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WHAT DAVID PLOTZ’S ARticle reveals about Malik Shabazz (“The Revolutionary’s War,” 4/21) and his three-ring circus of theatrical nationalism is that Shabazz doesn’t have an original idea in his head. His attempted hustling of Ward 8 is a direct rip-off of Marion Barry, his anti-Korean rhetoric is borrowed clichés from New York protests, and even his anti-Semitism is warmed-over slop from Khallid Muhammad.
As one who has grown up in Ward 8’s Congress Heights projects and now coordinates programs in the schools and communities there, I am insulted by Shabazz’s clear attempt to pimp us. His opportunistic, backward nationalism is insulting to the real leaders like Brenda Jones and Peter Clare in Ward 8, who are doing the work necessary to restore that community. Shabazz shames the image of Malcolm X and Huey Newton, who actually organized people! He manages to insult revolutionary black nationalists who understand the need for alliances, and he insults Muslims who understand that their religion and politics aren’t built on hateful rhetoric.
Second-rate demagogues accuse because they cannot organize and spew venom because they cannot visualize. I have faith that the residents of Ward 8 can tell a pimp when they see one, even one dressed in the garish garb of egotism and backward rhetoric.