Was it a debate? Or was it a much-needed conversation? On February 21, 2017, Dr. Cornel West and Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz delivered powerful, interactive dialogue at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. For nearly four hours, both astute scholars addressed the growing fears, anxieties, and worries surrounding the policies, words, and actions of the new POTUS. The two rendered their opinions and philosophies on key and important questions concerning Black America. They both emphatically answered the poignant question: ‘Which Way under Donald Trump?’

Attorney Shabazz convened the event “…for the love of our people and for the love to free our people.” His opening statement was strong and passionate. “…Come on Mr. Trump and we will call on our God and we will survive you, and you will go down before we do. We are God’s chosen people…we will survive the flames of Donald Trump.

” Educating the audience on his economic stance, Dr. West shared that “…Most of our churches have become accommodation to the market culture. That’s why you have market Christianity, modified religion, and Chamber of Commerce religion, adjusting folk to the market culture rather than trying to be of service to others.” We need a revolution on how we act, to be the revolution in terms of a transfer of power so that Black people are able to have an economic, political, social, and spiritual power so that we can be a self-determining people.” 

Does the revolution begin in 2017?
Brother Cornel’s response was absolutely brilliant. “I think right now in a neo-fascists era you have to have truth tellers… Brother Donald Trump is a gangster in character. He’s a neo-fascist in content. So what we have to do first on a national level – there has got to be an anti-fascist multi-racial coalition to push back his disregard for rule of law which has been systematic four hundred years for Black people but is intensified. On a local level, we’ve got to have grassroots’ activism and we have to have elected officials who are not in the pockets of the big corporations and big banks. They have to be servants of the people. So we have to have localism that is offensive and we have to have a multi-racial coalition against fascists in the White House and other places that is defensive. That to me is the most important thing right now. 

Shabazz responded: “Fascism is here. The threat of fascism is real. Fascism meaning an authoritarian government. Trump aspires to be authoritarian. He aspires to have total control. He doesn’t like to share power with anyone and Trump believes in crushing his enemies. Donald Trump does not believe in the separation of powers. He doesn’t agree with Marbury vs. Madison. Donald Trump does not respect the courts of the United States of America. As the president of the United States aren’t you embarrassed?” 

During the earlier press conference Chairman Hashim Nzinga (NBPP) stated “…I hope at the debate tonight we talk about the house Niggas. Bring Malcolm back and put the field Negroes back in their proper place because of if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here.”

John Cheeks spoke about reparations stating “…The new word for reparations is called ‘recovery.’ The District of Columbia is the first place in the United States to submit a new law that will give us 250 years of benefits for us, our children, our grandchildren to equal the playing field.” 

Moderators Taalib Saber, Esq.; Hassane A. Muhammad, Esq.; Haki Shakur Ammi (Businessman/Teacher); Brother Reggie (BlackNews102); Doshon Farad (Journalist); Amy Jenkins, JD; and Howard University Law student Jeremy Anato Mensah, wrote and presented undisclosed questions. 

This historic Debate of the Decade created necessary dialogue to over five-hundred attendees and thousands of Livestream viewers. America witnessed what Black people are feeling and thinking. This event was nothing short of an atmosphere of love, hope and progress for Black people in America as we move forward under the current administration. Everyone left undoubtedly assured that this was definitely a worthwhile conversation and wanting more. 

Shabazz believes we need to exercise resistance, then sovereignty and then control. “…We have to start showing that we're exercising control over the influence in terms of helping our people. Winning them over with programs that make sense to them: gentrification, education, housing, and economics.” He is hopeful that we as a strong Black community will dictate the terms of who’s in office and what they do while they are in office. 

Malik Zulu Shabazz has birthed a national mass movement concerning a viable and sustainable plan of action which will serve as a catalyst platform toward rebuilding and restructuring the Black posture and position in the United States.


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