Wednesday, May 23, 2012

“Mass Incarceration, Rehabilitation and Recidivism” By Abdul Jabbar Caliph

All across America we are witnessing a brutal, horrible attack that is taken place against the African working class. This attack has directly led to the mass incarceration of black men; women and children.  It is an attack that is the direct result of the FBI counterinsurgency program called COINTELPRO

The mass incarceration of the African working class didn’t start to occur into the mid seventies near the decline of the Black Revolution. The government knew and understood that we as a people were unprepared for the type of anti-black low-intense-warfare campaign (Lick) that is was prepared to lunch within our community that was systematical planned out for the domestic colonization of our people. 

Here are a few brief details that you may be interested in:
·         In 2007, there were nearly 2.3 million people locked up in prison according to reports in the United States, a place that has the highest incarceration in the world; 

·         Of this figure nearly one million of those incarcerated are members of the African working class, black men and women for the most part and a few juvenile who have been sentenced as adults in the system;
·         Many of our loved ones are forced to live in isolation units known as “the hole”, these units are designed to break you psychological and psychically. You stay in these units 23 to 24 hours a day coming out only for court, medical appointments and one hour of recreational activity. 

·         The 13th Amendment to the constitution never freed anyone it only changed the face of slavery and establish a policy of neo-slavery in the United States of America; 

·         The Eighth Amendment to the constitution against cruel and unusually punishment is violated everyday; 
·         While many of realizes that many of our loved ones are in prison for what we term non-violent offenses we don’t recognizes or understand that many politicians have passed laws that make the posse ion of drugs and the selling of drugs a violent offense;  

·         Approximately fifty-three percent of those currently incarcerated, 1.5 million have children who are minors. This means that an estimated population of 1.7 million have an incarcerated parent. Many of those children (approximately 25 percent) are four years old or younger. Thirty-three percent of them reach adulthood while their parent is still locked up. This places undue hardship on the families and the community from which they come from.
·         It has long been suspected that parental incarceration has contributed many of the negative behaviors that influence our children and maybe a leading cause too many of the mental health problems associated with some school issues, unemployment and so called juvenile delinquent behavior.  

·         Comrades what we need to understand is that Prison Industrial  Complex is one big massive business that racks in billions each year, it coast approximately 80 billion a year to operate this bankrupted system  and that it directly tied in Capitalist economic  that is responsible for  political oppression and economical exploitation of the African working class. Prisoners are people and need to be respected as people and treated as human beings. 

Currently there are many people who are suffering from mental-health issues and are in need of drug treatment programs. The government realizes this, they should they created the problem in the first place. Rehabilitation is not a factor in the colonialist-genocidal governments plan for the African working class. These attacks are by design and we need to understand them. 

Here in the state of Maryland there are more than 25,000 people incarcerated in prison and in jail, 77% percent of them are of the African working class. Since the adoption of the 13th Amendment in 1865 Maryland State has executed 191 people, 157 of them being black.  Since 1882, white vigilante mobs have lynched 29 people, twenty seven of them being black.  The state of Maryland makes sure that at least 50% of the prison and jail population are black people.  

Society needs to understand that there are no rehabilitative factors when it comes to prison many of those that have been incarcerated a will not forget are forgiving the horrors that they have experienced behind the wall and fences of prison. This creates a Psychological block for many of them which can handicap any future relationships that they have with society. Prison is a world within another world which is in a constant state of conflict. Prison changes everybody, officers and inmates alike. 

Rehabilitation does not exist and what pass for rehabilitation is a joke, inmates receive only the basics. They receive the basics as far as education, the standard GED class, and training in minimum manual skills such as cooking; roofing and warehousing. These are jobs that require manual labor and pay close to minimum wages. They keep a person in poverty and therefore a person is most likely to return to prison.  

This leads to the issue of recidivism in America which poses a huge problem for the African working class and other non-whites. Many of those that are paroled return to the very environments which send them to prison in the first place. These communities are often drug infested, offer low economical opportunities and have high percentage of inmates assigned to parole and probations. Then there is the issue of the financial responsibility that is placed on many of them. Many of them have a family that they have to take care of which includes children. These financial hardships often push them back into a life of crime. This often is enough to place them back into prison.

If we as a people want to truly tackle these issues, the issues of mass incarceration, rehabilitation and recidivism we must start to develop concrete plans that address these and that can win the people to mass participation as well as bring serious pressure on the corrupted political structure that is making. We then must establish survival reenter program that address the needs of the community; the inmate population and those on parole and probation.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Black-on-Black Violence: A by Product of Capitalism

By Abdul Jabbar Caliph 
Historically, the African working class movement has always had to struggle against the destructive effects of colonialism. From the very first moment that we were kidnapped and forced into slavery we have struggled to liberated ourselves and now once again we in the Pan-African International Coordinating Committee (PICC) are calling on the Pan-African Liberation Movement (PALM) to step forward and take charge in ridding ourselves of this horrible legacy that has left our communities on the brink of destruction.  
All across the nation the colonized African working class community is forced to seek cover in their own houses because of the harsh legacy of domestic colonization and being trapped in cities that are under the indirect control of Neo-colonialist. It is important that we understand that the issue of horizontal violence (Black-on-Black violence) is counter-revolutionary, that it is a part of the counterinsurgency tactics that United States government uses to wage low-intensity-warfare inside of our community.
Here in Baltimore, Maryland we realize that the majority of murders committed in this city, a city that is predominately African and working class, are the direct result of the lack of leadership displayed by the current administration, and the administrations before it. It is this mis-leadership that refuses to represent the majority of its’ citizens: the African working class. They have proven to be counterrevolutionary and aligned themselves with white capitalist who keep us divided, that rob and murder us daily. 
It is this counterrevolutionary attitude that has hindered the advancement of any serious revolutionary formation being established in this city. Many of the residents in this city have remained somewhat loyal to the very same corrupt administration that takes advantage of them daily. They think that the only way that they can make any serious advancement is by adopting the policy of the capitalist: political oppression and economical exploitation (murder and mayhem) followed by selling drugs. It is this policy that had led to the vast increase of murders inside of our communities, not just here in the state of Maryland but also throughout all out our domestically colonized communities.
Here recently we have experienced a sharp increase in the number of murders inside of our communities, incidents that would usually shock us, but that we have begun to accept as normal. They have become business as usual. No outrage, no shock, only limited responses. This is how you know that you are a colonized people when you no longer value human life especially your own. Our children are murdered and many of us sit by saying and doing nothing.
Just this past week we witnessed three murders and all people did was hold candlelight vigils. The first one was the murder of a five year old little girl by her alleged father. She was found dead in the bath tub beaten to death and sexually assaulted. The second one was the a young man, alleged to be involved in the drug game, found shot to death in Lincoln Park, a notorious dumping grounds for dead bodies. Now we discover the death of a young thirteen year old. It is this girl’s death that one would think would thing that the residents of this city would be outraged over.  
On Saturday, March 3, 2012 we learned the death of thirteen year old Monae Turnage. Killed I believe accidental by two African working class children ages twelve and thirteen firing a .22-caliber rifle in the city limits. After the death of this little girl they attempted to cover up the fact that they had killed her by moving her dead body to another location and covering her up with trash. The body was later discovered by someone in her family. Both children were locked up as juveniles and placed in a juvenile detention center on charges of juvenile involuntary manslaughter.
The kicker to this whole incident is that one of the children’s mother’s boyfriends, a Baltimore City Police Officer named John A. Ward, thirty-two year old, four-year veteran of the PIGS; a par-military colonial standing occupying army has had charges brought up against him for the allegations of trying to cover up the murder. The weapon that was used in this murder was discovered in the trunk of his personal vehicle.
This isn’t something new. The PIGS here are always involved in criminal activity. Last year the PIGS were involved in two major incidents.  The first one was in conducting drug sells in the parking lot of Northwestern Police stations parking lot. The second one was in taking kickbacks from a tow truck company. The Mayor of Baltimore City, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has called the behavior in this case “disgusting”.
The real disgusting thing is that his involvement in the case only got him a suspension and that the Mayor refused to fire him or lock him up. The real disgusting thing is in the way the case was handled, the African working class community deserves better and needs to organize itself politically in order to achieve the democratic space that they need in order to fight back. Only through this path will we be able to break free of Capitalism a rotten, oppressive and exploitive, inhuman system that drains the lives out of its victims.
Our children deserve more than candlelight vigils they deserve justice and in order to combat this colonialist legacy of horizontal violence we must begin to institute a cultural revolution which stress the need for a new moral vision inside of our domestically colonized community. This vision must encompass the revolutionary theory and practices of liberation for the African working class and the establishment of true power under the leadership of the African working class.

Make It Plain: Understanding the Historical Task In Front Of Us

The Completion of the Rebuilding The Pan-African Liberation Movement/Revolution And Understanding The Effects Of COINTELPRO On Our Movement

By Abdul Jabbar Caliph
“Specific steps should be taken to inhibit coordinated activity of the Black movement in the U.S. …Bing into effect a special program designed to perpetuate division in the Black movement to neutralize the most active groups.” (U.S. National Security Council Interdepartmental Group for Africa, National Security Memorandum No.46 [NSC-46]” 1973 Carter Administration 

Uhuru Comrades
I greet you with the Kiswahili word meaning freedom, the most important word in the vocabulary of a Pan-African Revolutionary and the number one priority in the minds of any real Pan-African solider! Currently we are faced with the incredible task of rebuilding a movement that was crushed during the mid-seventies by a ruthless anti-African counterinsurgency program. 

It is because of this defeat that today we find our movement in such a dire state of weakness, a weakness that has kept the people in servitude to the colonialist-capitalist structure that exist in the United States. Meanwhile, the rest of our people are forced in a live of political oppression and economical exploitation throughout the Diasporas by an internationalist monster known as imperialism because of the natural resources that exist in Mother Africa. Those resources being the human labor that we supply and the natural resources that are unearthed daily. 

In order to overcome this crisis we must examine the tactics that were used to halt the Pan-African Liberation Movement (PALM) of the 60’s and 70’s. The counterintelligence program of that decade, better known as the COINTELPRO was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had five stated goals and objects that had a global impact on our movement while it was in its infancy. Those stated goal and objectives were as follows:
  1. The prevention of the coalition of any black militant nationalist organization, for in unity there is strength. They realized that this might be the first step towards a real “Mau Mau” in America, the beginning of a true black revolution; 
  2. The prevention of the development and raise of a “Messiah” figure that could have the ability and the desire to direct a unified black militant nationalist movement
  3. The prevention of violence on the part of black militant nationalist organization, this was of primary importance to this program. The identification and neutralization of any potential troublemaker to the internal security of this nation and its oversea interest
  4. The prevention of any black militant nationalist organization from gaining any type of respectability
  5. The prevention long-range growth of black militant organizations, especially among the youth.
It is because of this counterinsurgency program that we have lost many of our noble son and daughters of Africa due to political assassinations, imprisonment, forced exile and political slander conducted by this government. This program has not only affected us physically but it has damaged us psychologically. Many of our comrades are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder due to the affects of being under the constant threat of death in war time situation, low-intensity-conflict.

Comrades what we need to understand is that no domestic counterinsurgency program can be successful without it’s international counterpart. The Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, National Ssecurity Aagency, and all the other US spook organizations, have made it a habit to practice the domestic repression campaigns overseas. While many of us recognize the counterinsurgency program COINTELPRO many of us are unaware of the counterinsurgency program established by the CIA in the United States of America to destroy the domestic part of the Pan-African Liberation Movement.

Three such programs have been identified as being launched by the CIA domestically to help crush the movement. The United States Senate reveled this information after they conducted an investigation into the illegal activities of the CIA during the late 1960s and the early 1970s. The first counterinsurgency program was identified as Project CHAOS which involved illegal tampering with mail by the agency of those organizations identified as security threats on its “watch list”. The next program to be identified was named Project RESISTANCE which illegally gathered and compiled counterintelligence information on a number of alleged radical organizations. The last program to be identified during this period was called Project MERRIMAC which illegally operated in this country from the years of 1967 to 1973. Its primary mission was to conducted anti-black operations of infiltration of various Black political organizations.

During the 60’s many of us were already aware of the CIA involvement in Africa to a certain extent. They were responsible for the death of Patrice Lumumba and overthrowing Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana through the use of the military, through the use of coups d’├ętat. They attempted to assassinated Castro of Cuba over 100 times, only to fail. We know that they followed Malcolm X while he was overseas and are even believed to have tried to assassinate him. Who can forget the assassination of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark here in the United States? Yes, this is the type of stuff that the United States government does to those who wish to free their people from political oppression and economical exploitation and establish justice under a socialist government that will truly offer real change.  Hell, in 1969 we witnessed the death of 28 panthers and the arreste and imprisonment 749 people who were activists.
"The nationalist liberation movement in Black Africa can act as a catalyst with far-reaching effects on the American Black community…(D)ue weight must be given to the fact there are 25 million American Blacks whose roots are African and who consciously or subconsciously sympathize with African nationalism.”    (U.S. National Security Council Interdepartmental Groups for Africa, National Security Memorandum No.46 [NSC-46])."                                          
The international implications of this counterinsurgency programs on the movement is not really understood nor is it discussed among us. We have to realize that every since 1963 the FBI has been requesting CIA intervention in the illegal investigation of Americans abroad. It was through these procedures that the FBI secured the assistances of the CIA in conducting illegal investigations of black militant leaders and antiwar activists who went overseas.  The United States Government is no fool, they recognized the fact that Pan-African Liberation Movement in Africa could act as a catalyst with far- reaching effects on Black people here in America. 
"With Africa now a crucible of great-power maneuver, we cannot afford to have our Africa policies hostage to the bitter memories still cherished by those who struggled for racial equality in America. We cannot let Africa become a stage on which America act out their psychic traumas. (Richard M. Nixon, The Real War, p.9)"
It is not widely known to the public that all law enforcement agencies, which are considered paramilitary organizations, receive some sort of counterinsurgency or counterintelligence training. This training is often masked as gang identification training. Those that are unfortunately labeled as such are identified under the label as “security threat groups” or “person of interest” and or often placed in photo binder with a photo of the individual(s) along with important information. Organizations such as Homeland Security, FEMA and other private agencies such as MARGIN and MACGLOCEEN often are given federal grant money to conduct such training programs. The majority of public gun ranges even conducted such training as well as the military with joint law enforcement agency.

Sister Comrade Assata Shakur was not wrong when she stated the fact that she believed that this program still existed just in another form. It doesn’t matter if you call it Safe Streets, Officer Friendly, McGruff the Dog, Weed and Seed, a War on Crime/Gangs or call it a War on Drugs they all are counterinsurgency programs designed to cripple the movement for the liberation of African People. Today we see the emergence of another counterinsurgency program designed to further oppress the people called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which allows you to be illegally arrested and detained without questioning or due process of law, as if due process every really existed for  Black people. Under this act you can housed in a secret prison without anyone knowing for an undisclosed amount of time and be charged as a terrorist for what every crime the government see fit to charge you with: even for speaking out against this government.

It is because of this counterinsurgency program that we see the massive incarnation of the African working class today in the penal system of this country. Comrade Mumia Abu Jamal, a political prisoner points out the following in his article “From the Realm of the Dead” about the drastic effects of the COINTELPRO:
“The 1970’s marked a pivotal phase in U.S. history, as a time of the emergence of the Black Liberation Movement via militant groups like the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), The Republic of New Africa (RNA), and The Black Panther Party (BPP). The striking emergence, the author argues, gave rise to the often startling disparity reflected in statistics which show, in 1990 rates, how whites, roughly 90% of the U.S. population, can become a minority percentage (46%) of those admitted to state prisons, and how blacks (to be precise, black men), roughly 12% of the U.S. population, can balloon upwards to a majority percentage (53.2%) of state prison admissions.”

State Repression is an everyday occurrence if you’re Black and a member of the African working class. It doesn’t matter if you are born in the United States, Africa or any part of the African Diaspora. Under the current global political administration, you have everything to lose including your life. If you’re down for the freedom and liberation of African people then you are at war with Imperialism and it Neo-colonialist, boot-licking henchmen

What do you think AFRICOM is doing in Africa? They are running another counterinsurgency program under the disguise of an aid for humanity program which is designed to destabilize African countries. No matter how much aid they offer we must never let our guards down. AFRICOM is there for one reason and that is control of the resources in Africa! If that means the death and destruction of Africa as we know it, then so be it, they are prepared to do what they deem needs to be done in order to maintain their control over Africa. The questions for us is: are we prepared to do what it takes to win the freedom and independence of Africa? 

Comrades I leave you with the following quote from the late Fred Hampton of the BPP, brutaly murdered by the State of Chicago on December 4, 1968: 
“You can kill the revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution. You can jail the liberator, but you can’t jail the liberation. You can run the freedom fighter all around the country, but you can’t stop freedom fighting.”
1.       “Black Prison Movements” NOBO, 1995
2.       “Racial Matters” Free Press,1989
3.       “An Unlikely Warrior” By Iyaluua & Herman Furguson ,2011
4.       “Lockdown America” By Christian Parenti ,1999
5.       “The Plot to Destroy” By Ahamadiel Ben Yehuda
6.       “Agents of Repression” By Ward Churchill & Jay Vander Wall, 1998
7.       “Fugitive Thought” By Michael Hames-Garcia, 2004 

Equality in Marriage: An Issue of Human Rights

By Abdul Jabbar Caliph
“We’ve got to find a way to reconcile ourselves to living in a community, one group with the other. To be successful, the struggle must be waged with resolute efforts that are kept strictly within the framework of our democratic society. This means reaching, educating and moving large enough groups of people of both races to stir the conscience of the nation.” Martin Luther King
All across the United States we are seeing a highly political charged issue being debated that will determine the future of millions of colonized subjects trapped within the decadent boarders of this country. Some have called it disgusting while others have come out in support of it. Whether you call it a civil union, domestic partnership or gay marriage it is an issue that has divide the community not just along racial lines but class lines as well.  
Here in the State of Maryland we have seen the contradictions around this issue; and we have seen how the capitalist power structure has used this issue to divide the masses of the people. This issue has and is being used to elevate a few individuals and professional political operatives to a higher political office at the expense of the masses. It is an issue that keeps the people’s attention misdirected, focused away from the real contradictions that exist in this capitalist society: the contradiction of political oppression and economical exploitation.
We in the Pan-African International Coordinating Committee (PICC) have taken the following political position on this issue. First, we recognize the fact that this a highly charged political issue that is being used to divided the masses. Second, this is not a civil rights issue but an issue of human rights, humanity’s treatment of humanity. Third, we have taken the political position of the original Black Panther Party (BPP) on this issue: as along as a comrade is doing the political work to be free from political oppression and economical exploitation then we have to respect their rights to be a part of humanity, and live the kind of lifestyle they choose. As long as that lifestyle is not harming the interest of the people involved, or the community at large, we have no right to interfere and you had better not touch them. Finally, we also realize that this issue opens the door for other forms of marriage to be accepted such as polygamy. Maryland State must recognize the fact that they cannot regulate true love or what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes.  
We realize that gay bashing can only stop when humanity decides to stand up and end capitalism as a tool of oppression, only under Socialism will gays be able to be recognized as human beings. Second, in order to win their rights of equality the LBGT community must close ranks if this is too be achieved? They are too divided among themselves right now. Third, that which passes itself off as the progressive left in this country must take a stand and stop vacillating on this issue. This community has reached out for help and they deserve an answer. We recommend that instead of waiting and looking for support on this issue that the LBGT take charge and push forward their political campaign.

The LBGT community has not awakened to the fact that the issue homosexual couples being able to marry is being used to elevate certain political officials to higher office. Even through the issue passed both the Senate and the House the bill will not be signed into law by legislators. It will go to a referendum and the people will decide the issue.
This is a tool that relives Maryland States political officials of having any real commitment to the issue, not only that but the bill can still be defeated by gathering 18,579 signatures to stop it from going to the November 6, 2012 ballot. Del. Neil Parrot, a Western Maryland Republican is believed to be heading up the opposition to this bill. He has established a websites making it easier for people to see exactly how their names are listed on the Maryland voters roll so that you can see if the petition is signed correctly. The Ujima People’s Progressive Party (UPP) is establishing such a program in order to become the first Black official independent political party in the State of Maryland.
As we have suggested to a few of our comrades in the Liberate Baltimore Coalition (LBC), the LBGT community must take the lead on this issue. They must be willing to establish and give direction within the campaign, not only must these members be willing to do this they must seek the support of the coalition in order to develop strategy and tactics (goals and objectives) that can be achieved realistically. They need to recognize the fact that this campaign is far from being over.
Malcolm X was right when he said that we have to demand Human Rights not Civil Rights. Civil Rights get passed as Amendments into law and or voted on every 10 or 20 years to see if they are still of importance. The Voters Rights Act is such an issue. Human Rights are the right that you are born with and the rights that everybody must recognize
In closing I want to encourage the people involved in the fight for human rights for the LGBT community keep their heads up and come out swinging with both fist on this issue. If they wait for someone else to take charge of this campaign, they may never get another chance.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meet the People Where They Are - Replace Rhetoric With Reality

Abasi Shomari Baruti

In trying to understand the weaknesses of the African Liberation Movement in the 21st century, and what needs to happen to fix those weaknesses, it is important to have a decent understanding of how things have gotten to be the way that they are. My PICC comrades and I have lain out in other places before now, what we see as the general character of the African liberation movement (ALM) at this point. Our position is that the movement is isolated from the main life of the African working class and is struggling to revive the African revolution. We recognize that there are a number of forces doing good work and we see the advances that are being made, especially in what has become an era of mass rebellion against naked imperialist robbery and rape. However, the positive tendencies are still in the minority of the ALM and those of us who are fighting to win still have plenty work to do in order to get the movement back on track.

One of the things that we are faced with in our struggle to re-mount the African revolution are the traps we set for ourselves. After severe repression by the U.S. government, and some real backwards nonsense coming from within the movement, the masses of African workers do not relate to revolutionary ideas in a serious way. In fact, if you have tried to recruit our people into revolutionary work in the last ten years, you have probably heard all kinds of responses about why our people just do not unite with "that black power shit.” This attitude is reflective of the effect of U.S. government propaganda, but it is also tied to our own mistakes and errors. Many of us have either fallen into the traps set for us by our enemies, or we have shot ourselves in the foot and hindered our own progress. Of the many ways that we trip ourselves up, one is of deep importance: being so caught up in our own rhetoric that we lose the people when we talk with and try to organize them - in short we, too often, confuse ideological principles with strategic principles.

All too often, the discussions that happen among us play out like arguments in petty-bourgeois families where one spouse is a republican and the other a democrat: its bloody war to the knife. How many times have we seen it: a fervent believer, normally new to the belief, goes on a rampage like a European crusader, demanding that everyone get with their ideas or perish? How many times have we seen, right in the midst of our movement, die-hard believers dismiss everything that is not of their own understanding and leave nothing but destruction and disarray in their wake? And, how many times have we seen people dress up nonsense, negativism, and pessimism in the clothing of "passion" and "commitment"? And when it has all been said and done, usually more has been said than done. This is a real problem. What is worse, is that, while we criticize the religious believers for their vehement "bible-thumping" or even "Qur’an-thumping,” we turn right around and beat our people upside the head with our ideologies, special language, and theories. The real fact is that the leading elements of the ALM must do more of what have not been doing, and that is leading - effective leading.

I want to deal with the question of working with the masses of African people, because, in the final analysis, our ideologies, platforms, programs, rap, and fieldwork must be aimed squarely at winning our folks to struggle. There is the tendency, for some of us, to confuse rhetoric with what is real. There are comrades who are so focused on being correct in theory, that they completely miss the point of our theory, and that is to win the people. In a place like Kansas City, MO where, as far as I can tell, there has not been a truly revolutionary organization that was anything more significant than a small study group since the 1980's, the strategy and tactics that have to be used to build the movement here are far different from what must happen in a place like New York, Atlanta, or Chicago. Here, African people continually reject overt radicalism, and stay away from African revolutionary politics. We know the score, we understand the why's and what for's However, since the 1980's, organization after organization has sprung up in this town, simply to die out due to near complete isolation from the African working class. My experience, and the experience of others, has pointed to a number of problems with the previous attempts. The one problem that seems to stand out is that the revolutionaries have been so caught up in showing just how revolutionary we are that we could never really understand or get past the resistance that African people put up to the kind of organizing we have tried to establish. Time and again, we have fallen back, disgusted; rejected by phrases like
"I ain't fuckin' with that black power shit", or "Man, I'm tryin' to get this money, and that shit you talkin' 'bout ain't 'bout to make me no paper, so I ain't really tryin' to hear it"
and so on. And, almost like clockwork, the despondent revolutionary organizer blames the inability to organize the people ON THE PEOPLE!
"Niggas don't want revolution." "Niggas scared of struggle."
And so on.

Now, last I recalled, if the revolution fails, it is the fault of the revolutionaries. In other words, if we claim to be the leaders, the advanced force, the most conscious of our people, but fail to get our folks on freedom's road, then we have got to begin with a self-criticism and proceed from there. The easy thing to do is to close one's ears and eyes to the truth, regurgitate the "line" to those who already believe it, blame the people, and run in place, mistaking activity for progress. It is simple to do what we can, remain at the fringes of the African colony, talk about the '60s and hope that the ruling class will make a mistake so openly despicable that the people will come running to us, begging for us to tell them how to make the revolution. That is the easy thing to do. The only problem is: it ain't worked all this time, and, regardless of what anyone thinks, it ain't bout to start working.

Let's begin with the basics. The first problem, especially in a place like Kansas City, MO, that so many of us find out the hard way, is that the language we use is so foreign to the masses of our people that when they hear it, they immediately tune out or go into defense. We go to the streets with revolutionary jargon on our lips and come back with little more than frustration. However, when the idea is proposed that we try to talk to folks in language that they understand, it is rejected as non-revolution, backwards, and incorrect. When the idea is suggested that we begin with simple programs that the people can get with, instead of more advanced strategies, our comrades look at us as if we have lost our minds. And so, we find ourselves in a trap, running on a revolutionary tread mill to nowhere, and in the mean time, the people, the ones we are supposed to be the "vanguard" of, continue on, working out their own problems with little concern about whatever the hell we talkin' about.

What we must do is take a hard look at our rhetoric and ask the honest question: is this working? If it isn’t, then we have got to take the next step, and honestly, ask the next question: what will work better? As dialectical materialist, we talk endlessly about investigation and scientific struggle, well, the most basic thing a "scientist" or "dialectician" can do is investigate and find out the answer to those question. After some years of working in Kansas City, MO, finding a little success here, and a little success there, but mostly finding failure, I had to swallow the hard pill, and admit that if the revolution is going to happen here because of something I said or did, I had better find a better way to say it or do it. What I have come to find is that on the one hand, we don't have to be non-revolutionary in our strategy and tactics, but on the other hand, our strategy and tactics have to meet the understanding of the people. So instead of focusing on producing a revolutionary news paper that talks about the merits of scientific materialism and the dynamics of socialist economic theory, for instance, we need to produce something that is begins with how dope, unemployment, and the democrats are all linked together. Instead of putting on programs that castigate the people about being unhealthy and points the finger of blame at the people and our self-destructive habits, we need to build programs that seek to demonstrate a better way through servicing the real needs of the people. We begin with a simple screening, then talk about some simple ways get the high blood pressure under control, and continually follow up. At some point during our interaction with our people, we can discuss Monsanto and why HMO's are a bunch of crooks and how genetically modified foods are harming our people. Once the people trust that we are serious about what they are serious about, we can some real success in winning our people to pick up a healthier lifestyle. In short, the African working class in this town is like any other group of people, if they don't understand it or don't see their self-interest in it, they ain't getting ready to deal with it. If we want the people here to not only deal with, but commit to revolutionary struggle, we have got to start with words and actions that don't require a whole lot of explanation, that the people understand right away, and build from there.

When we let the letter of our ideals and positions become more important than the realization of the content, we are, in the illustrious words of my Uncle Gregory, "baggin' the fuck up" - we're losing. But when we get serious about dealing with the reality as it is, then we can start winning, and then it won't be long before Kansas City, MO becomes a place where a revolutionary is born every day. When we let being ideologically pure and squeaky clean in the way we approach the mission become more important than actually accomplishing the mission, what we are doing is being the dogmatists we claim to hate; we are setting ourselves up to be isolated and marginalized. If it is the masses of the people that make the revolution, then the last place the revolutionary organizer can afford to be is on the sidelines.

The Chinese Communist Party, before it became the vanguard of Chinese imperialism, developed a slogan that I think is one of the best formulas a revolutionary could ever adopt: "From the People, to the Party. From the Party to the People." In other words, we have to go to the people and see what THEY want, take that back to the huddle, sharpen it, and take a position and program back to the people that reflects the their  point of view and interests. When we do this, we can start winning the people to basic work. Once we win them to basic work, then we set ourselves up to winning our people to intermediate work. Once we get them into intermediate work, then winning them to become advance, revolutionaries is not far off.

In the end, we must never forget that our task is to meet the people where they are, win them to unity right where they are, and then walk with them, arm-in-arm, to where we all need to be - free from oppression and exploitation for all time.

Uhuru Sasa! Uhuru Daima!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Samiah Nkrumah and the Current Struggle for Pan-Africanism

Kilaika Anayejali kwa Baruti
By the end of the sixteenth century Ghana with is overwhelming wealth was known as one of the most organized state in its region.  It was vastly known for its gold.  Another major export in Ghana is the Cacao tree, along with timber, and other mineral exports.  The Cacao tree itself exported over 20,000 tons in the 1920s.  The people were also a very skilled people, very well organized warriors and their hunting skills were unmatched.  Ghana carried a very heavy Muslim tradition in the northern sector; the northern sector was ruled by Mossi and Gonja rulers.  These rulers engaged in trade with Muslims which in turn led to the penetration of Islam into the native culture of the people.  Under the leadership of Chief Oti Akenten the Akan and the Ashanti merge into what is now known as Kumasi, through this emergence it brought forth the ritual of the Golden Stool, which Ghana is so popularly known for.  The symbol of the Golden Stool characterizes the chieftainship of the society and is a national symbol.

Even though this emergence came about because of the conquering of the Ashanti over the Akan, the Akan people were still allowed to carry their traditional beliefs and systems.  In this mergence they were not oppressed.  The Ashanti people were highly recognized well into the 18th century.  The Gold Coast at this time was bordered with European merchants.  The first arrival of Europeans was by the Portuguese in the late fourteenth century.  In 1482 the Portuguese built the very first trading coast on the borders of the Gold Coast.  About a century later came the arrival of the Dutch and through constant battle with the Portuguese the Dutch seized El Camino castle, the slave post of many Africans in 1637 along with Axim, another post in 1642.  By the mid-17th century Ghana become more that a trade post for merchants, the importation of slaves became its highest commodity.  Despite the great loss of slave’s lives through despair and disease the profits were increasingly overwhelming.

As reported by Eric Williams the author of Capitalism and Slavery, the only reason slavery was abolished was because of the rise of the Industrial revolution, although some historians would have you believe it was for a sympathetic one.  The rise of the Industrial revolution created a need for more raw materials and created competition in the market for finished goods.  The rise in machinery and industry advancing itself brought about the end of trade with human cargo. The Ashanti, in their quest for independence had many wars with the British known as the Anglo-Ashanti wars or also called the wars of the Golden Stool.  After several determined battles the Ashanti people were colonized in 1902 by the British.  Through the colonization, the British dominated the areas of education, teaching the Ghanaian people as all colonized nation have been taught, the oppressor’s way of life.  This process produced the colonized mind and from it sprang the Ghanaian elite.

During the Post-world war II era national consciousness begin to ensue.  As a result of ex-servicemen coming home from the war and conditions being unpleasant they decided no more.  They joined forces with the farmers and common people who were displeased with the colonized states.  Here the quest of independence began.  Out of the elite sprang the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC); these individuals were also known as the big six.  This was the very first movement to opposed colonial government; however they did not seek revolutionary action.  Kwame Nkrumah himself was a member of the Big Six and because the UGCC was not radical enough and Nkrumah felt that more qualitative action was needed, he formed The Conventional Peoples’ Party (CPP) in June of 1949.  His motto was, “Self-government now.”  The CPP was to carry the banner of the working people versus the intelligentsia which the UGCC carried.  The CPP would carry the torch for the workers, the farmers, youth, and people such as the market women.

Because of the need for self-government now, riots took place out of frustrations and as a result Nkrumah was imprisoned for sedition.  While Nkrumah was imprisoned he won a seat in 1951 in the legislative Assembly.  It is said that the seat was won through the efforts of the Positive Action Campaign that took place in the early 1950s. Once having a seat on the Legislative Assembly Nkrumah was declared Prime Minister and Nkrumah developed a Parliamentary system.  He and the CPP declared a government of political centralization becoming a Single-party state.  Through constant struggle the British finally granted on August 3, 1956 Ghana’s independence and on September 18, 1956 the British Commonwealth declared that March 6, 1957 would be the day that Ghana would be an absolute independent state.  The CPP put in place first the Deportation Act, which means any persons whose presence in the country did not serve the interest of the public good would be expelled.  

On July 1960 Dr’ Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah was declared president for life.  Not only was he president of the country, but he was a driving force to unite Africans throughout the world to work towards Pan-Africanism, for this was the next phase.  He made it clear that Ghana’s independence meant nothing unless Africans throughout the world had the same collective reality, in order to do so unity among the tribes is essential.  He authored such works as Africa Must Unite in 1963 Consciencism, Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare and many others writings that Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanist use as mandatory reading today.  He was a revolutionary visionary whose ideology was a socialist ideology; anti-colonialism, anti-neo-colonialism, anti-imperialism, and anti-exploitation the result of capitalist enterprise. Kwame Nkrumah made it clear that the present reality of today in relation to the advancement of the west, which was clear then, is a direct result of colonial adventures.  Kwame Nkrumah knew that the call for nationalism would be a struggle against the elites as they would compromise with western imperialist for their own self-interest.

So Nkrumah created the Youth Pioneer Movement, their minds were not yet tainted and were ripe for ideological training and would serve the interest of the people. Also out of the work of the CPP came the creation of the Akosombo Hydro Electric project; Tema Harbour, and the University of the Cape Coast. This resulted in Ghana becoming well respected around the world as a Single- party state under the CPP. This was not done without opposition to his revolutionary ideology. A few years later, the party was overthrown by a military coup in 1966 on February 24 while Nkrumah was away in China.  He then took up the rest of his life in Guinea where he later died in 1972.

The coup was led by the National Liberation Council (NLC).  The coup reasons, to justify their action, were saying that the CPP was corrupt and that Nkrumah was a dictator and the Single-party state lacked democracy because of all the laws that were in place to protect them against foreign interest and power.  This coup, many believe, was infiltrated and succeeded because of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The NLC called itself the new democracy and was heavily influence by a western style of government. Many of the members were actually members of the UGCC, which Kwame Nkrumah separated from before forming the CPP.  They stated that Nkrumah and his ideas put Ghana into debt that they had to overturn.  This debt which was supposedly Nkrumah’s fault was a huge conflict in Ghanaian politics in 1971.Cacao still the biggest import fell dramatically with the rise of competition from neighbouring countries such as Cote D’Ivoire, it is also said that with the rise in free market and competition, Ghana’s lack of knowledge of free market, was a cause as well to this decline.

The second republic after CPP being the first was formed the years of 1972-1979.  It held more military control than democracy most would argue. In 1974 there were major accusations of corruption that begin to surface and a s a result of it the Supreme Military Council was put into place in 1975.  In July 1978 inflation was very hard hitting to the economy with an estimated high of 300 percent.  The SMC was overthrown by a group of young army men in June of 1979 under the leadership of Jerry John Rawlings, who was a flight lieutenant, and they formed the AFRC, Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.  This created the third republic; under the administration led by Hilla Limman, the Limman People National Party (LPNP), which fell on December 31, 1981 due to another Rawlings, led coup and as a result established the Provisional Defence Council who suspended the 1979 constitution.  Ghana then moved from Single-party state to a Multi-party elections state.  Rawlings took leadership of the fourth republic which came into existence January 7th 1993. The current president of Ghana is John Evans Atta Mills, who took office as the third president of this fourth republic on January 7th 2009.  This term is expected to end 2009.  This now brings us to the current state of affairs and CPP’s relationship to Ghana.

Samiah Nkrumah, not only is the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, but she is also a woman.  The odds have and are being stacked against her.  However, she is making leaps being elected Leader and Chairperson of the CPP. The CPP under the leadership of Samiah wants to serve the interest of the people but first they must raise the party’s profile.  They must spark a fire in the people that create unity.  Samiah has travelled abroad with the launching of the book Africa Must Unite and awakening people to these ideas proving that these ideas are still alive, but also more necessary today as they were yesterday.  Samiah is also reaching out to Africans abroad and creating solidarity with grassroots parties.  Many initiatives and programs have been launched to show solidarity around Ghana and to win the peoples trust in what can be.

Samiah is constantly battling negative propaganda, pessimistic view on the attack of the ideas of Pan-Africanism, yet she is consistent and sincere.  The CPP goal is to organize the party on the polling station level.  She wants to present to the Ghanaian people that with a credible and trustworthy candidate for 2012, a politician of integrity and sincerity that the initial party was built on, a party of selflessness and self-determination and for freedom from oppression and exploitation they can have a Ghana that serves the people.  They can again stand at the forefront of a Pan-African reality.

On January 8, 2010 the CPP marked Positive Action Day.  Samiah gave a speech in Jomoro.  She called for prayers in courage to be an honest politician a politician of integrity and a politician who can sacrifice and also tell the truth.  She spoke on the necessity for the people to be a people of self-reliance and confidence, a people who can depend on themselves.  She said it is so necessary even more today for people to retire the colonized ways.  Samiah has made it very clear that foreign advisors are not needed and that the women and men of Ghana can create their own solutions.  Samiah has pointed out the fact that many years ago Ghana under the leadership of her father obtained their political freedom and now today Ghana must gain control of their own resources so they can solve the problems of today.  She knows that this is a fight for economic freedom and to achieve it, moral courage is a necessity so that Ghana will not be a country lead by corruption.

Samiah mentioned that as everyone knows she grew up in a home where the word unity was used commonly.  She had a very clear idea of what the CPP was about and today she feels that she has a direct responsibility and allegiance to revive it based off of its principles alone. Samiah has made it clear that because they owe no one anything they can be more radical and that revolutionary change is needed, the people are needed.  She continues to call on the people to not be afraid.  She wants the people to break barriers. In a speech given on September 11th, 2011 she said that everything done in the political arena in Ghana must be linked to the total liberation and unification of Africa.  She told the people that they assembled on that day to honour her father Dr. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah by continuing the work that he laid out.  This work can be thoroughly examined in Africa Must Unite.

Samiah Nkrumah and the CPP objectives are to revive the party, to broaden its name, to make it name that the people recognize and respect and have unity with.  “The CPP also plans to hold fast to its core principles of Pan-Africanism”, Samiah says.  One of its major missions is to link education and industrialization together in Ghana itself. They plan on gaining trust in the people and create a reality where not only hard work pays along with organization, but it also serves the interest of the people.  Samiah wants the people of Ghana to be armed with the vision of Pan-Africanism and what it required is complete sincerity, she understands.  Reviving core principles of tradition would be a guiding force in how the people relate to each other.

The CPP has started to focus on doing ground work on the grassroots level.  They want to satisfy or eradicate contradictions on the smallest level immediately, things such as poor housing conditions.  They are garnishing support throughout the world with the message of Pan-Africanism.  Samiah says that they have recently received one million dollars from India for a technical training center in Ghana.  Samiah knows that the CPP has to have a strong political party.  She says they have to create a strong core.  “We need Nkrumahist”, she says.  Samiah wants to be a source of inspiration as she said on a recent radio show, “and if I can, then why not?”

On another end of the spectrum Samiah and the CPP receives a lot of negative anti-CPP criticisms, even from her own brother Sekou, who says that it is the same old people in the party with old ideas.  He also said that Samiah stayed away from the ideas for far too long and what was needed then is not what’s needed today.  Her opposition normally comes in the form of pessimistic views to the ideas of Pan-Africanism.  As Samiah says and knows, “Everything is possible with hard work and sacrifice.”  She also stated that, “Yes the CPP is impatient to see change the youth in the women of Ghana know this and collective they have to believe in themselves to carry forth the work that needs to be done.”  Samiah says that there are too many things that cannot be tolerated and in politics are not credible.

The split that occurred in the CPP, was a result of Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom quitting the CPP and saying he will create his own political party came about because Nduom did not unite with the idea of the CPP focusing on just increasing its numbers in Parliament he felt that the mission should solely be focused on creating a Presidential Candidate for 2012.  Despite all the objectives and criticism the CPP is on the move and the importance remains that they still have a wide support system.

In our quest for Pan-African Internationalism, the Pan-African International Coordinating Committee (PICC) believes that we must support the positive endeavours that exist on behalf of the CPP while struggle for ideological clarification and exposing the current contradictions that may exist in the current work that is being established. We realize that positive alliances must be built throughout the world, based on principal unity to overturn the economical exploitation of the mineral resources and the labour of African working class as well as ending the political oppression.

We in the PICC believe that this can best be accomplished the formation of the People’s Democratic Republic of Africa (PDRA) which would remove the colonialist-capitalist artificially created boarders which keep us divided and allow Neo-colonialism to rain supreme. This physical change in Africa would created an important psychological change among the African working class and propel us into the 21st century. This accomplishment would allow the African working class to control the destiny of Africa for the first time in many years. Ghana must join the struggle to help achieve a unity Africa under Socialism, an Africa under the leadership of the African working class, an Africa knows as the People’s Democratic Republic of Africa.

Make It Plain: Marshall Eddie Conway - Political Prisoner of Action

Abdul Jabbar Caliph

Uhuru Comrades!

For the past four decades we have witness the noble courage of Marshall Eddie Conway, a political prisoner and victim of one of Americas’ most inhuman, anti-black counterinsurgency programs every developed. A program better known to us under the acronym of the "COINTELPRO", or COunter-INTelligence PROgram, the U.S. government run action that was responsible the imprisonment, death and exile of many of our comrades during the 1960’s and 70’s.

Eddies’ case, like many of our fallen comrades, highlights the vicious tactics that the federal government used to destroy a movement that was established for the betterment of humanity. A movement that worked to end the political oppression and economical exploitation of the working class in this capitalist-colonialist country. Eddie is one of literally thousands who worked to establish a socialist agenda for the betterment of society as a whole, and his case is significant for numerous reasons, the most important of which we should understand:
  1. Comrade Conway's was associated with  the Pan-African Liberation Movement(PALM) and was an active member of the Black Panther Party(BPP) that was established during the Civil Rights/Black Power era of this country;
  2. Comrade Conway’s very existence in this country was that of a colonized subject, therefore he realized that his people suffered from political oppression and economical exploitation more than any other race of people. Eddie was clear then and still is clear that black people exist in this country as colonized people;
  3. Comrade Conway’s ideology and political affiliation like many other is why he is still considered a political prisoner/prisoner of war and remains trapped inside Maryland prison system.
We need to understand the legacy of the Black Panther Party (BPP)/Black Liberation Army (BLA) and its effects on the political movement for the liberation of the African working class; along with its relationship to the struggle for the betterment of humanity. Through hard work, they were able build a serious international movement to address the plight of the African working class in this country and throughout the world. They were able to form alliances with other progressive and revolutionary organizations that represented various racial/ethnic fractions that existed at the time. Political coalitions were formed with various labor and student unions, as well as with organizations such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Brown Berets. They were also able to establish survival programs for the people that addressed their needs such as the sickle anemia program and the free breakfast program for children before they went to school - two programs the U.S. government has appropriated for its own use.

Comrades, this is the legacy of the Black Panther Party, the work that Eddie was involved in and this is the reason that Marshall Eddie Conway remains in prison to this very day, characterized by the Criminal (In)Justice System as a security threat to this nation. Despite being framed for the alleged murder and assault of a Baltimore City Police Officer, Comrade Conway has refused to give up his fight on the behalf of the people. Despite the fact that we have seen two city resolutions passed on the behalf of this comrade, caling for his freedom, one of which was signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, this man still remains in prison as a political prisoner! 

Comrade Dhoruba bin Wahad (Richard Moore), former political prisoner of war and member of the Black Panther Party, summed it up correctly when he stated the following about the BPP:
“In fact, the BPP never posted a serious military threat to the U.S. government, it was the popularity of Ten-Point Program, our beliefs in the guaranteed rights of everyone to food, clothing, decent housing, free health care, education, etc., that terrified the government and motivated them to launch an all-out attack against us.”
This was confirmed despite the fact that J. Edger Hoover, the former head of the FBI, declaring the Black Panther Party to be “the greatest threat to security of this country”. Eddie goes on to point out the following in his book The Greatest Threat about the attack on the Black Panther Party when he stated:
“The opposition that the BPP faced presented to the U.S. world image could have been crushed. That would have been easy enough militarily, but the real problem of ideas would remain. It was necessary to not just destroy the BPP but also to demonize and criminalize its actions to dissuade future generations from its course.”
Nearly four decades later we see that COINTELPRO was successful in it goal of destroying a movement and leaving its victims to languish in prison or in exile, labeled as criminals. These comrades have paid the ultimate price and have sacrificed and suffered on the behalf of the people! Many of them are suffering from psychological and physical trauma that no human being deserves to be subjected to and yet they still refuse to give up on the movement - even through the movement, and in many cases, have given up on them and has failed to build a successful political prisoners/ prisoners of war movement. Many of these comrades are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the constant threat of death along with being the subjects of low-intensisty-warfare. These were the goals and objectives of this government’s cowardly program:
  1. The prevention of the coalition of any Black Nationalist organization, for in unity there is strength. They realized that this might be step towards a real “Mau Mau” in America, the beginning of a true black revolution;
  2. The prevention and development and raise of a “Messiah” figure that could have the ability and desire to direct a unified black nationalist movement;
  3. The prevention of violence on the part of Black Militants Nationalist organizations, this was of primary importance of this program.
  4. The identification and neutralization of any potential threats to the internal security of this nation and overseas interest;
  5. The prevention of any Black Militant Nationalist from gaining any type of respectability;
  6. The prevention of long-range growth of black militant organizations, especially among the youth.
It is important that we understand what a political prisoner/prisoner of war is. Comrade Eddie's book “The Greatest Threat” defines the two:
  1. A political prisoner is a person, sanctioned by the movement, involved in character and deeds, who is held in confinement for support of, or identification with, a people struggling for the freedom from an oppressive government or against its oppressive policies.
  2. A prisoner of war is a sanctioned national combatant or ally of an international armed conflict who is held in confinement for acts in support of people struggling for freedom, self-determination, or independence from oppressive, colonial, alien dominated, or racist government regime and its policies.
J. Soffiyah Elijah, a Harvard Law School Professor and leading attorney in the political prisoner/prisoner of war movement, is also quoted in Conway's book as giving the following description in her article, “The Reality of Political Prisoners in the United States: What September 11 Taught Us About Defending Them”:
“Political prisoners are men and women who have been incarcerated for their political views and actions. They have consciously fought against social injustice, colonialism and/or imperialism and have been incarcerated as a result of political commitments. Even while in prison, these men and women continue to adhere to their principles. This definition of the term “political prisoner” is accepted throughout the international community.”
Comrades, no matter what social, cultural, political or religious community you are apart of, you need to understand that these comrades, because of the path that they took and because of the racial and class structure they represent, are often given the harshest sentences possible! You also need to understand that while the United States does not recognize political prisoners (PP) or prisoners of war (POW) the rest of humanity does and no matter how you define these terms, political prisoners and prisoners of war do exist. 

Comrades I believe that we have chosen the correct path and have selected the correct campaign to develop and work on, the campaign to free Marshall Eddie Conway! The Liberate Baltimore Coalition has once again risen to the occasion and set the correct path that any progressive organization/revolutionary movement must take if it is to truly represent the people! No movement can represent the people if it does not or will not speak about the issue of political prisoners and prisoners of war!

In conclusion, I leave you with the following quote from Eddie’s book Marshall Law and may it endow you with the spirit to keep fighting on the behalf of those who have been wronged because of their race, class, religion or sexuality and beliefs.

Resistance is a natural response to oppression and the story of African descent in the western hemisphere is one of rebellion and broken shackles. Women and men marching on; these rag tag armies of black, brown and yellow soldiers armed with farm tools, the occasional musket and a plan to kill the slave master. Rising up out of their bondage, the rebels intended to be free in this world, or the next. Get free, or die trying. Charles Deslondes. Makandal. Nat Turner. These names would produces a fear so strong in whites that the thought of an armed and angry black man would echo that fear for generations to come. The race (class) struggle of the late 1960’s called to mind the same fear and anger.”