Volume 3, Number 14                        August 31, 2000

The Farmer

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Why the Million Family March?

by Dr. Ridgely A. Muímin Muhammad

The American people are not being spiritually fed, intelligently led nor moving with a clear vision ahead. Thus most citizens are not participating in the political process. In the 1996 presidential election only 50% of the registered voters voted. There was still a large number of Black, Latino and poor white people who were not even registered to vote. Soon with the increased privatization of what heretofore were public utilities and services, elected officials will have nothing to govern except disgruntled working class slaves and an untouchable share holding elite.

The year 2,000 election could be the pivotal point in the evolving relationship between the government and the governed. Heretofore the Nation of Islam as exemplified in the Million Man March has stressed self-determination and self-improvement as the basis for community development oftentimes outside of the political process. Similarly, Black family farmers over the last 60 years have concentrated on improving their productivity and not on the structure of the market system in which they must operate. It has become clear that what the politicians do on a local, state and national level directly affects the parameters of the system in which individuals, families and businesses must work to receive the benefits of their labor and investments. The system through its dispensing of rewards and punishments has negatively impacted the ability of families to prosper and stay together. The destruction of Black communities can be directly connected to the destruction of Black families.

It has also become clear that the politicians work for one of the two major political parties and both parties work for the wealth contributed by the special interest groups. No one works for the people. To better understand the dichotomies under which we must choose let us introduce the "industry paradigm" of Americaís two party system. The Republicans, Reagan, Bush, Dole etc., represent the defense industries, oil, banking, raw materials, infrastructure or "Old Money". The Democrats, Carter, Clinton, Gore etc., represent nuclear energy, telecommunications, Internet, new technologies or "New Money". Black folk and even the vast majority of so-called white people have "No Money" but a lot of votes. Therefore each of the two parties get money from "Old Money" and "New Money" to sell their candidates to "No Money". "No Money" gets promises of jobs, old age benefits and no representation.

The Million Family March National Agenda Project represents the beginning of what Minister Louis Farrakhan has christened the "Third Political Force". The National Agenda will be presented to the world at the Million Family March on October 16, 2000 where the national political candidates will be invited to respond to this "Peopleís Agenda" in front of one million families congregated in Washington, DC right before the November elections.

This development of a Third Political Force is a fundamental change for the Nation of Islamís approach to community development. The process of life is a process of change. Minister Farrakhan announced in 1998 that America is the "Promised Land" and that the Nation of Islam was not looking to leave it anytime soon. So as responsible members of this country that once held us as slaves, we must save her to save ourselves.

The first step in the development of the National Agenda has been completed with its output being a 156 page document which covers "Public Policy Issues, Analysis, and Programmatic Plan of Action: 2000-2008." The history of the development of this document is outlined in its introduction by Dr. Benjamin F. Muhammad, National Director, Million Family March.

"Thirty days after the Million Man March, on November 16, 1995, delegates from throughout the United States gathered on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC for a meeting of the National African American Leadership Summit. The Leadership Summit adopted a Ten-Point Action Program that in part called for a National Political Convention to be held in 1996.

As a follow-up to the historic success of the Million Man March, the National Hearing on Issues and Public Policy, held on the campus of Kennedy-King College, Chicago, Illinois, July 26-27, 1996, produced The National Agenda 1996: Executive Summary...

In September 1996, the National Political Convention was convened in St. Louis, Missouri. The Convention was attended by thousands of delegates from throughout the United States. The National African American Leadership Summit (NAALS) and The Million Man March, Inc. co-sponsored the convention. The two major results of the convention were the adoption of a document entitled The National Agenda: Public Policy Issues and Action Items 1996-2001; and, the tremendous increase in voter-turnout in the 1996 national elections, particularly among Black men...

The Million Family March, therefore, will involve mobilizing and organizing around the numerous public policy issues that impact the quality of life not only for Black Americans but also for Hispanic, Native, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Arab and White Americans."

The National Agenda is being disseminated to the heads of various political and grass-roots organizations for their evaluation and input. The National Agenda is divided into seven major sections: 1. Family, Morality and Public Policy, 2. Political Empowerment, 3. Justice Issues, 4. Strengthening the Family, 5. Quality of Life, 6. Economic Transformation and 7. International Affairs. A website has been generated, MillionFamilyMarch.com, which holds the entire body of The National Agenda along with the email address for comments and suggestions.

We are involved in history in the making. The vision of Minister Louis Farrakhan is for the million-plus me who attended the Million Man March (MMM) five years ago to attend this family march with one or more members of their family. Dr. Benjamin F. Muhammad is putting together a fact sheet on the measurable changes in the Black community as a direct result of the MMM. Your input would be appreciated.

Peace

(Contact information: http://www.millionfamilymarch.com or phone 1-877-MFM-7995 or 1-202-291-1119 and Dr. Ridgely Muhammad, drridge@bellsouth.net )