A nation outside the nation

“The Nation of Islam was by no means the first group to advocate for a separate nation, with calls to leave America tracing back at least to emancipation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, after being granted so-called freedom, ‘there is little evidence that for Blacks in general, being American was considered desirable, even if attainable, until well into the nineteenth century.'”

“Desire for separation has typically been seen as the radical alternative to integration into the existing society. However, advocating emigration from a Western nation state is not necessarily radical, because it does not always involve an overturning of the existing social order.”

“America itself is not the problem here; the issue is that because of prejudice Black people will never be accepted. Therefore it becomes necessary to leave America and replicate “modern civilized life” but with Black faces. The structure of the existing society is maintained, but Black people are given the chance to replicate its success, just elsewhere. It is for this reason that emigration was a popular solution of White politicians to the problem caused by emancipation.”

“It is no coincidence that the word colony was used; they [the white politicians] were attempting to create a colonial relationship such as existed with European countries and their territories.”

Weak Nationalism

He’s been talking about the ways the idea of Black Nationalism has been perverted and diluted. Then he mentions how Italians faced discrimination, so they created a community of Italian businesses which got strong enough that they were eventually integrated into “mainstream American society.” The idea here is a “nation within a nation”, which he calls “weak Black nationalism” or “community nationalism.”

Anyway, then we get to this quote from Carmichael and Hamilton’s book Black Power:

“Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. By this we mean that group solidarity is necessary before a group can operate effectively from a bargaining position of strength in a pluralist society… by building Irish Power, Italian Power, Polish Power, or Jewish Power, these groups got themselves together and operated from positions of strength.”

Then later, from Andrews:
“From a radical perspective, the fundamental problem with the idea of the nation within a nation is that it leaves the regressive structure of the nation state intact.”