Liberty Bell or Ding-a-ling

Amiri Baraka

NEWARK, N J. — For Board of Education President Charles Bell to criticize Executive Superintendent Eugene Campbell for the unsatisfactory state of the Newark school system, when Bell has been on the Board for over 15 years while Campbell has been superintendent for 2 years, is bizarre. Bell, of all people, should be more reflective and more self-critical, minimally, in such discussions!

LibertyBellorDingaling1-1The recent failure of the Board to meet SUPPOSEDLY because of “criminally short-sighted and internecine squabbling” does not quite wash if we read Bell’s latest quasipublic statement (Star Ledger, 12/01/86). He refuses to be concrete on his position regarding the NEW COLONIALISM that the proposed state takeover of the Newark public school system represents!

Either Bell supports Newark’s selfdetermination and democracy or he opposes it and sides with State Commissioner Cooperman’s thieves whose only real desire is to steal Newark’s $296.6 million education budget.


The Grapevine says Bell and perhaps City Hall are cozier with Cooperman & Co. than they let on: vine saying that a compromise that the big state white folks will accept will merely get rid of the Elected School Board and put it back under the Mayor. Presumably because compromising Board officials and the City gov’t would not try to CLAIM TOO MUCH of the $296.6 million budget which now flows overwhelmingly out in jobs, contracts, consultancies and services, to the suburbs! These people live off Newark’s flesh and bone — they cannot allow Newark’s citizens to “divert” THEIR profits, to be used instead by us. We are citizens of a city about which television programs are created (Moyers’ Vanishing Family) to mystify and blame the victims for our poverty and poor education! The corporations and their politicians and media gunbearers want 1st: OUR MONEY!

The Vine implies that perhaps even the Board meetings are being SABOTAGED so that they don’t meet. Perhaps as part of the scenario of our Garden State “crypto-fascists” to help demonstrate how the people of Newark are too ignorant and corrupt to run our own affairs!?

The recent trend of Newark politicians also holding state and county offices also speaks of honor or betrayal. These new office holders must fight for Newark’s Self Determination and be its heralds. They must not join with state and county racists to steal Newark’s money and home rule.


Another Post-Reconstruction Disenfranchisement

To submit to the state takeover is to submit to an overtly racist New Colonialism! It is to turn Newark into a non-self-governing South Africa-style BANTUSTAN!

Black youth in Soweto are dying every day fighting this same fundamental denial of equal rights and democracy. TO ELIMINATE SELFDETERMINATION IS TO ASSASSINATE DEMOCRACY!

The United States has NEVER BEEN a democracy for the African people. Brought here in the holds of slave ships, slavery did not end formally until 1865. But by 1965 African Americans still had to have a voting rights act passed to try to overcome the aggressive anti-black, antidemocratic practices of society, Mississippi or New York City. There are 30 million African Americans but not one black U.S. Senator!

After every upward thrust that we make in our struggle for democracy and equality, after our racist enemies are defeated, these forces of reaction sneak in the back door and try to reimpose anti-democratic and anti-black chains to retard our progress.

“The state takeover of Newark schools is an overtly racist New Colonialism”

After the Civil War the Reconstruction was destroyed. The slave masters’ land (where the 40 acres and a mule were to come from) was not distributed among the ex-slaves as promised. The KKK, sharecropping, and disenfranchisement were the answers that came with white supremacy and a new slavery asserting itself!

When the black hot struggles of the 60’s grew divided and then quiescent by the late 70’s affirmative action, a cherished goal of the progressive period, could be “bushwhacked” as “reverse discrimination.” In other words, is it racism to make people slaves, but “reverse racism” to help liberate them? … The logic of slave-masters still addicted to the flesh trade.

Slavery and white supremacy have chosen Newark as one critical battle-field — pumped up with the wormy, ignorant passions of the Great Liar, Ronald “Anti-U.S. Constitution” Reagan. Just as the people of Newark registered their sound disgust with Uberleutnant Reagan in the Presidential nonelections, we will now have to make it plain and irreversible. We cannot let the Kean-Cooperman -“Nigger Traitor” attempts to strip Newark’s people of selfdetermination result in transforming this city into a non-self-governing “ward” of the new colonialism. We should raise the stakes all the way up as high as they have to go! The legislature, the state and court house, or the streets!

The people of Newark say No! to state takeover! No! We will not let them make this city in a BANTUSTAN!

As Fred Douglass said, “It might be a moral struggle. It might be a physical struggle … but it will be a struggle … Without Struggle There Is No Progress!”