“The political philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that the Black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community. We must understand the politics of our community and we must know what politics is supposed to produce. We must know what part politics play in our lives. And until we become politically mature, we will always be mislead, led astray or deceived or maneuvered into supporting someone politically who doesn’t have the good of our community at heart,” said Malcolm X in his speech “The Ballot or the Bullet,” delivered on April 12, 1964, in Detroit. Pending the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election, the U.S.A. is on the verge of major change.

After eight years of the Bush regime, where American citizens have lost some of their constitutional rights due to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, many say they welcome that a shift in power. Councilman Charles Barron told the AmNews, “I met [Obama] at Union 1199 headquarters before he got started, and said, ‘I know your strategy and I know you have to win white votes, but can’t you at least speak about poverty and how you’re going to eradicate poverty in America? Since most of the poor are us, you don’t even have to say ‘Black.’ He said, ‘Okay, I can deal with that.’ Then I said, ‘Brother, the police are out of control. You don’t have to call them ‘terrorists’ like I do, but can’t you say that we need to foster better police/community relations in the Black communities and speak out against at least about a grandmother in Atlanta who got shot 100 times and Sean Bell.’ He said, ‘Police brutality is not going to be a part of my agenda. I’m not trying to be president of Black America, but I did speak out against the Bell killing.’” At a recent Operation P.O.W.E.R. seminar, the self-proclaimed “rebel with a cause” detailed the importance of local citizens exercising their constitutional right to vote, the economic deficit and term limits for city politicians. “All of your marching and demonstrating should lead you to the table to get something, and it has to be either influencing power or getting power,” Barron suggested to the audience at House of the Lord Church last Saturday.

Operation P.O.W.E.R. member Paul Washington added, “An elected activist must be accountable to the people, expose this system as corrupt and not serve the interest of corporate America and white men in power. We encourage you to get involved in this organization and this process.” While many people skeptically anticipate another sabotaged general election, the councilman optimistically predicts a victory, yet warned, “This is the danger of Obama–we’re going to be so high that he won that we’re going to go to sleep and think that the struggle is over. We got to really be careful that we don’t lose our critical, analytical thinking skills, and we get caught up in the euphoria of the moment, that we don’t continue to build our movement and demand that he take care of the brothers and sisters in New Orleans and demand that he say some- thing about reparations. We have political prisoners who need to be freed.” He also looked at the long-term effects of an Obama victory. “Can you imagine the Black children? Their first idea of a president is going to be a Black man. The little children are going to say, ‘That’s the president! A Black man!’ And the first time an 18-year-old votes in this election, he’s going to vote for a Black man. But it still has to be a Black man that’s for the Black community. We must still hold him accountable. We can’t let anybody off the hook just because they’re Black.” Barron asserted, “We’re going to support him. When we get involved with this electoral politics, we have to understand it’s not a panacea; it’s not going to get us to the promised land. It’s just a tactic. America needs a revolution! A political, cultural, economic and a spiritual revolution in this nation! That is what is inevitably going to happen and what needs to happen!”