by Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington and Comrade Ben Ammi Beth Olugbala, NABPP-PC, Texas Region
Revolutionary greetings to all comrades and allies in the struggle. Shalom alekya-amani-salaam alakyam. Habari gani, ndugus! I am Komrad Ben Ammi Beth Olugbala, a member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, Texas Branch, making my presence known as I greet you with a “clenched fist salute” in Panther love and spirit. I am well overdue for conveying this message of inspiration and power to exhort you all to continue the struggle and to push forward our utmost need to communicate, to educate, to liberate the oppressed and exploited masses as we come together in a united front against imperialism.
The NABPP, Prison Chapter, is now in its 12th year of existence, and I have been educated as well as embraced by our collective cadre. I’ve built with Comrade Rashid, Shaka Zulu, T.B.W. and my close friend and former “celly,” the outspoken servant of the people, Comrade Malik.
I exhort all comrades and allies to put aside petty differences and beefs. We must unite, network and build, staying abreast of current events so that we can fortify our homes, community and our society, for we are at war! We have to unite against our oppressors to protect and defend our loved ones and leaders. We also must expose and steer clear of reactionaries, agent provocateurs and parasitical leaders whose only aim is to sell us out for personal and political gain, for these saboteurs are very detrimental to our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
We must knock the brains out of structural racism in the United States. This means racism is a system-wide effort to “divide and conquer” the people. Divide and conquer is a very old tactic that was also used in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. It means winning by getting your enemies to fight against each other.
In the United States, white supremacists, under the guise of the Republican Party, have played a large role in dividing and conquering the working class, which includes the unemployed and underemployed.
The first British colonies in North America were set up as corporate-owned trading posts. They bought and sold raw materials and finished goods. At first, labor for the colonies was provided by poor white indentured servants; the servants were forced to work in order to pay off debts, and they were set free when the debt was paid.
The first Afrikans who came to the colonies were indentured servants, not slaves. White European and Black Afrikan servants lived, worked and socialized together. They generally got along because they bonded over shared conditions as members of the working class. This is one of the key points the IWW and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee has been trying to get across to all prisoners trapped inside the many slave camps and gulags in the United States.
In 1640, three servants ran away from their “master” in Virginia. They were John Punch (Black) and James Gregory (white), and a man named Victor, who was also white. All three men were caught and then whipped!
The two white men were sentenced to an additional four years of servitude. John Punch, the Black man, was ordered to be an indentured servant for the rest of his life.
This is the first case known of in U.S. history where someone was sentenced to servitude for life. This was a major step toward laying the foundations for the “legalized” slavery we see today in Amerika!
There were freedom fighters back then: Denmark Vessey, Gabriel Prosser, Nat Turner and Toussaint L’Overture. In the year 2017, the names have changed, but the struggle and yearning for freedom has not changed! In fact, the momentum is growing right now.
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa has called for California Gov. Jerry Brown to recognize the humanity of California prisoners. Comrade Malik has been influenced and inspired by the work and revolutionary practice of Comrade Sitawa. As we prepare for the first annual Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Aug. 19, 2017, in Washington, D.C., Comrade Malik has a very serious message to deliver.
Without further delay, comrades, I bring you Comrade Malik.
Revolutionary greetings, comrades! It is Black August and I am going to start things off with words of truth from our Field Marshal Comrade George L. Jackson in “Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson”:
“To the Man-Child: Tall, evil, graceful, brighteyed, Black man-child – Jonathan Peter Jackson – who died on Aug. 7, 1970, courage in one hand, assault rifle in the other; my brother, comrade, friend – the true revolutionary, the Black communist guerrilla in the highest state of development, he died on the trigger, scourge of the unrighteous, soldier of the people; to this terrible man-child and his wonderful mother, Georgia Bea, to Angela Y. Davis, my tender experience, I dedicate this collection of letters; to the destruction of their enemies, I dedicate my life.
Now I could end this essay right here and say nothing else – and for those in this movement who are fully “awake,” I would have said enough. They need no more encouragement; Comrade George said it ALL! But, everyone isn’t “there” yet; we still have work to do – can you feel me?
The game done changed, sisters and brothers. I’m not just talking to Texas anymore. I’m speaking to each and every one of you who is trapped inside one of these slave kamps throughout Amerika.
Let’s touch upon the phrase, I AM WE. It is an ancient African saying. To me it means: What affects you affects me. It means: We are together; we are one. I AM WE means that with unity, solidarity and agape love for one another, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal! By applying I AM WE, together we can crush imperialism, eradicate white supremacy, destroy patriarchy, change misogynistic attitudes and save our planet!
Texas had formulated a plan to shut me up and derail this MOVEMENT. However, instead of growing weaker, our voices have grown louder and stronger and this is not FAKE news – it’s real, y’all!
The March on Washington, D.C., is only one aspect of our struggle for human rights. We, the underclass, lumpen, who are in these plantations have to couple some action with the actions of our free world friends and allies. Freedom ain’t free! It never has been free. The road is paved with sacrifice. If you are not ready, please get the hell out of our way!
The ruling elite in this country are not going to make things easy for us. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already tipped his hand – it’s full of “Trump cards.” Sessions has directed all attorney generals across the U.S. to turn the clock back on us!
Just when we thought some relief was coming, just when we were hoping for freedom, a new reinvigorated War on Drugs is being waged against communities of color. Haven’t we endured enough? Haven’t our families been ravaged and torn apart enough by this country’s insatiable appetite to lock up the poor? But you see, comrades, this is their plan: social control!
In our ghettoes and barrios and trailer parks across this nation are emerging the next generation of leaders for the revolution. The imperialists see us in the streets by the thousands screaming and demanding justice. They are very uncomfortable. Sessions has been given marching orders, and we cannot make it easy for him. Putting down that “dope sack” is probably the best advice I can give to any young man in the streets right now, but that is just the beginning. There is more!
Protect and serve our hoods!
I laugh and sometimes cringe with anger when I see this motto of “Protect and Serve” emblazoned on the side of a police squad car, because I know, just like any New Afrikan in Amerika knows, this motto is a misnomer and a lie!
So our goal is to evict this occupying force and institute our own protection force. This won’t be easy.
In March 2017, I read an article in the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. NARN collective cadre member Abdul Olugbala Shakur raised an issue that struck a chord with me and numerous New Afrikan, Latina/o and white comrades across the United States when Abdul said: “In 2016, the city of Chicago had approximately 763 homicides and over 4,000 shootings and at least 95 percent of these victims were New Afrikans.”
I took this as a call to action, so I, along with my comrade and friend, Professor Justin Adkins of Allegheny College, created a YouTube video entitled, “Genocide in Chicago: We must not be silent.” We crafted our message in such a way that I spoke directly to the people on the street and we asked the street tribe members to put the guns down and protect those who are seeking an education. See, that is what is going to have to happen. We are going to have to take ownership and responsibility for our people. Protect and serve!
Through our online video message, we put forth a strategy which seeks to tap into the political power that young people in Chicago have not utilized yet.
Our thinking is this: If Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not meeting the needs of all his constituents, maybe it is time we put our own candidate in office. There certainly is power in the gun, but when you are using the gun to kill the people in your own community, it is called homicidal murder and GENOCIDE. That is not Revolution!
Comrade George said in “Blood in My Eye”: “Our insistence on military actions, defensive and retaliatory, has nothing to do with romanticism or precipitous idealistic fervor. We want to be effective. We want to live. Our history teaches us that the successful liberation struggles require an armed people, a whole people, actively participating in the struggle for their liberty!”
Doesn’t this sound like something you would like to be a part of? Comrades, and I am talking to all sisters and brothers, we are going to have to take our destiny into our own hands and commence to withdraw our free labor. We must begin the process of shutting these slave kamps all the way down!
Sure, we’ll come up in a month or so, but then we will plan on another and then another and then another! I say to the oppressor: “You want to continue to ignore our humanity?” “You want to continue to beat us, abuse us, lie to the public about it, and exploit us?” “You don’t believe fat meat is greasy? Well, U.S. slave empire, we are going to show you!”
I am not going to talk this subject to death. I am going to close with a final quote from Comrade George Jackson, speaking of his brother Jonathan in “Remembering the Real Dragon, an interview with George Jackson May 16 and June 29, 1971” by Karen Wald:
“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.”
Comrades, I dedicate this piece to Comrades George and Jonathan Jackson and Comrade Hasan Shakur. May they rest in power!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win.
All Power to the People!
Send our brother some love and light: Keith Washington, 1487958, Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Road 1, Lovelady TX 75851.