Volume 7, Number 11 June 23, 2004
We Smell a "Snake": Reparations Hear the Black Farmers
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad
There are a couple of ways of knowing that a rattlesnake is near: 1.You may see it and recognize its distinctive marks, 2. You may hear the rattling of its tail, or 3. You may smell its distinctive odor, similar to a herd of goats. The Black farmers did not recognize any of these forewarnings and got bitten by a "snake" in the form of their lawyer, Al Pires, and his facilitator, Judge Paul Friedman. We have even documented this "conspiracy" in our video, "Snake in the Reparationsí Grass."
Many lawsuits were brought against the USDA from 1982 through 1998. All of them were thrown out of court based on a number of "legal" excuses. Most of these lawsuits were brought by Black lawyers. However, when a white lawyer, Alexander Pires, filed his lawsuit in 1998, his was accepted by the court over the objections of the very Black farmers who he claimed to be representing.
With our wounds still festering from the poisons of human "snakes", the Black farmers may be able to help the Reparations movement avoid certain pitfalls. A short history of the Pigford v. Glickman class action lawsuit may show our experience in these matters.
The Black farmers knew that they had a serious problem when they read the consent decree brokered by Al Pires and the justice department lawyers representing the USDA. The Black farmers knew that one line in that document would be used as a loophole for the government to get out of paying any Black farmer that they chose not to pay. The document required that each farmer claiming that they were denied a USDA loan had to give the name of a "similarly situated" white farmer who got that same type of loan in that same year. Their were two major problems with this "setup": 1. The settlement was decided out of court, therefore there was no "discovery" which would have allowed the farmers to see the records of that "similarly situated" white farmer, and 2. The term "similarly situated" was left to be interpreted by the adjudicators hired by this same government.
The Black farmers went to the "fairness hearings" in mass in March of 1999. However, even after testimony after testimony spelling out these defects, the judge signed this faulty document anyway. The result was that 61% (about 3/5ths) of the applicants who entered the class were accepted and 39% were rejected. Now among the 39% rejected were the majority of the farmers who owed the USDA money and thereby subject to foreclosure. This is significant because the original reason why the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (BFAA) was established and went to court was not to get a $50,000 cash settlement, but to stop the foreclosure proceedings against the land of about 3,000 Black farmers and to retrieve over 2 million acres of land taken by the USDA that was sitting in its inventory.
The Black farmers were told by "agents" of Al Pires that prevailing in this consent decree would be as easy as "tying your shoes". If you prevailed and received the $50,000, then "all" of your USDA debt would be forgiven. The farmers were told by respected dark skinned "leaders" that this was the best deal that they could ever expect to get and they should not question these good white lawyers.
The reality turned out to be that the Black farmers were given "shoes with no laces" to tie and even if they prevailed, not all of their debt was forgiven. Now the foreclosure proceeding on this same set of farmers has begun in earnest. The mass media has turned a deaf ear to our protests and perpetuates the lie that the Black farmers "won". The reality is that we were tricked.
BFAA was asked to attend NíCOBRAís Annual Conference June 17-20, 2004 in D.C. to tell the story of the Black farmersí legal struggles against the government. With the poison of the snake bite still festering in our blood we were able to smell that familiar sent of a "snake in the Reparationsí grass."
In one of the plenary sessions Attorney Adjoa Aiyetoro reported on the state of the legal initiatives to get reparations for Black people in America. She stated that three reparations lawsuits were filed in 2004. All were thrown out of court. She summarized the reasons for them being dismissed as either the legal excuse of no "connection" to the persons harmed, statute of limitations and political issues.
Now we can present our set of predictions. We hope that the leadership in the Reparations movement will work hard to make sure that our predictions do not come true. However here they are:
We predict that other lawsuits developed by Black lawyers will be rejected until a white lawyer presents a document that the court will accept.
This document or "piece of paper" will not include land as a part of the package. Land is the basis of independence and this country does not intend to finance our liberation.
This "piece of paper" will offer a cash settlement to individuals and not to a Black governing body who would utilize this money to establish businesses and productive assets controlled by the class that would produce a continued stream of income. There scheme, however, would insure that the snakes would get all of the money back and we would be left with depreciable, non-income producing assets.
This "piece of paper" would require a DNA test to determine what percent of each applicant was connected to a slave and use that formula to determine what portion of the cash settlement that each applicant may get. In this way the government would reduce its liability. Because of the logistics in mass DNA testing, they could spread out the payments over time insuring that we could not collectively pool our resources. An added benefit would be that the government would have the complete DNA profile of the very people upon whom they are waging a biological and chemical war. (For more information on this see authorsí book: "I Will not Apologize")
This "piece of paper" would be binding on all Blacks or African descendents of slaves in America and no future reparations lawsuit could be filed. This would prevent us from learning from our mistakes and making any other attempt at "real reparations." America could then tell the world that she had redressed the wrong in "good faith." Major "Negro" leaders will be paid to go around the country in front of these white lawyers proclaiming the arrival of our long awaited white "saviors" and that it will be as simple as tying your shoe to get this money.
We further predict that this cash settlement would be financed through debt financing by the government, increasing the national debt which would be paid back to the white debt holders, here and abroad. Blacks own less than 1% of the Net Financial Assets as whites and therefore whites will own the notes of indebtedness. The compounded interest on this debt would be paid back by these same Black people and their descendants as they become the majority in America. This increasing debt will be used as the reason why Americaís infrastructure broke down and she became a poor brown and black country like those in Africa, a destiny already being put in motion by the international bankers and American lawmakers who know the statistics on future demographic trends in America.
Again the Black farmers will work with other members of the Reparations movement to counteract these predictions. And unlike the Biblical Jesus figure, we will not suffer our wounds in silence. The Black farmers were bitten by a "snake", but we have learned how to find a snake, and a stick to "bruise his head."