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Meet a sista, comrade, soldier, warrior, guerrilla who exemplifies the meaning of revolution through the life that she lives, transforming from the day of her birth to this present day. Born with the slave name JoAnne Deborah Byron, after her emancipation from the shackles of capitalism she took on the name we’re most familiar with, Sista Assata Olugbala Shakur – Assata meaning “she who struggles,” Olugbala meaning “love for the people,” Shakur meaning “the thankful.”
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.
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 question of who ordered the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. is a vital one. Those who dismiss the notion that the United States government would engage in assassination willfully ignore the 1975 Church Committee Report that exposed covert, illegal government activities and the many CIA-orchestrated assassinations and coups d’etat from Africa to Latin America.
I thought of my son who was at the Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp and the soon to open DEECOLONIZE Academy school launching in September and felt so much gratitude for conscious programs and revolutionary schools like this. They exist so that our children can grow up aware with a revolutionary state of mind. The world needs what Homefulness is so graciously and unapologetically offering.
Our struggle to abolish SHU torture units is inextricably linked to the broader struggle to seize cultural hegemony in the U.S. from the ruling class and its tool, the state. Our collective efforts have repeatedly exposed the state’s contradictions and sparked the people’s appetite for freedom and new social relationships. These activities undermine the reactionary character structure upon which authoritarian society is based. These actions are thus revolutionary.
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.
Nelson Mandela’s passing has drawn responses from throughout the U.S. and the world. To oppressed and working people, Mandela was a symbol and example of self-sacrifice and lifelong commitment to revolutionary change. Although the struggle inside South Africa and throughout the region is by no means complete, the legacy of Mandela through the ANC, SACP, COSATU and other affiliated organizations will live on.
I don’t know whether any of your names will be recorded in history books as the early leaders of a bold, courageous movement that not only ended solitary confinement as a form of torture, but also ended the entire system of mass incarceration in this country. But I know that the entire movement for freedom and justice in the United States is indebted to you.
Damu’s idea of revolutionary change meant, first, seeing the need for a radical transformation of the world and then having confidence that ordinary people, working people, are capable of making it happen. When they do rise up and try to fashion a new world, with all the mistakes humans are capable of making, he believed you have to support them.
The revolutionary Hugo Chavez was a political giant in the Western Hemisphere until his untimely death from cancer. We must continue to learn from the people of Venezuela about the revolutionary process that they have enacted. Check out Drexel University professor and author George Ciccariello-Maher as he discusses Venezuela, the late great Hugo Chavez and his new book, “We Created Chavez.”
“Afro-Futurism: Envisioning the Year 2070 and Beyond” reflects and builds upon African American history. The art exhibit challenges us to cherish and critique the moment. By placing African Americanism into the year 2070, the artwork and statements visualize a future to look forward to. So how will African Americans/Negroes/Blacks define the world in 2070?
Those of us who fought so hard in the 1960s for change, revolutionary change, are watching the clock turn backwards. No other group can claim to have fought longer or harder in the forefront of progressive and revolutionary struggles than Black folks. The most oppressed will lead any revolution since they have the least to lose and the most to gain from a change.