A Book Review –
By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway
Sovereign. That’s a word which was kicked about in this past presidential election, all the way from building a wall between the U.S.A. and Mexico to the hot issue of immigration. However, author Ezrah Aharone applies the word to a ‘state’ which has little to do with geography but rather more to do with the mindset. In his book “The Sovereign Psyche,” he explores the state of Black America as a microcosm inside this macrocosm known as the United States of America
Aharone subtitled his work: “Systems of Chattel Freedom vs. Self-Authentic Freedom.” One must presuppose that the subtitle defines and then refines the ‘psyche’ portion of the Black sovereign—the Black mindset. Of course, there has yet to be a Black socio-economic study without slavery being the framework of analysis if not a hellevua variable. Aharone’s work is no exception to that. His study continues the historical and contemporary debate of what it will take for black achievement based on the fact that slavery will always be the socio-economic foundation. Yes, always, making its way all the way into the 21st Century where such movements as Black Lives Matter to Black mass incarceration to Black poverty continue to be the same unresolved topics.
“More deeply, chattel slavery involved the full burglary of both our sovereignty and our sovereign consciousness. This is why the struggle for self-authentic freedom continues. This is why the imagination is indispensable. This is why The Sovereign Psyche should be viewed by 21st Century Black leaders as rational rather than radical,” Aharone points out.
Yes, slavery is that proverbial thief who strikes in the dead of night, robbing African Americans of full citizenship, stealing both body and mind, but, to reiterate it’s the ‘mindset’ Aharone focuses on then straddles as if taming a wild horse. And, yes, the reader is in for a rodeo ride, especially if he or she re-reads portions of the book if not the entire book. My copy is already dog-eared.
Aharone even puts in his two-cents worth in that symbolic debate of what Black Americans should be called. He uses the term “Black/African people.” Of course, once upon a time Black American citizens of the sovereign were called ‘Colored’ and ‘Negro’ then those labels evolved into Afro American then African American and/or simply ‘Black’—of course, all of these nomenclatures have meshed into that ambiguous ‘Diversity’ or ‘People of Color’. (The latter two terms in my opinion presently connote every other minority but ‘Black Americans’ when it comes to economics and/or affirmative action programs).
What I noticed right off is that Aharone’s book is laid out in ‘Concepts’ and not in chapters. Concept 1 is titled “Parallel Origins and Evolutions of Racism and Jeffersonian Democracy.” I immediately knew where this was going: A bashing of democracy and capitalism. Sure enough Aharone validated my suspicion when he stated: “But is democracy really what nations need for world security, and is Jeffersonian Democracy really the staging ground for equality?”
He expounds further in Concept I: “With these assertions in mind, there are valuable lessons that the world can learn about the duplicities of democracy and equality by simply analyzing the political and racial history of America since 1619, along with the fractured relationship that Black America subsequently developed with the US government and society since 1865.”
Yet, his assertion only moved me to ask rhetorically: Cannot the same lessons of duplicity be learned from any form of government created by human beings when it comes to equality? The histories of communism and socialism have borne out that a “fractured relationship” also exists in these idealized and idolized economic-governmental structures which were created to seek the closest form of Utopia on Earth, but instead proponents of socialism and communism created their own brand of greed, corruption, and racism on their own respective merry-go-round of discrimination which further widened the gap between the Haves and Have Nots, and left an insatiable poverty that fed the egos of dictators and/or communist and socialist party leaders which kept them in power.
If one were to push the envelope, one can see that America’s State of Black America operates and behaves as a quasi-state of communism under the rule of a one party government. Even Aharone has to admit this when he offers this realistic but harsh assessment (which I must admit I am in agreement with and have indeed written about) on the Democratic Party and its relationship with Black Leadership: “At a time when Black people are in need of new ideals and tangible progress, many so-called Black ‘leaders’ have seemingly been christened and commissioned to represent the interests of the Democratic Party more than they represent the interests of Black people, which is the reason they receive media favorability in the first place.” This is a paragraph which beckons to be re-read.
He places the present-day Democratic Cong. John Lewis in historical context which denotes that schizoid-compromise dilemma Black leader activists have had to make in America’s democracy in the following: “Catholic Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle of Washington, D.C., threatened not to give the invocation at the 1963 March on Washington if the then SNCC Chairman (and future congressman) John Lewis, did not remove language from his speech that O’Boyle and President John F. Kennedy disapproved. Lewis, by the way, was far from being the most outspoken or revolutionary of Blacks at the time. In fact, the establishment probably would have never ‘approved’ the march had the roster included a cross-segment of meaningful Black voices who spoke their ‘unedited’ thoughts. Long story short, Lewis was politically arm-twisted into sanitizing his speech to appease Kennedy and O’Boyle.”
During the Civil Rights era Black leaders such as Lewis spoke, acted, and compromised on behalf of a Jim Crow Black citizen microcosm. Now they—as Aharone indicates— speak, act, and compromise on behalf of the Democratic Party. Again, I agree wholeheartedly.
I further assert that 21st Century Black leaders reside in Plato’s Cave where Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand is no more than a perpetual puppet show of shadow finger ducks and bunny rabbits on the Cave’s wall because Black capitalism was stifled by white racism and later by a Black leadership.
My political criticism of Aharone’s work is that it has a propensity to knock capitalism while praising socialism and communism a tad much, but that does not color my deep appreciation for his work because what he is pushing for is a Black “Sovereign Psyche” which is good medicine for what ails Black America which is its continued failure to attain “Self-Authentic Freedom” which is part of the subtitle of his “Sovereign Psyche.” Aharone gets inside the soul of the matter—which in essence is the ‘mindset’—the ‘psyche’. The Concepts (not chapters) he outlines throughout the work are meticulous and implicit history lessons for a rationale on why Blacks should build a “Sovereign” mindset to make an economically viable Black America microcosm and one globally as well. Today’s generation of “Black/African” people could stand the mental exercise of reading such a work.
Ezrah Aharone puts it bluntly: “But, understanding that we have sovereign dimensions to our history, it is incumbent upon us to stop the insanity and begin to apply our sovereign imagination—like all other sane people—to express the authenticities of who we are and actualize the freedom and development that we desire and deserve. This, encapsulates the essence of what The Sovereign Psyche is, and the essence of what ‘chattel freedom’ is not.”
I cannot fully conclude this review without pointing out a measure of Aharone’s loaded philosophy found in the following:
“Africans in America for example have morphed into a rare ideopolitical species for whom the concept and consciousness of sovereignty has literally become absent, alien, and abstract…Absent from political discourse. Alien to political consciousness. Abstract in terms of self-application.”
Or: “There’s a notion that the comparatively few decades of desegregation since the 1960s, somehow nullify the prior centuries of dehumanization since 1619. This paves the ideopolitical way to glorify Americanization, while relegating slavery to an immaterial detail that ‘really doesn’t matter too much’.”
One of the most intriguing segments of the book is Aharone’s treatment of Martin R. Delany whom he describes as “Being highly intelligent, he was appointed as a judge in Charleston in 1876 after losing a closely contested election for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina in 1874. He was also a physician/surgeon who was one of the first three Africans admitted to Harvard medical school, but because of racism he withdrew from the program after less than a month. In addition, Delany was an outspoken abolitionist whose notoriety reached the attention of Lincoln…Paralleled alongside these unsung laurels that proved his American-ness, Delany simultaneously – in a ‘both/and’ paradigm—held noble aspirations to establish self-government outside the US, beyond the reach of Euro-American influence. While on one hand he wrote, ‘We love our country [America], dearly love her’, he simultaneously expressed ‘the need for black people to protect themselves from racism through the exercise of political power—in America, if possible, but elsewhere, if need be’.”
Aharone is a deep thinker and exciting thinker. This is what I believe the reader will appreciate about him. However, the pathetic likelihood is that white influencers and politicos seldom read scholastic and intellectual works by Black authors such as Aharone; thus, they miss out on economic ‘concepts’ because, ironically, these white intellectuals remain ‘irrational’ and prejudice when it comes to exploring such intellectualism found inside such works as the “Sovereign Psyche”. There, too, is a mainstream publishing model which does not promote such works to white mainstream because the publishing model, too, is a victim of America’s inherent racism when it comes to knowledge. Those non-Blacks who dare to read his work would add to their understanding of America’s race dilemma. Each year one has to only look at a book list of white influencer-celebs (such as a Bill Gates) who simply do not recommend such works by Black authors such as Aharone, Thomas Sowell, Tavis Smiley, Henry Louis Gates or even W.E.B. Dubois or Booker T. Washington for that matter—and others in this “Black/African” socio-economic genre which should be defined by ideals and not solely on race. These white trendsetters simply do not recognize them as existing and are more apt to pick up a work by Karl Marx or Hegel because of skin color paired with their socio-economic philosophies. Ignorance is not always bliss. But should “Black/African” people develop Aharone’s Self-Authentic Freedom, they shouldn’t care anyway.
To reiterate Aharone is a deep thinker, and I believe he can go deeper. And that’s why I look forward to his coming volume II of the “Sovereign Psyche” (Publisher: AuthorHouse). His website is http://www.EzrahSpeaks.com.
*The above is on the Book Lane on The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway at http://www.blackinformationhighway.com. Email