What’s In A Name: Freeslave

By Maxjulian

March 2, 2007

Category: Uncategorized

1 Comment »

It occurred to me that I should briefly discuss the name of this blog.

There’s a 1960’s jazz album, “The Free Slave” by Roy Brooks. Its a rambling, soulful, freewheeling song, recorded live in Baltimore, MD. That name…

When considering what to call this thing, I felt into what was truest about myself and where I was when it began.

Freeslave recognizes my urge to be free in the context of a multi-tiered slave society. I’m still a slave in and to the culture – it still steals from my wallet as well as my soul; but I try on a daily basis to take back what this culture steals from us – 24/7. I resist in every way that I can, while by necessity living off of this carcass, living off of it until…

I want to free others while I free myself, want to be freed by those who are wiser and further along the path than me. I’ve been freed of certain thinking and certain behaviors that numbed me to this beastial way of life. But there is so much work to do, outside and in.

One of my favorite books is by Erich Fromm: Escape From Freedom. When I first saw it in the bookstore I was like, “Escape From Freedom?!” I was intrigued cuz I always thought people were trying to escape TO freedom.

Not so, according to Fromm. In fact, many if not most people don’t want to be free. They want to be slaves. They want to be shackled. They want to be bound, held down, oppressed.

Fromm examined Hitler’s Germany and discovered that, far from the people having the wool pulled over their eyes, Hitler appealed to the German people’s desperate need for security, safety – psychological security and safety. “Freedom creates anxiety” and that anxiety causes some people to choose authoritarian regimes/relationships in order to quell the anxiety, the uncertainty.

When I watch activists complain about Bush, yet hold the same ineffectual march over and over again, I suspect they are engaged in a coverup: surface resistance concealing their slavish obeidance to the system they cry about. They actually NEED the authoritarian regime to feel safe – after all, it is no threat to racism/white supremacy.

We all have the same dilemma: freedom with the giant void of external authority versus slavery and its concomitant security.

Even among the oppressed, it is easier to hold onto outdated, ill considered, wrongheaded views – easier to stay stuck on stupid – cuz the alternative is the discomfort of change.  I struggle with this shit, too.

So, thefreeslave is an intention, a mental, spiritual and emotional goal.  It’s what I am and can be.

I look forward to the day when I can drop the last part of the name.

One Response to “What’s In A Name: Freeslave”

  1. Lubangakene, one of the issues among “us” that I find most fascinating is how we struggle to define ourselves in an effort to recapture our humanity. I would argue that “we”, the Black/African people of the Diaspora, are in a continual struggle to create an identity we are comfortable with, so our definitions of who and what we are forever changing. This is of-course due to being taken from our natural homeland, stripped of our natural culture, history, familial relationships, name, religion(s), and had foreign cultures, names and religions imposed upon us. In this process not only was our identity thrown into question, but more importantly, OUR HUMANITY! To enslave “us”, the Europeans (and let’s not forget the Arabs) societies at the time had to “dehumanize” us and the easiest way to do that, to begin this process of dehumanization was to label us, define us and call us by derogatory names. The past, present and future white supremacy mechanisms of dehumanizing definitions/names for us never fail to amuse me. We’ve gone from the blatant: “Niggers” to the “oh so subtle”: Racialized People!

    I went through a process of self-actualization which culminated in 1997, when I made a pilgrimage to West Africa. This journey was very significant for me and it led to a spiritual and cultural rebirth. I saw myself in a new light and made a conscious decision to define myself as being of “African heritage”. During this pilgrimage I visited a village in Ghana and was given the name “Asabagna”, which means “Hunter”. I also visited a Mandingo village in Senegal and a griot gave me the name “Alatentou” which means “God is gracious”. So to acknowledged this new consciousness that had awaken within me, this new way that I saw the world, particularly the eurocentric-western world and my place within it, I took the African/Spiritual name: Asabagna Alatentou.

    Since then I, Asabagna Alatentou, have grown, changed, transformed and developed as a man of African heritage. I deliberately address you by your African name: Lubangakene, (as well as Bygbaby as “Tafari”). It builds up within us human/cultural capital, by acknowledging our heritage through our names, more so than by our eurocentric (slave) names or through monikers which identify and I would dare say, TRAP US, in a mentality of continual struggle.

    Peace my brother!
    Asabagna Alatentou.

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