December 26, 2020- “Stand, there’s a cross for you to bear, things to go through if you’re going anywhere.”– Sylvester “Sly” Stone
Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder, Maulana Karenga, identified as seven traditional African values, with a day set aside to celebrate each of the values:
- “Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. ” -Courtesy of Wikipedia.
One of the topics of discussion at our Christmas gathering, last night, was the underlying fear that people have of ideas that seem counter to American values. If one looks at what is celebrated during Kwanzaa, the festival is all about building up a community-without the taking advantage of the least among us, which, when one looks carefully at both the complaints of conservative small business owners and self-styled “socialists”,is a common concern of both groups.
No one in their right mind wants to be a “useful idiot’, the kind of dupe of which Vladimir Lenin bragged about having fooled, after the Bolshevik Revolution. Cooperative economics, which lends itself to ownership by the workers in an enterprise, rather than by the State, ought to be compatible with American entrepreneurship. I have visited a cafe, owned by a traditional conservative couple, for several years now. Their skills at consulting with their workers and the team that has been built, have established an admirable example of how even the busiest of enterprises may be managed in a climate of equanimity. I have seen the same, in another business, owned by cooperative socialists. This has been the strength of American workers, in the past, and there is no reason for that atmosphere to go away.
It is authoritarianism, regardless of social orientation, that presents the problem for people on both ends of the sociopolitical spectrum. The struggle, referred to as Imani, is primarily a shared experience, with both traditional conservatives and those wishing to alter our economic structure, for the good of the marginalized, wanting to hold back what they see as tyranny.
For both viewpoints, self-determination is a critical goal.