What are institutions? To ask the black or native intellectual this question brings forward a profound truth.
As an editorial board rooted in black and brown diaspora, we have described institutions as places that have structurally forged a systematic lineage of white supremacy; places where the ‘social order of things’ have been created, criticised, and recreated through the tides of time.
Our experiences that have caused us to define institutions in this way,
reveal what we have endured as minority perspectives and the racial ‘other’ in societies mired in institutional racism.
In the examples of America and Great Britain, mighty ivory tower institutions have schooled, disciplined, and domesticated the political imaginary of black and brown thinkers. Seated in classrooms carved in gothic architecture, ways of being, knowing, behaving moulded in white sophistication have endeavoured to smother the soul churning, drum thumping, rhythm of resistance- intellectual self-determination in black and brown students.
Reaching far beyond the confines of higher education institutions,
the nation state’s agenda of social organisation is dispersed with expert strategy through institutions resembling the wonderous efficiency of the human cardiovascular system.
Ideas and histories are pumped into the veins and sinews of institutional organisation.
They surveillance landscapes of belonging to affirm cultures of identity politics- assuring that there may always be a sense of tribalism for political expedience to bank on.
Institutions are complex places, that carry out complex processes. They shape social identities, create factions of people for common purposes, and raise progenies of tamed, patriotic citizens. It is because of their ceaseless power in infiltrating and rebuilding the psyches of those who enter their doors that institutions are protected, grown, and newly formed in buzzing democracies.
It is also due to this reason that institutions coming from the mud that strive towards revolutionary change are expelled and executed, assassinated and attacked.
The potential of such institutions that show promise of longevity can pose a serious threat to the authority of the nation state. Leaders and spirits like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Frantz Fanon, Ida B. Wells, and the famed Combahee River Collective have left behind intricate blueprints to show oppressed people what the power of institutions can do, and how we must form our own in the face of growing institutional racism, and social injustice.
They point towards how the Freemasons, The Ku Klux Klan, and the political parties themselves have policed the social engineering of the state for the comfort and supremacy of the white elite in America.
Here at The Wretchd, we have asked our readers and ourselves what this major global upheaval triggered by the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 in the midst of a gruelling pandemic has meant to us.
Moreover, we have probed,
what institutions must we build,
brick by brick,
so that this moment may not be another fashionable blip for revolution in our times.
The aim of PROJECT BLUPRINT will be to weekly feature the history, purpose, and aim of an institution proposed by revolutionary thinkers, or an institution that currently exists and is steadily growing.
Each week we will delve deep into how such an institution may immortalise the movement towards rupture of the status quo; how it may create a safe place, a classroom and a campaign, a community centre for transformative planning.
We will also add ways in which we can support institutions that need our strength. The institutions to be featured have been chosen in collaboration with our readers.
We hope you enjoy, PROJECT BLUPRINT. Stay tuned for Week 1: The Combahee River Collective!
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At the cusp of social outrage in the late 1970s, the racial and sexual repression of Black women was brought to the fore after being routinely engulfed by larger civil rights, and feminist movements. A group of Black feminists from across the country formed a political discourse to reap accountability for the specific, systematic oppression […]
Soul. Culture. Community. History. Buried in a heap of books, I see their faces. Malcolm X, Franz Fanon, Assata Shakur, George Jackson, Audre Lorde, Marcus Garvey, Huey Newton, Fred Hampton, Albert Woodfox, Angela Davis. I see a safe place, a library, a thinking place, where the freedom-working native intellectual can be amongst others. Here in […]
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