We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: Pan-African Consciousness Raising and Organizing in the United States and Venezuela
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: Pan-African Consciousness Raising and Organizing in the United States and Venezuela, draws on fifteen months of field research accompanying organizers, participating in protests, planning/strategy meetings, state-run programs, academic conferences and everyday life in these two countries. Through comparative examination of the processes by which African Diaspora youth become radically politicized, this work deconstructs tendencies to deify political s/heroes of eras past by historicizing their ascent to political acclaim and centering the narratives of present youth leading movements for Black/African liberation across the Diaspora. I employ Manuel Callahan’s description of “encuentros”, “the disruption of despotic democracy and related white middle-class hegemony through the reconstruction of the collective subject”; “dialogue, insurgent learning, and convivial research that allows for a collective analysis and vision to emerge while affirming local struggles” to theorize the moments of encounter, specifically, the moments (in which) Black/African youth find themselves becoming politically radicalized and by what. I examine the ways in which Black/African youth organizing differs when responding to their perpetual victimization by neoliberal, genocidal state-politics in the US, and a Venezuelan state that has charged itself with the responsibility of radically improving the quality of life of all its citizens. Through comparative analysis, I suggest the vertical structures of “representative democracy” dominating the U.S. political climate remain unyielding to critical analyses of social stratification based on race, gender, and class as articulated by Black youth. Conversely, I contend that present Venezuelan attempts to construct and fortify more horizontal structures of “popular democracy” under what Hugo Chavez termed 21st Century Socialism, have resulted in social fissures, allowing for a more dynamic and hopeful negation between Afro-Venezuelan youth and the state.
African American studies
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