Secular People’s Struggle

This is a secular, people’s struggle for justice — not a religious one.

By Larry Pinkney

Online Journal Guest Writer

“If we bring up religion, we’ll be in an argument, and the best way to keep away from arguments and differences, as I said earlier, [is to] put your religion at home — in the closet. Keep it between you and your God . . .” –Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]

The struggle for social, political, and economic justice derives its fundamental authority from the legitimate yearnings and needs of all people — be they Black, White, Brown, Red, or Yellow. The human right to social, political, and economic justice is not bound by color, gender, or religion, etc. One of the great strengths of the people’s struggle for justice is that it is inclusive, not exclusive.

We must continue to be steadfast in our sustained, ongoing efforts to organize for human rights, and not allow ourselves to be stymied into a non-secular pitfall. Let us remember, that as we engage in this people’s struggle, the right to religious freedom, for example, must also include the right to be free of or from religion. Thus, it is imperative that we stay focused upon the people’s struggle in the context of full social, political, and economic justice for all peoples.

There are far too few citizens of this nation, and immigrants in this nation, that are aware of the long and rich history, and secular nature of ongoing and successful people’s struggles in the United States. Indeed, the corporate media, the government, and many ‘educational’ institutions endeavor to obfuscate, confuse, and divide everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people by injecting, among other things, religion as a controlling factor into the political narrative of the people’s struggle. This is extremely dangerous, and we must not succumb to this divisive, pigeon-holing, and distracting tactic.

In the context of the struggle for social, economic, and political justice [i.e. human rights], it is essentially irrelevant as to whether one is a believer in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Agnosticism, or Atheism, etc. Our struggle is not confined to being a religious or a non-religious one; it is a people’s struggle for justice — and nothing short of that. The principles of justice are, and must be, all encompassing.

Even as political repression, including the de facto gutting of the U.S. Constitution, continues unabated in this nation, so must our determination to resist and reverse this repression. Yes, even as joblessness, homelessness, home foreclosures, racism, and mass incarceration steadily rise, we must seize the time to educate, agitate, and organize for a sane and equitable society and world.

As the perpetual, unconscionable and bloody U.S. wars and conflicts drag on in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere on this planet, it is incumbent upon us to be creative revolutionaries in the people’s struggle for social, political, and economic justice. We must not allow the unconstitutional, heavy-handed, and Machiavellian tactics (replete with cynical, so-called ‘plausible deniability’) on the part of the Obama / Biden regime, the NSA (National Security Agency), the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), or any other local, state, or federal agency, to chill, stifle, or neutralize our efforts and activities as a part of the legitimate and necessary people’s struggle for social, economic, and political justice. Nor must we allow, or succumb to, the hegemony on the part of the corporate / military elite.

This people’s struggle for justice is rooted firmly in the determination to exercise our human rights in this nation and throughout the world. In a word, what is at stake in this struggle for the present and the future is quite literally, everything. We know that the alleged ‘war on terrorism’ conducted by the U.S. Government and its allies is, in reality, a war on the fundamental human rights of the people of this nation and planet. It is a war intended to stifle dissent — to discredit, imprison, and silence the truth tellers. To reiterate: at stake in this people’s struggle is literally everything.

It should be crystal clear by now that placing our belief in the insidiously articulate Mr. ‘hope and change,’ Nobel peace prize-toting, drone missile-president, Barack Obama, or in his corporate accomplices of the Democratic Party foxes and the Republican Party wolves is a recipe for unmitigated disaster for everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people nationally and globally. Our belief must be in ourselves and each other collectively. Whatever differences we everyday common people might have with one another should be, as Malcolm X so aptly said, addressed and dealt with “in the closet;” and we must step out of that proverbial “closet” — more united and determined than ever before. The urgency of this cannot be overemphasized. Be exhorted by the ever timely words of Joe Hill, and “Don’t Mourn. ORGANIZE!”

Onward now, my sisters and brothers! Onward! Editorial Board Member Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS NewsHour, formerly known as TheMacNeil/LehrerNewsHour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.

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