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In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
Steve Bloom, a comrade and veteran activist, asked me several questions regarding my contribution to “Look for Me in the Whirlwind.” The questions delve into aspects of our political struggle against oppression back in the 1960s and ‘70s and are still pressing concerns. My story is closer to what untold numbers of highly motivated 1960s and 1970s “revolutionaries” usually don’t write about or discuss nowadays. I believe I have answered comrade Steve Bloom’s questions.
I cried, “Help, Mama Harriet, help!” and you, ... Beautiful young warriors, came Toyi-toying ... from Ferguson, Baltimore, The Town, etc. ... Through teargas clouds, pepper spray storms ... You came tying traffic into hangman nooses, ... shutting malls down like open and shut cases ... of killer cops who walk. You came wrestling ... Your minds out of the hands of exploiters!
When activist Mercutio Southall Jr. was curled up on the ground getting kicked, punched and choked by Donald Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, he thought: “I can’t die today. I’ve got shit to do. I have little kids. Fuck these people.” Southall told ThinkProgress that he decided to go to Trump’s event with two friends in order to speak out against the frontrunner candidate’s “racist” rhetoric.
Nelson’s film documents what those who lived through it already know – that the Panthers quickly became a mass movement throughout the country. Their message of unqualified resistance to racism, armed self-defense and anti-capitalist revolutionary politics galvanized the creation of chapters of the Party in nearly every city and state of the U.S. Much has been written by and about the Panthers. But Nelson’s film is the best short introduction to the Party to date.
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (1912 – 2006), pre-eminent photographer, musician, activist, filmmaker and writer, would have been 103 years old this year. This is not as outlandish a figure as it might seem, given that there have recently been a flood of centenarians living well into the turn of the next century. But did you know that he was born dead? Watch the wonderful documentary, “Half Past Autumn: The Life and work of Gordon Parks,” to find out more!
Nine people were killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, co-founded by Denmark Vesey, whose rebellion was planned for June 17, 193 years ago. Victims included South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of the historic church. This is nothing short of a terrorist assassination. Watch the videos updating this story, including President Obama's eulogy of Pastor Pinckney on June 26 and the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds by a Black woman, Bree Newsome on June 27.
This brief introduction to Selma’s bottom up history can help students and others learn valuable lessons for today. As SNCC veteran and filmmaker Judy Richardson said: “If we don’t learn that it was people just like us – our mothers, our uncles, our classmates, our clergy – who made and sustained the modern Civil Rights Movement, then we won’t know we can do it again. And then the other side wins – even before we ever begin the fight.”
General measures could move the cultural discussion and peoples’ behaviors in the right direction, whereas a focus on restricting gun ownership – except for people who fit appropriate medico-legal exclusion criteria – will probably worsen our cultural crisis, increase discrimination and police attacks, and increase the danger of greater social violence and chaos.