Thursday, November 3, 2011

If Progressive Heroine Ella Baker Were Alive Today Would She Believe That Italy's Imperialist Interests In Africa Has Substantively Changed Since Her Opposition To Their Incursion In Africa During Her Day?

Much credit is due to the late Black Progressive historian Manning Marable in reference to his book "Malcolm X - A Life Of Reinvention".

As I make my way through the audio book there is a large collection of gems that I am extracting which provide important details of the relationships and debates during the late 50's - early 60's between various individuals and groups that were involved with (or in some cases tried to stay out of) "The Civil Rights Movement".

The name Ella Baker came up in the book "Malcolm X" because Marable sought to give some context in the development of the "Southern Christian Leadership Conference" as well as other progressive civil rights organizations that Ms Baker was involved in.  While Baker and Malcolm X were not necessarily direct collaborators the both were important players in the constellation of voices during this period.

From Wikipedia


While I was personally interested to hear that the great journalist George S Schuyler was a close friend with Ella Baker - during his time as a left wing radical (before becoming a staunch conservative and critical of several elements and antics of "The Civil Rights Movement") it was more interesting to learn about Ella Bakers stance against the invasion of Ethiopia by the colonial power Italy.

To be clear - I did not read about Ella Baker's activism against Italian/European imperialism within Africa from the "Malcolm X" book.   I learned about it from my additional research on Ella Baker - the name that rolls off of the lips of so many Black activist progressives today.

W.W.E.B.D.A.T.N.C.I.L.T.?
("What Would Ella Baker Do About The NATO Coup In Libya Today?)

I have no intention of hijacking anything about Ella Baker's legacy, presupposing that I could predict what she would do if she were alive today.  In fact I hate it when people try to do this.

Instead it is far more interesting to make reference to a figure that various Black Progressive-Fundamentalists from Van Jones to certain spoken word artists use and then contrast her views about Imperialism In Africa against the views held today by people who do try to walk in her shoes.

It was the Wikipedia entry about Ella Baker that I learned:


The purpose of this blog is less "About Obama" and instead is about how staunch Progressives have CHANGED in accommodation of Obama.  This is not a "political gotcha" blog intent on making shallow indictments, then assuming that I have 'won' by proving someone's hypocrisy.

My intent is on modeling and then analyzing "Progressivism" and how political pragamatism and, in some cases ideological bigotry shapes it as it seeks to deal with its demons. (Demons meaning the choice to remain dogmatically "progressive" versus politically expedient loyal Democrats - as the force cast by the Republican enemy justify "right-wing" actions done in the name of protection).

Did The Agenda Of Italy And Europe Change Over Africa In 75 Years Since The Second Italo-Abyssinian War?

Of course Ethiopia is a very different nation than in Libya in a number of ways:

  • Prevailing Religion
  • Cultural Pasts
  • Proximity To Europe
  • Petroleum and Commercial Holdings

The common tie in my argument is the European nation of Italy.  

The Italians invaded Ethiopia while "The League Of Nations" was impotent in forcing Italy to obey "international law".  Upon its successful conquest - other imperialist powers applauded Italy for its "accomplishment" and efficiency.  This appears to be the JUSTIFICATION in the minds of the back slappers.

The war appears to have been started when an African leader, Emperor Haile Selassie dared to express disapproval for some borderlines drawn by European colonialists and then went "doubled daring" as he flexed his military muscles in affirming his nation's right to the land mass in dispute.


The template is clear:

  • An African nation stands up for its own independence and self determination
  • External powers who's interests are threatened seek to compel the African nation to yield
  • A military incursion is initiated to enforce the will of the external/ colonial force

The information that I have seen does not sufficiently mention the prevailing sentiments of the citizens of Ethiopia with regards to this external intervention but it seems reasonable that they would be against these foreign forces.


Italy Bombs Libya Under The Guise Of NATO - Along With The United States - Lead By Commander In Chief Obama

The Grio.com: White House Confirms That American Drones Will Provide Surveillance Over Ethiopia

If Ella Baker was on the staff of MSNBC's "The Grio.com" would she see the track record of bombing attacks by the United States and NATO using  "US Drones" in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia 
and be wary that the assurances from Commander In Chief Obama that these drones will be unarmed, might not be followed in the future?   These drones likely have the mounting brackets to hold munitions already.



Would Ella Baker wake up at 2am in order to make it to the White House just prior to the 3am phone call that the Commander In Chief receives from the US Military - asking permission to execute another bombing campaign in the name of a "Humanitarian Mission"?

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