Interview with Amiri Baraka
QUESTION 41
JUDY RICHARDSON:

I'm sorry, if you could set the stage. Because see the sense I got was that that night, you had been up all night and you're going delegation, I want people to know that.

AMIRI BARAKA:

Yeah. Well, it was, everybody was, I mean after those meetings people wouldn't go to sleep. They would caucus, and each State would caucus, you know, and, and, then there would caucuses inside the caucuses because then we'd have the elected officials caucusing inside the state, and then you'd have the Black nationalists caucusing inside there. And a lot of times there was, there was Marxists or somebody else, they'd be caucusing. So, I'd have to get to the, the heads of the various kinds of power focuses, you know, in there and find out what each thought they were going to do, and whether there was some kind of, whether we were going to have some kind of accord. Whether there was going to be a united front or whether there were going to have crazy, you know, what they were going to do. Whether you were going to put up a resolution or are you going to walk out, or what you going to do, and trying to get some kind of accord really. I guess, like, ah, you would do if you were Speaker of the House in the regular thing, you'd go around, and you'd try to get people to understand, you know, what the greater good is, and to see that we have to be in this and that. I didn't like what was done, you know, and I'm talking to them and we discussing it, and we go and try to find out, ah, how democratic procedures are going to go on here because I can't go on. You know and trying to, you know, at one hand, ah, ah, relate to my own constituency, you know, which in terms of Black activists, nationalists, and so forth, the people who were not elected officially, the masses of people. And to, in, in other words, give them a sense that we were not going to be just misused, but at the same time I thought that trying to hold, ah, a convention together, the national Black Assembly together, that I thought, I believed that was a good idea. It was an important idea, and we had to be willing to fight in there with these people and not just not, you know, nut out, and throw up our hands, you know. So it was a, it was a kind of an endless talking to people in delegation after delegation, because I thought that it had to be done, particularly in delegations where you saw people had real problems, you know, where, there were delegations who were protesting, or delegations who were threatening to walk out, delegations who had had resolutions that couldn't be heard, things like that, you know. So you had whole piles of papers that, ah, characterized different delegations. And then I would recognize, from, you know, standing on the floor, serving, you could see problems in different delegations where there were people were bringing me messages and sending me messages saying, you know, New York wants to talk, you know, Illinois is going to walk, you know. South Carolina says so and so. And so you'd have to look at these papers and you'd have to play fireman with both of these different delegations, and find out what their story was, why, you know. And then there might be independent groups like Roy Innes in CORE, who got some other kind of like half-baked scheme that they wanted to try, and, ah, mash on people, you know like this. And then, you know, people want to get into all kinds of pushing and shoving and, on one hand, like Bill's kind of, ah, real, uninformed types, you know. So, it, it's the gamut of political reaction. And if you're going to manage it, if you're going to see it, if you're going to be the Secretary General, I took the job seriously, then you're going to have to deal with all those people who see that come time for that gavel to hit, everybody that sitting there and everybody was ready to go and that they were, they were there for business, no matter how drugged they might be, you know, Brother so-and-so or Mayor so-and-so, that they was ready to do business and that they would be there, you know what I mean. And the thing was going to go on and was going to follow the agenda and that's really what it's, what it's like.