Kuselo Mandela as Stokely Carmichael in Dialektikon 2012
(to RD Laing) When I was a young man in the West Indies I had to read Rudyard Kipling’s THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN. I thought the best thing the white man could do for me was to leave me alone, but Kipling told them to come and save me because I was half savage, half child. It was very white of him.
Now you’ve got me very confused, because I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, I’m a political activist. And I don’t deal with the individual, I think it’s a cop-out. What we’re talking about here is the system of international white supremacy coupled with international capitalism. And we’re out to smash that system. And people who see themselves as part of that system are going to be smashed with it – or we’re going to be smashed.
There are two types of racism in our society today: there’s individual racism and there’s institutional racism. When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, and it’s widely deplored. But when in that same American city black people are locked into dilapidated slums and thousands of children are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually through poverty and discrimination, that is a function of institutionalised racism. I’m talking about the US, but I think you can apply a little of that to London. But the society pretends either it doesn’t know of institutionalised racism, or is incapable of doing anything meaningful about it. And the resistance to doing anything meaningful about it stems from the fact that western society enjoys its luxury from institutionalised racism, and therefore, were it to end this atrocity that it produces it would in fact destroy itself.
Now I want to talk about violence because the West is always upset about violence when a black man uses it. For god’s sake, I don’t understand how the white west can ever talk against violence. They are the most violent people on earth. They have used violence to get everything they have. And yet they’re the first to talk against violence.
When rebellions break out in the large cities of America, the first thing that people say is that they’re riots. And white western society is very good, the first thing they want is order, law and order. ‘We must have law and order.’ They never talk about justice, because they’re incapable of talking about it. The West knows about law and order, it does not know about justice. It is for white western society to talk about law and order, it is for the Third World to talk about justice.
When we were reading in college, we read the history of western civilisation. We never even questioned it, we thought they were really civilised. We never questioned. What it should read is the history of western barbarism. Because they have been barbaric, they have been barbaric. The West with its guns and its power and its might came into Africa, Asia, Latin America and the USA and raped it. And while they raped it they used beautiful terms. They told the native Americans ‘We’re civilising you. And if you won’t be civilised, we’ll kill you.’ So they committed genocide and stole the land and put the native Americans on reservations, and they said they had civilised the country. They weren’t satisfied with that. They came to Africa and stole Africans and brought them to the USA and we were being brought there to be civilised, and they were going to give us a better life, which was of course slavery. Our ancestors knew what civilisation was long before Europeans even got out of their caves. But because we accepted that they were civilised, we accepted the opposite of that, that everybody else was uncivilised. And since we came from every place else, we were uncivilised. We developed in our minds hatred of ourselves, hatred of our cultures, hatred of our people, and we tried to imitate white western society because we wanted to be civilised. So that one of the greatest fights the people of the third world are fighting today is a fight to write history the correct way, and to destroy the lies that the white man has told about history.
We must begin to recognise that we all have a place in the sun – that that place in the sun has been stolen and robbed from us by the West. The white man has been playing god for centuries, and the reason he has played god for centuries is because we’ve let him. It’s time for us to let him know that we will no longer tolerate his nonsense. It is time for us to let him know that we are forging together in our struggle for humanity, and every time he touches one of the peoples in the Third World he is going to go to war with all of us, wherever we are. And when the West drop their bombs on Vietnam – They have to know, if we don’t have bombs we will burn down their factories. That’s what we have to tell him. That’s what we have to tell him.
‘Those who profess to favour freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground. They want rain without thunder & lightning. Power concedes nothing without demands – it never did & it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. And these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants and prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.’
These are the words of Frederick Douglas, the words of a slave.
We are fighting to save the humanity of the world, which the West has failed miserably in being able to preserve. The society we seek to build among black people is not an oppressive capitalist society. We do not seek merely to create communities where, in place of white rulers, black rulers control the lives of black masses, and where black money goes into a few black pockets. We want to see it go into the communal pocket.
Let us decide not to imitate Europe. Let us try to create the whole man, whom Europe has been incapable of bringing to triumphant birth. No, we do not want to catch up with anyone. What we want to do is go forward all the time, night and day, in the company of man, in the company of all men.
from Dialetikon 2012 Est. 1965
PSYCHOTHERAPY PHILOSOPHY COMMUNITY invite you to THE FIRST RD LAING MEMORIAL LECTURE: DIALEKTIKON 2012, a revisiting of the Congress of the Dialectics of Liberation of 1967 organised by Dr RD Laing and colleagues, introduction by Congress co-organiser Dr Leon Redler and recreation of key speeches by radical psychiatrist RD Laing, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse, Black Power leader Stokely Carmichael, visionary scientist Gregory Bateson.
War, madness, white violence, climate change, speaking on Bodhisattva conduct and afterwards a discussion.
Friday 26th October at 7.30 pm, Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead NW3 1NG (nearest tube: Hampstead)
To reserve a seat please ring 0300 1231708 or email [email protected]association.org.uk
Actors: Bradley Cole Stephen Greif Kuselo Mandela Niall McDevitt Harry Myers
Writer/director: Jacky Ivimy / producer: Victoria Childs