ‘Republican’ Party, which is to expand the role of the state beyond democratic & egalitarian means at home and abroad. At home their agenda works to suppress minorities, African-Americans, Muslim & Arab-Americans, Hispanics, Women, Gays, Immigrants, Jews, & Atheists — to disenfranchise them from the social, economic and political scene of America.
The nepotism within capitalism is so rampant that it makes Republicans look completely ridiculous when they make claims about rags-to-riches, especially when few of them experienced this route but rather inherited their wealth or benefit off the nepotism of white privilege in America.
Furthermore the double-standard is apparent in that only conventional views are the big profiteers while conscious non-conformers are disenfranchised from the social, economic & political fabric of American society. White people, especially those who espouse neo-conservative attitude. Let me add that there is a generally accepted belief that atheists and the republican party are incompatible due to religious differences but in reality these two forces work hand in hand. You do not have to be a religious fanatic to be a neo-con. Christopher Hitchens & Bill Maher, two renowned atheists, RIP to the former, were avid neo-cons who supported the Bush Jr. campaign in Iraq. All of these labels are used to pin us against each other instead of addressing the actual issues. Most of these dudes hold profitable positions because they’ve conformed to the neo-con attitude–HIGHLY profitable in America.
Instead of relying on fanatical ideologies & religious social systems for sustenance, why not rely on yourselves and your individuality?
Furthermore, just like Bill Maher & Christopher Hitchens can use their ideology to profit, why can’t we non-conformers & anti-neo-cons? Watch TYT reluctance to call the recent murders of 3 Muslim-Americans a hate-crime, probably because it was committed by a White, American atheist (video below). The Young Turks network remains till this day non-vocal on the issue of the Armenian-Genocide, to the benefit of neo-cons & NATO & some Turkish agents.
While TYT & Uygur have made it clear that they are not associated with The Young Turks ideology which was likely responsible for the Armenian Genocide in 1915, which claimed not only the lives of Armenians but also Assyrians & Greeks, it has yet to recognize the crime as a genocide altogether. I believe only through continued assimilation of Turks & Armenians can this crime once and for all be recognized, justice served & dignity restored.
It isn’t surprising that the Armenian Genocide has yet to be treated as a Holocaust. In an article I once read, the recognition of past political crimes on a massive scale requires amnesty and thus raises the status of a given group to one of privilege; a benefit only some wish to enjoy. How many groups have been historically systematically oppressed, whose sufferings remain today, wholly unaddressed? African-Americans? Armenians? Arab-Christians? Chinese Democrats? Muslims? Palestinians? Africans? Immigrants?
The list goes on.
They rushed him. Threw a black bag over his head. His cigarette was left burning on the brick plaza floor.
Hours later his eyes open. The abducted gentleman has regained consciousness.
He can barely make out what he sees.
It looks like three men, all dressed in black garb.
One of them men was clearly saying something. Loud. He was shouting in a foreign language. It wasn’t something he could recognize.
The man continued shouting, as if making demands.
“He will not understand you better if you raise your voice,” one the others suddenly said in english, while chuckling.
At that moment the three men exited the room. There were no windows. The steel door slammed shut. The abducted gentleman was left alone. The bruises on his face and his fatigue knocked him back into a trance.
It wasn’t long after until one of the men returned. This time he was dressed normally. Formally, actually, in suit and tie. The abducted man was awake, and quickly realized the man before him looked nothing as he did before.
“Where am I?” shouted the abducted man?
“Speak when you are spoken to,” ordered the captive’s watcher. “Now tell me. It seems you are an avid writer and journalist on the internet.”
At this point, the abducted man, chained to his chair, began to realize what exactly might be going on. Still, he had no idea in whose hands he was in, why and where.
“Now you see. You can walk out of here and healthy man. As if nothing ever happened, under one condition.”
“Who are you?”
A few moments passed as the two men gazed at each other in the cold steel vault without a blink.
“We want you to stop writing about specific issues related to our interests, specifically about politics in the Middle East.”
“Are you a terrorist? This is against my rights. Are you an American?”
“We would like for you to end your activism regarding the rights of the Palestinians as it is threatening American & British interests in the region. If you do not comply, we will do everything in our efforts to completely disenfranchise you from society; deem you an maniac; broadcast your image across all US media as a terrorist & dangerous criminal. All of course, if you do not abide by our simple request.”
“What of the Arabs? What of the rights of the Palestinians? The world can be at peace without its occupation.”
“Sir, we have endured trials for centuries. We were persecuted, disenfranchised and murdered by the millions. We have no home. We are hated everywhere. We have America & Russia by the balls. We have the muslim world by the neck. Stop your propaganda.”
Tonight is of great importance to the immigrants of America, however tonights speech by President Obama and the subsequent policy changes and announced reforms will have far-reaching implications that extend beyond the borders of America; even beyond the confines of the immigration issue itself.
It will affect the economy certainly. In the bigger picture, this effect will likely be positive.
More importantly, this will affect the lives of human beings who have been ostracized from society and even their families. Basic human rights which they have been denied will finally be directly addressed by the President of the United States.
The term human rights holds no weight…
It’s something I’ve learned here in America. Whether or not it applies to the rest of the world I can’t be too sure but I would give them the benefit of the doubt.
Here in America where the emphasis is on individual rebelliousness people don’t have the patience or time for being concerned with human rights.
I don’t have time for that, they say. That’s for dictators! They should embrace our freedoms and liberties!
That’s commonplace here in the land of the free where self-interest is not only patriotic it is the moral high-ground.
But there is much irony and discrepancy surrounding this over-glorified depiction of America.
I looked into former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s human rights track record and while what I found was horrific it was no surprise.
Hussein is responsible for the overall deaths of one million of his own people, through torture, murder and bombings.
However what really caught me by surprise was the following:
Since America is a so called majoritarian democracy, I thought it would be insightful to put its self-touted exceptional democracy to the test.
What I found was quite startling.
Since the 2003 March invasion of Iraq led by the U.S. which had the supposed purpose of deposing the ruthless Saddam, the campaign has claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqis.
That’s half a million Iraqis dead in a decade. Saddam ruled Iraq for nearly 3. The math is there.
Are we any better than Saddam?
They say the road to democracy is riddled with the blood, but at this point, history has me guessing: what exactly is democracy?
If there is one thing I have come to learn to really appreciate it is my individual freedom.
It is becoming extremely taboo to tout your individualism.
It is often viewed as a sense of paranoia.
I have learned to face a fact: most people prefer to rely on others – instead of themselves – for financial/political gain.
They themselves do not possess the qualities necessary for financial success.
The irony is that these qualities are not just scarce but that most people are unaware of them entirely.
These qualities are spiritual, and this is the irony, that it requires a form of spiritualism to succeed in the realm of materialism.
This is my philosophy of Islam, a perfect blend of secularism and spirituality. This is my version of what I believe is perfect Abrahamic monotheism.
As a Syrian, I have seen the lines drawn between believer and non-believer; adherent & heretic. Usually the lines are separated between Alawite & Sunni, but my version of pure Islam embodies neither and at the same time a little bit of both.
My emphasis in this post is on how my philosophy in life has brought me to a confrontation with a worldly dilemma: collectivism – the inability of other human beings to develop a sense of self-respect and individualism due to a variety of reasons ranging from insecurity to familial underdevelopment to political suppression.
In America the general idea is that Republicans, the right-wing, Libertarians, the tea party, Ron Paul, Ann Coulter & Ayn Rand are the de-facto symbols of individual freedom – especially the individual freedom that birthed the American model of governance.
Initially, the preservation of individual rights sprung from the individual concern about the fate of his most basic rights. Eventually, once the individual discovered his innovative capacity, he wanted a new form of individual rights: the protection of intellectual property.
The general narrative against collectivism is that human beings form tribes that eventually turn into governmental forces that suppress individual innovation and ultimately bring an end to prosperity and the general welfare.
The USSR, Nazi Germany, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Iran, the DRC – these are all national entities which have evidently subjugated their people to terrible standards of living throughout history – some still exist today.
My ultimate question is, from where does this ultimate desire to stifle the “ultimately economic” freedom of the individual?
Why must we as individuals suppress our self-expression, our ambition to be great, our desire for dignity and freedom…for the sake of preserving the insecurity of other individuals?
But what insecurity do I speak of? If all individuals in a given society are free to do as they wish; what fear of failure ought any of these individuals have? The fear of fulfillment? The fear of not being acknowledged? The fear of being overlooked? The fear of financial insecurity? Or, less innocently, the fear of not losing exclusivity and power?
Ultimately…my political philosophy can be described as a classical liberal monotheist, with some socialist elements that recognize the crimes of history. Conservatism, collectivism guised as individualism, and all other forms of collective thought-manufacturing, is the antithesis of freedom, salvation, enlightenment, education, happiness & prosperity.
Capitalism purports to be the preserver of competition but in reality what it does it strip the realm of ‘God’ as the superior deity in order to fill a void or insecurity of skill, thereby relying on arbitrary ownership of ideas. This is capitalism. Communism does the same.
All the isms of this world serve one giant agenda of collectivist persuasion – to turn men into sheep and to herd them into giant collectives and to pin them against one another – the age old ‘divide and conquer’.
Meanwhile all the moderates, the spiritualists, the self-reliant, the skilled, the humble, the abundant…whose currencies are neither government nor business…but rather…God and nature…these are the messengers whose messages are as warnings to a world of ignorance; a world that was never free but in which free men are constantly struggling to preserve their dignity and purpose.
It is us who recognize the fallacies of man, who have read history and understand the imperfections of our entire race, it is us who struggle.
I have no currency. I have no religion. I have no ideology. I am but a man of Nature and the one and only Supreme Being.
Those men who wish for more than nature wish for power and vanity. They wish to be worshipped and to worship that which is not our God. Beware especially of the fanatics.
These men are slaves of the systems of ownership of other men that human beings have created in this world. Capitalism owns men by convincing them they can achieve higher social status and greater acceptance if they conform to a set of a capitalist set of values that ultimately enslaves you to that methodology of thinking, thereby preserving power in the hands of that very same capitalist elite. Communism does the same by making you think that you are more powerful and socially reputable if you propagate/advertise yourself as an ascetic intellectual who does not require the basic needs of man. Ultimately both of these philosophies have a non-genuine intent: social status and power.
Anarchists are another great tool for power-mongers as they promote jealousy by pinning the only source of potential stability – government – as the enemy.
Remember, government is not necessarily the problem, but rather, the ideas that are used to enslave our governments to groups of men: cults.
Democracy and socialism have been hi-jacked by power-hungry capitalists, communists, anarchists and such.
More ideas and isms will spring forth in the future to destabilize countries, usurp resources, and maintain power.
Therefore, power is the ultimate goal and nation-states are their tools. Private and public security forces that inhibit the spread of genuine democracy and socialism are the controllers of this world. The ideologues. These are the kingpins. The money, the resources, the militias: these are their tools.
Now that I have no fear I am free again because I see the ignorance of this world and that my God is perfect. Fatalism has always been true.
Men are at fault for their intentions. There are consequences.
The true men of this world have sought truth and education; they have equally sought to spread it.
Most men are busy worrying about the power and vanities of this world, when they could merely focus on their gifts and blessings.
Do not allow your ambitions to distort the truest definition and origin of a word or concept.
There is a huge difference between classical liberalism and libertarianism, and conservatism. I align classical liberalism with my God of Islamic monotheism, and get socialist nationalism. The gods of other ideologies are either other men, preachers, clerics, power-wielders or themselves.
(The genius of capitalism is that it allows for one man or one small group to use money to hire and own employees and their skills so as to make it seem as though human beings are individually capable of perfection when in fact the capitalist must enslave workers upon workers to curate perfection).