Analysis: Dr. Claud Anderson

Orange Meme Separatist


Dr. Claud Anderson is a black empowerment leader that focuses on economic development. Currently, he is head of the Harvest Institute, a black think tank, focusing on reparations to descents of slaves owned by natives. His primary goals are to force the government to give monetary reparations to black people that will lead to black people having capital to build black-owned businesses and vertical supply chains.

The problem:

The plight of black people was caused by systematic economic disenfranchisement as explained by Dr. Anderson. Whites perpetrated the disenfranchisement, but all races had a hand in it. The government is currently on a path to have black people “Locked and Boxed” as a permanent obsolete worker class.  The government is now moving power into the hands of companies through privatization. The redistribution of authority to the private sector will remove the federal government as an institution strong enough for black people to appeal to receive rights. His research showed that blacks had to build a vertically integrated economy by the year 2013, or there would never be enough capital in the black community for us to be competitive.

The economic disenfranchisement began in the 1600’s. Maryland was the first state to make a Black Exclusion Edict in 1665. The Black Exclusion Edict codified the treatment of blacks as second-class citizens and made it illegal for blacks to participate in the economy. Slave Codes of 1705 further codified the system. The Slave Codes made aiding black people in any way punishable by death. The final nail in the coffin was Meritorious Manumission. Meritorious Manumission formalized a system to reward blacks for subverting slave rebellion and organization.

Native Americans were instrumental to the institution of slavery. After the French-Indian war, the treaty of 1750 allowed Indians to own slaves. After this, Indians became leaders in capturing fugitive slaves. The Five Civilized Tribes were prolific slaveholders and some of the fiercest Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. Also, Indians were the only group of people to have slaves after the Civil War. A second treaty was signed to allow for the freeing of the slaves and their inclusion in reparations.

The Civil War was fought to extract wealth from the South and put it in the North. Slavery was not the primary issue in The Civil War. Lincoln did not even make slavery an issue until two years into the war. The strategy was to cause confusion in the South and attack the labor pool. The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free anyone. It only applied to places that had already succeeded from the Union and left enslaved people in the Union under bondage.  

After the Civil War, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery unless a preceded by a criminal conviction. The South set out to reestablish a system of forced labor and stay within the constitution. White people created farmer alliances that vertically integrated the supply chain of tobacco and cotton. The Farmer Alliance was a co-op of white farmers that controlled access to a distributor and a factory. Black farmers were not allowed to join and had no place to sell their crop. The South then passed a law that said a black man must have a steady stream of employment. Since a black man could not start his farm, he had to work on a white man’s farm. They made work on the farm contingent on signing a year long contract. If a black person had not signed a contract with a white farmer, he would be in violation of Idle Worker Laws. The lack of a work contract would land him a conviction and forced labor on a southern chain gang.

Blacks that moved to the North did not fare any better. The government increased quotas allowing immigrants in from Southern and Eastern Europe to reduce the relative number of black people in the North. Unions were formed to exclude black people, and laws were passed to force companies to hire from the unions. Blacks were then relegated to the ghettos because that was the only place in town black people could afford to live.

In the economic sphere, the Civil Rights movement resulted in Affirmative Action. Dr. Anderson wrote many of the original Affirmative Action laws as part of the Carter Administration. Since inception Affirmative Action has grown to include more people. Currently, white women get 70% of the Affirmative Action jobs and Hispanics get 20% of the Affirmative Action jobs. Black receive around 1% of the benefit from Affirmative Action. Dr. Anderson hopes the speedy end of Affirmative Action. The influx of immigrants has also caused the relative pay between whites and blacks to stay at 54%. Jobs can be given to immigrants to fill AA quotas, and the disenfranchisement of blacks will continue.

Continued immigration from Latin America and Asia deludes the voting power of black people. Currently, Hispanics outnumber black people nationally.  Black people are also beginning to move out of predominantly black neighborhoods. The exodus of blacks from predominantly black neighborhoods reduces the number of places with a majority black population and dilutes the power of black people in local elections. Black people are no longer a political force.

Is the state of Black America Improving?

The percent of national wealth owned by black people in 1860 was 0.5%. In 1960 the number went up to 1.5%. Currently, we still have less than 2% of national wealth. We are not doing any better as a group.

The lack of wealth in the black community is not the result of any inferiority on the part black people. In 1860 98% of the black population was illiterate by 1900 only 40% were illiterate. The rapid growth of literacy in the black community is one of the greatest achievements in education history. At this moment black women are the most educated demographic in America. However, this does not translate into wealth or even income due to discrimination in the marketplace.

What is the solution?

Dr. Anderson has a two part solution. First is to infuse black America with wealth through reparations. The second is to create black businesses in a vertically integrated supply structure.

Because black people were the only ones that endured slavery black people have an exclusive claim to reparations from the Federal Government. The first order of business is to secure reparation promised in Indian treaties. Treaties trump even federal law and most of the treaties explicitly state a portion of the reparations are due to black people that descend from the tribe’s slaves. If those court cases are victorious, a precedent can be set to demand reparations from America as a whole.

The reparations will not be given to black people individually. A National Black Bank will be established to provide business grants and educational grants. Black people will wholly own the businesses or schools. Reparations will allow our Historically Black Colleges and Universities to independent and not subsidized by the government or white institutions.

These new institutions will be vertically integrated to create and entire supply chain controlled by black people. Black people must determine industries in which we are the primary consumer. If we are the main customers, we must begin to build black businesses and only buy from our producers. The money can then be used to integrate up the chain. Dr. Anderson began his work on this objective in the fish industry.

The plan in practice

Africa Town was an initiative started by Dr. Claud Anderson to build a black business district in inner city Detroit. He was in charge of the feasibility study to determine if Africa Town would be economically viable. According to an article in the Washington Times, a city council member said that she was “ extremely taken aback” that the study Mr. Anderson delivered appeared to be “a cut-and-paste” from his book and included no information on costs, construction, and investment possibilities. The bottom line is, she said, “There is no plan. There is no land. There is no money.”

The proposal to the city council stipulated that the $40 million dollars used to create Africa Town a district of only black-owned businesses. The measure passed and then was vetoed by Mayor Kilpatrick. The city council then overrode the veto with a 7-2 vote. Many immigrant groups banded together in protest and threatened legal action. The council realized they had made themselves vulnerable to many lawsuits. The council eventually dropped the measure.

Dr. Anderson attempted to establish a vertically integrated fish producer. If the venture were successful, he would have controlled the fish farms, distribution, sales, and restaurants. He was able to establish the Waterland Fish Factory in Hurlock, Md in the mid-2000’s. Fish City Restaurant, a fast-food chain, was also created around that time. An internet search for “Fish City Dr. Claud Anderson” and “Waterland Fish Factory” pulled up only one relevant result. The on the article on the subject explained how the roof on the Waterland Fish Factory caved in killing many fish. The roof had been damaged for a long time before the collapse. The company is no longer in business.

What he has right

Dr. Anderson does have a more advanced, orange meme view of racism. He says in one of his talks, “Racism is not the ability to get along with someone of a different race. Racism is systematically disenfranchisement from the economic system”. Systematic disenfranchisement is a point missed by many people and some leaders. A person’s ability to get along with a diverse group of individuals has no effect on systemic injustice.  

Black business will be a crucial part of black empowerment. There is extensive documentation of systematic disenfranchisement of black workers and black professionals. Black business will allow black people to nurture and train their employees. We can also provide a fair and even playing field for our workers to get promoted. Black business will also serve as a haven to protect black people from racism and discrimination on the job.

What he has wrong

Black business is critical to empowerment, but they will take many generations to build. According to Dr. Anderson himself, black people have less than 2% of the nation’s wealth. Most black businesses go under in less than two years due to lack of capital according to Dr. Anderson himself. He also states that most black businesses have less than two employees.

Dr. Anderson says that black money must bounce 10 to 12 times in the black community. However, he does not take into account there are very few black businesses to bounce that money. The average salary for a black person is around $39,000. Also, most black people live in the major metropolitan areas where the cost of living is very high.  That means most of the money is going to pay rent and utilities. The amount of disposable income is almost non-existent. A white person has an easier time “bouncing” his money because all the businesses in his community in which his people own most of the businesses including his mortgage company. If the white man buys low-cost goods at Walmart, he is bouncing his money in his community. A black man does the same thing to his detriment.

Many people compare black people to various immigrants that come to the country. The immigrant and black comparison are not a fair because many immigrants come to the USA with money and business experience from their countries of origin. The entrepreneurial immigrants start an economy, and the poor immigrants join. There are a few anecdotal stories of immigrants that start with nothing and become wealthy. But these stories are few and far between.   

He also has an unfair indictment of black political leadership as being inept. He says that black people are the only group of people that try to represent everyone. He forgets that black people are only 10% of the population, and a person needs 50% of the vote to win elections. You can’t have an initiative that only help black people because only 10% of the population will support the effort. That is how Affirmative Action got diluted, and other “disenfranchised” groups got included. That is something that will never change. A black politician knows this and builds a coalition accordingly.

Dr. Anderson believes black people living in communities in which they are the majority population will aid in giving black people more political power. He says to the only vote in elections in which you are the majority population. Again at 10% of the population, we will have to huddle into a few large cities. The concentration of the black population will give us power to a city government, but it will not help in state and federal elections. At this point, state elections are the most crucial. The state can override city initiatives and, as we have seen with Obamacare, can stop federal efforts in their state. It will be virtually impossible to get all black people to move into a few cities much less one state. We will always need to build coalitions for any election.

The Africa Town initiative shows how not building a coalition will destroy a project. In “Negro Leadership has failed black people” he claims the black politicians did not fully support him. However, the city council overrode their beloved mayor’s veto. A coalition of non-black immigrants with lawyers stopped the initiative. It is also difficult to believe Anderson’s hateful speech on his radio show “Powernomics” did not help to motivate the immigrant groups.

The fish and leather markets are two areas black people can become economically independent according to Dr. Anderson. Black people provide the bulk of customers in these industries according to Dr. Anderson’s research.  A small capital investment can be used to start a business in one of these sectors. Ideally, they can be an avenue for empowerment.

Unfortunately, in a mature capitalist economy the labor intensive, low capital industries have been outsourced to foreign countries. The difficulty in sustaining a viable business in one of these industries was what Anderson discovered with his fish business. Foreign competitors with an inferior product flood the market with cheap goods and reduce profit margins. His business could not last in spite of producing healthier, fresher fish.

The Foreign competition also hurt skilled worker jobs. Dr. Anderson implores blacks to choose trade school over college. In trade school, a person can make money instead of spending money while they are learning.  Even if a person cannot get a job in a factory they can do skilled work under a sole proprietorship. Trade school is good in theory, but with fewer products manufactured in the USA skilled worker jobs will never employ a lot of people. There is currently a shortage of jobs. However, it will not be sufficient to employ a large percentage of blacks. Even in the market for freelance work, black people will face the same discrimination they face in the corporate marketplace.

Where he fits on the Spiral

He chiefly focuses on economic development making him “goal-centric” or orange meme. I would obviously consider him a separatist and not an integrationist. He also views the racial problem regarding racial competition for resources. Orange value meme individuals see race issues as a subset of economic issues

Some may classify him as “ego-centric” or red value meme. However, I would not agree because for Dr. Anderson wants to reverse integration to make black people more economically viable. Because the disintegration is to aid in the goal of economic empowerment.


The page above is a personal blog that is not an official Spiral Dynamics Blog. The work of Clare Graves and Don Beck is the basis for this article. For more information on Spiral Dynamics, please go to the website below.