Black Leadership Analysis

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Ancestral Reverence in Shadow Work

Part of Buddhist and African spirituality is reverence for your ancestors. In both frameworks, ancestors provide guidance and assistance. In addition to the help they can provide, people that adhere to these spiritualities use ancestral reverence as a way to recognize and thank our forebears for their sacrifice. The practice allows for a person’s ancestors to move through them. Reverence for ancestors will also aid in coming to grips with yourself as part of an unbroken continuum of experience. The continuum stretches back to the beginning of time and forward until the end of time. The continuation happens whether an individual has children or not. The ancestors will help a person to integrate aspects of their personality.

My ancestral reverence practice occurs after my daily meditation. After meditation, I bow, the Buddhist term is half-prostration, and imagine how my ancestors looked. In meditation, a person should move away from using words and attempt to concentrate on first order sensations. I chose as my ancestral image to be a slave. For me, a female image is more natural and more soothing. I am not sure why.

I feel Black Americans need to come to terms with our slave ancestry. The first step for us was coming to grips with our African ancestry. Black Americans were told the pre-colonial Africans were primitive and lacked culture. Those myths have been debunked, and most blacks understand that African civilization was advanced.

I viewed my slave ancestry as something I have to overcome. My slave ancestors sacrificed for me to be here. I now owe them being successful. If I am unsuccessful, their sacrifice was for nothing. I suspect many other people feel the same way.

What I was missing was slaves had full lives in spite of the oppression. The slaves sought wisdom, savored the few pleasures they had, and found love. I am a product of them finding love. When I came to grips with that, I could allow myself to live a full life. My life doesn’t solely have to be about being successful. My slave ancestors showed me how to have a full life in spite of oppression. I owe them being happy, not successful.

Anyone that follows my blog knows I have completed extensive research on the Pullman Porters. While doing research, I stumbled across many stories of the abusive treatment the porter’s received. Porters were called every racial slur. One of the most frequently used was calling all porters “George.” The name came because a man named George Pullman owned the Pullman company. During slavery, slaves were named after their master. Most passengers, especially from the south saw the porters as slaves and treated them accordingly.

These stories triggered me emotionally. Many times in my career I did not speak up when I or someone around me suffered a racial injustice. Many of my black co-workers expressed that I was extremely passive. I had a rocky start to my career and felt I needed to concentrate on the “nuts and bolts” of the job. I avoided unnecessary conflict because I had very little experience and could be replaced easily if things come to a head. I was fired from my first job due to having a racial conflict, and I did not want to repeat this pattern.

I often second guess my decision on this job. I regret not standing up for myself and others more. I have a few instances, in particular, I regret very much. I justify it to myself by saying I had to take care of business. I needed to hold on to the job and gain experience. Deep down I feel not only did I not stand up for myself, but I also did not stand up for my race.

I contrast my struggles with what the Pullman Porters accepted from the company and what they were able to accomplish in the field of Civil Rights. Even if a porter was completely passive, he was part of an organization, if he joined the union, which laid the foundation for the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. If he was kowtowing, he kowtowed for the struggle. If a few racist white people laughed about making a spectacle of a porter, who cares? The porter laid the foundation for me.

I am not saying I have accomplished anything anywhere near as significant as the Pullman Porters. However, progress is not about individual achievement. Progress is about community achievement. I could get the opportunity to redeem myself, someone in a future generation could redeem me. Everyday I decide if the cumulative affects of my actions are positive or negative. Being black is not about winning every fight; no one wins every fight. The goal is to have a larger balance of positive action than negative actions. Your positive action balance is tallied every day. In each moment you create your legacy.

I recently, re-read Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries. In the book, he recounts a story of meeting a black man in Peru that reported the murder of his friend. Below is the quote:

“Until this point, we had been traveling in the same truck as the black guy who had reported the murder. At one of the stops along the road, he bought us a meal and throughout it, lectured us on coffee, papaya, and the black slaves, of whom his grandfather had been one. He said this quite openly but [in] it you could detect a note of shame in his voice. In any case, Alberto and I agreed to absolve him of any guilt in the murder of his friend.”

The man from Peru had an intellectual understanding of the history of his people. The man did not have emotional acceptance, hence the shame. A person must foster both the intellectual understanding and the emotional acceptance. I feel that we as black people have a difficult time with the fact we have had to and still have to acquiesce to injustice. It is a survival method forged by our slave ancestors and is often still useful. Black people hate to admit that they had to acquiesce and others around them had to acquiesce.

The shame of acquiescence causes black people to vilify many our mainstream Civil Rights leaders as Uncle Toms. Many hate that A. Philip Randolph had to say the racist American Federation of Labor leader and L. Johnson was a greater friends to blacks than Lincoln. He was able to accomplish more than any other Civil Rights leader. Randolph was not a dogmatist; he was a pragmatist. He built relationships and allied with those he needed, not those with similar views. He separated the needs of the group and race from his personal need for pride. The same goes for Ed Nixon who organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Nixon was also pragmatic and extremely successful. He is now often viewed as a Tom. These men should be revered as examples of successful leadership.

I think the vilification of Nixon and Randolph would lessen if black people came to grips with their issues with acquiescence. Once a person accepts they did not directly confront the racism they encountered they can accept the behavior in other people. When can then realistically evaluate the sum of all actions and determine if the leader was successful or not. It is true many leaders acquiesce and get no benefit to themselves and the race at large. Acquiesce without results should be vilified. However, if you can prove the leader made the material conditions of black life better, then give the leader the credit they deserve.

To recap, ancestral reverence will help to integrate various aspects of a person’s personality. Once a person has a better understanding of themselves and their psychology, they will reevaluate many leaders from a more logical standpoint. Often we don’t like in leaders aspects of ourselves. As a community, doing shadow work will help us to choose the most suitable leaders.

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Analysis: Asa Philip Randolph

What He Has Right

Randolph’s treatise on lynching was superb. He understands and relays to the audience the underlying cause of lynchings is economic, not racist. By being able to see the bigger picture, the audience can understand the manipulation. The treatise on lynching illustrates how race issues are rooted in economics.

Randolph did understand the causes of World War I. Many modern historians point to the German colonial expansion was a catalyst for the War. Also, the war can be a boost for the economy and did boost the economy in America and Europe. The war utilized idol materials and workers.

He also understands that global peace will only come after all people are independent and self-agentic. He realizes that the non-European countries are not ready for full independence as of yet. However, the European countries should nurture and bring the countries along.

Randolph’s ultimate plan of bringing together black and white workers will work to the benefit of all involved. Uniting the workers will reduce the number of people willing to cross picket lines and gives the union more power. However, he also understands people will not integrate without laws forcing them to do so. He knows the failure to comply should lead to a loss of funding or political power.

The march toward fair hiring practices will require sustained action. He encouraged the crowd to take the energy back home. He also tutored younger leaders such as Martin Luther King. Randolph understood the process would not only extend his whole life, but it will extend through many lifetimes.

Randolph is correct that he and more moderate Civil Rights leaders are the voice of most Black Americans. Only Dr. King can rival Randolph’s list of accomplishments. Integration is the only way forward for a people systematically disenfranchised. Blacks should not leave or separate. Blacks were an integral part of the building of the country and should reap all the same rewards.

What He Has Wrong

Peace is not a sufficient motivator to get the European countries to facilitate the growth of Non-European countries. The Orange meme, which most European countries were operating at the time, has no reason to help other countries grow. In the Orange meme, the European countries want to have as much status and resources as possible. If profit sharing and knowledge sharing happens, the European countries must give up their status. Here are a list of reasons why the European nations will never facilitate third world growth

1. The European nations want to keep the resources to themselves
2. The European nations want to keep labor cheap
3. The European nations do not see the natives as intellectual equals
4. Admitting that change is needed proves that the European countries were wrong in the past

Full equability requires a shift in consciousness. No council full of countries at Orange level consciousness will perpetuate the current system. That doesn’t mean that a council will not at least ensure the world does not regress. However, profound psychological work will be needed by a large group of individuals before any real progress occurs. At the time Randolph was writing this treatise very few people had made the connection between spirituality, politics, and psychology. The modern day analyst, especially the integralist, can see where this philosophy is lacking.

His framing of President Johnson is overly rose-colored. It is important for the reader to know that Johnson was a Dixiecrat and supporter of segregation until he became president. Most other historians recount how afraid most black people were when Johnson took over the Presidency. Johnson did sign some of the most important Civil Rights legislation. However, the motivation was more political than moral. A separate blog post is needed to give this subject justice.

It is also clear that Dr. King was under FBI surveillance during his entire career. Johnson had to be aware of this fact. To say Dr. King and Johnson had good relations is simply not accurate.

The Democratic party absorbed most of the Civil Rights leadership of the 1960’s. Randolph knew he had to keep his political allies to push forth more legislation. Randolph was also Vice President of the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO was strongly allied with the Democratic party. Randolph was being pressured on all sides to keep a positive relationship with the Democrats.

Where is A. Philip Randolph on the Spiral

A Philip Randolph is in the Orange Meme Integrationist. He is a Democratic Socialist that supports First Order Change. Randolph saw race as a subset of the larger issue of economic inequality. In his work, he concentrated on American blacks. Even though he did have a world perspective, which is usually Orange Meme, his work was all in America. Randolph was a power player in the Democratic Party for decades and had recognition internationally. He concentrated on America.

At the beginning of his career, he wanted Second Order change and supported the revolution in Russia. He saw the treatment of minorities in the USSR and determined Communism was severely lacking. Just because he felt the system was superior that did not mean change was not needed. Randolph demonstrates pragmatism in action.

I saw no change in values, so there was no shift up or down the Spiral in Randolph’s public life. He is centered in Orange the entire time.

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March on Washington Movement

After the departure from the National Negro Congress, A. Philip Randolph tours the country with his Brotherhood Vice-President Milton Webster. Webster has the idea of a mass demonstration in Washington. He suggests 10,000 people Marching on Washington. [1] Randolph closes his speeches with a call for a mass protest. The idea spreads like wildfire. In 1941, many are calling for Randolph to go through with the march. Black people have been excluded from the Defense Industry too long. Randolph also wants to end Jim Crow in the military.

Randolph started the March on Washington Movement to create a new coalition to create a mass demonstration to force the government to end segregation in the military and defense industry. He allies with the NAACP, Federal Council on Negro Affairs, and National Urban League. [2]All groups are moderate Civil Rights organizations that wanted first-order change.

Mary McLeod Bethune headed The Federal Council on Negro Affairs. She was a Washington insider that had unprecedented access to the Roosevelts. She was the highest paid government official at the time. [6] Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt were close friends. Bethune received inside knowledge on how the President thought and had an advocate for blacks that is extremely close to the President.

Walter White headed the NAACP at this time. White was another Washington insider and had several meetings on the topic of desegregation in the defense industry. [6] In later years, Randolph and White become rivals and tell conflicting stories about who convinced Roosevelt to sign the executive order. Ultimately, both men had influence on Roosevelt. White pressured from inside the White House. Randolph pressured from outside the White House.

He now needs to ensure those that want second-order change, the Communist, are excluded from the group. He calls for only black people to come to the march. At the time, few whites outside the Communist Party had interest. There were very few black people in the Communist Party because they abandoned the cause of Civil Rights during World War II. Calling for only black people to be at the march was a shrewd method to dissolve the threat of Communist agitation. There is still bad-blood between the two groups since the National Negro Congress split and the Communist could use a disturbance at the march to reduce A. Philip Randolph’s power.

Roosevelt never said he was against desegregation, but he did not actively support Civil Rights. He needed Southern support to pass and continue the New Deal. To keep the Southerners support, he purposely excluded domestic and agricultural workers from New Deal benefits. At the time 60% of black people were domestic and farm workers. Roosevelt also refused to back an anti-lynching bill in 1938.[3] No matter what Roosevelt personally believed, he would always act with political motives.

The USA had not entered World War II in the summer of 1941. Roosevelt wanted to aid the allies in not only supplies but soldiers. He also was framing the war as a struggle against tyranny and genocide. A mass demonstration against racism would call into question America’s moral authority in the war. Roosevelt could not risk a civil disturbance at this critical time.

Eleanor Roosevelt, heavily influenced by Bethune, calls A. Philip Randolph to discuss postponing the march. Randolph agrees to meet with Roosevelt, other Civil Rights leaders, and various cabinet members. According to Randolph in a 1968 interview, Roosevelt was chiefly worried about a civil disturbance at the march. [4] Roosevelt initially proposed an executive order to outlaw segregation in the government contracted defense industry in return for calling off the march. Randolph would not agree. He demanded that the government include non-contract defense industry. Randolph is only willing to postpone not stop the march. Roosevelt balked at first but ultimately capitulated. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 8802 two days before the march. [4]

Randolph makes a unilateral decision to call off the march. [2]It is possible he did not have enough time to consult with the rest of his team. It could be that he thought the team would not agree unless the order included the military. Many historians chastise Randolph for unilaterally calling off the march. Originally the March on Washington Movement was a collaboration among equals; now it was Randolph’s group.

There is another group of historians that believe Randolph would not have been able to make the march happen. [6] Washington was a segregated city at that time, that meant few accommodations for housing and restricted access by rail. Because many of the rural areas around DC did not have black newspapers, word of the March spread in major cities across the country not to blacks within driving distance. It is possible that Randolph knew he would not be able to gather his 100,000 people.

Randolph has only postponed the march he has not called it off altogether. He now has branches in Los Angeles, Chicago, Trenton, Milwaukee, Washington, Cleveland, Richmond, St. Louis, Atlanta, Savannah, St. Paul, and Jacksonville. [2] The new national movement was successful in creating demonstrations in New York, Chicago, and St. Louis.

Roosevelt created the Fair Employment Practice Committee, FEPC, to enforce desegregation in the armed forces. He appoints Southerner Mark Ethridge to oversee the committee. Ethridge was a staunchly believed segregation had moral and practical justification. [2] The FEPC has no authority to punish the contractors or government agencies if they are found not obeying the executive order. The result of the FEPC is only documentation that segregation is happening. [2]The FEPC ended due to government cuts in 1943.

The FEPC did have practical reasons for not punishing desegregation. The country was in the middle of supplying and fighting (by the end of 1941) a war effort. Stopping a production line or pulling a contract could get people killed on the front line. However, there could have been measures taken that would not shut down the line, such as disqualification in future contracts.

Randolph continues to use the threat of a mass protest to pressure the government into desegregating the military. To execute a massive protest, he needed more organizational infrastructure. In the 1942 conference, organizational ground rules are made. The first is no money from whites. The MOWM can only serve blacks if it is funded by blacks. The second was a complete denouncement of communism. The third was all local branches come together for the March on Washington.[6] Other than the March on Washington local offices had autonomy.

The institutionalization of the MOWM causes the NAACP to worry that they could lose membership and funding. The NAACP denounced the MOWM as being exclusionary to whites. Turning the NAACP into an enemy caused the most problems with the Washington local branch. The NAACP did everything to discourage membership. The DC local was found to have no members in a 1943 audit. [6]The lack of membership was partly due to poor management, but denouncement by the local NAACP did not help the matter. [6] If there is no support in the city in which the protest takes place, there is no reason to think a protest can happen.

The Left criticized the MOWM first. The Left felt the executive order did not go far enough because there was no penalty for non-compliance. The second issue was a fear that Randolph was working to gain a foot into the Democratic Party on the backs of his people. Blacks would then have total loyalty to the Democratic Party. People do not bait hooks for caught fish. From the extreme Left the criticism was Randolph was not attempting to overthrow an inherently racist system, he was just trying to get black people included in the system at a deeper level.

On the right, there was the charge that a mass demonstration is too risky. The summer of 1943 birthed two race riots in Detroit and New York. Both ended with dozens of blacks killed or injured. The Ohio newspaper,Cleveland Call, urged Randolph to concentrate on local protest at factories. The paper cited numerous instances of local protest working without the risk or cost of a national demonstration. [7]

Randolph wanted the march to be all black to reduce the likelihood of infiltration by saboteurs and to promote black pride. Having an all black march would combat the inferiority complex in blacks. [6] If blacks cannot do anything on their own they will never have the confidence to compete in America. Having the MOWM funded totally by blacks allowed for total control of the movement. Randolph reiterates an old saying “there is no instance of people… winning freedom who did not have to pay for it in treasure, blood, and tears, and since who pays the fiddler calls the time.” [6]

Ultimately, a movement can’t be funded by people with no money. Funding from the NAACP dries up when the MOWM is thought to be working for a permanent organization. In 1942, Randolph admitted to a lieutenant that the movement does not have a dime. [6] In 1943, Randolph asks the Executive Committee for personal loans to keep the movement afloat. [6] The organization holds itself together until 1947 with no paid staff members.

The first organization dedicated to nonviolent direct action was The March on Washington Movement. The NAACP focused on winning cases; the National Urban League groomed politicians, the MOWM got people in the streets across the nation to protest. The MOWM successfully picketed an arms manufacturer in St. Louis along with other local victories. The blueprint will be taken up in the 1960’s by Randolph protege Dr. Martin Luther King.

As stated earlier, Executive Order 8802 did not desegregate the military. Truman will have to implement Executive Order 9981 in 1948 and Secretary McNamara issuing Defense Directive 5120.36 in 1963. However, it was a crucial first step. After EO 8802 the number of black civil servants triple and the number of blacks in the defense industry went from 8.4% to 12.5%. [6] Desegregation would never happen overnight. It took many people of all races working together in many different manners. The MOWM created a template for non-violence that will be used for the entire Civil Rights Movement.

One can not be sure why Randolph left his earlier pragmatism behind. It is reasonable to assume he was terrified of communist infiltration. It is also sensible to think he needed an all-black movement to be successful to salve his ego. It’s hard for a person to share a victory with people he does not trust. I assume there were some shadow elements within Randolph that caused some self-sabotage. Randolph also lacked a lieutenant in the MOWM effort. Milton Webster was a pragmatic Vice-President of The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Randolph had a few female secretaries, but due to money issues, none stayed long enough to influence the movement. History will never understand Randolph’s lapse in judgment.

1. Rising From the Rails by Larry Tye
2. “The Negro March On Washington Movement in the World War II Period”
3. “Race and FDR’s New Deal”
4. Thomas Baker Interview with A. Philip Randolph October 29,1968
5. New York Amsterdam News August 7, 1943
6.“It’s A New Kind of Militancy” by David Lucander
7. Cleveland Call Sept 12, 1942
8. “Harry Truman and the Desegregation of the Military” by Joy A. Reid

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Basic Philosophy of Asa Philip Randolph


In 1917, Randolph and his business partner, Chandler Owen, wrote a treatise called The Truth About Lynchings. Lynchings was a way to punish people or entire groups without a trial. Lynchings were very common in the South, and the victims were mostly black.

Randolph and Owen created the treatise to combat the myth that black men having sex with white women cause lynchings. Often interracial relationships ended with an accusation of rape. The whites of the town would rally and kill the offending black man.

To prove the cause of lynchings is not racial, Randolph and Owen show the stats for victims of lynching. Around 35% of victims of lynching were white, and only 34% followed a rape charge. There were black men lynched for dressing well, standing up to whites that disrespected them and attempting to vote. Often black men were just randomly killed. Even when a black man was accused of rape, he did not even know his white accuser. The cause of lynching is much deeper than race.

The writers contend all the victims were extremely poor and often exploited for labor. Most times blacks moved into an area and provided incredibly cheap labor. The skilled labor, generally white, would then need to run these people out of town or kill them. A mob would form to kill one man in hopes the rest would leave out of fear. If that did not work, an attack on the entire black population would follow. That was the story of lynchings in the North.

In the South, lynching provided cause for a constant state of fear in the black community. The state of fear impeded organizing and protesting for equal pay. The fear keeps the old exploitative Capitalist system alive, and the South stayed one step away from slavery.

The capitalists perpetuate racial fears and cause lynchings. The wealthy control the newspapers and can create whatever narrative they want. The public believes the narrative, and the skilled workers are pitted against non-skilled workers. Both have their attention diverted from the real cause of suffering.

Ultimately, exploitative Capitalism led to lynching. Instating socialism can correct the problem. The first order of business was to have all trade unions integrated. Blacks also have to begin to support trade unionism. It is insane to be against trade unionism because most black people are in the working class. In spite of the discrimination in the Union, the fundamental principles of Unionism are sound.

International Affairs

Randolph wrote a treatise on how the United States should handle World War I in 1917 with fellow socialist Chandler Owen. The duo was instrumental in the formulation of socialist thought in the black community. For the reader to fully understand the essay a summary of World War I is needed.

World War I started in 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne. A terrorist organization known as the Black Hand carried out the assassination, and the group had connections to Serbia. Serbia had recently gained full independence from the Ottoman Empire with the help of Russia. The Serbians wanted to liberate various Slavic countries from Austria – Hungary.

Austria – Hungary declared war on Serbia to avenge the killing of the heir. Serbia had a mutual protection pact with Russia. An alliance between France, Russia, and England had existed for decades. The entry of Germany on the side of Austria – Hungary culminated in “The war to end all wars.”

At the beginning of 1917, the United States was not yet in the war. A telegram from Germany was intercepted by the British. The telegram offered Mexico aid if Mexico declared war on the United States to reclaim land lost during the Mexican-American War. The telegram is now known as the Zimmerman Telegram. Public opinion swayed from isolationism to interventionism upon publication of the Zimmerman Telegram. The USA declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

Even though America was justified in entering the war, there were many issues getting soldiers half-way across the world. America could not reinforce European Allied force at speed to move the front line. 1917 was a year of stalemate. America was dumping tons of resources in a war with no end in sight. The government instituted the draft. America will solve all these logistic issues and by 1918 ten thousand new soldiers will be sent to France a day. The Allies will begin to push the Axis Powers back, and the war will end in the summer of 1918.

The stress of the war was not only taking a toll on America. Russia was also near starvation by 1917. The harsh living conditions for the average Russian resulted in a revolution to overthrow the Czar. The new government was the first Socialist government in the world. The new Russian government scales back on the war effort. A treaty between German and Russian will be signed in March of 1918.

Randolph and Owen’s joint treatise Terms of Peace and the Darker Races details how to the major European powers can gain peace with each other and with the non-whites of the world. The treatise takes the position that the war was not intended to avenge the death of Ferdinand. The war was to halt German progress in acquiring new territory in Africa and the Pacific. At the beginning of the war, Germany had colonies in East Africa, West Africa, Northern part of Papua New Guinea, and various islands in the Pacific. The German colonial growth threatened French and German power in Africa and beyond.

The second cause of the war was a surplus of military goods that was going idol. Capitalists run Europe and want to ensure resources go to use and generate profit. However, once the excess of military assets has been exhausted the European powers will end the war because there is not profit motive. The following paragraph is a good summary.

“ After the goods produced shall have been used. There is no gain in having the war continue, but on the contrary, the war’s continuance would be a substantial debt upon capitalist. The capitalist…sell immense amount of goods. When the war ends, the government owes them huge debts. It is necessary for the soldiers to become laborers now to pay this debt. Hence the object of peace is profit – gain- just as the object of war is.” p.2

To illustrate his idea the capital gain is the real reason for prolonging the war he shows how differently the new socialist government in Russia and the capitalist government are handling the issue of peace. The Russians have made their terms for peace well known. Britain and France engage in dark diplomacy, working on terms with Austria -Hungary, and Germany in secret. He concludes that Britain and France want continuance because they still see that the venture is profitable

The profit to be made is not only on the sale of arms and supplies, but the reclaiming of colonial lands recently lost to Germany. The new colonial lands have numerous untapped resources. Further development in Europe is no longer possible due to overuse of land. The new colonial lands are vital for further growth. The allies hope to weaken Germany and take the land back.

The European power’s main relationship to the colonial land is for exploitation. The people of the land are seen as a vehicle to be used to cultivate the ground. They are not independent/agentic beings. The following quotes are a summary of this aspect of the philosophy.

“To prevent such a fight, one of three things may be done: You may eliminate the fighters, you may remove the thing they fight about, or change the attitude on what they are fighting about.” p.8

“Herein lies the real bone of contention of the world war – darker peoples for cheap labor and darker people for rich lands” p 13

“Before getting into the terms of peace for the darker nations, we wish to observe that incidentally are the darker people’s exploited. It is not because of their color per se, but because colored peoples happen to assume such a low place in the scale of civilization just now as to make such exploitation attractive easy and possible.” p 15

Because you can not eliminate the European nations or the colonial lands, the attitude toward colonial lands must change. That is why the European must acknowledge the colonial’s independence an aid in the march toward self-sufficiency. Global peace and stability will be needed to facilitate this new paradigm.

The creation of a Permanent International Peace Commission will be necessary. The commission will judge international breaches of justice. The ability address grievances in a court setting will make the need for war obsolete. As part of the commission, there will be an International Council on the Condition of Darker Races. This council will ensure profit sharing between the workers and capitalist, proper education for natives, and eventual independence for the native people.

Randolph believes the desire for peace will be the ultimate motivator to accomplish this goal. World War I was so bloody on such a large scale that no one will want to endure any war ever again. If everyone wants peace, then full independence for the colonies is necessary. He extends the desired autonomy to Alsace, Lorraine, and Poland which were controlled by various European nations at that time.


Like many other Black Empowerment Thinkers, Randolph was a restrictionist.[D] Restrictionist means a person believes jobs or government benefits should first go to United States citizens. His reasoning is complex.

1. Black immigrants rarely applied for citizenship in the early 1900’s
2. White immigrants worked to bring racist laws into the North to shut down black competition for work. Immigrants from nations that were hostile to the USA displaced black veterans in the job market.

His restrictionist stance came from the general labor dynamic of the early 1900’s. The labor unions shut out blacks. Then the union would monopolize the labor market. When the union would strike, blacks would fill the jobs left behind by the strikers. So blacks were often opposed to immigration and the unions. The racism of the labor unions led to most blacks voting Republican and most immigrants voting Democrat. The following was a quote from Randolph in 1924.

“ Instead of reducing immigration to 2% of the 1890 quota, we favor reducing it to nothing… We favor shutting out the Germans from Germany, Italians from Italy, and the Hindus from India. Negro’s from the West Indies. The country is suffering from immigrant indigestion.”[D]

It is important to note that Randolph took no stance on immigration bills after the BSCP joined the AFL. Specifically, he did not comment on the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952 or the Hart-Cellar Act in 1965.[D]

Worker relations

In a 1919 editorial in his periodical “The Messenger” he detailed his Socialist policy in an article entitled “Our Reason for Being.” Randolph explains how the interest of black and white workers are the same. Specifically, their interests are better wages, shorter hours, and better working conditions. If unions discriminate against blacks, the capitalist will have a bank of workers to use when the union workers strike. The larger the union, the more power it will have. Therefore integrating unions is only logical. He cites the Industrial Workers of the World, which was the largest union and the most powerful integrated union in the 1910’s.

Allowing Blacks in Unions will also stop the spread of communism among black people. Black radicalism was starting to spread in blacks frustrated with the slow pace of racial justice. If black people were financially stable faith would be restored in the government and society. The newfound faith in America would lead to more stability.

Proactive Politics

Randolph gave the opening speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In the speech, he details how all Americans need to have full employment. Randolph hoped the march would lead to a jobs bill that would reduce national unemployment. Fair hiring practices must accompany the new jobs. He details one of the main hindrances to fair hiring practices is the need for social peace. Opponents will always claim that change will upset current workers and customers and cause a problem. Randolph expresses the need not to be afraid of conflict for the sake of advancement. Randolph demands that federal funding be contingent on compliance was the method of enforcing the new employment laws.

Randolph also makes clear that the march is just the beginning. He calls for listeners to take a pledge to take the call to resistance back home.

“ When we leave, it will be to carry on the civil rights revolution home with us into every nook and cranny of the land, and we shall return again and again to Washington in ever growing numbers until total freedom is ours” [F]


Thomas Baker interview Randolph in 1968 on his life and legacy. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library kept the interview. The interview recounts his dealings with presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson

The first President that Randolph interacted with was F. D. Roosevelt. Randolph had scheduled the 1941 March on Washington to protest segregation in the armed forces and munitions manufacturing. World War II was underway in Europe. The United States would enter the war in December 1941 after Pearl Harbor. The US was supplying the allied war effort. Therefore munitions factories were opening all over the country. Blacks were applying and were not given jobs in munitions factories. For a group of people kept systematically poor, not being allowed in a growing industry was a real problem.

An even larger problem was segregation in the military. There was the moral issue of fighting discrimination overseas when blacks at home suffered and the practical issue of the glass ceiling for promotions for blacks. A black soldier could be in charge of a black division but nothing else. That made the dream of becoming a general unobtainable. All black people in the armed forces had feelings of resentment.

Mrs. Roosevelt was the first to reach out to Randolph to see if they could avoid having the march. The President did not want racial strife to divide the nation when any day the US could be called to help the Allies in Europe. Mrs. Roosevelt asked why had Randolph not come to the President first. After talking, Mrs. Roosevelt set up a meeting between FDR and Randolph.

F.D. Roosevelt explained that he was soon to execute Executive Order 8802 forcing the National Defense Industry to desegregate. Initially, the Executive Order only applied to government contractors. Randolph demanded the addition of federl government work. Roosevelt agreed if Randolph called off the march. Two days before the march, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 and it included the federal government.

Executive Order 8802 did not contain the military. Randolph and other Civil Rights leaders went to work on a national campaign to end segregation in the military. Truman agreed to meet with Randolph in either 1947 or 1948, Randolph could not remember. In the meeting, Randolph explains black were preparing to become insubordinate if the military did not desegregate. Truman did not realize the situation was that serious. Truman got to work and issued Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military.

Randolph says Eisenhower did the least of all the presidents he worked with for the cause of Civil Rights. Eisenhower was sympathetic to the black cause, but would not take public stands. Randolph did commend Eisenhower for protecting the Little Rock 9, but he could have done much more.

Randolph recounts the story of the 1963 March on Washington. Senators Javits and Douglass organized a meeting between Kennedy, Johnson, various congressmen, and Civil Rights leaders. The biggest concern was keeping the march peaceful. There had never been a demonstration of that size before. If the protest turned violent, it would be difficult to contain. The Civil Rights leaders reassured everyone they could keep control.

Johnson is the best president for Civil Rights according to Randolph. He makes sure to say that list includes Lincoln. Randolph lists Johnson’s accomplishments: Civil Rights Act of 1964, 1965, Voting Rights Act of 1967 and the Open House Occupancy Act of 1968. President Johnson is the first man that won the Presidency that received Randolph’s vote. Randolph spent most of his life as part of the Socialist Party, and Johnson was the first mainstream candidate that had his support. Randolph is confident that President Johnson would soon end the Vietnam War.

Baker asks Randolph if Dr. King and President Johnson had any animosity. Randolph says that Johnson and Dr. King had a good relationship. There was no animosity between King and Johnson.

Randolph considers himself and fellow Civil Rights activists Roy Wilkins and Andrew Young the voice of most of Black America. He grouped Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois together as Capitalist thinkers.He considered Marcus Garvey the voice of more radical separatist. He says Garvey’s Back to Africa movement will not work for the following reasons.

1. Most blacks don’t want to go back to Africa
2. Blacks don’t have enough resources to collective move back to Africa
3. Even if blacks move back to Africa, Imperialist control all the resources.

Ultimately, the Back to Africa movement was not realistic.

1. Banks, W. M. 1996, Black Intellectuals: Race and Responsibility in American Life, New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
2. Randolph, A.P 1917 and Owen, Chandler, Terms of Peace and the Darker Race, Poole Press Association (E-book version on Google Play)
A. Pfeffer, Paula F. (2000). “Randolph; Asa Philip” American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press.
B. “A look at Malcolm X as a mirror for America” New York Times 12-16-1992
Asa Philip Randolph biography on
C. Scott, Daryl (1999) “ Immigrant Indigestion” Center for Immigration Studies
D. Randolph, A.P. “Our Reason for Being” transcript on
E. Transcript of Randolph’s 1963 March on Washington Speech found on

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The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

Asa Philip Randolph demonstrates to black leaders how to build coalitions. Randolph was also realistic about the limitations of his organization. The realization of his limitations led him to seek strategic alliances. While in these alliances he was able to keep control of his union and stay focused on his goal.

Randolph also understood that some organizations could derail his union. If he were to ally with a group that was too radical he would not only hinder the Brotherhood, he would also put many porters in danger. Randolph sought alliances with other mainstream organizations.

As most of the readers already know, Asa Philip Randolph organized The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and obtained a charter from the American Federation of Labor (AFL). He was successful in his efforts because he made strategic alliances to increase his power. An evaluation of the porter’s previous attempts to unionize will be used to demonstrate how “going it alone” is not realistic.

The first attempt to create a porter’s union was in 1890 with the Charles Sumner Association. Charles Sumner was a Senator that fought for Civil Rights. The Pullman Company threatened to fire all the porter’s and hire white replacements. The 1890 strike never happened. The second strike threat occurred in 1897, and again the company threatened to hire white replacements to stop the strike. The closest any porter got to making an appeal for higher wages was getting an editorial in a local newspaper in 1901.

The porter’s primary barrier to successful organizing was a lack of money. In the 1920’s a porter made $1,200 a year. The poverty line in the 1920’s was $1,500 a year. So most porters did not have money for savings or union dues. In addition to only making $1,200, tips composed twenty percent of the salary. As anyone that has worked for tips knows, tips fluctuate, leaving the porter in an even more precarious position.

Not having sufficient income made porter’s even more dependent on the Pullman Company. The company had a porter rule book with two hundred and seventeen rules. When that many rules are in place, every worker made numerous transgression every shift. Pullman had grounds to fire a porter at any time. In addition to not having income or job security, a porter would have a difficult time finding new employment. Pullman specifically recruited dark-skinned black people for the porter job. The job market discriminated against dark-skinned people. The loss of a porter job could be a setback that a black man would never recover.

In 1925, Randolph was selected to run the Brotherhood of Pullman Porters. His job is to finally give the porters a much-needed raise and change the rules to allow for porters to stand up to abuse. Randolph faces many of the same problems previous organizers will face. Membership fluctuates because people can not pay their dues. Instead of simply berating members, he went out to find allies with deep pockets.

Randolph sought out donations from liberal white churches. Donations from white churches keep the Brotherhood afloat for the tumultuous early years. Many of these churches were concerned with the welfare of black people. They have established wealthy membership that kept a steady stream of money flowing to the Brotherhood.

The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was another organization courted by Randolph. The AFL was the largest federation of unions at the time and had deep connections with the Democratic party. Both the AFL and the Democratic party had a long history of racism. In the North, blacks were not allowed in most unions. When unions went on strike, black workers would cross the picket line and fill the empty jobs. The AFL and Democratic party often conspired to create laws and reduce funding that would help black people as a way to retaliate.

Randolph knew that the AFL was the only union organization that could give the Brotherhood validity. Affiliation with the AFL would also give Randolph inside information on various initiatives in Congress. Most importantly the AFL could supply the Brotherhood with money in the event of a strike.

The Brotherhood received AFL affiliate status in 1929. The Brotherhood would pay the AFL $0.35 per member. A full AFL membership union only pays $0.01 per member. Many critics saw this not only as a “slap in the face,” but a poor use of scarce resources. Randolph understood that the AFL membership would be a long and arduous road. If the Brotherhood could survive this probationary period, they could obtain real government influence.

The Democratic party heavily pressured the AFL to begin to incorporate black members. The AFL had a long history of segregation in its affiliate unions. At one AFL conference, the group stated its official goal was to protect the livelihoods of native-born white men. The pressure came from the Democratic party’s need to keep control of the mayorship of many major cities, which had sharp increases in their black population. Also, the Democratic party wanted to pull membership away from third parties such as Democratic Socialists and Communists. The Democratic party could reduce the threat of a third party by being more inclusive.

Randolph garnered the most criticism for his introduction of AFL president William Green in Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. He said Green was the second Abraham Lincoln coming to rescue the black worker from industrial bondage. Many critics used this overly enthusiastic introduction as proof Randolph was using the porters as inroads into the AFL. The AFL had a long history of excluding black people and had not allowed the porters to enter as full members.

The election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1932 was the jumpstart that both the Brotherhood and the AFL needed to merge. FDR instituted the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 and expanded the Railway Labor Act to include airlines. These laws set specific procedures to form a union, address grievances, and to go on strike. The introduction of a union-friendly administration increased membership in the Brotherhood of Pullman Porters. It is not a coincidence that the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters got an official charter from the AFL in 1935. Having an administration that was friendly to the cause of black liberation had substantial effects. In 1937, the Brotherhood signed a contract with the Pullman company for higher wages and improved working conditions.

Many of today’s black leaders speak of black people becoming independent. Black organizations talk about divorcing themselves from white money and white members. Historically, completely isolated organizations do not work. It would be advantageous to look at what A. Philip Randolph’s alternatives were in the fight against the Pullman Corporation.

The obvious ally would be various black organizations around at the time most notably, the black church. If all these black organizations “pooled their pennies together” they could have serious money to fight injustices. The only problem with the strategy is that all the other black organizations had similar, if not worse money problems. In fact, Pullman gave generous donations to black churches to help in the fight against the Brotherhood. The Chicago branch of the National Urban League fought against the Brotherhood because of a large Pullman donation. The National Urban League funded most of the black politicians. Therefore, many of Chicago’s black politicians were against unionization. The lack of money in the black community hurts black organizations. Most black organizations are more concerned with getting donations to stay afloat and are willing to compromise ethics to get the donations.

The Brotherhood could have enlisted wealthier members of the black community. There were some prominent members of the black community that could have provided money. However, many felt threatened by the prominence of the porter’s in the black community. The few black professionals in major cities enjoyed being the wealthiest black people in town. If the porters obtained fair wages, they could challenge their status in the community. Most black professionals were deeply invested in Orange Meme striving. They were not interested in helping others.

One could say if you were going to ally with white people at least partner with white people that were integrationist from the beginning. The biggest rival to the AFL at the time was the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). IWW was integrationist from inception in 1905. One of the founding members, Lucy Parsons, was born a slave in Texas. The IWW wanted to do away with the wage system and put workers in charge of the means of production. The IWW put itself in direct opposition to the AFL that wanted “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.” If the Brotherhood joined IWW, they would have to challenge Pullmans validity in running the railroad.

The IWW radicalism also led to scrutiny by authorities. In 1906, the murder of an Idaho Governor implicated an IWW leader. Citizen accused IWW member of rioting in Butte, Montana in 1914. Migratory farmers were also a large part of the IWW membership. Unfortunately, migratory farmers were looked down upon and blamed for many unsolved crimes. Migratory farmers were called hobos in the 1920’s and viewed negatively by the general public. The activity that put the IWW the most at odds with the Federal government was its outspoken stance against World War I.

Many unionist believe the government systematically targeted the IWW to cause its downfall. Numerous high profile cases plagued the organization from the early 1910’s to 1920’s. By 1925, the organization was a shell of itself. The union will recover in 1960’s, but the 1920’s was a dark time for the IWW. Randolph understood what the IWW was going through and was smart to keep the Brotherhood away.

Eugene V. Debs, one of the founders of the IWW, was a hero of Randolph. Randolph wrote about Debs’ philosophy in college and his first years at “The Messenger.” Even though Randolph personally agreed with the philosophy of the IWW, including the IWW’s stance against war, he knew a partnership would not be practical. Randolph knew how to set his personal feelings aside for the good of the group.

Randolph’s life and work demonstrate effective leadership. It is a model that more black leaders should follow. He understood the limitations of his group and worked with organizations that would complement the Brotherhood. Once Randolph determined which organizations could be of service to him, he put aside his personal feelings a pursued the alliance. His efforts ultimately culminated in the first contract between a black union and a major corporation. Randolph’s pragmatism is something to admire.

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What Is a Pullman Porter?

The Pullman Porter had a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. His official job description was to assist the passengers on the luxurious Pullman Sleeping Car. His real job was to create the black middle class and forge countless organizations. The porter is known primarily for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which marked the first black labor union to sign a contract with a large company. In addition to all the historical accomplishments of the union, the porter provides vital insight into the black experience.

The first point of business is explaining the Pullman Company. The Pullman Company manufactured luxury train cars for overnight travel. The Pullman Company also contracted out the crew to run the car. The crew members were called Sleeping Car Porters. The founder George Pullman began the company after having to sleep in the train chair on an overnight trip to visit relatives. He started to design a car with rooms with full-size beds called berths. Pullman also elicited help from the government to create favorable laws and obtain funding. Pullman befriended the son of Abraham Lincoln, Robert Todd Lincoln while petitioning the government. Lincoln took over the company after the death of George Pullman. Both men were fiercely anti-union regardless of the race of the members.

In the simplest terms, a Pullman Porter is equivalent to airline stewardess with far more responsibilities. A porter would greet the passenger upon entrance to the train, carry the bags, show the passengers around the car, and cater to the various needs of the passenger. Porters acted as babysitters while parents drank, nurses when the elderly passengers were sick, and safety advisors when the tracks got rocky. The porter was always available with a smile to make sure his passenger’s trip was remarkable.

Pullman preferred to hire dark-skinned, tall, thin porter’s from the American South. They needed to be tall to reach the shelves above the berths. He needed to be thin to walk by passengers in the narrow hallway without touching. Southern to be sufficiently submissive, Northern blacks were often too rowdy. The dark-skin was especially important. Dark-skin marked the division between passenger and porter. The passenger needed to see the porter, but the passenger should never be obliged to consider the porter fully human. The porter was “other,” a servant, and he wanted the passenger to see him as such.

The passengers on Sleeping Cars were known for their rambunctiousness. The Pullman Car was one of the most expensive ways to travel at the time. The liquor flowed freely on the train, so much so, that passengers often “found themselves in strangers beds.” A Pullman trip would be equivalent to a modern day cruise.

In addition to most passengers spending a significant amount of time on the journey drunk, the white passenger treated the porter with very little respect. The most notable feature of the disrespect was referring to all porters as “George.” The name harkens back to slavery when slaves received their master’s last name. Since the owner of the company was named George, all his black workers were George by default. Termination was the penalty for not answering to George. The Pullman Manual had two hundred and seventy rules. A porter could never show and any indication that he was angry or hurt by a passenger’s comment.

Even though porters were not allowed to fraternize with the passengers, many passengers made advances on the porters. Sumner Welles was Undersecretary of State in 1940. Welles was exemplary as a diplomat and was picked to succeed the current Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Welles derailed his career by getting drunk and offering a porter money for sex. The porter told superiors, and other porters said Welles made the same advances on them. Various government officials confirmed the story and Welles was not picked to be Secretary of State. A 1977 tell-all memoir was the first utterance of this story.

Not all advances were turned down. Here is a story of a young porter and a bride whose husband had to disembark early from the train. The account comes from Larry Tye’s book Rising from the Rails.

Watching her husband ride off in a covered wagon, she struck up a conversation with [A porter] “You -you know you’re the first Nig-nigger I have ever talked to. Can I? I? – believe all- believe all my mother and father have told me about you people?” she inquired hesitatingly, with a peculiar smile. Her remarks flashed through my mind, bringing with them thing the boys had told me that white people say about niggahs, and I realized what she was suggesting. It’s sure hard to make white people believe that what they say might be true about some of us, but not about the whole race. Still, as the legend is to our advantage, I left my work for an hour, so that it shouldn’t die with me.

Not all white and black interchanges were agreeable. The porter had to find ways to protect himself that did violate company rules. Larry Tye recounts a story from The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Malcolm X worked for a few years as a Pullman Porter before turning to a life of crime and later conversion to Islam.

I remember that once, when some passengers complaints had gotten me a warning, and I wanted to be careful, I was working down the aisle and a big, beefy, red-faced cracker soldier got up in front of me, so drunk he was weaving and announced loud enough that everybody in the car heard him, “I’m going to fight you nigger.” I remember the tension, I laughed and told him, “Sure, I’ll fight, but you’ve got too many clothes on.” He had on a big Army overcoat. He took that off, and I kept laughing and said he still had on too many. I was able to keep that cracker stripping off clothes until he stood there drunk with nothing on from his pants up, and the whole car was laughing at him, and some other soldiers got him out of the way. I went on. I never would forget that – that I couldn’t have whipped that white man as badly with a club as I had with my mind.”

Relations between blacks on the train was also interesting. Because porters had to suppress their anger toward passengers they often lashed out against each other. Often porters would accuse other porters of “cooning.” Cooning is acting overly obliging to get bigger tips. A charge of cooning could come from having too big a smile for too long or the egregious dancing for customer’s amusement. Ultimately, all the porters had to compromise their pride to work for the Pullman company. An arbitrary line separates following orders and cooning. Cooning was always something the other guy did.

The other large part of the Pullman crew was the kitchen staff. To keep with plantation tradition, the kitchen workers were normally light skinned. Often porters would say waiters were soft and did not work hard. Many people will say that this is a remnant of anger from the plantation hierarchy. Light-skinned slaves, commonly descendant of the master, got “easier” jobs in the house. I think that the animosity between porters and kitchen staff was just another way to expel suppressed anger from passenger’s behavior.

Ultimately, kitchen staff and porters worked together. Kitchen staff would save scraps to make stew. Porters would keep an eye out for empty berths to allow the cooks and waiters to get a good night’s sleep. The kitchen staff could easily sneak out before the passengers awakened. In the end, both kitchen staff and porter were on the same team. If they did not work together, they would sink together.

I will detail the formation of The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in later blog posts. As of now, I will say the contract between Pullman Company and The Brotherhood will be the first time and all black union will force a major company to sign a contract. The victory catapults Brotherhood President A. Philip Randolph to national acclaim. He uses his fame to make the National Negro Congress, which is a militant alternative to the NAACP. The National Negro Congress folds due to internal conflict. He learns many leadership lessons from the organization and begins a campaign to desegregate the government and military.

To rally support, Randolph rallies crowds around the idea of a March on Washington. Originally, Randolph was going to get 10,000 people to demonstrate in Washington, DC. Once he started relaying the idea to crowds across the country people from all over the nation and of all political persuasions. Randolph officially set the date of the march on June 27, 1941.

Franklin D. Roosevelt did not want a public demonstration at this time. FDR was attempting to gain support for joining in the fight in World War II. He was also afraid that communist would cause a disturbance in the rally and put American race relations on a world stage. FDR met with Randolph to come to a compromise that would allow for Randolph to call off the march. The result was Executive Order 8802 which desegregated the defense industry government and contractor. Two days before the March on Washington 1941 was to happen it was called off.

Randolph does not just fold up shop and go home. He expands the March on Washington Movement. He builds a March on Washington headquarters in all major American cities. The March on Washington protest take place all over the country for twenty years, and it causes change at the local level. On the national level, the March on Washington Movement forced Truman to sign Executive Order 9981, finally desegregating the military. The last March on Washington was in 1963. Dr. King’s gives his “I Have A Dream” speech at this rally.

Dr. King owes much of his career to Randolph and Ed Nixon. Ed Nixon was President of the Montgomery Branch of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Because Nixon was running the Brotherhood and various Montgomery political organization, Ed Nixon recommends Dr. King to run the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott lasts for over a year. Dr. King proves to Nixon he has potential and Nixon introduces him to Randolph. Randolph and his team gave Dr. King the tutelage he needed to lead the movement.

In addition to providing an organizational template and leaders, the Brotherhood provided funding for various organizations in the Civil Rights Movement. Randolph’s motto was, “ Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.” For a black organization to be truly independent, it had to be funded by black people. Malcolm X echoes the same sentiment in later years. Randolph would often invite Malcolm to his personal residence to tell him stories of the Harlem’s socialist movement and talk about politics. A. Philip Randolph and other black leaders including Elijah Muhammad started blacks down the road to self-determination.

The Pullman Porter has a dubious legacy in the minds of Black America. On the one hand, they had a servile role and had to take abuse without fighting back directly. On the other hand, they laid the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. I feel the Pullman Porter is the ultimate symbol of the black middle class. Often we work in jobs in which we are under-utilized and treated with disrespect. Not to the same extent as the porter, but disrespect nonetheless. We do that to support the aspirations of our family and those that want to fight white supremacy directly. The fight against white supremacy takes many forms. Blacks have to utilize many methods to fight it. The porter was one of the most cunning soldiers in this battle.

The information for this blog post comes from Larry Tye’s book Rising From The Rails

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Mangosuthu Buthelezi Part 2


Buthelezi believes in a multiracial South Africa. In his opinion, whites are Africans also and should behave as such. Race should not provide or exclude anyone from any opportunity. However, ethnicities should be recognized and celebrated. There are certain preferences people have due to their ethnicity. These preferences need to be considered and indulged when possible. Having many viable political parties ensures all voices are heard.

Reconciliation is not only between “black and white” but “black and black,” this is why the meeting with Mandela was so important. Whites have to admit atrocities done to blacks and that the actions were wrong. At the same time, blacks must make recompense for transgressions against other blacks and whites. Buthelezi frequently spoke of blacks killing police officers just because they are police. Buthelezi led by example at a 1991 prayer breakfast in which he apologized to the Afrikaner for the killing of Piet Retief by a Zulu king in the early 1800’s. Reconciliation will lead to a national will.

The best government for South Africa

Buthelezi supports a federal system with a strong constitution. A federal system means all the homelands and provinces function similar to US states. Each homeland or province will have proportional power in the national government. Most of the power will be in the hands of the homeland or province. Buthelezi’s plan is not one man one vote which would hold power in a central government. The federal system ensures the people have the most autonomy and a healthy free market.

Buthelezi does recognize that there will be people that have disproportionately less. He feels there should be a common fund to create social programs. These social programs should not override market forces, but they should provide a social safety net. The social safety net will not be as robust as a developed country, but it should be there. South Africans should expect to work longer hours for less pay until the economy grows.

In 1990, DeKlerk proposed a measure that would allow the African to create a new constitution that would be approved by the white electorate. He admitted it would give whites ultimate veto authority, but felt it was the best deal that they could get at the time. He had faith that DeKlerk had integrity and that the integrity would allow him to work equitability with blacks.

Communism is not a viable option for South Africa. It has been proven not to work in the USSR. The ultimate fall of the USSR should be all the proof a person needs to know that the system will not work. Communism has also failed in several states in Africa. When critics press socialist on why the USSR failed, they cite corruption unique to Russia. However, they do not provide real-world evidence of communist success. Communist also see the world in the simple dichotomy of revolutionary or counter-revolutionary. Their framing of the opposition as counter-revolutionary reduces discussions and alienates them from the rest of society.

Black majority rule will not radically change the life of the average South African. The struggle just begins there. Most people have their expectations too high for how much change will come from participation. In reality, the pie is not that big, and some people will be poor no matter how much the government changes. Ending violence is far more important than elections. Many African nations have “free” elections, yet the violence will have more sway on the election outcome than the candidate’s platforms.

On the AIDS Crisis

At the funeral of his son Nelisuzulu, he admitted that the 53-year-old died from complications of AIDS. During the Prince’s eulogy, Buthelezi said the following.

“I feel the pain of any father and mother across our land at this tragic hour of history. I feel the pain for the many children of Africa who are now dying an untimely and terrible death. I am in mourning. We are a nation which ought to be in mourning.”

Buthelezi lost his daughter Mandisi to the disease later that year. Buthelezi spoke at many HIV/AIDS events and petitioned the government to work toward curing HIV/AIDS. His openness on his family situation helped to remove the stigma around HIV/AIDS in Africa.

In 2013, he gave the keynote address at the Ulundi World AIDS day commemoration. He applauded the government for taking the necessary actions to reduce the prevalence of AIDS in the country. The government accomplished many milestones in prevention, education, and access to treatment. South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Now serious steps have been taken to remedy the problem.

He recounted how he felt when his two children died of AIDS in the prime of life. He commended Mandela admitting one of his sons died of AIDS. By great South African leaders admitting to AIDS affecting their lives, many people were able to admit to living with the disease. Buthelezi explained how removing the stigma led to increases support from victim’s family and friends.

The IFP started an initiative to provide an antiretroviral drug to pregnant women infected with HIV. The drug prevented the disease from being passed on to the child. The effort was extremely efficient in KwaZulu-Natal. Buthelezi petitioned the national government to implement the plan nationwide. The current national initiative for antiretroviral drugs has been successful.

To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, Buthelezi recommends faithfulness, abstinence, and the use of condoms. He entreats all the individuals to stay healthy and take personal responsibility in romantic relationships. All South Africans should commit to making South Africa healthy.

On Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma is the current president of South Africa. He was a former MK soldier and leader and built a reputation for bravery. He became the head of the ANC and shortly after that president. Opposition to Zuma’s leadership grew due to various scandals and a failing South African economy. Many want the president impeached.

Buthelezi is acting as a cooler head in the fight to impeach Jacob Zuma. He feels that himself and other opposition should not force Jacob Zuma out. The ANC leaders must vote their conscious and oust their leader, or the people must vote him out. The public could view a demonstration such as the Democratic Alliance marching on the Luthuli House as aggression. If the ANC feels cornered, they could restart the violence that tore apart the townships in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

What Buthelezi has right?

Buthelezi does have a good grasp on how a capitalist economy could work in South Africa. Free market economies have the longest track record of producing stable economies and countries. He realizes South Africa has a long road to go and can not expect all the privileges of a developed country. However, there should be some social safety net to ensure that a person does not fall into abject poverty.

The communism of the USSR has been proven not to work. Not only did it fail in Europe it has failed many times in Africa. To attempt to repeat the implementation of this failed system would be insanity. One of the reasons that the South African economy is one of the strongest in Africa is that it did not implement a flawed socialist system.

Buthelezi took full responsibility for his part in the township violence. He did not blame the government or put all the blame on the ANC. Buthelezi and other South African leaders made choices with open eyes. Instead of looking backward he looked forward. He did his part in building South Africa’s future.

His work in the transition government demonstrated his commitment working with his former rivals the ANC. As a minister, he had to implement plans that went against his belief in a free market federal government, but he understood how important reconciliation was to reduce black on black violence. He gave a much needed alternative perspective, but if the government went the other way he held fast to his duty. His view on the Zuma presidency shows his new commitment to peace. Buthelezi feels Zuma should serve his term out and then an election can decide on a new president. An impeachment could cause more bloodshed.

Finally, his work in AIDS and divulging of his personal story on AIDS was immensely vital. When he disclosed he had two children die of AIDS, he opened the door for many others to do the same. He also used his influence to bring treatment to KwaZulu and South Africa.

What he has wrong

His commitment to nonviolence in the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s only extended to white people. He dealt with the ANC and Zulu that became disorderly swiftly and violently. The O’Malley archive documents atrocities committed by Inkatha. To go into detail in this analysis would be a distraction. The violence irreparably changed many lives.

Analyzing how Buthelezi negotiated also illustrate how differently he handled conflict between himself and whites versus himself and blacks. In 1990, he was ready to sign an agreement that would let whites have veto power over the constitution of KwaZulu. However, when the ANC proposes expanded control over KwaZulu a few years later, he walks out of the negotiations. It appears he is ready to capitulate with the National Party at the drop of a dime. He fights the ANC tooth and nail. If his true purpose were to protect KwaZulu, he would have fought both encroachments.

He spent too much energy blaming the difficulty of the Inkatha to work with ANC on the botched meeting between Mandela and Buthelezi in the early 1990’s. It would have been more productive to build allies throughout the ANC, instead of lamenting that party members manipulated Mandela. Buthelezi felt that his friendship with Mandela should be enough to put them at the negotiating table together. Personal feelings and love are not sufficient to operate in an Orange meme political process.

Where is Buthelezi on the Spiral

He is a Blue Meme leader attempting to function in an Orange Meme government. Buthelezi’s issues with Mandela best illustrate his meme. In the days of chiefs and kings, Mandela and Buthelezi could negotiate regardless of what the subjects think. Now public opinion rules the day. Now Buthelezi had to modify his behavior for the new system. Ultimately, he was able to operate at a higher level when needed.

The importance of a strong constitution is an issue Buthelezi speaks on frequently. Leaders in the Blue meme want to create policy around a founding document or moral code. Buthelezi voices his fears of a central government run amuck with too much power. His fear of large government is in line with many Republicans in the USA.

Buthelezi worked toward First Order change, which is minor modifications in the system currently in place. The ANC wanted Second Order change, overthrowing the government. It makes since that Buthelezi would team up with fellow Capitalists, the National Party, to fight what he saw as a Soviet invasion. Often the alliance between Inkatha and the National Party is viewed as a black man teaming up with whites to kill other blacks. The racial analysis leads to the vilification of Buthelezi. If the conflict is viewed as Capitalist versus Communist, a person can see far more nuance.

Buthelezi stresses “I” Space solutions and personal responsibility. He sees the current economy as limited, and citizens cannot expect government solutions to all problems. Buthelezi’s solutions would fit perfectly at a Republican National Convention.


  1. articles on Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith
  2. “Mandela and I” by M.Buthelezi
  3. “Zulu leader speaks out on AIDS crisis after son’s death” by Andrew Meldrum in The Guardian
  4. News 24 Archives at “Buthelezi child died from Aids.”
  5. “Buthelezi makes Aids personal” by Angela Botswana found on World AIDS Day 2013 Commemoration at Ulundi by M. Buthelezi
  6. Synopsis of 1964 movie Zulu
  7. “Zulu is this the greatest British war film” by Will Heaven
  8. “The untold story of the film Zulu starring Michael Caine, 50 years on” by Sheldon Hall
  9. “Don’t provoke the ANC, warns Buthelezi” by Nathi Olifant
  10. “Zuma has failed the country – Buthelezi” by Kaveel Singh
  11. “Buthelezi discourages DA marching on Luthuli House” by Z. Ngcobo
  12. “Buthelezi to advise President Zuma to step down”
  13. “Wondering Who Your New Deputy Finance Minister Is? Introducing Sfiso Buthelezi.”
  14. “White monopoly capital’ scapegoat for failed leadership – Buthelezi”
  15. “Majority of South Africa’s ANC Want Zuma to Resign, Poll Shows” by A. Mbatha
  16. From the O’Malley Archive

    Article on “KwaZulu”

    Article on “From Buthelezi IFP to Third Force theory”

    Interview archive of Buthelzi from 1990 to 1999

  17. 1994: A Bloody Miracle directed by Haitsma and Rickards

Mangosuthu Buthelezi Part 1

  • Played his Great-Grandfather in the 1964 movie Zulu
  • Signed the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith in 1974
  • Founder of Inkatha Freedom Party 1975
  • Won key to the city of Birmingham, Alabama USA
  • Minister of Home Affairs 1994 -2004
  • Chief Minister of KwaZulu Bantustan
  • Publicly acknowledged two of his children died of HIV/AIDS in 2004

Mangosuthu Buthelezi was born on August 27, 1928. He is the Prince of the Zulu people and the great-grandson of King Cetshwayo. King Cetshwayo was the king the fought the British in the Anglo-Zulu War. He acts as Prime Minister to the current Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini kaBhekuzulu. Buthelezi is also the chief of the Buthelezi clan.

The Zulu royal family serves chiefly a social function as descendants of the great King Shaka Zulu. The Zulu are the largest Bantu tribe in South Africa. The royal family does have significant influence in KwaZulu-Natal province which contains the ancestral homeland of the Zulu people. The influence over people in KwaZulu-Natal and Zulu people all over the world leads royal family members to be appointed to government positions and get elected to positions of power in additions to the royal family’s great leadership ability.

Buthelezi studied History and Bantu Administration at Forte Hare University. Due to political activism as part of the African National Congress (ANC), he was expelled from the college. Buthelezi completed his degree at the University of Natal. He began his government career as a clerk in the Department of Bantu Administration. After getting married, he became chief of the Buthelezi clan in 1953.

Buthelezi had the honor of playing his great-grandfather Cetshwayo in the 1964 movie Zulu. The film centered around the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift in the 1879 Anglo- Zulu War. The movie is a British classic often watched on Christmas in England to bolster patriotism. Critics consider Zulu one of the best war films ever made.

He became Chief Executive Officer of the KwaZulu Territorial Authority. The KwaZulu Territory was created as a way to increase apartheid control. The point of Bantustans, later called homelands, was to remove the black population from the urban areas of South Africa. If blacks had areas in which they had a separate government, they would not need or petition the larger South African government for rights. Also, the South African government could expel blacks to a “homeland” at will. Also, the “homeland” government was not fully-independent. If a homeland leader acted against the South African government, he was promptly disposed and replaced.

In 1974, Transvaal leader Harry Schwartz and Buthelezi signed the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith. The declaration provided a non-violent plan to racial reconciliation in South Africa. The declaration focused on providing all people economic opportunities regardless of race, non-violence, and respect for ethnicity. At this time neither the ANC or the National Party were pursuing peaceful solutions. Non-violent activist all over the world applauded the effort. Many of the principles of the declaration were used to form the Democratic government.

Inkatha Freedom Party to the KwaZulu Police

Buthelezi founded the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1975 with the blessing of the ANC. It began as a Zulu cultural organization but became more politically active after the exile of the ANC. Inkatha members began to take every position in the government. By the 1980’s Inkatha ruled the KwaZulu homeland as a one-party state. The KwaZulu Police was formed in 1981 and will be in existence until the Democracy in 1994.

In the mid-1970’s, Inkatha worked closely with the ANC. Inkatha saw itself as the branch of the ANC that operated inside of South Africa. Inkatha’s mission was to create alternatives to Apartheid by working within the government for concessions. The South African government completely controlled other homeland territories from the beginning. Critics cannot make that claim about KwaZulu in the 1970’s.

As the 1970’s progressed, Buthelezi moved away from the ANC’s mission to overthrow the government. He supported the free market economy, which in turn, forced him to oppose government sabotage, international sanctions, and protesting. A meeting took place in London in 1979 to reconcile Buthelezi to the ANC. Buthelezi held to his support of free market capitalism. In his estimation, the most important mechanism to improve a black person’s life is a good job. If South Africa’s economy suffers, blacks will be the first to lose their jobs.

In the 1980’s students in the KwaZulu began to protest for better learning conditions. Buthelezi ordered Inkatha members to restrain students and force them back into the school using violence. Buthelezi viewed the action as discipline for lack of patriotism. In June of 1980, Buthelezi petitioned for the formation of an army to keep order in KwaZulu. Inkatha formed the KwaZulu Police (KP) in 1981. The KP patrolmen were colloquially known as Impis, the name of Shaka’s famous infantry.

Violence in Kwazulu

The violence began in 1983 in response to an increase in KwaZulu influence. The South African government saw KwaZulu as a way to prevent the expansion of The United Democratic Front (UDF). The UDF was an alliance between ANC, SA Communist Party, and Coalition of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). The UDF began to support affordable housing activists in Natal. Natal is the province that surrounds KwaZulu. The South African government was moving toward making all the black townships of Natal subordinate to KwaZulu.

The violence between UDF and Inkatha began in Lamontville, a Suburb outside of Durban. The South African government identified the town for incorporation into KwaZulu. The Inkatha mayor killed an activist for affordable housing. Buthelezi and Inkatha did not condemn the action. A similar situation happened Hambanathi and Chesterville.

Later in 1983 Inkatha supporters at the University of Zululand wanted to hold a commemoration for King Cetshwayo of the Anglo-Zulu War. Many students did not want to have a celebration and protested. The result was Inkatha Youth League members dragging students out of dorms and stabbing them with iKlwas, traditional Zulu spears. Buthelezi claims that the Youth League members acted in self-defense. However, one of Buthelezi’s subordinates said to an investigating committee many years later “Now people can see that we’re not a sitting duck, and we’re not a lame duck, and they must be careful of us.”

By the mid-eighties, Inkatha was colluding with the South African Security Forces. As Inkatha became synonymous with KwaZulu government, they realized they were natural allies. KwaZulu wanted to increase their control in South Africa. The SA Security Force saw Inkatha as a way to control the black population in a more covert manner. The SA Security Force supplying Inkatha with guns will allow them to suppress anti-government movements. In turn, the government would increase Inkatha’s influence by putting more townships under their control. If violence needed to be used to contain the UDF, Inkatha could perform the action, and the international community would not see it as oppression. The violence committed by Inkatha was and is currently seen as “black on black” violence and feeds the narrative that blacks are inherently violent.

The South African Security forces trained Inkatha members outside of South Africa in Caprivi. These trainees became an Inkatha hit squad being deployed on various missions to kill UDF members and subvert UDF support. The South African government paid the Caprivi trainees. Caprivi trainees also supplement Inkatha vigilante forces and KwaZulu police. The township violence between 1983 and 1994 did immense damage to South Africa. At its height, its apex between 1990 and 1993, 101 people month were killed on average.

KwaZulu Police (KP) which was a branch of the South African Police were known for brutality. KP raided townships that had strong UDF support. The government sponsored Goldstone Committee and Truth and Reconciliation Committee list KP as one of the worst human rights abusers in South Africa. KP burned down residences, attacked unarmed protesters, and killed non-violent activist. The South African police often provided tear gas support during raids of UDF townships.

Mandela confirmed that he and Buthelezi were scheduled to meet in 1990. The meeting would take place at the Zulu Royal Palace and Mandela would have the opportunity to lay a reef at the grave of King Shaka. Mandela was eager to meet to thank Buthelezi for his work in helping to get his release. The meeting would also facilitate peace negotiations. The local ANC official protested, and Mandela had to back out of the meeting. Backing out of the meeting was taken as an insult to the Zulu Royal Family and the relationship was never the same.

The violence intensified after the aborted meeting. Many members of the ANC felt that meeting with Buthelezi would legitimize him as an African leader in opposition to the ANC. Other members understood that securing peace depended on Buthelezi’s cooperation. The Mandela and Buthelezi met on January 29, 1991. Both sides knew the government would not negotiate with either party if the IFP and ANC were not working together. The National Peace Accords (NPA), which was the first multi-party peace agreement in South Africa, was signed on September 14, 1991. The NPA led the way to all party talks. Township violence will not end until 1994 with the establishment of full Democracy. There were many rogue units of the UDF, ANC, and IFP that were semi-autonomous.

On Nelson Mandela

Buthelezi often talks about the close and friendly relationship he had with Nelson Mandela. They met when they were young activists in the ANC. Mandela being ten years older than Buthelezi served as a mentor. Buthelezi followed in Mandela’s footsteps by being expelled from university for activism.

When violence broke out between Inkatha and the ANC Mandela wrote Buthelezi a letter to bring peace to South Africa. Buthelezi agreed to meet with Mandela, but ANC leaders would not let the meeting happen. In Buthelezi’s words the ANC leaders “almost throttled” him. It took a year to begin peace negotiations.

Buthelezi contends that ANC leadership controlled Mandela. The ANC wanted power more than South African peace and prevented peace talks. The ANC also excluded Inkatha from Coalition for a Democratic South Africa. The USSR controlled the ANC through the South African Communist Party. The USSR and later the worldwide communist/socialist movement professed a philosophy that has been proven invalid. When asked a communist blames the failure of the USSR on cultural proclivity. Socialist never provide a real world example of proper socialism. Therefore the socialist method only worked in theory.

The ANC also influence Mandela to cancel public engagements between himself and Mandela to stop the violence. Examples are a 1991 meeting in Pietermaritzburg. Ultimately, Mandela was controlled by the ANC and was not an effective leader. Mandela’s primary concern is the ANC not the betterment of South Africa.

Buthelezi praised Mandela for admitting in 2002 that “We have used every ammunition to destroy (Buthelezi), but we failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor. We cannot ignore him.” He contends that the ANC has been undermining his leadership since the meeting between Inkatha and the ANC in 1979.

On violence in KwaZulu

Buthelezi addresses what caused the violence in KwaZulu. He highlights the economic aspect of the violence. Because people did not have work, they had time to make trouble. The removal of pass laws by De Klerk made the problem worse

The ANC committed many atrocities during the era of township violence, according to Buthelezi. They encouraged supporters to hunt down government collaborators and officials. Many of the people considered collaborators were policemen. The loss of police officers led the townships to become destabilized furthering the violence. The ANC also encourages children to fight instead of staying in school. The employment of child soldiers resulted in a generation of Africans that knew nothing but fighting. The lost generation could not reintegrate into society after the war and impeded national progress.

The ANC’s goal is not the betterment of people, but a power grab to put the ANC on top. ANC often referred to itself as a government in waiting. To ensure the war ended with the ANC on top, the ANC used propaganda to undermine Inkatha. The ANC put forth stories accusing Buthelezi of cooperating with the government without evidence. These accusations fanned the flames of violence. The ANC’s naked grab for power prevented peace talks until they felt Inkatha was no longer a viable nationwide political opponent. The ANC prevented the King of the Zulu’s from speaking and Buthelezi from participating in the Coalition for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) in 1992 as a way to ensure the ANC was considered the only legitimate voice of the Africans.

The ANC wants to wipe out all opposition including Azanian Peoples Organization AZAPO and Pan-African Congress (PAC), left-wing alternatives to ANC. CODESA suffered numerous setbacks from the inability of leaders, including Mandela from getting buy-in from all parties. The Communist Party and Pan-African Congress boycotted CODESA in 1992 and Buthelezi pulled out due to lack of IFP representation.

What the township violence was not

Many South Africans and the international community saw the township violence as ethnically based. ANC represented the Xhosa and Inkatha represented Zulu. Buthelezi saw Xhosa as a dominate force in the ANC, but to say the violence is ethnic is too simplistic. There are Zulu’s that are part of the ANC and Inkatha has members from other tribes.

The government can not shoulder all the blame for the township violence. All the leaders including Buthelezi should take responsibility for their part. To not take personal responsibility would be poor leadership. He saw the Truth and Reconciliation committee was dominated by ANC and had the goal of finding atrocities done by the other parties in the township violence. The bad reputation of the other parties would cement public opinion around the ANC. The defamation of the other parties would hurt their chances of winning elections.


Mangosuthu Buthelezi (1928- )

M. Buthelezi is a member of the Zulu Royal Family and has a seat in Parliament. He has been a vital leader in the struggle against apartheid and building democracy. He build a political party called the Inkatha Freedom Party. He is hated for his role in the time of township violence, yet Mandela gave him important cabinet posts. More on him can be found in the attached articles.

Clyde Ramaline

  • Founder of The Quest for a Non-Racial South Africa
  • Founder of Clyde Ramalaine Outreach Ministries
  • Writer for Weekly Xpose ZA
  • Practiced Theology for 25 years
  • Graduate of the University of Western Cape (Sociology & Systematic Theology)
  • Dissertation Black Identity and Experience in Black Theology: A Critical Assessment questions the label of “Black”

Clyde Ramalaine founded The Quest for a Non-Racial South Africa. Quest works to change people’s perception of racial categories. The racial categories of Bantu, coloured, Indian, and white were created solely to oppress people. The idea of race was invented by Immanuel Kant in 1785 to justify white supremacy. The failed Eugenics movement proved the theory had no basis in 1945. South Africa needs to create a non-racial identity to unite its people.

Racial categories are always used to deny access to resources. In the days of Apartheid, Bantu were denied access to jobs and resources because of their category. Now Bantu deny coloured people access because of their race. Racial categories are always oppressive.

Even though the goal is to move away from racial categories, how race affects our thinking cannot be forgotten. In South Africa, there is a feeling amongst “whites” that no “blacks” can run the country. The presumption that blacks are unfit to rule leads to articles on ANC extravagances and political failures flooding the airwaves. Building a non-racial identity will work to combat these problems.

South Africa also cannot afford to forget her history. The atrocities of the various wars on the natives and apartheid. The iniquities of South Africa are just as important as the Holocaust of the Jews. Also, the manner in which Europeans acquired the land should exposed. If land claims are illegitimate a change in ownership is needed.

Ramalaine takes special care to advocate for people labeled by others as “coloured’. The coloured population is around 8% of the South African population. In contrast, the white population is 8%, and the Native (Bantu) population is 80%. A recent genetic study of coloured people revealed that their DNA is 40% Khoisan, 30% Bantu, 20 % European, and 10% Asian. Most coloured people live in the western part of the country. All coloured people do not share the same ancestry. Generally, Bantu are referred to as natives, even though Khoisans were in South Africa longer than any other ethnicity.

Coloured people suffer from discrimination due to not having the wealth of whites and not have the numbers of Bantu. Coloured people face discrimination in jobs programs such as Expanded Public Works Project (EPWP). Local police and human service officials do not learn the language of most coloured people Kaapse Afrikaans, so most Coloureds have to speak English to conduct business. In many other areas, people that know the local language receive preference.

Ramalaine on Politics

Jacob Zuma is the current president of South Africa. He has been accused of various scandals and the misappropriation of funds. He is also outspoken in reallocating resources away from Europeans to the native descendants. Ramalaine thinks the establishment often attacks Zuma. Ramalaine especially commends Zuma for his outreach to Khoisan descendant people. Ramalaine says “No president in democracy, or ever before, has shown an interest in attempting the discussion towards full recognition of this identity.” Zuma is proud of his mixed Zulu and Khoisan identity which leads him to advocate for the coloured population.

Nelson Mandela is the most revered South African leader. Ramalaine has written extensively on Mandela’s legacy. Mandela was a member of the African National Congress and the founder of its military wing MK. MK led a campaign that sabotaged many government buildings. Mandela was implicated in the subversion and spent decades in prison. After he was released, he was elected president of South Africa and facilitated reconciliation between various racial and political groups.

Ramalaine points out that most people that label themselves “white” thought of Mandela as a terrorist until mid-way through his presidency. The event that sticks out in the mind of most white people is Mandela’s support of the South African Springboks. The Springboks are the national rugby team that won the 1995 World Cup. The movie Invictus tells the story of the team.

Mandela was not revered by whites until he showed he would not challenge the right of Europeans to own and control the resources of South Africa. When Mandela did not contest the claim of Europeans or support a plan for wealth redistribution, he lost much of his African support. The event that brought white people to Mandela’s side turned blacks away. Even though most white people claim to support Mandela, very few voted for him in 1994. Many white people today claim that the ANC is the antithesis of what Mandela’s principles. These white people look at only Mandela’s last five years in the public eye. Mandela has a complicated legacy that needs thorough examination.

Even though the ANC is doing an acceptable job in the estimation of Ramalaine, all democracies need opposing parties. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are the main opposition to the ANC in Ramaline’s estimation. The EFF frequently attacks the ANC, yet doesn’t provide viable alternative solutions. The EFF resorts to juvenile displays to get media attention. The EFF is not providing substantive opposition to the ANC.

Rachel Dolezal

Ramalaine made world news because he invited Rachel Dolezal to speak in South Africa on race. Rachel Dolezal is an American woman that was born white but never felt “white” on the inside. During her childhood, she always felt more akin to black people. When Dolezal became an adult, she changed her race. She now considers herself black, introduces herself as black, and lived life as a black woman. She obtained a degree in African-American art from a historically black college and worked as a racial activist. The media exposed her as a person that was born white in 2015. Many have accused Dolezal of being a con-artist.

To Ramalaine, Rachel represents a person that chose her identity. The reason the media attacks her are many-fold. First “white” conservatives want to disparage her for rejecting whiteness for blackness. “Black” people attack her for taking an identity they feel that they own even though the term black was thrust upon them by racist to oppress them. “White” liberals are upset because she went further than they did to unite with black people. Many “white” liberals take on black culture or partners, yet don’t go as far as becoming black. Ramalaine reminds his audience to look at the heart of the individual.

What Ramalaine has right?

Race is an unsubstantiated construct. The removal of the concept from society will aid in unity not only in South Africa but the world. People affirming who they are independent of society’s constructs will lead to genuine progress. The identity of blackness was not the creation of black people and was always intended to oppress us.

Ramalaine’s commitment to coloured people makes him unique from others that believe in a colorblind society. He sees his destiny as linked with people of a similar heritage and comes to this conclusion on his own terms . He uses his platform to advocate for the people he best understands and can help the most. South Africans and the world community often overlooks coloured people. Ramalaine is doing his part to stop and shine a light on the needs of his people.

He also does not use the building of a color-blind society to excuse atrocities by colonials on native peoples. Ramalaine wants the horrors of colonialism and apartheid to be well documented and frequently discussed. He also wants concrete steps taken toward redress. Not based on one race wronging another, by colonials giving natives back what is rightfully native, the land.

Often many that claim to want a color-blind society to use it as an excuse to separate themselves from their people and to work toward empowerment. That is why when people talk about a color-blind society people roll their eyes. Most see it as a way for elite members of the race to separate themselves. Ramalaine provides a philosophy that is non-racial that is conducive to the empowerment struggle.

What Ramalaine has wrong?

Linking himself to Rachel Dolezal is simply a bad idea. Dolezal could be genuinely attempting to connect to blacks, mentally ill, or just running a con. The “jury is still out” on this one. She could say or do something outlandish for media attention. If she does many people will use the action to question his judgment, and his philosophy will lose credibility.

Ramalaine doesn’t offer specific solutions. His goal is to raise awareness, yet it is important for Ramalaine to provide alternative solutions that are specific. One thing that needs to be laid out is what does a non-racial identity look like and how does it aid a person in fighting injustice. He has an uphill battle because most people see color-blindness as a way to absolve a person from fighting racial justice. However, if he were to detail what a non-racial identity looks like, it would aid in many people coming on board.

What I could not evaluate.

The analyst is American and does not know much about South African politics or society. The analyst will refrain from agreeing or disagreeing with Ramalaine’s political assessments until he has more data on South African politics.

Where is Ramalaine on the Spiral?

Ramalaine is a healthy Green meme. He believes in redefining the group which is a frequent theme in Green meme. I cannot tell if he wants first-order or second-order change. Some articles seem to lean toward first -order change and others second order. Ramalaine would need a full manifesto to evaluate what change is needed.

He appears to stay in Green Meme for the articles I evaluated that span 2011 – 2017. If there were samples from a longer time span, a progression could be evaluated.

For more on Clyde Ramalaine read his blogs listed in Sources.



Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (1974 – 2016)

  • Represented South Africa at the International Aids Conference in Durban
  • Advocate for AIDS prevention in the UK, Holland, South Africa, and Swaziland
  • Taught art in Tanzania and South Africa
  • Authored poem I am Khanga

Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo better known as Khwezi was born September 17, 1974. Her father was Judson Khuzwayo, Chief Representative of the ANC in Zimbabwe. Fezekile Kuzwayo spent most of her childhood in Durban before her family went into exile in Swaziland. Judson Khuzwayo and Jacob Zuma, Fezekile Kuzwayo’s future alleged rapist, went into hiding together often. They were jailed together at Robben Island. Zuma and the man that encouraged Fezekile Kuzwayo to come forward stayed in the Kuzwayo home during exile. Judson Khuzwayo died in a 1985 car accident.

Fezekile Kuzwayo claims to have been sexually abused by ANC members starting at the age of five. The allegations were never taken to court, but there are rumors of ANC soldiers being docked six months pay due to a rape incident involving Kuzwayo.

Fezekile Kuzwayo was diagnosed with HIV in 1999. She said in court she told Zuma in 2001. She was also an out lesbian. She was a South African representative at the International AIDS Conference in Durban. She was an AIDS advocate in the UK from July 2002 to August 2003

Zuma was a family friend and father figure according to Khuzwayo. Over the years he continued to be active in the ANC and became deputy leader in 2005. Most assumed that Jacob Zuma would succeed Thabo Mbeki as president of South Africa.

Rape Trial

According to Kuzwayo’s testimony, she had to stay overnight with Jacob Zuma because she was having a family crisis. She was asleep in the guest bedroom when Zuma entered. Zuma climbed into bed with her and began the act before she woke up. Kuzwayo did not scream or resist because she was in shock. A man that was her uncle took advantage of her while she was asleep.

Kuzwayo first told family friend Ronnie Kasrils about the rape. Kuzwayo called Kasrils cell phone on her way to the police station according to testimony in the later Kasrils defamation trial.

Zuma was formally charged in 2005. He admitted they had sex, but the sex was consensual. Kuzwayo was wearing a Khanga at the time. Zuma interpreted the dress as a sign that Kuzwayo was interested in sex. For those that do not know, a Khanga is a rectangular piece of cloth that is wrapped around a woman’s waist and worn as a dress. The Khanga has several other uses and can be worn as a tunic or be used as a pouch to carry a baby. Some women even wear Khangas to church as the picture below shows. Zuma never said she expressly said she wanted sex, only that she gave several signs of being interested in sex.

Church Khanga 8

Zuma knew at the time of intercourse the woman was HIV positive. He said he showered after sex to reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV. Zuma did not wear a condom. He claims he was ready to marry her. Kuzwayo’s aunts were discussing an acceptable bride price before intercourse took place.

After the rape charge against Zuma had gone public the ANC Women’s League called Kuzwayo a “bitch.” The ANC Youth League and South African Communist Party threatened her life. A mob formed outside the courthouse on her trial date and threw rocks at a woman suspected to be her. The most egregious violation was the burning down of her home. To avoid further harassment and threats on her life, she had to flee to Holland. She left Holland to stay in Tanzania and eventually returned to South Africa in 2011.

The court found the sex to be consensual in 2006. The judge found previous instances of her accusing men of rape. Some of these men accused of rape were clergy. In testimony, she said she never made those charges and that she never met the men. The judge had documents saying she accused the men of rape. The judge concluded Kuzwayo felt guilty after the sex and wanted to clear her name with the accusation of rape. Kuzwayo also was asleep when the assault started. The judge felt it would be illogical to rape a woman if he did not know if she would scream when she woke up. A uniformed officer and his daughter were nearby.

The judge made an order to reveal Kuzwayo’s identity without her consent. She had been known as “Khwezi” to protect her identity.

Aftermath of the Trial

After the trial, Zuma goes on to win the 2008 election and is currently South Africa’s president. The trial ultimately had a positive effect on his political career. His supporters were able to claim that the West and white South Africans conspired to take him out. Zuma is an advocate of land appropriation, black South Africans taking back their land.

Kuzwayo had to go into hiding in Holland. While in Holland she wrote and performed the poem I am Khanga. Aidsfonds, KIT, and Sharenet hired Kuzwayo as a consultant. She left Holland in 2010 to stay in Tanzania. While in Tanzania, she worked as a librarian and drama teacher at a local school. Kuzwayo also volunteered at Nafasi Art Space. She eventually returned to South Africa, in 2011. In South Africa she continued to teach and further her education. Fezekile Kuzwayo died of a blood clot in 2016. Two hundred mourners came to her funeral in Central Methodist Church in Durban.

In 2015,the MK Veterans Association apologized for fueling rumors that the rape accusation had political motives. The ANC Women’s League also issued a statement on Kuzwayo’s death. They said she was a brave woman that told her side of the story. Also, Ronnie Kasrils filed suit against the man that accused him of orchestrating the rape charge. They settled out of court.

What Kuzwayo had right

She lived openly as an HIV-positive lesbian. In a more conservative country, it is important to have LGBT individuals living openly to reduce stigma. Being openly HIV-positive serves the same function.

Fezekile Kuzwayo had every right to stand up for herself. She should be commended for her bravery in standing up to the Deputy President of South Africa. Many hurled insults at threats at her and she stood strong through all of it. She never slanders any of her critics or puts out negative statements about the ANC.

Even after the trial was over, she never stopped helping people. She taught art to children for the next ten years. She became a pillar of the community. The evidence of her altruism was the high attendance at her funeral.

What Kuzwayo had wrong

Absolutely nothing

Where is Kuzwayo on the Spiral

No statement on how Kuzwayo feels about the state of Africa or Africans worldwide could be found.

The action of filing a suit against the Deputy President was a Red Meme action. Bravery begins in the Red Meme. I came to this conclusion by process of elimination.

If she were Blue Meme, she would never go against an ANC leader. Kuzwayo was a life-long ANC supporter. She is ANC royalty through her father.

If she were Orange Meme, she never would have spoken out because Zuma. She knew it could ruin her life. Also, if Zuma told the truth about them getting married, then she would never risk losing a relationship that could make her first lady.

If she were acting in the Green Meme, she never would have done anything to hurt group cohesion. She would have stayed quiet to keep everyone together.

Often in the Spiral Dynamics community, we use Red Meme as a pejorative. It is important that we understand the positive aspects of the Red Meme. In this case, a single stigmatized woman took on the power structure of a country. Her bravery should be commended all over the world.


  1. Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo on South African History Online
  2. SA’s Zuma showered to aviod HIV April 5, 2006 BBC
  3. Khwezi was ‘getting her life together after 10 difficult years’ By J. Wicks October 9, 2016
  4. Where is Jacob Zuma’s rape accuse?” by N. Mokati May 7, 2016 IOL News
  5. “The kanga, womanhood and how Zuma’s 2006 rape trial changed the meaning of the fabric” by r. Pather August 10, 2016 Mail and Guardian
  6. Biographical Profile History of Late Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo on Daily Mail Nigeria
  7. ” The real Fezekile ‘Khwezi’ Kuzwayo as her family knew her” by A. Khoza
  8. “Khwezi told me Zuma raped her: Kasrils
  9. “Kasrils sues after claim he set up Zuma for rape charge” by j. Evans Feburary 22, 2015
  10. “South Africa: Kasrils to Give R500k Defamation Money to Khwezi” August 23, 2016
  11. “zuma found not guilty May 8,2006
  12. “Jacob Zuma cleared of rape” May 8 , 2006

Six Pillars of Self Esteem

The Work of Nathaniel Branden

This section deals with the work of Nathaniel Branden. He was a psychologist in the mid twentieth century.

The Work of Clare Graves Summarized 

Spiral Dynamics Theory

This section has a detailed explanation of the theory as presented by Clare Graves, Don Beck, and Ken Wilber

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