by Tre Millyanz

Just kidding….maybe. I’ve been reading Malcolm X Speaks edited by George Breitman and I ran across an interesting quote I thought I’d share (actually I found a ton, but I’ll post this one first). My commentary follows the quote

We’re neutral. We’re for ourselves. Whatever is good for us, that’s what we’re interested in. That doesn’t mean we’re against you. But it does mean we’re for ourselves.

This is what you and I need to learn. You and I need to learn how to be positively neutral. You and I need to learn how to be non-aligned. And if you and I ever study the science of non-alignment, then you’ll find out that there’s more power in nonalignment than there is alignment. In this country, it’s impossible for you to be aligned – with either party. Either party that you align yourself with is suicide. Because both parties are criminal. Both parties are responsible for the criminal condition that exists. So you can’t align yourself with a party.

What you can do is get registered so that you have power – political potential. When you register your political potential, that means your gun is loaded. But just because it’s loaded, you don’t have to shoot until you see a target that will be beneficial to you. If you want a duck, don’t shoot when you see a bear; wait till you see a duck. And if you want a bear, don’t shoot when [you] see a duck; wait till you see a bear. Wait till you see what you want – then take aim and shoot!

What they do with you and me is tell us, “Register and vote.” Don’t register and vote – register! That’s intelligent. Don’t register and vote – you can vote for a dummy, you can vote for a crook, you can vote for another who’d want to exploit you. “Register” means being in a position to take political action any time, any place and in any manner that would be beneficial to you and me; being in a position to take advantage of our position.  Then we’ll be in a position to be respected and recognized.  But as soon as you get registered, and you want to be a Democrat or a Republican, you are aligning.  And once you are aligning, you have no bargaining power – none whatsoever.

You hear people talking about politicians (specifically Democrats) taking the Black vote for granted, and Black people not demanding anything in return for their votes. Then we want to get upset and start protesting when stuff doesn’t go our way. All those people didn’t give their lives during the Civil Rights Movement to secure our right to vote only for us to throw it away. Not registering to vote is disrespectful to them and, frankly, downright stupid. But registering and voting blindly for a party is even worse.

There are approximately 40 million Black people in this country, or about 13% of the population, and we always vote as a block (with 85+% voting the same way). When you consider that the average point spread of the 11 presidential elections from 1952 to 1992 was 7%, you’ll see that we can easily swing an election.  Everyone knows that independents win elections.

But this information is only helpful for you poor, lost causes that actually think we can fix the institutional racism inherent in the system before your great grandchildren die. You Negroes that will be left behind to suffer, sit-in, march, and protest every time a cop kills a Black man, predatory lenders prey on the poor & Black, and the government abandons you after a natural disaster destroys countless lives. Me, I’d rather us have our own government, but that’s another article for another day.


Paying College Athletes

Dr Boyce Watkins
Quick FYI: I will be on the Jesse Jackson Show tomorrow morning from 8 – 10 am. A list of cities is here. Some of you know that I have been in an on-going campaign to challenge the NCAA on the fact that they do not compensate the families of college athletes for what they bring to campus. Below is an article I contributed to in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Sunday, there should be a syndicated column I wrote opposite NCAA President Myles Brand on the topic. You know that I am pretty candid in my thoughts (love it or hate it), so here are some reasons I feel that we should be outraged over this issue. I speak on this issue based on my 15 years teaching on college campuses with big time athletics programs, as a Finance Professor who understands how money works, and also as a black male who has seen the devastation of this system up close. Also, as a faculty affiliate with the College Sports Research Institute at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, I made it clear to the director that I intend to pursue the racial element of NCAA compensation inequity. I am not a fan of preferential treatment for athletes. I only want fairness for the athletes and their mothers. I am sick of seeing an athlete generate millions for his coach, while simultaneously watching his family struggle to pay the rent every month:

1) The NCAA extracts somewhere near $1 Billion dollars per year from the black community. The revenues earned by collegiate athletics are on the magnitude of the NBA, NFL and NHL. However, unlike these other leagues, the players are only compensated with a scholarship. Scholarships are valuable, but only a drop in the bucket relative to the money players bring to campus.

2) The NCAA contract with CBS sports for the TV rights to March Madness was worth over $6 billion dollars. This does not include hundreds of millions earned each year in concessions, endorsement deals and other extraneous benefits. This money goes into someone’s pockets, so the question is “Who takes this cash home? Those who earn it, or those on the sidelines?”

3) NCAA coaches in revenue generating sports earn as much as $4 million dollars per year, with a large percentage of that revenue coming from endorsement deals based on the clothing that players wear and appearances that players make on national television.

4) In contrast to the luxury experienced by NCAA coaches and their families, nearly half of all black college basketball and football players come from dire poverty.

5) The NCAA spends millions every year in a massive propaganda campaign. Their goal is to convince the world that paying college athletes or their families would be unethical and impractical. At the same time, many of the arguments they make about player families do not apply to their own families. For example, in the CBS Sports special I was on last year, nearly every single person on the special (Coach K from Duke, Billy Packer, Clark Kellogg, NCAA President Myles Brand, etc.) was earning hundreds of thousands, even millions from athletes, while simultaneously explaining why athlete families should not be paid. That’s worse than Dick Cheney and George Bush sending young people to die in a war that they or their f amilies refuse to fight.

6) The mission of collegiate athletics, unfortunately, is more commercial than educational. Players are admitted to college every year with full knowledge that the player is only going to be there for a little while. Also, athletes are not allowed to miss big games or practice sessions to prepare for exams. Finally, coaches with high graduation rates who do not win games are fired, while winning coaches with low graduation rates are promoted and given raises. This creates poor institutional incentives and leads to a mountain of academic hypocrisy.

7) As an African American, I find it ironic that many HBCUs can’t pay the light bill, yet the NCAA is earning over a billion dollars every year from black athletes and their families. This amounts to a massive wealth extraction from the black community, where some of our most valuable financial assets are being depleted, no different from mining being done in Africa.

8) While one might wonder why the players don’t simply take another option, the problem is that the NCAA is allowed to operate as a business cartel, effectively allowing them to implement nearly any and every rule they wish in order to keep athletes from having other options. This form of operation is due to a political blank check being written by Congress that allows the NCAA to do things that would be illegal in nearly any other industry. The very idea that they’ve warped our minds to the point that we think it should be illegal or immoral to fairly compensate a young man or his family for their labor is simply unbelievable. Players don’t even have the same rights to negotiation that are given to coaches, administrators, or sports commentators, all of whom earn millions from the activities of players on the court.

Personally, I think this is wrong.

Green is the New Black

The Black Empowerment Movement is going to require and economic revolution in the Black community. We missed the Industrial Revolution because we were in chains or getting lynched. What was the “Golden Age” for white folks in America (the period after WWII until about 1960) was almost non-existent for a people at the height of a decades-long civil rights battle. We missed the Internet Bubble because we were just sleeping. The Green Revolution is here and it’s real. Massive wealth is going to be created over the next two decades for innovators and out-of-the box thinkers that work to solve the climate and energy crisis. We can’t miss this one folks. Van Jones from is working on this, but it’s going to take a massive effort to mobilize the community around this issue.

In an effort to do our part, here are some things you can do to get involved:

Hidden Oil Subsidies: We Need to END Them

by Michael Graham Richard, Gatineau, Canada on 07. 2.08

Oil Field photo

Econ 101: Subsidies
One of the many problems with subsidies is that they are almost impossible to repeal. That’s because they usually give big benefits to a small group of people at a relatively small cost to a huge number of people. For example, corn-ethanol subsidies are going to be very hard to phase out because they might mean hundreds of thousands of dollars to farmers, while their cost is spread over the rest of the population and almost invisible. Farmers are a lot more motivated to lobby politicians than the average taxpayer, even if they only represent 1% of the population. The green impact of this is that corn-ethanol, a biofuel that would not necessarily be used much otherwise, is now made competitive with taxpayer dollars (and by putting tariffs on the greener Brazilian sugarcane ethanol), and that makes it harder for other alternative fuels to supersede it (and it also drive food prices up, something that affects most the poor).

Hidden Oil Subsidies
The real price of gasoline is what people actually pay for it, not just what they pay for it at the pump. That might seem subtle, but there’s a big difference. (read more)

The Big Payback

by William A. Darity, Jr. and Kirsten Mullen |

Thanks for all the slavery apologies, but where the hell is my mule?

July 1, 2008–Legislatures in two more states—Missouri and Nebraska—are contemplating apologies for slavery. Slavery was introduced in what would become Missouri at least as early as 1720 when Philippe Francois Renault brought 500 enslaved Africans to excavate the mines in present-day St. Louis and Jefferson counties. Missouri outlawed the practice with the ratification of its state constitution in 1865. Nebraska’s legislators have expressed “profound regret” for their state’s role in slavery and “condemn racial discrimination in any form toward African Americans.” We believe that these actions are a critical first step toward reparations.

Why institute a program of reparations for events like slavery and legal segregation that happened so long in the past? The reality is: Neither set of events is distant in time.

There are literally scores of living victims of legal segregation in the United States. Our own parents endured Jim Crow into mid-life; a quarter of our own lives were spent in a world of racially segregated and unequal schooling. While the Brown v. Board decision technically ended school segregation in 1954, massive resistance by white Southerners stalled the process for another 20 years. (read more)