Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Redefinition of Urban Conservatism in America by Akindele Akinyemi

What is true urban conservative thought in terms of the uniquely inner city style and form? Is there such a creature as a true urban conservative?

Redefining urban conservatism is important to our community as we become more aware of our culture, our history and our future as a people. Urban conservatism in our community has gone through the same spiral zigzag path of change and transformation. The movement from positive to negative, from Negro to Black; from civil rights to human rights from injustice to justice; from reform to revolution; from the lower self of “me first,” to the higher self of my family, people and humanity first; from the lower self of greed and egoism to the higher self of simplicity and selflessness; all of these transformations are part of the spiritual spiral—the spiral of balance. The progression of consciousness, the progression of history, the progression of human character from a lower to a higher level occurs because, as we go through the cycles of life.

Urban conservatism is a philosophy that is based on life. It is not just based on Republican principles but Godly principles that are aimed to help rebuilding what is lost in our community.
As we internalize conservative consciousness from urban conservatism, we transform our thoughts, words and actions to conform to the balance needed to protect and resurrect our community. We ascend the spiritual ladder of transformation through the cycles of life, rising to the level of perfection where the body becomes one with the soul when we are ready to connect with those who are willing to accept change.

A true republican must inherently view the community as supreme to the state. In a republic citizens of the republic must first be capable of self-governance before they can take an active role in governing others. This means they must become responsible members of the community, contributing in their own way to the common good. A republican sees the true nature of government to serve the community. Individual rights are guaranteed by membership within the community. To a republican sovereignty rests with the people and is exercised by a qualified majority through the states primarily and secondarily through the central government and the limited powers delegated thereto. A republican is a conservator that is in constant battle between the forces of aristocracy and democracy - preserving a fine balance between the two.

Most Republicans have gotten away from this idea and along with it the passion and drive that won elections are gone. Black Republicans never had a chance because Black Republicans never came together to (1) identify who is Republican and (2) understood the power of urban conservatism.

Urban conservatism and mainstream conservatism share similar philosophies.
Both form of conservatives view individual liberty as existing in an ordered society. This again requires diligence and a constant balancing act - as conservators this is the role of true conservatives.

However, we have failed as urban conservatives primarily because we have failed distinguish the difference between urban conservatism and mainstream conservatism. Too many times we see Black people trying to adopt a foreign value system that is not congruent whether it is culture, heritage, values, traditions and families.

To be a true urban conservative one must understand the importance of becoming a change agent. We may depart from those that termed themselves mainstream conservatives but in principle we both agree that a system of government that results in a decentralized government with certain specific delegated powers is best. Conservatives view the federal union as a compact between indestructible states. True urban conservative thought in urban America has always held that urban communities retained certain powers unto themselves. A urban conservative knows instinctively that the federal government has no authority whatsoever dealing in issues such as education, health care, retirement programs, directly taxing citizens, speed limits, seat belt usage and a plethora of other initiatives.

Therefore there are seven principles I would like to stress here in this article.

  1. To liberate and rekindle the family spirit though spiritual, educational and free market principles.

  2. To catalyze and promote endogenous initiatives rooted in conscious thought and knowledge base, so as to enhance people's collective sense of self-respect, independence, honor and self-sacrifice.

  3. To provide an appropriate popular space, center and network for the most gifted persons in indigenous knowledge and skills, at the highest level of quality and sophistication, to advance and deepen their thought, knowledge, skills and techniques, replicate and improve on them.

  4. To articulate new syntheses between American and African indigenous knowledge on the one hand, and on the other, global information.

  5. To stimulate and build energies and capacities for systematic and participatory processes to manage and anticipate cultural reform and innovation.

  6. To articulate new, participatory civic forums and processes for sustainable community governance, rooted in conscious conservative democracy.

  7. To interface and connect with other peoples across the African Diaspora culturally and economically with their thought and knowledges.

The vision of urban conservatism is to be a sovereign, self-articulating, self-organizing, self-directing and self-managing urban community. Not one time I mentioned Democrat or Republican. The reason? Both parties have been tainted and need redefining. While Democrats have done a great job in raping the resources of the Black community the Republican Party refuses to enter into the urban community as a whole (except election time). While Blacks must learn to work both sides of the political aisle we need to critically examine using independent candidates politically who will work in the best interest of our community.Urban conservatism is deeply rooted in family and education. This will lead to an urban society imbued with an inquiring and innovative mind, a sense and spirit of independence, honor, community service, self-sacrifice and adventure.

Urban conservatism
is being redefined at a time when increasingly more people believe that it is the resurgence of civil society and its active and sustained initiatives that will generate the additional critical energies for sustainable solutions to some of the contemporary, strategic global challenges. Urban conservatism is born out of the struggles of the African peoples to address the widening crisis they face. It is conceptualized as a new urban movement based on family preservation, educational choice that will lead to bringing in wealth creation in urban communities.Urban conservatism viewed as Force/Power

Urban conservatism as power is the most basic of power forms. Our first experience with force as power probably was as a toddler when our parents said to do something or suffer the consequences. Force as power is the use of physical, psychological, or biological force to prevent action (alter behavior). The threat of bodily injury, death, or frustration of biological needs becomes a deterrent to acting on ones wants and or needs.

Force as power in relationship to urban conservatism can be clearly seen throughout history as a mechanism to liberate our community through failed policies that has plagued us.. Force as power is inefficient for the so called two party systems.

Types of power bases (resources) are innumerable, therefore, the most pertinent power bases are property, organization, conservative consciousness and ideology. A power base that many consider important (politics) was left out. We must contend that politics in its present form (pursuit of the ballot box) in terms of urban conservative thought is secondary if not a major distraction to more pressing issues in our community such restructuring an economic base.

Organizations and Institutions as Power Sources

The next urban power bases discussed in this article shows that organization is a key component to the expression of power. Power can exist without organization but its expression, movement, and utility will be weak. An analogy for the expression of power can be seen in comparing a closed fist to an open hand. Which has more power in its blow? The fists of course, because all parts of the hand are in unison working together in a focused and organized group. With focus and organization comes power. Conversely with disorganization comes powerlessness as we see with African Americans today. The relative disorganization of the African American has to be a constant if power relationships are to remain as they are. That is, a disorganized African American group is beneficial to the powers that be. With this being the case we can deduce that part of the organizational duties of organized liberal policies must be directed towards the maintenance of disorganization within the African American community. Whether Blacks belong to liberal or conservative ideologies, Black Democrat or Republican organizations all are disorganized because there is no original base philosophy other than pointing the finger at the opposition.

Most Black groups are part of the larger liberal or conservative conglomerate. For example, Black Republicans groups talk about returning Blacks to the party of Lincoln but just like the NAACP will not touch on family preservation, Title-4-D, educational choice or even developing a economic platform that is based on free market principles. Urban conservatism deals with connecting both sides of the aisle with issues dealing with education, HIV/AIDS, family deterioration and the lack of governmental infrastructure. We have to be deeper than socialism, Marxism and capitalism. Capitalism works if we have a middle class in the urban community. If the middle class leaves the urban community we will be stuck with failed policies that will ruin a community for decades to come.

Urban conservatism is deeply connected with reaching those who share our values in the African Diaspora. Over 700,000 African immigrants live here in the United States. The Republican Party in this country have done a poor job in recruiting Africans who share similar values as native born Americans into the party. The Democratic Party have preyed on African immigrants with bad social policies that restrict economic growth and development. Both parties do not have the interest in the highest educated immigrants in the country. Does racism still play a factor in this? Of course, but it is worse when African Americans here do not accept Africans from other parts of the Diaspora.

There are economic implications on why it is important to reach out to African immigrants in this region and country under a urban conservative platform. Free trade is important to revitalizing our community. The most important thing we must remember is the fact that Detroit sits on the Detroit River where we could be trading with African countries within the Diaspora. We have a Port Authority that is not being used to generate millions of dollars into Wayne County and especially Detroit. The same goes for Benton Harbor, Michigan that sits on Lake Michigan. Africa must be part of the discussion on emerging sectors in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.

This leads to Urban Regional Networks. These are economic and political networks that are rooted in urban conservative philosophy. River Rouge, Ecorse, Inkster, Highland Park fits into the model of urban regional networks that will help do three things. (1) Revamping education through attracting a different immigration base to create diversity, (2) placing houses back on the tax rolls through the Wayne County Land Bank System and (3) creating an economic freedom (not stimulus) package for the cities mentioned above that are based on free market/free trade principles.

The Five Michigan Tigers (based on the Four Asian Tigers) are deeply rooted in urban conservative economic principles. These tigers are Detroit, Pontiac, Flint, Saginaw and Benton Harbor. These four cities are the most blighted metropolitan areas in Michigan and must be revamped by creating a financial markets based on free trade, heavy investing on a global scale and importing and exporting goods from Africa. China has already invested in Africa and the Caribbean. It's time that we elect and shape leaders to do the same.

Urban conservatism must be connected to groups like Nigerian-Americans in our community because they have been able to succeed to a high level. Most Nigerian-Americans' parents arrived in the United States in the '70s and early '80s on student visas to pursue professional degrees in law, education, engineering and medicine. A large number of their offspring were born and raised in the states, and they are scattered across the country, with New York and Houston being the two largest Nigerian-American population centers. Nigerian-Americans are black, though. But still, they have had very different environmental influences than the typical black American.

Unlike the typical Black in the United States, most Nigerian-American families tend to have mid- to upper-middle class status; most households have stable marriages with both spouses having at least undergraduate degrees, and their children, many of which who are now college-aged, are successful in academics and extracurricular activities such as athletics. They tend to have academic records similar to their Asian-American counterparts.

Urban conservatism will be the new model needed to transform communities across our region. Conservative consciousness is the motivation based on knowledge, wisdom and understanding to access urban conservatism into an action plan such as running for elections and implementing an emerging sector in urban areas across the State of Michigan.Gone are the days where partisan politics rule the day where nothing gets done in our community. Urban conservatism is the fuel that will help transform urban ghettos into Christian communities.

1 comment:

maidintheus said...

Each of us can be a hero, starting with our own family.

It seems that so many are concerned with these same issues that you’ve so eloquently spoken.

You’ve put into words the things that are difficult for some to find words for. Perhaps one can see a problem and be desirous to implement a solution but cannot put it all in perspective, and touch the hearts and minds of the individuals, because they’ve never been inside that community in any way.

The way in which you’ve spoke is not divisive which seems key. The organization of which you speak, is a voice crying in the wilderness. It should speak to all of us, from all walks of life, race, and creed.

It is heartbreaking to remind you of the tremendous battle. The one you’re obviously aware and personally waging. The description of “hero” comes to mind when I reflect on your words and what you’re doing. I don’t like to use this word loosely in this context. It is retained for that warrior who selflessly enters into the fray, knowing the blood, sweat, and tears that the mission may require, disregarding the wounds that could prove fatal, keeping his eyes on the joy of the prize set before him.

It’s people like you who inspire others to a better self. There are others, but when they come pointing out the disturbance within, those in error kick their teeth out and continue to allow the children to play in the street and follow those who encourage them in ruin.

You inspire me to find a measure of hero in myself to contribute to things that work. Especially in (what may seem like a small part) the preservation of my family. Individually it isn’t much but collectively it is everything.

You are a hero.