I am a Black Liberationist, a Prison Abolitionist, and an Intersectional Organizer working for justice for all People. By justice I mean that which provides for the flourishing of all human beings.
This means I am fighting to bring an end to Patriarchy, Sexual and Gender Violence. This means that I work to end Deportations of People especially, when those deportations of people violate Human Rights and Peoples Rights, and when the motivation for migrating in the first place is a direct result of U.S. Imperialism. This means that I am fighting to bring an end to Climate Change, and to bring about Climate Justice because those who are most impacted the anthropogenic climate change are also the victims of Colonialism and Imperialism; People of Color globally. Furthermore, 68% of African descendants in the United States live within the danger zone of a coal fire power plant. Women and children are the most vulnerable and the most impacted by the effects of climate change. This means that I work for equal and fair access to equitable education at all levels and also, to bring about an end to the School-to-Prison Pipeline. I work to bring an end to Police Brutality, who are for all intents and purpose for our Communities, nothing more than the strong-arm of a repressive regime founded upon oppression. I am fighting to bring an end to the System of Mass Incarceration which, is merely the extension of the System of Enslavement in a new form. And the list goes on because there is no shortage of injustice in our world.
For us as a People to achieve our Collective Liberation, we must first work through the indoctrination of subordination that has been force fed to us. Thus, I work to implement a Radical Pedagogy with Decolonization at its core. This is sometimes through discussions, sometimes through book studies, and other times through Hip Hop Workshops. In all cases, what I am working with our People to bring about is a critical analysis of ourselves, and the system of systems we struggle within.
I am a formerly incarcerated individual who grew up in gangs and on drugs. I am now over 16 years sober. When I turned 18 years old I had a 0.0 GPA in high school and no prospects for any sort of life with four felonies. However, recently at 34 years old I graduated from the University of Washington double-majoring in History and Philosophy. My focuses were on the rise and fall of civilizations, social movements, justice, ethics, and jurisprudence (philosophy of law). I am also a veteran Hip-Hop and Spoken Word artist, and I use my skills as a means to instruct and foster dialogue.
Today, I am merely a servant of the people doing what I can, when I can, where I can. The most important part of the work I do is accountability to our community because without it, then I am merely recreating the very same systems of oppression I assert that I am working to overcome.
This work is, in my opinion, some of the most important work that needs to be done. In turn, it is also some of the least paid work. So, I rely on our community to provide the things that I need and to help me to maintain the programs and campaigns that I am working on for our People.
As an American Citizen I am disgusted and appalled by whom this society has selected as potential formal leaders of our country.
As a Black Man I am insulted and angered because there could be no more flagrant a display of rampant hatred for the people who have been minoritized, marginalized, and pushed to the side in this society, than the so-called ‘leaders’ we are now presented with.
As a Human Being I am ashamed and infuriated that a man who blatantly and openly disregards and dehumanizes half of our species could even be mentioned in the same statement as a person who represents the people.
I stand in solidarity with our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunties, and grandmothers.
To be certain, I am not with the Clinton camp, there has been far too much harm done to Black and Brown communities to ever forgive; families disparaged and torn apart; trade agreements that have led impoverished people of color worldwide to suffer; the prison industrial complex…
However, I am diametrically opposed to Trump becoming president of the United States! It sickens me to my stomach and wrenches my soul that there are enough people in this society who have espoused and endorsed his views and behaviors to even permit him a chance at the presidency. America has not come quite so far as it likes to pride itself on.
What I and you both know is that the office of president is not synonymous with leader, and certainly not leader of the people. The people are the government. The people are the leaders. Nothing happens without our say-so. This is why, all of us, whether we have the right to vote or not, must stand in opposition against this tyranny and declare
I think most people merely want to get on with the business of living their lives and so long as there are no interruptions to what they consider normal then they do not become concerned with the things in this world that are unjust or unfair. I do not think they are necessarily at fault for having this desire. It is hard enough to get through school, to maintain a job, to sustain a relationship, to raise children and so on that becoming concerned with the problems of others may seem like too much of a burden to bear. In fact, many may never even notice the pervasiveness of suppression and inequality until someone attempts to challenge the structure and the order of the society in which they live.
For so long as the people who traditionally have fulfilled service sector roles perform those roles and do not attempt to interrupt or contribute to the ruling roles then there is no need for active suppression. However, when the son of a cobbler or a janitor aspires to become the owner of the janitorial business or even the corporation that employs the janitorial business and questions the rulership of those business owners and corporations then steps are taken to limit the progress of the individual from the underclass. The situation described above may appear unjustified and even wrong, inaccurate, and intentionally to be eschewing the facts and reality. However, this interpretation dissipates when the situation is considered through the lens of dialectal materialism, that is the competition for the control of resources and how this impacts the social fabric of a society. Furthermore, when it is understood that capitalism ideologically fosters a competition wherein victory is only achieved by the destruction of all other competitors, then the reality of the situation described above is not as far-fetched as one might have initially thought.
One of the more troubling observations I have made concerning the situation described above is that the rulers within a society often times do not know that they are in the ruling class. When Jim Crow segregation in the United States was in full force and cities had “white only” and “colored” signs plastered all over, it was quite obvious who was in power and who lacked power. However, different the outward appearance of the United States may be today, things are not as different as many believe. There may not necessarily be specific and overt signage signifying where a particular person, from a particular group belongs, but that does not change the net results of the system, which by and large remains much the same. Police officers still participate in context stops of individuals when they are ‘caught’ in the wrong neighborhoods; “sundown towns” are not necessarily a thing of the past. Henry Louis Gates Jr., a professor at Harvard University who is also a Black man, was arrested for walking into his own front door because the police thought he was a burglar. “Stop and Frisk,” a policy that began in New York under Mayor Giuliani in the 1990s, permitted police officers to stop anyone at any time that they chose, to inspect and violate their Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” In addition to that violation was also the arbitrary and targeted nature of the law, which primarily targeted young people of color to essentially harass and terrorize them in their own communities; racial profiling. Now here again we hear the that the presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to institute stop and frisk across the entire county under the supposed rationalization that it will help the Black community. Help the Black community to do what? Stay in a pre-scribed place. Not the place that we belong, but the position within this society which has been imposed upon us. In 1964, Black people could not vote in the United States and as such, also could not participate in juries. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed making illegal the infringement of the voting rights of all people, especially, as it had been done through the cryptic practices of poll taxes and literacy tests. Yet, as a result of further, clever legal finagling today there are over twelve million people who are disenfranchised within the United States and thus the net result is unchanged. The police institution is still predominately staffed and controlled by white people, the courts are still predominantly controlled by white people, the jails and prisons are still primarily controlled by white people, and the politics are still controlled by white people. All of these observations are readily apparent whether by first-hand account (walk into a courthouse or police department or legislature), or by statistics. The fact that there is a Black person for President, Barak Obama, or person as a Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, does not alter the reality of who holds the power and control. The issue here is the rule, although people may want to focus on the exceptions to the rule like they make a significant difference to the net results. Yet, tell a white person that they are part of the ruling class and they will oppose the proposition as staunchly as an accusation of capital murder.
Many white people operate under the perception that they are not part of the ruling class because they do not interpret race as being one of the major factors that contribute to class and also tend to deny the prevalence of racialized privilege. These two condition are not only correlational, but are mutually reinforcing; i.e., the two structures work together to maintain the social order and class structure whereby Black people are largely politically, socially, economically, and socially constricted into positions of inferiority. To be certain, the control of capital is factor that impacts and delineates all people and many white people are certainly impacted by this in a negative manner. But, their mere affiliation with the group of people that are white removes many barriers that Black people must overcome to simply begin to compete in this system. Obstacles that many white people will never in their life have to consider prior to applying to school or a job, before walking into the grocery store, when a police officer pulls behind them in traffic, or renting an apartment, etc. When Black people are able to overcome some of these obstacles that are invisible to white people we may hear something like, “wow, you are very articulate” (for a black person; the end is usually left unspoken, but the intent is implied and felt). This is why a Black man with a college degree and no “criminal” record is at a disadvantage when competing with a white man with no college degree and a “criminal” record for the same position. A disadvantage that has been institutionalized and is reinforced by racial determinations within the United States society.
A very harmful outcome of these circumstances is the phenomenon of internalized racism, whereby the implications of the racialized class structure become a component of the identity of members from the subordinated group. This is expressed in terms of the belief that white people are superior and that Black people are inferior in intellect, politics, beauty, economics and so forth, and furthermore, that this is the way it is supposed to be. It leads to an apathy that limits the horizon of potential to but the near future because long-term planning tends to seem like “pipe dreams,” that is, things that are unachievable or unrealistic. It further leads people to feel satisfied with mediocre standards of living because they tend not to believe they deserve better and are worth more, that their contributions to society do not warrant a greater share of the profits of that society. The prevalence of the inner-city ghetto is the quintessential example of this in American society, wherein it seems the people are locked in a negative-feedback-loop of degradation into a deplorable and demeaning existence. These negative feelings are internally reinforced among those who are members within the subordinated group and may be expressed in phrases such as; “sell-out,” or “Uncle Tom,” of “look at you trying to be white.” A Black person is likely to hear something like this from other Black people when we excel in education, or we use something other than the local slang, or when we can manage to get into or graduate from college, or when we beat the odds and get a good paying job. The internalization of racism can go much further and people have even acted so as to prevent the others from progressing, such as the very conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who has taken stances both against the application of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action. In 1982, Republican President Ronald Reagan, made Thomas the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, of whose roles it was to oversee the application of the Affirmative Action laws. Then in 1991, another Republican President, George Bush, placed Thomas onto the Supreme Court to replace the nearly polar opposite retiring Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the Civil Rights lawyer who with the NAACP at the time, won the Brown v. Board of Education suit in 1954. All going to show that an exception to the rule, Thomas very likely having benefitted from Affirmative Action going to Yale Law School (the same school as President George W. Bush Jr.), has worked to undermine that very system that would level the competition field for so many. These institutions, policies, and practices paid for with the blood of our predecessor’s and years of their lives being undermined by one of the people they were designed to help, and did help, can be nothing but the manifestation of internalized oppression. When the dynamics of the hierarchical class structure become internalized by the people marginalized and minoritized by that structure it has the tendency to imprison them into a negative belief system that permits the system to function almost unchecked or unchallenged.
People have a tendency to grow comfortable with things that are familiar as they get used to the way that things function, regardless of how beneficial or harmful the circumstances may be. White people who are not familiar with the constraints that Black people contend with and are relatively comfortable with the circumstance of the conditions of the United States society will lack the necessary motivation to interrupt the way things are. Furthermore, because economic class distinctions do impact white people with all the relevant political, educational, and social implications; any interruption from Black people into that system may seem like a corruption of their opportunities as a result of the added competition. Yet, instead of focusing attention on those who are members of the most elite group and who control the distribution of resources and thus the opportunities within our society, the people who are most closely identified as being related to the interruption are blamed and targeted.
Most recently, when Black Lives Matter emerged as a national political platform it was challenged with All Lives Matter and even Blue Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter is merely the assertion of equitable value of human life due a specific respect that is not tinged with subordination. Yet, white people felt as if their lives were somehow being devalued by this proposition and also felt the need to challenge it by claiming that all lives already had value and that there was no need for a specific assertion of value of a particular group because they do not believe that there are subordinated groups in this society. The slogan “All Lives Matter” was the tool they created to accomplish a supposed ‘rebalancing’ of the social order they had grown comfortable with. Blue Lives Matter was an even more specific attempt to rebalance the attention away from the systemic inequalities Black people are subjected to, towards the police institution itself. As if somehow the police were ever in the disadvantage of anything or that they needed any more power or authority. The “Blue Lives Matter” slogan was the tool utilized by police officers and their proponents to reestablish the unquestioned authority of the police institution in its role to maintain the hierarchical, racialized, class structure of economic privilege.
The pushback to “Affirmative Action” wherein the policy has been assaulted as being “reverse discrimination” and “reverse racism” is another prime example of this phenomenon of blaming the interruption of the social order on those most closely identified with the disruption of their privileges. For the first time, a space was being made for Black people whereby some of the barriers invisible to white people were legally disbanded and they were forced to compete with Black people not having barriers to access. They found it difficult to compete and felt that it was an imposition into their comfortable social order. White people, because they had also internalized their “racial privilege” couldn’t and wouldn’t believe that they were being out-competed by Black people and still do not. We are likely to hear such things as “you only got into that school because you got a scholarship,” which is an expression of class discrimination, and “you only got that scholarship because of affirmative action,” which is an expression of racial discrimination because it is code for “being Black and thus unworthy.” These two factors are not only correlational, but are mutually reinforcing. We are likely to hear these things even in states where Affirmative Action has been repealed because of the pushback from white people. The belief that Black people are inferior is so pervasive, and the maintenance of the social order is so important that any imposition or interruption is immediately challenged with the focus being on those most closely identified with the interruption. Thus, when Black people began to break out of the social order we had been constricted into, there was immediate pushback by those in the ruling class of this hierarchical society to put Black people back into “their place,” and yet it will undoubtedly be argued that racism is a thing of the past and that the social outcomes are not equitable to the outcomes of the legal impositions of the past.
Chattel Slavery in the United States as it existed in the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries was official abolished in 1865, with the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. A hundred years after that, Jim Crow segregation as it existed throughout the end of the nineteenth and for the first half of the twentieth century in 1964 and 1965, with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, respectively. First and foremost, the Thirteenth Amendment did not abolish the institution of enslavement, it codified it into United States law. Second, slavery is an institution that humans have depended on for thousands of years in multiple cultures and civilizations, and has depended upon the identification of subordinated groups to justify the imposition of servitude and subservience upon others. The belief systems that rationalized enslavement did not disappear from the human consciousness and social fabric merely because it was abolished by law; the feelings and sentiments are still very much alive and continue to harm the entire civilization; e.g., the Prison Industrial Complex. In addition, we are only one-hundred and fifty-one years removed from the end of the American Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which is but a blink of an eye relative to the millennia the institution of slavery has survived through. Thus, to presuppose and to assume that the belief system which rationalized enslavement no longer exists and that the impacts of the institution have somehow disappeared is not only premature, but also, inaccurate and ahistorical. It is actually cognitive dissonance and a mere justification to rationalize the maintenance of the current hierarchical social structure.
White people are not interested in releasing the privileges they have which grant them opportunities or relinquishing their political position to share with the subordinated groups who are currently minoritized, marginalized, and disenfranchised. White people are not interested in challenging the most elite ruling group because it will undermine their capacity to compete for the meager resources they are granted access to and control over. White people are not interested in deconstructing the invisible barriers that grant them a negotiation advantage in rental, educational, business, economic, political, and purchasing situations. It is not in their best interest to do so, that is, it is not in their self-interest to share resources and opportunities because that would decrease their potential and likelihood of living a relatively comfortable life.
Therefore, since this is the reality of the context in which we live it is up to us, as Black people, to interrupt the status quo hierarchical, economic class structure held in place by racialized divisions. We have to seek to understand the internalization of racism and how it manifests in our lives and in our communities, and how it functions to hold us in a position of inferiority by doing the white man’s work for him. We are already being oppressed, we do not need to oppress ourselves with the garbage they want us indoctrinated with. This means that we have to stop consuming the media the white man propagates, which utilizes the tropes and stereotypes that portray our people in positions of inferiority; and we have to stop relying on and trusting their media machine that presents to us fabrications that they attempt to pawn-off on us as news. Each time we marshal the courage and muster the people to transgress the invisible barriers of class and racialized divisions, they send in their internal colonization force, the police, to suppress the advancement of our people from abject poverty and suppression into liberation and equality. Then they attempt to paint the political activists as “criminals” who according to them are breaking the “laws,” and who are upsetting the “order” of things. We have to recognize that these laws that criminalize our claim to liberty and equality are but the tools of an antiquated system of hierarchical privilege and subordination. Furthermore, that it is their indoctrination through their school systems and media that sustains the fragile veil of equality that people believe exists in the United States. Their indoctrination machine has been so effective that many Black people do not even know that we deserve more and that it is not our fault for not being able to compete equally in this system. That we deserve better than ghettos and prisons, that we deserve elite educations, that we deserve jobs that provide more than merely making ends meet week-to-week, that we deserve a further horizon than tomorrow as a future to strive for. We deserve to not live in fear that because of the color of our skin we may not make it home from school or the grocery store alive.
It is understandable that most people just want to go about their lives and not to create ruffles or to stand out. For white people it undermines their social order and comfort. For Black people we risk being killed and imprisoned. That most people, and especially white people do not recognize this difference in potential outcomes is a major part of the problem. It is ironic, but most from either side will never even recognize that there is a problem until someone from the underclass attempts to climb out of the position this society has boxed us into. To make matters worse, until a sufficient amount of people from the underclass stand up and oppose the structure of oppression, the privileged class will continue to deploy and employ its rationalizations and explanations to criminalize those of us fighting to claim our human rights; fighting to claim what we are due and that which we deserve.
Above all else what must be understood is this; rights are not granted, they are fought for and won. We cannot rely on, or wait for our oppressors to wake up magically realize that what they have been doing is wrong and that for some reason against all logic that they will simply concede their unjust privileges to us. We have to demand that they relinquish their unjust earnings. We have to demand reparations. We have to press for equality and equity and we have to bring it into being. We have to fight for these things because they will not be given to us.
Police brutality against Black people and other People of Color, is nothing new. Racism is nothing new. Economic discrimination and racism are nothing new. Red-lining, gentrification, outsourcing, sweatshops, employment discrimination, glass-ceilings and sticky-floors; none of these things are new, but are rather, a continuation of Jim Crow segregation and imperialism. Colonialism and imperialism are nothing new, and neither is the military industrial complex that is utilized to maintain its structure.
Extra-judicial killings, which by definition are lynchings, are nothing new. In 1951, William James Patterson, with the help of the National Association of for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), submitted to the newly created United Nations (UN) in general, and the UN Human Rights Commission in particular, a report titled “We Charge Genocide.” This report systematically detailed the occurrences of genocide, according and in reference to each line of the definition that the UN Genocide Convention detailed, in regard to the treatment of Black people in the United States, which included reports of lynchings by police officers as horrendous as the lynchings today. He tells a story in the report that was printed in one of the newspapers that served as the primary resources of most of his evidence (there was no internet then), wherein a police officer simply walks up to a parked car and shoots a Black man in the head. The recent tragedy of police officers killing Keith Lamont Scott while he was reading in his car is a mirror image of what Patterson was reporting on over sixty years ago! Patterson also details the extensive economic oppression, which includes Red Lining and the formation of ‘ghettos,’ as well as, the medical discrimination towards Black people in the United States. The “Ten Point Platform” of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) released in 1966, called for self-determination, equal opportunity of employment and education, fair housing conditions, for the United States to honor the US Constitution, and Point Seven specifically called for an end to “police brutality and murder of black people.” The killing of Black people by police officers is nothing new to the people of the United States.
Slavery, and yes it is an institution that is still very much functioning even within the borders of the United States, as well as, elsewhere, is definitely not something that is new. That prison walls are meant to keep ‘criminals’ in is only part of the truth, the reality is that it is also meant to keep people out; wherein the majority of modern day slavery in the United States is occurring. Prisoners are compelled to make everything from paint to military grade equipment, which includes furniture. Some states, like Washington, even have written into their laws that all state agencies “must” purchase these goods. The Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, that was supposed to have outlawed slavery, however, did not; “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” And this does not even begin to scratch the surface on human trafficking, the sex-trade, or migrant farm workers. The Thirteenth Amendment provided the foundation for the Prison Industrial Complex that exists today, and of which the police institution is a major component. Since, what the police do is “catch” (arrest) so-called ‘criminals’ and put them into prisons, which are modern day slave plantation, that technically makes one of the primary functions of the police institution to be ‘slave catching.” This however, is completely ‘constitutional’ as the Fugitive Slave ClauseArticle V Section 2 states; “No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be do.” Slavery was not abolished in the United States, it was transformed to conceal its true functioning and presence.
None of these events and institutions are distinct or mutually exclusive. They are in fact all mechanisms of a much larger system of oppression. And they are most certainly not anything that is new.
However, many of the people jumping up and down in public and on social media all pissed off because they do not believe Black Lives Matter, either as an organization or as a movement, the people of the many rebellions that have erupted throughout our country over the last few years, or even merely any dissenters of the system have any moral ground or claim. They attempt to dictate to us how and when we can and should protest or respond to the generations of oppression. Often times they recommend that we should utilize the tools and mechanisms of those who came before us because they were “good protestors.” Please! The demonstrators in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s (and yes our people have been protesting and demonstrating against all of this suppression and oppression, white supremacy and this entire racist superstructure in all of those decades) have always been hated and loathed. Don’t listen to that fabricated nonsense you think you were taught in your history books. One of the things they always make disappear is that it is not called “The Struggle” because it was easy and the oppressors simply admitted their wrongdoing and all was ok. If you think that was the case, please reread the historical section above and re-check that misconception. It is and was called The Struggle because it is a struggle, it is a fight against the systems of power. This is a war for our very lives.
These people who clamor that racism does not exists, or start invalidating our concerns and demands by making references to “Black on Black” issues, or who claim that police officers are merely doing their jobs, that ‘slavery’ (notice that they almost always missed the enslaved [the someone doing something to someone else] part) is over so get over it, or whatever else they may come up with; are hyper problematic. First, they miss that this is nothing new. These trauma, these incidents, the racist system has been in place destroying our communities and tearing apart families for generations. Our people have been opposing this system for generations. The only thing that is even remotely new about what is going on is the social media presence and the evidence that has been compiled; which comes with its own kind of trauma. As a result of the interlocking and overlapping networks and access to information, the lies and half-truths that used to be spread about how far this country has come and how the “Race Problem” is gone has been tossed to the wind as the rubbish that it is. Trump exemplifies this perfectly and so does Hillary, for that matter.
Second thing they miss is that all the tactics they suggest have been done. They look down on the people from their moral armchairs rebuking and chastising the people who revolt to throw off our oppressor and our oppression upset that the monopoly of violence has been interrupted. The country and even President Obama seem to be just fine when everything goes according to their plan. Tupac, the nephew of Assata Shakur, and who was named after the revolutionary of Peru who almost overthrew the Spanish Empire, Tupac Amaru, warned us; “Cops give a damn about a negro? Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he’s a hero.” Or the United States and their drone strikes killing innocent people in other countries, all to gain access to their resources. This monopoly on violence is disgusting! These people act like they do not understand why our people, why Black people are upset, like there was only one person killed “by accident,” or that one person did not get the job, or went to prison or was sentenced to death wrongly. They act like this is something that is new. It is not and that is precisely why Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. states that “a riot is a language of the unheard.”
We are unheard today for the same reasons that the Reconstruction Era ended, our lives are not valued! It was this systematic silencing for generations with broken promises and dropped vows that lead King to write “Why We Can’t Wait” in 1963, one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln during the United States Civil War in 1863; our people still had not achieved freedom and liberation from our oppressors. And yet, another fifty years has passed and we are still fighting for the same things. No, this is nothing new and these arm chair, neo liberal moralizers do not get to tell us how to throw off our oppressors and oppression. The half-truths and lies they have imbibed will no longer pacify our people’s thirst for liberation, quell our rebellions, or stifle our disquiet!
For too long has this system attempted to conceal a very real truth; the amount of power that we as Black people actually have in this country. At no time since the conception of the United States has the country been devoid of the institution of slavery. The entire structure of the nation is dependent upon a docile, submissive, complicit population of workers of whom to exploit the labor of. In fact, that dependence is so interwoven into the fabric of this nation that should our people simply decide not to participate in that system any longer it would cause that system to collapse.
There is an unfair advantage that is garnered from suppressed wages, and the synthetic inflation of prices that result from practices like red lining that this country is dependent on. So dependent in fact, that it will attempt to do damn near anything to make sure that its profit structure is not interrupted; such as, crafting laws to criminalize acts such as possessing cannabis, by which they then force people into these modern day slave plantations, and disenfranchise them in the process so that we cannot undo the havoc they have created. Red lining was essentially motivated by the desire to limit the power of black people by keeping us segregated. Politicians and bankers engaged in this practice heavily in the northern states, which many Black people migrated to during the Great Migration to escape Jim Crow in the south. But, these redlined neighborhoods formed major voting blocks and those in power sought to limit that power by redistricting their neighborhoods so that they would not be able to influence the political structure, and thus the outcomes and conditions of their lives very much. When that did not work, not ten years after the victory of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, President Nixon puts (now called) “marijuana” (a Spanish word) on Schedule One of the Controlled Substance List. Not even heroin is that high on the schedule! And alcohol and tobacco, which kill or lead to the deaths of thousands more are not as controlled as cannabis. After 1965, when Black people won the right to vote, the largest new voting block United States had ever witnessed was coming into being. People were woke because of the Civil Rights, Black Nationalism, and Black Power movements that collective comprised the Black Liberation Era, more Black youth were making it into and through college because of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the 1964 Civil Rights Act; so, there was real potential to challenge and change the system.
This is also the time that the infamous J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is known for warning against the emergence of a “Black Messiah” and for the formation of the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to destroy the Black Liberation Movement. Hoover, COINTELPRO, and the United States government are the reason that so many of our leaders from that era were killed, imprisoned, or forced into exile. These agents also brought about the downfall of the Black Panther Part approximately one hundred years after the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 was passed by the US Congress to get rid of the KKK. The KKK still exists to this day. The KKK is one of the most blatant terrorist organizations that the United States has ever witnessed and yet, for all its clamor about terrorism, it is still invading other countries, dropping bombs, employing drones, creating armies to suppress their own people, toppling democratic governments, violating almost every tenet of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and has labeled Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization. The same shit is happening all over again! This is nothing new!
Everything about this system has been designed and tailored to limit Black Power. From the education system with the School-to-Prison Pipeline, to the police institution, to the Prison Industrial Complex, and the Military Industrial Complex (also part of the militarization of the police). Our schools do not teach us our true power. They may teach that some people have the Freedom of Speech, but not how to use it. They may teach that this is a democratic society, but they do not teach everyone equally has to exercise their democratic rights. They do not teach that we have immense power and that we give our power away by consent. They say that a democratic government, even a representative one such as we live in, is one of consent. But, since we cannot vote a new system in the only consent that people have is to pay taxes, but we cannot refrain from paying taxes and revoking that consent, so technically speaking we do not live in a state of consent, but rather, one of compulsion. Voting in a system (for those of us who have not been disenfranchised by an unjust system already) that controls the agenda, and one in which there is an economic bar to entry, and a patriarchal system in place we have the same system as the Articles of Confederation (the predecessor of the US Constitution) laid out; namely, that only white, male, landed gentry could hold office. The net result is the same, regardless of what laws are written. The schools do not teach us that. However, consent is also given through participation.
Neglect to participate and revoke the implicit consent. They want to steal our right to vote to change the system, to direct our way of life, to influence the development of our own communities; then we merely neglect to play along with their game any longer. They want to kill our people with impunity, then we stop participating in their repressive system. They want to continue to hold us within the confines of internal colonies, then we retract from their system. They want to silence the cultural evolution that has been underway in this country for the last hundred and fifty years, then we let them have their system that is so dependent on us. It is not like it is doing us or the planet any good any way. It is time to take a lesson from Black Wall Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Granted, the police and KKK burned it to the ground after shooting all the Black People they could find (1920), but building their own, for their own they rivaled New York’s Wall Street. That alone proves that we do not need them. It also shows their level of fear about separatists and Black Nationalist like Marcus Garvey and Malcom X. The capitalistic structure, which is so far off base of what Adam Smith envisioned is destroying the planet, corrupting the relationship the people have with the planet, and is responsible for the empire structure of imperialism destroying the lives of Black people and people of color all over the globe. It is time to envision a new way of doing things, and an organization in Jackson, Mississippi called Cooperation Jackson has been working diligently to create such a structure.
We do not only have to pull away, but we can create something entirely new in its place. Something that will liberate our people, all our peoples, and feed our souls at the same time. Whatever we choose to do as a people, it is important to recognize that we have a choice and that we have power. We have immense power. And furthermore, that we are locked within and engaged in a war that none of us asked for or sought that has been going on for generations. This is nothing new.
By looking back and unpacking the cryptic, concealed, and distorted history to see what is really going on and for how long, hopefully we can begin to envision what it is that we do want and how to achieve those ends. I am not the first to talk about these things and I most certainly will not be the last. Below is a speech that Malcom X made in 1964, “The Ballot or the Bullet” wherein you will hear him speaking on Black Nationalism and self-determination and how to achieve it. Below that are some links for how to connect and exercise your power.