Saturday, March 13, 2010

Marvin X as Plato Negro

Marvin X
at the
Malcolm X
Jazz Fesitval

On Marvin X as Plato Negro

Dr. Nathan Hare,
chief advisor to
Plato Negro

Dr. Rodney D. Coates,
Senior Advisor to
Plato Negro

Ishamel Reed called Marvin X Plato: "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland and watch Marvin X at work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland."

Ishmael to Marvin X:

You ought to start something called "Peripatetic Universities." Greek philosophers like Scorates pioneered walk around place to place schools. It's time for an off campus intellectual movement ( like the Enlightenment which was begun off campus;Voltaire, for an example, was playwright.) On -campus academics- some of the prominent ones-at Harvard and Yale, and Think Tank intellectuals John McWhorter and Shelby Steele are no different from the French Vichy intellectuals and academics under Hitler.Only 8% of poor people go to college. This shouldn't be the end of their intellectual careers.

A Peripatetic University would work this way. Leaflets would be passed out in black
neighborhoods announcing a site of a Peripatetic lecture. These could be held in parks
and elsewhere.

From: Nathan Hare

To: Marvin X
Hey, Dr. M, Plato Negro, since I don’t know that much about poetry you could be cursing me out here, but move to the top of the class for giving me serious thought. Or is fictive thought not serious? I’m afraid “fictive” is truly going to carry more weight now than “factive,” because they’ve turned “factive” into a pharmaceutical drug, which takes it off the streets.
Speaking of which, why do you call your street academy the “University of Poetry?” You know neither one of us never got along with no university. And that’s a fact, or is it a fict? When is a fact not a fict, Professor? Both of them are four letter words.
Besides, I suspect that Plato never got along with any university either, but settled for an “academy.” ( Li’l Joe could probably run down some real good history on the oppressive rise of the “university”). Anyway, I can see your University of Poetry Academy, the Poetry School of Poetry Schools sprouting up all over the hood (something like the Academy of the Arts University, the Art School of Arts Schools downtown and around San Francisco already) bypassing a whole lot of white tape and tricknocracy that is certain to confront any claim to a “university,” let alone a University Negro.
And nobody wants a Negro University anymore (now called “Black” or “historically black”, i.e.,“HBCU”). Got to have a Spanish or a romance language ring, like “Plato Negro,” or “Africana.” Or maybe it should be the University of Poetries Academy, the Poetry School of Poetries Schools, which could include negroes and poetries beyond the white man’s grasp, and blacks and people of color, high tech coloreds, and Africans, or at least Africanas and all the afrocentrics and egocentrics and eccentrics; so as to get ahead of the white man’s fictive arts and tricknocracy, including his poetocracy, and avoid the “university” wall the Day of Action says just might be tumbling down. Soon there will be black days of action coming ‘round the mountain. So run and tell that.
--Nathan Hare 415-929-0204

Dr. Hare to Dr. Rodney Coates

Rodney, I don’t disagree with that, if I understand it. I’m afraid I missed those other “fronts,” coming into this conversation as I did at the “fictive” point. It would hardly behoove me to denigrate all persons in the university – if I read you correctly – anymore than I would all who remain on this larger plantation called America, in any modicum of peace and tranquility.

I have often sought a hollow comfort in something I once heard Arthur Miller say on the radio, when asked why he wasn’t teaching at a university, and he replied that “a revolutionary cannot teach.” But the comfort not only was hollow, it was empty and somehow sad.

I was just telling one of my former students, who wrote the other night that I had been her favorite professor at Howard -- as happily so many do – and I went on to tell her about the emotional devastation leaving Howard had been for me, that I had thought I would be at Howard forever, and how if I could have stayed there till now I would have taught just about everybody worthwhile and the world wouldn’t have been quite the same again.
It was at the highest administrative levels, always with pressure from outside political, corporate and police instigation, that I confronted the balance of my academic oppression. Colleagues I could abide, even when we differed politically. Indeed in every instance when I was brought up for a hearing by administrators before committees they handpicked the committees (colleagues in some fashion), who might have been expected to support the administration, instead supported and voted for me; but the administrators fired me anyway.
The same thing when I was trying to get back into universities all over this country, focusing on black studies from 1981 to 1988, whenever I would get past the politics of persons on the hiring committees (which admittedly could sometimes be a trip), always some high level administrator would step into block my hiring; and that was the case all over this land.
In any event, whatever I have done outside the university setting could have been done so much better within it, for more than reason, if only I could have stayed for a while. Right now I must spend my days devoted to the task of self-employment in a dwindling and outrageous health insurance market (on which a black people’s psychologist’s clients invariably depend for all practical purposes), especially given my history at universities, which follows and weighs in on me in many subtle and complex ways, so that I hardly have time to do anything else, even if I had somebody to stand on the left and the right of me.
So the struggle continues, and ironically it looks like something may be brewing out there, and predictably, and I just hope I’m still around to see it when the morning comes. But I’ll tell everybody inside and outside the university, like Joe Louis’s old trainer, Jack Blackburn, said to Joe Louis in the corner when he was losing to Billy Conn and would go out the next round and knock him out: “You got to knock him out to win, and I can’t keep coming back up these steps if you don’t take the man out.” What are you waiting on, Rodney… Marvin…… ad infinitum, ibid., op cit…passim…etc…?
Nathan Hare, A.B., M.A., 3/5ths MSJ, Ph.D., Ph.D.

From: Coates, Rodney D.

TO: Dr. Nathan Hare

Nate: We be’s talking on several fronts..and it is on several fronts that we continually must make it…there is never only one solution, style, or method of approach..but we must continually use all means necessary to effect our liberation……and yes…I have worked from within and also from without the university….we can ill afford to not make use of all of our resources…in fact the problem…as I see it is that we have declared our bases…and have failed to link these bases to an effective strategy to maximize our resources…revolution dictates that there are always infiltrators that work within the system…..while there are those within the community..and there are even those outside of the community…being held within institutions directly aimed to destroy them…(Mumia, et al)…the problem has always been that we only view the reality within those limited spheres..and not adequately see how to link past the boundaries of those spaces…thus …few have done what Cox… Du Bois or Clark or even Derrick Bell …have done within the use these resources to train, entertain, and maintain scholars both within and outside of the academe..few have done what Malcolm X…Nate and Julia…Marvin X..Lil Joe..and Marva Collins have done outside of the link those trapped in the walls of the the belly of the beast…to help the family survive…and few have done what Mumia…Stanley Tookie Williams.. and other institutionalized brothers and sisters that have shined the light, directed the path, and have demonstrated that manhood…true manhood is not dictated by ones fate, or ones hate, or ones place but one’s reality that they define, and mandate… ..we be what we be…we work from where we make this a better place to be…real…

From an institutionalized brother…

--Rodney D. Coates, Professor

1 comment:

  1. Marvin, seems I hear a lot of shit talking. If Nathan Hare, Reed, and Coates were out there on the corner with you, I'd allow some substance to their words. But their telling you what you can do rather than what "we" or what "yall" could do rings kind of hollow for me. What keeps them from being out there with you side by side or at least standing on the corner across from you. What keeps Coates from being on the corner as well as the academic classroom?

    Rudy Lewis, editor, Chickenbones, A Journal