by Mutope Duguma
1619 began the forced exportation of Afrikans to what is now called the United States. Between 1619 and 1776, this severe form of chattel slavery flourished within the 13 British colonies: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Simultaneously declaring independence from its mother country on July 4, 1776, the newly formed United States government took over this stolen land, including perpetuating the vicious system of chattel slavery. These enduring atrocities continued from 1776 to 1865.
Abraham Lincoln signed the so-called Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, which ended chattel slavery as we knew it.
The Black Codes law, instituted by the Confederate states, lasted for 12 years – and I’m not talking about “12 Years a Slave” the movie. From 1865 to 1877, this newly created exclusion and exploitation system through segregation found the newly emancipated slaves continually denied fundamental human, civil and political rights.
New Afrikans were kept in slavery by denying them a right to life. This includes the right to vote; right to employment; right to freely move about; right to own Land; right to education; right to decent housing; right to adequate food and clothing; right to a fair and just judicial system and much more.
After the U.S. government’s Black Code laws, radical republican state governments replaced the laws with newly introduced measures systematically embraced by this nation – enacted in the South from 1877 through the 1950s, which legalized racial segregation via Jim Crow laws for nearly 100 years.
Pattern of practice
Our Afrikan ancestors, continually forced to make their way, were repeatedly denied any rights and were frequently subjected to vicious racist attacks by local, state and federal government officials. They were using vagrancy laws to criminalize New Afrikans, making unemployment a violation of state and federal law while allowing the same system to shut them out of the job market.
Once convicted under the vagrancy laws, they would be off to prison, where slavery is codified as legal under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Using judicial proceedings, thousands of New Afrikans were incarcerated under these vagrancy and Jim Crow laws, ensuring that they were locked into legal free slave labor, the government’s official objective.
Pattern of practice
As a domestic colonized nation (DCN) within the United States’ borders, the struggle for self-determination started for New Afrikans in this country in 1619. We have always resisted the brutal system of slavery and injustice forced on us by the local, state and federal governments. New Afrikans rebelled through civil disobedience, violent revolts on slave plantations and present-day uprisings in cities all over Amerika.
Pattern of practice
The struggle for civil rights in this country can easily define the pattern of practice. President Andrew Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 after Congress passed it. It was supposed to include New Afrikans in the citizenship and extensive civil rights for all persons born in the United States, except Native Americans.
The Civil Rights Act of 1870 was a law passed to re-enact the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which was considered questionable constitutionally. The 1870 law was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1883.
The Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964 and 1968 were testaments to the consistency of a resistance struggle for civil rights in this country by New Afrikans and the countless others.
Then the Civil Rights Act of 1875, a federal law, was passed to outlaw discrimination in public places because of race or previous servitude. Then again, the act was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of decisions 1883-1885, which stated that the 14th Amendment, the constitutional basis of the act, protected individual rights against infringement by the state, not by other individuals.
Pattern of practice
The Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964 and 1968 were testaments to the consistency of a resistance struggle for civil rights in this country by New Afrikans and the countless others who joined in this Civil and Human Rights Movement.
Yet, the system would continue with the U.S. and state governments with judicial proceedings interfering every step of the way and obstructing the human and civil rights for New Afrikans for almost 103 years. And we are right back where we started, today, fighting for our human and civil rights.
Pattern of practice
Here is where the real injustices occur, the pattern of practice’s actual classist and racist application: As long as all government branches systemically deny the human and civil rights of New Afrikans, we will be fighting indefinitely. The government forces New Afrikans to address this issue every year.
NOTE: I have always been of the mindset that we validate a system that does not believe in the human and civil rights that we as a domestic, colonized nation have always desired. It is not surprising that we are not receiving the fundamental human and civil rights we seek.
After four centuries of struggle, one would think it’s clear that we will not be afforded these rights. Yet, we continue, generation after generation, to appeal to our oppressors as if their heart has softened, while countless people continue to suffer.
We hold the power to grant human and civil rights – we the people, not the government!
Brief historical perspective
In our struggle for independence, it is essential to highlight Denmark Vesey, famous for leading the 1822 slave revolt; Martin Delany, one of the first Black nationalists and a physician; and Marcus Garvey of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The UNIA nationalized us as a people and was a catalyst for many freedom movements to come.
These civil and human rights organizations were instrumental in laying the foundation for more progressive struggles to take center stage in our fight for liberation: The Nation of Islam (NOI), The Black Liberation Movement (BLM), which gave life to the Black Panther Party (BPP), Republic of New Afrika (RNA), Black Liberation Army (BLA) and countless other revolutionary formations that became the face for struggle for Black liberation and freedom in Amerika.
The New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) was established – and our struggle continues – for self-determination to govern ourselves as a New Afrikan independent nation within Amerika’s borders. In contrast, New Afrikans would attempt to mobilize our people around socio-cultural, political and economic principles that speak to our humanity as a people, bringing into focus an ideology that represents the core of our identity, lifestyle and beliefs, inclusive of all humanity.
Throughout our struggle, the Civil Rights Movement was and is of astronomical value to our Resistance Movement.
These movements would progress to the mid-1970s. Simultaneously, the state and federal governments waged a concerted, vicious campaign to stamp out all New Afrikan movements, whether peaceful or radical. The local, state and federal law enforcement agencies worked in conjunction to murder and incarcerate any New Afrikans fighting for basic humanity and the right to self-determination.
Suppression programs waged against our people, such as COINTELPRO, instilled fear.
These repressive attacks by the government jeopardized the political and ideological development of our people. The brutal suppression programs waged against our people, such as COINTELPRO, instilled fear, forcing the struggle for freedom and, to some extent, the fight of the people to take a back seat.
Pattern of Practice – lost communities
The attacks imposed on our communities included the opening of the flood gates to street vices. They introduced and unleashed on New Afrikan communities, extreme poverty, drugs, alcohol, police, guns, etc., all weapons of mass destruction.
At the same time, New Afrikans would move toward assimilation into Amerikan society’s fabric, especially the professional New Afrikans, who provide a service to exploit for Amerika’s corporate interests – not the best interest of the People, thus creating a situation where what little wealth and resources were within the communities was outsourced.
The more economically deprived the New Afrikan community became, the more desperate it would become. It is here where all sense of society began to be lost – each individual trying to survive at the expense of everyone else, by any means necessary.
From 1975 to the present generation, has left New Afrikans to their own devices causing them to be compromised by the vices just spoken.
Pattern of practice – weapons of mass destruction
In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, with government support, PCP, pills and heroin were heavily pumped into our communities. The 1980s and 1990s saw PCP and crack cocaine devastate our neighborhoods. In the mid-1980s and 1990s, the government supported a high concentration of guns being pumped into our communities.
Within our New Afrikan communities, there are drive-through, fast-food restaurants causing mass obesity. Liquor stores saturate the neighborhood, enabling easy access to alcohol. Toxic chemical plants became common around us, causing all kinds of ailments.
Next came the occupation by the state militarized police departments, where police have saturated the community, murdering our children and people with impunity.
Pattern of practice – declaration of wars
The government implemented its declaration of wars against the New Afrikan communities:
War on the unemployed: Countless so-called “newly freed” slaves were incarcerated to enslave them under the U.S. Constitution, starting with convict leasing.
War on crime: This came in the 1970s-1980s; thousands of New Afrikans were criminalized under the war on crime.
War on drugs: In the 1980s and 1990s, this was a tool to imprison New Afrikans at alarming rates – 50 percent of those incarcerated in the Prison Industrial Slave Complex (PISC) are New Afrikans.
The so-called “first Black” President, Bill Clinton, signed the 1994 Crime Bill – killing many New Afrikans and countless others by proxy.
War on gangs: In the mid-1980s, 1990s and 2000s, the war on gangs terrorized New Afrikan communities. This war saw the intense use of battering rams, SWAT teams, gang injunctions, police at schools, gentrification, illegal evictions, intense occupation – all carried out under the guise of a war on gangs.
War on domestic and global terrorism: In the mid-1990s, this war was declared and would be used to open up an aggressive form of fascism on the New Afrikan communities, placing our entire community under the fascist eye of “big brother” with government tracking devices and cameras strategically placed in our communities.
The forces of fascism – corporate Amerikan government – hindered economic and political development under the 1996 Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). This subjected thousands of poor New Afrikans to civil death. Under this new draconian law, thousands of poor folks serving life sentences are told they have one year to file an appeal to the state court, on their post-conviction.
We’re talking about people who can barely read and write. That would mean they come into prison, learn law within a years’ time and litigate their conviction within that year. If not, they will forfeit their appeal, sealing their fate in these prisons for the rest of their natural lives, where most will die.
The so-called “first Black” President, Bill Clinton, signed this law – and is also the author of the 1994 Crime Bill – killing many New Afrikans and countless others by proxy. These declarations of war are all coded declarations toward declaring war on the New Afrikan People.
Pattern of practice – economic deprivation
The government and corporate Amerika have been active participants in ensuring that New Afrikans and their communities remain economically deprived by maintaining control of all the wealth inside these communities. They own 90 percent of the community’s commercial and state properties that they allow to be unkempt – schools, businesses, buildings, lots and empty fields.
Those born and raised in these communities watch their property values drop due to the neighboring property’s desolate conditions. They are not permitted to maintain or utilize the land for the community’s interest. Only when an offer is made to purchase the desolate property are the true intentions of government and corporate actions exposed.
Many New Afrikan Political Prisoners are being held for their political beliefs, the most educated of our people, kept in isolation for decades in state and federal prisons – torture chambers.
Owners attempt to hide behind state or federal policies that prevent the property from being sold or given to the people to improve on. The excuse is that the property is in a low-end area, riddled with crime. Or the corporate owners will attempt to place some huge, out-of-the-ordinary price on such desolate property.
They have no use for it, other than using it as an instrument to devalue the already struggling, economically deprived communities. This scheme has been used for centuries to create poverty-stricken environments all over Amerika, especially in New Afrikan communities.
Pattern of practice – political prisoners
The U.S. government sanctioned the many New Afrikan Political Prisoners held worldwide in solitary confinement units, tortured by state and federal government workers for their political beliefs. We’re talking about the most educated of our people, kept in isolation for decades, with no end in sight for release from these state and federal prisons – torture chambers.
Many have dedicated their lives to improving our living conditions and empowering the people so they can control the socio-cultural, political and economic systems that ultimately dictate how their lives will be. We must, as humans, reach back to these folks who have sacrificed so much.
Pattern of practice – modern-day slave plantations
The government deliberately calculated building its PISC in strategic areas. They are providing a surplus of modern-day slaves – the new plantation system – to its many dilapidating, economically deprived white, rural communities creating jobs at the expense of other impoverished human beings.
This has been a very creative way of laundering taxpayers’ money back into white communities. We are talking trillions of dollars over time.
Pattern of practice – main culprits
Corporate Amerika works hand in hand with the United States government against the New Afrikan community. It is using its institutions to carry out race and class warfare. Mass media uses a psychological profile that glamorizes a subsidiary subculture. It is used to dehumanize, devalue, degrade and desensitize New Afrikans to the rest of the world and ourselves.
No matter what our oppressors did to us, we would still be Afrikans.
This is an on-going marketing campaign toward our social, cultural, political and economic genocide. There has always been an indictment against New Afrikans by the government, implemented through policies and laws, tracked easily throughout our 400 years in this country.
Politicians who are the power brokers of this nation use the Black establishment, the Latino establishment, the Asian establishment, the Arab establishment and countless others as willing participants in carrying out institutionalized racism and race and class warfare. Inside policies, whether domestic or foreign, have been genocidal toward Black, Brown and poor human beings.
Pattern of practice – conclusion
There seems to be one thing that the Democrats, Republicans and Independent politicians can agree on unanimously: the declaration of wars – depriving human beings of basic necessities, such as adequate educational institutions, adequate jobs and proper housing, adequate food and sanitized water.
If we are truly about the social justice movement, the people must address corporate racism and institutionalized racism. It is the only way we can attempt to achieve something regarding ending the prevalent injustices that plague us as humans.
The term New Afrikan defines us as a people. We as descendants have evolved as a domestic-colonized nation inside Amerika. Negating the deliberate contradiction caused by our identity crisis and the many classifications often given to us by others – n-word, Negro, Colored, Black, Afro-Amerikan, Afrikan Amerikan and the many names we place on ourselves out of ignorance: mixed, multi-racial, colored, Creole, dark skin, light skin, half breed – we have to understand our historical contradiction because we evolved on slave plantations into a domestic, colonized nation.
Our ancestors from many different countries all over the continent of Afrika were forced to coalesce. They didn’t speak the same language or share the same socio-cultural, political or ideological beliefs. Yet, they were all colonized under a system of oppression: slavery.
It’s here where we evolved into New Afrikans. No matter what our oppressors did to us, we would still be Afrikans. Everything we were and believed in was made anew – even our identity to some degree. So it’s part of our history that we identify with our Afrikan heritage and legacy, forever connecting us to the land and people from whom we all descend. We are New Afrikans.
One Love, One Struggle,
Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma, D05996, LAC B5-141, P.O. Box 4490, Lancaster, CA 93539. Mutope was the “chronicler” of the 2011-2013 mass hunger strikes, the largest such strikes in history. He, with his cellmate Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, a “main rep” and the principle Black leader of the strikes, wrote a progress (sometimes regress) report for each issue of the Bay View newspaper. It was largely those reports that drew 30,000 prisoners to participate in the last, largest and longest strike, in 2013.