Re-Build: New Afrikan People’s Assembly

by Kwame ‘Beans’ Shakur, Co-Founder and Chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective (NALC)

Booker T. Washington Park Community Center in Terra Haute, IN, was originally founded in 1970 as the Hyte Center for community liberation, operating as a soup kitchen, gymnasium, classroom and library.

On Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, NALC will be hosting the “Re-Build: New Afrikan People’s Assembly” at Deming Park in Terre Haute, Indiana, in the Larrison Pavillion and the Lions 3 Shelter. This People’s Assembly is an effort to not only educate and organize the local New Afrikan-Black community around our vision to regain control over our lives, land and institutions within our own community, but a national conference for citizens of the Republic of New Afrika (The New Afrikan Nation), members of the Provisional Government (PG-RNA), and our leading formations who are in unison to create a collective struggle. It’s about turning theory into practice!

A lot of people criticize and carry out ideological struggles against Black Lives Matter and the NAACP for their national bourgeois, reformist qualities. The reason they are able to reach and organize the masses, achieve economic support from celebrities with millions in donations is because they organize on a grassroots level and from city to city, state to state, their chapters are organized; their presidents and leadership are working together.

Let’s take a look at the ruling enemy class and the United States colonial government. The working class people of the world and our revolutionary forces would have long ago toppled U.S. imperialism if their elected officials and government agencies were in the state of disarray that we are. Imagine if their local and state pigs and FBI worked independently in each city, or if the Democratic and Republican Party didn’t function on a national level or campaign to “sell” their policy to each of their respective bases.

The establishment would truly be a paper tiger, each formation weak, isolated and vulnerable to attack. That’s not the way nations and parties operate, especially those neo-colonized peoples who are struggling to organize the people toward liberation and self-determination.

When you look up the definition of “revisionist” in Webster’s New World dictionary, it describes: 1. A Marxist advocating socialism by means of gradual reforms rather than through revolution. 2. A person who advocates a radically different theory or interpretation, as of particular historical events, from that which is generally accepted – adjective: of revisionist or their policy or practice.

For many years, every August the center was home to the Afrikan Festival, bringing a sense of pride and culture to our community.

The overall movement and what it means to be a revolutionary in North Amerikkka seems to be in a state of revisionism. Everybody likes to quote Lenin when he made the statement, “Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement,” but without practice and applying that theory into action, it means nothing. If a group of medical scientists discovered a revolutionary cure for AIDS or cancer, yet all they did for 40 years was write books and give lectures on the theory of curing the disease instead of creating the vaccine to heal the people, their work would have no tangible significance.

And although they seem to have the ability to rid these people of the deadly disease altogether, the people are going to see no other option but to settle for a less permanent treatment to pacify their illness. That’s where we are right now as a national and an independent movement – we seem to be ignoring the fundamental principles of revolutionary socialist theory: going amongst the masses and our community to educate and organize them around class contradictions in order to raise their consciousness and develop revolutionary mentalities.

As revolutionary nationalists, we must engage in revolutionary activity, develop programs with and for the people that meet their daily needs, while also creating autonomy within the community.

It does no good to have these discussions behind closed doors, to only hold events and distribute packets or periodicals amongst cadre and the conscious community. We already know these things. We have to organize these town hall meetings and people’s assemblies and introduce the unconscious masses to our policy.

Not much on the agenda since the city bought the Booker T. Washington Park Community Center. The People’s Assembly will work to re-instate programming here, a crucial step toward organizing our community toward collective self-determination.

We see the Democratic Party gearing up for the 2020 elections; their nominees are already holding their own town hall meetings. For us not to be doing the same thing is for us to not overstand or combat neo-colonialism in this kkkountry. Every one of their campaign strategies is going to be to point out how terrible and racist Trump is, so it’s important that everyone vote in order to prevent a re-election.

And with everything the Trump regime and the Republican Party have done to turn every colonized nation, oppressed class and gender against him, what do we think is going to happen? We aren’t giving them a cure for their disease – a majority of the “Black” community doesn’t even know that we exist.

So instead of taking all that agitation and focusing on building community, mobilizing all that energy and resources around our own needs, the neo-colonial sock puppets and political sharecroppers are going to campaign in our community and convince our people to vote for their favorite Democratic nominee.

Why does a small minority class own and control all the means and modes of production in society? Why do WE, and other lower working class people, not own and control the land, property and business relations within our community?

When a people first come in contact with colonialism, they are keenly aware of the violent process that is taking place around them to strip its people of their identity, nationality, culture, language and independence. Therefore, they naturally resist and fight to hold onto these.

At this stage, the colonizer and colonial government still has to use colonial violence in the form of physical force and military aggression in order to maintain control and implement its foreign education, economic, political and socio-cultural system into the homes and minds of the oppressed peoples. After hundreds of years of this debasing and dehumanization, the physical force is no longer necessary. The people have become a self-refueling neo-colony, subordinate to the colonist and the interest of the ruling class.

Enter neo-colonialism: The colonized peoples, in our case the “Black” community, no longer realize that they are being colonized as an oppressed Afrikan nation within this oppressor prison house of nations (U.S. empire). The unconscious masses have no knowledge of self; they no longer resist or question the illegitimacy of our situation. The status quo is all they know, so they do not question capitalist, colonial rule and its class structure.

Why does a small minority class own and control all the means and modes of production in society? Why do WE, and other lower working class people, not own and control the land, property and business relations within our community? In a neo-colonial era, the masses no longer struggle for independence and self-government to control their own educational, economic and political affairs.

Instead, they are content with solely sending their children to public schools to be trained on what to think vs. being educated on how to think. And instead of organizing amongst ourselves to change our social reality, we aspire to become, or vote for, leaders in the Democratic and Republican Party outside of our community to change things and make it better. This is an illness.

The objective of the revolutionary is to create revolution and cure this illness. The unconscious masses in their colonial mentality have been programmed to fear and disassociate themselves from the terms “revolutionary” and “revolution.”

The People were able to get behind these vanguards and national leaders because they made themselves known and available to the masses. The People’s Assembly is a clarion call for us to set an example and take our struggle to the next level for our nation’s leadership.

Revolution simply means to create change and transform the minds of the colonized woman and man, thus creating a New People to challenge the old ideas and ways of colonial society in order to develop a new, independent one. However, this cannot and will not happen unless we test our revolutionary theory by going amongst and struggling with the People!

Their consciousness is not going to grow and develop on its own. The people knew who Marcus Garvey (Universal Negro Improvement Association) was during that time period, the people knew who Bro. Malcolm was; the people knew who Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense were. In the late ‘60s and the early ‘70s they knew what the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika was – the People were able to get behind these vanguards and national leaders because they made themselves known and available to the masses.

This People’s Assembly is not just an Indiana thing; this is not just an NALC thing. This is a New Afrikan Independence Movement National Conference. This is an initiative on behalf of the Front for the Liberation of the New Afrikan Nation (FROLINAN) and those cadre individuals and formations who support our effort to re-build.

This is a clarion call for us to set an example and take our struggle to the next level for our nation’s leadership, making this trip about more than speaking on a panel and educating the local community on our policy – it’s about the connection and face to face dialogue before and after the assembly with other cadre. A nation needs to develop solidarity and a collective mastery of the restoration of nationhood to its people.

Therefore, the promotion and propaganda leading up to the People’s Assembly should be a coordinated effort from people all across the nation. The same way we all wrote articles in SF Bay View and pushed for the Millions 4 Prisoners Human Rights March in 2017; the same way we all coordinated and participated in the 2018 National Prison Strike – we should expect to see the same flood of articles for Re-Build: New Afrikan People’s Assembly.

We would hope to experience that same level of networking and energy our comrades on the outside put into Nation Day each year, and that same level of commitment from the elders as well as support from the PG-RNA.

The Booker T. Washington Community Center was first founded as the Hyte Center in 1970. Mr. Franklin Brown was a founding member and chairman of the board. My grandfather, Robert “Bob” Joyner Sr., also a founding member, was vice chairman. It served as a community liberation center, clinic, soup kitchen, gymnasium and weight room, classrooms and library.

As a kid and young teen, I attended after school programs and summer school classes there. Each and every August we had the Afrikan Festival, and it brought a sense of pride and culture to our community as New Afrikans of all ages and backgrounds would attend and set up their booths. The city owns the center now, and it is not being utilized to its fullest potential.

Just last year, Chairman Brown passed on to be with the ancestors, and up until that time he had been working with a local pastor from the Booker T. Washington neighborhood on proposals to get programs going again at the center. We are now working with this pastor as well, and the People’s Assembly is the first step toward organizing my own community toward self-determination in regards to land and community control.

We will dedicate a portion of the People’s Assembly to Mr. Brown, my grandfather and their comrades by having family members and surviving elders who were around during that time reflect on the work and sacrifices they made for our community – including armed confrontations with the Ku Klux Klan, as well as what the Hyte Center meant and means to us as a community, and why it’s important that we struggle to regain access to it and control over our own institutions. Let’s Re-build! ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Chairman Kwame “Beans” Shakur

Send our brother some love and light: Michael Joyner, 149677, WVCF, P.O. Box 1111, Carlisle IN 46391