Sunday, September 22, 2013
Feeling tired and overwhelmed, I layed down to nap. My neck has been swelling again. It's hard to tell why. I suspect it's a combination of missing the healthy eating habits I developed living so close to whole foods, stress and a break from my routine. There's so many factors to consider. As I slept I dreamed of being processed into a jail. The feelings of helplessness I learned in juvenile lockup return in moments like this. I feel an epic depression seize me. My sister is there but she can't touch me, can't move my captors with her love for me or her sense of impending doom her baby brother is facing. I'm shackled and in chains and handcuffs. they're moving me from a tiny room to a small room. There's tears in my eyes and I see a box of tissues. I reach for one and the guard grabs me by my throat. Choking me, he lifts my body off the ground and pins me to the wall. He's squeezing my throat tighter and tighter. I black out. When I open my eyes again I'm laying on the floor some distance away from where I remember being. I'm trying to stand. The guard is on his way toward me from across the room which is bigger now. I'm struggling to see what's around me because my vision is blurry. Two other guards are talking about me but I can't see them. One is telling the other that I was smuggling contraband into the jail as I was being processed for some meaningless legal code. The guard coming toward me is almost upon me. He could be a red headed santa clause if he wasn't wearing a CO uniform. He's got me off my feet again choking. I'm blacking out and all I'm aware of is how much my throat hurts. I wake up realizing it's all a dream. I still feel the white man's hand around my throat. This time it's cancer and I'm awake seeing clearly. I realize there's always a white man's hands around my neck choking the life out of me. In Nigeria chevron causes civil war to get the petroleum damn near free... In Richmond they cause cancer, leukemia, lupus, sickle cell and asthma, regulation free as they process what they killed Nigerians to get to. What can I do about it? I can but try to survive. I feel tiny compared to the oceans of blood flowing in Afrika
Friday, August 9, 2013
I am told it is a mark of love from allah to have a burden placed on you that you didn't create... And we say oh Allah why me? why have you chosen to give me such a struggle? When I found out I had cancer I was broken hearted, my world shattered... as much as I loved my ignorance, Allah didn't allow me to keep it. As much as I loved my ego Allah humiliated me and put me in check... I loved my physical strength and prowess, that too was taken... the pain was immense and at one point I lost my will to live and all I had left was a desire to die righteously... to die whole and not piece by piece... I was bitter and sad and I felt that allah had taken everything from me... there was no escape from my loneliness... when people would reach for me I didn't want their solace or comfort and it would make me physically sick when they did touch me... I spent my nights crying for hours stricken with grief... I had finally accepted that everything in this world that brought me joy, would not be coming with me. I truly had nothing and I felt that Allah had turned his back on me... I felt as if I was a child left alone in the dark, all of my fears made manifest... I've never felt so alone in my life... even in solitary confinement I had never felt such loneliness... At some point I felt dead inside and my desires had left me... this is when I felt the presence of Allah and I knew that my lord was the only real thing I had ever witnessed... This is how i found the truth when I finally let go of the illusions. this ramadan I felt that loneliness again and I took it as a reminder that it is only Allah who will always be there... and it is only Allah who has always been there... Alhamdulilah... La ilaha il Allah... Allahu akbar
Saturday, November 3, 2012
The Incomprehensible Black Anarchist Position
Black brothers, Black sisters, i want you to know that i love you and i hope that somewhere in your hearts you have love for me. My name is Assata Shakur (slave name joanne chesimard), and i am a revolutionary. A Black revolutionary. By that i mean that i have declared war on all forces that have raped our women, castrated our men, and kept our babies empty-bellied. I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless, heart-less robots that protect them and their property. –Assata Shakur
I was born into the flames of slave insurrection. My first recorded ancestor was a runaway slave named Felix. In between him and me have been several butchered half lives. My grandfather, the oldest ancestor I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to interact with, was, as a young man, captured and tortured with “electro-shock therapy” for months on end as a consequence of his very material defiance and resistance to this “constitutional violence” that Wilderson describes in “the vengeance of vertigo”. As a result he was introduced to this “performative contingent violence” forever carving into our family tree the scars of his/our subjugation. In the same way that many families pass down the stories of how grandparents met and the idiosyncrasies of ancestors long past, I was passed a narrative, a framework for my own identity, of pure unflinching antagonism. I can only imagine this is part and parcel of the reason Michigan pigs pumped 40 bullets into my cousin’s chest a few months ago or why my other cousin is serving a life sentence. It’s difficult to make distinctions between Oakland and Monroe, between prison and plantation when past and present meet in these spaces and moments. What joins us, stronger than our own blood even, are the subjective and objective vertigos.
A lot happened in 1986, some fascist doctor plucked me from my mother and introduced me to violence at the same time my lungs introduced me to air. He told my mother he wanted to break my collarbone to get me out because I was too big and healthy. Assata Shakur was settling into her new home, in exile, Cuba. Mutulu Shakur had been captured and charged with helping her escape from a maximum security men’s prison. A month and a half before I was born Winnie Mandela gave a historical speech endorsing the political nature and necessity of mass guerilla resistance to the apartheid state in South Africa. “We will dismantle the apartheid state even if we only have rocks and boxes of matches”. A month after I was born, the apartheid state declared a state of emergency. In 1985, cocaine-related hospital emergencies in the US rose by 12 percent, from 23,500 to 26,300. In 1986 that figure then increased 210 percent, from 26,300 to 55,200, as the crack solution to the “panther problem” unfolded in communities that were the direct site of insurrection, like Watts and Oakland specifically, and all black neighborhoods in general. Sadly, my namesake, Kuwasi Balagoon died in December of 86 in a torture camp. His cause of death: the state… biological warfare. In Richmond, CA unguarded trains full of US military firearms and explosives were routinely left in the back of the North side neighborhood. I dodged my first bullet likely from one of those guns in 89 when I was three but that would not be the last. That was constitutional violence. When the state decides they want to assassinate or grand jury summon me for what comes next that will be contingent violence. –Hannibal Balagoon Shakur
If we are to survive this wave of repression, if Anarchy is to become a vehicle of the people, we must direct our energy to the new infrastructure. Programs that meet essential needs of the people must meet them with the explanation of why they are necessary. Programs that perpetually treat the symptoms of capitalism without feeding the mental struggle of the people must be replaced by comrades who pull no punches. We must show our friends and our neighbors that nothing can do more for them than they can do for themselves through Anarchism. We must show that “non-profits”, and NGO’s whose politics consist of liberal obscurities and multicultural tokenism, will not put more food on their table, put more homeless families in clean homes, will not put more police terrorists to an end than Anarchism.
It is beside the point whether Black, Puerto Rican, Native American and Chicano- Mexicano people endorse nationalism as a vehicle for self-determination or agree with anarchism as being the only road to self-determination. As revolutionaries we must support the will of the masses. It is not only racism but compliance with the enemy to stand outside of the social arena and permit America to continue to practice genocide against the third world captive colonies because although they resist, they don't agree with us. If we truly know that Anarchy is the best way of life for all people, we must promote it, defend it and know that the people who are as smart as we are will accept it. To expect people-to accept this, while they are being wiped out as a nation without allies ready to put out on the line what they already have on the line is crazy. –Kuwasi Balagoon
It’s a shame that now the false media image of the white Anarchists is going unchecked. It’s a shame that white “radicals” can think of only themselves when they say the word Anarchist. New Afrikans are not free. Our majorities lie within the pelican bay plantations and secret torture camps that exist throughout America. Yesterday we were slaves and today we are slaves. In the same vein that slave owners outlawed and prevented slaves of the past from written communication, slaves today find their correspondences disrupted and destroyed. As New Afrikans our political formations are completely repressed. What is popular among New Afrikan Anarchists will never find the same platform or footing as what is popular among negro capitalists and negro reformists. What we have to say, the voices that spring forth from the underworld of the plantation, will not find the same attention among white radicals as nihilist voices will. We will not find the same attention among the broader movement to end capitalism. We are written out of existence by negro nationalists who speak for “the black community” and white radicals who speak of themselves as “the Anarchists”. This dichotomy has done nothing to increase support from either side. White Anarchists want to speak for all poor people and negro nationalists want to speak for all black people. Neither formation wants to hear what we have to say. Comrades have been dealing with these contradictions for some time. Sometimes I fear those of us with our ears to the plantation are too few and far between to influence the broader, “free”, population. This is in fact the impetus for this communiqué. You say working class and think of what you perceive to be the bottom, people working all day at minimum wage to feed and house their families. This is working class but this is not the bottom.
“Elsewhere I have argued that the Black is a sentient being though not a Human being. The Black’s and the Human’s disparate relationship to violence is at the heart of this failure of incorporation and analogy. The Human suffers contingent violence, violence that kicks in when s/he resists (or is perceived to resist) the disciplinary discourse of capital and/or Oedipus. But Black peoples’ subsumption by violence is a paradigmatic necessity, not just a performative contingency. To be constituted by and disciplined by violence, to be gripped simultaneously by subjective and objective vertigo, is indicative of a political ontology which is radically different from the political ontology of a sentient being who is constituted by discourse and disciplined by violence when s/he breaks with the ruling discursive codes. When we begin to assess revolutionary armed struggle in this comparative context, we find that Human revolutionaries (workers, women, gays and lesbians, post-colonial subjects) suffer subjective vertigo when they meet the state’s disciplinary violence with the revolutionary violence of the subaltern; but they are spared objective vertigo. This is because the most disorienting aspects of their lives are induced by the struggles that arise from intra-Human conflicts over competing conceptual frameworks and disputed cognitive maps, such as the American Indian Movement’s demand for the return of Turtle Island vs. the U.S.’s desire to maintain territorial integrity, or the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional’s (FALN) demand for Puerto Rican independence vs. the U.S.’s desire to maintain Puerto Rico as a territory. But for the Black, as for the slave, there are no cognitive maps, no conceptual frameworks of suffering and dispossession which are analogic with the myriad maps and frameworks which explain the dispossession of Human subalterns.” -Frank B wilderson III
We must put into context comrades who have already lost their children to the plantation state’s foster care system. These comrades, who are subject to sensory deprivation, beatings and electrocution torture, work for a measly few cents an hour. Not because they want to but because they will be further isolated and punished if they do not comply with the production demands of the plantation. These comrades, many of whom have taken up arms against the banks and the slave catchers, are largely invisible to us simply because we don’t see them at any events and we don’t drink with them after the demo and they don’t come to dance parties. What’s more is we have allowed, through sheer neglect, the prison to become a factory that produces sociopaths who snitch on our comrades to get freedom and then come and wreak havoc on our communities. We have allowed that by our inaction. We have allowed rape to become just another gadget on the pig’s utility belt. The brothers know this intimately. Every time we see a pig we see ourselves being raped. Current plantation trends are going largely unnoticed.
“ Prison has always been the final gate in the repressive apparatus of a state. It serves the purpose of social and political control, although it manifests itself differently in different nation-states and in different political periods. Nevertheless, the prisoner is, with few exceptions, always a scapegoat and considered a deviant. Prison is not only a class weapon; it is also an instrument to control “alien” populations. In the United States, these “alien” populations are formerly colonized peoples — former slaves, Native Americans, Latin Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders — and they have all too often been considered the internal enemy. They are the people most needing control and are therefore the majority of those locked down in U.S. prisons. The United States is the world’s primary example of a country that deals with its social, economic, and cultural problems by incarceration. But this is its history. Prisons are the logical outcome of the country’s foundation on the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, and the “manifest destiny” of imperial settlerism — from sea to shining sea.” –Marilyn Buck
Do we still have the will of John brown? Or that of Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman? Are we still committed to abolishing prisons? Where are our ties with slaves? Not individual ties but collective ties. Fundamental ties. So long as the prison exists it’s inhabitants will inevitably find themselves in a struggle to destroy it. That struggle must not be isolated from that of the outside. It must not be isolated from populist efforts. Critical infrastructure must be organized to expedite the flow of information through the walls. Collectives must be on standby to strike with direct action in retaliation for acts of repression against prisoners. Prisoners must provide networks of protection and support for anti-state guerillas that are captured. All comrades must orient themselves to the eventuality of their capture. It must be clearly understood that the struggle in no way ends when you “get caught”. It only intensifies. In the same way comrades oriented themselves to the infrastructural needs of the camp when we took Oscar Grant plaza, things like food security and medical needs, we must orient ourselves to the material needs of the broader community and prisoners as integral members of that community. A genuine effort to keep prisoners, individually and the prison population in general, up to date on all current events is required here. I’ve heard comrades speaking of the “patriarchal nature” of prisoner formations, how these things preclude radical engagement of anarchism. This, coupled with the fact that there’s no anarchist “set” at any level comparable to “nationalist sets” within the prison system, has led me in search of a clearer analysis, or at least one that fits my intended narrative that of the seldom heard often felt incomprehensible black anarchist. Anarchism like anything else finds a radical new meaning when it meets blackness. While anarchists have an endless list of critiques directed at the culture that permeates prisons, little is articulated in the way of actually changing these cultures, as if these were inherent character traits impervious to stimulation and engagement. There exists a fear even, of prisoners, of the calcifying nature of their abject conditions.
“Well, we're all familiar with the function of the prison as an institution serving the needs of the totalitarian state. We've got to destroy that function; the function has to be no longer viable, in the end. It's one of the strongest institutions supporting the totalitarian state. We have to destroy its effectiveness, and that's what the prison movement is all about. What I'm saying is that they put us in these concentration camps here the same as they put people in tiger cages or "strategic hamlets" in Vietnam. The idea is to isolate, eliminate, and liquidate the dynamic sections of the overall movement, the protagonists of the movement. What we've got to do is prove this won't work. We've got to organize our resistance once we're inside, give them no peace, turn the prison into just another front of the struggle, and tear it down from the inside. Understand? A good deal of this has to do with our ability to communicate to the people on the street. The nature of the function of the prison within the police state has to be continuously explained, elucidated to the people on the street because we can't fight alone in here. Oh Yeah, we can fight, but if we're isolated, if the state is successful in accomplishing that, the results are usually not constructive in terms of proving our point. We fight and we die, but that's not the point, although it may be admirable from some sort of purely moral point of view. The point is, however, in the face of what we confront, to fight and win. That's the real objective: not just to make statements, no matter how noble, but to destroy the system that oppresses us. By any means available to us. And to do this, we must be connected, in contact and communication with those in the struggle on the outside. We must be mutually supporting because we're all in this together. It's one struggle at base.”-George Jackson
If we really mean class war, we need all the warrior elements of our class to be actively engaged. With the new developments of the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective, we are witnessing a moment that possesses great potential for the unification of our struggles. When people are subjugated and oppressed at the level we see today, psychologically and materially, we must orient ourselves to the undoing of that hegemonic hold. We must orient ourselves not to weeding out people but to weeding out of people injustice and oppression. We are, myself my close comrades and hopefully you too, endeavoring here to transform the criminal consciousness into a revolutionary consciousness and there already exists a principle basis established by comrades like George Jackson and Kuwasi Balagoon. Now is the time for us to aggressively push forward and show the world we aren’t afraid to fight the fascist, to show them we are prepared to make the same sacrifices that they already have.
It’s gonna be kill me if you can not kill me if you please!!!!
To My People by: Assata Shakur
The Vengeance of Vertigo by: Frank B. Wilderson III
Anarchy cant Fight Alone by: Kuwasi Balagoon
The U.S. Prison State by: Marilyn Buck
Remembering the Real Dragon: an interview with George Jackson
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Remembering the Real Dragon- An Interview with George Jackson May 16 and June 29, 1971
Karen Wald: George, could you comment on your conception of revolution?
George Jackson: The principle contradiction between the oppressor and oppressed can be reduced to the fact that the only way the oppressor can maintain his position is by fostering, nurturing, building contempt for the oppressed. That thing gets out of hand after a while. It leads to excesses that we see and the excesses are growing within the totalitarian state here. The excesses breed resistance; resistance is growing. The thing grows in a spiral. It can only end one way. The excesses lead to resistance, resistance leads to brutality, the brutality leads to more resistance, and finally the question will be resolved with either the uneconomic destruction of the oppressed, or the end of oppression. These are the workings of revolution. It grows in spirals, confrontations, and I mean on all levels. The institutions of society have buttressed the establishment, so I mean all levels have to be assaulted.
Wald: How does the prison liberation movement fit into this? Is its importance over-exaggerated or contrived?
Jackson: We don't have to contrive any.... Look, the particular thing I'm involved in right now, the prison movement was started by Huey P. Newton and the black panther party. Huey and the rest of the comrades around the country. We're working with Ericka [Huggins] and Bobby [Seale, chairman of the BPP; at the time they were co-defendants in a murder trial in New Haven, Connecticut, on charges which were subsequently dismissed], the prison movement in general, the movement to prove the to the establishment that the concentration camp technique won't work on us. We don't have to contrive any importance to our particular movement. It's a very real, very-very real issue and I'm of the opinion that, right along with the student movement, right along with the old. Familiar workers' movement, the prison movement is central to the process of revolution as a whole.
Wald: Many of the cadres of the revolutionary forces on the outside have been captured and imprisoned. Are you saying that even though they're in prison, these cadres can still function in a meaningful way for the revolution?
Jackson: Well, we're all familiar with the function of the prison as an institution serving the needs of the totalitarian state. We've got to destroy that function; the function has to be no longer viable, in the end. It's one of the strongest institutions supporting the totalitarian state. We have to destroy its effectiveness, and that's what the prison movement is all about. What I'm saying is that they put us in these concentration campshere the same as they put people in tiger cages or "strategic hamlets" in Vietnam. The idea is to isolate, eliminate, liquidate the dynamic sections of the overall movement, the protagonists of the movement. What we've got to do is prove this won't work. We've got to organize our resistance once we're inside, give them no peace, turn the prison into just another front of the struggle, tear it down from the inside. Understand?
Wald: But can such a battle be won?
Jackson: A good deal of this has to do with our ability to communicate to the people on the street. The nature of the function of the prison within the police state has to be continuously explained, elucidated to the people on the street because we can't fight alone in here. Oh Yeah, we can fight, but if we're isolated, if the state is successful in accomplishing that, the results are usually not constructive in terms of proving our point. We fight and we die, but that's not the point, although it may be admirable from some sort of purely moral point of view. The point is, however, in the face of what we confront, to fight and win. That's the real objective: not just to make statements, no matter how noble, but to destroy the system that oppresses us. By any means available to us. And to do this, we must be connected, in contact and communication with those in the struggle on the outside. We must be mutually supporting because we're all in this together. It's one struggle at base.
Wald: Is the form of struggle you're talking about here different from those with which we may be more familiar with, those which are occurring in the third world, for example?
Jackson: Not Really. Of course, all struggles are different, depending upon the whole range of particular factors involved. But many of them have fundamental commonalities which are more important than the differences. We are talking about a guerrilla war in this country. The guerrilla, the new type of warrior who's developed out of conflicts in the third world countries, doesn't fight for glory necessarily. The guerrilla fights to win. The guerrilla fights the same kind of fight we do, what's sometimes called a "poor man's war." It's not a form of war fought with high tech weaponry, or state-of-the-art gadgets. It's fought with whatever can be had-captured weapons when they can be had, but often antiquated firearms, homemade ordnance, knives, bows and arrows, even slingshots-but mostly through the sheer will of the guerrilla to fight and win, no matter what. Huey [P. Newton] says "the power of the people will overcome the power of the man's technology," and we've seen this proven true time after time in recent history.
You know, guerrilla war is not simply a matter of tactics and technique. It's not just questions of hit-and-run or terrorism. It's a matter of proving to the established order that it simply can't sustain itself, that there is no possible way for them to win by utilizing the means of force available to them. We have to prove that wars are won by human beings, and not by mechanical devices. We've got to show that in the end they can't resist us. And we will! We're going to do it. There's never going to ever be a moment's peace for anyone associated with the establishment any place where I'm at, or where any of my comrades are at. But we're going to need coordination, we're going to need help. And right now, that help should come in the form of education. It's critical to teach the people out there how important it is to destroy the function of the prison within the society. That, and to show them in concrete terms that the war is on - right now! - and that in that sense we really aren't any different than the Vietnamese, or the Cubans, or the Algerians, or any of the other revolutionary peoples of the world.
Wald: In an interview with some imprisoned tupamaros, urban guerrillas in Uraguay, the question was raised about the decimation of the ranks of tupamaros; comrades killed or imprisoned by the state. Those interviewed assured me that there were far more people joining the ranks than were being lost to state repression, and that the movement was continuing to grow. Do you feel the same confidence about the black panther party, about the revolutionary movement as a whole in this country?
Jackson: We're structured in such a way as to allow us to exist and continue to resist despite the losses we've absorbed. It was set up that way. We know the enemy operates under the concept of "kill the head and the body will die." They target those they see as key leaders. We know this, and we've set up safeguards to prevent the strategy from working against us. I know I could be killed tomorrow, but the struggle would continue, there would be two hundred or three hundred to take my place. As Fred Hampton put it, "You can kill the revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution." Hampton, as you know, was head of the party in Chicago, and was murdered in his sleep by the police in chicago, along with Mark Clark, the party leader from Peoria, Illinois. Their loss is tremendous, but the struggle goes on. Right?
It's not just a military thing. It's also an educational thing. The two go hand-in-hand. And it's also a cyclical thing. Right now, we are in a peak cycle. There's tremendous energy out there, directed against the state. It's not all focused, but it's there, and it's building. Maybe this will be sufficient to accomplish what we must accomplish over the fairly short run. We'll see, and we can certainly hope that this is the case. But perhaps not. We must be prepared to wage a long struggle. If this is the case then we'll probably see a different cycle, one in which the revolutionary energy of the people seems to have dispersed, run out of steam. But - and this is important- such cycles are deceptive. Things appear to be at low ebb, but actually what's happening is a period of regroupment, a period in which we step back and learn from the mistakes made during the preceding cycle. We educate ourselves from our experience, and we educate those around us. And all the while, we develop and perfect our core organization. Then the next time a peak cycle comes around, we are far readier then we were the last time. It's a combination of military and education, always. Ultimately, we will win. You see?
Wald: Do you see signs of progress on the inside, in prison?
Jackson: Yes, I do. Progress is certainly been made in terms of raising the consciousness of at least some sectors of the prison population. In part, that's due to the limited victories we've achieved over the past few years. They're token victories perhaps, but things we can and must take advantage of. For example, we've struggled hard around the idea of being able to communicate directly with people on the outside. At this point, any person on the street can correspond with any individual inside prison. My suggestion is, now that we have the channels for education secured, at least temporarily, is that people on the outside should begin to bombard the prisons with newspapers, books, journals, clippings, anything of educational value, to help politicize the comrades who are not yet relating. And we, of course, must reciprocate by consistently sending out information concerning what's really going on in here. Incidentally, interviews like this go a long way in that direction. There should be much more of this sort of thing.
Wald: You disclosed a few months ago that you had been for some time a member of the Black Panther Party. Certainly, the work of the party in this state and elsewhere, the work to free political prisoners, and of course the party's work within the black community have been factors which influenced your decision. But has the internationalism of the Black Party been one of the key aspects which attracted you to it? And, if this is so, is internationalism meaningful for people in prison, and is it therefore one reason why they'd relate to the party?
Jackson: Well, let's take it a step at a time. Huey came to the joint about a year ago because he'd heard stories about the little thing we had going on already. He talked with us, and checked it out, and he decided to absorb us. Afterwards, he sent me a message and told me that. He just told me that I was part of the Party now, and that our little group was part of the Party as well. And he told me that my present job is to build, or help build, the prison movement. Just like that. Like I said, the objective of our movement is to prove the state can't seal us off in a concentration camp so I accepted. What else could I do? It was the correct thing. Now, as to your second point, the people inside the joint, the convict class, have related to the ideology of the party 100%. And we've moved from... well, not we, I've always been an internationalist. And a materialist. I guess I was a materialist before I was born. I'm presently studying Swahili so that I will be able to converse with the comrades in Africa on their own terms, without having to rely on a colonial language. And I've been working on Spanish, which is of course a colonial language, but which is spoken by millions upon millions of comrades in latin America and elsewhere. I plan to study Chinese after that, and possibly Arabic. When I complete this task, I will be able to speak to something like seventy-five percent of the world's people in their own tongue or something akin to their own tongue. I think that's important.
The other brothers here are picking up on it. And there are some, especially those who are already politicized before they came inside, who are on top of it. But like I said, it's of utmost importance that people outside bombard this place with material which will help prisoners understand the importance of internationalism to their struggle. It's coming, but it's still got a way to go before the educational process is complete. Ignorance is a terrible thing and being cut off from the flow of the movement is really detrimental. We must correct the situation as a first priority.
Wald: Can you receive mail and publications from other countries?
Jackson: Mail can be received from anywhere on the globe. I get stuff right now from Germany and England and France as a result of the book being published in these countries. And a few copies of Tricontinental [a Cuban revolutionary journal] have gotten in. They've helped broaden the scope, and explained a few things to comrades that they didn't understand. This is something that really upsets the goons. In years past, every time a black prisoner would achieve and intellectual breakthrough and begin to relate our situation to the situation of the Cubans, say, or the Vietnamese or the Chinese-or anywhere else in the Third World-well these prisoners would be quickly assassinated. Now that's become a little harder to do. So, I believe the people on the street should just start to flood the prisons with things like Tricontinental.
Wald: Despite a few peaceful victories in Latin America, such as that of Salvador Allende in Chile, many people still believe that armed struggle is the only way most Latin American countries are going to be free. Also, there've been some recent victories in the courts for members of the Black Panther Party, Los Siete de la Raza [seven Chicano activists from San Franciscocharged with murder in 1969; they were acquitted], and so on. Do you believe the victories in Chile and in the courts...
Jackson: They were appeasement. Allende... the thing that happened with Allende... look, it was not a "peaceful revolution." That's deception. Allende is a good man, but what's going on in chile is just a reflection of the national aspirations of the ruling class. You will never find a peaceful revolution. Nobody surrenders their power without resistance. And until the upper class in Chile is crushed, Allende could at any time be defeated. No revolution can be consolidated under the conditions that prevail in chile. Blood will flow down there. Either Allende will shed it in liquidating the ruling class, or the ruling class will shed his whenever it decides the time is right. Either way, there's no peaceful revolution.1
Much the same can be said for the court cases you're talking about. They're an illusion. Every once in a while the establishment cuts loose of a case-usually one which was so outrageous to begin with that they couldn't possibly win it without exposing their whole system of injustice anyway-and then they trot around babbling about "proof that the system works," how just and fair it is. They never mention the fact that the people who were supposed to have received the justice of the system have often already spent months and months in lockup, and have been forced to spend thousands of thousands of dollars, keeping themselves from spending years and years in prison, before being found innocent. All this to defend themselves against charges for which there was no basis to begin with, and the state knew there was no basis. Some system. You get your punishment before your trial in this country if you happen to be black or brown or political. But they use these things to say the system works-which I guess it does, from their perspective-and to build their credibility for the cases that really count, when they really want to railroad someone into a prison cell. The solution isn't to learn how to play the system for occasional "victories" of this order, although I'll admit these sometimes have a tactical advantage. Winning comes only in destroying the system itself. We should never be confused on this point.
Wald: but the alternatives sometimes bear dire consequences. This raises the difficult question of the death of your brother, Jonathon, and whether his life may to a certain extent have been wasted.
Jackson: Well, that's obviously a tough question for me because, emotionally, I very much wish my little brother was alive and well. But as to whether I think Jonathan's life may have been wasted? No, I don't. I think the only mistake he made was thinking that all of the 200 pigs who were there would have, you know, some sort of concern for the life of the judge. Of course, they chose to kill the judge, and to risk killing the D.A. and the jurors, in order to get at Jonathan and the others. It may have been a technical error. But I doubt it, because I know Jonathan was very conversant with military ideas, and I'm sure it occurred to him that there was a possibility that at least one pig would shoot, and that if one shot, they' all shoot, and it'd be a massacre. Judge or no judge. It was all a gigantic bluff, you know? Jonathan took a calculated risk. Some people say that makes him a fool. I say his was the sort of courage that cause men of his age to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in somewhat different settings. The difference is that Jonathan understood very clearly who his real enemy was; the guy who gets the congressional medal usually doesn't. Now, who's the fool?
Personally, I bear his loss very badly. It's a great burden upon my soul. But I think it's imperative - we owe it to him - never to forget why he did what he did. And that was to stand as a symbol in front of the people - in front of me - and say in effect that we have both the capacity and the obligation to stand up, regardless of the consequences. He was saying that if we all stand up, our collective power will destroy the forces that oppose us. Jonathan lived by these principles, he was true to them, he died by them. This is the most honorable thing imaginable. He achieved a certain deserved immortality insofar as he truly had the courage to die on his feet rather than live one moment on his knees. He stood as an example, a beacon to all of us, and I am in awe of him, even though he was my younger brother.
Wald: The news today said that Tom Hayden2 declared in front of the National Student Association Congress that there will be more actions like the one Jonathon attempted. Do you agree?
Jackson: I've been thinking a lot about the situation. I'm not saying that these particular tactics-even when successfully executed-constitute the only valid revolutionary form at this time. Obviously, they don't. There must also be mass organizing activities, including large-scale nonviolent demonstrations, education of the least developed social sectors, and so on. These things are essential. The revolution must proceed at all levels. But this is precisely what makes the tactics necessary, and far too many self-proclaimed revolutionaries have missed the point on this score. Such tactics as Jonathon employed represent a whole level - an entire dimension -- of struggle which has almost always been missing from the so-called American scene. And while it is true that armed struggle in-and-of-itself can never achieve revolution, neither can the various other forms of activity. The covert, armed, guerrilla dimension of the movement fits hand-in-glove with the overt dimension; the two dimensions can and must be seen as inseparable aspects of the same phenomenon; neither dimension can succeed without the other.
Viewing things objectively, we can readily determine that the overt dimension of the movement is relatively well-developed at this time. Over the past dozen years, we've seen the creation of a vast mass movement in opposition to the establishment in this country. I won't go into this in any depth because I'm sure that everyone already knows what I'm talking about. It should be enough to observe that within the past two years, the movement has repeatedly shown itself able to put as many as a million people in the streets at any one time to express their opposition to the imperialist war in Indochina [this seems to be a reference to the November 1969 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, staged in Washington, D.C.]. The covert dimension of the movement is, by comparison, very much retarded at the present time. In part, this may be due to the very nature of the activity at issue: guerrillas always begin in terms of very small numbers of people. But, more to the point, I think the situation is due to there having been a strong resistance to the whole idea of armed struggle on the part of much of the movement's supposed leadership-particularly the white leadership-up to this point. I hear them arguing-contrary to history, logic, just plain common sense, and everything else -that armed struggle is unnecessary, even "counterproductive." I hear them arguing in the most stupidly misleading fashion imaginable that the overt dimension of the movement can bring off revolution on its own. This is the sheerest nonsense, and "leaders" who engage in such a babble should be discarded without hesitation.
We may advance a simple rule: the likelihood of significant social change in the United States may be gauged by the extent to which the covert, armed, guerrilla aspect of the struggle is developed and consolidated. If the counterrevolutionaries and fools who parade themselves as leaders while resisting the development of the movement's armed capacity are overcome-and the struggle is therefore able to proceed in a proper direction-I think we will see a revolutionary change in this country rather shortly. If, on the other hand, this leadership is able to successfully do what amounts to the work of the state- that is to say, to convince most people to shy away from armed struggle, and to isolate those who do undertake to act as guerrillas from the mass of support which should rightly be theirs - then the revolution will be forestalled. We will have a situation here much the same as that in Chile, where the establishment allows a certain quantity of apparent social gains to be achieved, but stands ready to strip these "gains" away whenever it's convenient. You can mark my words on this: unless a real revolution is attained, all that's been gained during the struggles of the past decade will be lost during the next ten years. It might not even take that long.3
At the present time, I see a number of very hopeful signs - very positive indications- that a true revolutionary force is emerging. Most notably, of course, the direction taken by the Black Panther Party is correct. But there are many other examples I could name. Even in the white community, we have seen the development, or at least the beginnings of the development, of what is necessary with the establishment of the Weatherman organization. We clearly have a long way to go, but it's happening, and that's what's important at the moment. The very fact that Tom Hayden, who is of course a white radical himself, was willing to make the statement he made, and before the audience to which he made it, indicates the truth of this. So, yes, I tend to agree with him and hope we are both correct. Clear enough?
Wald: Yes. Do you see a relationship between what happened at the Marin County Civic Center, between what Jonathan and the other brothers did, and the kinds of things that happen in the Third world, say, in Latin America?
Jackson: Well, of course. Jonathan was a student ... he was a military-minded brother. He was a student of Che Guevarra (sic) and Ho, and Giap and Mao, and many others. Tupamaros, Carlos Marighella. He paid close attention to other established guerrillas, other established revolutionary societies, revolutionary cultures around the world. He was very conscious of what was going on in South America and, well, let's just say that about ninety-nine percent of our conversation was centered on military things. I knew him well. He understood.
Wald: I was going to ask if the Cuban revolutionaries had a significance for you and Jonathan in any concrete ways.
Jackson: Hmmmm ... I don't think it did for Jonathan. But it did for me, because I was in prison. I was just starting my time on this beat right here when Castro, Che and the rest carried the revolution there to a successful conclusion. And the alarm that spread throughout the nation, especially, you know, within the establishment and the police... well, let's just say that as a newly-made prisoner I enjoyed that a lot. Someone else's liberation at the establishment's expense, it was a vicarious boost at a time when I most needed it. And I've always felt very tenderly toward the Cuban revolution as a result.
Wald: Then you weren't an anti-communist when you came into prison?
Jackson: Oh, I've never been an anti-communist. I suppose you could say I didn't have much understanding of communism when I came in, and so I wasn't pro-communist in any meaningful way. But I was never "anti."
Wald: But didn't you initially find it terrible that Cuba had "gone communist"?
Jackson: No-no-no! That's what I'm trying to tell you. I'm trying to get across that I've alays been fundamentally anti-authoritarian. Communism came later. And when the Cuban revolution happened, the very fact that it upset the authorities here so bad made me favor it right off and made me want to investigate it much further. The idea was that if they don't like it, it must be good. You see? And that's what led me to seriously study socialism. I owe much of my own consciousness to the Cuban revolution. But that's me. It doesn't necessarily pertain to Jonathan. Okay?
Wald: Did the fact that such a tiny country so close to Florida pulled off a successful revolution give you a sense that, "If they can do it, we can do it"?
Jackson: Yes, both then and now. It caused me to consider the myth of invincibility. You know, the idea of U.S. military invincibility was just completely destroyed by the Cuban revolution. The U.S. supported Batista with rockets and planes, everything was needed, and he still lost. He was destroyed by guerrilla warfare, the same thing that's taking place in Vietnam right now. And the U.S. is losing again. The Viet Cong, I mean they take these gadgets - the best things the best military minds in the western world can produce - they take them and the ball them up and throw them right back in the face of these imperialist fools. Cuba and now Vietnam; these things catch my attention. I try to learn the lessons from other peoples' successes. Now, in that sense I'm sure the Cuban revolution had significance for Jonathan, too.
Wald: I see our time is almost up. Do you have any last remarks you'd like to make?
Jackson: Yes, I'd like to say POWER TO THE PEOPLE! And I'd like to say that by that I mean all power, not just the token sort of power the establishment is prepared to give us for its own purposes. I'd like to say that the only way we're ever going to have change is to have the real power necessary to bring the changes we want into being. I'd like to say that the establishment is never going to be persuaded into giving us real power, it's never going to be tricked into, it's never going to feel guilty and change its ways. The only way we're ever going get the power we need to change things is by taking it, over the open, brutal, physical opposition of the establishment. I'd like to say we must use, as Malcolm X put it, any means necessary to take power. I'd like to say that we really have no alternatives in the matter, and that it's ridiculous or worse to think that we do. That's what I'd like to say.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Too big to fail. let's look at this expression for a moment. This argument is partially true. Too big to fail. If the banking giants did collapse, with the state we're in, I'd be scared to see what arises in it's place. I'm scared to see what the instant removal of these institutions, our way of life has become so dependent on, would do to a nation that exists beneath a nation, what this instant economic instability would do to black communities. Have you ever tried to quit heroin cold turkey after a long binge? Most of us black folk living in the interior of the colony, the ghetto, have watched our family and loved ones struggle with addictions. For me it was my brother and it was heroin. I watched him go through pain, sickness, rage, depression, apathy and relapse in his journey to kick the habit that takes his money and puts him to sleep. What are people going to do when they realize the Amerikkan dream was a hoax? I look around and I see economic cannibalism. How long before air is privatized? Water and earth already are. As people drop off the unemployment census and the number still rises, what does that mean for the never employed illiterate underclass? The future is grim. The sky is falling. There's nothing to hide under or hide behind, revolution is the only option that doesn't lead to the slaughterhouse. They just killed Troy Davis a man whom they knew was innocent while the pig that killed Oscar Grant has walked free time served. The burning of Henry Smith is still burned into my conscience. Our lives have less value to civil society than a stray dog. And we are addicted to this society. Nearly all of us uphold the system in some way. We continue our day to day life always thinking of the bills of today and imaginary stability of tomorrow. Turn the other cheek, sue the city, accept it because thats the way it is, this is the system you live in. Freedom is a natural impulse. While the majority of us have had that impulse beaten out of us if you sit in silence for a moment you can hear your soul screaming fight. What do you have to lose? What haven't we lost already on this fucking plantation. My childhood friends are on the run, in the dirt or in the pen. Please don't pretend this situation couldn't have been prevented. I look in the eyes of babies, my family, my tribe, our children and I wonder if I will still be able to when they reach my age. The sky is falling. The sky is falling and I wish you could see that. There's no place to hide. I'm ready to die but you better believe I'm fighting to live.
FUCK THE STATE..........ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE WHO DON'T FEAR FREEDOM
FUCK THE STATE..........ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE WHO DON'T FEAR FREEDOM