by Uhuru B. Rowe
Peace, young brother,
I hope this letter finds you strong and courageously defiant in mind, body and spirit. I really enjoyed the few times we exchanged ideas about the new Black Liberation Movement. I was a little surprised when you told me that you consider yourself to be a Black revolutionary because most young brothers who gangbang don’t identify themselves as such; and that’s because being one requires opposing and resisting racism and other systems of oppression, which is a huge burden and responsibility. Others simply don’t understand the concept of a revolutionary.
To put it simply, a revolutionary is someone who fights and struggles to change the conditions of oppressed people. A counterrevolutionary is someone who – consciously or unconsciously – fights and struggles against change so as to exacerbate and perpetuate the conditions of oppressed people.
A revolutionary is someone who strives to transform the criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality. A counterrevolutionary is someone who values, maintains and delights in the criminal mentality. A revolutionary is someone who seeks to become a part of the solution to what’s plaguing the Black and oppressed communities. A counterrevolutionary is someone who seeks to remain a part of the problem of what’s plaguing the Black and oppressed communities.
A revolutionary is someone who utilizes all of his or her strength and energy in trying to liberate Black and oppressed people. A counterrevolutionary is someone who utilizes all of his or her strength and energy in trying to oppress and exploit those already oppressed, exploited and colonized by this white supremacist capitalistic system.
A revolutionary is someone who opposes the Gestapo police who are daily murdering, brutalizing and terrorizing Black and oppressed people. A counterrevolutionary is someone who is daily murdering, brutalizing and terrorizing those already being murdered, brutalized and terrorized by the Gestapo police.
A revolutionary is someone who fights and struggles to change the conditions of oppressed people. A counterrevolutionary is someone who – consciously or unconsciously – fights and struggles against change so as to exacerbate and perpetuate the conditions of oppressed people.
So young brother, upon examining yourself, and taking the above examples into consideration, which category do you truly fall into: a revolutionary or a counterrevolutionary? Most gangbangers, unfortunately, fall into the category of a counterrevolutionary.
As with most if not all Black street gangs, which I prefer to call social clubs, they started out as revolutionary because the social, political and economic conditions that Black people were subjected to in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and even today, necessitated that they come together and organize to try to resist and change those conditions. But during the mid ‘80s, when the CIA began flooding poor Black communities with cocaine and guns to finance its illegal counterrevolutionary war against the democratically-elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua, and to further destabilize these same communities to make them more susceptible to subjugation and genocide, these social clubs and the oppressed communities they existed in became fractured and divided. Consequently, these social clubs became counterrevolutionary in that they lost sight of their original purpose and began to prey on the very people and neighborhoods they originally organized to defend, protect and liberate.
Upon examining yourself, which category do you truly fall into: a revolutionary or a counterrevolutionary? Most gangbangers, unfortunately, fall into the category of a counterrevolutionary.
One of the best examples of a social club becoming revolutionary as the result of a radical transformation in their mentality is the 5,000 strong Slauson gang. During the early ‘60s, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter was successful in uniting all of the various social clubs in Los Angeles under his leadership in an effort to end Black on Black violence and oppose the white supremacist terror taking place in their communities.
According to Elder Freeman, a close comrade of Bunchy’s, this was the first and only time in history that there was only one unified social club in L.A. Building off of that success and momentum, Bunchy then spearheaded the formation of the L.A. Black Panther Party in 1968, which recruited heavily from the ranks of the Slauson gang.
Because Bunchy was such a dynamic organizer and a charismatic leader who inspired other “street” brothers and sisters to become revolutionaries, J. Edgar Hoover, who was the FBI director at the time, had Bunchy and his Black Panther comrade John Huggins murdered in a COINTELPRO created beef between the LA BPP and Ron Karenga’s Us Organization on Jan. 17, 1969.
Following in the footsteps of Bunchy, who recognized the need to unite rival social clubs and redirect their aggression and rage away from each other and towards changing and improving the conditions of their respective neighborhoods, General TACO (aka Wolverine Shakur) and other FORMER Bloods and Crips came together in unity in 1996 and founded the Black Riders Liberation Party (BRLP), also known as the New Generation Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, at a youth gang prison in California.
The BRLP was created as a political vehicle to build revolutionary Black love and unity; serve the needs of the people in Black and oppressed communities; organize against white supremacy, capitalist oppression and police brutality; and resurrect the spirit of the Black Power Movement. I want to emphasize to you, young brother, that the BRLP was founded by former gang members – because the L.A. Police Department and the FBI have attempted to label it a gang in an effort to vilify them in the eyes of the general public, to alienate them from the Black and oppressed communities in which they seek to serve, and to justify their continued harassment, imprisonment and (attempted) assassination of its members. This same tactic was used against the Black Panther Party founded by Dr. Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in West Oakland in 1966.
The BRLP was created as a political vehicle to build revolutionary Black love and unity; serve the needs of the people in Black and oppressed communities; organize against white supremacy, capitalist oppression and police brutality; and resurrect the spirit of the Black Power Movement.
That a bunch of poor Black gangbangin’ youth were able to transform their criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality by taking the initiative to educate and politicize themselves behind the walls of a neo-slave plantation, and then unite and found an organization in the image and likeness of the BPP, makes the racist power structure extremely uneasy.
And then to have the audacity to organize chapters of the BRLP all across amerikkka from its base in L.A. predictably brings on the most hostile and brutal kind of repression which the BRLP has experienced since its inception in 1996. And it is this kind of repression which evinces that the strategies and tactics of a revolutionary organization are truly effective.
The sisters and brothers of the BRLP are some of the rising Black revolutionaries of your generation that the revolutionary Bloods and Crips and virtually every Black social club formed in oppressed communities during the tumultuous ‘60s and ‘70s were originally intended to be. Now, whether or not these social clubs can and will transition from counterrevolutionary to revolutionary depends upon the willingness of their leadership to develop and organize them on a political and military platform which is rooted in an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist framework.
And, of course, young brother, this transformation also begins with you.
Power to the Vanguard!
All Power to the People!
Send our brother some love and light: Uhuru B. Rowe, 1131545, Sussex II State Prison, 24427 Musselwhite Drive, Waverly, VA 23891. He can also be reached via supporters at firstname.lastname@example.org, consciousprisoner.wordpress.com and facebook.com/supportuhuru.