al_calloway_web.jpgThe premier definition of strategy is “the art of war.” In addition, strategy is about the art of moving forces into favorable positions. In political and economic terms, a plan of action or policy is a strategic move. So it takes art, which is human creative skill, to plan, design and implement strategies. Without art, there is no relevancy.

The question that has to be asked is this: Do black political leaders understand that we are in a war? We are fully engaged in a spiritual war of good against evil and a ground war of right against wrong.  Therefore, we must have an overall strategy that is based on our reality and various strategies, operations and tactics that will position us to win.

With more than 10,000 elected officials nationally in every position except the U.S. Senate, black politicians have profusely underutilized political power and are, therefore, individually and, as a collective, basically irrelevant.  To have such a strategic presence and no action plan is the depth of dysfunctionality.

Moreover, the cognitive dissonance raging throughout this would-be powerful group of black Americans that will not, indeed, cannot effectuate strategies for the advancement of their black constituencies emboldens the evil-doers whose strategies continue to wrong black Americans with harmful policies and actions.

Inertia dominates black America and a synergy of dysfunctionality between the “community” and the political sector prevails because of it. Churches proliferate in black communities and are compliant, as are other community-based organizations of all types. Young people get it and too many act as ferals and go on to crowd the penal system.

Fear, ignorance, inertia and a psychology of dependency have to be grabbed like a bull by the horns and subdued. Where is a winning strategy for that one? Not only is it not being processed; the thought isn’t even contemplated among black academics, moralists, activists, among no groups.

When they do come up with them, strategies of black political leaders tend to lack relevancy. Let’s look at the Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC), for example.  Republican Gov. Rick Scott promised legislation that would stem so-called voter fraud through instituting state-issued identification in order to vote.

Rightfully, black leaders complained that such legislation is designed to suppress minority votes that are overwhelmingly Democratic Party votes. A furor went mainstream as the Republican Party pushed the legislative program nationally. Florida’s Republican-led Legislature quickly passed the bill and Gov. Scott signed it into law.

Why the FLBC and civil rights organizations chose not to use the period between Republican Party politicizing and Florida legislative enactment to do more than issuing press releases denouncing the move was a crucial missed opportunity to organize, coalesce and mobilize black and non-Cuban Hispanics throughout Florida.

A voting rights issue wherein state governments are denying citizens the right to vote strikes at the very heart of democracy and is a call to action, if leaders have a workable strategy. Florida, the bellwether state that should have been heard from universally, was, instead, ineptly meek with the quasi-silence from the state’s black leaders.

So here we are, way after the fact and mere months away from perhaps the most important presidential election in most Americans’ lifetime and suddenly the FLBC and the Florida State NAACP want to pull off a “Unity March and Rally aimed at calling attention to the ongoing voter suppression directed at minority voters.”

Calling attention? Hey, y’all, that train was here for a while but left the station a long time ago.

A strategy is needed immediately to compensate for the debilitating legislation through direct action that empowers minority communities by educating and enabling affected populations therein to overcome, as in every vote counts.

By not organizing on the voter identification issue and legislation, black leaders have no army to battle the second white nationalist assault: redistricting. At both the state and county levels, all I hear is that black political leaders are going to sue and now they want to get money from black constituents to cover legal costs.

But what strategies are black political leaders going to use that will convince their constituencies that they don’t lack relevancy?

Al Calloway is a longtime journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle.
He may be reached at

Photo: Al Calloway