Editor’s Note: Shamako Noble, "The Sword of the West," is a San Francisco Bay-area emcee, organizer and activist. He is currently serving as co-founder and current National Field Director of Hip-Hop Congress. He is attending the Take Back the American Dream conference next week under the auspices of the Generational Alliance and will be serving as a guest blogger during the conference. The following is a Q&A he did with me via e-mail.
Is the progressive movement in danger of losing young people of color from the fold?
The progressive movement is in danger of losing anyone who wants to hear and deal with the truth as it is for all of us at this time.
Troy Davis was just murdered right in front of our eyes. Unemployment is at its highest since the Great Depression. Any statistic that indicates the suffering of America is even greater for people of color and youth of color. Education costs are soaring; and public education, Social Security and many other basic rights and safety-net services are being picked apart piece by piece.
This is all against the backdrop of a right wing literally advocating that not only is the government not responsible for its citizens, but that we are not responsible for each other. The progressive movement is in danger of losing anyone who is impacted by these and many other things taking place in our country right now.
What must progressive organizations and politicians do to earn your continued loyalty and that of other young people of color?
I can’t speak for everyone. I can only speak for myself. For me, the first thing they can do is tell the truth. They can tell the truth about our situation, and about the broken system that is causing it. They can prioritize that truth, and address the challenges faced by Americans and those impacted by America’s currently corporate-driven policy.
We can return to a platform of hope, and integrate a platform of love and humanity as central values for our policies and institutions to be shaped around. We can be bold and courageous, proposing a reinvigorated public education system. We can join many of the world’s civilized nations in advocating for providing free education. We can call for a national moratorium on foreclosures and executions. We can begin supporting community food production, environmentally sustainable housing for all, and acknowledge the importance of the soul. We can organize. Right now. For more than just elections.
The term progressive was created and is still rooted in the notion of all people successfully participating in a capitalist economic system, and not simply in a democratic political system. If that system can no longer serve the interests of the large majority of the American public, then "progressives" can at least be willing to put that conversation on the table. Progressives can show me that they still retain and are driven by their humanity and not by profit.