by Kamau M. Askari
My people, we know that prior to the commencement of Black August memorials from within the foul confines of California’s infamous prison system via our first Black August Organizing Committee (BAOC) in 1979, there existed no established institution fulfilling the special need or purpose of honoring and paying homage to our Afrikan ancestors, Afrikan heritage and long line of New Afrikan (Black) revolutionaries and freedom fighters who made the ultimate sacrifice and waged tireless struggles in service to the interests of our captured and colonized New Afrikan (Black) nation in Amerika to achieve national independence, socialism, human and civil rights.
We further know that misconceptions are prevalent and pervasive, primarily among California state prison officials, relating to our Black August concept. Internal contradictions are inherent in all things and phenomena of nature, having their own negative and positive sides.
For instance, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and its subdivisions, such as the Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) Security Housing Unit (SHU), Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI), Investigative Services Unit (ISU), Law Enforcement and Investigations Unit (LEIU), Office of Correctional Safety (OCS), Special Services Unit (SSU), et al., routinely and by rote disseminate misinformation rooted in misconceptions regarding Black August to suggest that New Afrikan (Black) prisoners who advocate or refer to our Black August concept in political articles are thereby promoting prison gang activity; that Black August is used as a recruitment tool through which to recruit New Afrikan (Black) prisoners to prison gang membership; and that Black August is a time for acts of retaliatory violence to be undertaken against California prison officials.
The misconceptions, i.e., subjective personal views and opinions of the above-listed California prison authorities relating to our Black August concept constitutes the negative aspect of this existing contradiction currently confronting Black August’s objective reality.
Prison authorities disseminate misinformation that New Afrikan (Black) prisoners who advocate or refer to our Black August concept in political articles are thereby promoting prison gang activity; that Black August is used as a recruitment tool through which to recruit New Afrikan (Black) prisoners to prison gang membership; and that Black August is a time for acts of retaliatory violence to be undertaken against California prison officials.
The positive aspect of this contradiction relative to concrete reality inherent to Black August’s memorial commemorative practice in addition to the commencement has to do with the manifestation of its cultural component. The cultural component of our Black August concept necessarily entails our New Afrikan Nation (NAN) build a revolutionary culture diametrically opposed to the established dominant, oppressive capitalist culture.
A process which also encompasses mass education that heightens the political consciousness of the masses of New Afrikan (Black) people to the inherent defects of capitalist culture and society is antithetical to prison authorities’ innate vested interests, offering practical examples inherent to the science of struggle.
Black August provides New Afrikan (Black) people with a confidence that we can fulfill our historical obligations and win our ideological and political objectives. It inspires New Afrikan (Black) people to wrest control of their own destiny from the hands of their historical oppressors and tormentors and actively participate in the process by which the decisions affecting their daily lives are made, i.e., “democratic centralism.”
Black August provides New Afrikan (Black) people with a confidence that we can fulfill our historical obligations and win our ideological and political objectives.
Black August helps us understand the significance and practicability of providing for the needs of our own, i.e., Ujima (collective work and responsibility) – to build and maintain our own communities together to make our sistas’ and brothas’ problems our problems and to solve them together – and Ujamaa (cooperative economics) – to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and profit from them together.
Eternal Black August resistance!
Send our brother some love and light: Kamau M. Askari, b/n Ralph A. Taylor, D-03780, D-3-102, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95531. He is coordinator of the NCTT (NAN Collective Think Tank). This story was transcribed by Adrian McKinney.