Philadelphia Freedom – Some Restrictions Apply

Go Lean Commentary

“You have to know your place”

… this was a familiar edict in the US for minority populations. These were more than words; this was indicative of the repression, suppression and oppression of living in the US, and not being White, English-speaking, Protestant, Straight, Male and/or able-bodied.

Anyone with exception to this above list had to endure restrictions.

CU Blog - Philadelphia Freedom - Some Restrictions Apply - Photo 4Philadelphia proved different!

This city became synonymous with a love for freedom and had an infectious impact on the country, and the rest of the world for that matter.

All in all, there is a certain community ethos associated with Philadelphia that aligns with the book Go Lean…Caribbean. It is a focus on the future, a deferred gratification as investment for future returns. These attributes have been promoted by the Go Lean movement as necessary traits to forge change in the Caribbean region. We need our own Caribbean flavor of Philadelphia Freedom.

 “Philadelphia Freedom” is a song released by “The Elton John Band” as a single in 1975. The song was one of Elton John’s seven #1 US hits during the early and mid-1970s, which saw his recordings dominating the charts. In Canada, it was his eighth single to hit the top of the RPM (Records, Promotion, Music Magazine) national singles chart.

The song was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin as a favour to John’s friend, tennis star Billie Jean King. King was part of the Philadelphia Freedoms professional tennis team. The song features an orchestral arrangement by Gene Page, including flutes, horns, and strings.

Recorded in the summer of 1974, during breaks between sessions for Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (Elton John’s ninth studio album), the song was at the time the only song Elton John and Bernie Taupin ever consciously wrote as a single, as John told journalist Paul Gambaccini [in a subsequent interview]. John was looking to honour Billie Jean King, and so asked Taupin to write a song called “Philadelphia Freedom” as a homage to her tennis team.

In [the book] His Song: The Musical History of Elton John, [writer] Elizabeth Rosenthal recounts that Taupin said, “I can’t write a song about tennis,” and did not. Taupin maintains that the lyrics bear no relation to tennis, Philly Soul (a style of soul music characterized by funk influences), or even flag-waving patriotism. Nonetheless, the lyrics have been interpreted as patriotic and uplifting, and even though released in 1975, the song’s sentiment, intended or not, meshed perfectly with an American music audience gearing up for the country’s bicentennial celebration in July 1976. In the US, the song was certified Gold in 1975 and Platinum in 1995 by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The song was dedicated in part to the Philadelphia sound: the music of the Delfonics, producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff; and The Spinners, producer Thom Bell, with whom John would work two years later on The Thom Bell Sessions. This song plays in Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute IMAX Theater before every show as a tribute to the city’s love for freedom and its impact on the country. The lyrics are also printed on the walls of the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia.

Song Lyrics
CU Blog - Philadelphia Freedom - Some Restrictions Apply - Photo 1I used to be a rolling stone
You know if the cause was right
I’d leave to find the answer on the road
I used to be a heart beating for someone
But the times have changed
The less I say the more my work gets done

`Cause I live and breathe this Philadelphia freedom
From the day that I was born I’ve waved the flag
Philadelphia freedom took me knee-high to a man
Yeah gave me peace of mind my daddy never had

Oh Philadelphia freedom shine on me, I love you
Shine a light through the eyes of the ones left behind
Shine a light shine a light
Shine a light won’t you shine a light
Philadelphia freedom I love you, yes I do

If you choose to you can live your life alone
Some people choose the city
Some others choose the good old family home
I like living easy without family ties
Till the whippoorwill of freedom zapped me
Right between the eyes

Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia Reference Source (Retrieved 08-07-2014) –

“Knowing your place” was never accepted by citizens of this Philadelphia. This revolutionary attitude or ethos dates back to before Colonial America, the Revolution War, 1776 and beyond [a]:

  • Religious Tolerance – King Charles II of England granted William Penn a charter for the Pennsylvania colony. As a member of the religious sect the Quakers, Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely. This tolerance, far more than by most other colonies, led to better relations with the local Native American tribes and fostered Philadelphia’s rapid growth into colonial America’s most important city.
  • CU Blog - Philadelphia Freedom - Some Restrictions Apply - Photo 2American Revolution – Philadelphia’s importance and central location in the colonies made it a natural center for America’s revolutionaries. The city hosted the First Continental Congress before the war; the Second Continental Congress, which signed the United States Declaration of Independence, during the war; and the Constitutional Convention (1787) after the war.
  • Abolition – Philadelphia was called the “Quaker City” and was recognized as an anti-slavery stronghold. This is where noted runaway-slave-turned-Abolitionist Frederick Douglas sought refuge on his way to New York and later gave one of his most famous speeches: “Speech at National Hall, Philadelphia July 6, 1863 for the Promotion of Colored Enlistments”. Another advocate was Thaddeus Stevens. He hailed from Adams County, a rural suburb of Philadelphia, as one of the leaders of the radical faction of the Republican Party during the 1860s. He was a fierce opponent of slavery and discrimination against African-Americans. As chairman of the House “Ways and Means” Committee during the Civil War, he played a major part in the war’s financing. He sought to secure emancipated slave’s rights during Reconstruction, even in opposition to the contrarian President, Andrew Johnson.
  • Civil Rights – Philadelphia emerged as a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration and the city surpassed two million occupants by 1950. This set the stage for the impending civil rights movement. One battle saw black activists in Philadelphia (and Harlem, New York) successfully integrating state construction projects in 1963. The city was also front-and-center to race riots in the summer of 1964.
  • Women’s Rights – Some of the early Abolitionists were interested in human rights not just for Blacks but for women as well. The Philadelphia-area Quakers, were known for their early leadership for women’s rights. One prominent example was Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793 – 1880), as a Quaker, she proved to be an effective leader, orator and advocate for women’s rights, abolition and social reform.
  • Gay Rights – The Elton John song Philadelphia Freedom was dedicated to tennis star Billie Jean King, noted gay rights activist, social reformer and advocate for sexual equality. The song, see VIDEO above, is recognized as a anthem for the gay (LGBT) community.
  • Animal Rights (Zoo) – Philadelphia is home to the United States’ first zoo, chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 21, 1859, though its opening was delayed by the Civil War until July 1, 1874. The environmental and animal rights movement all stemmed from these origins.
  • Repatriation – After 400 years of development and progress, ebb-and-flow, Philadelphia must constantly redefine itself. Faced with “white flight” and the abandonment of its tax base, the City had to strategize a repatriation plan – gentrification (a shift toward wealthier residents/businesses and increasing property values in the urban community).  Gentrification of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods has emerged into the 21st century and the city has now reversed its decades-long trend of population loss.

The revolutionaries of Philadelphia (past and present) have strived for the same goal as this Caribbean empowerment movement:

Elevation of society.

The book Go Lean … Caribbean strives to accomplish this revolution with the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). In fact, the prime directives of the CU are pronounced in these declarative statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book, serving as a roadmap, initiates with a “Prologue” that identifies many community ethos that must be embraced for a chance of success and permanent change. It should be noted that until recently, Philadelphia was considered on the brink of  failure, much like Detroit. But like many revolutionaries, it is only “at the precipice” that they show their true mettle, their revolutionary spirit.

The Go Lean book accepts this premise, that only at a crisis that people act forthrightly to correct institutional wrongs. For this reason the book declares that a ‘crisis is a terrible thing to waste’. Already, this commentary has assessed the Caribbean failing eco-systems and conveyed the merits of this Go Lean movement, with these posts: Book Review: ‘Prosper
Where You Are Planted’ All is not well in the sunny Caribbean Only at the precipice, do they   change Ailing Caribbean   island open to radical economic fixes 10 Things We Want from the US and 10 Things We Don’t Want from the US

In the roadmap for the CU, in order to change the Caribbean, the relativity of freedom is prominent in planning and considerations.  This point is detailed in the  Declaration of Interdependence at the outset of the book, modeling the US movement in Philadelphia in 1776 and pronouncing this need for a sober view of freedom (Page 10):

Therefore we hereby accept a model democracy for our guide. To that end, we recognize and esteem the same initiation as did the United States of America with this declaration that we ourselves cherish, revere and concur:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness

The Go Lean roadmap accepts that change has come to the Caribbean. There is the need for a Philadelphia-style revolution. There is also the need for technocratic facilitations to deliver the functionalities of this federal administration. The book posits that this burden is too big for any one Caribbean member-state, and thus the collaboration efforts of the CU is necessary, as the strategy is to confederate all the 30 member-states of the Caribbean into an integrated “single market”, into a United States of the Caribbean.

The tactical approach for the Go Lean roadmap is a Separation-of-Powers mandate between the CU federal government versus the Caribbean member-states. This model is perfected by the City of Philadelphia with the only consolidated city-county charter [b] in the State of Pennsylvania, sharing and dividing a lot of municipal services in the social contract fulfillment.

Change happens! The old adage is that “there is only one constant, change”. Change comes about either evolutionary or revolutionary. Philadelphia is associated, from history and today, with revolutionary change. For the Caribbean we need some revolutionary change. The following list details the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the Philadelphia-style Caribbean revolution:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Arounds Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Caribbean Vision – Confederate 30 Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Repatriate Caribbean Diaspora Page 46
Strategy – Agents of Change Page 57
Tactical – Growing the Caribbean Economy to $800   Billion Page 67
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Federal Departments versus Member-States Page 71
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate Page 118
Implementation – Ways to Promote Independence Page 120
Anatomy of Advocacies – Role Model Frederick Douglas Page 122
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Lessons Learned from a Thriving City – New York Page 137
Planning – Lessons Learned from a Failed City – Detroit Page 140
Planning – Lessons Learned from the US Constitution Page 145
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living Page 234

The Go Lean roadmap has a simple motive, to facilitate revolutionary change in the Caribbean, with the end result being a better place to live, work and play. We can glean a powerful lesson from the historicity of Philadelphia in that freedom is not free. The stakeholders of society may prefer that advocates “know their place”, accept restrictions. While freedom may be dependent on others’ cooperation, their acquiescence may take a struggle, a revolution.

Elton John’s song conveys a great inspiration for the Caribbean: Philadelphia freedom shine on me … shine a light through the eyes of the ones left behind!

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendices – Cited References:

a. Wikipedia keywords: William Penn, Philadelphia, Frederick Douglass, Thaddeus StevensCivil Rights Movement, Lucretia Coffin Mott, Billie Jean King, and Philadelphia Zoo.

b. a City-County Charter is simultaneously a city, a municipal corporation, and a county, an administrative division of the State. It has the powers and responsibilities of both types of entities.

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