Struggle without sacrifice is useless

by Mutope Duguma

It’s been over 45 years since the Damus (Bloods) and Kiwes (Crips) culture developed out of communities all over Los Angeles County, especially in South Central. What began as mischievous behavior turned into a phenomenon that reaches from city to city throughout the world and shows no signs of letting up.

BloodZ-n-CripZ-Its-on, Struggle without sacrifice is useless, Abolition Now! Bonds are just as strong as they’ve ever been, and homies from both sides refuse to yield an inch, staying true to form. Many of us can look back on these 45-plus years and see the struggles we had to overcome and the countless lives lost inside these subcultures representing what we call the “hood’” – hoods that many of us unfortunately cannot even claim any more due to drastic changes in the demographics. The state and federal governments basically broke up every New Afrikan community, seeing them as a potential threat after the Rodney King uprising.

Yet we hold true to what Damu and Kiwe means to each and every one of us, and that can vary based on the individuals you are talking to. We all are kin to betrayal. You cannot be entrenched in such dangerous adventures or behaviors and not find yourself being compromised by the weaker of the species, although we all opted to play the game.

As the saying goes, “Pressure will bust a pipe,” and we have countless incidents to reflect on in respect to human life. Yes, at some point and time, those of us who hold true to our beliefs, whatever they may be, have to realize that our struggle and the countless homies who have since passed on did not die in vain.

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If we can get it right, we have to realize that each and every one of us is responsible for making that a reality. As I say, we are all kin to betrayal; therefore, it is humanly impossible to “kumbaya” ourselves through this process.

Our responsibility is to our people who are being slaughtered all over the world and, whether we like it or not, we have been the vanguard for New Afrikan people, especially in California, where we have fought for every New Afrikan who has been violated in or out of these prisons.

Our responsibility is to our people who are being slaughtered all over the world and, whether we like it or not, we have been the vanguard for New Afrikan people, especially in California, where we have fought for every New Afrikan who has been violated in or out of these prisons.

None of us knew Rodney King personally, but 52 of us died based on what happened to him, simply because we knew he could easily have been you or me. Our families and friends have been subjected to way too many attacks unjustly, through gentrification, foreclosures on their homes, illegal evictions and injunctions. They are over-taxed, ticketed and mass incarcerated.

Thinking of our Bay Area brothers, who also come from these subcultures that have basically kept us under an indefinite, protracted civil war, brings to mind a movie I was watching called “Major Dundee,” starring Charleston Heston. The movie was about the American Civil War, 1861-65, where the U.S. (the Union) and the 11 secessionist Southern Confederate states were engaged in full fledged war. The crux of the Southern states’ economy was the free labor of enslaved Afrikans.

In the battle of Antietam, 12,000 Northerners and 10,000 Southerners were either killed or wounded on Sept. 17, 1862 – in just one battle – in a Civil War that lasted four years until Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered 27,800 confederate troops to Gen. Grant. In the movie, the Confederate soldiers were under the custody of the Union troops, held in chains inside a fort-like prison.

BloodZ-n-CripZ-Know-Gangs, Struggle without sacrifice is useless, Abolition Now! During this time, as the Apaches were advancing on the Union troops, Major Dundee approached all of his prisoners captured in the Civil War and said, “I cannot promise any of you anything, but I will fight for each and every one of you to be pardoned if you sign on to this regiment.” He had sought out their commander, a captain, who refused his offer because the hatred between these two groups was so real; for the last four years they had murdered one another’s families, friends and associates, disrupting their way of life.

It was a bloody Civil War, one where the hate still lingers today. Yet they understood that if they didn’t join forces to fight off the Apaches and the French soldiers, they would be compromised. The leaders of these two regiments, Union and Confederate soldiers, combined their groups under Major Dundee’s command. And, despite the bad blood between them due to slaughtering one another for four years straight, they were able to put aside what I call raw hatred for one another.

Can you even imagine fighting for someone who just killed your brothers and sisters, parents and friends? Well, their lives depended on it, and in these regards, these men were bigger than their contradiction, which was their raw hatred for each other. They would go on to establish the United States under these two forces.

Now, I couldn’t help but think about the homies – Damus and Kiwes as well as our Bay Area brothers. We all come out of these subcultures, clothed under the system of white supremacy that has cultivated us with genocidal slave mentalities that pit us against one another, to the point where we suffer from menticide, or brainwashing.

From the day we are born, the system of white supremacy has indoctrinated into us an inferiority complex that manifests our self-hatred by playing on our conscious, unconscious and subconscious mind. Throughout our lives, we are being taught to despise, devalue, demean, degrade and kill who and what we are. Whether it’s through entertainment or real life, our conscious mind receives it, our unconscious mind is unaware of it, but our subconscious mind downloads it, regardless if we’re aware of it or not.

So we store it, and if we are not conscious of what is being done to us by way of subliminal suggestion, persuasive manipulation and the many brainwashing techniques used to influence our self-destructive behavior to the point where we carry out genocide against each other, then we will love what we do to each other.

Men who think you fear them will do anything to you.

A wise man once said, “Men who think you fear them will do anything to you.” And based on our historic and present treatment as a people, this statement is so true! It’s not a matter of if we want to come together; it’s a point where we have to, if we are to survive the many onslaughts we are being subjected to throughout the world.

Sadly, we live in a very violent world and the more violent the world gets, the more violently we will be treated. Our 45-year protracted “civil war” has probably claimed thousands of lives, if not millions, and it probably will claim a lot more lives if we don’t begin to change this vortex of violence that has plagued us as a people internally.

I know of a lot of Damus and Kiwes who are sharing some of the same spaces on the street – hanging out together. We’ve seen how the ‘92 peace treaties were broken up due to there being no meaningful standards of conduct. I often told homies (Damus), “If we are sincere about peace, then we cannot indulge in some reckless behaviors that lead to Damu on Damu violence or Kiwe on Kiwe violence in their respective hoods.”

If we are sincere about peace, then we cannot indulge in some reckless behaviors that lead to Damu on Damu violence or Kiwe on Kiwe violence in their respective hoods.

Peace amongst us Damus and Kiwes is about understanding our historical contradictions – where we are coming from and how we got to this point.

Although I’ve been focusing on Damus and Kiwes, this is about all New Afrikans, especially my Bay Area partners! New Afrikans have to understand our concrete conditions are not what they were 25 years ago. Therefore, the unifying of our strengths is basic to our people’s survival.

One Love, One Struggle


Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), D-05996, PBSP SHU D2-107, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.