Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

The Hard Truth—Movement meeting madness

24th September 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Min. J. Kojo Livingston
Contributing Columnist

This is yet another Minority Opinion.

Since becoming an active, documented and spied-upon member of the Black Liberation movement 40 years ago, I estimate that I have spent well over $150,000 on local, regional and national conferences, meetings, conventions, etc. Because I don’t like conferences, I have probably attended far fewer of these meetings than the average radical, militant, malcontent, seditionist, subversive, trouble-making…well, you get the idea.

A person with half my years who was committed to attending all of the Black mega-gatherings could have easily spent $250,000 by now. That’s a quarter of a million dollars!

When you consider travel (sometimes international), meals, lodging, conference fees, entertainment (yes, we do that too) and miscellaneous costs, the per-person total for any 10-year period gets big. If you figure that the average small conference draws about 200 people you might start to feel the object and weight of my concern. And this does not include the cost of putting on these conferences.

We have spent enough money on conferences to have built factories, purchased national hotel chains or at least owned a danged chicken farm (yep, he went there). And what did the conferences produce?

Mostly talk or hot air. I would be down with this if we could find a way to bottle or channel that hot air and use it as a source of alternative energy. Even local meetings I have attended in various cities have generated enough hot air to warm entire neighborhoods, light whole communities and possibly power vehicles for years.

We don’t have space to address the amount of…well, verbal bovine waste products generated at these conferences and the possible agricultural uses for these…rhetorical droppings.

And a national conference is a virtual hot-air competition. It’s rare that any other goal is accomplished. Many attend only to prove that they are smarter or more “down” than everybody else in attendance. Many attend to enjoy watching the political/cultural pissing contests that the stars or wannabe stars engage in.

Practical, measurable results rarely emerge because practical, measurable results are rarely the point. Usually what happens is that folks talk about the problem, talk bad about white people, talk bad about the Arabs and Asians in our communities, talk bad about the system, talk bad about Black people who don’t come to these meetings, and finally talk bad about the folks who did come to the meeting. But not always in that order.

It should offend the Creator, the Ancestors, us and our legacy that so much time, money, effort and brainpower is repeatedly used only to achieve collective self-gratification. The time to change this is now.

My Minority Suggestions are few and simple:
1. Have a group of HBCUs do an audit to actually measure how much we have spent on Black political conferences just since 1960. Then measure, in real terms, what areas of measurable progress we have made because of any such meeting. Then let the truth guide our actions.
2. Make it a Black Law that nobody does another national conference until they can show the results and progress made from the last one.
3. Every conference should generate realistic objectives with realistic dates. We should be clear on our objectives going into the conference. We should be clear on the work to be done coming out of the conference and hold ourselves ACCOUNTABLE for the results.

If we get serious about winning, we can, and we will bring Liberation to our people. We have the ability, and we have the responsibility to restore Freedom and Prosperity to our People.

So Whatchagonna DO?

This article originally published in the September 24, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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