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Hip-Hop Fridays: Voting and Parties vs. Principles And Issues Part 2


Last week I spoke of the need for the Hip-Hop Nation to conduct a bit of self-analysis and to establish core principles and values prior to launching head first into any "get out the vote" campaigns that are little more than fronts for political parties and special and corporate interests that have little respect for the integrity of Hip-Hop culture.

I was especially critical of political parties - the Democratic Party in particular, having witnessed up close, several of their efforts to make "outreach" to the Hip-Hop community through Black Political and Civic Leaders. Always doing so under the patronizing and insulting guise that our Black forefathers died so that we could cast votes. Of course I reject this ploy countering that these same "voting" advocates do nothing more than rally votes for predetermined issues and candidates and therefore a pre-arranged outcome. No forefather of mine died for such nonsense.

In this Information era and the international spread of Hip-Hop, the role of the political party will diminish. To be honest, the era of political parties, as we have known them, came to an end a long time ago but the continued reliance of Black political candidates on the party machine has helped to stay the day of execution. Many Black candidates on the local level believe that they cannot win an election unless they join a party and are backed by the intellectual, financial and human resources that a party would make available to them.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Candidates, if they represent the interests of their community can eventually attract all of the resources they could possibly need to run a winning campaign. At this point, I find much of the reliance on party machines to be a by-product of pure laziness.

This is not to say that political parties don't have value and don't do good for the Black community and the Hip-Hop community, but why do we have to accept the presupposition that a political party is necessary to win elections or advance issues or make laws?

Sure, there will be some increased difficulties in challenging the monopoly that the two-party system has in many areas but it is far from "impossible" as many people will tell you.

If the Hip-Hop community identifies issues that are important to it, why couldn't it use its great influence with young people, the power of the media, and financial resources to produce and/or back candidates? No good reason I can think of.

The day of the intermediary in many fields of endeavor or is coming to an end. We no longer need people standing between us and truth and power.

I can remember that only a few years ago, a person would have to write or call the office of their elected official in order to receive a copy of legislation that was offered in Congress or an actual law that had been passed. The process would sometimes take weeks to complete.

Now the same process can be accomplished, if one has the resources, in a few minutes on the Internet. There is not as much need to defer to so-called political experts or experts in just about any field nowadays. You can teach yourself many disciplines and organize people, independent of any institutions, with the use of a phone, fax and computer.

The day of the slow, plodding organization is over. People don't need these bodies like they use to. Unity can be accomplished through oneness of mind and spirit regardless to whether an "institution" or "controlling legal authority" (as Al Gore would put it) is established. This can occur if people are united on the basis of principles, values and interests. Since when do people need a political party and or power elite to inform them of these?

Coordination, interpretation, efficiency, protocol and physical organization aren't going anywhere but they can definitely be accomplished through other means than political parties and institutions that eventually will evolve into oligarchies and become captive to special interests.

If the Hip-Hop community is waiting for the Establishment to tell us this, then we indeed deserve the junior partner status that undoubtedly will be offered to us.


Cedric Muhammad

Friday, August 25, 2000

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