Black Power is the emergence of an ideologically, economically and militarily independent African state that can secure, guarantee, and avenge the freedom of Black people all over the world through both covert and overt exertion of both soft and hard power on the various other states all around the globe.
The biggest hurdle to the attainment of this Black Power by African people both on the continent and in the diaspora, is a human resource problem – in terms of quality, but especially in terms of quantity.
Quality in the sense that many Africans still lack the necessary philosophical alignment and material capability to make concrete steps towards the goal of attaining Black Power. Many still entertain the possibility of achieving freedom through non-violent means and those who realize that violence is the only answer to racism lack the mental aptitude and/or physical capability to inflict and/or facilitate it.
Quantity in the sense that Africa continues to fight the racists with only one arm, keeping the other tied behind its back – half the Black population of the world is being held back by the chains of misogyny from fully contributing to the revolution that is necessary to its liberation. And the top way through which misogyny does this is sexual violence – on a spectrum that ranges from harassment to brutality.
How is sexual violence holding the revolution back?
Just like racism, sexual violence is a distraction – albeit an extremely traumatic one too. By severely compromising their physical and mental health as well as sense of day-to-day safety, sexual violence keeps Black women constantly distracted from doing the revolutionary work they need to do, from showing up fully to play their part in fighting the racists that plague Black people world over as a whole.
It keeps them from occupying (literally and otherwise) the spaces they should be strategically occupying (and opening up) for the revolution, from synthesizing (mentally and physically) the ideas they should be strategically synthesizing (and acting on) for the revolution; and most importantly, from just… being.
Remember: being is the first and most important role of a revolutionary. Revolution can only be enacted by full beings. And Black women can’t fully be with sexual violence against them still as rampant as it is today even in our own Black societies. Any modern Black man who’s really serious about the attainment of Black Power must first and foremost start with addressing the scourge of sexual violence head on.
Let’s face it, we do not yet have the technological advancement to wage a full-scale war on the armies of the racist empires (and their foreign legions in the form of neo-kkkolonial collaborator vassal states), let alone the vibrant arms industry and independent financial system that are needed to nurture and deploy that advancement. And it’s going to be a while before we’re able to develop it because we have not yet even laid the foundations for said vibrant arms industry and independent financial system.
If revolution is about doing the best that you can in your given space-time circumstances, then the best that the Black men of today can do for the revolution is to rid our societies of sexual violence. It’s the most pressing military objective that we have to fulfill before we can even start gaining the capacity to plan and execute any significant offensive campaigns against the various operating units of racism.
Why ending sexual violence is the key to Black Power
We know for a fact that the racists are more than willing, and completely ready, to die (in large numbers at that) for the racist global order their ancestors built – as shown by the amerikkkan civil war, the intra-nazi squabble known as the second world war, and the militant dedication with which they continue to defend racism even in the midst of the most significant Black rights awareness movement of this era.
From the micro-aggressive civilians, to the psychopathic police, to the brainwashed military, to the racial terrorism gangs, to the reality-bending media propagandists, to the ultra-greedy corporations, to the narcissistic celebrities, to the opportunistic politicians, all the various deployments of racist violence in modern society have shown that they are determined to keep their knees on our necks or die trying.
Therefore, the revolutionary African armies, militias and civilian brigades that we will need to overthrow the monopoly on violence that racism currently enjoys (and continues to leverage for the state-sponsored sustenance of its reign of terror) will have to commit extremely brutal acts of violence – not only to break the hardened will of the enemy forces but to neutralize any hope of them reorganizing.
These armed forces, that are very likely to be male-dominated just like most armed forces throughout history, will therefore need a strongly enforced cultural taboo. Both to keep them philosophically grounded enough not to lose the plot and to help them stomach the mental effects of inflicting such large-scale violence. Sexual violence is the perfect candidate for such a cultural taboo for two reasons.
One: sexual violence is such a heinous crime that even when committed in retribution for genuine wrongs, it’s still a stain on the moral uprightness of the perpetrator that simply can’t be overlooked. Despite all the unspeakable crimes that have been historically committed against Black people all over the world, it’s morally unjustifiable on our end to avenge any of them with any act of sexual violence.
On the other hand, these revolutionary armed forces can inflict all the other forms of violence against the racists while maintaining a moral high ground – something that’s always been vital to keeping soldiers’ morale high for combat operations and to leveraging soft power for public relations campaigns.
Two: it offers great strategic human resource value because as explained earlier, making sexual violence taboo would free up half of the global African population to fully engage in the necessary revolution. History has repeatedly shown that Black men will never manage to win this war alone, all the way from the first Pan-African Congress to the Black Panthers to the post-independence Pan Africanists.
It’s quite clear that as long as an Afro-liberation movement harbors patriarchy (be it consciously or otherwise), it won’t succeed simply because misogyny hampers the operational capacity of half the movement’s supporters. And the first step to kicking misogyny out of a society is to end sexual violence.
So how do we go about ending sexual violence?
Keep in mind that at its core, sexual violence is about power – specifically, abuse of power. From the most ostensibly innocuous harassment such as catcalling on the street to the most stomach-churning brutality such as raping infant children, sexual violence is, and has always been, about abusing power.
This abuse of power is culturally facilitated by the perpetrators’ awareness that the physical and socio-economic consequences will be disproportionately low, or proportionate at best in the few cases where the official channels of justice work. And yet people who abuse power only respond to one thing: being on the receiving end of a stronger power that’s eager to deliver disproportionately high consequences.
From physical violence to social ostracizing to economic disempowerment, all possible avenues for exerting anarchist revenge for the violation of Black women should be explored to make the price of sexual violence so hefty that even the most depraved among us are afraid to even consider it.
This means it can’t be a justice that is delivered solely through the official channels. It must start before, and reach beyond them – what the religious might call “the wrath of god”. Yes, despite the challenges that it obviously presents, extrajudicial retribution is what will truly make sexual violence taboo and free up Black women to just be, first and foremost, and also to fully show up for their roles in the revolution.
What does such a world look like? What critical ideological changes are needed to make this world? What concrete material steps can the Black men of today take towards making sexual violence taboo?
Xhabou Xhabauloh is a multi-disciplinary artist that uses various media to explore and express the ideas he chooses to engage, but with a strong leaning towards the medium that is language.