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Jan. 1, 2019, marks 10 years since the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. In the lead up to this grim anniversary, a number of articles, multimedia pieces, radio programs and television news segments have been produced to commemorate the occasion. Especially moving are those that give voice to Oscar’s family and friends. But it’s rare to see significant tribute paid to the fact that were it not for the vigor and relentlessness of protesters and activists, Oscar Grant would have received little to no justice.
As white fists swung at me and dirty cheap boots kicked me, Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Fred Hampton, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser and many other influential Black figures flashed across my mind. It was like a revelation or a spiritual awakening advising me that this racially motivated attack by white cowards, as Black cowards shielded witnesses from seeing the volley of punches thrown, is how agents of repression respond to resistance.
America does not build pyramids; it builds prisons. A much more monumental domestication project, involving millions of people, not mere thousands. The SICK’s domestication project today is a vast prisoner-warehousing complex, which produces the crime and criminals necessary to keep the people in fear in order to justify the current system of command and control – the police, prosecutors, courts and prisons – to keep everyone else in line. Yes, this means you outside these fences.
Movement people must start reading the great works from the past that give us the first steps of understanding how we can set this oppressive and neo-liberal world on fire. One of the good things about the book “1968” is how it delineates for 21st century revolutionaries the international composition of revolutionary activity in every country on the planet. It shows why this struggle, to be successful, must be international in scope and range. Capitalism-imperialism is a worldwide system. Our political and economic system called the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution must be international in scope and range.
“Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love of Revolution. Pass on the torch. Join us, give your life for the people.” – George Jackson
At 6:13 a.m. on July 23, Big Man joined the ancestors. Above all else, Elbert “Big Man” Howard loved his comrades and all oppressed people, who he never stopped fighting for. His Celebration of Live will be on Saturday, Aug. 25, 1 p.m., in the Bobby Hutton Grove inside of DeFremery Park, Oakland. Big Man was responsible for a free medical clinic for sickle-cell anemia and a work-study program for parolees at Merritt College. He was the first editor of The Black Panther newspaper, rebuilt Black Panther chapters decimated by COINTELPRO and built Solidarity Committees in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
On Aug. 30, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick posted birthday wishes to Fred Hampton with Hampton’s picture and a quotation of something he said: “You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” The 49ers played the Chicago Bears last year on Dec. 4, 2016, the anniversary of Hampton’s assassination by a tactical unit of state, city and federal officers. Kaepernick wore a Fred Hampton T-shirt to the postgame press conference.
I ain’t gonna front – I shed tears when Trump and his minions were elected. The impending doom that is a Trump presidency is the result of a white America unable to swallow the conspicuousness of Black perfection, and a corollary of white rage. Black people have been shot, burned and lynched, but we did not die. Our hearts and minds have been subject to unspeakable trauma, and still we got back up. Persistence and lightenin’ spits from our fingers and truth is our ammunition. This is all too much for white America. Our perfection is our savior and it should not be feared.
Oct. 12 is the birthday of one of the most talented and promising young men martyred in the massive state repression against the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter. Unlike Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver and George Jackson, Carter has almost been forgotten from the history of Africans in America except for diehards. Carter, then 26 (born Oct. 12, 1942), was assassinated on Jan. 17, 1969 in a Campbell Hall classroom at UCLA in Los Angeles.
In three days, Iris Canada turns 100. Did you expect to live this long? Did you imagine bearing witness to the Black community’s dwindling to 3 percent of the population of San Francisco? In your dreams, did you think that your building would be sold and that you would have to endure an Ellis Act eviction whose sole aim was to extricate you from your home? Iris, with a voice so soft – tell me.
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.
“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” by Stanley Nelson is a documentary about a Black revolutionary organization in a revolutionary time. It is one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen that intends to tell the history of an organization that shook the world and fundamentally changed the way that Black people in the United States have looked at themselves for nearly half a century. It’s screening in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Rafael on Oct. 2. The Oakland screening is Saturday, Oct. 3, 1 p.m., Piedmont Theater, 4186 Piedmont Ave., followed by Q&A with Stanley Nelson and former Oakland Panther Steve McCutchen.
Directed and performed by Dr. Ayodele Nzinga and The Lower Bottom Playaz, “King Hedley II” is the ninth of the late Afrikan playwright August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, a 10-play docudrama of Afrikan life in the U.S. during the 20th century. This all Afrikan theatre company is on its way to performing the cycle in its entirety, a feat unparalleled in world history, and delivers a riveting performance. Hurry! The play closes Sunday.
Here is the story of two legends who gave everything to their people for decades and continued to their last breaths. Salute to the Freeman brothers, Roland and Elder. Elder Freeman was a mentor and uncle-like community figure at whose feet I sat for half my life, learning from him and his comrades fundamental lessons: true African communalism and how to sincerely love Black people through action
In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords totally transformed the psychology of people in the United States with their survival programs, their muti-layered platforms, their fight for human rights against capitalism and imperialism, and their armed self-defense against the police. On Oct. 24, “Party People,” a play developed and directed by Liesl Tommy, premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theater.
My comrade Obi Egbuna’s father, with the same name, recently passed, and it was not until his old man died that I became aware of Senior’s well-documented history in the Pan African Movement. I am honored to salute the life of his father, Obi Egbuna Sr., and to enlighten our readers on some Pan Afrikan history. Here is Obi Egbuna Jr. in his own words ...
Rickey Vincent’s new book, “Party Music,” about the Black Panther Party singing group The Lumpen is a great read. The revolutionary singing group was all about the ideology of the Black Panther Party in song and music. The Lumpen had a powerful show. They mixed the contemporary music of James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Motown and changed the lyrics to provide a positive message in their music.
The ethnic cleansing of Black and Brown broadcasters off the airwaves this year claimed not only the careers of Luke Stewart, formerly of Washington, D.C.’s WPFW, Weyland Southon, formerly of the Bay Area’s KPFA, and myself, formerly of KPFA, but it also claimed one of its most talented producers, Dr. Jared Ball of WPFW.
2013 marks the 43rd anniversary of Black August, first organized to honor our fallen freedom fighters, George and Jonathan Jackson, James McClain, William Christmas, Khatari Gaulden and sole survivor of the Aug. 7, 1970, Courthouse Slave Rebellion, Ruchell Cinque Magee. During these four decades, we’ve witnessed a steady revision of the meaning of Black August and its inherent ideology.
The Blueford family and the Justice 4 Alan Blueford coalition (JAB) held a vigil for Alan on the one-year anniversary of his murder by Oakland police officer Miguel Masso. JAB has based itself deep within the Afrikan community that birthed it and has brought together many organizations and individuals to fight for justice for Alan and to stop continued police violence.