Baba Shaka At-Thinnin transitions – and leaves a legacy of resistance

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“Baba Shaka was a movement elder, former political prisoner and co-founder of the Black August Organizing Committee (BAOC) and Black August [Resistance], who came up in the ranks under Prison Movement leader, activist, writer and Black Panther Field Marshall George Jackson. After being released from prison, Baba Shaka dedicated his life to the community through his work as an educator, organizer, mentor and activist for the freedom for those unjustly imprisoned and those held in solitary confinement for long periods, and for liberation of all.” – Family of Baba Shaka At-Thinnin.

by Black August Organizing Committee

Baba Shaka At-Thinnin became an Ancestor April 23, 2022. Shaka’s commitment to Black August was parallel to none. His name will forever be synonymous with BA. Baba Shaka carried the torch with guerilla love and respect. 

Below is a short excerpt of an interview with Baba Shaka At-Thinnin on Aug. 18, 2016, from the George Jackson University Radio podcast speaking on the Black August Organizing Committee. In this excerpt, Minister of Information of the PG-RNA (Provisional Government Republic of New Afrika) Bomani Uhuru Jihad Shakur asks the questions and had been speaking on Black August unity, education, menticide, genocide and commemoration in the people’s war for liberation.

“I’m listening to you all’s words and they’re so inspiring. I hope there’s a lot of people, thousands and thousands of people, listening because there’s lots of serious knowledge, and you kinda don’t realize that we have gone full circle, that we have gone back to the beginning where we have to start reeducating folks to the things that are necessary for Nationhood.” – OG Shaka, Chairman of the BAOC

Bomani: How was Black August originated? And what was the purpose of it?

Shaka: OK, the origins of it were twofold. It was a commemoration (Black August Memorial), as we had been doing inside for years, of all those freedom fighters we had lost from our midst because we had suffered at the hands of this state, this government, for years without being able to get that message fully to the outside world. People would see isolated incidents or they would see certain names pop up and they would consider them isolated incidents, so they really didn’t understand that there was a systematic policy that was destroying us. They were killing us by policy. When you hear the term NHI, No Humans Involved, that’s the way we were considered, and we were beneath that particular rule. 

As Afrikans we were considered the lowest of the low. So anything, all of the torture tactics, all of the chemicals, weapons, new tools they had for controlling people they used on us first. And as a result, we had to form an organ, a body, a unity amongst ourselves to protect ourselves.

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OG Baba Shaka At-Thinnin, keeper of the sacred Black August Organizing Committee’s archives.

Then the idea was to enlighten the outside world, to shine the spotlight on what was happening in there [prison]; to get rid of all the lies, the coverups, the subterfuge and all of that and make them understand what was really happening; to get people in there to come and investigate. 

So, Black August was about re-educating those individuals who were willing to be re-educated. Who were willing to stand up, who were willing to help in defending the young Afrikans that came in off the bus, who got preyed on, got raped, got robbed, beaten and all that. We formed ourselves into an entity to protect them. To protect the young Panthers that came in off the streets as political prisoners and were immediately preyed on by the establishment. 

We tried to defend them from the other races who were sicced on them. People like Jalil Muntaqim, who’s down in New York now (Jalil Muntaqim came home Oct. 7, 2020). They all came through where we were, they all came through us in San Quentin and Tracy and all these places, and we put our arms around them and protected them and made sure they survived because they were Freedom Fighters. They still are Freedom Fighters.

Bomani: What exactly is Black August Resistance (BAR)?

Shaka: Resistance. When we say Black August Resistance … Now, obviously we’re talking about Freedom Fighters and the struggle for Liberation. But, resistance is more on an individual level. We ask people to resist, especially in the month of August, those things that they know are detrimental to themselves and to us as a people and to us as a community. We ask them to resist the things like going in and out of these fast food joints; we ask them to resist the urge to use these drugs and alcohol and all those kinds of things; we ask them to consciously resist the urge to downgrade, defame, demoralize their people, their family, their sisters and brothers, their neighbors or anything – other Afrikans, period. We ask them to resist the urge to just be of no use to our community, to their family, to anyone. So, resistance is about individually taking on the task of rebuilding yourself. 

Can’t stop, Won’t stop.

Special editor’s note: In last month’s issue, we ran a tribute to Paul Redd who transitioned to the ancestors June 19, 2022, made up of “Songs of tribute” by the people who loved and revered him. One last “song” came to us after print, so we’re including it here with permission from the Black August Organizing Committee.

“I would like to say a few words about the man I had the honor and pleasure of knowing. Paul and I met in prison behind the lines. I had heard of him way before we actually met, as his notoriety preceded him. We connected from the start, forming a lasting bond of trust and friendship. 

“He was an astute student versed in law, what many refer to as a Jailhouse Lawyer. Paul helped many prisoners attain their freedom over the years, as well as helped to bring much needed change and reform to the prison system as a whole. A couple in particular were helping to initiate the California Prisoner Hunger Strikes and also the call to cease hostilities within the prison system – his input was most valuable. 

“Unfortunately, the vast majority of his 44 years in prison was spent in various Security Housing Units aka SHUs throughout the system. He had not only passion but equally a gift for helping people less versed in law behind the walls. His paralegal status afforded him the opportunity to spend countless hours dabbling in the science of law in pursuit of justice, in which law and justice aren’t the same. 

“I will dearly miss my dear friend, Brother and mentor, a man of hope, truth and vision. Rest in power, Comrade.” 

– Richard Johnson

Hear and empower yourself with the entire interview at: