Book Review: Sovereign Evolution: Manifest Destiny From "Civil Rights" To "Sovereign Rights"
Sovereign Evolution: Manifest Destiny From "Civil Rights" To "Sovereign Rights"
by Ezrah Aharone
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2008
List Price: $21.00 (store prices may vary)
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC
Read AuthorHouse’s description of Sovereign Evolution: Manifest Destiny From "Civil Rights" To "Sovereign Rights".
Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
’African-Americans could benefit from a 21st Century approach to freedom and equality, using sovereign principles as its interpretive lens' Sovereignty is an inborn political desire for self-government that is as natural as the change of seasons..
This book shapes the sociopolitical substance of our historical experience into a sovereign consciousness' [A] key factor that distinguishes this work from typical political works of Africans in America, is that it does not regard ’Civil Rights' as the standard or goal by which our freedom should be measured or aspired
I rather circumscribe ’Sovereign Rights' in a universal and historical context that effectively confers us with just as much integrity and authority as any other people on Earth to espouse and employ sovereign standards for ourselves.
Sovereignty, as I exclaim, is the next state in our centuries-old political evolution to regain our true freedom.’
’Excerpted from the Introduction (pages xi-xiv)
The ascension of Barack Obama to the presidency has seemingly put the political agenda of black America on the back burner. Consequently, many a pundit has come to suggest that this historic moment might simultaneously signal the end of the line for those civil rights advocates whose careers have revolved around petitioning the government for inclusion. This new debate has basically been framed around the question of whether or not the U.S. has matured into a post-racial society where everyone is judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
However, Ezrah Aharone has a very different perspective of the plight of Africans in America. He argues that ’the granting of civil rights and voting rights should not be viewed as a marker of a government's legitimization, since a genuinely moral government would never make its citizenry fight for civil rights in the first place.’
He goes on to point out that the woeful federal, state and municipal response to Katrina proved that black people remain second-class citizens, all the supposed inroads notwithstanding. Ezrah says the problem resides in the question of sovereignty which still ’belongs to Euro-Americans who have abused their sovereign powers as a political weapon of control.’
Mr. Aharone's answers to this dilemma, the assertion of their ’Sovereign Rights' by black folks, are all meticulously delineated in Sovereign Evolution, a sequel of sorts to his first book, the equally-incendiary ’Pawned Sovereignty.’ It takes a lot of gumption for anyone to be proposing what at first blush sounds like a black nationalist agenda in this ostensibly omni-embracive age of Obama.
If not necessarily convincing, the author at least makes a well-articulated, thought-provoking case, pointing to the new president as proof of ’our own sovereign potentiality.’ As Ezrah puts it, ’Black president or no Black president, we need our own political ’Manifest Destiny’ because their version of ’Manifest Destiny’ ensures that America will always politically remain majority-owned, fully controlled, and absolutely governed by Anglo-European principles, practices and policies.’
A controversial clarion call for separation just when America finally appears on the verge of actually becoming the melting pot it has long pretended to be. Given that you hear so many black people saying they feel fully American for the first time, pursuing brother Aharone's divisive dream of black sovereignty is probably as practical aright now as trying to unscramble a bowl of scrambled eggs.
And I wonder on which side of the color line would half-white/half-black President Obama belong anyway?
|Response from the author, Ezrah Aharone, to
This Review of Sovereign Evolution
While I respect and appreciate Kam Williams for reviewing my book, the concepts and analyses of Sovereign Evolution are so voluminous, that I'm perplexed as to why he singled-out a few race-related factors and then categorized them as the sum of the book's 301 pages. Never do I use the word ’separation,’ which is an antiquated term, steeped in a ’segregated’ past that no one wants to revisit. His inference of a ’clarion call for separation’ and a ’divisive dream’ is not only unfair to the breadth of my scholarship; it diminishes the value of the sovereign content that the book details in a universal context.
Sovereignty and separation are not politically synonymous or interchangeable. Separation does not equate to acclamations of sovereignty. The contemporary and factual beauty of the book cannot therefore be grasped if one reads it thinking that I'm promoting pass' separation or a ’Black Nationalist Agenda.’ What distinguishes this work is that I uniquely apply the concept and consciousness of sovereignty as an academic lens to examine the African-American plight.
Yes, the book unavoidably encompasses racial issues. But people are racist, not the "concept of sovereignty.’ If I removed all references to African Americans and then presented the exact same principles and concepts generically, the book would stand-alone as a laudable resource on sovereign ideals that would not be found cover-to-cover in any other single book.
I don't expect anyone to agree with everything I write. Kam, however, did not carve (pro or con) into the thematic heart of the book to enable readers to benefit from a true sovereign appraisal. Based on the racist connotations he outlined, one would think the book is ’outmoded’ rather than ’evolutionary’ as the title, Sovereign Evolution, implies. But in defending the relevance and intellectual integrity of my work, I challenge and assert that the book sets a necessary 21st-century platform for discourse that leaves no place for racism to hide.
I'm sorry you feel that I didn't do your book justice. However, I hope you understand that I often find myself up against the constraints of the medium. First of all, many of my outlets are newspapers where I have to limit my word content because most of the space is already reserved for advertising. So, I have to make my points in as few words as possible.
Secondly, in this age of Obama, I find that virtually everything I review must be assessed through the prism of his historic victory. Consequently, that automatically makes talk of black sovereignty sound outdated when so many African-Americans are speaking of finally feeling patriotic, proud of their country and part of the fabric of the society for the first time. I think this makes the timing of the release of your book unfortunate.
Granted, your book doesn't literally call for black separatism, and I tried not to suggest that, although some might misread my words as implying just that. Overall, I think I praised the intellectual rigor of your research and writing, so I hope that people whose curiosity is piqued will buy the book to see whether what you propose has merit even in these post-racial days.